Why is My Dog So Lethargic?

Does your dog feel unusually tired and weak? A lethargic dog would not be interested in daily activities, such as eating, going for a walk or playing.

If these signs persist, then it is time to see a vet to diagnose what’s wrong with your furry friend. First, check if your pet is really exhibiting signs of unusual lethargy.

Signs of Lethargy

If your dog is young, then remember that puppies need a lot of rest. Normally, they require around 15 to 20 hours of sleep every day while adult dogs need 12 to 14 hours of snooze time. However, if he continues to feel dull and lazy, there may be an underlying issue.

Some dog breeds surely sleep a lot, but would wake up as soon as they sniff their favorite food. A dog that is unable to respond to stimulus is definitely a cause for concern.

Moreover, a lethargic dog tends to lose his appetite and be uninterested in interacting with you. He may also avoid socializing with other dogs he may share his space with. Besides being tired, you may notice other troublesome symptoms such as breathlessness, shaking, diarrhea and restlessness.

Here are some of the reasons why your pet may be feeling out of sorts:

Causes of Lethargy

There may be several reasons why your dog’s energy level has plunged. He could be suffering from a physical or mental health issue, or simply have grown too old to be active. Here is an overview of what may be wrong with your pet.

1. Medical Conditions

There may be a range of health issues that your dog may suffer from. Some of the common ones include:

  • Anemia: Decrease in red blood cells and iron in the blood can lead to Anemia.
  • Parvovirus: This serious and contagious disease can cause vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia. If untreated, parvovirus can be fatal.
  • Heart disease: When a dog’s heart is unable to pump blood efficiently enough, it may indicate heart disease.
  • Liver problems: Being an essential organ, when the liver is unable to work properly, it may cause lethargy and other health issues.
  • Diabetes: Similar to diabetes in humans, a dog’s body may also be unable to produce enough insulin to utilize the glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. At a later stage, diabetes can also be a reason for lethargy.
  • Dog Flu: It can cause symptoms. such as coughing, sneezing, fever and lethargy. It is usually not fatal and you pet would probably be able to recover easily with supportive treatment.

Your pet cannot express his pain if he is suffering from any medical condition, making his lethargic behavior one of the obvious indications. Be careful to not give him any painkillers meant for humans, such as ibuprofen, as they would prove to be toxic for his body by causing issues such as blood abnormalities and even death.

2. Dehydration

Your dog may suffer from dehydration if he is not drinking enough water, especially during summer. Pinch his skin and check: if it doesn’t spring back at once, it is time to consult the vet.

Around 80% of a dog’s body consists of water, which facilitates several body functions such as digestion, blood circulation, lubricating joints, aiding digestion and removing bodily wastes. Dehydration occurs when a dog’s body loses more fluid than it absorbs.

Overexposure to hot weather can also cause excessive vomiting or diarrhea. He may also suffer from a heatstroke where his body temperature may soar to an abnormally high level, causing weakness.

3. Poor Nutrition

Nutritional deficiencies in dogs can be a result of an unbalanced diet. In order to ensure good health of your canine, make sure you give him food containing proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins.

Your dog’s physical appearance will also indicate if he is malnourished. If he is losing weight to the extent that his bones are visible, it may be because he is receiving poor diet. His fur coat may also turn patchy, rough irritated, flaky or red.

Dogs that do not receive a proper diet tend to become lazy and avoid physical activity such as walking, running or playing around. Moreover, gastrointestinal issues from poor nutrition include diarrhea, gas and pain while trying to defecate.

4. Depression

Like humans, dogs can also suffer from mental health issues such as depression. This is usually triggered by a major event such as loss of owner or companion, or an entry of another pet, baby or partner in the home.

Boredom may also cause depression, which may be the case if your dog does not get enough time to play outdoors, has an insufficient interaction with owners or lack of toys or distractions for him at home.

These issues may cause a chemical imbalance inside the brain. Veterinarians believe that depression can be hereditary in some dogs, just like it is in humans.

5.  Age

As a dog ages, his activity level is likely to lower due to painful conditions such as arthritis. Old age naturally leads to decreased appetite and lack of excitement.

When your pet is old, he may become overweight as he moves around les but receives the same amount of food. Age may make him vulnerable to health problems such as heart disease.

A dog’s mental agility may also decline due to old age, making them prone to cognitive dysfunction, which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Statistics prove that at about 50% of all dogs above the age of 10 are likely to develop at least one symptom of cognitive dysfunction.

How to Manage or Prevent Lethargy

A lethargic dog needs care and attention while keeping all other symptoms in mind.

  • Exercise: If your dog does not show any other concerning signs, he may be lethargic simply due to lack of exercise. Daily walk will help reduce the risk of problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Some dogs naturally require more activity, such as the Siberian Husky.
  • Healthy food: A rich, balanced diet will enable your dog to stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Affection: Make sure you spend enough time with your pet. If you have other dogs or pets in your house, make sure your dog gets to interact with them as they are naturally social animals.
  • Create a cozy space: Your dog may get stressed out if there is too much commotion in the house. Create a comfortable space such as a playpen or crate for your dog to feel safe in.
  • Visit the vet: If you are unsure how to make your pet feel better, visit the vet. A professional may be able to correctly diagnose the issue and guide you regarding your dog’s treatment.
  • Monitor behavior and appetite: Keeping the vet’s guidelines in mind, keep a close check on your dog’s diet and behavior. If his condition fails to improve, contact the vet again.

If you have a lethargic dog, make sure you check whether he has any other concerning symptoms or not. Dogs are social and intelligent animals that require plenty of love and care. So if you see you pet napping more than usual, give them your time and attention to figure out what’s wrong.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration:  puccicafe.com/adoptions