Dog losing weight? Gradual weight loss in a dog is OK and can be beneficial even if it is expected or there is an obvious reason for it (such as an increase in exercise or a deliberate change of diet).
Unexplained rapid weight loss is a concern and you should check with your veterinarian as soon as you know that your Dog Losing Weight.
For example, the average person loses 2 kg in a few weeks is usually very small. The same weight on a 20 kg dog is equal to 10% of their body weight and indicates an underlying disease process.
What is the healthy weight range for your dog?
Here are some useful things available as a helpful guide to find out the ideal weight for your pet.
Also Read: How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Dirt
Please note: There may be significant differences between the genetic lines of each breed and it is difficult to estimate the ideal weight of a cross-breed dog as there are 2 or more breeds in its lineage.
The easiest way to estimate your dog’s ideal weight is to follow a few simple steps:
- Run your hands regularly over your dog’s ribs. Can you easily feel their ribs or is there a significant layer of fat on the ribs?
- Observe your dog from above. Can you see the exact waist line or does it fit the hips?
- Observe your dog from the side. Can you see the waist line or is there a straight line from the chest to the back legs?
- Weigh your dog twice a year (your veterinary clinic will be more than happy to use their standards, and we can record your dog’s weight at the same time)
All of the above factors are used together to determine the ‘body condition score’ (see diagram below). After assessing the condition score your veterinary team can advise you on the optimal weight for your dog. As indicated below, the ideal condition score is 3.
Reasons for your Dog Losing Weight
Even if your dog has a sudden decrease in appetite or she is eating and drinking more than usual, a visit to the vet is important to find out if your dog’s weight loss calls for a change in diet or if more serious medical treatment is needed.
“Any cause of decreased appetite, such as dental disease or gastrointestinal problems, or increased nutritional use such as cancer,” Finch said.
The common conditions that cause weight loss in dogs vary widely, so it is sometimes difficult to isolate your own cause (or causes). Some are:
Dental disease. If your dog is bothered to eat, she may eat less or fail to chew food properly. Since dental problems can have serious consequences for your dog’s health, it is important to prevent them by regular brushing and brushing teeth.
Diet changes. Does your dog eat less or differently? Have you changed the frequency, type or amount of food you serve? Your dog consumes fewer calories for some reason that some foods are less digestible for senior dogs.
Gastrointestinal disorders. Any condition that makes your dog’s digestive system break down food and make it harder to absorb nutrients can lead to weight loss.
Kidney disease. Sudden and severe, or chronic and chronic, kidney disease can occur with weight loss in dogs. Does your dog drink or urinate and lose weight? “Drinking too much water with excessive urination is a sign of kidney disease,” Finch said.
Metabolic disorders. Unexplained weight loss is a sign of conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hypoadrenocorticism a.k.a. Addison’s disease.
Parasites. Various intestinal worms such as giardiasis and hookworms can cause weight loss and require help in diagnosis and treatment.
Stress and anxiety. Anxious dog may eat less or have digestive problems due to new or ongoing stress around the house.
What should you do if you notice that your pet has suddenly lost weight?
It is important that your veterinarian check your dog as soon as you notice weight loss, especially in the short term.
Some things to think about before your visit can help your veterinarian determine the cause of weight loss.
- Has anything changed in your dog?
- Appetite (increased or decreased)?
- Alcohol habits (increased or decreased)?
- Food (e.g. modified brand of food, if given any food scraps from the table recently, chance of eating any foreign objects)?
- Stool (e.g. any vomiting or diarrhea)?
- Urination (increased frequency or any difficulty in urination)?
- Behavior (e.g. fatigue, sleepiness, restlessness or hyperactivity)?
- Mobility (e.g. walking or waking up after rest)?
- Shortness of breath (e.g. cough or shortness of breath)?
- When did you notice weight loss?
- Does your dog have any toxins?
It also helps to know what medications your dog is taking regarding the prevention and control of intestinal worms, flies and heartworms.
Your veterinarian would perform a standard physical examination of your pet. From the clinical examination and history, a plan can be drawn up for the next step in the diagnostic process.
Blood, urine or stool samples can often be collected to assess your pet’s internal organs and general health.