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Lethargy in Dogs: Could Your Puppy Be Sick?

Lethargy is a pretty noticeable symptom, which is great because you can find out if your furry friend isn’t feeling great and get it dealt with, but lethargy could mean a variety of illnesses and diseases. It’s almost impossible to diagnose yourself, and it could be something simple such as a missing a family member, or something seriously such as a potentially fatal disease. It’s important to know what causes lethargy and when to take your pup to the vet.

The Most Common Causes

Since lethargy is the vaguest symptom of a slew of diseases, it’s important not to let it go too far before doing something about it. Most pet insurance will cover the potential illnesses causing lethargy and the examination costs, so money shouldn’t be something to deter you from your pet feeling better. Some common illnesses include:

  • Infections like parvovirus and kennel cough
  • Chronic illnesses like heart and liver issues
  • New medications like a flea product
  • Pain
  • Trauma
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tumours

Has your puppy been put on a new medication to eliminate fleas and worms? If so, this may be a main cause, and you should contact your primary veterinarian to have your pup switched off this medication. A medication is not worth it when the animal’s quality of life is diminished.

What to Do When Your Pup Is Lethargic

Older dogs are more susceptible to more serious conditions, so when lethargy is present, you must seek out a vet as soon as possible. Then, a professional will run a physical examination that includes lab testing, x-rays and other imagery tests and an electrocardiogram.  For younger puppies, parvovirus and other temporary illnesses are more common.

Depending on the illness and the dog, treatment varies, but the following tips remain true for all dogs of all ages. You want to let them rest and allow them to be confined in a cosy area. If pets jumping on top of each other is common in your household, set aside a space for your puppy to rest without chaos.

Always be sure to monitor your puppy’s temperature in case the lethargy turns into something worse quickly. Any animal with a temperature of over 102 should be taken to the veterinarian. If any other symptoms arise, like a lack of appetite, crying or expelling of fluids, the dog should be taken to emergency care immediately to remedy the situation.

When Your Puppy Isn’t Drinking

With lethargy often comes lack of appetite and refusal to drink anything. A common remedy besides a veterinarian visit is to take a medicine dropper for infants and put water inside. Then place it by the back of the dog’s teeth when releasing the water, so that they aren’t letting it slip out of their mouth. Pureeing food is also an option to make it easier for them to eat, but you’ll have to be patient and take your time with them.

It’s important to not show frustration, as the dog will pick up on that, causing even more of a lack of appetite. Nurturing them with words and actions will allow them to stay calm and know that you mean well, helping them work up the ability to eat and drink.

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