Do dogs get slower over time? A Complete Guide


If your dog has an injury such as damaged ligaments or hip/elbow dysplasia, then they might move more slowly than usual. As dogs can’t explain to us when they’re in pain, it can be difficult to know if your dog has hurt themselves.

That’s why it’s important you check for subtle signs that might indicate something is wrong. Dogs experiencing pain can be more vocal than usual, as well as groom excessively, pant, tremble, go off their food, and have a rigid or stiff posture.

Old Age

Old black dog lying down on the grass Dogs are considered seniors when they’re around 7 years of age, but this might be earlier for large breeds. It’s normal for dogs to slow down as they age, but if this is accompanied with other symptoms, then it’s best to see a vet to be on the safe side.

In addition to being less energetic, elderly dogs often gain weight more easily and have duller senses. They’re also prone to developing conditions like arthritis, diabetes, cognitive dysfunction, cancer, kidney issues, and hearing/vision loss.

That’s why it’s important you put in extra steps to support your senior dog. Good nutrition, proper exercise, and natural supplements to boost your dog’s overall health can all help keep your dog in tip-top shape. As always, speak to your vet before you give your dog any supplements or make changes to their diet.

Our Omega fish oil supplement is ideal for old and young dogs, both small and large. The capsules contain 100% natural omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids that provide your dog with essential nutrients they are unable to make on their own.

Omega-3 is necessary for all-round health, while also harbouring anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce allergy symptoms or pain associated with conditions like arthritis. Omega-6 is required for cell function and cell membrane structure, as well as a healthy coat and immune system.

Lastly, omega-9 fatty acids assist with a healthy brain and cardiovascular system. As our Omega supplement contains all of these omega fatty acids, they give your dog everything they need to thrive.

Organ Disease

Lethargy or slowing down can be a symptom of kidney, heart, or liver disease. Although it’s not uncommon for older dogs to sleep more than their younger counterparts, sleeping excessively might be due to the disease’s toll on your dog’s body.

Dogs with heart failure often stop being as active as usual due to the weakening of their heart muscle. They can also display symptoms like lethargy, elevated breathing, coughing, and poor mobility.

In dogs with kidney failure, toxins begin to build up and cause side-effects such as excessive urination and thirst, poor appetite, depression, and sluggishness. Dogs with liver disease exhibit similar symptoms, as well as weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

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Just as we do, dogs tend to slow down as they get older and become less energetic. However, there are some health reasons that can cause lethargy in your dog.

One of the most common causes is arthritis, which means your dog has painful, inflamed joints. This is a progressive condition which has no cure, but your vet will be able to give advice on how to manage the condition and prescribe medications to help with the pain.

Aside from arthritis, there are other reasons your dog may be slowing down, so if you’re concerned, take your dog to a vet to investigate what may be causing this.

Your vet will ask questions about your dog to try to understand why they are ‘slowing down’ or feeling lethargic. Some questions they may ask include:

How is your dog ‘slowing down’? Is your dog more reluctant to go on walks? Do they not want to walk as far? Are they sleeping more than usual? Are their legs stiff first thing in the morning, or after walks?

How long has your dog been slowing down for? Has your dog been slowing down over the last few days, weeks, or months? Does your dog seem slower all the time or does it seem to vary? Does there seem to be any pattern to it?

Is your dog finding certain activities difficult? Is your dog struggling to jump into the car or climb the stairs? Have they stopped running in the park or chasing the cat?

Is your dog behaving normally otherwise? Has your dog been bumping into things? Do they seem confused or disorientated? Does your dog seem to be losing their balance? Does your dog respond as usual when you interact with them?

Your vet will decide on a treatment plan based on the information you provide. They may discuss with you a weight control plan, including a prescribed diet and exercise regime, to help keep your dog a healthy weight so they are not putting too much stress on their joints. They may also provide medication to combat inflammation and reduce pain and could even suggest a course of physiotherapy to improve flexibility and muscle strength.

If you want to know more about what to expect when you go to the vets, check out our advice on making the most of your vet appointment.

Mobility issues can be subtle, and it can be easy to miss signs that your dog is becoming less active over time. Pet activity monitors, such as Felcana Go, are a good way to keep track of their movements and give you an accurate record of their activity patterns over time.

Felcana Go is a lightweight device which attaches to a dog’s collar. Syncing with the Felcana mobile app, it offers round-the-clock activity monitoring which you can view at any time on your phone. As well as tracking varying levels of daytime activity, it also monitors restlessness at night which could suggest that your dog is uncomfortable and experiencing joint pain. These insights are also useful for your vet. And you can share this information with them so they can monitor any changes and provide your dog with the best treatment plan moving forward.