Is your dog sluggish? Are you getting concerned about him? If your dog is slowing down, acting exhausted, or refusing to play like it used to, it’s unlikely that they’re being lazy. Pets who seem lethargic or exhibit exercise intolerance signs may suffer from a significant underlying disease. It could be caused by a serious condition, such as heart disease. And it’s essential to pay attention to these indications if your dog appears lethargic or is less active than usual.
Lethargy is a common symptom in dogs, but how can you tell if it’s serious enough to need an emergency medical visit? Continue reading to learn why your dog may have activity intolerance and what you can do about it.
What Exactly is Lethargy?
Lethargy is referred to as extreme tiredness, but the two are not synonymous. A lethargic dog is uninterested in normal daily activities and is either incapable or unwilling to get out of bed on a constant basis. It may be weak and unable to move well or be stiff and in pain when moving.
A drowsy dog is unlikely to be interested in food, treats, or a favorite toy. It may observe the activities of the dog play zone but will not participate. Depending on the extent of the lethargy, he may be alert or only partially alert.
What are the Potential Causes of Lethargy?
It is normal for some dogs to slow down after a period of intense activity. For example, after a long day at dog friendly hotels or a strenuous hike, your dog may want to sleep more than usual. However, you should not overlook excessive tiredness. Exercise intolerance is only one red flag for major issues like heart disease. But it could also indicate various concerns, ranging from minor issues like muscle pain to serious complications like congestive heart failure. Here are some reasons for your dog’s sluggish behavior:
- Illness or infection
- Heart issues
- Problems with the liver
- Hypoglycemia or diabetes
- Medication side effects
- Poisoning or a traumatic event
Other dogs daycare also adds that activity intolerance, combined with other illnesses like a loss of appetite, chest tightness, or drowsiness, could be a sign of pulmonary arterial hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) or another type of cardiovascular disease.
When is Dog Lethargy a Cause for Concern?
When lethargy is moderate to severe, it is cause for concern. For example, if your dog is so drowsy that nothing catches its attention, it is most likely suffering from severe lethargy and should be taken to the emergency vet.
If, on the other hand, your dog is fairly lethargic but still pays attention or attempts to get up when you offer him his favorite food, this is most likely moderate lethargy. Depending on his other symptoms, he may still require an emergency vet visit, but he may be able to wait for his regular veterinarian. If you’re unsure what to do for your dog, never hesitate to consult a vet or an emergency vet.
If your dog’s lethargy is subtle, he probably doesn’t need to see a vet, let alone an emergency vet. Overexertion can cause mild lethargy in dogs, especially in hot weather. They may be sound asleep for a long time and not energized, but when they wake up, they usually feel fine and act normally. A dog with mild lethargy may need to sleep off whatever is holding things up, but you can always contact your regular vet if you believe it is necessary.
What Should You Do To Help?
If you notice your dog acting lethargic or not tolerating its normal levels of exercise, don’t force them to run. Consider its body language and, if necessary, allow them to stop playing or cut the activity short. Keep an eye on them and keep an eye out for any other severe symptoms. If you notice any other concerning tendencies, immediately contact your veterinarian. Wait a day or two if your dog shows no other symptoms. Contact your veterinarian if your dog’s energy level does not improve or if his condition aggravates. However, if they exhibit severe symptoms, such as fainting or collapsing, try to get them to an emergency clinic.