10 Signs and symptoms your dog is over tired or exhausted!


*Discloser: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.

exhausted dog symptoms
exhausted dog symptoms

As I usually say: a tired dog is a happy dog. But too tired can be dangerous for your dog and people around him. So it’s really important to know the signs and symptoms your dog is not only tired but exhausted.

If your pup is tired and relaxed, that’s great, he’ll be able to sleep and you can enjoy some peace as well.

But you should definitely know when to stop. Because once your dog is not only tired but exhausted, you should give him some time to rest.

It’s particularly important for you to stop your dog because most dogs won’t stop themselves, no matter how tired they are! They would follow you until they fall off their legs, that’s just their nature.

If your dog is still a puppy, he might show slightly different overtired signs. This article explains the 10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it.

Why it’s important to force your dog to rest

Over excitement

Dogs are in many ways like children. And that’s particularly true for when they’re being exhausted.

Overly tired children often become hyperactive. With dogs, it’s just the same.

Have you ever noticed that you’re dog gets particularly excited after a long hike or agility training session? In that case it’s most likely that he’s overly tired.

I don’t know about you but I find it super annoying when Baloo’s overly excited so I try everything to avoid it!

Losing self control

Another thing that can happen is that your dog will loose his self control.

You probably know that from your own behavior: if you’re really tired you’re much more irritable.

This might result in you screaming at someone only because he asked you how you’re doing or something similar.

It’s the same for your dog. He might be the best dog for an entire day of family picnic but bite a child in the evening.

All the noise, activities and people make dogs tired. At some point they need to be able to go to a quiet place in order to rest. Otherwise he’s more likely to loose self-control when people behave in a way he doesn’t like (especially children).

Health issues

Dogs who never learned to calm down will suffer more easily from joint and heart problems. Their body is incapable to relax and will hence develop weaknesses.

Exhaustion can also come from mental or emotional stimulation

It’s very important to keep in mind that mental exercise can exhaust your dog just as much as physical exercise. That’s why he might be more tired after an hour of obedience training than after a day long hike (or at least the same).

Another very important factor to keep in mind is emotional stimulation.

This is often overlooked because your dog doesn’t seem to be doing anything that would be actively tiring. But it’s actually very exhausting for dogs if a lot is going on around them. That’s most common for occasions where a lot of people are around him or where there are many smells or noises.

And there’s one more important thing: if you’re dog was getting too hot, then he’s suffering from heat exhaustion. This can have serious consequences, so make sure you read about the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs here.

Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!

How much sleep does a dog need?

Dogs sleep a lot!

An average dog should sleep around 18 hours per day (24 hours).

By sleeping I also mean relaxing, just not actively doing anything. The time where they are actually in deep sleep is about 12 to 14 hours per day.

This may sound like a lot but if you think about it, it means that your dog would be ready to have some sort of activity for 6 hours per day!

For most dog owners it’s impossible to provide this much activity for their dog. So if there is only something interesting going on for, say, 4 hours per day, your dog can relax during the remaining 2 hours where he would be ready to be active.

Sleeping is kind of a default manner of dogs if they don’t have anything to do. If your dog gets at least 4 hours of activity each day and sometimes a bit more, like on the occasional camping or hiking trip, he should be fine.

Activities can be walks, playtime, eating/drinking, sniffing, exploring, chewing his bone, etc. Anything, where he is not just lying around.

The amount of sleep a dog needs also depends on the activity he’s getting during his waking hours. Sniffing, e.g., is much more tiring than just walking. New areas involve new smells and are therefore much more intense than known territory.

Puppies will need even more sleep, 20+ hours are completely normal.

In my article about the question “how many hours a day should a dog sleep” I cover this topic more in-depth.


Funny idea for mental stimulation to make your dog tired

10 Signs your dog is tired or even exhausted

1. Yawning

Most people would probably say, that’s the most obvious. While it can certainly mean that your dog is tired, it mostly means something different, like stress or uneasiness.

