Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

Written By Darlene Stott
Published: 11/28/2016Updated: 06/09/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Michele K.
Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Fatigue and Exercise?

Fatigue and exercise in pets can be caused by any number of things. It may start with you noticing your dog is not acting like himself, or that he seems more tired and less playful than usual. While you may think he needs a little extra sleep, it actually may be caused by an underlying medical condition. Signs can range from mild to severe, even so severe as death. The sooner you seek medical attention for your dog, the higher his chance of a full recovery.

Exercise and fatigue occurs commonly in pets for many different reasons. It can be due to an illness or due to his lifestyle. Either way, if your dog is not acting like himself and seems more tired than usual, take him to visit his veterinarian for evaluation.

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Fatigue and Exercise Average Cost

From 286 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Symptoms of Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

Signs typically occur after prolonged exercise. Signs may include:

  • Panting
  • Sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Acid-base imbalances
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Infection
  • Gastroenteritis 
  • Diabetes 
  • Heart failure
  • Death 

Types

Exercise fatigue is a vague term to cover a behavioral change in your dog to where he no longer plays as much as he used to or is less active than normal. Exercise intolerance and fatigue can affect young dogs differently than old dogs. Causes of the intolerance and fatigues may also vary in young and old.

Causes of Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

If your dog is healthy with no underlying conditions, it may be that he has been worked too hard. Dogs that experience prolonged exercise and work can experience exercise intolerance and fatigue. If your dog becomes dehydrated, metabolic imbalances can occur and can lead to death of your dog.

Diagnosis of Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

When you arrive at the veterinarian office, you will be asked many questions in order for the veterinarian to collect a thorough medical history. She will ask you what your dog has been doing the past few days, when the signs began, and how long they have been going on. She will also perform a physical exam in order to assess his symptoms and note any abnormalities of his vitals. 

Blood work will likely be performed to give the veterinarian an idea of how the internal organs are functioning and to rule out other possible causes of his signs. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment of organ function and hydration.  

Treatment of Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

Depending what the diagnostics reveal as the cause will determine the course of treatment. If there is an actual medical condition underlying your dog’s fatigue, then it will be treated appropriately. However, if it was due simply to malnutrition, lack of water, and not enough rest, it may be entirely up to you to change his lifestyle. 

Your veterinarian will also thoroughly go over the nutrition needs of your pet and how to keep him hydrated when exercising. She will likely come up with a plan on how to safely exercise him in the future so as to prevent this from occurring again.

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Recovery of Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

At home, you will need to keep your companion “quiet” meaning you will need to keep him calm and enclosed in a small space, such as a crate, in order to keep him less active and easier to observe. You will need to periodically take his temperature to ensure he does not have a fever. You will also need to monitor him for progression of any current symptoms and development of any new signs. 

Fatigue and Exercise Average Cost

From 286 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Fatigue and Exercise Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Golden Retriever

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Twenty Months

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16 found this helpful

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16 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
My dog gets tired easily compared to other dogs. She often takes breaks and gets back up and plays. Not sure this is normal

March 9, 2021

Answered by Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

16 Recommendations

While this may be normal for her, it is important we rule out any underlying issues. A vet visit is sensible to check for potential issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia or heart disease. Hopefully it is nothing but it is a good idea to look into it.

April 5, 2021

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Labrador Retriever

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Eleven Months

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12 found this helpful

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12 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
My dog normally doesn’t do much, but she went to doggy daycare 2 days ago and played all day long. She’s been sleeping a lot since then and started walking funny. Should I be worried?

Nov. 29, 2020

Answered by Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

12 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. The walking funny is a concern and given her breed and age I would want her checked for issues such as hip dysplasia. I would want her assessed by a vet right away as she may be in some discomfort.

Nov. 29, 2020

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Fatigue and Exercise Average Cost

From 286 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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