Like many other animals, dogs go through weight changes now and then. Too many treats and stolen snacks will result in a few extra inches around the waistline, but insufficient enough food can easily lead to malnutrition. However, diet isn’t the only thing to cause weight loss or gain in dogs.
Why is my dog losing weight but still eating?
Talk to a vet ASAP for FREE!
If your dog has been losing weight lately, you should read ahead.
What is Considered Dog Rapid Weight Loss?
Let’s pretend you have an overweight pup, and your vet puts them on a lower-calorie, higher-exercise regime. They would expect your pet to lose between one to five pounds every month, but it depends on many variables. These include:
- Start weight;
- End weight goal;
- Medical conditions and disabilities;
- Home conditions;
- And more.
Heavier pets tend to lose weight faster than lighter ones because of how much weight they need when exercising. A severely overweight pooch losing five pounds monthly wouldn’t be considered abnormal. If a very slim or underweight dog were to lose five pounds in a month, on the other hand, the transformation would be evident and sometimes quite alarming… and potentially fatal.
Generally, rapid weight loss in dogs would be the quick loss of 10% of their original body weight. My British bulldog weighs 50 to 60 pounds. Georgie-boy would need to lose five to six pounds quickly to experience “abnormal” or “rapid weight loss.”
Why Is My Dog Losing Weight?
According to a vet analysis, a very long list of medical conditions and scenarios could cause a dog to lose weight. Some are completely benign and have nothing to worry about.
If you have recently moved from an apartment to a house with a garden, your puppy will have lots of new space to get used to. There’s a chance they will zoom around for a few days or weeks (or possibly forever), which could cause a sudden onset of weight loss.
A change in the home isn’t the only thing that can cause a dog to get a little out-of-sorts. A change in food can affect your puppy’s weight alongside very hot or cold temperatures, an abrupt shift in climate, short-term illnesses (such as a spot of food poisoning), old age, and more.
Medical Conditions that Cause Weight Loss in Dogs
- Early stages of pregnancy;
- Heart conditions;
- Oral or dental pain or problems;
- Liver failure or diseases;
- Kidney failure or diseases;
- Addison’s disease.
Finally, German shepherds commonly suffer from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or EPI. This condition causes symptoms like food poisoning or an upset stomach, including weight loss.
Old Dog Weight Loss: Why It Happens
Older dogs tend to experience weight loss because older humans share the same: decreased appetite, reduced digestive system efficiency, and reduced muscle performance.
The process is slow and gradual when older dogs lose weight for natural reasons. You may not notice it for a while, especially if your pop is a large, hairy, or overweight breed.
Weight loss that happens quickly in senior dogs is a cause for concern and should be checked out by a vet.
Why is My Dog Losing Weight and Eating?
If your dog is eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, and behaving fine, getting any rapid weight loss checked out is a good idea. Also, are you 100% sure your dog is eating fine? Could it be the case that another animal, a pest or domestic, is eating their food?
If it seems your dog is eating more than usual, it could be the case that they’re dealing with a parasite. Hookworms and other intestinal worms can cause rapid weight loss in dogs with regular or even increased eating and drinking patterns.
Your dog’s diet might not be correct, too. If you’ve been feeding them the same thing since they were a year old, and they’re not in their teens, you’ve not adapted their food to suit their needs.
A very young pup’s dietary needs differ significantly from those of a senior dog.
What About a Dog Losing Weight and NOT Eating?
If your pup is not eating, you’ve found the cause of their weight loss. Now it’s time to find out what’s causing the loss in appetite…
Dental problems can cause a dog not to want to eat. Would YOU like to eat with raging toothache? A broken tooth, gum disease, and oral cancer can put a pup off its food. Depression, stress, and anxiety can also do the same thing. Dental problems can cause a dog not to want to eat. Would YOU like to eat with raging toothache? A broken tooth, gum disease, and oral cancer can put a pup off its food. Depression, stress, and anxiety can also do the same thing.
I know you don’t want to talk about the C-word because it’s scary and awful, but if your pup isn’t eating (and even sometimes when they are), it could be the case that their weight loss is caused by cancer.
Why is My Dog Losing Weight and Drinking Lots of Water
If the weather is scorching outside, it could be that your pup has had enough food and needs to guzzle down lots of cold water instead. We’ve all been there.
If the temperature is perfectly average and nothing else seems to be the apparent cause, your vet will perform checks for things like diabetes. This commonly comes with weight loss, increased fluid intake, and increased urination alongside lethargy.
Other Causes of Rapid Weight Loss in Dogs
The list is long (I did warn you), and alongside the medical conditions I’ve already mentioned, the following are medical conditions accompanied by rapid or extreme weight loss:
How to Treat Unexplained Weight Loss in Dogs
You will need to get to the root cause of your dog’s weight loss before you can successfully treat it. You will likely need a vet to diagnose the problem and administer the treatment and care.
If the problem is simple, such as the wrong kind of food, a change should make things better. It is not recommended to suddenly and regularly change your pet’s food, though. Some furballs do not like that.
Once the problem or condition has been diagnosed, proper treatment can be given. With cancer, that might be radiotherapy or chemotherapy. If the problem is irritable bowel disease, a change to the diet will make a big difference. Other conditions, such as blockages, might require surgery to put right.
The only way to determine what treatment your dog’s weight loss needs is to investigate and diagnose it.
If you’re unsure if your dog’s weight constitutes rapid weight loss, why not chat with one of Petlifedays’s online vets? They’re available around the clock via video call, so they can take into the appearance of your four-legged friend and recommend a suitable course of action.
For less than $1 per day, you’ll get access to licensed vets around the clock… and you can ask those ‘silly’ questions you’re too afraid to ask your vet!
Can dogs lose weight after being neutered?
Yes, they can. The anesthesia and surgery can cause a canine to lose its appetite for a little while, which can cause a little weight loss. Rapid weight loss following any surgery or treatment should be reported to your vet.
Can dogs lose weight from fleas?
Yes! Fleas are awful for your pup to have to deal with. As well as being irritating and itchy, the blood-sucking bugs can also, quite literally, suck too much blood. A severe, untreated infestation can cause anemia in dogs.