2. He forgets commands

It’s sometimes difficult to tell if your pup is just trying to be nasty or if he’s actually incapable of executing your commands. If he seems to have forgotten even the simplest commands without any noticeable distraction, it’s very likely that he’s had enough and needs a break.

3. Hyper dog lying down

That’s a very clear sign for me that Baloo is exhausted!

Baloo never lies down in public on his own! He always feels like he has to watch everything that’s going on. So when he’s actually lying down, I know it’s time for a break for him.

Because even if he’s lying, he won’t be able to relax in public, just too many stimuli.

4. He’s having the “Zoomies”

When you’re dog is zooming around, it can mean 2 things: either he’s bored and tries to get rid of his excess energy. Or he’s hyper active because he’s over tired.

You have to look at this in the context of what’s been going on before he started to become hyper. If there has been a lot going on, it’s a good indicator that it’s time for bed for your fur baby.

Share it with your friends!

5. He’s sniffing the ground

This is a particularly obvious sign in training, like Agility.

You’re pup is usually super motivated and focused on you. But sometimes he just seems to get distracted by smells every 5 seconds, right? Yep, then he’s done! He’s too tired to focus anymore and that’s why he gets distracted.

6. Excessive panting and/or lip licking

These are simple signs of uneasiness. In case your doggo shows these signs after you’ve worked with him or had a busy day, it can mean that he’s starting to get tired.

7. He’s not acting like himself

Just watch out for any signs telling you that something’s different.

In my case it would be when Baloo’s lying down by himself, that’s a really rare scenario!

Other examples could be that your dog’s ears are usually up and now they’re hanging down. Or he’s being a clown and rolling around. Things like these can indicate that it’s time for his doggy bed.

8. Excessive thirst

Excitement or physical exercise can result in excessive thirst.

This can also be caused by the treats he’s getting. Chewing bones usually make a dog very thirsty as well.

But have you ever noticed that your dog drinks a whole lot more when you’re having guests around or visiting friends? That’s because the emotional excitement makes him thirsty. This is also a sign that you’re dog will have to rest at some point.

9. No interest in playing

Is your dog usually really playful and loves anything that’s flying around? But then sometimes he just doesn’t seem interested, right? That’s another sign that it’s time for a nap. Give him some rest and play again in a few hours.

Share it with your friends!

10. Hiding

Dogs that aren’t the social type will usually hide if it’s getting too much for them.

This behavior will particularly be visible with emotional stimuli, such as when you’re having friends over.

This is a very clear sign and very easy to read.

However, it’s not exactly typical dog behavior. Most dogs will show some of the other signs that aren’t that obvious. If he’s hiding somewhere, leave him there and let him relax until he feels ready for some socializing.

For hyper dogs: consider a crate

Crate training is a super helpful “tool” in dog training. It’s best to start practicing it when you’re dog’s still a puppy. But he can still learn it later on.

It’s especially useful for hyper dogs that have a hard time calming down by themselves. For them it’s best to put them in their crate in a calm room. It’s much easier for an excitable dog to relax there than if he’s just going to his bed in the living room where there’s still a lot going on around him.

Here’s a crate that I really like. Dogs used to live in caves. This is why they love to sleep in places that resemble caves. You can recreate this cosy cave-feeling with a crate that has a cover, like this one. This will help your dog even more to relax and calm down.

For a complete overview, make sure to check out the 6 best crates for dogs to sleep in.

Signs it’s getting dangerous

If your dog seems tired or lethargic for no particular reason you should watch out for signs indicating that he might have a medical issue.

If your dog is tired or even lethargic for more than 1 or 2 days, there might be something wrong with him. A very obvious sign is when he doesn’t react to the things he usually likes. That could be his favorite toy, his beloved food or you calling him to go for a walk.

Reasons can be a number of infections, pain, arthritis or even cancer. Vetstreet lists all the possible reasons.

Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

Alright, so what have we learned? Yes, a tired dog is a happy dog! An over tired or exhausted dog isn’t!

