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10 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Losing Weight

10 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Losing Weight

Critter Culture Staff



Ever wondered why your furry friend might be losing weight?

From seasonal pep-ups to chilling weather chills, the reasons behind your dog's weight loss journey can range from the mundane to the more serious. But don't fret just yet! If your pooch is still its playful self and hasn't tipped the scales with more than a 10% weight drop, it's not all doom and gloom. That said, your gut feeling plays a crucial role here—never underestimate it. If something feels off, it's time to play detective with your vet.

Keep reading to dive deeper into what might be causing your dog's weight changes and how to ensure their health stays in tip-top shape.



Close up of border collie dog looking sad on comfy chair in living room stocknroll/ Getty Images

Stress can significantly impact a dog's physical health, just as it does in humans. Dogs may become stressed or anxious for a variety of reasons. They might be adjusting to a new pet in the house, which could be affecting their food intake, or they could be mourning the loss of a companion animal. Other factors, such as relocating to a new home or feeling lonely due to long periods of solitude, can also contribute to weight loss. It's important to observe any changes in your dog's behavior and environment to address these stress factors effectively.


Dietary changes

lady feeding her dog , cozy kitchen interior, Phynart Studio/ Getty Images

Changing your dog's diet can have unexpected effects on its weight. If you've recently switched your dog's food, you might notice a decrease in its appetite if it doesn't favor the new food as much as the old. Alternatively, the new food might be lower in calories, meaning the same amount of food now has fewer calories. Consulting with your vet about making the healthiest dietary changes for your pet is crucial. They can provide guidance on the best food options based on your dog's specific nutritional needs.


Dental issues

Dental Brushing Dogs Teeth JodiJacobson/ getty Images

Dental problems, such as toothaches and sore gums, can be extremely painful for dogs and make eating a challenging and unpleasant experience. If dental issues are severe enough to cause weight loss, it's crucial to take your dog to a veterinarian. Poor oral hygiene can lead to an imbalance in the oral microbiome, allowing harmful bacteria to spread and potentially cause infections. Regularly checking your dog's mouth for signs like swelling, blood, or broken teeth is an important part of preventive health care.


Old age

Older dog sitting on floor kacoates/ Getty Images

Accepting that our dogs age faster than we do can be difficult. By around eight years old, dogs are considered seniors, and with age comes muscle loss. If you notice your dog losing weight rapidly, it's wise to consult your vet. Senior dogs may require different care and nutrition than younger dogs, and a veterinarian can help ensure your furry friend enjoys a high quality of life in its later years. Regular check-ups are important to monitor any age-related health issues.


Gastrointestinal issues

Dog vomit in the living room on the floor, sick dog vomitted to cure itself closeup cerro_photography

More serious health concerns, such as gastrointestinal problems like ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can cause weight loss in dogs. Symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting can be distressing for both you and your pet. These conditions can't be cured but can be managed with diet, medication, and supplements. It's important to monitor your dog's eating habits and stool quality, as changes can indicate gastrointestinal issues that need medical attention.


Kidney or liver disease

Golden Retriever drinking water outdoor PK-Photos/ getty Images

Liver and kidney diseases can cause weight loss, along with other symptoms like increased thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea. Liver problems can lead to jaundice, while kidney issues might result in bad breath. Chronic kidney disease can prevent the body from retaining protein, leading to malnutrition. Regular vet check-ups, including urine and blood tests, are important for early detection and management of these diseases. Early intervention can significantly improve the quality of life for dogs with these conditions.


Heart disease

Young man vet examining dog by stethoscope at pet clinic while nurse making notes in background. Ridofranz/ Getty Images

Cardiac cachexia, associated with heart disease, leads to significant lean body mass loss. Symptoms might include fatigue and coughing. By the time a dog starts losing weight due to heart disease, the condition is often advanced. Regular check-ups are vital to limit the impact of heart conditions. Early detection and management of heart disease can make a significant difference in your dog's health and comfort.



A pet dog enjoying the grassy field of a public dog park, scratching his bum along the grass. petesphotography/ Getty Images

Weight loss, along with pale gums and hair loss, could indicate anemia and the presence of internal parasites like tapeworms and whipworms. These parasites consume nutrients before your dog can, leading to symptoms like itching, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Vets can diagnose these conditions with a stool analysis and treat them with deworming medications. Preventative measures, such as regular deworming and flea control, are essential in maintaining your dog's health.


Metabolic disorders

Young woman crouching and wiping the floor, her Weimaraner puppy being warned for peeing at home, zoranm/ Getty Images

Metabolic disorders, including diabetes and the less common Addison's disease, can cause rapid weight loss. If your dog can't regulate its blood sugar, you might notice increased drinking and urination. Diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in older female dogs. Monitoring your dog for signs of increased thirst, frequent urination, and changes in appetite can help in early detection and management of these disorders.



Vet and Labrador retriever THEPALMER/ Getty Images

Cancer, a significant metabolic disease, deserves its own category. Cancerous tumors use up the nutrients your dog consumes, leading to visible muscle loss, discomfort, and reduced appetite. Since cancer is often linked with aging, it's important to consider this possibility in older dogs losing weight and consult a vet for a proper diagnosis. Early detection of cancer can be crucial in managing the disease and maintaining your dog's quality of life.



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