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Some dogs just seem to be couch potatoes by nature. Apart from eating, lying around is all they do!
Now, if you’re an active person like me, you probably wish he had a little more energy, right?
While I’ve got quite the opposite problem with my Miniature Poodle Baloo (zoomies are his favorites!), I know plenty of dog parents who own lazy dogs.
Some of them are in Agility Training with us and boy, they really have to motivate their pooches to run! 😉
Luckily, almost every dog can be motivated to move at least a little. So, in this article I’ll show you how you can get from thinking “my dog is so lazy” to having a furry companion on your adventures.
Here’s a quick overview: Not every dog that seems lazy actually is. It’s in fact completely normal for a dog to sleep for the better part of the day. If your dog’s behavior has changed and he seems to have become lazy only recently, that’s when you need to take a closer look and talk to your vet. Otherwise, try different activities with your dog, such as mental stimulation or dog sport.
Is Your Dog Really Lazy?
So your dog likes to lay around all day. He doesn’t like to play fetch, it’s a chore getting him up and moving for a walk.
What’s up with him being so lazy?
There are lots of things that might be presenting as laziness in your dog. We’ll go over some of them today, and talk about possible solutions that will get your dog active and moving again!
How Much Do Dogs and Puppies Sleep?
You’ve probably heard that cats spend most of the day sleeping. But dogs spend a good chunk of the day napping too. In fact, adult dogs spend 12 to 14 hours sleeping per 24-hour cycle. That’s half the day!
But that’s just deep sleep.
If you also include resting time, then 18 hours chilling per day is completely normal for a dog!
Make sure to check out my article on dog sleep to get more information.
Plus, just like babies, puppies need a lot of sleep too. Their brains are developing, and sleep is necessary for that development. Your little puppy will probably spend about 18 to 20 hours a day sleeping.
So don’t be too concerned if your dog is spending most of the day lying around and napping. It’s perfectly normal and healthy for an adult dog to spend half the day asleep.
If you have a puppy, they’ll need even more for their little brains to develop properly.
Is My Dog Lazy or Sick?
Sleeping a good part of the day is normal. But if you’re noticing your normally active dog is napping or lazing around much more than usual, he could be sick.
If you notice your dog slowing down, pay attention. It won’t just be sleepiness—if he’s less enthusiastic, experiencing delayed responses, or has less energy than normal, those could all be signs of illness.
Possible illnesses that induce lethargy include parvovirus, heart conditions, liver problems, or ingestion of poison.
If your dog is slowing down considerably and is still young, don’t force him to do more exercise. If he’s sick, this could make the illness worse. Keep a close eye on him for any other symptoms. Coughing, heavy breathing, disorientation or confusion are a few examples of what to look out for. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, call your vet right away.
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!
In case it’s just lethargy that your dog is showing, most experts will recommend you wait a day or two. But if, after waiting, your dog is still showing signs of lethargy and exhaustion, it’s time to give your vet a call.
Here are some other articles that might help explain your dog’s lethargic behavior:
- Is my dog bored or depressed? 5 signs of dog depression
- 14 exhausted dog symptoms – when your dog needs a break
- 13 signs and symptoms for a heat stroke in dogs
Is My Dog Lazy or Depressed?
Yep—you heard that right. Dogs get depressed too.
Just like us humans, if a traumatic event happens in your dog’s life, he could become depressed. Also just like us, loss of interest and lethargy are signs of depression in your dog.
If your dog’s sleeping habit are changing, and he’s not interested in things he used to enjoy, he may well be depressed.
Consider things that have occurred recently in his life. Maybe another pet you had passed away recently. Your dog could be in mourning and depressed.
In my article out dog depression you can learn more about possible causes and how to help your dog.
Why Is My Dog So Lazy?
Now that we’ve gone over some things that can present themselves as laziness, let’s get into the specifics.
Here are 7 reasons why your dog has become lazy.
When humans get older, we slow down. Our bodies and brains don’t run the way they used to.
The same is true for dogs. And because their lives are shorter, they reach the age where they start slowing down much faster than we do.
Larger dogs tend not to live as long as their smaller cousins. This means that you’ll probably notice your Golden Retriever’s activity levels lowering faster than your neighbor’s Pomeranian.
So, if you notice your older dog acting slower than usual, or not being able to walk as far, don’t worry too much. This is a normal part of your dog’s aging. You’ll find new ways to enjoy your dog’s twilight years together.
Who doesn’t love summer? Blue skies, longer days, and lots of sunlight. We all know how it feels to spend the day out at the beach, and feel exhausted by the end of the day.
