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April 1, 2010 at 3:51 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Lethargy in Dogs: Dangers of an Inactive Routine

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

An inactive state characterized by drowsiness, inactivity or indifference, lethargy in dogs can be a problem, and can lead to other health problems, sometimes severe or life-threatening.

Why is Lethargy a Problem?

These days, humans are not the only ones who need a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Dogs spend long hours waiting for owners to arrive home, logging significant amounts of time eating and sleeping their way to obesity. The extra fat puts your pet at risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, bone disorders, respiratory problems, and potential early death.

Causes of Lethargy in Dogs

Lethargy can be a sign of underlying systemic disorders, or it can be the result of pets and owners lounging their way into lethargy. These health conditions and lifestyle factors can all result in a lethargic dog:

  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Pulmonary disorders
  • Anemia or other blood disorders
  • Chronic infection or inflammation
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Medications
  • Cancer
  • Immune diseases
  • Physical trauma
  • Nutritional disorders
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Boredom
  • Diet problems
  • Anemia
  • Poisoning
  • Liver problems
  • Worms

Signs and Symptoms of Lethargy in Dogs

Make an appointment with your vet immediately if you notice any of the following signs of lethargy in your dog:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Change in temperament or demeanor
  • Listlessness
  • Tremors or weakness
  • Hiding or avoiding contact with others
  • Decreased appetite or thirst

How is Dog Lethargy Diagnosed?

Because several diseases are associated with lethargy, diagnosis is usually done by testing which includes:

  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal examination
  • Blood work
  • Biochemical profile
  • X-rays

If these tests are performed and the veterinarian feels that further testing should be done, additional tests could include an ultrasound, complete eye examination, biopsy of certain tissues, and complete neurological examination. Once the vet confirms that lethargy is the foremost issue, you can take the necessary steps to help your pet recover. While medications could be an option, simple lifestyle changes at home, such as healthy diet and exercise, can work wonders first.

A Healthy Diet for Dog Lethargy

A wholesome diet can help dog by restoring energy and vitality. It can reduce stress, improve circulation, and boost the immune system to fight off diseases and infections. These effects will help improve overall health and happiness in your pet. Organic vitamin and mineral supplements may be a viable alternative if your dog is not ready for a diet upgrade. A quality supplement can help ensure your dog gets the necessary nutrition for optimal health and energy.

What Exercises Can I Do with My Dog?

Dogs make great exercise partners! They love to run, jog, swim, hike, and partner up for doggy dance sessions- freestyle, of course. An impromptu game of Frisbee is always fun, as is an exciting game of fetch. Any physical movement that you and your dog find enjoyable should work, but before you start a new program, make sure you have checked off the items of the pre-exercise list:

  • Have your dog and exercise plan checked by a vet before you begin.
  • Remember to start slow, and gradually build up.
  • Do not exercise at the hottest point of the day; dogs can suffer heatstroke easily.
  • Keep your dog on a lease and practice pet common courtesy.
  • Make sure water is on hand at all times for you and your pet!

Keeping your dog active and healthy is not just an option, but a necessity! By taking good care of your pet with diet and exercise, you can enjoy a happy, healthy companion for life!

Photo Credit: alicetiara

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1 Comment

  • Hi Smarty. I am writing an essay and I will like to use a quote of yours. May I ask what credibility do you have on writing upon this topic?

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