Why Is My Dog So Tired? Tiredness in Dogs May be More Than Just That

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You’ve probably heard the saying ‘I’m dog tired.’. But what does it mean? Honestly, why do people compare themselves to dogs, especially when it comes to being tired? Of course, I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing it’s because most dogs are full of energy. When they finally do get tired, they tend to sleep very soundly. Especially puppies. It seems like they can, and will, sleep just about anywhere. But if you’re finding yourself asking, ‘Why is my dog so tired?’, you probably think that something’s wrong.

Below are some things that usually happen that can make dogs seem more tired than usual. If your dog cannot or will not get up and move – at least a little bit – or he all of a sudden doesn’t want to eat or drink, please get him to a vet or clinic as soon as possible. That is called lethargy (which I will talk more about below), and it is an emergency.

Why is My Dog So Tired all of a Sudden?why is my dog so tired

There are so many reasons why a playful dog, or pup, seems to fall asleep suddenly. I had a puppy a few years back that would run and play like there was no tomorrow. All of a sudden, she would plop down and sleep. The first few times she did this, I went into pure panic mode, as I thought something was horribly wrong. Thankfully, I was wrong and found out that it is not uncommon for dogs to do this.

After a while, I got used to it, but fear always lingered in the back of my mind. I couldn’t understand it.

Young dogs are a lot like young children. They play hard, and they sleep hard. Growing takes a tremendous amount of energy. This is especially true for big dog breeds. They seem to grow inches overnight! Don’t worry that you’re not feeding them enough or if they’re missing something in their diet that is making them tired. The probable cause is that they are just plain old tired.

Older dogs also play hard and sometimes seem to fall asleep all of a sudden. It is normal for dogs of any age to get short bursts of pure energy (commonly known as the zoomies), followed by a nice sleep. Also, a lot of chewing on a toy can use up energy fairly quickly.

How to Tell the Difference Between Your dog Being Tired or Lethargic

There are times when your dog seems extremely tired. But there is a definite difference between tiredness and lethargy. Here are some symptoms of lethargy in dogs. If yours is experiencing any of these, get them medical attention as fast as you can!

  • They won’t get up, even when you offer food or treats or try to play with them.
  • Your dog won’t get up to go to the bathroom.
  • They suddenly collapse, even when they are eating.
  • If breathing is labored – very shallow, hard for them to breathe.
  • Whining – they are scared about what is happening to them and need your help.

PetMD offers more information on symptoms, but these are some of the most common. There is a myriad of reasons, from worms to disease and even depression. The most important thing that you can do now is to call a vet.

Why Is My Dog So Tired? Could She be Depressed?

Not too many people realize that dogs can get depressed. The fact is, many dogs (and animals in general) can suffer from depression and anxiety. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Has a family member or playmate suddenly disappeared? (Death, moving away, re-homed, etc.) This extreme change can easily cause depression. Your dog is sad. He will bounce back in time. Give him (or her) lots of love and extra affection.
  • Take walks or spend more time outdoors. Try to think of some ways that humans deal with depression, and try some of those ways as well.
  • If you have recently moved, this will throw things off (mentally) for your pup. They don’t understand the concept of moving. The only thing that they know is that things are different – smells, noises, rooms, etc… Everything has changed. Give them some time to adjust to the changes.
  • If you or another family has gone to work outside of the home and are gone for more extended periods of time, this can make your dog feel very uncomfortable. They may think that you have left them, and they can’t figure out why. Also, thinking of them as a child may help you figure out what is making them so sad.

Different Ways to Get Some Bounce Back into Your Dog’s Step

Now that you know some of the things making your fur baby tired let’s talk about some things that you can do to make them feel better!

You can get them outside for some fresh air. If you have a fenced-in yard, go out and play. Play fetch, run around, or just being outside, in general, is good for both of you. If you don’t have a fenced-in yard or live in an apartment, etc., you can take them for a walk.

There are also dog parks that you can take them to. I’m not a fan of dog parks myself. I tend to be a worry-wart and am always on the lookout for aggressive dogs and disrespectful owners.

If you are able, take them for a ride in the car. Just make sure that you have some protection for your seat, especially if this will be the first time you take them for a ride. You never know if they’ll get car sick. If they do, please don’t make a fuss, and especially don’t yell at them. This will only make things worse, and they will try to avoid cars at all costs – this will make it hard for you to get them to a vet.

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Please have a few different kinds of toys for them to play with, both inside and outside the house. Put some thought into the toys. Each dog is different, so what one dog loves to play with may not work well with another dog. For example, my Mom has an adult husky who babies her toys. She is so gentle with them that they last for years.

MY dog, on the other hand, will tear a toy to shreds in an hour. I have to make sure that she has very tough toys. I’ve tried rope toys, but she got to the point where she would gnaw on the knots and shred the rope. We finally found out how dangerous this was when she choked on a piece of string. I have to buy her toys for super-chewers.

Just spending some extra quality, one-on-one time with your fur baby may be all that he needs to feel better. Please pay attention to the things that make him (or her) happy, and stick to doing those things. Maybe introduce new ideas once in a while, but be sure to include things you know will make them happy.


There are many different reasons for your dog to become tired. Dogs are more like people than we realize. If they are feeling a little out-of-sorts, give them a bit of time. Don’t try to make them do things they don’t want to do. It will just make matters worse.

Talk to your vet. They may recommend running some tests to check for worms or anemia or a virus of some kind. These can easily be remedied. Remember, if they are lethargic, get them to a vet! Please don’t wait. At least give them a call. They may be able to help you a little bit over the phone.

When you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Why is my dog so tired?’, please keep these points in mind. Consider their age and health. Above all else, consult a vet if you have serious concerns.

I wish you the very best and hope your pup feels better fast!



  • Julai

    Thank you for this detailed information on why dogs get tired. I worked as a househelp before in a family with a small dog, but he was never tired. I was the one getting tired because I need to walk him 3x a day and play with him in the park. But I didn’t know that dogs get depressed, too. If we’ll ever get a dog for our kids in the future, I will surely come back for more informations.

  • Lawson

    Hello Haze, 

    Thanks for this very clear article. We pet owners I jot really understand all about our pets and it’s very understandable because we don’t speak the same language. My pet has been really moody and tired lately and I really felt it was sick but coming here and seeing many things that could be the reason makes me really concerned and I’ll love to get her to see the vet. 

    • Haze

      It’s very heartbreaking sometimes, when we don’t know what’s wrong, and they can’t tell us. If your pet is moody, as well as tired, there’s a very good chance that there is a underlying condition that needs found. I wish you the best, and I hope your fur baby gets better fast!

  • Reyban3

    Hello Haze. My dogs will sometimes exhibit some of these symptoms (like being tired and not wanting to play) but not to the point where they are collapsing.  (Thank goodness) But reading your article, I will keep an eye out for other more dangerous symptoms such as shallow breathing and not going to the bathroom. Thank you for writing this article about dogs and lethargy.

    • Haze

      Thank you for visiting! Yes, dogs are so much like people/ We all have those days where we don’t feel that great. But thankfully they are few and far between! I hope yours stay happy and healthy for many years to come! 🙂

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