Dogs bring joy and unconditional love into our lives, and when we are feeling down, they are often the ones who pick us up
So, when a dog who is usually bursting with joy and energy loses interest in the activities they used to enjoy, it is a sure sign that all is not well.
A drop in energy can be a sign of a physical injury, underlying health condition, or illness, or it could even be linked to their mental wellbeing.
While your vet is the best person to speak to about your dog’s health and mental wellbeing, here are 5 possible reasons behind their low energy levels.
- They are in pain or unwell
Like a human, a dog in pain or discomfort is unlikely to feel its best and may find it difficult to exercise as they used to.
Dogs are not able to tell us when they are in pain, but they do show us through their behaviour.
So, take them to a vet to rule out any internal issues or injuries that might be preventing them from being active.
Click here for some of the most common signs that your dog is in pain.
- They are carrying too much weight
Feeding a dog too much food or the wrong type of food can lead to weight gain, and even a slight increase in their body weight could be cause for concern.
Additional weight puts strain on the joints and can affect their internal organs.
If there is no reason for their weight gain, it may be down to an underlying condition that should be checked by a vet.
Otherwise, it may be time to reduce their portion sizes, increase their exercise, stop slipping human food from the dinner table, or switch to a healthier food brand.
- Their diet lacks nutrition
The food that your dog eats will have a direct impact on their energy.
If you are feeding your dog an improperly balanced diet, they may lack essential nutrients and/or receive insufficient calories to fuel their body.
Of course, the type of food and the quantity that they need will vary depending on their age, breed, and activity level, but some owners recommend a raw diet with only natural dog treats rather than commercial brands.
You might also want to change their feeding schedule, i.e., whether you feed them two or three meals per, as this can impact their hormones and metabolism.
- They are getting older
Dogs, just like humans, tend to slow down as they get older, so if your dog is aged 10 or over (and their vet has ruled out health problems), you may just need to adjust their routine.
Older dogs still need to remain active and require plenty of mental stimulation through play, but they may not be as energetic as they once were.
Consider shortening their walks and introducing an exercise that is less impactful on their joints, like swimming.
- They are depressed
It is absolutely possible for a dog to become depressed, which can cause lethargy.
Have there been any big changes to their environment or routine lately, such as the arrival or departure of a family member?
Are they alone in the house more than they used to be? Has something happened recently that has frightened them?
A professional dog behaviourist may help you bring your dog back to a happier and more energetic place.
If you are unable to pinpoint the cause of your dog’s reduced energy, it is important to take them to the vet for a check-up to rule out any underlying medical issues.