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Do You Have a Lethargic Dog or Just a Lazy Pup?

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The average dog sleeps between 12 and 14 hours a day. Since your dog sleeps for about half the day, it may sometimes be hard to tell if they experiencing lethargy or just being a dog.

When dogs get sick, lethargy tends to be one of the more visible symptoms of their illness.

The ailments that cause lethargy in dogs are often minor ones that will go away without treatment. However, sometimes lethargy can be indicative of a life-threatening problem that would require serious medical treatment.

A lethargic dog will be significantly more inactive than how they normally are. You know your dog best.

And because your dog can’t tell you when they are feeling sick, it is your responsibility to be on the lookout for when your dog may acting outside of how they are normally.

Curious if you have a lethargic dog or one that is just acting a little lazy? Read on, and we will walk you everything you need to know so that you will be able to tell the difference.

Signs of a Lethargic Dog

Signs of a Lethargic Dog

If your dog is sick, she probably does not feel well enough to play or do much more than lounge around. An excessively sleepy, slow, or tired dog may very well be lethargic.

Other indicating signs include a dog who generally acts out of character, hardly reacts to sensory stimulation, and appears to not be interested in normal activities.

Check for Additional Symptoms

If your dog is sick, they may be showing symptoms other than lethargy. Check to see if your pet is experiencing symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, stomach issues, weakness, or shaking.

If your furry friend is experiencing any of these other symptoms, it’s a good idea to take a visit to the vet and see what is going on.

If your dog should happen to just skip one meal, it may just indicate that she is in heat. For something like this, you can just wait it out. But if your pet skips more than one meal it could indicate a major health issue.

Common Causes of a Lethargy in Dogs

Common Causes of a Lethargy in Dogs

Lethargy in dogs can indicate a variety of ailments. Because of this, it is important to understand lethargy’s common causes as that will help you determine the reason for your pet’s change in mood.

Causes for sudden and prominent lethargy in dogs include anemia, hypothermia, toxin exposure, stomach problems, infection or inflammation, and skin diseases.

A lethargic dog may also act out of character due to fear. Many new adopters note lethargy in their pets but this is usually because the pet is frightened by their new environment.

If you have a new pet, be sure to be very loving and friendly with them. Smoke alarms and firecrackers can also frighten dogs.

A major change in the household might also cause lethargy. For example, if a loved one does not return, your dog may become depressed and lethargic.

With that said, simply reorganizing a room should not cause lethargy in your dog. If your dog does start to act out of character after a small change, it is best for you to consult with your vet.

A reaction to medication can also bring upon lethargy. Animals can’t articulate that they’re experiencing negative side effects to a new medication. If your dog appears to become lethargic after starting a new medication, call your vet immediately.


A dog may experience lethargy if they are eating low-quality food that doesn’t give them the nutrients that they need to thrive. It has been scientifically proven that what your dog eats can affect their mood.

If you are concerned about what your dog is eating, you should definitely consider feeding them organic food.

Your dog might also just not be eating enough food. If you aren’t sure if your dog is being properly nourished, speak to your vet. They can recommend to you how much your dog should be eating and what kind of food is best for them.

Older Dogs

Older Dogs

As much as you may not want it, your dog will most likely become less active as it gets older. As dogs age, they tend to experience decreased energy, appetite, and excitement. They may even develop arthritis.

Older dogs require special care that younger pups don’t need. Speak to your vet so that you can best help your pet as they transition into old age.

When to Go to the Vet

When to Go to the Vet

If you fear that the wellbeing of your lethargic dog may be jeopardized, then the best thing that you can do for them is to take them to the vet. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

If their lethargy doesn’t seem to be affecting them that badly, and they are not experiencing any other symptoms, then you may be alright to wait it out for a day or two and see how things progress.

Keep a close eye on your dog to see if their lethargic state gets better, worse, or remains the same.

And if your dog should happen to be showing any other symptoms of illness then you should seek out your vet immediately.

Caring for Your Dog

Nobody knows your dog better than you. You are the first line of defense when it comes to helping your apathetic dog.

And remember, there is always something you can do to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

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