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Geriatric Pet Care: Weight Loss in Senior Dogs

Geriatric Pet Care: 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 Citrus Heights vets discuss geriatric pet care and what to watch for with weight loss in senior dogs.

Older Dog's Weight

While it is true that a large number of dogs tend to get chonkier as they age, some dogs start to lose weight. The question you may be asking yourself is why is my dog losing weight. There are two categories that this answer can take either there is an underlying condition and it is a symptom of a larger issue or your dog’s aging process requires a different balance in their diet.

Cause of Weight Loss In Senior Dog That Are a Problem

Eight issues which are commonly the root problem in elderly dogs where weight loss is a symptom. These issues are liver/gallbladder disease, dehydration, dental issues, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Each one of these issues needs to be diagnosed and addressed by your vet. Most of these root causes will present other symptoms accompanying weight loss.

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 and have them 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.

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, 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, contact our Citrus Heights vets right away to schedule an appointment for your dog. 

New Patients Always Welcome

Family Friends Veterinary Hospital is happy to accept new patients! Our vets are passionate about improving the health of Citrus Heights companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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