Getting your dog to eat enough or to stop eating so much, can be a tricky situation. Obesity carries many health risks and making sure your dog is on the correct diet can benefit several areas of his or her life. But, what about if your dog seems to be losing weight? Sudden weight loss in dogs can signal that something is wrong or it may just be because they are running more and eating less. If your dog loses more than 10% of his or her total body weight, this should be a cause for concern. As with most bodily changes in your pets, you’ll want to be aware of weight loss. To help you identify any potential issues we’ve outlined six causes of sudden weight loss in dogs.
1. Thyroid problems
- Just like in humans, dogs can experience hormonal imbalance if they are experiencing thyroid problems. This can manifest itself as rapid metabolism and result in extreme weight loss. Thyroid problems can be easily managed once they are detected.
- Diabetes is characterized by insulin deficiency, also known as the body’s inability to absorb sugar from the blood. Diabetes normally causes dogs to have an increased appetite, but they will still lose weight. Diabetes can develop because of genetic or weight factors and is often seen in senior dogs.
- Many times dogs experience nervousness or anxiety which causes a lack of appetite. If they are not comfortable in their environment, they may not feel safe enough to eat.
4. Tapeworm or other parasites
- A dog with parasites can experience sudden and rapid weight loss. For example, a tapeworm lives in a dog’s intestines and consumes the food eaten by the dog. The dog is then deprived of nutrients and becomes extremely thin.
5. Liver Disease
- The liver provides the dog’s body with essential carbs and sugars. If the dog is suffering from liver disease, the liver will not be able to provide these crucial nutrients. The body will then start to consume fat deposits and muscle tissues to replace these nutrients.
6. Dental problems
- If your dog has a dental abscess it will be uncomfortable for him to eat. He may lose weight from lack of eating. The veterinarian will need to administer antibiotics and see if there is a tooth that needs to be removed.
As your dogs age, you may notice physical and mental changes in their behavior. We recommend you stay mindful of any changes that may occur, especially those that include sudden weight loss. Now that you know what may cause these changes, you can play an even more important role in the life of your pet.