Why is My Dog Lethargic and Not Eating or Drinking? (2023)

Any time a dog is suddenly lethargic, it’s natural for you to worry about their health and wellbeing. A canine that loses their lust for life, and will not eat or drink, is especially concerning.

Why is my dog lethargic, and not eating or drinking? The main concern is that your dog ingested toxins or has a serious health concern. They could just be fighting a minor viral infection though, or be experiencing transient pain. The problem may be psychological, such as anxiety or depression.

Monitor your dog carefully. Many canines can experience ‘off days,’ and that’s nothing to worry about. If your dog’s questionable demeanor passes 24 hours though, you should take action. This in-depth guide explains the many potential explanations for listless canine behavior.

Table of Contents:

  • My Dog Won’t Eat or Drink and is Weak
    • Sadness and Depression
    • Anxiety and Worry
    • Fever or Infection
    • Injury and Trauma
    • Pain (Joint, Teeth, etc.)
    • Side Effects of Medications
    • Ingested Toxins
    • Poor Diet
    • Parasites (Worms, Fleas, Ticks, Etc.)
    • Serious Illnesses in Dogs
  • How Long Can a Dog Survive Without Eating?
  • How Long Can a Dog Survive Without Water?
  • Is My Dog Lethargic or Tired?
  • My Just Lays There and Won’t Play
  • My Dog Refuses to Go Out for a Walk
  • My Dog is Lying Around and Panting
  • My Dog is Lethargic and Shaking
    • Read Related Posts:

My Dog Won’t Eat or Drink and is Weak

It’s always worrying when a dog is acting out of sorts. It’s particularly concerning if your dog won’t eat or drink, and just lays there. Food and exercise are two of a dog’s favorite activities, after all.

More often than not, an illness may be to blame. This could be a physical or emotional ailment. Some of the conditions that lead to lethargy and a lack of appetite include:

  • Depression. Canines can become depressed, and lose their lust for life. This is common after losing a beloved owner, or a long-term pack mate.
  • Anxiety. If your dog is constantly anxious, it will take its toll. A dog that doesn’t feel safe and secure will withdraw into themselves.
  • Fever and Contagious Illness. Dogs are as susceptible to contagious illnesses as humans. Your dog may just be under the weather, which will pass.
  • Injury or Trauma. Dogs get into all kinds of adventures, and they’re typically active. This can lead to injury and trauma though, and that’s not always obvious, such as injury to the paw.
  • Physical Pain. If you have a senior dog, they may have arthritis. Constant pain takes its toll. Alternatively, your pet may have transient pain. That’s still enough to leave them out of sorts.
  • Side Effects of Medications. Just like that of humans, canine medication often comes with side effects. If your dog is being negatively impacted, you’ll need to change their prescription.
  • Toxicity or Poisoning. Dogs are intelligent animals, but they make silly decisions surrounding food. If your dog has ingested a toxin, such as a weedkiller, it will be reflected in their health.
  • Poor Diet. If your dog eats the wrong foods and lacks appropriate nutrition, their health will be impacted. It’s hugely important that your pet eats a balanced, high-quality diet.
  • Parasitic Infestation. Your dog can be affected by severalparasites. Fleas and ticks are the most common. Intestinal worms also make their home in canine stomachs.
  • Serious Illness. Cancer, liver disease, and various conditions can be to blame.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to resolving this issue with your dog. Never assume that your dog is just lazy and it will pass. That might be the case, but it’s unlikely.

Sadness and Depression

Depression may seem like a complex condition that only impacts humans, but dogs experience it too. It’s not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, but the impact is just as severe.

The most common trigger for canine depression is extreme pining. If a dog has lost their owner, or a fellow pet, they’ll be heartbroken. This will manifest as lethargy and lack of interest in engaging with the world. That includes eating food and drinking.

Canine depression is hard to watch, and unfortunately, it can’t really be aided. The dog needs to work through their sadness by themselves. They’ll do this eventually. They need lots of love and patience during the process, though.

Why is My Dog Lethargic and Not Eating or Drinking? (1)

Anxiety and Worry

Anxious dogs will lack appetite, and may become very lethargic. They could also go to the other extreme and pace constantly. Either way, their anxiety needs to be managed.