Why is that?
It turns out that keeping our bodies cool is a lot of work. The same is true for your dog!
If it’s summertime and you notice your dog’s energy levels dropping, heat could be the culprit. Make sure to give your dog plenty of water to stay hydrated, and bring your dog inside to cool off. Also, make sure to keep a look out for heat exhaustion or heat strokes in your dog.
The truth is some breeds are bred to be more active than others. A Jack Russel has been bred traditionally to chase foxes, so they’ll have high activity levels. And Poodles are also born with an insane amount of energy!
On the other hand, Pugs or English bulldogs are both breeds that are much lower energy.
So don’t worry if your Basset Hound spends most of the day lying on your couch while your yellow Lab has “zoomies” because the latter has been bred for his playful disposition. That’s just what’s normal for those breeds!
It’s not just the breed that decides your dog’s energy levels. It’s his personality too!
Just like your friend who runs marathons versus your other friend who prefers to sit on the couch watching Netflix, individual dogs have their own preferences.
If your dog is healthy, happy, but isn’t interested in long hikes or jogs, it could just be your dog’s preference.
Some dogs lean naturally towards a more sedentary lifestyle!
Have you ever eaten a meal that left you feeling just a little blah?
Diets play a huge role in our own levels of energy, and the same is true for dogs.
Consider what you’re feeding your pup. Keep the grain levels in your dog’s meals low, don’t feed him too much all at once, and try not to feed him too much people food.
Like we said before, laziness can often be a symptom of a larger problem. If your dog’s laziness is coming on suddenly, that’s a sign something is wrong.
It’s also important to think about your dog’s weight. Being overweight can increase your dog’s laziness, and can lead to other health problems.
Again, pay attention to your dog’s diet, and start incorporating some more exercise into your dog’s life.
There are a variety of reasons your dog could be depressed. Your dog could be grieving the loss of a companion. Perhaps you moved recently, and your dog is struggling to adjust to his new environment. Or maybe you’ve been depressed yourself, and your dog is picking up on that and mirroring your feelings.
The best thing to do if your dog is depressed is to spend more time with him. Try to engage him in fun activities, like playing games or going for hikes. The time you spend bonding will help both you and your dog.
You might also consider visiting your vet. If your dog’s depression isn’t going away, they’ll check for any other illness that could be affecting him. Your vet might also prescribe an antidepressant for your dog.
How to Encourage a Lazy Dog to Be More Active
So, you’re definitely sure that your dog is lazier than the average dog. Or his behavior has changed recently.
Let’s now look at how you can get your lazy dog to be a little more active.
First of All, Talk to Your Vet
If your dog is behaving strangely, the best place to start is always your vet.
They’ll be able to check your dog out and make sure it isn’t a serious illness affecting him. Plus, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to dealing with what’s making your dog lazy.
Try Different Activities Instead of Just Walking
Doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. If your dog seems tired of his daily walk, try introducing some fun new activities.
One good example of something to try is agility. It’s fun, burns energy, and it’s a great way for you and your dog to bond and build trust. Plus, you can practice it in your own home!
Try a Different Diet
Your dog’s diet is important, and plays a huge role in his overall behavior and energy levels. The AKC is a great resource for what and how to feed your dog. Check it out and, if your dog is more lazy than usual, use it as a guideline for a new diet.
Just make sure to discuss it with your vet first!
Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
Keeping your dog’s brain going could help with his laziness. There are lots of fun ways you can do this! Play hide and seek around the house, or teach him some new tricks to keep him engaged and stop him from getting bored.
Here are some other articles to help you get started:
- how to mentally stimulate your dog
- my dog is bored, what can I do?
- 21 fun things to do with your dog at home
Mental stimulation can also be used for dog training, as Braintraining4dogs shows very well. This way you can combine getting your dog to be more active with dog training. And this course really covers ever dog behavioral issue under the sun! Make sure to check it out!
There are lots of reasons why your dog might be lazy, or might seem lazy.
Some things, like age and personality, are nothing to worry about. But other possibilities, like physical illness or depression could mean a visit to your vet.
Just remember that you know your dog best. If he’s not acting like himself, it’s best to call your vet. In case it’s something serious, they can start treatment right away.
If it’s just boredom or a poor diet, there are lots of fun ways you and your dog can change your daily activities and habits!
For any behavioral issues I highly recommend to check out Braintraining4dogs. This is the place where you can learn how to get rid of literally every behavioral problem you might face with your dog!