What Is Lethargy In Dogs?

Your pup may suddenly act lazy and eat less. It can be due to lethargy. If your canine is lethargic, there are various reasons behind it. Therefore, knowing the difference between lethargy and simple laziness is necessary to keep your pup healthy.

Your furry friend may be less interested in playing and give a slow reaction if it is feeling lethargic. Many factors can influence or trigger lethargy in dogs, ranging from anxiety, fear, and underlying medical problems, such as infections or cancer.

Learning more about the signs and symptoms of lethargy in dogs can help identify if your furry friend feels less than its best. In this blog post, we’ll cover the causes of lethargy in dogs and what you can do to help your pup feel better.

What Is Lethargy In Dogs?

Image from Instagram:@master.henry.lowe

Lethargy is when your dog’s energy and activity levels become lower than normal. Lethargic dogs may be less inclined to participate in activities they normally enjoy, such as playing or going on walks. 

Your furry friend may also be less responsive to your calls, have difficulty getting up and moving around, or be more prone to sleeping long hours.

Causes Of Lethargy In Dogs

There are many potential causes of lethargy in dogs. Some common causes of lethargy in dogs include:

Stress And Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can cause your pup to be less active and have lower energy levels. If you notice behavioral changes in your dog, like decreased appetite or sleeping more than usual, they could be signs of underlying anxiety.

Pain And Injury

If your pup has been injured or is in pain, it can cause lethargy. This can include anything from a simple muscle strain to more serious medical conditions like infections or cancer.

Medications And Drugs

Certain medications and drugs may have side effects that lead to lethargy in your pup. Make sure to consult your vet before giving any medications or drugs to your pup.


As dogs get older, their energy levels tend to decrease. If you notice that your senior pup is more lethargic than usual, it can be a sign of a medical condition like arthritis or another age-related issue.


If your furry friend isn’t getting the right nutrition, it can lead to lethargy. Make sure your pup is eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise.

Heat Stroke Or Exhaustion

If your pup is exposed to too much heat or humidity for an extended period, it can lead to lethargy. Make sure your canine is getting plenty of water and shade when playing outside in hot temperatures.

These are just a few of the causes behind your furry friend being lethargic. Lethargy can also be a symptom of a major disease. So, let’s know when to be worried about your lethargic pup.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Lethargic?

Image from Instagram:@worldofwalterc

Yes, you should be worried if your dog is lethargic, but it depends on what’s causing it. Lethargy in dogs can be caused by various medical conditions, from minor issues to more serious illnesses.

Why Does My Dog Suddenly Seem Lethargic?

Sometimes, if your dog is lethargic, it could be due to a medical issue. If your pup suddenly seems fatigued and isn’t acting like its usual self, it’s worth taking your canine to the vet to rule out any health issues.

Why Is My Dog Lethargic?

When trying to figure out why your pup feels lethargic, it’s important to look at its overall lifestyle and environment. Things, such as diet, exercise routine, stress levels, and even changes in their surroundings, can all affect how your canine feels.

Do Dogs Get Lethargic When Sick?

It’s not uncommon for dogs to be lethargic when they are sick. If you suspect your pup has an illness, it’s important to take them to the vet for a checkup and proper diagnosis. Some common illnesses that can cause lethargy in dogs may include: 

  • Infections
  • Parasites
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid issues

It’s also important to note that some medications can cause lethargy. If your pup is on any medication, it may be worth speaking to your vet about the possible side effects and if lethargy is one of them.

Once you’re sure your canine is experiencing lethargy, it’s better to know what to do next to keep your pup happy and healthy.

What Can I Do If My Dog Is Lethargic?

If your pup shows lethargic signs, it’s important to figure out the cause and address it as soon as possible. While many cases are due to minor issues that can be easily resolved, if your pup is persistently lethargic, it can signify something more serious.

Here are some potential steps you can take if your dog is showing signs of lethargy:

Take Note Of Symptoms

Image from Bully Beds

Take a moment to note all the symptoms your pup is exhibiting. Is your canine sleeping a lot more than usual? Does your pup have a hard time getting up and moving around? Is your pup eating less or not at all? Make sure to take note of any behaviors that seem unusual.

Have Your Dog Checked

After you’ve noted the symptoms, it’s important to have your pup checked out by a vet. The vet can determine if there’s an underlying medical problem causing the lethargy. Regular checkups are important to ensure that any other symptoms or illnesses don’t go unnoticed and untreated.

Promote Exercise

Regular exercise can be an effective way to help your pup get back on its usual behavior. Encourage activities like going for walks and playing fetch. This helps keep your pup active and can help them regain strength and energy. 

Offer Healthy, Balanced Meals

A healthy, balanced diet is also important for keeping your pup’s energy levels up (and their overall health!). Ensure your pup gets enough food and nutrients to keep them going throughout the day. 

Keep An Eye Out

Even after your pup has returned to its routine, it’s important to watch out for other signs of lethargy. If you start noticing any unusual behaviors or the lethargy persists, it’s best to take your pup back for a checkup.

Following these steps can help ensure that your pup feels its best and that any underlying medical issues are addressed quickly and effectively.

Should I Call The Vet If My Dog Is Lethargic?

It’s important to consult a vet if your pup is displaying signs of lethargy. Several underlying medical issues can cause lethargy, so it’s best to check your pup out as soon as possible. A vet can diagnose the cause of the lethargy and determine the best course of action. 

Can Dogs Recover From Lethargy?

Image from Instagram:@l__m19

Yes, dogs can recover from lethargy. Depending on the cause of the lethargy, recovery times may vary. For example, if your pup is suffering from an infection or virus, it could take longer to bounce back than if they just need a little rest and relaxation.