To achieve this, identify the stress trigger and remove it from the dog’s life. If another pet is bullying them, keep them separate. If they fear loud noises, such as the vacuum cleaner or thunder, give them a quiet room of their own.

Continue down a path of trial and error. It takes a lot of time and patience to calm an anxious dog. You’ll need to ensure that you’re up for the challenge.

Praise desirable behavior and ignore anything you disapprove of. Scolding an anxious dog helps nobody. You’ll be back at square one, and likely harm your relationship.

(Video) Why Your Dog Is Lethargic And What To Do

Some dogs are anxious by nature. This is likely in the case of rescue dogs that have been traumatized. This may require specialist help from a behaviorist, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

If the problem persists, your dog may need anti-anxiety medication to raise their quality of life. You can find natural supplements. If they do not help, seek a prescription for a vet.

Fever or Infection

A body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or above is considered a fever in dogs. A dry nose and red, sunken eyes may also accompany this. Naturally, your dog will also be lethargic and lose their appetite.

The most common viral ailment for dogs is kennel cough. This is similar to human ‘flu. As the name suggests, your dog will emit a dry, harsh cough. This sounds like a honking goose, and can be worrying if you’re not familiar with it.

Like human colds, dogs mostly need to let these infections run their course. Most canines only really suffer for a day or two. After this, they’ll reluctantly start to eat again. They may be sluggish for around a week, though.

Never give a dog human medication, such as paracetamol. This is toxic to canines.

Injury and Trauma

Dogs usually let you know when they’re injured. Your pet will approach you for reassurance and comfort. Alternatively, they may retreat into themselves, whimpering and whining.

A simple way of testing for injury is to stroke and pet your dog. Ordinarily, your pet will welcome this attention. If they yelp and refuse to let you touch parts of their anatomy, they’ll be hurting.

Your dog may have a minor complaint, i.e. a pulled muscle, which will heal itself. It could be something more serious. Minor fractures, for example, are not always visible to the naked eye.

Your dog may also have experienced a traumatic event. A neighborhood pet could have attacked them, for example. This will leave your dog shaken and reluctant to go outside.

With attention, affection, and reassurance, your dog will get over this. Canines can go into shock, which is dangerous. You also need to ensure the trauma does not spark a permanent phobia.

Why is My Dog Lethargic and Not Eating or Drinking? (2)

Pain (Joint, Teeth, etc.)

Many pains leave dogs lethargic and reluctant to eat and drink. Conditions such as arthritis, for example. If it hurts to walk to a bowl, your dog will avoid it. They may think it’s the food or water that’s hurting them.

Canine arthritis cannot be cured, but can be managed. Investigate dietary changes and supplements that will boost your pet’s mobility. Invest in a sizeable, comfy bed for your dog to relax in.

Other parts of your dog’s anatomy may be causing them pain. Check their teeth. Toothache is no fun, and it can seriously hamper your dog’s quality of life.

Also, consider whether your dog has a sore throat. They may have cut their throat in a sharp blade of grass or plant. Offer a teaspoon of honey.

(Video) What to do when your dog not eating food or drinking water l Tips on LOSS OF APPETITE l

Side Effects of Medications

If your dog takes regular medication, it’s possible that they’ll experience side effects. Temporary loss of appetite is also a common factor when a dog undergoes vaccinations.

In the latter scenario, your dog will bounce back quickly. Usually, it’s as little as 24 hours before they’re their old selves again. If it’s any longer, something more sinister is afoot.

Return to the vet that prescribed the medicine, or administered the vaccination, in such a case. If it’s an ongoing prescription, it will need to be changed.

Tests may also be required to ensure your dog’s body is not rejecting the vaccine.

Ingested Toxins

Lethargy and refusing to eat are common symptoms in a dog that has been poisoned. There are a great many toxins out there, including common human foods, plant life, and chemicals.

A dog that has been poisoned will likely lay down and pant heavily. This is because toxins frequently impact their liver and kidneys. If you suspect that your dog has ingested toxins, urgently call the Pet Poison Helpline.

If your dog recently consumed the toxin (less than 30 minutes ago), inducing vomiting may help. You can use hydrogen peroxide for this. Offer one teaspoon (around 5ml) for every 10 lbs. of body weight.

Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so. If your dog is not in otherwise perfect health, hydrogen peroxide can cause further issues. Also, some materials are caustic. Your dog may burn their mouth or throat while vomiting.

If you seek professional help, the toxin will be flushed out using intravenous fluids.

Poor Diet

If your dog has an inappropriate nutritional balance, it will be reflected in their behavior. They’ll be lethargic, and refuse to eat what’s put in front of them.

If you ate something that left you feeling wretched, you’d avoid it in future. The same applies to canines. They have long memories when it comes to unpleasant experiences.

Ensure that your dog’s diet is balanced, age-appropriate, and of the highest quality that you can afford. The more pure meat produce and protein, the better. This can apply to both wet and dry food.

It may take trial and error to find the perfect food for your dog, but it’s so important. Poor nutrition can significantly shorten a pet’s lifespan.

Why is My Dog Lethargic and Not Eating or Drinking? (3)

Parasites (Worms, Fleas, Ticks, Etc.)

Fleas and ticks can have a significant impact on any canine. They can spread disease if they have previously fed from a questionable food source.

Prevention is the best way to prevent parasites making your dog sick. Maintain regular flea and tick treatments. Keep this up during the winter too. Parasites are less active in cold weather, but they may have laid eggs in your home.

(Video) 🐶WHY IS MY DOG LETHARGIC? 😨attention

Worming is every bit as important. Tapeworms and threadworms can cause enormous problems for your pet. Ensure that your dog consumes a worming treatment at least once every three months.

If you do spot a parasite on your pet, deal with it immediately. Don’t wait for nature to take its course. The longer the parasite feeds on your dog, the more likely long-term repercussions become.

Serious Illnesses in Dogs

Many illnesses can impact a dog’s energy levels and hunger. Any dog that behaves uncharacteristically could be prone to severe sickness.

  • Cancer. The Drake Center profile the cancers that affect dogs. Different strains of the disease have various symptoms. Lethargy and a loss of appetite are universal warnings, though.
  • Addison’s Disease (aka Hypoadrenocorticism). This hormonal disorder affects a dog’s adrenal glands. Addison’s can be fatal, but it’s treatable with medication if caught early.
  • Dementia. Senior dogs that are approaching the end of their lives become increasingly weary, and refuse to eat.
  • Diseases of the Heart or Liver. These are arguably the most critical organs in a dog’s body. When they fail to function appropriately, the dog’s entire body breaks down.

How Long Can a Dog Survive Without Eating?

This depends on the individual dog. If a canine is carrying extra weight, they’ll have more fat reserves to call upon. The dog’s age and physical condition will also play a part.

A healthy dog can live 3 to 5 days without eating anything. Just because they can though, it doesn’t mean they should. There is a big difference between surviving and thriving.

A dog skipping a meal won’t harm them. A dog fasting for 24 hours, while not ideal, is not lethal. Anything longer than this merits investigation. Dogs will never willingly go hungry. Something is causing a lack of appetite.

How Long Can a Dog Survive Without Water?

Much like food, a dog can survive around 3 days without water. The impact of this will be more pronounced, though. The longer a dog goes thirsty, the more significant the effect on their body.

Dogs need to hydrate regularly. Their bodies are made up to 80% water, and just like humans, that needs to be topped up. Dogs may not sweat much, but they lose water all the same.

Canine dehydration is a serious concern. If your dog is reluctant to drink, there will be a reason. It won’t be as simple as your pet finding plain water boring. Dogs actually like the taste of water.

If your dog is unwell and experiencing vomiting and diarrhea, water becomes even more critical. These side effects leave canines dehydrated. If your dog doesn’t drink, take it more seriously than a reluctance to eat.

Is My Dog Lethargic or Tired?

It’s vital to understand the difference between lethargy and simple tiredness. Dogs are energetic, but they still love to sleep. It’s when this dozing overtakes anything else that you should worry.

You’ll have an idea of whether your dog is tired, based on their day’s activity levels. If they spend several hours chasing their ball throughout the park, they’ll naturally be shattered. They’ll contentedly slumber for hours afterward.

Even if they didn’t have much physical exercise, mental stimulation tires a dog out. Taking them somewhere new, with a range of unique smells, will get the brain firing. They’ll doze off afterward, dreaming of their new favorite place.

