Have you ever noticed that a Chow Chow sleeping doubles as a bulky bearskin rug? Sometimes they even look like a giant stuffed bear just laying sprawled out on the floor. One thing is for sure they are absolutely adorable!
If you have a Chow Chow or are thinking of getting one you may be wondering how much sleep is normal. I took some time to talk with owners and vets so I could answer all your Chow sleeping questions in one place.
Adult Chow Chows will sleep on average 12-16 hours a day. Chow Chow Puppies will sleep 18-20 hours a day in a 24hr period. Chows like to work, but tend to sleep when they don’t have anything else to do.
If you are fit and active your Chow Chow will be also if you are relaxed and laid back chances are your Chow Chow will be similar to you. But how do you know if your Chow Chow is getting too little or too much of those precious zzzzzz’s? Continue reading to find out.
And make sure to check out what your Chow Chows sleeping position means at the end of the article!
How Much Sleep Do Chow Chow’s Need? Puppies, Adults, Seniors
Chow Chow Newborns
This stage of life is very short and full of lots of shut-eye! For the first week of their life, Chow Chow newborns will be sleeping anytime they aren’t nursing. Newborns generally nurse every 2 hours but even while doing so they will have their eyes shut and look as though they are eating in their sleep.
As they grow they will slowly start to spend more time awake. Around 3 weeks old they will have around 2-4 hours of active time a day broken up into small spurts of energy and exploring their world.
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Chow Chow Puppies
Puppies are quickly growing and changing. They need plenty of sleep to fuel and recharge their growing bodies. From 2-5 months old Chow Chow puppies will generally sleep around 18-20 hours in a 24-hour period. This includes sleeping at night and daytime naps.
Your puppy will sleep in longer stretches at night, but will still need to get up to relieve its small bladder and stretch. He may even have a burst of energy and seem like he wants to play. With some patience and guidance, your puppy can learn to sleep through the night by 4 months old, maybe even sooner.
Older puppies from around 6-12 months old will sleep about 14-16 hours throughout a 24 hour period. At this point, they should be more active and inquisitive during the day and will be better about sleeping through the night in a 6-9 hour stretches. They will also take multiple naps during the day, as well as times of rest when they appear to be just lying around, but somewhat alert as well as high energy awake time when they will want to play and work.
Chow Chow Adults
Your adult Chow Chow will normally sleep around 12-16 hours in a 24hr period, but more as he ages. In this study, researchers found that older and middle-aged dogs slept more during the day than young adult dogs.
This was because they took more naps, not because their naps were longer. They tend to run out of energy and need to rest more often than the younger group. Older and middle-aged dogs also slept more at night than younger dogs because they had a longer stretches of sleep at night (waking up later) and woke up fewer times during the night.
It’s important to remember that this can greatly differ depending on the personality and temperament of each dog as well as the atmosphere/lifestyle of your home. When I asked Chow Chow owners what their Chow Chow behavior was like they covered all the ranges of this 12-16 hr span. A big factor was how active and attentive the owners were.
Because Chow Chow are a herding breed they do love to be active and given a job to do. But make no mistake, when they aren’t working or playing then you will find them sleeping. They love their naps!
Senior Chow Chows
Your Chow Chow is considered a senior around 8 years old and at this time you will probably start to see your dog slowly increasing the amount of time it is resting and sleeping. It won’t happen all at once, but just like humans as they age they tend to slow down and not have quite as much energy as a young pup. Senior Chow Chows will sleep 14-16 hrs a day on average as they get to be 10-14 years old and older they could be sleeping up to 18 hrs a day.
At an older age, your Chow Chow’s sleep patterns may change as well. It’s normal for your Chow Chow to take more naps during the day and have a few wakeful periods at night. This change will probably happen slowly and should be nothing to worry about unless it’s a sudden or significant change.
If your Chow Chow has sudden or significant changes in their patterns of sleep it’s probably best to consult your vet. For older Chow Chow, these could be signs of more serious issues such as dementia, arthritis, hypothyroidism, or other conditions associated with older age.
Your Chow Chow may be waking up more at night because its bladder is getting older and they need to use the potty more often. You can try and help with this by taking them out right before bed and limiting their water intake just before bed as well.
Fun Fact: Senior dogs, as well as puppies, tend to twitch more in their sleep! This is due to a part of their brain called the Pons which regulates muscles and keeps them still while they sleep. This part of a puppy’s brain is underdeveloped and for older dogs, it works less efficiently.
Sleep Problems and Solutions for Chow Chow Puppies and Adults
It might sometimes feel like your Chow Chow sleeps all day and you may be wondering if this is normal. I asked Chow Chow owners if their Chows sleep a lot and the answer was a resounding yes. Chow Chows tend to sleep more than other dogs especially high energy breeds.
Things that may be making this challenging can range from crying or whining at night, waking up in the middle of the night, struggling to settle down, or waking up too early in the morning.
Luckily there are some things that you can do to help your Chow Chow (as well as yourself) get the good night’s sleep you need.
Have a routine and schedule:
If your Chow Chow knows what to expect and has specific cues to alert him that it’s time to wind down and get some shut-eye it can do a lot to help them easily get settled at night. This routine can include using the restroom, bringing the noise level down, dimming the light, creating a relaxing and calm atmosphere.
It’s important to keep this schedule as consistent as possible. Going to bed around the same time each night, and having set patterns will not only signal to your dog’s brain it’s time for bed, which will in turn help to increase the production of melatonin (your bodies powerful natural sleep aid) it can also help you fall asleep more easily as well.
Give them plenty of exercise:
Since Chow Chow’s are a working breed and have an internal desire to herd your Chow Chow needs plenty of stimulation and exercise each day.
