Why Won’t My Dog Wake Up But Is Breathing?

Dogs are known for their ability to sleep for long periods of time, but what happens when your dog won't wake up? It can be a cause for concern, especially if they are unresponsive but still breathing. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons for this behavior and what you can do to help your furry friend.

First and foremost, it is important to determine if your dog is truly unresponsive. Gently call their name and see if they show any signs of awareness. If they do not respond, it is crucial to check their breathing. Place your hand on their chest to feel for any movement. If they are breathing, it indicates that they are still alive, but something may be preventing them from waking up.

One possible reason for your dog's unresponsiveness could be that they are in a deep sleep. Just like humans, dogs have different sleep cycles, including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the phase where dreams occur. During this phase, dogs may appear to be unresponsive or even twitch and move their legs. It is important to give them some time to wake up naturally and not disturb their sleep.

However, if your dog is in a deep sleep for an extended period of time or is showing other concerning symptoms, there may be an underlying issue. Arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and even loss of hearing are common diseases that can affect a dog's sleep patterns. If your dog is frequently visiting the yard to urinate, it could be a sign of weaker bladder control, which often comes with old age.

In some cases, unresponsiveness in dogs can be a symptom of a more serious condition. Cats are known to enter a catatonic state when they are feeling down, but this behavior is less common in dogs and usually indicates a physical problem. Seizures and strokes can cause dogs to become unresponsive and may be preceded or followed by certain behaviors. If you suspect that your dog is experiencing a medical emergency, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

When it comes to helping your dog maintain an open airway, the recovery position is key. Placing them on their right side can help prevent their tongue from obstructing their airway and ensure that they can breathe properly. However, it is important to be cautious when moving an unresponsive dog and to avoid putting yourself at risk of injury.

If your dog won't wake up but is still breathing, it is important to assess the situation and determine the cause of their unresponsiveness. While deep sleep and age-related issues can contribute to this behavior, it is crucial to be aware of any other symptoms or signs of distress. Seeking veterinary care is always recommended if you are concerned about your dog's health. Remember, your dog relies on you to be their advocate and ensure their well-being.

Why Won't My Dog Wake Up But Is Breathing?

What Do You Do When Your Dog Is Unresponsive But Breathing?

When your dog is unresponsive but still breathing, it is important to take immediate action to ensure their safety. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Assess the situation: Take a moment to evaluate the environment and identify any potential dangers to yourself or your dog. Remove any hazards that may pose a risk to both of you.

2. Check for breathing: Carefully observe your dog's chest movement to confirm that they are indeed breathing. Look for the rise and fall of their chest and listen for any sounds of breathing.

3. Call for help: If possible, contact your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic to inform them about the situation. They can provide further guidance and assistance.

4. Move your dog to a safe area: Gently and carefully move your unresponsive dog to a quiet and secure location where they can receive the necessary attention and care. Avoid sudden movements that might cause further harm.

5. Perform a basic first aid assessment: If you have basic first aid knowledge for dogs, you can conduct a quick assessment of your dog's vital signs. Check for a pulse, monitor their breathing rate, and assess their level of responsiveness.

6. Administer CPR if necessary: If your dog's breathing or heartbeat stops, you may need to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to try and revive them. Follow the appropriate techniques for canine CPR, applying chest compressions and rescue breaths as needed. It is recommended to have prior training in CPR for dogs.

7. Seek immediate veterinary care: Even if your dog starts breathing again, it is crucial to seek professional veterinary care as soon as possible. Unresponsiveness could be a sign of a serious underlying condition that requires immediate attention.

Remember, the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. It is always best to consult with a veterinarian in situations of emergency or uncertainty regarding your dog's health.

Why Is My Dog Not Waking Up?

There can be several reasons why a dog may not be waking up. It is important to note that dogs, like humans, need a certain amount of sleep for their overall health and well-being. However, if your dog is consistently not waking up or appears to be excessively lethargic, it may be a cause for concern. Here are some possible explanations for why your dog is not waking up:

1. Illness or injury: Dogs may sleep more when they are not feeling well or if they have sustained an injury. If your dog is refusing to wake up and also showing other signs of illness, such as loss of appetite or vomiting, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian.

2. Medications: Some medications, particularly those used for pain management or sedation, can cause drowsiness in dogs. If your dog has recently started taking any new medications, it is possible that this could be affecting their sleep patterns.

3. Age-related changes: As dogs age, they tend to sleep more and may have difficulty waking up. This can be a natural part of the aging process. However, if your dog's excessive sleepiness is accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss or difficulty moving, it is important to have them evaluated by a vet.

