You just adopted a puppy and you can’t wait to share endless adventures with them. Just think of all the parks you can visit and the long walks you can take together— wait, why is your puppy always sleeping?
Some puppies are lazy, others are simply… puppies. What looks like lethargy to you might just be their growing process. In case your dog is being lazy and there are other symptoms, then you should call your veterinarian.
What should you do if your puppy is being lazy?
If your puppy starts being lazy all of a sudden you will need to investigate to find out what’s wrong. It will be important to pinpoint if they get particularly lethargic during specific times of the day or if this lethargy started after a certain event.
Most puppies will sleep a lot, no matter their breed or the amount of activity they do during the day. However, they will slowly grow out of it. A 5-month-old puppy sleeping a lot is quite normal, a ten-month-old may need a medical examination.
Lethargy can be worrying if it’s associated with other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, or any kind of discomfort. In that case, what you think of as laziness may actually be a sign of illnesses and you will need to bring your puppy to the vet.
Why is your puppy so lazy all the time?
If you ruled out the possibility that your puppy is sleeping the right amount of time for their age, then the cause for their laziness is to be investigated somewhere else.
There are actually many reasons why your puppy may be feeling or acting lazy, some are physical, but some may be psychological or genetic.
If you notice other symptoms apart from an unusual lethargy, bring your puppy in for a medical examination.
Your puppy may be acting lazy because they’re bored out of their mind. Puppies alternate between time frames full of energy and napping. When they’re awake they’re ready to explore the world and learn as much as possible.
This should be a time where your puppy learns to play by your rules and it is also a time for you to teach them those commands that will be fundamental for your lifetime partnership.
If you don’t have time to dedicate to your puppy, they may feel bored and neglected. Not to mention, if you don’t interact with them they may be unable to learn your habits and to know you, and this could create problems in the future.
A puppy on the wrong diet could be a puppy that lacks energy. Nutrition is important throughout the whole life of your dog, but especially in their growing stage, it will be fundamental that they’re provided with the right diet.
If you’re not sure that your puppy’s current diet is the right one for them, consult your veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. They will guide you through this delicate process and help you compile the best diet for your puppy’s specific needs.
Too much exercise
Many people adopt a dog because they want to be more active and they think a dog will help them achieve this goal. It is a legitimate reason, but you should not forget that puppies are like children and you can’t force excessive exercise on them from an early age.
Overworking your puppy might mean compromising their growth because it could damage their joints and they may feel tired for the rest of the day. For example, you can’t take a puppy on 30 minutes walks!
To establish your puppy’s workout time, you should use the Rule of Five: five minutes of exercise per month of age. This means that, for example, a 3-month-old puppy can only get 15 minutes of exercise per day.
Try not to go over this limit, especially because the average puppy will be still running, exploring, learning all day long even when you’re not walking them, so they do get their fair share of exercise already.
We do not want to think about it, but unfortunately, puppies are not immune to diseases either.
While laziness alone shouldn’t be a symptom of sickness, you should look out for other related symptoms such as weakness, lack of appetite, diarrhea, pain, or anything out of the ordinary.
Some puppies may experience extreme tiredness because of worms. In that case, bring them to the vet for a deworming treatment and they should be fine afterward.
If your puppy seems sad and tired all of a sudden, it will be useful to remember when they started looking like that and what happened around that time.
Sometimes when a puppy seems depressed, pet parents are quick to dismiss the possibility, but dogs can be mentally affected just like us humans.
Depression in dogs is usually related to big changes in their life. A new house, friends moving away, another house pet dying, or an owner suddenly leaving may trigger depression in dogs.
If that’s the case, you will often just need to wait a few weeks for your puppy to get used to the new situation, and then they will be fine again.
However, if the symptoms continue, it will be necessary to bring them to the veterinarian or to an animal behaviorist.
Just like humans, every dog is unique. We do categorize them into breeds and dogs from the same breed may share some characteristics, but the personality of a dog is one of a kind.
As such, some dogs may simply be couch surfers. They just don’t like exercising outside of the mandatory walks and there is little you can do to change that.
Forcing a dog, and especially a puppy, to change their behavior is usually counterproductive. In the case of puppies, you absolutely must not force them to do more than what they feel like doing.
Once they grow up, if their laziness really bothers you or if you see it’s not good for their health (for example, it’s making them fat), you can try to train them little by little to be more active or you can consult an animal trainer.
Genetics may play a role in the laziness of your puppy. In fact, some breeds are known to be more active than others.
Among the so-called lazy puppy breeds, you can find Bulldogs, Pekingese, Chow Chows, Pugs, and Shih Tzus.
As you can see, these are mostly very small dogs that probably wouldn’t be able to be much active even if they wanted to!
If you’re looking for a sports companion, do a little research before settling on a breed. Or you can reach your local shelter and let your heart be stolen by one (or more) of those irresistible foundlings, which is always the best choice.
How much sleep do puppies need?
We have all heard stories of puppies being little devils, running and jumping all day, destroying furniture, and our mental sanity along with it. Then you might look at your sleepy puppy and think: Was it all a lie?
Not exactly. Puppies are indeed full of energy, but they also need a lot of sleep to compensate. They are in that delicate stage of life where everything is new and exciting to them, but they also need to learn a lot of things every day.
That’s why you often see pictures of puppies falling asleep in the most inappropriate places at the most inappropriate times. Some puppies can literally fall asleep mid-playing!
Sleeping is learning
The sleeping process is a delicate one for dogs at this age because their brain keeps working non-stop even when they’re resting, memorizing all the things, habits, and commands they’ve learned during the day. Just as you’re learning to know them, your puppy is learning to know you.
Did you know that most puppies can sleep up until 20 hours per day? And the majority of them behave just like baby humans too: they hardly have a full night’s sleep and they will probably wake you up at times.
Don’t worry, this should change starting at 4 months old already, even though some puppies are still little nocturnal troublemakers at 6 months old.
The bright side is that a puppy will sleep a lot during the daytime as well. In fact, they usually sleep in between activities in order to recharge.
At this time, it will be important to let them rest in a quiet corner of the house and in their comfortable crate, so your puppy will associate this space to their very own safe space.
Should you be worried if your puppy is lazy?
Puppies will sleep most of their childhood away and it’s completely normal. Forcing them to assume unnatural behavior not only would be useless but would be damaging for their health and development.
Laziness should be worrying only if associated with other symptoms of sickness or discomfort. In that case, a medical examination is necessary to understand what is wrong with your puppy.
Puppies mature into adulthood at different times and their size and breed play an important role in the transition, so don’t base your puppy’s experience on someone else’s dog.
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