Is your dog too skinny? Weight loss as a symptom

If your dog has been losing weight lately, you might think it’s a good thing. And it could be. But the first thing you should do is rule out the possibility of illness, especially if it’s a drastic weight loss and your pet hasn’t had any changes in their diet or exercise. You might be tempted to try any one of the suggestions on websites or forums, but you should get some advice first.

Adorable border collie puppy looks at a stethoscope hanging from the neck of a veterinarian sitting beside the puppy.
Your vet is a valuable ally when it comes to the health of your pet! Photo courtesy of iStock.

See your vet
You should always check with your veterinarian before you start your dog on a weight gain or weight loss plan. Make sure you have information to share with your vet about your pet when you see them. Some important questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is the dog otherwise feeling well or are they suffering from lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other obvious symptoms?
  • Have you made any changes to their schedule or around the home?
  • Have you changed their diet?
  • Has their appetite or activity level obviously declined?

The illnesses below are all diseases that weight loss is a key symptom.

We know that cancer is scary, and also that 1 dog in 4 dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime. It’s a disease to be on the watch for and we covered the basics on cancer in dogs during Cancer Awareness Month in November.  Click here to read more.

If you live in a state with mosquitos then you’ll be thinking about how heartworm affects your pets. Weight loss is a common symptom that goes hand in hand with lethargy as your pet won’t feel like eating. You can read our post about “12 symptoms that could indicate heartworm in dogs.”

A diabetic pup will lose weight because their bodies will start burning fat and muscle for energy instead of getting glucose from the blood. If you’re worried about diabetes and your pet, you can ask yourself the questions from our post “7 signs your dog may have diabetes.”

Liver disease
The causes of liver disease can vary greatly, so taking your pet in for a check-up with the vets is important. Only they will be able to accurately diagnose your pet. As the liver is a vital organ, waiting too long for testing could be detrimental to your dog’s health.

Orthopedic or neuromuscular disease
These diseases cause a loss of muscle mass and your pet’s weight will drop. They are also varied and require a veterinarian’s diagnosis. If you notice a decrease in muscle mass on your pet, get thee to the vet!

When your dog is a part of the family, you want to make sure that you do everything you can for them. And it can be difficult since they can’t tell you what’s wrong. That’s where a great vet comes in!

Information given in this article is not a substitute for advice from a qualified medical professional. Please consult a veterinarian for advice specific to your dog.