Lethargy in dogs is a rare trait, especially for certain breeds such as corgis, beagles, terriers, retrievers (golden/Labrador, etc.), and border collies to name just a few. Rare as the trait might be under natural, healthy circumstances, it is not uncommon to see lethargic dogs in modern-day apartments nowadays. This is particularly worrying if you have a puppy, but do not assume your dog’s age to be the cause either, if you happen to own a senior dog.
There are plenty of reasons why a dog might be acting lethargic, and most of them are not signs that you should ignore. Of course, there are a few less foreboding reasons that should be considered before jumping to conclusions. We are about to include them all in the coming paragraphs, so do read on if you want to find out more about what could be the cause behind your dog’s habitual, sudden, or gradual loss of energy.
Your Dog Belongs to a Low-Energy Breed
It may not seem possible to any dog owner who has never owned a chow chow or a bulldog before, but it is true that a few breeds really do lack energy. Unlike most other breeds, they are not known to be active in particularly long bouts of exercise due to their construction and loss of habit or size.
Do understand that even dogs from the laziest breed will enjoy and need daily activity to stay happy, healthy and fit. Also, this does not apply to any pet that has lost enthusiasm for exercise suddenly. If your dog is lazy by nature, it will be so from the beginning. If that is indeed the situation, your vet should tell you about it during their check-ups. Just to be sure, go through the well-established list of ten relatively less enthusiastic dog breeds we have for you below:
- Bulldogs and bulldog mixes (puggle, pugs, etc.) in general, with French bulldogs leading this one
- Basset hound
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Cocker spaniel
- Shiba Inu
- Shih Tzu
- Saint Bernard
There can be exceptions though, and for some of these breeds like the Newfoundland or the Basset Hound, it’s a sad truth that they have become relatively inactive now, rather than being so from the start. They live mostly inside enclosed, small apartments nowadays, which means that getting the exercise they would have in their originally intended lifestyle would be impossible for most of them.
Age and Obesity
Many dog owners find it surprising to know that dogs are not rated as seniors based only on their age. The weight and fitness level plays an even bigger role than the number of years they have lived in determining whether they can be or should be shifted to a senior dog’s special care program. Accumulating fat is bad for human beings, but the results are so much worse for dogs. Besides, if a dog has gained enough weight to keep them from enjoying even a short workout session, it means that their joints are already hurting due to arthritis.
As they keep gaining weight due to a complete lack of exercise, it will gradually lead to a very painful, sedentary, old age for the poor pet, unless the owner takes active steps to remedy the situation. Visit YuMove to know how verified, veterinary supplements can make a huge difference in the lives of dogs who have had to stop moving freely due to either age or obesity-induced joint problems. YuMove has more than just one supplement for senior and aging dogs, so check the page for information on which one would be the most suitable to help your dog get back into enjoying its happy, active life once again.
Your Dog is Injured or Bitten
Sudden disinterest in playtime and exercise is an assured sign that something is wrong, be it an injury or a disease. No dog can age in a day, and even aged dogs do not lose their interest in exercise completely and suddenly without due reason. It is common for dogs to get injured, and it’s also common for them to try and hide it, although that may not always be the case.
Bigger dogs often get injured due to their own bulk, while smaller breeds are known to receive their injuries after being slammed accidentally by an opening or closing door. Fights with another dog/cat/wild animal can also lead to minor/major injuries, but a venomous snake bite would likely be deadly, unless treated immediately at a properly equipped veterinarian clinic. Look for signs of injuries or bites such as:
- Limping or walking around with a lifted paw
- Visible wounds, gashes, scratches, twin puncture marks (snakebite) breaks, bruises, depressions, swelling, etc.
- Bleeding, fresh blood drops on the floor, or dried blood on fur
- Refusal to eat or partial loss of appetite
- Refusal or reluctance to leave their sleeping location
- Whimpering, shaking, especially at night
- Dazed, delayed responses (often caused by head trauma), vomiting/vomiting blood (can be a symptom of snakebite).
If you notice any of the signs mentioned, you should immediately take your pet to the vet. Even if you do not notice the signs, but your dog still seems unusually lethargic, it still means that something is wrong with them, and they need immediate medical attention.
Your Dog Caught Something
Dogs can catch a long list of dangerous viral, bacterial, fungal, and other parasitic diseases, unfortunately. Some of them do not even show up as a cause for concern since dogs do have strong immune systems, but others can be absolutely devastating for your dog’s wellbeing. Then, diseases such as canine distemper can kill dogs painfully with up to 100% mortality rate.
The good news is that immunization against CD is available, and it is more than likely that your vet has already administered it to your pets. CD is not likely to be the cause behind your pet’s sudden loss of energy, thankfully, but several other diseases are against which immunization is not possible yet. From blood poisoning and heart diseases to UTIs and respiratory infections, the number of diseases/conditions are far too many to be listed here. However, we have a small list of well-established symptoms that all dog owners should always treat as signs of emergency, if they happen to notice them in their lethargic dog:
- Fever, shaking, sneezing and coughing
- Difficulty to breathe, wheezing
- Refusal to eat and/or drink water
- Inability to urinate and/or defecate and whimpering while trying to urinate/defecate
- Complete refusal to move from their current position
- Uncharacteristic show of aggression (fierce barks, growls, baring teeth) on approaching them (delusions, trying to hide a painful spot)
- Black droppings, yellow gums, rapid weight loss and pale mucous membranes indicate severe anemia
- Loss of fur, missing fur patches, loss of coat shine, etc., indicates dermatological, parasitic infections.
If your pooch shows any of the signs mentioned above, take them to the vet without delay. Whatever the issue is, it can most likely be treated with timely intervention. On the other hand, Ignoring the problem will allow the disease/infection to grow beyond the scope of treatment.
Sometimes, you will not even notice any of these symptoms early, but you will only notice that lack of interest in exercise. Therefore, the biggest sign that your dog is injured, infected and/or diseased is the sudden onset of lethargy itself.