If they have been bored and laying around all day chances for a good night’s rest are minimal. The best time for a good exercise session is about 2 hours before bedtime. Try to include high cardio exercise as well and engaging brain activities so that your Chow Chow will be both physically tired as well as mentally tired.
Have a specific sleeping area and make it inviting:
Whether it’s in their crate in the living room, their doggy bed next to your bed on the floor, or even in your own bed. Having a designated area to go to will help create the routine and let your dog know that it’s sleep time.
If your dog sleeps in his own bed, or in a crate, having something that smells like you and a small stuffed animal to snuggle with can help him feel more safe and secure. This is especially true for puppies.
Keep in mind that Chow Chows are very warm-blooded dogs. They have a lot of fur and flubber to keep them warm, so most Chows will prefer to sleep on a cold hard surface in order to stay cool. While it may look uncomfortable to you, they actually love it!
Check out this fun Chow Bed on Amazon (affiliate link)
Take up their water after a certain time of the evening. If your Chow Chow seems to need a bathroom break in the middle of the night all the time you can try changing his meal time to be a few hours earlier (so he will get the poop out before bed) or a few hours later (so he can hold it until tomorrow). You can also take up the water dish a few hours before bed so that he isn’t filling up his bladder just before dozing off.
Either way, you may want to slowly adjust the time of his meals to see if that will help with the late-night bathroom breaks.
If early morning waking is a problem try figuring out what it is that may be waking them up?
Is the sun coming up? Try adding some darkening curtains. Are there noises such as birds or early morning traffic? Try adding some white noise by using a noise machine like this one from Amazon. (Amazon affiliate link).
All it takes is some investigative work to try and figure out what may be causing the problem. It can be easier to do this if you keep a log or journal of your dog’s sleeping and eating patterns. This doesn’t have to be something that you do long-term, but just long enough for you to notice a pattern so you can address it.
If nothing seems to be working, your dog has changed his sleep patterns suddenly, he seems very lethargic and low on energy all the time, or he has other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, blood in his stool, or other concerns then you should take him to the vet immediately to get checked out.
If you have a puppy and all its needs are met and it is still crying just remember it is common for it to whine and cry especially for the first week or so that you have him in your home. You can try a soothing stuffy like this one from Amazon (affiliate link).
An older dog who is new to your home may experience this as well. If you must check on him make sure that the lights stay dim, and you are as un-intrusive as you can be. If you are working with your puppy to sleep in their own bed or crate, make sure to not give in and then expect smooth sailing after that. You need to start the expectations as you mean to go forward.
If you are thinking of having your dog sleep in bed with you, here are some things to consider.
Should You Let Your Chow Chow Sleep With You?
There are a lot of great benefits you could get by letting your Chow Chow sleep with you. Here are some listed below.
- Eases stress and anxiety
- Extra warmth
- Greater security
- Morning cuddles and love
- Decreases loneliness
- Releases Oxytocin
- Helps you bond with your dog
- Makes your dog feel more secure
Dogs and humans have been sleeping together in some cultures for thousands of years, and for good reasons, just being close to your Chow Chow helps to increase your levels of Oxytocin (link to PubMed article) a powerful hormone that will help you unwind, destress, lower your heart rate and feel more relaxed. This is a perfect recipe for a great night’s sleep.
Research shows that dog owners who share special bonds with their dogs benefit greatly from mental health benefits such as lower blood pressure, decreased stress, less anxiety and depression, and overall better health.
You get a similar release of love hormone when your Chow Chow stares at you. Read more about why your Chow Chow stares by clicking here.
There are however also reasons you should consider that may make you decide to not let your Chow Chow sleep with you. Here are some below.
- Sleep quality could be affected
- Could make allergies worse
- Possible transmission of disease
- Possibility of more separation anxiety
- Could make resource guarding worse
- Could make intimacy with your partner more challenging
- Lets face it, Chows take up a lot of room!
Dog and Human sleep cycles can actually differ quite a bit. If you or your dog is a fitful light sleeper it could be difficult to get enough deep sleep if your dog is waking you up constantly. If you and your pooch are constantly battling it out then you will probably be better off with them in their own bed.
Even though everyone has their own opinion about why or why not their Chow should sleep in bed with them ultimately you get to decide what’s best for you and your furry friend.
Should I Let My Chow Chow Sleep Outside
If you are like other owners then your Chow may just love to be outside! Rain or shine and maybe especially when it rains.
It is generally safe to let your Chow Chow sleep outside as long as your Chow isn’t in extreme temperatures and your Chow is in a safe enclosed area away from dangerous wildlife. Your Chow may prefer to sleep indoors to be near it’s family or it may prefer to sleep outside in the coller weather.
A lot of owners told me that their Chows love to be outdoors and some prefered to sleep outside. It really depends on what is more comfortable for you and your dog.
It is not recommened that your Chow Chow be exclusivly kept outdoors as even though they are independant and sometimes aloof thy are very loving and will form a strong attatchment to their owners. It’s important that they are able to be around their family to nurture that bond.
Chows can generally handle colder temperatures better than hot temperatures.
Chow Chow Sleeping Positions and What they Mean
Curled up in a ball: I’m keeping warm and protecting myself. Dogs curl up in a ball as an instinct from their wild days when they needed to do so to protect their most vital organs and stay warm.
Although for a Chow Chow this is made a bit difficult because of all that extra fluff and flubber!
Flat on their back with legs in the air: I feel completely comfortable with you and have no worries about being safe I know you will protect me!
Crammed in the Corner: I want to be on the hard floor to stay cool, but I need to cuddle with the corner to feel confident!
Snuggled up with a Buddy: I need to know you’re here for me!
Full-on Sploot – I’m just cute doing the cute things that Chow Chows do and that’s why you love me!