Lethargy in dogs can be a cause for concern as it can be a sign of an underlying health issue. From time to time you may feel tired and somewhat sluggish (lethargic), and that’s normal. For the average dog, they can sleep from 8-12 hours a day which gives their body time to recharge and get ready for the next adventure.

Lethargy: The quality or state of being drowsy and dull, listless and unenergetic, or indifferent and lazy; apathetic or sluggish inactivity. ~

But if you are finding that your dog is sleeping more than that it may be time to check with your veterinarian.

Below is a few common signs of lethargy in dogs that may help you understand what your dog may be going through and be able to fix the problem and get your furbaby back their usual pawsome self.

5 Common Signs of Lethargy in Dogs


If you find that your dog is abnormally quiet or distant then they maybe not be feeling 100% which could mean that they are ill.

First, do a thorough physical check of your dog to check for ticks.

From time to time your dog may just want to have a quiet day, and that’s ok. Like humans sometimes we are not in the mood. If you notice that your dog has been calm, distant or any other personality changes, then this would be time to check in with your veterinarian to find out the problem.


Having an injury can be the underlying cause of your dog’s lethargy. The injury could be something small like a bindi in their paw, or it could be something more serious.

  • Is your dog walking correctly?
  • Is your dog eating and drinking?

This would be the time to do a physical check on your dog. Run your hands over the skin and coat, check for the following;

  • Tenderness
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Swelling
  • lumps
  • Bites
  • Ticks
  • Nails
  • Paw pads
  • And anywhere you suspect


Your dog may not be sick or injured. Have you had any household changes lately such as new pet, baby or new home? Even the loss of a family pet, your dog will pick up on this and know that something has changed.

This is where you would ensure that you include your dog in as many activities as possible. Spend quality time and build that bond as strong as you possibly can.

Also related: 7 Tips for Improving your Bond with your Dog


Depending on the type of poison, the effects will be different. If you suspect poison do not delay and head straight to your vet immediately as poisoning can be fatal.

Also, if you know what poison your dog has ingested, be sure to take a sample or even a photograph for your vet to view and treat accordingly.


Having an adverse reaction to a drug is very common. Many side effects of medications can include lethargy, vomiting, etc.

It’s important to note if it’s expected as a result of the medication and in this case, your vet would have discussed the ‘what to expect.’ If you feel that it is an adverse reaction, then a call or visit to the vet would be advisable.

If you are at all concerned with your dog, don’t hesitate to the call the vet and get some advice.

Over to you: Has your dog every experienced lethargy?


Gina and Harley


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