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Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

As dogs grow older, they undergo several changes. One of the significant differences you may observe is their weight. While weight gain may be a concern, weight loss in senior dogs is also a matter of worry. Our vets at Pittsboro offer insights into weight loss in older dogs and when you should be concerned.

When Your Older Dog is Losing Weight

As dogs age, it's typical for them to gain weight. However, there are situations where dogs may lose weight, which can be a cause for concern for their owners. Two possible reasons for this weight loss are an underlying medical condition or the dog's changing dietary needs due to the aging process.

When is Weight Loss in Older Dogs a Concern?

If your older dog is experiencing weight loss, it may be due to an underlying health condition. These conditions can include liver/gallbladder disease, dehydration, dental problems, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

It's important to have your vet diagnose and address each of these issues. Typically, these conditions are accompanied by other symptoms in addition to weight loss.

To help your senior dog, take note of all their symptoms and bring them to a vet in Pittsboro for examination. Keep an eye out for these common symptoms associated with the conditions that can cause weight loss in pets.

Liver/gallbladder disease

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


      • 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


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


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


      • Wobbling
      • Lameness
      • Scuffing the toes
      • Incontinence

What Happens When There is No Diagnosis

If your dog is losing weight and the vet has ruled out any underlying medical issues, it may be necessary to adjust their diet. It's best to consult with your veterinarian to evaluate their current diet and determine the appropriate protein, fat, and fiber levels. 

In the case of senior dogs experiencing significant weight loss, it's crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately. If you have concerns about your dog's weight, it's advisable to bring it up during their regular check-up with the vet.

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 noticeably losing weight, contact our Pittsboro vets right away to schedule an appointment for your dog. 

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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