We can all feel a little tired, lazy and sluggish from time to time, which is extremely normal for us humans – and for our pups, too! Let's face it, we have all caught our pups rousing from an evening nap with a full stretch and large yawn, but can too much rest and regular napping be a sign that something is wrong with your dog? Well, the answer is yes!
Sometimes laziness can be a part of your pup’s personality, but when an energetic dog suddenly becomes lethargic, sluggish and drowsy, it could be a sign that your pooch is suffering; either health-wise or emotionally.
Before you begin to worry that there is something serious affecting your dog, it is important to remember that there are external factors that could be causing your pups idle behaviour. If you notice your pooch retreating for a ‘catnap’ while temperatures are extremely high or low, or after an extra-long walk, the reality is that your pup is probably just exhausted or trying to keep their bodies cool/warm.
But, if your once excitable pooch is now more likely to stay in their doggy bed instead of for a walk, or they're choosing to miss dinner, it’s time to look into what more could be going on…
There are many reasons your pup may be more tired than before, some serious and some that could be affected by an external factor that will change in a few weeks – regardless, it is important to find the cause of your pooches change in energy...
If your dog has started to avoid eating, playing with toys and walkies, it could all be due to an infection. Illness such as kennel cough, leptospirosis (a bacterial infection ), parvovirus and distemper are all infections that can result in your dog seeking more rest than they normally would, acting in a way that is very out of character for a healthy pooch. While their bodies are trying to fight the infection, their appetite and energy levels will deplete, leaving you with a very weak and sleepy pooch. Seeking medical advice will be needed to help your pup fight the infection and get better.
Your sleepy, lethargic dog could be flighting a silent disease that you may not be aware of. Similarly to an infection, this is a rather worrying thought and if you suspect this to be the case, seek advice from your vet as soon as you’re able. You see, difficulties such as heart problems, liver disease, diabetes, and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) could all be the cause of your pooches change in behaviour, leaving them to feel less energetic and vulnerable.
While your pooch is suffering from an ongoing illness, you may have to put them on a course of antibiotics or different types of medication that can cause lethargic behaviours. Worming and flea removal medicines can make your pup feel vulnerable, weak and sluggish, resulting in them curling up and resting a lot more than usual. The plus side to this? You have the confidence to know that this is only a temporary reaction to an external factor. Once your pup is no longer in need of the medication, they should return to their normal, happy, energetic self.
It is wise to know what is harmful to dogs before you add one to your life and family. There are many foods we have in our home that can affect and harm your pooch, causing them to fall ill and sick. We all know the dangers of chocolate (particularly dark), but did you know that avocado, onion, cherries, cocoa powder, apple pips, grapes, raisins,, coffee, xylitol (artificial sweetener), macadamia nuts and garlic are all extremely toxic to your pup, too? If they were to ingest these foods, the damage can be quite serious, or even fatal.
Along with drowsiness and weakness, if you notice your pooch drooling, vomiting and experiencing diarrhoea, seek veterinary assistance as soon as you’re able. The sooner they’re treated, the less life-changing damage will be made.
Our pups are vulnerable to mental health conditions, too. It may seem strange but your fluffy friend’s change of energy may be a sign of depression and a mental health issue. Many dogs start to struggle with depression following a major change; moving to a new environment, adjusting to a new family member – both fluffy or human - or coping with the loss of an owner or companion. Some will become depressed simply because they are bored and under-stimulated.
A less playful pup, who is happier to lay in their bed than go out for a walk, refuse food or ignore other dogs may be struggling with depression. Although this all sounds very serious and worrying, giving your pup some extra love, care and affection will help bring your pooch out of their sadness. Give it a week or two and your four-legged friend will be back to their normal, active self.
Just like us humans, your pooch will have different sleeping needs at different stages of life. As a puppy, they will need a lot of sleep to grow and function, which will decrease as they age. Then once they reach the later stages of life, their bodies will begin to become weaker and slow down, with many elderly dogs struggling with joint problems, such as arthritis .
Approximately 20% of all adult dogs will suffer from arthritis, with your pup having a 65% chance of developing the illness once they’re over the age of 7. With over half of all dogs over the age of 7 suffering from arthritis, it could be the reason for your pooch to start slowing down and appearing lazy.
If your dog is reaching the later stages of life, and you’ve noticed them start to slow down, it could be simply due to their age. It is worth having them checked by your vet, as lots of elderly pups are vulnerable to other illness and infections, which could be the cause of their change in behaviour, energy, and willingness to mobilise.
Due to the different causes of tiredness, you will need to find the specific reason your pup has become so weak and tired. Depending on what accompanies the change of energy and willingness to move and engage, seeking support from your vet is recommended. For example, if your pooch is also suffering from a high fever, breathing difficulties or vomiting, these could all be symptoms of something more sinister.
Although it is hard to stop your pooch falling ill and suffering from a disease, there are ways you can help avoid life-threatening illness through supplements and lifestyle. Look for a reputable pet brand that makes high-quality multivitamin supplements for dogs. Making sure your dog has the correct amount of vitamins and minerals each day can help support the overall health of your pup and in turn help improve their mobility, combat any deficiencies and improve the condition of both coat and skin.
Keeping your pup stimulated and active can help you avoid depression and boredom while managing toxic foods and making sure you keep your home safe and clean could help prevent poisoning and some infections. These simple changes can help you reduce the dangers to your pup's health, wellbeing, and happiness.
Changes in your dog's behaviour can be worrying for us puppy parents, especially if we're not 100% sure on the cause of the change. A healthy dog will not struggle to move or get out of bed, so when they show signs of laziness or lethargy it is normally a sign that something else is going on which might be a health concern.
The best advice is to make sure you keep your pup active - stimulate them every day and make sure if you notice a change in their behaviour that makes you think they're being lazy or sad, seek advice from your vet as soon as possible to eliminate the worry of illness or life-threatening diseases.