Should You Be Concerned By Weight Loss In Dogs?

You may be happy to see your furry friend losing weight especially if he is a few pounds overweight. However, when you notice that your dog is losing too much weight, it can be a cause for concern. When should you become concerned by weight loss in dogs? If you notice that your dog has lost more than ten percent of his normal weight and the weight loss is not due to fluid loss.

There are several factors that can cause weight loss or cachexia in dogs. Chronic disease is one of the most common causes, but other factors can also cause this extreme weight loss. Your dog’s entire body will probably be affected, so it is important that your dog is examined by a vet so the underlying cause of the weight loss can be determined.

Poor Calorie Intake

If your dog is not consuming enough calories daily they will begin to lose weight. The amount of calories your dog should eat is based on their weight, breed and age. It is up to you as your dog’s owner to make sure you are feeding them an adequate amount of food every day so they can maintain a healthy weight.

Poor Food Quality

This is also a reason for weight loss in dogs, and once again this is the responsibility of the owner. Your dog requires certain nutrients so they can remain at optimal health. The most important nutrient that a dog must consume is protein. You should make sure that you purchase canned and dry food for your dog that has abundance of healthy nutrients and no fillers or by products.


An infestation of intestinal worms can also make a dog lose weight. The worms absorb the nutrients out of the food, and the dog has little if any sustenance. The other signs that you should look out for when a dog is suspected of having worms are a loss of appetite, fatigue and constipation.


Just as humans experience rapid weight loss at the onset of diabetes, dogs can also experience extreme weight loss when they are suffering with diabetes. Be sure to schedule regular checkups with the vet so insulin issues in your pet can be detected early.


Cancer affects dogs the same way that it affects humans and one of the first signs is usually weight loss in dogs. Regular screenings will be able to identify cancerous cells and growths and they can be treated before the problem escalates further.

Diagnostic Tests Will Reveal Cause Of Weight Loss

It is important that your vet perform a series of tests to discover what is causing the weight loss. Some of the tests that your vet will perform are:

•   Ultrasound •   CBC (Complete Blood Count) •   Fecal test to look for intestinal worms •   Urinalysis •   X-rays •   Exploratory surgery •   Biopsy

Once the reason for the weight loss in dogs is known, the vet will either treat the symptoms or remove the cause. After treatment the vet will recommend that your dog begins eating high quality pet food and has several follow up appointments.

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