Causes & Treatments of Dog Lethargy

Dog lethargy can mean that he's unwell. Pay close attention to the way your dog acts, looks, drinks and eats and take him to the vet if something doesn't seem fine.

Dogs are generally energetic, playful, and full of curiosity. Interestingly, their energy levels can fluctuate depending on a number of things, such as health and fitness levels, diet, and the level of stimulation they get from you. If you have just recently noticed a change in the energy level of your dog, this could be something serious, especially if he appears sleepy and tired all the time.

Lethargy is often a symptom that no dog owner should ignore. A lethargic dog quietly tells you that something is just not right. Careful observation is required in this case, and an experienced vet will consider other symptoms as well to pinpoint the real issue.

Why Is My Dog Lethargic? How Can It Be Treated?

Dog lethargy is a common issue and it manifests physically and emotionally as well. The dog shows little or no interest in things happening around him, and there is always a noticeable delay in response to external stimuli such as touch, sound, sight, or smell. When you arrive at home, do you find your dog sleeping or showing no interest or excitement for you being home? Do you find it difficult to make your dog eat at mealtime? Have he missed his mealtime for a couple of days? These are all signs of a lethargic dog that is facing certain physical or emotional issues. You have to find the root cause to make him active once again.

A number of possible health reasons can make a dog lethargic. Some are physical, such as old age, injuries, hormonal imbalance, bloat, etc., while others are mental, including depression, boredom, and stress. Here are some of the possible reasons why your dog is lethargic and how you can treat the illness.

Possible Causes




Lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain

Regular supportive care with anti-nausea medications, antibiotics, and plenty of fluids


Lethargy, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, andcoughing

Antibiotics, fluids, and anticonvulsants

Kennel cough

(A contagious respiratory disease)

Lethargy with dry honking cough

Cough suppressants, bronchodilators and other antibiotics

Heartworm disease transmitted by mosquito bites

Lethargy, fever, depression and weakness

Injections  and complete cage rest for a few weeks

Heart disease

Lethargy and reduced tolerance forexercise, rapid breathing,and loss of appetite

ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and strict diet

Liver disease

lethargy, loss of appetite, depression, jaundice, and abdominal bloating

Diet changes with medications or surgery

Diabetes mellitus

Lethargy, weight loss, excessive thirst, and changes in appetite

Insulinin jections with diet adjustments


Weakness and seizures

Oral intake of corn syrup or intravenousglucose

Medication use

Lethargy after being exposed to human medications like ibuprofen, or after using a new drug for dog flea or heartworm

Call your vet immediately

In addition, some other issues can lead to lethargy in dogs, including trauma, tumor, snake bite, pain, anemia, hormonal problems, food poisoning and so on. As you can see that a lethargic dog may have something terribly wrong, so give your vet a call the moment you notice lethargy and other symptoms.

What to Do If My Dog Is Lethargic?

Dog lethargy is a surefire sign that your dog needs your help. Don't ignore it. Look for other behavioral abnormalities and check other symptoms to pinpoint the cause for his condition. If your dog doesn't feel normal after 24 hours, you may consider seeking medical help. The vet may take certain tests including a blood count test, a urinalysis, a biochemical profile, x-rays, and a fecal exam. Sometimes advanced testing is required, and that's when you may have to take your dog for MRI, biopsy, cardiac ultrasound, behavioral assessment, and CT scan.

Other Warning Signs That Your Dog Needs Immediate Treatment

Your dog is your best friend and is often more like a family member. Unfortunately, your dog cannot tell you explicitly when he needs medical assistance. It is hard for an average Joe to tell if a sneeze required an antibiotic or a sprain is the cause of that limp. If you have a lethargic dog who shows the following signs, waste no time to take him to the vet.

1.       Abnormal Eating Habits

Have your dog recently started turning up her nose at food? It's time to talk to your vet. Sometimes, your dog develops eating habits that are downright out of the ordinary for him. If your dog who has never stolen food before is now raiding the garbage for more food, he needs immediate medical attention.

2.       Excessive Thirst

If your dog has suddenly become thirsty like a fish, this may well be a sign of a kidney disease. This also happens in diabetes, so never overlook your dog's excessive water consumption and take him to the vet immediately.

3.       Rough or Dull Coat

A healthy dog will have a thick and shiny coat. A rough, dry coat with bald patches is never a good thing. It could be due to a flea allergy or another skin related problem, which may also be making your dog lethargic and tired.

4.       Tired and Inactive

Lethargy itself is not a health condition, but it tells you that something else needs attention. If your dog seems uninterested in playing, exercising, walking, and participating in other activities with enthusiasm, you may want to discuss these issues with a vet as soon as possible.

5.       Vomiting

Occasional vomiting is okay, but if your dog does it frequently, you should take him to the vet. Don't waste time if he vomits blood and has a fever as well.

6.       Unusual-Looking Stool

You may have to go on poop patrol. Don't mind it; this will tell you a lot about your dog's health. Dry, hard stools are usually a sign of dehydration and dietary problems. Similarly, stool shapes may tell you about the presence of worms.

In addition to these, you should call the vet if you notice rapid weight loss, red or cloudy eyes, and scooting rear. Remember, your dog may look healthy from its appearance, but you have to look for these abovementioned signs to help him live a healthy and active life. 


Causes & Treatments of Dog Lethargy

Dog lethargy can mean that he's unwell. Pay close attention to the way your dog acts, looks, drinks and eats and take him to the vet if something doesn't seem fine.

Current time: 07/04/2022 11:01:16 pm (America/New_York) Memory usage: 1564.43KB