Learn to read your dog’s body language and stop him when you realize he’s had enough!

P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

26 thoughts on “10 Signs and symptoms your dog is over tired or exhausted!

  1. My puppy is 8 weeks old and would rather bite my hands,feet,ankles than play with his toys.

    He has drawn blood a few times which concerns me.

    Could he be tired?

    1. Hi Lisa
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Wow, sounds like your having a little rambo there 😉
      It’s very important for a puppy to get enough rest. The contrary can quickly lead to behavioral issues. Some puppies can’t decide when they need to rest, so we need to assist them.
      How much play time and active time does he get per day? At this young age he shouldn’t get more than 10 min of activity at a time (see rule of thumb under “Age and health”: https://dogpackr.com/how-long-can-a-small-dog-hike/#1_Age_and_Health). Spread over the day, I’d say he shouldn’t be playing or walking for more than an hour. You can increase this with every month of age.
      Speaking from my own experience with Baloo, it could indeed be that he’s overwhelmed by everything surrounding him. I highly recommend to start crate training your puppy. In the beginning, this was the only place where Baloo could relax. It would have been impossible for him to get his 20+ hours of sleep a day any other way.
      I would also recommend to stop playing as soon as he starts biting. You can leave him something to chew on but only give him attention when he’s calm.
      Let me know if you need any more advice. Puppy time is cute but it can also be tough 😉

  2. Hi there!

    We came to the beach with our 5 month old golden retriever.

    We feel is too much for her so we are not sure if we must come back to the rental house when she looks too tired.

    How can I know the limit?

    I feel it’s too many new things and she feels overwhelmed.

    She is obviously happy but I don’t want to expose her.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Vanesa
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      A 5 month old puppy still needs a lot of sleep. As a rule of thumb, a puppy should walk for only about 5 to 10 minutes per month of age at a time. So at 5 months, she shouldn’t walk or run for more than 25 to max. 50 minutes at a time. After that she should rest for a couple of hours.
      If you think she’s overwhelmed, you’re probably right. The signs are different for every dog. Does she show any of the signs listed above?
      With such a young puppy I think it’s important to stick to the rule of thumb, regardless of the signs. If she can relax easily, then you can also just go to a more quiet place, say a restaurant, after about 30 minutes on the beach. If she’s more of the hyper kind, then this won’t be enough, though. In that case I think she needs some time at the beach house to relax.
      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  3. My dog randomly get really wild and playful. By wild I mean he will pounce on me and start playing really rough , play biting my arms and ears etc. He will grab the couch and start pulling and just losing it. I yelp and stop but he still does it.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Wow, that sounds a little too rough.
      He definitely gets enough physical and mental exercise, right?
      If so, there can always be other things that can cause him to have a hyper phase. For Baloo, it’s taking baths and getting rubbed with a towel, for example.
      In that case, the most efficient thing for me to do is to sit down with him and just hold him by the shoulders until he’s calmed down. This works like magic and usually lets him calm down within a minute.
      If you’ve never done it before, it might take a little longer, though.
      It’s important that you’re very calm. You can then transfer that calmness through your hands onto your dog.

  4. Thank you for this article, I have a 2yr old maremma retriever cross who’s suddenly become uneasy and anxious exhibiting all the signs of what I see now as potential sleep deprivation. With school being canceled now his routine is thrown off and his quiet house all day is no longer quiet. I think this is compounding and creating a dangerous space for him and the kids. I’m working diligently on a more structured sleep area and times so everyone is happy. Then we can tackle our training with a well rested boy.

    1. Hi Carla,
      I just realized that my answer somehow got deleted. I hope you could still see it. Otherwise, let me know.

