Top 10 Reasons for Weight Loss in Dogs

Dogs, like people, are not one-size-fits-all when it comes to diagnosing the issues affecting their health. Just as your doctor would run multiple checks to determine the specific illness impacting your life and/or resulting in weight loss, so too should you be on the lookout for multiple potential causes of weight loss in your dog. The following sections run through the top 10 reasons most vets cite when reporting weight loss in dogs.

1.) Malnourishment

Before we get too far, let’s be clear that poor nutrition and malnourishment are two different concepts in the health of a pet. Poor nutrition, as cited by Dogs Life magazine, is indicated often by a dull, lifeless coat, extra layers of fat, poor dental hygiene, and even issues with poop. Malnutrition on the other hand occurs when a dog has lost more than 10% of its total bodyweight.

While poor nutrition is often the result of eating too much food, not getting enough exercise, and/or eating poor quality food, malnutrition is a lack of adequate food supply. In some cases this is the result of abuse, though in other cases it is simply a lack of knowledge about a dog’s proper nutritional needs. Signs of malnourishment include:

  • Physical appearance (bones of the ribs and shoulders visible)
  • Gastrointestinal issues (odorous gas and inconsistent bowel movements)
  • Low energy levels
  • Susceptibility to illness

2.) Diabetes

Diabetic issues in a dog are no different at the root than human diabetes. Low insulin and the inability of the body to absorb sugar from blood can lead to increased appetite in your dog, even though they are still losing weight. Senior dogs and those whose body weight is on the verge of obesity are the most prone to developing diabetes, though like in humans, diabetes in dogs can be genetic.

3.) Anxiety

Stress or anxiety in your four-legged friend can rob them of their appetite. Dogs need to feel safe in order to eat their food, which means if they are anxious about their surroundings or the people within their environment, they may not feel safe enough to eat on a daily basis. According to the ASPCA, signs of anxiety (resulting from separation) include:

  • Defecating/urinating in the home
  • Incessant barking/howling
  • Chewing/digging/destructive tendencies
  • Escaping

4.) Tapeworm/Parasites

One of the more common, and harder to detect, causes of weight loss in your dog could be a tapeworm or other internal parasite. Dogs with parasites often exhibit rapid and sudden weight loss. A dog suffering from an intestinal tapeworm, for example, suffers from a lack of nutrients and loses weight because the tapeworm is consuming all of the food eaten by the dog.

5.) Liver Disease

Dogs suffering from liver disease are dealing with a lack of essential carbs and sugars provided to the body by the liver. When a dog suffers from liver disease, it does not get the crucial nutrients needed from the liver and the body starts to consume its fat deposits as a result, as well as muscle tissue, in an attempt to replace the lost nutrients. According to PetsMD on WebMD.com, signs of liver disease in a dog include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Confusion
  • Yellowish eyes, tongue, and/or gums
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Seizures

6.) Dental Problems

One of the simplest reasons your dog may be losing weight can stem from dental issues. If your dog is suffering from a dental abscess or other issue related to the health of its teeth and/or gums, it may simply be too painful for your dog to eat. As a result of this lack of eating, your dog will begin to lose weight. Unlike some other issues, a trip to the veterinarian is the easiest way to identify a dental problem with your dog.

7.) Thyroid Problems

A dog’s body is controlled by hormones, just like your human body. Imbalances in the hormones in your dog’s body can be the result of a thyroid issue. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that results in a rapid metabolism that leaves your dog at risk of extreme weight loss. No matter how much they eat, the rapid metabolism of their body quickly breaks down, or even inadequately breaks down, the nutrients it is receiving and passes them through the system without absorption. A vet’s assistance is required in detecting thyroid issues. Once that is achieved, thyroid problems can be easily managed with the help of meds.

8.) Addison’s Disease

This is an adrenal insufficiency in your dogs’ body that results in a steroid hormone deficit. Signs of Addison’s disease include vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and low blood pressure. PetMD points out that additional signs include a lack of appetite, shaking, increased frequency of urination and an increased thirst.

PetMD goes on to point out that Addison’s disease among dogs is relatively rare, but it is most often seen in young to middle-aged dogs, females, and those breeds from the Bearded Collie, Standard Poodle, Portuguese water dog, West Highland white terrier, Rottweiler, and wheaten terrier lineages.

9.) Mouth Lesions

Mouth lesions, like dental issues, can result in weight loss in your dog because it is just too painful to eat food. The best way to detect these issues is by visiting your vet the moment you notice a lack of interest in food and significant weight loss as a result.

10.) Pregnancy

Pregnant dogs can go through an early period of nausea during pregnancy, just like human females. It is not uncommon for a pregnant dog to lose weight in the first stage of pregnancy due to a lack of appetite stemming from the nausea. While this alone is not cause for concern, it is important to be aware of other issues that could accompany pregnancy.

Other symptoms could be behind the loss of weight during pregnancy, and range from anxiety (lack of appetite) to neuromuscular disease, poor digestion, cancer, or heart disease. If you notice poor muscle function, dull coat, dry skin, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy or depression, it is crucial to pay your vet a visit.

“if a patient is on a diet plan for weight problems, vets normally advocate about one to two percentage loss of body weight according to week,” says lara bartl, dvm, dabvp, assistant professor on the virginia-maryland college of veterinary medication at virginia tech university, but unless you are attempting to obtain weight loss, she adds, any weight reduction must be considered significant and investigated.

unplanned or rapid weight reduction may be symptomatic of some thing extreme. right here are the maximum common reasons for unwanted weight loss in pets.

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