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Tiredness in Dogs as a Sign of Illness

If the dog is noticeably tired and listless often or for a long time, this can be a sign of an illness. Read here when tiredness in your dog should be an alarm signal for you.

Depending on their temperament and workload, dogs rest up to 18 hours a day. If the dog also withdraws during the day, this is not yet a concern. However, you should be alert if your dog is tired and listless for a long period of time – or if it rests conspicuously often. Tiredness and exhaustion can be a sign of serious illnesses.

Harmless reasons for tiredness in dogs

If the dog seems to be particularly tired on some days, there is no reason to panic at first. Think about what could have made your dog so tired, you might quickly see why. Possible triggers are:

  • particularly long, exciting walks or hikes
  • extensive game units
  • emotional exertion or stress

For some dogs, being alone is also associated with great psychological exertion. Other dogs are stressed when they are confronted with many people or other dogs and are not used to them (e.g. pedestrian zones, markets, events).

Each dog’s temperament is different. In addition to physical or mental exertion, the dog can also appear particularly tired and listless for the following reasons:

  • Boredom: If there is no incentive to play and have fun, some dogs withdraw when they are bored. Try new exciting tasks and games for your dog.
  • Deficiency symptoms: Dogs need a balanced diet. Make sure that the dog absorbs all the nutrients it needs by feeding it appropriately.
  • Age: As dog’s age, many become calmer and require more rest periods. Shorten the walks and don’t overwhelm the dog.
  • Heat: Dogs cannot sweat, heat exhausts them. When the temperature is high, do without sporting activities and go for a walk in the morning or evening.

Watch your dog’s behavior closely. Look for possible causes of his fatigue. If he is tired and listless for a particularly long time or particularly often, an illness can also be the cause.

In case of doubt, the veterinarian can determine whether your dog’s tiredness really indicates an illness. Visits to the vet can be expensive: protect yourself against high vet costs, for example with dog insurance: costs for operations, emergency treatment, and inpatient treatment are covered (depending on the offer).

Fatigue as a symptom of illness

If the dog is tired and listless often or for a long time, this can be a sign of an illness. These chronic and acute illnesses are often associated with fatigue and lethargy:

  • Fever: If the body fights against pathogens, fever can occur. The normal temperature of the dog is 37.5 to 39 degrees Celsius. If you notice a fever in your dog, you should consult a veterinarian.
  • Cold: In addition to tiredness, sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Keep the dog warm and dry, give him rest. Definitely go to the vet if you have a fever.
  • Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia: Pain with movement causes the dog to rest more and want to move less.
  • Leptospirosis or liver inflammation: Fatigue can also be an indication of organ inflammation. You can vaccinate your dog against the bad pathogen that causes leptospirosis.
  • Purulent inflammation of the uterus in bitches: In addition to fatigue, severe thirst, especially in unneutered bitches. Urgent examination at the vet is necessary!
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): exhaustion next to weight gain is the most noticeable symptom; many dogs also freeze faster.
  • Cardiac disease in an advanced stage: Fatigue and shortness of breath are clear indicators of insufficiency of the heart valve.
  • Anemia: A lack of red blood cells causes tiredness and sluggishness. Internal tumors, bleeding or infections can be the trigger.

Conclusion on fatigue in dogs

Depending on their temperament and age, dogs rest up to 18 hours a day. If the dog is noticeably limp and tired one day, that does not have to be an alarm signal. Watch your dog closely. If the tiredness lasts for a particularly long time, if the dog is noticeably often limp and tired, or if other symptoms of an illness appear, you should definitely consult a veterinarian.

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