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When a Beagle is Acting Tired


When you think about breeds that are known for high energy, the Beagle is certainly one of them. This medium sized dog in the AKC's hound group is commonly referred to as friendly and curious. 
He likes to be active and generally requires two brisk walks per day to stay properly exercised. So, owners can take a step back when their Beagle is acting overly tired. Whenever a Beagle acts out of his normal character, it's important to access why this is happening. In some cases it is an acute issue that takes care of itself yet other times, it can point to a health concern.  

This section will discuss:
  • Times when it is normal for a Beagle to be tired
  • Top reasons why Beagles may act overly tired - Puppies, Adults and seniors
  • Health Issues to be aware of
Expected Energy Level and When It's Normal to Be Tired

While Beagles are an active breed, this of course does not mean that they can go at top speed all day. Just like any other canine, they will have peeks of energy and this is followed by times of rest. It is quite expected for a Beagle to want to have a respite after a good bout of exercise such as a 30 to 40 minute energized game of fetch with lots of running or other similar activity that gets the heart racing and the muscles moving. With this said, a dog should not be exhausted after play or act as if he gave it his all for a game and has no energy left at all. It would be typical for a Beagle to drink a good amount of water afterward to rehydrate, want to lie down to rest and perhaps even take a quick nap if nothing else is happening that holds his interest. 

A healthy Beagle will act tired and respond by resting for a short amount of time (30 to 60 minutes) after:

After a bout of exercise; the duration of activity that makes a Beagle tired will depend on how old the dog is. Puppies tend to have short bursts of play, adults can often run around outside and walk briskly with you for up to an hour before needing a break and seniors will have a gradual slowing down, needing shorter periods of physical action as they age. 

After a time of excitement - For Beagles with separation anxiety, there can be a huge spike of adrenaline once owners return. This state of over-excitement can cause a sort of 'crash' afterward. When you couple this with the walk that is given once owners are back home (and this is recommended for both bathroom needs and to let the Beagle release the pent-up energy he's kept inside all day) it can make the dog seem worn-out. Once things have settled down, that Beagle may then be suddenly tired and with his owners now near him, he may want to just relax with the family.  

As sleep time nears - Canines have sleep cycles just as we do and they also have great internal clocks. It's normal for a Beagle of any age to start to get tired as bedtime is approaching. This can sometimes throw off owners if there is an event happening in which the humans are staying up later than normal and it is expected that the Beagle does so as well. However, unless that event is of interest to the dog, he really won't care what is happening as long the environment still allows him to sleep. He'll be tired at just about the same time as usual. 
Beagle on a mountain top
Cooper, 5 months old
Photo courtesy of Gillian Leslie
Beagle Puppies Acting Tired

There are a few reasons why a puppy may act tired; and it is important to take note since it's perfectly normal in some cases yet can point to a health issue in other instances. 

1) Energy Spikes and Dips - It's common to think of puppies as bundles of energy, just rearing to go. However, these super excited spikes of play are often followed by dips of being tired and needing to rest or sleep. Some puppies wear themselves out to such an extent, that they can fall asleep anywhere and in some awfully funny positions. As the Beagle pup matures, this should even out more. He will stay awake for longer periods of time, calm down during those times and take less naps during the day which allows him to sleep more at night. 

2) Hypoglycemia - The younger the puppy, the greater the chance of hypoglycemia which is a rapid drop in blood sugar levels.
Typically, this is caused by stress (even 'good' stress such as being brought to a new home) or if the puppy goes too long without food. This can often be prevented making sure that a puppy does not play for too long without resting and that he eats a minimum of 3 times per day. We suggest 3 meals and at least 2 small snacks.

If this is to occur, there will be a marked drowsiness that is often accompanied by an unsteady gait, shaking and/or loss of coordination. Only sometimes, there will also be vomiting (this may be yellow stomach bile, which points to an empty stomach).

If you suspect that a tired puppy is acting that way due to hypoglycemia, it is important to treat this immediately. The standard treatment is to introduce sugar into the bloodstream as quickly as possible. Some sources list Karo syrup as a treatment, however this can have laxative effects. Best is honey, which is gently yet firmly rubbed into the pup's gums. In a pinch, a bit of children's sugared cereal can work was well. There should be improvement within 15 minutes, with the Beagle puppy acting more alert. If this does not happen or if the puppy becomes even weaker, this is considered a veterinary emergency that require professional care ASAP. 
Adult Beagles Acting Tired

While it is important to note that a poor diet lacking proper nutrients or a wide range of health issues can be the reason for excessive tiredness (more ahead), one of the more common and easily fixed causes is boredom. While puppies are often given a slew of toys and plenty of attention and seniors are expected to be more tired than younger dogs, it is with adult Beagles that this is usually most prevalent. 

