What to Monitor in a Lethargic Pet

Posted by Dr. Roth on

Dog and cat laying down, what to monitor in a lethargic pet

Like humans, pets can experience lethargy. It’s a common symptom of a wide range of ailments. A lethargic pet is different from a tired pet. While a tired pet needs a little sleep, a lethargic pet has little to no energy to perform even the most basic daily functions. Even getting up is a challenge. 

When a pet parent has a lethargic cat or lethargic dog, they need to keep a close eye on their pet. While it could be nothing serious, it could also point toward a significant issue that requires vet care. Here, pet parents will learn what they should monitor when their pet starts looking lethargic. 


Dog and cat behavior can tell pet parents a lot. Pet parents know how their pets normally act, and they can tell when something’s wrong. A lethargic pet is likely to experience a change in appetite. One skipped meal might not be a big deal, but if a pet misses two or more meals, a pet parent should contact their vet. 

Vomiting or Diarrhea

When a cat or dog becomes lethargic, pet parents should be on the lookout for additional signs of illness like vomiting and diarrhea. When a pet is vomiting or has diarrhea, it can point toward several pet health issues, so a visit to the vet can help narrow down the possibilities and get their pet the appropriate care. An online vet can also provide dog and cat medical advice that can help a pet parent take the steps they need to ensure their pet is in good health. 


If a pet parent notices their pet has become lethargic, they should check their cat or dog’s gums. Healthy gums are a nice shade of pink. Red, pale pink, or white gums can all indicate there may be a problem that requires a check-in with the vet. 

Pet parents should also feel their pet’s gums. The tissue should feel moist to the touch. If it’s dry or tacky, the pet could be dehydrated.

Physical Signs of Issues

Again, lethargy is a symptom of many pet health issues. If a pet parent notices their cat or dog is lethargic, they should feel the animal’s body carefully for signs of pain or discomfort. 

Additional Considerations

Sometimes, lethargy isn’t necessarily a health-related issue. Here are a few other things pet parents should consider when they notice their pet is lethargic. If they have any pet health questions or concerns, they should contact their vet right away. 

Context is Key

As pets age, they begin to slow down and become more lethargic. They don’t always run around and play like they used to. Pet parents should keep their cat or dog’s age in mind. 


In addition to age, pet parents should consider their pet’s lifestyle. Is the cat or dog normally active? Do they go on long walks or play a lot with their pet parents? If they’re typically active and suddenly become lethargic, it may be time for a visit to the vet.  

Weather and Climate

Animals are sensitive to the weather, just as humans can be. And just like humans, pets may become more lethargic during the summer months, especially in warmer regions. 

Keep an Eye on a Lethargic Pet

While it may be nothing, a lethargic pet can also indicate a health issue that requires a visit to the vet. Pet parents need to be on the lookout for additional signs that something’s wrong. Doing so can help a vet accurately diagnose the issue and prescribe the right treatment. The vet can also answer the pet parent’s cat health questions or dog health questions and help ensure the pet stays healthy. 

If a pet parent can’t reach their regular vet, they can also get answers to their pet health questions from an online vet. With Fuzzy’s Live Vet Chat, pet parents can get the pet health advice they need when they need it 24/7. Visit Fuzzy today to sign up and get started

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