Puppy Not Eating Much And Sleeping A Lot

Anyone who has raised a puppy knows that they are simply delightful balls of energy, curiosity, and playfulness. They are also a LOT of work! 

From the chewing and potty training to their inane ability to get into all sorts of trouble, puppies will try your patience but their oh-so-adorable faces make up for it in droves.

puppy not eating much and sleeping a lot
Puppy Not Eating Much and Sleeping a Lot

We want our pups to be lively and playful, but that isn’t always the case. Pups can be finicky eaters and pick at their food listlessly at times, leading you to worry that they are feeling under the weather. 

Coupled with a lack of energy and constant sleeping, dog parents are often driven sick with worry that their newest family member is ill or something is amiss. 

However, more often than not, there’s nothing to worry about. There are several reasons for your pup’s lackluster appetite and the ability to sleep almost all day. The vast majority of these reasons are common and are not grounds for medical attention, while the rare few might need a trip to the vet.

In this blog post, we’ll look at why your pup might not be eating much, and why he or she may be one heck of a sleepaholic. 

Why Your Pup Does Not Eat Much But Sleeps A Lot?

1. It Is Normal 

Puppies may have periods of increased sleep and decreased eating as they grow and mature. They have high energy requirements and may sleep longer to preserve energy and promote development

Goldendoodle puppy sleeps soundly
A Goldendoodle puppy needs enough sleep for best health.

They may consume less as they grow, and their energy requirements fluctuate. This is a natural part of a pup’s development and should not be a reason for concern.

While decreased hunger and more sleep are natural during some periods of growth, they can also indicate an underlying health problem. So if you see your puppy constantly not eating much and sleeping a lot, you should pay attention to this shift in behavior.

2. Growing Is Tiring Work!

Puppies grow at a rapid pace and plenty of sleep a day for optimum growth and development. An 8-week pup should sleep about a whopping 20 hours a day while a 12-week pup sleeps about 15. 

puppy sleeps on a basket
A Cockapoo puppy sleeps on a basket soundly!

It’s normal if your puppy sleeps WAY more than half the day, but a healthy pup should be energetic and voracious enough to eat and explore throughout its limited waking hours

On the other hand, suppose your puppy is melancholic, not acting normally, not eating much, and seems lethargic and sleepy, this might indicate an underlying condition that requires a veterinarian’s immediate attention and advice.

3. Anxiety, Stress, and Depression

When there is a significant shift in their surroundings, puppies might get overwhelmed and stressed. For example, when you first take your pup home, he or she might miss its mother and littermates. Leaving the home which is all they have known in their short lives is stressful and pups often feel anxious and deeply stressed.

puppy pee pads
Puppy sleeps on the pee pads.

A pup that is stressed might seem lethargic or go off food for a while. Shower your pup with plenty of love, attention, and playtime, and they should bounce back to their old, rascally self shortly. 

4. Teething

Your puppy’s adult teeth are forming and can be pretty sensitive. During this stage, they may be in discomfort and suffering and may not want to eat, especially if the food is dry. You may also notice that their gums are swollen and red, which is expected during the teething phase, and that they drool more than usual.

Goldendoodle puppy lying on the carpet
The Goldendoodle puppy lying on the carpet.

Providing good teething toys for your dog and monitoring their chewing patterns can help ease pain and enhance their appetite. And try giving your puppy wet food instead, or moisten the dry food a little to soften it so your puppy can find it easy to eat.

5. Medications

Many medications can induce undesired side effects such as nausea and lethargy, so it’s normal to see your puppy sleepy or unable to eat when on certain medications. If your pup has a health condition, try asking the vet for a prescription with fewer side effects that would be gentler for your dog.

Sheepadoodle puppy lying on the grass
A Sheepadoodle puppy lying on the grass.

When To Worry?

While a lack of appetite and tons of sleep can be simply an adjustment period or growing pains for a pup, there are a few situations where you might want to take action or go for a vet visit

1. Infection

If you notice that your puppy is avoiding meals, becoming sleepy, and sleeping excessively, it could be a sign that they have an infection. Infections can be caused by a variety of microbes, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Some common infections that can cause these symptoms in puppies can be as minor as kennel cough to very serious infections such as heartworm disease, and distemper.

sad Goldendoodle
Goldendoodle puppy is not feeling well.