  5. We have a 12 month old lab/pit mix. We have had her for 6 weeks and she is a wonderful dog, but very energetic and her zoomies now include going after breeze roots. She gets two longs walks a day, play and positive training. She is crate trained and sleeps there from about 10pm until 6am. She will kind of rest in morning after walk and play, but easily disturbed and wants to know what we are doing. I have been putting her in crate for hour and a half in afternoon. But maybe she needs nap in morning after all the activity of walk and play?? Late afternoons she is wound up until dinner at 5. Sometimes she will just go to sleep after dinner for a couple of hours, but sometimes still in excited mode. I wondering in efforts to get her energy out in afternoons we are actually encouraging wild overtired dog-lol. Maybe nap in afternoon is too little to late?

    1. Hi there,
      Thank you for your comment.
      That sounds exactly like young Baloo!
      Sounds like she’s getting enough exercise and you set up a good routine. Remember, a dog should sleep and relax for about 18 hours per day. Does she get that much quiet time? She should definitely take a nap after your morning walk and then again in the afternoon. What works really well for Baloo and me is the following routine: morning walk (30min), afternoon walk at 2 or 3 pm (30min to 1 hour) and evening walk around 10 pm (30min). Between these active hours he’s sleeping or relaxing for most of the time.
      It’s very important to set up a routine for active and quiet hours. During the quiet hours she doesn’t need to be in deep sleep but should definitely be resting.
      I guess your dog is very focused on you and might even suffer from separation anxiety. In those cases the best thing is to ignore her during the quiet hours. I know it can be tough as they’re so cute. But this is really the most effective way to get a dog like this to calm down. Eventually she’ll get bored if she never gets any attention and will likely go in her crate to sleep. If she’s unable to do that even after a few days, try closing the crate for the hours when she should be sleeping. Ignore the crying, give her a chewy or a toy to go inside and be patient.
      Hope this helps. Baloo has calmed down a let when he turned 2. So, don’t despair! 😉

  6. Great article, we have an 18 week labradoodle and he’s quite challenging he doesn’t listen can play very rough at times appears totally indifferent to us, I am convinced he is much worse when tired, we use a crate but even when he is in it if he hears a sound or movement he is awake, his days starts at 0500 with breakfast, walk around 7 then crate till 11.00, lunch at 12 and rest till 13.00, he then goes back for a rest from 14.30 -1600. Last meal at 17.00 followed by rest till 1800 then out again until bedtime normally around 20.00 don’t know if we are getting it right our last pup would just sleep when tired this one will only stop if you put him in his cage even then he isn’t sleeping the whole time

    1. Hi Mario,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Oh dear, sounds like that’s the poodle in him, they just have a whole lot of energy!
      Baloo was exactly the same at that age. For the first few months he was barely able to sit down – let alone lie down – outside his crate! He was just always soooo hyper. Part of that was probably my fault because I thought he needs more exercise and training, while he actually needed less, at least for the first few weeks.
      Sounds like you’ve set up a pretty good routine. Just make sure he gets 18 to 20 hours of resting and sleeping time. If he manages to relax next to you, you can also try a relaxing couch session every now and then. When you realize he’s overtired then put him straight into his crate that he can take a nap.
      It will definitely take time for a puppy to get used to a routine. In the beginning, Baloo cried every time I put him in his crate. And that lasted for a few weeks. Only consistent ignoring helped to finally get him to relax and calm down.
      If you follow through with your routine and crate time, I’m sure your pup will soon be able to calm down. Baloo learned to sleep outside his crate at around 6 or 9 months old, just little steps at a time.
      So, there’s hope! 😉

      1. Thank you this gives me hope, we are trying and just want things as they should be for him to be happy and healthy

  7. Pingback: Dog Trotting vs Pacing: Understanding Canine Gaits | Puppy Smarts
  8. I’m so glad I found your article. I have a 9 week old staff puppy and we have been keeping her occupied for around 7 hours per day, up to 1 hour at a time. As the day wears on she becomes increasingly agitated (jumping and biting), gets “the zoomies”, goes to a corner and starts digging and tearing up the carpet, and generally ignoring when given commands. Nothing will calm her down in this state.

