Puppy Lethargy and Related Sicknesses

sleepy puppy yawning

Puppy Lethargy and Related Sicknesses

Lethargy is a condition that results in a puppy being abnormally tired and sluggish. Puppies tend to have high energy levels and are known for being playful and full of life. When puppies are lethargic, they may sleep more than usual, have little to no energy, and be uninterested in playing or interacting with people or other animals. There are many potential causes of puppy lethargy, ranging from minor illnesses to more serious health conditions. If you notice your puppy is lethargic, it might be a sign of an underlying health condition and it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any serious causes.

Puppy lethargy or just sleepy?

It’s important to note that even though puppies have high energy when they’re up and about they can also be notoriously sleepy creatures that take long naps after they burn up their energy—which happens quickly and quite often. So, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether your pup is simply drowsy from a long nap or if they’re truly lethargic. If you’re unsure, take note of how your puppy behaves when they first wake up. They may be lethargic if they seem slow to rise and their energy levels don’t improve throughout the day. Puppies who are sleepy typically have high energy levels once they’ve had a chance to wake up and stretch their legs.

Lethargy symptoms in puppies

If your puppy seems lethargic and you suspect that he or she is ill, it’s important to watch for other common symptoms. If a puppy has one or more of these additional symptoms it’s more likely to mean that they’re suffering from an underlying sickness.

Common symptoms for related sicknesses include:

  • lack of energy or enthusiasm
  • lack of appetite
  • they’re wobbly and off balance
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • changes in behaviour or personality
  • mucous discharge from the nose or eyes
  • difficulty breathing
  • sleeping more than usual
  • loss of interest in playing or interacting
  • flattened body posture
  • slowed movement

Related sickness that might be the cause of your puppy’s lethargy

Puppy lethargy can be caused by a number of different things, so it’s important to take into consideration the symptoms and try to determine the root cause. Some common causes of puppy lethargy include:

Toxic ingestion 

Toxic ingestion is when a puppy or dog eats something that is poisonous. This can be anything from plants to chemicals to over-the-counter medications. Some common signs of toxic ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and seizures. If your puppy has any of these symptoms, it’s likely that they’ve ingested poison and need immediate medical attention. There are cases of toxic ingestion that are less severe and may only cause lethargy. If your puppy is lethargic and you’re not sure why it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take them to the vet to be checked out.

Reaction to medications

If your puppy is taking any medications, you should take those into consideration when trying to determine the root cause of their lethargy. Some medications can cause puppies to feel tired or sluggish. Puppy lethargy can also be a normal reaction to some vaccines. If your puppy is lethargic after vaccines, be sure to monitor them closely to make sure they don’t develop any additional symptoms. Just like a human, it’s possible for a puppy to have an allergic reaction to a medication. If your puppy is taking a new medication and you notice they’re lethargic, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian about the possibility of an allergic reaction.


Hypoglycemia is a condition that is caused when a puppy’s blood sugar levels get too low. This can be due to a number of different things, including not eating enough, being sick, or taking certain medications. Hypoglycemia can cause a puppy to feel tired, sluggish, and uncoordinated. This can be very dangerous for a puppy, so if you think they may be hypoglycemic it’s important to take them to the vet right away.


A puppy can get an infection from a cut or scrape, by drinking contaminated water, or even from their mother during birth. Infections can cause a puppy to feel tired and lethargic. Some common signs of infection include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. If your puppy has a cut, it’s important to clean it and keep it dry to prevent infection. Signs of an infected cut include swelling, redness, discharge from the cut, and fever. Some infections may not be visible to the eye, so if your puppy seems ill it’s always best to take them to the vet to be checked out.


When puppies are dehydrated, they often have a sunken appearance to their eyes and may have dry gums. Dehydration can be very dangerous for puppies. Some common causes of dehydration in puppies include vomiting, diarrhea, and not drinking enough water. If you’ve noticed your puppy isn’t drinking water often try adding some fresh or frozen fruit to their water bowl. This will make the water more appealing to them and they’ll be more likely to drink it. If your puppy is reluctant to drink water, you can try mixing a little chicken or beef broth into their water bowl. This will give them a bit of flavour and they’ll be more likely to drink it. Otherwise, make sure they have access to clean fresh water at all times.

Respiratory problems

Puppies that are more susceptible to respiratory problems include those that are:

  • Born prematurely
  • Born with a congenital defect
  • Have a chronic illness
  • Are exposed to high levels of pollution

Puppies with respiratory problems often have a hard time breathing. They may gasp for air, have trouble catching their breath, or make grunting noises when they breathe. If you think your puppy may be having respiratory difficulties, it’s important to take them to the vet to explore options for treatment.


Puppies can catch a virus from their mother during birth or from other puppies they come into contact with. Some common viruses that affect puppies include parvovirus, distemper, and hepatitis. These viruses can cause a puppy to feel lethargic, have a loss of appetite, and run a fever. Puppies do get vaccinated for these viruses, so it’s important to make sure your puppy is up-to-date on their vaccinations. Talk to your veterinarian about the best vaccination schedule for your puppy to avoid these viruses.


Anemia is a condition that occurs when there’s a deficiency of red blood cells. This can be due to blood loss, such as from an injury or infection, or from a lack of iron in the diet. Anemic puppies often look pale and feel tired. In severe cases, anemia can cause a puppy to go into shock and even die. Treatment for anemia depends on the underlying cause but may include blood transfusions, medications, or dietary changes.

These are just some of the sicknesses that could be related to your puppy’s lethargy. By keeping an eye on their symptoms you may be able to discover the cause of the lethargy. However, in most cases, if your puppy has any additional symptoms or prolonged lethargy, it’s best to see a veterinarian professional.

Home remedies for puppy lethargy

If your puppy is lethargic and you’re not sure why there are some home remedies you can try to help them feel better.

  • Make sure they’re getting enough food and water. A lack of nutrition can cause a puppy to feel tired.
  • Make sure they’re getting enough exercise. A lack of exercise can cause a puppy to feel sluggish. Try taking them on short walks or playing with them in the yard.
  • Make sure they’re not too hot or too cold. Puppies can get overheated easily, so make sure they have a cool place to rest. On the other hand, if they’re too cold, they may feel lethargic as well
  • Make sure they’re not in pain. If your puppy seems to be in pain, it’s important to take them to the vet to find out what’s causing it. Pain can make a puppy feel tired and sluggish.

These home remedies can help your puppy feel better, but it’s important to see a vet if your puppy is lethargic for more than 24 hours or if they have any other symptoms.

Just remember that puppies will tire easily after playing and it’s common for them to sleep a lot during the day. However, it’s also important to keep a close eye on your puppy if you suspect it may be sick. If your puppy is lethargic and has any other symptoms it’s best to rule out related sicknesses as soon as possible to keep them safe, healthy, and happy.