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Why Is My Dog Acting Lethargic?

Lazy dog

Just like humans, dogs have different personalities, and some are more active than others. Perhaps your dog has always been lazy, or maybe your once-energetic pup is slowing down and seems to be getting lazy.  

It may seem like a good thing when your dog stays quiet all day and you don’t have to spend time and effort exercising with them. Lazy dogs are easy, unworried, and peaceful pets, and they make wonderful companions for anyone with a similarly laidback approach to life. However, if your dog is slowing down, acting tired, or refusing to play like they used to, chances are they’re not simply being lazy. 

So, why is your dog acting lazy? 

Table of contents 

Is a lazy dog normal? 

It’s normal for some dogs to slow down a bit after heavy activity or in their later years of life. As previously mentioned, some dogs are also simply lower energy than others by nature.  

However, pets who act lethargic or show signs of exercise intolerance may have a serious underlying issue. Prolonged tiredness should not be ignored. Exercise intolerance is only one red flag for some major health concerns. It is important to determine the reason for your dog’s laziness to rule out any serious issues. 

Possible causes of lethargy in dogs 

There are many reasons why your dog may be acting lazy and lethargic, including: 

  1. Breed – Your dog’s energy levels depend on what your dog was traditionally bred for. Some breeds, like Great Danes, English bulldogs, Saint Bernards, and Pugs have always been companion animals and lap dogs. These dogs tend to prefer long days on the couch, while working dogs like Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs are happiest while running around.  
  2. Age – Dogs, just like humans, often slow down as they age, and it is common for senior dogs to not have nearly as much energy as they did when they were puppies. Older dogs are also more likely to experience joint discomfort, which makes physical activity difficult and unpleasant. If your dog is getting older, they may not be lazy—they may have joint discomfort. 
  3. Infection or illness – Some infections caused by parasites, bacteria, and viruses can cause your dog to feel more lethargic than usual. This is also true for illnesses like cancer.  
  4. Heart or liver problems – Lethargy is a common symptom of both heart and liver issues in dogs. Exercise intolerance in combination with other symptoms—such as a lack of appetite, coughing, or fainting—could also be a sign of pulmonary hypertension or other cardiovascular disease. 
  5. Diabetes – A diabetic animal will often be more tired than usual and show an unwillingness to participate in some of its regular activities. Diabetes can cause weakness in certain muscles, and since they may also suffer from malnutrition, they will likely spend more time sleeping and less time being active. 
  6. Hypothyroidism – When a dog’s body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, it is very common for them to exhibit lack of energy as well as weight gain without appetite change, which can compound to significantly impact your dog’s health. 
  7. Medication – A broad range of medications for dogs can make your pet lethargic or weak. If you notice weakness after starting a new drug or using a new flea or heartworm product, call your veterinarian immediately. 
  8. Poisoning – If your dog has ingested something toxic like pest control or household cleaning products, lethargy may be one of the symptoms they experience. Poisoning can be fatal for your dog, so seek veterinary care as soon as possible if you suspect your dog has eaten anything toxic. 
  9. Injury, trauma, or joint issues – As your dog’s joint cartilage wears down due to age, injury, or an underlying issue, their bones start rubbing together. Your dog may stop playing with their favorite toys and hesitate before doing everyday tasks like hopping into the car. As joint cartilage deteriorates, worsening inflammation can cause discomfort and decreased mobility.  

Symptoms of a lazy dog 

It’s usually fairly easy to tell if your dog is acting sluggish. Excessive sleep, low energy, lack of excitement, and delayed responses are all overt signs of a lethargic dog

Exercise intolerance can be harder to spot, especially if you don’t walk or play with your dog regularly. In milder cases, your dog may simply not want to walk as far or play as much as normal. 

Coughing, heavy panting, or labored breathing following physical activity might also signal exercise intolerance. Extreme cases might involve confusion, disorientation, a lapse in toilet training, a rise in body temperature, wobbliness and even collapse. 

How you can help your low energy dog stay healthy 

No matter the reason for your dog’s laziness, limited physical activity is not good for their health. If you have a lazy dog, there are some things you should prioritize to keep their weight in check and move their bodies to keep their heart and joints healthy. 

The most important thing you can do is ensure that your dog gets plenty of regular exercise. The traditional walk is a great place to start, but trips to the dog park, the beach, or even hiking in the wilderness are also helpful to keep your dog’s body moving. 

Your lazy dog is probably out of shape and can’t physically keep up with a long run or strenuous hike. Be sure to ease your dog into a regular exercise routine with gentle exercise like quick walks around the block, swimming, or short play sessions in the backyard so they don’t overexert themselves. 

The right diet is also crucial. The calorie intake of a dog that is happy spending most of its day lounging will most likely be quite different to that of a working dog or a pup who accompanies its owner for a five-mile run every morning. Ask your veterinarian for dietary guidance and a high-quality food recommendation as well as caloric guidance based on activity level and breed. 

How can ElleVet CBD help dogs with joint discomfort? 

ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA is a safe and effective option for addressing joint discomfort in dogs by working to improve discomfort and reduce inflammation. CBD can provide much needed relief for dogs who have stopped doing their normal activities—and appear lazy—due to joint discomfort. In helping your dog address mobility issues and be more comfortable, ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA can lead to improved overall well-being!  

As always, consult your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of joint discomfort. For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD can help your dog have the best quality of life possible with less discomfort, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]).  We are here to help. 

Bottom line on lazy dogs 

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to be easy-going, low-maintenance pets. However, if your dog suddenly loses energy, there’s a chance that they are experiencing discomfort or have an underlying health issue. It is important to take note of any changes in your dog’s energy. If you do have a low energy dog who loves to snooze on the couch all day, it is still important to feed them high-quality food, keep their weight in check and give them daily exercise (at their particular level) to keep their heart and joints healthy.