You know your dog best. This means that you’ll know their typical energy levels. Some canines sleep for hours after a busy day. They’ll then wake up full of beans afterward.

A tired dog will likely still eat. If not, they’ll undoubtedly drink water. If your pet fails to do this, they are slipping into the realm of lethargy. This is, naturally, much more concerning.

My Just Lays There and Won’t Play

If your dog suddenly loses interest in their toys, there could be a scientific explanation. The journal Animal Cognition explains this, as canines are prone to a condition called neophilia.

(Video) Why Is My Dog Not Drinking Water and Lethargic? | DogVela

Dog brains are hardwired to always seek new experiences. This means they can quickly become bored with the familiar. That includes toys. This may be frustrating, as you spent good money on them, but your dog can’t help it.

Why is My Dog Lethargic and Not Eating or Drinking? (4)

If your dog sits and stares at their toys and refuses to engage with them, rule out neophilia as an explanation. There are several ways that you can do this:

  • Keep your dog’s toys in a sealed crate, and rotate them a few at a time. If your dog has constant access to the same toy, it will fall off their radar. If they haven’t seen it in weeks or months, it will feel new.
  • Change the style of toy that your dog has access to. Switch between plushies, puzzles, noisy toys, and things to chew. This will provide your dog with ever-varying stimulation.
  • Spruce up your dog’s toys with new smells. Rub them in the grass of your pet’s favorite park or field. This will pique their interest again, and provide more stimulation.
  • Get involved. Dogs will always be more interested in playtime if you join in too. Tug toys are ideal for this. It’s a great way to bond with your pet, and it’s fun for everybody.

If these techniques do not reignite your dog’s interest in playtime, further investigation is needed. Your pet’s lethargy has a more concerning cause. Start by sparking their imagination, though.

My Dog Refuses to Go Out for a Walk

Arguably the most worrying canine behavior of all is refusing to exercise. If your dog lays and stares at you when you call for walkies, take action.

Confirm that your dog’s refusal to go outside is not due to external factors. Many dogs loathe the rain, and refuse to walk in wet conditions.

Try to encourage your dog to go for a walk. Techniques for this include:

  • Change your command word. If your dog is disinterested in exercise, “walkies” will become an unwelcome word. Use a different term, like, “let’s go out.”
  • Start small. If your dog is lethargic, a hike of multiple miles will be unwelcome and potentially traumatic. Re-introduce walkies with gentle strolls around the block, gradually increasing the distance covered.
  • Invite another, friendly dog on the walk. If your pet is social, this may be the encouragement they need. If walking means spending time with their friends, many dogs will start to enjoy it.

By making exercise a fun activity, you can rule out laziness. What’s more, this exercise will stimulate a dog’s appetite, and they’ll be thirsty afterward.

My Dog is Lying Around and Panting

A lethargic dog with labored breathing is concerning. A little panting is perfectly natural and healthy. If your dog appears to be panting without good cause, something is wrong.

Typically, abnormal panting relates to one or several of these scenarios:

  • The dog is laying around panting when their body temperature is not particularly high. This suggests they’re not just cooling off.
  • The panting is loud, and it sounds like it’s an effort. The dog may sound like they have a dry throat, for example.
  • The dog is struggling to pant. In such a situation, the problem runs deeper than just panting. They’re finding it an effort to breathe.

If it’s hot, heatstroke is likely to blame. A body temperature over 102 degrees Fahrenheit in a dog is cause for concern. They must cool off and rehydrate.

If your pet has an issue with critical organs, heavy panting will follow. This may be caused by sickness, or the consumption of toxins. The panting is a warning that their body is struggling to produce enough oxygen. Seek urgent medical help.

Your dog may be anxious or frightened. Canines can hyperventilate when under significant stress. Calm your dog down and remove whatever triggered this panic attack.

My Dog is Lethargic and Shaking

A dog shaking is never something to ignore, especially if they’re also sluggish. There are several explanations, which vary from mild and easily resolved to significant risk.

  • Dogs shake when they’re too cold. That’s easily fixed. Drape a blanket over them, offer a hot water bottle, or cuddle them.
  • Dogs shake when they’re scared. Are fireworks being set off outside, other loud noises?
  • Dogs shake when they’re in pain. Your pet may be living with a hitherto-undiagnosed medical condition. Start by looking for signs of bloated stomach, or misplaced limbs.
  • Dogs shake when their muscles have been pushed too far. If your dog has had a busy day, watch them carefully. Their muscles should stop trembling after a few hours.

