6 Signs Of A Tired Dog: When To Rest Or Go To The Vet

Playing, running, or hiking with your dog is a great way for you both to get some exercise and blow off some steam.

What better way to unwind than running around with your dog for a few hours?

Just like humans, dogs have limits. They can only handle so much activity – even puppies.

Whether you're playing, running, or training, keep an eye out for these signs you've got a tired dog on your hands.

How can you tell your dog is just tired and doesn't have something bigger going on? It's important to watch out for the red flags so you can understand the difference.

6 Signs of a Tired Dog to Watch Out For

a gentle labrador with red collar licking a person's hand

Although dogs and puppies seem to have boundless energy, they sometimes get worn out faster than humans.

It's especially important to watch out for these signs if you train your dog. Just like kids, you wouldn't want them to keep practicing and practicing without any break, right? Of course not.

  • Your Dog Loses Interest in Everything

Is your dog getting distracted or losing interest in the activity at hand?

It can get frustrating when your dog starts to ignore you or stops listening. If your dog is no longer interested in the toy, game, training, or treats, this could indicate your dog needs a rest.

  • Your Dog Starts Barking More Often or the Sound Changes

It's normal for dogs to bark when they want attention or want to show you something. However, if the pitch of your dog's bark sounds "off" or he starts to bark more frequently, this could mean he's ready to take a break.

These whining or whimpering noises often sound like your dog is hurt – even if he isn't. He's just trying to tell you something.

  • Your Dog Keeps Lying Down

Is your dog getting lazy? Does she lie down at your feet instead of chasing the ball?

She might be trying to tell you that she's done with this game. Symptoms of boredom and tiredness often look a lot alike in dogs. Know when it's time to take a break or switch the activity.

  • Your Dog Just Looks Tired
a very tired looking Labrador lying on the floor

Lying down is a dead giveaway that your dog is tired.

But what about other bodily cues like yawning? Has her posture changed? Is she walking like she just worked a 12-hour shift at the restaurant? This probably means she's ready to give it a rest.

  • Your Dog is Slap Happy or Anxious

Again, just like people, dogs can exhibit unusual behavior when they're tired. How do you act when you're exhausted and sleep deprived? Do you make jokes and act erratically? Sometimes dogs do too.

Look for unusual bursts of energy like jumping or spinning. Unusual scratching, licking, or biting could also indicate an exhausted dog.

  • Your Dog Changes Their Eye Contact

Do you ever avoid making eye contact with someone so that they won't talk to you or ask you to do something? Dogs do too and they take eye contact very seriously. If your dog is averting their eyes or avoiding you, maybe it's time to sit for a while.

More Than Just Tired? 10 Warning Signs It's Time to See a Vet

a brown Labrador dog sticking out its tongue due to tiredness

A tired dog is an easy fix: just let him rest a bit.

However, some warning signs could indicate your dog needs a trip to the vet.

  • 1
    Excessive thirst or hunger
  • 2
    Skipping meals for more than a day or two
  • 3
    Changes in your dog's coat: coarseness, dryness, roughness
  • 4
    Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
  • 5
    Blood in vomit, urine, or stool
  • 6
    Rapid weight loss or gain
  • 7
    Changes in his eyes: cloudiness, discharge, redness
  • 8
    Dragging their rear across the ground
  • 9
    Lethargy: tiredness lasting more than two days
  • 10
    All emergency symptoms you'd look for in a human: broken bones, whimpering in pain, shortness of breath, food poisoning, injuries, etc.

Caring for Your Tired Dog

a long-haired black and red dachshund dog resting on the sofa

If your dog meets any of the signs on the second list, take him or her to the vet immediately because these signs could indicate a medical problem.

If your dog matches any of the signs on the first list, don't worry, just let him rest a bit.

Don't push him or her to keep playing or training – give it a break.

Give your dog some water and their favorite snack. Relax and watch a movie for a while.

Remember: like humans, all dogs are different. Your dog can't tell you what he's feeling. That means it's up to you to read your dog's behavior and interpret it for yourself.

Learn how to read your dog's body language, how does he express himself? That way, you'll always know when you have a tired dog on your hands.

Pet Trainer