4. Environmental factors: Dogs are sensitive to their surroundings, and changes in their environment can impact their sleep patterns. Loud noises, bright lights, or uncomfortable sleeping conditions can all contribute to a dog's reluctance to wake up.

5. Stress or anxiety: Dogs can experience stress or anxiety, just like humans. This can lead to disruptions in their sleep patterns. If your dog is exhibiting signs of stress or anxiety, such as pacing, panting, or excessive barking, it is important to address the underlying cause and provide appropriate support or training.

It is essential to monitor your dog's overall behavior and health closely. If you are concerned about your dog's sleep patterns or if they are exhibiting other concerning symptoms, it is always recommended to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Unresponsive?

There can be several reasons why a dog may suddenly become unresponsive. It is important to note that this is a serious symptom that requires immediate attention from a veterinarian. Some possible causes for a dog's sudden unresponsiveness include:

1. Trauma or injury: If your dog has experienced any trauma, such as being hit by a car or falling from a height, it could lead to unresponsiveness. Injuries to the head or spinal cord can particularly affect the dog's ability to respond.

2. Poisoning: Ingesting toxic substances, such as certain , chemicals, medications, or items, can cause a dog to become unresponsive. Common signs of poisoning may also include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or difficulty breathing.

3. Neurological disorders: Conditions like seizures, strokes, or brain tumors can lead to sudden unresponsiveness. Dogs affected by such disorders may exhibit other neurological symptoms like tremors, loss of coordination, or abnormal eye movements.

4. Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels can cause a dog to become lethargic and unresponsive. This can occur due to factors such as inadequate nutrition, insulin overdose in diabetic dogs, or certain underlying medical conditions.

5. Heatstroke: Dogs are susceptible to overheating, especially in hot weather or when exposed to high temperatures without adequate shade or hydration. Heatstroke can lead to unresponsiveness, along with other symptoms like excessive panting, weakness, or collapse.

6. Heart problems: Certain cardiac conditions, such as arrhythmias or heart failure, can cause a decrease in blood flow to the brain, leading to unresponsiveness. Dogs with heart issues may also exhibit coughing, difficulty breathing, or exercise intolerance.

7. Infections or diseases: Serious infections like parvovirus, distemper, or rabies can cause a dog to become unresponsive. These infections often come with other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior.

It is crucial to remember that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other underlying conditions or factors contributing to a dog's sudden unresponsiveness. If you notice your dog becoming unresponsive, it is vital to seek immediate veterinary attention to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

How Long Can A Dog Be Unconscious?

A dog's unconsciousness duration can vary depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Here are some factors that can influence how long a dog can be unconscious:

1. Traumatic injuries: If a dog has suffered a severe head injury or trauma, they may be unconscious for a few minutes to several hours. In some cases, the unconsciousness can last for days or even weeks.

2. Illness or disease: Certain medical conditions or diseases can lead to unconsciousness in dogs. The duration of unconsciousness will depend on the specific condition and how well it responds to treatment. For example, if a dog is in a diabetic coma, they may regain consciousness once their blood sugar levels are stabilized.

3. Toxicity: Ingesting toxic substances can cause a dog to become unconscious. The length of unconsciousness will depend on the type and amount of toxin ingested, as well as the promptness and effectiveness of treatment.

4. Anesthesia: During surgical procedures, dogs are intentionally put under general anesthesia, which causes temporary unconsciousness. The duration of unconsciousness will depend on the length of the procedure and the specific anesthesia used.

In general, if a dog is unconscious for more than a few minutes, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention. The veterinarian will diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. Recovery time can vary widely, and some dogs may regain consciousness quickly, while others may take longer or have long-term effects from the underlying condition or injury.


Dogs can experience a variety of health conditions that can affect their sleep patterns and overall well-being. Arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hearing loss are just a few examples of common diseases that can disrupt a dog's sleep. Additionally, older dogs may experience weaker bladder control, leading to more frequent visits to the yard. It is important to monitor your dog's sleep habits and behavior for any signs of unresponsiveness or unusual symptoms. If your dog enters a catatonic state, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention as it could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. Recovery from a coma will depend on the cause and severity of the injury, but it is possible for some dogs to recover with proper care and treatment. The duration of a coma can vary, lasting from a few days to several weeks or even longer in rare cases. it is essential to be proactive in ensuring the health and well-being of our canine companions, providing them with the necessary support and veterinary care when needed.

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David Bordallo

David Bordallo is a senior editor with BlogDigger.com, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has a keen interest in education and loves to write kids friendly content. David is passionate about quality-focused journalism and has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years. He has written for some of the biggest blogs and newspapers in the world. When he's not writing or spending time with his family, David enjoys playing basketball and golfing. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin and currently resides in Anaheim, California