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Dog Nutrition - Understanding Dog Nutrition: Canine Weight Loss

How does weight loss affect the health and well-being of my pet?

Being at an appropriate weight means that our pet’s body has enough energy and fuel to maintain its weight. A healthy weight provides the support their immune system needs in case there's an infection. It also ensures they have good muscle in their joints to support their bones. Just like in humans, maintaining a healthy weight is part of overall health.

Dr. Meghan Denney
4 Paws at Fulshear Veterinary Clinic

What can cause weight loss in my dog?

There are many causes of weight loss in dogs, including certain metabolic diseases that prevent the body from absorbing food, liver or kidney dysfunction, and infectious diseases such as parasitism. Intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms can steal nutrients from the body and cause weight loss. Inflammatory diseases like autoimmune conditions and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as food sensitivities, can also lead to weight loss in pets.

What medical issues can cause weight loss in my pet?

Any disturbance in your pet's metabolism or organ function, or if they have an infection, inflammation, or autoimmune condition, can significantly affect their weight. If you notice your pet is losing weight without any changes in their diet or exercise, it's important to consult with a vet. Early intervention is crucial. If your pet loses too much weight and becomes sick, it could be catastrophic. Therefore, it's essential to keep track of your pet's weight.

How do I know if my dog is too skinny?

If you can easily feel the hip bones and ribs, or if you can see the bridge of their spine or the bone on the top of their head, your dog might be underweight. This is particularly important for dogs with thicker coats, such as Australian Shepherds, Poodles, and Doodle Mixes. Even if they appear to be of adequate weight, it's important to physically check. If you notice your dog is bony, it's important to make an appointment with a vet.

Why is early intervention of weight loss so important?

If weight loss is not addressed until the dog is emaciated, it can lead to critical illness. Even a minor issue can be life-threatening. For example, a dog that is extremely skinny could go into shock from a simple stomach bug. Early detection and intervention can prevent such situations. It's crucial to maintain regular check-ups for your pet to catch any weight loss early.

How soon should I call my vet if my dog is experiencing weight loss?

Early intervention is key. Weight loss can be a chronic, long process. If you wait until your pet is skin and bones, it might be impossible to regain the weight, especially if they're suffering from a chronic disease like liver disease or kidney failure. Once the weight is lost, it's not just fat that's gone but also muscle and protein in the body. If we don't catch this until they're extremely skinny, it becomes a much harder battle to not only address the cause of the weight loss but also to repair the damage done by chronic weight loss. Therefore, if you notice your dog losing weight, please make an appointment with the vet. There are many diseases, including diabetes, that can cause weight loss. It's important to act before it becomes a serious problem.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

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