Home Health Why Is My Labrador Retriever Lethargic and Not Eating?

Why Is My Labrador Retriever Lethargic and Not Eating?

by Alexxa Espiritu
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Labrador retrievers are known for their immense appetite and high energy levels. So, if you notice that your Labrador is acting lethargic and not eating, there may be a reason for that.

Usually, if your dog has not been eating for the past day, it may just be because of a stomach bug, so you don’t have to take your Lab to the vet automatically.

However, in other instances, if your ordinarily healthy and voracious Labrador is not eating, that may be a sign of something serious. You will have to get your dog checked immediately.

If your Lab is not eating and is sluggish for some time, we recommend that you take them to the vet ASAP. Lethargy and tiredness in dogs is almost always a sign of another underlying condition. This is especially true in puppies and younger dogs that usually have high levels of energy.

Here are some possible reasons why your Labrador is not eating and seems lethargic:

 An Upset Stomach

It’s not uncommon for dogs to not eat whenever they have an upset stomach. Observe your Labrador for about a day or so, and see if their appetite improves.

If it doesn’t improve in about that time, you should go ahead and see your vet. It might not be something more serious than an upset stomach, but it’s best to be sure either way.

When a dog has an upset stomach, they are going to drink a lot of fluids to compensate for it. So, if your Labrador retriever is not eating and not drinking water, take them to the vet immediately. This might likely be something more serious.

 Infection

If your Lab’s lack of appetite is accompanied by them acting lethargic or unlike their usual behavior, then you should go to the vet as soon as you can. Infections could cause your dog to be sluggish and generally not themselves. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, though, so make sure to get your pet to the vet right away.

Behavioural Issues

Sometimes, your dog could be ignoring their food for purely behavioral reasons. They might not like their food, or they might have gotten bored with it. There have been many cases where kibble-fed dogs become bored with their food and start to ignore it as a way of prompting their owners to give them food that they like more.

If you have recently fed your Lab something they like, they might ignore their food to get you to feed them that particular food. Your dog may be trying to get their way with you.

Picky eating in dogs is not something that goes away by you succumbing to their demands. You should be able to make them eat the proper food with sufficient effort in exploring options.

Take note, though, that picky eating is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Your Lab could be a picky eater due to a chronic illness or because of age. Don’t force very young dogs or older dogs into a diet that they do not like. As a pet owner, learn to explore your options, and you will eventually find the type of food that your Labrador would be willing to eat.

In the same manner, vets could also prescribe dogs a specific type of food for an illness. Instead of forcing your Labrador retriever to eat food that they do not like, try and talk it out with your vet to see if you can find other options.

 Serious Illness

If it is not a stomach bug or behavioral issues, your Lab’s lack of appetite and lethargic behavior could be indicative of a more serious underlying illness.

The best thing to do is to consult a vet and proceed according to their instructions. It’s essential to observe how your dog acts in the next 24 hours after you’ve noticed their unusual behavior. This will give you the space to consider the next course of action.

Labrador pups have more voracious appetites and eat a lot more than adult Labs. So, if your puppy is not eating well or is rejecting their food, you should contact your vet immediately.

Lethargy in puppies may be more difficult to assess since they need a lot of rest and can be found asleep for a significant portion of the day. But, if you notice that they are inactive or act sluggish even in the hours where they are usually very active, schedule an appointment with your vet straight away.

 Major Life Changes

Significant life changes could also affect dogs and their appetites. If you’ve recently moved into a different place, or there’s a new occupant in your house, this could be the reason why your Labrador is not eating well.

Like people, Labs also need some time to adjust to new situations. Part of that means that they may not eat as much as they did before.

Take note, though, that if this lack of appetite persists, and your dog is still less energetic than usual, this might be because of something else. Depression in dogs is a real thing and could be caused by losing a companion or significant shifts in their life dynamics.

Be sure to give your Lab the love and attention they deserve and, hopefully, they will be back to normal in a couple of weeks at most. If your Labrador retriever continues to behave oddly, contact your vet.

 Other Reasons

Apart from the reasons listed above, there could be other reasons why your Labrador might not be eating well. Old age, oral pain, and diseases cause them to be less active, which, in turn, lessens their appetite. What you should do is observe your dog and how they behave so that you can easily watch out for serious implications.

Conclusion

Labrador retrievers are well known for being energetic and voracious eaters. So, if your Lab suddenly seems lethargic and loses appetite, there may be a reason for that.

A few possible reasons for these include infections, behavioral problems, a severe ailment, or having an upset stomach. This is not an exhaustive list, however, and your Lab may be sluggish and not eating for reasons that we have not listed here.

We advise that you contact your vet instead to address this problem. After all, your Lab needs your care and attention, so you should always watch out if they are suddenly behaving erratically.

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