My dog is lethargic, what should I do?

Lethargy means sluggishness, drowsiness or dullness. A dog that is lethargic may show no interest in going for a walk, even though that’s usually the highlight of his or her day, or they might not want to play.  Sometimes lethargy in dogs can be due to the weather (a hot day) or being tired out after an extra long walk, but it can be the first sign that something is not quite right with your dog.

Lethargy (and weakness) are common signs of illness in dogs, but they are rather vague – lots of different problems can make your dog appear lethargic and weak.


Why is my dog lethargic?

There are several reasons that could cause your dog to lethargic. The most common causes are:

  • Infection. Any kind of infection, including parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough and leptospirosis, can make your dog lethargic.
  • Metabolic disease. A wide range of chronic conditions can leave dogs weak or lethargic. These include heart problems, liver problems, diabetes, ad hypoglycaemia.
  • Medications. A broad range of medications can make your dog lethargic or weak. If you notice weakness after starting a new drug or using a new flea or worm product, call your vet immediately.
  • Tumours
  • Pain
  • Trauma
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anemia
  • Poisoning from toxic foods, such as garlic and onions.

Because there are so many things that can cause lethargy in your dog, it’s always best to contact your vet if you have any concerns.

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