In general Sadie is a pretty lazy dog. I would say she spends about 85% of the day sleeping or just lounging around. So I often worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell if Sadie was sick, because one of the first signs of illness in dogs is lethargy. I assumed that lethargic would probably look the same as her normal state of lazy. But I was wrong. When Sadie recently had an allergic reaction and was feeling sick for two days, there was a definite difference between her normally lazy self and the lethargy of a sick dog. So today I thought I’d share some of the subtle differences so that you can tell if your dog is sick or just being lazy.
One big sign of feeling ill is loss of appetite. No matter how lazy Sadie is feeling, she will always investigate what I’m eating, just in case she may want a bite. But when she was feeling lethargic and sick, she did not even bother to give a sniff towards any food, let alone ask me to share. A lethargic dog will probably not beg for treats or run to the kitchen when you’re cooking.
Another sign that Sadie was feeling poorly was her lack of reaction. Normally if someone walks into the room, even when she’s sleeping, she will either pick her head up to see who it is or just wag her tail in acknowledgement that someone is nearby. When Sadie was sick she kept right on sleeping and ignored what everyone else was doing. She didn’t bark when the mailman came. She didn’t run to the door when her Grandparent’s came over. She totally ignored the sound of a car door in front of the house.
Sadie also exhibited lethargy in the slowness of her actions. When it’s time to go out, Sadie normally runs down the stairs and bolts towards the door. When we come back in, Sadie usually has a burst of energy where she chases me around the living room and wants to play. But when Sadie was not feeling well, she walked around very slowly. She refused to go up and down the stairs and had to be carried. I had to wait by the door for her to catch up with me. And there was definitely no chasing me around, no interest in playing.
If you are worried your dog isn’t feeling well, look at your dog’s behavior to see if he or she is a acting normally. Does he or she have any of the signs I mentioned above? You can also test your dog to see if he or she is reacting normally, by ringing the doorbell or rustling the food packaging for example. Keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional and I’m simply sharing the signs of illness I personally witnessed in my own dog. If you are at all concerned that your dog may be lethargic or ill, make sure to give your veterinarian a call.