When owners have very busy lives, it's easy to let interaction and activity with pets to take a back seat. However, dogs need physical and mental stimulation and without this, a Beagle can sink into a state of boredom that leads to that dog having nothing else to do except rest and sleep. If kept inside too long, the canine equivalent of cabin fever can set in and a dog can develop depression as well. 
Never underestimate the power of a good, brisk walk. Not only does it allow a Beagle to stretch his muscles and get his heart pumping, it also allows him to use those incredible canine senses… Beagles need to see sights, smell scents and hear sounds.  

Ideally, an adult Beagle should have 2 brisk walks per day, a minimum of 2 outdoor play periods per week (fetch, etc.), be taken to new places as often as possible (lakes, beaches, hiking, outdoor markets) and have interactive play with owners (Hide n' Seek, puzzle games, etc.). 

In addition, adult Beagles need quality toys just as much as puppies do and additional toys may be needed to meet the needs of those that are suffering from separation anxiety
Senior Beagles Acting Tired

As your dog ages there will be changes and this includes being tired more often than his younger counterparts. While this is normally a very gradual change, it is not uncommon for owners to suddenly realize the difference of how a Beagle is acting as a senior and compare that to when he was an adult. Seniors will nap more often and will often sleep more at night.  

While it is very important that older Beagles be exercised, walks may need to be taken at a slower pace or for shorter duration.  

Some health issues that are common with senior dogs such as arthritis may also cause a Beagle to have some trouble with staying active; if discomfort is too much the dog may prefer to rest than take a walk. It's important to not write off arthritis as a normal part of the seniors years, since medications and supplements can often offer improvement and allow the older Beagle to have quality of life. 

Since senior Beagles will be resting more, having a quality canine orthopedic bed is more important now than ever. A good one will properly distribute body weight and ease sore joints. 
Health Issues that Cause a Dog to Be Tired

Essentially, anytime that a Beagle has an abrupt change in behavior or energy levels, this is reason to take note as it may point to a health condition. There are a wide range of health issues that can cause a dog to be excessively tired. A few of the more common reasons are:

1) A poor diet - This can be due to a low quality food, too many table scraps or an issue of a dog's body not properly absorbing nutrients. 

2) Infection - Many times, acting tired will be the first symptom to manifest before others appear, though there may be a low-grade fever that is not noticed. This includes Parvo, distemper and heartworms. With heartworms, in the beginning and middle stages, the only sign may be weakness so it will be important to have this ruled out. 

3) Diabetes- This often affects senior dogs (70% of dogs diagnosed are seniors), though adult Beagles can develop this as well. And a shocking 1 in 160 canines will develop this in their lifetime. One of the main symptoms is acting tired (lethargy) and other signs are increased thirst, increased urination and/or weight changes (often weight loss). 

4) Organ disease - Other common health conditions to be aware of includes kidney, liver disease and heart disease.  

5) Emergency causes - This would include poisoning (ingestion of a toxic outdoor plant, etc.), snake bites (this is more common than you may think) and allergic reactions. 
When to Take Your Beagle to the Veterinarian

With random, acute tiredness that is resolved once the Beagle takes a nap or is explained by a bout of energized play or a relief of stress (owners coming home after the dog has been alone, etc.), this is usually nothing to be concerned about. In addition, young Beagle puppies that have spikes of being active followed by being tired will usually outgrow this as they mature (but do check for signs of low blood sugar, shown above). 

With this said, if you notice any of the following signs, this generally is a red flag that there is some sort of illness or health condition and the Beagle should be examined by the veterinarian as soon as possible:
Beagle at rest
Merlin Emrys, 1 and 1/2 years old
Photo courtesy of Sallu
  • Acting excessively tired for more than 1 day without explanation
  • Fever - 102.5 F or higher
  • Confusion, acting strange
  • Changes in urination
  • Changes in thirst
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Trouble focusing
  • Increased or decreased hunger
  • Signs of pain (hiding, not wanting to exercise, whining or whimpering, excessive grooming, panting, and/or mood changes)

Since we only have behavioral and physical clues to go on when our Beagle is having an issue (whether this is a need for more interaction, a feeding concern or a health issue), it is important to never overlook a behavioral change such as sudden, marked tiredness. Do keep your Beagle's age in mind when accessing the situation and when in doubt regarding any possible health condition, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Far too often, owners hesitate to bring their dogs to the vet simply because they 'don’t' want to hear bad news' and this is really a shame…. Early diagnosis is the best possible route to a successful treatment. 
Things You May Wish to Do Next:

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Check out The GIANT Book of Beagle Care - Simply the most comprehensive, helpful Beagle book that exists. From newborn, to senior and EVERYTHING in between. 
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Top Beagle Care Tips - A great round-up of ways to keep your Beagle puppy or dog happy and healthy. 
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