Is My Puppy Sick or Just Tired?

People are generally used to seeing their puppies full of energy, running around the house and trying to play with any object that moves. Because of this, when people see their puppies still and unmoving, it can be worrisome. Puppies are much like young children in the sense that they tend to tucker themselves out by playing a little bit more than they should. However, they are also like young children in the sense that they are more susceptible to illnesses because their immune systems haven’t fully developed yet.
This can leave you, as the owner, in a situation where you aren’t sure if your puppy needs to be brought to the vet, or if it is just living its life the way any other puppy does. Before you schedule your vet visit, consider these seven signs that your puppy is likely just tired and will be back to its usual self after a nap.

Seven Signs Your Puppy Might Be Tired

1. After a Rest, Your Puppy Is Back to Normal

One of the clearest signs that your puppy is just a little bit tired and needs a break is if it gets back up to its normal activity levels after it has rested. Once your puppy has had a nap and has had food and water, if its personality is the same as it usually is without any signs of drooling or decreased appetite, your puppy may have just needed a break. Do be mindful to make sure that the puppy’s appetite is intact, as decreased appetite can be a sign of problems.

2. Your Puppy Bites More Than Usual

Veterinarians all across the country agree that one of the most common signs that a puppy has reached its limit and is ready to go to sleep is if it begins biting and nipping more than usual, even if you have already taught your puppy not to bite people. It can be thought of as toddlers throwing tantrums when they are overdue for a nap. When your puppy bites you after a long day of training, it is letting you know that it has lost its patience and is ready for the session to be over.

3. Your Puppy Is More Vocal Than Normal

While all puppies vary in how vocal they are, almost all puppies who are overtired will complain about it. Loudly. This is usually done with a combination of barks, whines, and all different kinds of vocalizations that they are capable of. They do this because they want your attention, and shouting is the best way for them to get it from you. This will be especially evident at the end of training or after a long walk with your puppy.

4. Your Puppy Is Unable to Sit Still

This may seem counter intuitive, but being unable to settle down is a sign that your puppy is overtired. Over tiredness can be thought of as a surge of adrenaline as a last hurrah after your puppy should be tired already. With all of this nervous energy, your puppy may follow you around the house while looking at you expectantly, may be pacing around the room you are in, or may wander around the house aimlessly.

5. Your Puppy Is Chewing Things up

Puppies are known for chewing through shoes, socks, cables, and just about anything they can get their teeth on, especially as they go through their teething period. With that being said, if your puppy is making a direct line to chew on something immediately after you are done taking it for a walk or after training and refuses to stop chewing on whatever it has its paws on, this may be another sign that your puppy is overtired and needs an outlet for its excess energy before it crashes.

6. Your Puppy Stops Listening to You

This can be a hard one to spot, depending on how obedient your puppy is and how much training it has completed. If your puppy usually listens to commands and knows how to respond, and it suddenly stops, this can be a sign that your puppy is tired and no longer wants to engage with being trained or being obedient. This can also be seen if your puppy keeps trying to nip at you despite you commanding it to stop.

7. Your Puppy Is Licking its Lips Repeatedly

In humans, licking your lips is a way to moisten them when you are getting ready to eat something. Licking lips has a very different meaning in dogs though. In most dogs, it is a sign of being deeply unhappy with a situation and many behavioralists attribute it to anxiety. In puppies, it often means that your puppy is just about done with being told what to do and is rapidly approaching the overtired stage. If you see your puppy licking its lips for no visible reason, it may be due to the fact that your puppy is tired.

Treatment for Lethargy in Puppy

So, if you realize that your puppy’s tiredness is actually coming from lethargy rather than the need for a nap after a long day, there are a few things that you can do. First things first, you will want to make sure that your puppy has seen a veterinarian, as lethargy is not normal in healthy puppies. Depending on the cause of the lethargy, your veterinarian will guide you on the best way to address the problem.
Some things that you can do for your lethargic puppy include making sure that the puppy’s diet has all of the necessary nutrients and fiber to provide the energy it needs. You also shouldn’t try to force your puppy to exercise beyond its limits, even if those limits feel very small at the moment. Pushing a lethargic puppy to work beyond what it is capable of doing can cause lasting damage. You should always keep an eye on your puppy’s cues for interest and make sure to stop activities when it appears to be tired.
By being mindful of your puppy’s energy levels and making sure that your puppy is not overexerting itself, you can reduce the chances of your puppy developing lethargy. Everyone loves a healthy, happy, and energetic puppy.