Other health problems

My Dog Seems Sad and Tired

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: February 28, 2024
My Dog Seems Sad and Tired

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Some of us don't think it is possible for our dog to be sad. While they may get tired sometimes, their enthusiasm and gifts of affection seem endless. This means when they do seem to be down, it can be worrying. Not only can a dog be sad due to emotional stress, physical problems can also lead to a dog seeming down and lethargic. Some are potentially life threatening, so they are symptoms which should never be ignored.

At AnimalWised, we understand why my dog seems sad and tired. We look at the reasons your dog isn't themselves and suggest what you can do about it.

You may also be interested in: Why Is My Dog So Tired? - Lethargy in Dogs
  1. What does it mean for a dog to be sad and tired?
  2. My dog is too hot
  3. My dog is sad and doesn't want to eat
  4. My dog wants to hide
  5. My dog won't get up
  6. My dog is sad and sleeps a lot

What does it mean for a dog to be sad and tired?

Since there are both psychological and physiological reasons why a dog might be sad and tired, we need to look at the larger context when it happens. When a dog is sad and tired, it usually means they are lethargic. It means they can struggle to make big exertions of energy, but can be so lethargic they even struggle to get up.

If a dog is down and tired momentarily, then we usually don't have anything to worry about. If they have just been on a long walk, for example, it is normal for them to be tired. We only need to be worried when this state of lethargy persists or they have regular acute phases. We also need to look at any additional signs and behaviors which may point to a specific problem.

For more introductory information, take a look at our related article on whether dogs can get depressed.

My dog is too hot

When temperatures rise, it will have a bearing on our dog. They do not sweat in the same way as humans, so it can be difficult for them to self-regulate their temperature. When the ambient temperature becomes too hot, they will lose energy and find it difficult to exert themselves. This can make them look sad and tired, although the problem is a physical one.

Hot weather can lead to distinct problems in dogs. In addition to your dog looking sad and tired, they might develop hyperthermia. This is when the dog becomes overheated. When hyperthermia is severe, they can develop heat stroke which is potentially life threatening. Water consumption is also important as it is easy for a dog to become dehydrated.

If you see your dog reduces activity when the weather becomes warmer, you can see how to prevent problems with our article on how to keep dogs cool in the summer. If you observe the symptoms of heat stroke in dogs, then you will need to take them to a veterinarian.

My Dog Seems Sad and Tired - My dog is too hot

My dog is sad and doesn't want to eat

Anorexia in dogs refers to a loss of appetite, a symptom when we observe the dog stops wanting to eat. It is a symptom of various conditions, but is often associated with gastrointestinal problems. Such problems can cause discomfort and lead to the dog losing their appetite. In most cases, this is accompanied by diarrhea and/or vomiting in the dog.

When a dog has lost their appetite and appears lethargic, it may only last a short while. In these cases, the dog may simply have a little indigestion or may have eaten something they shouldn't. However, it can also be due to more serious clinical issues such as a parasitical infestation, an infection, poisoning or even an underlying disease such as kidney failure.

The type of food we give them might contribute to digestive problems, but it shouldn't cause them to look sad unless they aren't eating. Psychological problems can prevent a dog from eating, but they are less common. However, if the dog is stressed or anxious, they can lose their appetite. The same can occur if they feel depressed or have experienced trauma.

Whether or not the dog eats, if they persist in looking sad and tired, it is important we take them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis.

My dog wants to hide

It is common for a dog to stay in one place when they are sad and tired. They may lack energy, meaning it is difficult to get up. However, it is also possible they will move to a secluded place to hide. There are various reasons why they might do this. They may be frightened of something in the home, they may be ill or they may be suffering from an age-related fear, among other reasons.

The age of our dog is another important part of the context. When a dog reaches 7-9 years of age, they start to enter their old age period. This can have various effects on their mind and body, including neurological degeneration. This can lead to the dog looking sad and tired, often due to confusion over what is happening. It is especially the case if the dog hides and begins acting strange.

With neurological degeneration, there is usually no cure. The best we can do is slow down the degeneration with symptom management. It is especially important to ensure they are cognitively stimulated during this time.

My dog won't get up

Some dogs won't get up when they are sad and tired. There is a difference between a dog not wanting to get up and a dog not being able to do so. In the latter case, they are usually suffering from a disease. We will see other symptoms, but when a dog has a serious infection or they are otherwise immunosuppressed, they will be too tired to get up. When their body is failing, they may be lacking the function to be able to get up.

While neurological degeneration is a common symptom of old age in dogs, physical deterioration is common. Due to wear and tear, their bones and joints can become weak. We can often see signs of pain when the dog tries to get up. This lack of ability to move as they once did can make the dog look sad and their old bones make them tired. Osteoarthritis in dogs is a common reason the dog looks sad and can't get up. It causes them a lot of physical pain and will require a veterinary visit for diagnosis and treatment. The latter usually requires pain management.

It is also possible for a younger dog to have similar mobility problems. Certain dogs are more prone to diseases such as ataxia which can make it difficult for them to get up. We can see this when they walk and it usually progresses over a long time. It is not as common for the dog to look sad and tired all of a sudden in these cases.

My Dog Seems Sad and Tired - My dog won't get up

My dog is sad and sleeps a lot

If a dog is sand and sleeping a lot, we should take them to the veterinarian. We should run tests such as checking their temperature, the color of their mucus membranes and their respiration. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, it is also possible the dog has gone into a state of shock. This could be due to trauma, the effects of a disease or even a sudden drop in temperature.

However, we should also point out that it is very common for both puppies and older dogs to sleep a lot. It is only when a dog is sleeping more than average that we should see it as a problem. Also, if the dog is otherwise happy and energetic when not sleeping, it is less likely they are suffering a problem. However, if we are at all unsure, we need to take them to a veterinarian. Dogs may sleep too much due to kidney problems, gastrointestinal issues and many other possibly harmful issues.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Seems Sad and Tired, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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1 comment
My rescue cocker, looks sad sleeps allot. She has latched to my wife but regards me with a good deal synicicism.. She only eats at night but at least she does eat. She loves to walk but will not let me put the leash on, my wife has to do that.I'm at a loss. Any tips would be appreciated, regards Lawrence
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My Dog Seems Sad and Tired