Maltese dogs are notorious for their love of snoozing and squeezing in as many Zzzs as possible.
But what is it about this breed that makes them such slumber experts? And how much beauty sleep do they actually need?
Let’s dive a little deeper and uncover the sleeping habits of Maltese dogs, including why Maltese sleep so much, when is it a concern, and what you can do to ensure they’re getting the right amount of sleep.
How many hours does a Maltese sleep?
The average Maltese dog sleeps for about 12 to 14 hours a day, which is a bit on the higher end compared to other breeds.
So what’s the reason behind this excessive snoozing?
One possible explanation is that Maltese dogs are naturally low-energy animals. They were bred to be companion pets, often spending their days lounging around the house or being carried in the arms of their owners.
This also means that they don’t need as much time spent on exercise, allowing them to dedicate more hours to sleep.
Another reason could be their small size. Being a toy breed, Maltese dogs have a relatively faster metabolism and higher energy levels than larger dogs. Consequently, they need more rest to recharge their batteries.
Additionally, the environment in which Maltese live can also influence their sleep. Most of these dogs are kept indoors, often in a calm and quiet household, which means they’re more likely to have uninterrupted sleep for longer durations.
Yet, it’s important to understand that different factors can influence the amount of sleep a Maltese needs and that not every dog will have the same sleep pattern.
Here’s a general guideline to help you understand the sleep needs of a Maltese dog:
Newborns (0-2 months old)
Newborns Maltese sleep pretty much all the time (between 20-22 hours a day), waking up mostly for feeding and bathroom breaks. This is normal for newborns of any breed, as they need a lot of rest to support their rapid growth and development.
Puppies (2-12 months old)
As Maltese puppies grow older (2-6 months old), they’ll start to have shorter but more frequent bouts of sleep. They may still need around 18 hours of sleep per day, but it will be spread out into several naps throughout the day and night.
By the time a Maltese puppy reaches 6 months old, their sleep patterns will begin to resemble that of an adult dog, and their napping sessions will become less frequent and more consolidated into longer periods of rest.
Adults (1-8 years old)
Once a Maltese reaches adulthood, their sleep needs typically decrease to about 12-14 hours per day. However, this can vary depending on the individual dog’s energy and activity levels throughout the day.
In general, adult dogs will usually have a more consistent sleep schedule, with most of their sleep occurring during the night and a few short naps during the day.
Seniors (8 years old and older)
As Maltese dogs enter their senior years, their sleep needs may increase slightly. Senior dogs tend to spend more time sleeping and napping (around 14-18 hours) in order to conserve energy.
In addition, they may experience age-related health issues that can affect their sleep, such as arthritis or cognitive decline.
Sleep problems in Maltese dogs
If your Maltese isn’t getting enough sleep or is experiencing sleep disturbances, make sure to consult with a veterinarian and rule out any underlying health issues.
Some common sleep problems in Maltese dogs include:
Just like humans, dogs can experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. If your Maltese is consistently restless at night or seems unable to relax and sleep, it could be a sign of anxiety or discomfort.
Observe your dog’s behavior and look for any signs of stress or pain that could be causing their insomnia. Then, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions, such as medication or supplements to help your Maltese get better sleep.
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. While it’s more commonly seen in humans, dogs (especially brachycephalic breeds) can also be affected by it.
Sleep apnea in dogs can be caused by various factors such as obesity, allergies, or structural abnormalities in the airway and some of the common symptoms include snoring, gasping or choking sounds, excessive daytime sleepiness, and difficulty breathing.
If you suspect that your Maltese may have sleep apnea, it’s best to visit your veterinarian who can perform a thorough examination and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Unfortunately, the pain from arthritis may worsen at night when there are fewer distractions.
The pain and discomfort associated with this condition can make it challenging for dogs to find a comfortable sleeping position. This can cause frequent tossing and turning, leading to interrupted sleep.
Again, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary advice. Your vet may suggest pain management strategies such as medication, supplements, or physical therapy to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort and improve their quality of sleep.
Spasm of the rear legs
Spasm of the rear legs is a neuromuscular condition that’s characterized by involuntary leg movements, and it’s often caused by nerve damage or underlying medical conditions such as arthritis or spinal issues.
If you notice your Maltese exhibiting unusual movements or twitching in their legs that persist during sleep, go see your veterinarian. They may offer physical therapy or lifestyle changes to help manage the symptoms.
Did you know that Maltese have nightmares, too?
These unsettling dreams can cause them to wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, panting and feeling distressed. In this case, try to offer them a gentle pat or soothing words to let them know they’re safe.
While it’s difficult to know exactly what dogs dream about, research suggests that it may be related to their daily experiences and emotions.
Maltese dogs can also become extremely anxious when left alone. This anxiety may manifest as restlessness, whining, or even destructive behavior. As a result, your dog may struggle to relax and fall asleep without your presence.
Similarly, Maltese dogs are known to be very sensitive and can easily get stressed by their environment.
Loud noises or unfamiliar surroundings can all contribute to their anxiety levels. This heightened stress can disrupt their sleep and lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep.
If your Maltese is experiencing frequent nightmares, separation anxiety, or just seems excessively anxious during sleep, discuss this with your veterinarian.
How to help your Maltese sleep better
In case there’s nothing medically wrong, here are a few strategies you can try to improve your Maltese’s sleep quality:
Create a cozy sleep environment. Most importantly, ensure that your furry friend has a designated space (that’s quiet and away from distractions) where they can retreat to relax and unwind.
If you can, consider investing in a dog bed that offers optimal support for their joints, as this can make a significant difference in their overall comfort and sleep quality.
Establish a consistent sleep routine. Dogs, including Maltese, thrive on routine. Establishing a regular bedtime schedule can help regulate your dog’s internal clock and improve their sleep overall.
Try to stick to a consistent time for going to bed and waking up each day, even on weekends. This will signal to your Maltese that it’s time to wind down and prepare for restful slumber.
It may also help to establish a bedtime routine that helps them relax before sleep, such as gentle brushing or soothing music.
Limit stimulating activities before bedtime. As tempting as it may be to engage in playtime or vigorous exercise right before bed, try shifting these activities earlier in the evening instead.
Of course, you can incorporate more calming activities at night such as short walks, training exercises that promote mental relaxation, or interactive puzzle toys that provide mental stimulation without revving up your dog’s energy levels too much.
Excessive sleep in Maltese dogs
Excessive sleep can be another indication of underlying health issues.
While it’s normal for Maltese dogs to sleep for extended periods (especially as they get older), excessive or prolonged sleep could be a sign of boredom, depression, or a medical condition such as hypothyroidism or diabetes.
Obesity can also contribute to excessive sleep in dogs. Being overweight puts extra strain on their joints and muscles, making them more tired and prone to sleep for longer periods.
Be sure to monitor your dog’s sleeping habits and call your veterinarian if you notice any unusual changes such as lethargy or fatigue.
While the average adult Maltese dog sleeps around 12-14 hours a day, the amount of sleep they require varies depending on their age, health, and other factors.
To ensure they make the most out of those long naps they love so much, you need to provide them with a quiet and cozy sleep environment, as well as regular opportunities for mental stimulation and low-impact exercise before bedtime.
That said, not all dogs have the same sleep patterns, and some may require more or less sleep than others. Excessive sleep, on the other hand, can be a sign of underlying health issues and should be monitored closely.