Tired Dog: Common Signs and Symptoms to Recognize

Tired Dog: Common Signs and Symptoms to Recognize

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 02.12.2021

Why is my Dog Tired?

Are you sensing that your furry friend is a little off lately? Are they being extra lazy? This would totally make sense if you just finished playing fetch at the dog park or just came in from a hot summer walk around the neighborhood. When your four-legged pooch seems more tired than usual, doing their daily routine, it may be time to take note. 

At the end of the day, you know your puppers best! When anything seems out of funk about your doggo, you’re sure the first to see it. While it can be very normal for your pup to nap for most of the workday, a decrease in their overall energy levels, especially during activities they usually enjoy, can be a clear indicator of something else going on under the surface. 



Are you trying to pinpoint the cause of their excessive tiredness? Well, you’re in the right place because today we’ll be talking about the common signs and symptoms of excessive lethargy and how you can help your furry friend in the best ways possible. Acknowledging and recognizing signs of health concerns are best if caught early. So if you suspect that your furry canine is acting “weird”, take a visit to the veterinarian sooner than later. 

What is Tiredness in Canines?

As soon as you say the words ‘outside’ or ‘walk’ or ‘dinner time’ your pup comes rushing into the room like there’s something chasing them. If you don’t see your dog beaming with excitement when dinner time approaches or it’s time to go outside, it’s time to recognize if and what’s going on. Tiredness, or lethargy, can be easy to identify. For instance, your four-legged friend may display the following signs and symptoms:

  • Low vitality
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of interest in exciting activities
  • Staggered
  • Slow movements
  • Dopiness
  • General apathy for something

Lethargy is often a common symptom that can be a sign of numerous health concerns, conditions, or diseases. So when fido isn’t as excited to exercise or head to the dog park, how do you (as a paw parent) figure out what’s the issue?

A smart approach would be to take note of their symptoms and talk to your vet about what you’re seeing and sensing. 

Any slow advancements of symptoms, for instance, maybe a sign of disease that is worsening over time. If your pup is minorly disinterested in their daily activities and this continues to get worse, it may be time for an immediate visit to the vet. 

Here are some of the most common health problems in dogs were tiredness and lethargy are signs for concern:

1. Dehydration

Your pup may just need some more quality H2O. During a busy work-from-home day, you may forget to fill up their water bowl, and it’s okay! Ensure that your dog has fresh water both inside and outside your place. If your four-legged friend seems tired while there’s a heatwave out or after a good game of fetch, giving them fresh water may be all they need to getting back to their normal selves. 



2. Pain or Discomfort

It’s completely and utterly normal if your pup slows down due to distress, discomfort, or pain. Doggos who are experiencing soreness or pain may become more lethargic than usual. Be sure to monitor any other signs of discomfort, such as reduced mobility, licking, scratching, lack of appetite, inflammation, or gnawing. The pain they may be displaying could be due to internal issues or physical traumas. 

3. Potential Poisoning

There are tons of tons of potential toxins and human foods that can be extremely poisonous to dogs. Even you knowing this, won’t stop your pup from constantly trying to eat and drink and bite everything in their way. From the couch throw pillow to the corner of your bed frame, your pup may not have many standards for their insatiable appetite. 

The list of items that may cause toxicity in your canine or feline is a whole slew of a laundry list. The most commonly seen signs of toxicity can include loss of appetite, decreased respiration, agitation, tremors, seizures, or blood in vomit or stool. 

4. Diet

If your pup doesn’t have the best diet, their energy levels may be affected. Your pup needs a range of vitamins and nutrients in each and every one of its meals. Good dog fuel equates to good dog energy. Getting amino acids from carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and of course water, are necessary for your dog’s physical and mental needs. 

Choose a brand of dog food that is free of GMOs and non-nutritious fillers or additives. Depending on the breed of your dog, they may have different energy needs in various life stages. We encourage talking to your vet about diet recommendations that fit your dog’s personalized needs. 



5. Infections

As we briefly mentioned earlier, lethargy and tiredness can be a telltale sign of various infectious health concerns including:

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper 
  • Parasitic, fungal, or flea infestations
  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel Cough

    6. Obesity and Being Overweight

    An obese canine is at a higher risk for developing metabolic complications and problems that can affect their cardiac and respiratory structure, resulting in potential heart or lung issues. 

    Other metabolic concerns that may be around the corner if your dog is obese can include hypertension, liver or kidney issues, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, and diabetes. Obesity is completely preventable, so as a paw parent, it’s not too late to help get your dog into better shape and onto a healthy and suitable weight. 

    Obesity can a whole slew of potential causes, with most of them being in your control. These may include:

    • Lack of exercise
    • Overeating
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Behavioral changes

    7. New Medications

    You never know what may happen when you start your pup on a new medication. Introducing a new medication to your dog can be stressful, for both you and your pet. Be sure to monitor them closely, as they may display or experience adverse effects from the new medication(s). Please please please avoid giving your doggo any human medications, as these can be extremely harmful and toxic to them. 

    8. Depression or Anxiety

    Just like us humans, our furry pets can become depressed or ridden with anxiety too. Your pup can experience highs and lows throughout their lifetime too, with occasional dips in their mental well-being and health. 

    Tiredness, lack of physical activity, and antisocial behaviors in dogs can typically mean that their not in the best place mentally. Depression in your pup may manifest if there has been a recent household move, loss of a loved human or furry friend, a plus one to the family, or even general separation anxiety when you leave the house. 

    When Should You Visit the Vet?

    Regardless of your dog’s age, size, weight, or well-being, a tired dog is not the best sign. Once you’ve taken note and realize that your pup’s condition or behavior isn’t quite their “normal”, it may be time to call your vet for an appointment ASAP. 



    Your vet most likely will perform a physical examination and possibly order some diagnostic testing and blood work to rule out any potential diseases, conditions, or concerns. Follow your vet’s recommendations to the T, as these recommendations may help boost your pups’s life physically and mentally. 

    Prevention is the Best Medicine

    Disease prevention in dogs is possible with routine vaccinations, a well-balanced diet, and daily physical and mental activity. 

    Puppies can be extremely vulnerable to contagious illnesses and diseases, being so young. Just knowing that your pup has had their shots should have you feeling more at ease, knowing you’ve done all you could in their young years. 

    Deworming, for example, is a great way to keep your pet in a preventative state from developing worms. In addition, controlling for flea infestations and getting them their annual checkup exam will keep your four-legged friend happy and potentially itch and scratch-free. 



    Lethargic Dogs: Final Thoughts

    When all is said and done, your want your four-legged best friend to be in top-notch shape and mood at all times. You’d do anything and everything in your power to ensure that fido is living their best life. 

    The reasons for their lethargy and excessive tiredness are vast and trying to pinpoint the exact cause may be even tiring for you. Internet searching, asking your vet questions, and monitoring your dog’s behaviors can be stressful and exhausting. 



    Keeping your dog’s annual vet checkups are crucial for any age or stage of their precious life. If you are concerned about your dog’s increased lethargy, we recommend taking him/her to their vet for a visit. 

    Kinda like the saying, “better to be safe than sorry” - applies here. If you have the chance to make sure your fido is good, great, and getting better, you’d take it in a heartbeat. 

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