In any case, it’s important to consult your vet and follow their advice for the best chances of recovery.

Also, tiredness can sometimes be taken as lethargy, so it’s essential to know the difference between lethargy and simple tiredness in your furry friend.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Lethargy And Tiredness In Dogs?

Lethargy can be a sign of underlying health issues and should be monitored closely, while tiredness is usually linked to physical activity like exercise or playing.

When it comes to our furry friends, it can be hard to tell when they’re feeling lethargic or just plain tired. Here are some tips that may help you distinguish between the two:

Behavioral Change

Lethargy can cause a noticeable change in your pup’s behavior, such as sleeping more than usual or being less active. If you notice these changes, it may be time to schedule a visit with your vet. 


Dogs who feel lethargic will often lose their appetite for food and treats, whereas tired dogs eat just as much as usual. 

Energy Level

Lethargic dogs will be less responsive and have difficulty getting motivated to do anything, whereas tired dogs still retain their enthusiasm for playing and interacting with people. 

Overall Health

Tiredness can easily be resolved by giving your pup some rest, while lethargy should be investigated further to determine the cause. A trip to the vet can help pinpoint any underlying issues causing your pup’s lethargy and provide you with the best course of action for getting your furry friend back to normal.

By being aware of these key differences between lethargy and tiredness, you can better determine how to help your pup feel its best.

What Are The Signs Of Lethargy In Dogs?

Image from Instagram:@kir_oiregrev

A lethargic dog may be exhibiting any of the following signs

  • Reduced activity level and energy levels
  • Loss of interest in playing, running, or going on walks 
  • Changes in appetite (more or less) 
  • Changes in sleeping pattern (sleeping more or less than usual) 
  • Listlessness and lack of interest in their normal activities 
  • General unresponsiveness to stimuli or commands 

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to assess whether they are part of your pup’s usual behavior or out of character. If it is out of character, it is best to take them to the vet as soon as possible. 

At What Age Do Dogs Become Lethargic?

Dogs of any age can become lethargic, although young puppies are most vulnerable to the condition. You must contact your vet immediately if you notice changes in your pup’s behavior that could indicate lethargy.

Older dogs can also suffer from chronic illnesses, which may contribute to lethargy, so if you see any signs of a change in behavior in an older dog, contacting your vet is a good idea.

Thus, it can be difficult to determine the difference between lethargy and tiredness in dogs, but there are some signs you should look out for. Lethargy is a serious condition that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian, whereas tiredness is simply the result of physical activity or mental stimulation.

Now that you’re aware of the causes and signs of lethargy in dogs, it’s better to know how to treat it.

What Can I Give My Dog For Lethargy?

Various treatments can help boost your pup’s energy levels and bring them back to their usual playful selves. Here are some options to consider:


If your dog’s lethargy is due to an underlying health issue, it may be necessary to use specific medications prescribed by your veterinarian. These can range from antibiotics for infections to glucocorticoids for inflammation or immune system suppression.

Natural Supplements

There are also natural dietary supplements available that may help improve the energy levels in your pup. Examples include omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin B complex, all of which offer energy-boosting benefits. 

Proper Diet

Image from Pet Plate

A healthy diet can also help bring energy levels back up, as a balanced and nutrient-rich diet provides the necessary nutrients and vitamins for proper functioning. Speak with your veterinarian to ensure you’re feeding your pup the right food, including protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, fish, and eggs


It’s important to ensure your pup stays hydrated, as dehydration can lead to lethargy. Provide clean and fresh water for your dog at all times, and if needed, try adding a bit of chicken broth or low-sodium vegetable juice to their water bowl for some extra flavor

These simple steps can help get your pup’s energy levels back up in no time. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian for further advice and guidance. Now, let’s explore some of the best food options to add to the daily diet of your lethargic pup.

What Can I Feed My Lethargic Dog?

It’s important to ensure your pup gets the proper nutrition and vitamins they need to maintain energy levels. Here are some ideas you can try: 

Protein-Rich Foods

Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef are great sources of protein that can help provide the energy your pup needs to stay active. You can also add eggs or fish packed with healthy fats for a nutrient-rich meal. 

Fruits And Vegetables

Adding fruits and vegetables to your pup’s diet can offer further energy-boosting benefits. Try making homemade dog food, adding fruits like apples and carrots or vegetables, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

Healthy Oils

Healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, or flaxseed oil can also help provide the necessary fats for proper functioning. Make sure to speak with your veterinarian before introducing new oils to your pup’s diet.

Shredded Chicken

If your lethargic pup is feeling lethargic, then giving them some shredded chicken could be just what they need to get back on their feet. This delicious treat is easy on upset stomachs and can act as a great incentive for dogs who may have lost their appetite.


Image from Instagram:@mr.harvey.boi

In addition to giving your dog shredded chicken, you can give them a bit of pumpkin to help digestion. Pumpkin is high in fiber and helps keep your pup’s stomach regular. 

It’s best to buy a canned pumpkin with no added sugars or spices. You can mix the pumpkin with the chicken for an extra-nutritious meal. 

Chicken And Rice

Another great option when it comes to feeding your lethargic dog is chicken and rice. This combination provides a complete balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, which will help give your pup energy.

Bone Broth

Lastly, bone broth is a great way to give your pup some extra nutrients and hydration. Bone broth contains minerals and vitamins that help keep them healthy and energized. It’s best to make the bone broth yourself, as many store-bought versions contain many added ingredients. You can also mix some shredded chicken and rice for an extra nutritious meal.

By ensuring your pup gets all the nutrients they need from a healthy diet, you can help bring their energy levels back up in no time. Speak with your veterinarian to ensure you’re feeding your pup the best diet.

Avatar photo
Pete Decker