    I actually worried that she was not stimulated enough, but fear that we are asking way too much of her. By the sounds of things, we should calm right down and give her much more rest in the crate and shorter play/training sessions.

    1. Hi Ryan,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      I’m so glad you’ve researched this topic. At this age a puppy should do little other than sleeping, eating and pooping 😉
      Yep, definitely cut down on all the action!
      Let me know if you have any questions.

  9. We got a aussie shepherd 2 weeks ago, and he has been mostly good.

    As we were told so many times, aussies are full of energy, so actually did start taking him out for a walk and short runs along with the training when we feed his meals.
    So here was our schedule for him:
    430am wake up with pee and very short play – it was unavoidable since my husband had to get up early’
    630am – wake up pee walk
    7am – morning fee with training
    730am – potty
    8am – 10am/1030am – crate, play, pee
    11am – 1230pm – crate
    1230pm-130pm – lunch and walk
    – 3pm – crate
    -330pm – potty
    – 5pm crate
    -530pm walk, pee
    -8pm dinner and play
    and around this time is the time he gets crazy…after reading your article and i looked at out schedule..
    It looks like military schedule. I just feel really bad because it seems like we did too much to him.

    Ever since he came home, i don’t think we actually see him sleeping any where but crate. Because i have to make him to in there and sleep. when he is out from crate we have to occupy him somehow because he dosen’t really play with his toys. – this is mostly evening time stories, since during day time he sleeps in the crate while i am working. When he play with toys, he is literally destroying the toys..

    I am going to try not to train him so much each meals, and lower the activity levels…It will change his evening routine..

    Ah.i hope i didn’t make our puppy too stressed out…..he is only 10 weeks and he moved from farm to city..i was expecting too much from him too soon i guess..

    1. Hi Sara
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Oh well, dogs LOVE routine, so military style might actually be just according to his taste 😉
      But yes, I agree, it seems like a bit too much at 10 weeks old.
      Don’t worry, he’s not going to suffer from this short period. Just make sure to take it a little calmer from now on.
      I’d definitely stick to the rule of thumb (5 minutes of activity per month of age, max. 3 times a day). Definitely don’t run with him at this age. His bones are still really soft and so he might suffer from joint damage later in life.
      If he needs to go potty more often, then that’s basically almost all the activity he needs already. Maybe add 5 minutes play time once or twice, but that’s definitely enough.
      You’ll get to exercise him much more soon enough, just do it gradually.
      You can always add other calm activities like petting him while sitting on the coach or massaging him. But if he gets hyped up, better put him in his crate to take a nap.

      1. Thank you.

        We did very little activities today and teaching him to calm down.
        It seems like it is working great.

        I don’t even waking him for a potty breaks, when he wakes up we see how he is doing.
        We take him for potty breaks when he gets bit antsy. It works soo good he just let him go as soon as he sniffs the grass instead walking around trying to eat everything on the ground then go.

        I think we are going to skip any of actives introducing him to new stuff for next 2 days then we will add different type of plays in between his naps. It was non stop for him to be introduced to new things last few weeks……

        We still do feeding training tho. he is so good i can’t give up…….LoL we will keep that minimum as well.

        He is getting his 2nd shot this Saturday and i booked him puppy classes after that twice a week.
        Do you think i should keep social class to once a week so he won’t get too overwhelmed?

        Thanks,

        1. Ah, that’s awesome to hear!
          Yep, I wouldn’t wake him up to go potty either, since he’s showing it so well.
          Yeah, I would keep the puppy classes to once a week until he’s maybe 4 months old. This will probably excite him a whole lot and will likely make him overtired again very soon.
          Remember, you can gradually upgrade his activity level the older he gets (5 minutes per month of age).
          Let me know if you have any other questions!

          1. I think we are going on the right track.

            We’ve been fixing his schedule as he is getting older. Feeding is 3 times now and we changed his after dinner walk to his crazy hour.

            It seems like it is working good. Also, we are getting better at reading his cue when he has to go poop. He was doing crazy running when he wanted to go.

