Recently we’ve got an email from our reader:
“My dog gets tired easily! Should I be worried?!”
Since this is not the first time we’re getting this question, we decided to give a definite answer on the possible reasons why dogs get tired so easily and what you can do about that.
Our dog’s energy level is a great peek into their overall health. While some decline in their energy can be a result of age and breed, there are other conditions that can lead to your dog becoming tired more quickly.
In this article, we’ll discuss the amount of rest that each dog should receive each day, conditions that can cause a dog to tire easily, and how to know when it’s time to visit the vet.
Your Dog’s Age
A dog’s sleeping habits and activity level will vary greatly depending on their age. Much like humans, they require a different amount of rest throughout different periods of their life.
So you can better understand the amount of rest that your dog will require each day, let’s first dive into how much rest a dog requires based on their age.
Think of puppies as you do human infants. We expect newborn babies and young toddlers to sleep away most of their days, only to wake for food and short playtimes.
This is true of young puppies as well. Puppies from the age of 4 months and younger need anywhere from 17-20 hours of sleep a day, usually waking every few hours for a quick snack.
It’s not out of the ordinary for a puppy to have bursts of energy a few times throughout the day, only to be followed by longer naps.
Though this can seem concerning, as long as your pup wakes for food and has a healthy appetite, this is most likely just normal puppy sleepiness.
Growing up requires a lot of energy.
When dogs enter their senior years, they are going to spend a lot more of their time sleeping. Their sleeping habits can be compared to that of a puppy, without the vigorous playtime in between.
As a dog ages, they are going to get slower with time. This can be due to joint pain, medical conditions, or the aging process in general.
As long as older dogs need for sleep is not associated with obvious pain, loss of appetite, or any other abnormal symptoms, their lower energy levels can be chalked up to old age.
Aside from puppies and seniors, the average dog generally sleeps anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day. If there are any days that they are unable to receive this standard amount of rest, they may seem to tire more quickly.
Your Dog’s Breed
A dog’s energy level will rely heavily on their specific breed. Some breeds are known to be high strung, therefore they may be less likely to tire out after a quick game of catch.
While some breeds seem to never slow down, there are others that may tire out more quickly. Let’s take a quick look at standard energy levels based on breeds.
- Working dogs: Energetic breeds may require less rest in their day to day lives. Some of these breeds include Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Terriers, Huskies, and other breeds known for their desire to work. If you own one of these breeds, they are less likely to sleep the day away in their younger years.
- Sedentary dogs: In the dog world, there are certainly some breeds that are known for their love of naps. Some of these breeds include Bulldogs, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Pugs, Shi Tzus, and other breeds not often used for work. If you own one of these breeds, do not be surprised when they choose to spend their time sleeping the day away.
Your Dog’s Life Changes
Just like us, our dogs can experience life changes that can drain them of their normal energy.
Changes in a dog’s environment can cause a major shift in their energy and resting habits.
Some of these external changes include weather changes, switching to a new home, bringing a new animal into your home, a stressful environment, or any other drastic change in their surroundings. Any of the above can lead a dog to appear more tired than usual.
Animals can experience stress just as we do. Major life changes can lead to what can seem like depression and cause a dog to be more tired than usual.
Environmental stresses can lead to emotional distress, as well as other outside factors that can affect a dog’s day to day life. For example, many pet owners say their dog’s nap more after losing a loved one (human or animal).
There have been many examples to prove that animals can also experience sadness, which can, in turn, lead to them choosing sleep to help pass their time.
What Can Cause A Dog To Tire Quickly?
When it comes to a dog’s energy levels, there are some conditions that can cause your dog to tire quickly. Some of these conditions include:
Obesity can take a huge toll on your furry friend. Just like in humans, any kind of physical activity can be made more difficult when they are carrying around excess weight.
If your dog is overweight, then it is normal for them to tire more quickly during activities that they once achieved easily. If you fear that your dog is overweight, it’s time to speak with your vet about a weight loss program for your pup.
Pain can have a huge impact on your dog’s energy level. If a dog is having to fight through discomfort as they participate in physical activity, they are more likely to remove themselves from the activity and choose rest instead.
If you fear that your dog is in pain, it’s time to visit your vet and see if their pain can be diagnosed.
3. Chronic Conditions
Any kind of chronic medical condition can have an impact on your dog’s energy levels.
Whether they suffer from arthritis, heart conditions, diabetes, or any other kind of chronic condition, this can cause your dog to become tired more quickly than other dogs.
Some medications can cause your pup to sleep the day away. Whether it’s a pain medication that they take for chronic pain, an antibiotic that just makes them feel sluggish, or any other medication, this can cause your pup to choose sleep to overplay.
If your dog has to take any daily medications, make sure to ask your vet if it will affect their energy levels so you can be aware of the side effects.
When You Should Worry
While dogs do enjoy their rest time and taking naps throughout the day, there are some signs that their low energy levels can point to something more serious.
If your pet appears exhausted and displays some of the other behaviors below, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for further care.
Lethargy and general love for napping are extremely different. Lethargy can be described as overall weakness, disinterest in things they generally enjoy, and an overall change in demeanor.
If your pup does not want to wake for things they enjoy, seems weak when up and moving, or experiencing any other concerning symptoms, give your vet a call ASAP.
2. Changes In Eating Or Drinking
Changes in diet are often a precursor to developing medical issues. In several veterinary emergencies, a change in diet can be noted in the days before their illness strikes.
If your pet is sleeping the day away, and their appetite is lacking as well, talk to your veterinarian.
3. Sudden Sleep
If your dog ever seems generally normal, then experiences sudden weakness or sleepiness, contact your veterinarian ASAP. Sudden exhaustion can be a sign of a more serious problem.
4. Ignoring Regular Activities For Sleep
A healthy dog should always be able to be woken up for activities that they usually enjoy. While it’s clear that pups enjoy their daily naps, the thought of spending time with you should almost always entice them out of their slumber.
If your furry friend does not want to wake for a trip outside, playtime, treats, meals, or other things they usually enjoy, give your vet a call ASAP.
Like previously discussed, emotional distress can cause a drastic change in a dog’s behavior. If your pet is experiencing behavioral changes that are affecting their day to day lives, contact your vet about options to bring your anxious pup some relief.
It can be challenging to know when a dog’s energy level is something to take seriously. Make sure to consider any of the situations that can impact a dog’s energy levels that we mentioned above, and you can have a better understanding of what’s normal for your pup!