Ensure that you know the difference between shaking and a seizure. The latter is a significant problem, and a medical emergency. It suggests that your dog has a neurological issue.

As VCA Hospitals explains, dogs can seem perfectly normal between seizures. Lethargy, and a refusal to eat or drink, escalate the problem considerably. Watch your pet carefully.

(Video) 7 Warning Signs Your Dog May Be Sick | Talkin' Dogs List Show

Dogs are intuitive creatures. They know when something isn’t right within themselves, and this will be reflected in their behavior. Loss of appetite and listless lethargy are common warning signs.

Any symptoms lasting beyond 24 hours should be investigated. Dogs love to eat and walk. If they lose interest in these key activities for a prolonged period, something is amiss.


Why is my dog suddenly lethargic and weak? ›

Lethargy in dogs can be caused by everything from anxiety and fear to infections, cancer, and other medical issues. If your dog is lethargic, you may also notice symptoms such as slow reactions and a lack of interest in playing.

Why does a dog suddenly stop eating and drinking? ›

Here are some of the most common reasons why a dog might stop eating: An upset stomach for any reason (for example, eating spoiled food, garbage, sweets, poisonous plants, or table scraps). Finicky eating habits. A food change.

What do you do when your dog won't eat or drink? ›

If he is not eating or drinking, you need to call your vet immediately. Dogs should not go a single day without drinking water. Medication can be another potential reason your dog is eating less. While medicines and vaccinations help keep your dog healthy, sometimes an animal experiences side effects.

How do you hydrate a dog that won't drink? ›

Some tricks to getting your dog to consume water are to add a little water to his dry food making it moist. You can also give your pup ice to snack on. Dogs love the crunchy texture and there's no additional calories! Try a new bowl or a new place to place the bowl to tempt him.

What does a dog acting lethargic look like? ›

He/she may be weak and unable to move well, or he may be stiff and in a lot of pain when he/she moves. A lethargic dog usually won't show much interest in food, treats, or a favorite toy. He/she may watch the household move around him/her but won't engage.

What is the first signs of parvo in a dog? ›

Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy; loss of appetite; abdominal pain and bloating; fever or low body temperature (hypothermia); vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.

What does kidney failure look like in dogs? ›

The clinical signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and very bad breath. Occasionally, ulcers will be found in the mouth.

How long do dogs live after they stop eating and drinking? ›

Answers vary, with some vets stating 5 days for healthy dogs and others claiming up to 10. Keep in mind, this is only for healthy dogs consuming adequate amounts of water daily. If your dog is not in full health, they may only go without food for 1 or 2 days.

When to call a vet if dog is not eating or drinking? ›

Not Eating or Drinking

A day of no eating is nothing to worry about for the most part, but if your dog is not interested in eating for two or more days in a row, it is time to take them to the vet. If they don't drink for entire day, they may be dehydrated due to illness and need to be seen right away.

How do you comfort a sick dog? ›

You can keep your dog as comfortable as possible by providing a soft bed or couch with fluffy blankets for it to lie on. Give your dog a luxurious massage, his favorite toys, and favorite food. However, don't forget to provide your dog with a balanced diet to keep it as healthy as possible during its sickness.

What is the quickest way to hydrate a dog? ›

The most effective way of treating dehydration is to place the pet on a drip. This will replace any fluids already lost and also prevent further dehydration. An alternative method of dog rehydration is administering fluid under their skin to form a 'camel shaped' hump. This fluid is then absorbed over a few hours.

How long is it OK for a dog to not drink water? ›

How Long Does Dehydration Last in Dogs? Your pet can survive without drinking water for about 72 hours (three days). However, it'll show signs of dehydration after the first 24 hours. Go beyond that and your furry friend will slowly feel weaker and weaker.

How do you stimulate a dog to drink water? ›

Sneaky Ways to Increase Your Dog's Water Intake
  1. Give Your Pooch an Incentive. Your dog might need a bit of motivation to drink water. ...
  2. Make the Water Taste Better. Humans often struggle to chug down enough water because the taste is bland. ...
  3. Add Water to Your Pup's Meal. ...
  4. Cool Down With Ice Cubes. ...
  5. Buy a Fun Drinking Fountain.