            He is still having trouble being chill or settled outside of his crate..
            He went into his crate voluntarily 3 times so far (I think), but when he was super super tired.
            I would love to see him to be able to settle outside of his crate…but it is just not easy for him yet. He has to chew everything, smell more and more..lol

            We take him out and do good exercise – hide and see in the park, bit of indoor games, and tethering him. But we also have to work..when he is out of control when he is tethered..there is really no choice other than putting him a crate. luckily, he isn’t fussy when we put him in. he goes to sleep straight, and if he is being fussy when he is in, we look for reasons why he is being fussy.

            Any thoughts how we can train him how to be settled outside of crate?

            Thanks

          2. Hi Sara,
            That’s great to hear, well done!
            Yep, it can take some time for puppies to learn to be calm, even outside the crate. It took about 6 to 9 months for Baloo 😉
            Ultimately, it probably just takes patience. Even the most energetic dog will become calmer once he gets a little older.
            Here are a few things that might help on the way:
            – Reward calm behavior: give him a treat or pet him very calmly whenever he lies down or is calm and relaxed.
            – Give him a time out in another room when he’s getting crazy. This should only be for a few seconds and you should bring him back before he becomes vocal. But it helps to break up his fussy behavior.
            – Give him something to chew or lick, like a bully stick or a filled kong. But he only gets it when he’s calmly lying in his bed. As soon as he’s getting hyped up, you take it away. Chewing and licking are relaxing behaviors and you also reward him for being calm but take the treat away if he can’t stay calm.
            – If he can’t calm down, put him in his crate as usual.
            Don’t worry, he’ll definitely be able to relax outside his crate sooner or later. But he’s probably the kind of dog who struggles to relax on his own, yet. So, he might need the assistance of his crate for a little longer.

  10. Hi,
    We have a rescue who is almost four months old. She’s a lab/collie mix. She cries and whines (I guess). She is separated from her brother too. We’ve been successful with crate training her—I think. She sleeps in the crate. I started a routine with her. 6am walk in the backyard (no leash) them she eats around 6:30am. She likes to sleep right after. About 7am she goes out again for about five to ten minutes and comes back in. She sits around it sleeps most of the day. 12pm is lunch time and she does the same thing again. 6pm or 6:30pm is dinner. She plays a little and goes outside. Yesterday morning she threw up twice. Then she went under the bed and wouldn’t come out until 8:30am. Today she was crying and what I call screaming so I opened the crate at 4:30am. She peed in the hallway and ran into my sons room under his bed and refused to come out. I read all the articles and I’m wondering is she tired, overwhelmed, tired or stressed out? We have five kids four of them are always checking in on her. The youngest who is four is always in her face when he gets home at 4pm. She came in the kitchen last night and just laid in the kitchen floor under the table and went to sleep. Should I be worried? This is my first day of dog.

    1. Hi there,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Hm, there could be a million reasons for her behavior. It’s difficult to say what might be causing it without seeing the dog 😉
      Have you adopted her recently? If so, it could be that she’s still settling in. That can take a few weeks until she’s feeling comfortable and can more easily relax.
      Sounds like you have a good routine.
      Has anything changed recently? If she continues to throw up, I’d definitely see a vet. Combined with the anxious behavior it could well be that she’s not feeling well or is in pain.
      In terms of her being overtired: Having young kids in the house can definitely be a factor in making a puppy a little overstimulated. It’s hard to say if her change in behavior is coming from that. Most times puppies become rather hyper when they need a nap. In any case, I would definitely make sure that your puppy gets enough sleep. Maybe teach your kids that they’re not allowed to go near your puppy when she’s in her crate. Or they’re only allowed to play with her at certain times of the day.
      I know this can be difficult to understand for kids. But it’s crucial, also for their own safety. If a dog is constantly sleep-deprived, she might be much more short-tempered. And even the kindest dog might snap at a child one day if she doesn’t know any other way out anymore.
      So, definitely give her that calm space she needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Content