In addition to a lack of appetite and excessive sleep, your puppy may also experience other symptoms if they have an infection. These may include a fever, eye and nasal discharge, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of illness.

It’s important to seek prompt treatment from a veterinarian if you suspect that your puppy has an infection. The sooner your puppy receives treatment, the better their chances of making a full recovery. 

By paying attention to your puppy’s behavior and seeking timely treatment for any infections, you can help ensure that your puppy stays healthy and happy.

2. Metabolic disorders

Your dog may have an organ-related or metabolic condition, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and hypothyroidism. These disorders can impact how the body processes and utilizes nutrition, resulting in various symptoms.

puppy pees
Puppy accidentally pees on the carpet.

In addition to the general symptoms of eating less and sleeping more, each disorder has its own unique characteristic symptoms.

For example, if your pup has diabetes, you may observe him drinking a lot of water, peeing a lot, progressively losing weight, and not displaying much activity or excitement during playtime.

Puppies with hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, are those who do not eat enough or use up their energy too rapidly. Hypoglycemia symptoms include tiredness, weakness, and tremors.

Weight gain, a reduction in appetite, and increased sleep might be indications of hypothyroidism, a disease in which the thyroid gland does not generate enough hormones.

Pancreatitis, a disorder in which the pancreas becomes inflamed, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite in puppies.

A regular check-up with your pup’s doctor will help monitor the development of these diseases, and you will be able to give your puppy timely care to ensure its longevity and health. 

3. Poisoning

Pups get into all kinds of trouble, and your puppy might have eaten something that it wasn’t supposed to. Toxic chemicals such as household supplies, human medications, and even plants or flowers such as lilies can be toxic to a puppy. 

lying down Cavapoo puppy
Cavapoo puppy lying down on the ground.

In addition, human foods like chocolate, grapes, and avocados, can also harm our puppies. It’s crucial that you keep all of these items out of your puppy’s reach and stick to a specially formulated puppy food diet.

A pup suffering from food toxicity can be extremely lethargic, sleep a bunch, and have other tummy problems like diarrhea and vomiting. When in doubt, off to the vet you go! 

4. Anemia

Anemia can also cause your puppy to lose appetite, feel drowsy, and sleep excessively. This is because your puppy does not have enough hemoglobin due to being low in vitamins or minerals such as iron to carry oxygen around the body. 

Yorkshire puppy sleeps
Yorkshire puppy is sleeping.

Get your dog checked to rule out this possibility, and if your puppy has anemia, the vet will prescribe some supplements and a change in diet to ensure his hemoglobin levels return to normal. 

Ensuring Your Puppy’s Health And Well-Being

Just like human babies, pups are vulnerable, especially when they are just weaned off their mother’s milk and before they develop antibodies of their own with the help of vaccinations.

Golden Retriever puppy eats
Golden Retriever puppy eats kibbles.

A pup’s initial months are vital to its development and growth into an adult dog, and you should do all you can to give your pup the best possible headstart in life.

Here are a few things to note when taking care of a pup. 

  • Make sure your puppy has access to fresh water at all times. Dehydration can cause a decrease in appetite, so it’s important to ensure that your puppy has plenty of water to drink.
  • Offer a variety of wet and dry foods. Some puppies are picky eaters and may not be interested in their regular food. By offering a variety of wet and dry foods, you may be able to stimulate your puppy’s appetite and encourage them to eat more.
  • Feed your puppy at consistent times each day. Establishing a regular feeding schedule can help improve your puppy’s appetite and sleep habits.
  • Provide your puppy with regular exercise. Exercise can help improve your puppy’s overall health and well-being, as well as their appetite and sleep habits.
  • Don’t overfeed your puppy. It’s important not to overfeed your puppy as this can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Follow the feeding recommendations of your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to ensure that your puppy is getting the right amount of food.
  • Create a calm, comfortable, and supportive environment for your puppy. A quiet and relaxing environment can help your puppy feel more at ease and may encourage them to eat and sleep more.