How do I know if my dogs stomach hurts? ›

  1. Vocalisation, wincing or attempts to bite when picked up or touched under the abdomen.
  2. Resentment of attempts to touch the abdomen.
  3. Restlessness, inability to sit in one position.
  4. Audible gut sounds.
  5. Obvious distension or bloating of the abdomen.
  6. Licking at flank.

What are signs your dog is in pain? ›

What are the typical signs of pain in dogs? General behaviour: Shaking, flattened ears, low posture, aggression, grumpy temperament, panting or crying, excessive licking or scratching a specific area, reluctant to play, interact or exercise, lameness (limping), stiffness after rest, loss of appetite.

What are signs of pancreatitis in dogs? ›

What are the clinical signs of pancreatitis? The most common clinical signs include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. During an attack, dogs may take a 'praying position', with their rear end up in the air while their front legs and head are lowered onto the floor.

Why is my dog low energy all of a sudden? ›

Things that can make your dog lethargic and weak can range from infection and disease to pain and medication. And because weakness and lethargy can indicate anything from a chronic condition to a life-threatening illness, you should always talk to your vet when you notice either symptom.

What can I give my dog for lethargy? ›

  • Chicken and Rice. Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. ...
  • Shredded Chicken. Shredded chicken is easy on upset stomachs and acts as a huge eating incentive for dogs with decreased appetites. ...
  • Pumpkin. ...
  • Bone Broth. ...
  • Baby Food.

What to give your dog if they are lethargic? ›

A good diet is key to preventing lethargy in dogs of all ages. The best dog food for lethargy should contain quality protein and dietary fibre to provide energy, as well as some complex-carbohydrates that provide slow-releasing energy.

What does a dog with parvo look like? ›

Vomit may be clear or a yellow or brown color, and diarrhea will often contain blood and be a light yellow or mustard colored hue. In addition to vomiting frequently, your puppy may also appear to be drooling or foaming at the mouth as part of their parvo symptoms. Your puppy's nose may also begin running.

Do dogs with parvo drink water? ›

Symptoms of Parvo

Your dog will not drink water nor eat, and very soon the pup will be stretched out and down on the ground, unable to get back up. They will become limp, weak, and unable to hold themselves up. Parvovirus, when left untreated, is often fatal. It requires veterinary oversight.

What age of dogs get parvo? ›

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies. The disease most often strikes in pups between six and 20 weeks old, but older animals are sometimes also affected.

What are the signs of a dog's organs shutting down? ›

The most prominent sign that you will notice is a complete relaxation of the body, your dog will no longer appear tense, rather they will “let go.” You will notice a slimming of the body as the air is expelled from their lungs for the last time and you may notice the lack of life in their eyes if they are still open.

What happens when a dog's kidneys start shutting down? ›

Symptoms of kidney failure include excessive thirst and an excessive volume of urine in the early stages. Later symptoms of acute kidney failure include lethargy, poor appetite, and vomiting. In severe kidney failure, the amount of urine may actually decrease, or the pet may stop making urine altogether.

Can kidney failure happen suddenly in dogs? ›

A dog's healthy kidneys perform many essential functions. But dogs suffering from acute kidney failure may experience sudden, rapid decline in kidney function that requires urgent veterinary care.

How do dogs act when they don't feel good? ›

Lethargy is a common sign of illness. When your dog doesn't feel well, he may have a decreased energy level. Any behavior that is unusual for your dog, such as hiding, listlessness or pacing, difficulty breathing, or trouble walking, merits a call to your veterinarian.

Do dogs want to be alone when they are sick? ›

Simply put, animals, like humans, like to be alone when they aren't feeling well. Moreover, this action is a natural instinct. Animals, including domesticated dogs and cats, are hardwired to hide when they are feeling sick and/or weak because they understand that weak animals are easier targets for predators.

Can you put down a sick dog at home? ›

2. You can have your pet put down in your home with the assistance of a professional. Most people are familiar with the idea of bringing their pets to their veterinarian's clinic for the euthanasia procedure.

