What to Do If Your Dog Is Lethargic

It can be easy to overlook the fact that dogs need a lot of rest because, well, they’re always napping. But when you notice your dog taking more than their fair share of daytime snoozes, it’s time to take action. An overly-sleeping dog could have a medical problem that needs attention or could just be too cold or hot. Keep reading for our helpful guide on how to tell if you should see a vet and what you can do at home to get your pup back on their paws.

Lethargy is a common symptom of dog illness.

Lethargy is defined as a lack of energy, activity, or spirit. It’s a common symptom of many illnesses in dogs, including those that can be life-threatening. Lethargy will often be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or nausea.

If your dog is lethargic, take him/her to the vet immediately if he/she has any serious symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. If you cannot get your dog in right away (it’s someplace where they don’t take pets), try to contact your vet directly and ask them what you should do while waiting for an appointment time—some vets may be able to provide a prescription over the phone so that you can administer it at home until they see him/her next week or so!

Loss of Appetite

If your dog doesn’t have an appetite, it can mean one of a few things:

  • Your dog may be ill. The loss of appetite is actually one of the most common symptoms associated with illness in dogs. If your pup’s not feeling well and isn’t eating much, he could have something like the flu or food poisoning—or he might be suffering from some type of internal organ damage that affects his ability to eat.
  • Your dog may be in pain. If your dog has recently been injured or undergone surgery, then their lack of interest in food may simply be part of the healing process (which is why it’s important to watch them carefully after an injury). It could also be caused by another underlying issue such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.
  • Your dog may not be getting enough nutrients from his diet. When dogs don’t eat enough high-quality protein and fiber—and especially if they’re taking prescription medications that make them nauseous—their digestive system stops working properly and they begin losing weight rapidly over time until their body starts shutting down altogether due to malnutrition issues like dehydration due to stomach ulcers which prevent proper nutrient absorption through digestion processes where nutrients pass through into bloodstreams before entering cells where oxygen-rich blood flows through capillaries surrounded by fluid called lymphatic fluid;


If your dog is vomiting, it’s probably a sign of an underlying illness. Your vet can help determine the cause and make sure that your pup doesn’t have something serious going on. For example, vomiting could be caused by a bacterial infection or a virus like parvovirus or distemper.

Vomiting is one of the most common symptoms of illness in dogs; it’s not always dangerous and will resolve itself over time as long as you address any underlying causes with veterinary care.


Diarrhea is a common symptom of many diseases, and it can be very serious. At least one in four dogs will have diarrhea at some point in their lives. The most common cause of diarrhea is food allergies, which are less likely if your dog is on a high quality dog food or raw diet. Parasites such as giardia and coccidia are also common causes for diarrhea in puppies younger than eight weeks old as well as older dogs with compromised immune systems due to illness or stress. A bacterial infection could also lead to diarrhea—this should be treated with antibiotics from your vet!


It’s important to keep in mind that seizures are a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. If your dog has had one seizure, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will have another—but it is still important to take them seriously and call your vet.

The most common reason for seizures in dogs is epilepsy, but they can also be caused by other neurological problems such as infections or tumors. The good news is that most seizures aren’t harmful on their own; however if your dog has multiple seizures regularly for more than 30 minutes at a time, then you should definitely talk with your veterinarian about what treatment options are available for them.

If you notice any unusual behavior from your pet such as twitching limbs or vocalization during sleep that doesn’t seem normal (dogs usually don’t make noises while sleeping), then this could indicate an upcoming seizure episode. If this happens while they’re awake and alert without any obvious signs of pain or discomfort beforehand though chances are pretty good that everything’ll be fine afterwards too!

Wheezing or Coughing

Wheezing is another symptom of illness that can also be a sign of heart disease. If your dog is wheezing, it could be a sign of bronchitis, pneumonia or heart disease. Coughing is also a symptom to watch out for because it could indicate kennel cough—a highly contagious respiratory infection that’s caused by bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. The good news for people with dogs who have coughing fits: kennel cough is treatable!

If you notice your dog has been wheezing and/or coughing for multiple days in a row, get him or her checked out by the vet as soon as possible.

Inability to Walk Properly

Lethargy can be manifested in a variety of ways. If your dog is lethargic and doesn’t walk properly, he may be unable to stand or move at all. He may also not be able to roll over or get up, lie down, get off the floor, or even sit up.

If his front legs are affected by this lethargy, he might stagger when he walks or have trouble getting around on his own. Front-limb paralysis will result in using his back legs for balance as well as support; this can lead to an awkward gait that’s easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for.


Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think your dog is ill, don’t wait any longer to get them the medical attention they need. It’s important you pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and check for signs of lethargy as soon as possible. The sooner you do that, the better chances your dog will have at recovering quickly from any disease or injury.