If you have a dog that is normally high energy who is suddenly being lethargic, you might be wondering if you should be worried. Not every dog is naturally highly energetic but even dogs that are naturally fairly laid back should not be lethargic or seem like they just don’t have any energy at all. It can be hard to tell if you should be worried about dog lethargy in pet or not.
Lethargy or exhaustion in your dog can sometimes be a sign of something minor but it can also be a symptom of bigger problems that require a visit to your vet. This is especially true if your dog is young or is usually very high energy and is suddenly not at all enthusiastic about anything that they usually love to do. Lethargy can be a symptom of some very serious health concerns and you should not wait too many days to take your dog to the vet if they just don’t seem like their energetic self.
Is My Dog Just Tired?
If you have been taking your dog out for a lot of walks or you go running with your pets, they could be lethargic just because they are tired. Most dogs will sleep about 10 hours a day, and it is not uncommon for your dog to be quite willing to sleep for a few hours after playing hard.
The difference between normal tiredness and lethargy is often visible in your dog’s attitude. If you cannot convince your dog to get up after they have laid down, or they seem like they are in pain or discomfort, these might be signs of a serious problem. If your dog does get up but they are moving very slowly or stumbling, this could also be a sign of a serious condition that requires a visit to the veterinarian.
In most cases, tired dogs will perk right up and come with you if you call them over. You should be worried anytime that you call your dog or offer them food and they are not willing to get up. Even if they laid down like normal and seemed fine earlier, a lack of interest in food or love can be a sign of something that is seriously wrong.
Is Your Dog Showing Other Symptoms?
If your dog seems like they are sluggish and not feeling well, you should start looking for other symptoms. Lethargy often accompanies other symptoms that can help you decide if they need to see a vet or not. Simply showing signs of low energy might not be reason enough to head to the vet, but if you see these other symptoms as well, it might be wise to take your pet to see the vet.
- Excessive thirst which can point toward kidney issues or a fever
- Fever of 103 degrees or higher
- Dry nose and dry skin
- Hot pads on the feet
- Excessive panting
- Whining or pacing
- Lack of appetite
- Being grumpy about being touched
- Stiff or painful joints
All of these symptoms can indicate that something more serious is going on with your dog and should make you think about taking your dog to the vet. Some of these conditions are easy to treat while others will potentially require some testing and some time spent at the vet to confirm a diagnosis. Getting your pet the help it needs at the first signs of symptoms can help prevent long-term health issues related to its sudden lethargy.
Some Things to Consider
If your pet has not been fully vaccinated for distemper, kennel cough or leptospirosis, this could be why they are acting sluggish and like they do not feel good. Some other diseases that cause this symptom are kidney and liver problems, heart problems, or even diabetes. In puppies, sluggishness accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign of parvovirus, which is often deadly when not treated right away.
While it is not common, some dogs can also have this reaction to certain medications. Even flea and tick medications can cause your pet to act sleepy and tired and if they were just vaccinated, they might also be feeling a bit yucky and seeming a bit sluggish. Medications that your dog has been given by the vet might not necessitate a visit to the vet for this reaction, but if vomiting, shaking, or other serious symptoms show up, you should not hesitate to head back to the vet for help.
Tiredness is usually far different in appearance than the sluggishness that accompanies illness and you should trust your gut if you think that your dog is not acting like they are tired and is instead acting like they are sick.
Lethargy is Often Not a Sign of Tiredness
If your dog is acting lethargic, you should always keep a close eye on them and see if you can detect any other symptoms that might point to illness. If your pet seems otherwise normal in their behavior, you can wait a little bit to see if they get better or worse before you head to the vet. However, if your pet is showing other signs of illness like panting, a fever, or vomiting, you should head to the vet right away.
Particularly in puppies, lethargy can be a sign of some serious health conditions that might cause long term damage to your pet’s health. It is always better safe than sorry when you think that your pet might be seriously ill. Taking your dog to the vet right away when it starts to act sick is a much better plan than waiting too long to get your pet help.
About Birch Lake Animal Hospital
The staff at Birch Lake Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical care for our highly-valued patients and clients.