Why would a dog stop drinking water? ›

Any illness that makes a dog not feel well can decrease thirst. This includes viral or bacterial infection, gastrointestinal diseases, cancer, kidney disease or failure, bladder infection, any situation that causes nausea, oral pain or injury, arthritis, and more. Old Age. Senior pets tend to drink less water.

What Else Can dogs drink besides water? ›

So, what can dogs drink besides water? You can add some Pedialyte, coconut water, fresh fruit or vegetable juice, unsalted broth, and nut milk to their liquid intake. Your pup will love new beverages as a treat!

Can I give my dog water through a syringe? ›

Syringe feeding means giving food and water with an oral syringe into the mouth of a pet that is unwilling or unable to eat on his or her own. It is a method of nutritional support used when a temporary illness or health problem compromises the appetite, and nutritional deficiency becomes possible.

What flavor can I add to my dogs water? ›

Flavored Water That's Safe for Dogs
  • Broth-Flavored Water. Broth is an excellent way to encourage your dog to drink more water. ...
  • Lemon-Flavored Water. Lemon is rich in vitamin C which has great immune-boosting properties. ...
  • Apple Cider Vinegar-Flavored Water. ...
  • Fruit-Infused Water.
21 Sept 2021

What happens if a dog doesn't drink water for 2 days? ›

Dogs, like humans, need to drink water every day and are at risk from dehydration if they do not do so. They are actually at greater risk than humans because they release heat from their bodies much more slowly.

Why do dogs refuse to drink? ›

In some cases, illnesses such as diabetes and kidney disease may cause a dog's appetite for water to diminish completely. Bladder infection or urinary tract infection can also cause a decrease in thirst. So if you think your dog won't drink water because of a disease, you should contact your vet immediately.

Why is my dog suddenly unwell? ›

Other more serious reasons for a dog being sick include infection, worms, eating foreign bodies such as socks or toys, or swallowing or licking certain flowers, plants or toxins that are poisonous to dogs. More critical medical issues such as cancer or kidney, liver, or pancreatic disease could also be to blame.

What causes sudden lethargic? ›

The following factors can contribute to fatigue, either alone or in combination: Psychological and psychosocial – stress, anxiety, and depression. Physical – anemia, diabetes, glandular fever, and cancer. Physiological – pregnancy, breast-feeding, inadequate sleep, and excessive exercise.

What are the symptoms of worms in dogs? ›

Symptoms of Dogs With Worms
  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Poor coat appearance.
  • Pot-bellied appearance.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dehydration.

How does a dog act when it's sick? ›

Sleeping more than normal, or other behavior or attitude changes. Coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, or labored breathing. Dry or itchy skin, sores, lumps, or shaking of the head. Frequent digestive upsets or change in bowel movements.

How do dogs act when they are sick? ›

When dogs are in pain or don't feel well, they tend to display behavioral changes, such as decreased activity or lethargy. Some sick dogs that are normally social may start to withdraw. A kind and energetic pet may begin to show snippiness or aggression.

What signs do dogs show when they are sick? ›

If your dog is sick, it's important that you know what warning signs to look out for so you can take appropriate action.
  • Dog danger signals. ...
  • Diarrhoea. ...
  • Repeated vomiting, gagging, sneezing or coughing. ...
  • Refusal to eat for over 24 hours. ...
  • Excessive thirst or urination. ...
  • Red or swollen gums. ...
  • Difficulty urinating. ...
  • Runny eyes or nose.

What disease can cause lethargy? ›

Unrelenting exhaustion may be a sign of a condition or an effect of the drugs or therapies used to treat it, such as:
  • Acute liver failure.
  • Anemia.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Chronic infection or inflammation.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Concussion.

When should I be concerned about lethargy? ›

We all go through periods of low energy. Even a week of feeling more tired than usual is not uncommon. Yet most people can tell when their fatigue feels like something more serious. If that's the case, or your fatigue gets worse or lasts longer than a week or two, it's time to see your doctor.

How do you get rid of lethargy? ›

Consult a GP for advice.
  1. Eat often to beat tiredness. ...
  2. Get moving. ...
  3. Lose weight to gain energy. ...
  4. Sleep well. ...
  5. Reduce stress to boost energy. ...
  6. Talking therapy beats fatigue. ...
  7. Cut out caffeine. ...
  8. Drink less alcohol.


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