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Weight Loss in Senior Dogs

While we are normally concerned with our dogs becoming overweight, as they become older senior dogs some canines start to lose weight. Here, Our Yucaipa vets discuss weight loss in a senior dog and when you should be concerned.

Old Dog Losing Weight and Muscle Mass

Some dogs start to lose weight as they get older, despite the fact that it is true that many dogs become chunkier as they get older. You might be wondering, "Why is my dog losing weight?" in this situation. There are two possible explanations for this answer: either there is an underlying condition and it is a symptom of a larger problem, or the aging process of your dog requires a different balance in their diet. Both of these explanations are possible.

Causes of Senior Dogs Losing Weight That Are a Problem

When it comes to weight loss in senior dogs, eight different problems are frequently the leading causes. Dehydration, dental problems, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis are some of the conditions that fall under this category. Other conditions include liver and gallbladder disease. Your veterinarian is the veterinary professional who should diagnose and treat each of these issues. In the majority of cases, these underlying causes will present themselves as other symptoms that are associated with weight removal.

The best thing you can do for your senior dog that is losing weight is to observe them for the other symptoms so you can inform the vet so they can diagnose your dog quicker. The symptoms that can present with each condition are as follows.

Liver/gallbladder disease

      • Lethargy
      • Increased thirst
      • Vomiting/diarrhea
      • Fever
      • Pain 
      • Pale or yellow gums
      • Yellowing of skin/eyes

Dehydration

      • Dry gums 
      • Lethargy 
      • Sunken eyes
      • Loss of skin elasticity
      • Less urination
      • Dark urine

Dental Issues

      • Excessive drooling
      • Difficulty eating/chewing
      • Bad breath
      • Swollen or bleeding gums

Kidney disease

      • Increased thirst
      • Excessive urination (may contain blood)
      • Vomiting
      • Loss of appetite
      • Pale gums
      • Lethargy

Heart disease

      • A chronic cough
      • Tires easily
      • Exercise intolerance
      • Excessive panting
      • Irregular heartbeat
      • Restlessness

Diabetes

      • Excessive thirst
      • Excessive urination
      • Increased appetite
      • Lethargy
      • Repeated urinary tract infections

Cancer

      • Lethargy
      • Unusual bleeding
      • Lumps, bumps, or swelling
      • Distended abdomen
      • Limping or lameness
      • Unusual urination – frequency or amount

Arthritis

      • Wobbling
      • Lameness
      • Scuffing the toes
      • Incontinence

What to Do If No Underlying Medical Issues are Causing the Weight Loss

If your vet can’t find any underlying cause for the weight loss it might be time to change your dog's diet. Consult with your veterinarian about their current diet and the amount of protein, fat, and fiber they are getting. They can give you advice on what to feed an old dog that is losing weight but is otherwise eating.

In Conclusion

If your senior dog is losing a significant amount of weight rapidly go to your veterinarian as soon as possible. If you are concerned about your dog's weight in general, bring it up with your veterinarian at your senior dog's bi-annual routine exam.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your senior dog is losing weight and its concerning you, contact our Yucaipa vets right away to schedule an appointment for your dog. 

New Patients Welcome

Green Valley Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Yucaipa companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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