A healthy dog fed with an appropriate diet should not normally lose weight. If a dog loses weight, it is important to question his diet and his health. A weight loss is all the more worrying when it is rapid and important.
Why is my dog losing weight?
Dogs have energy needs that must be covered by their diet. Weight loss occurs when there is an imbalance between the animal's needs and its diet.
Weight loss in dogs can have several causes:
- An increase in energy expenditure while the animal's food intake remains the same (energy losses due to cold (animals living outside), increased physical activity, diseases, etc.)
- A decrease in food intake while the animal's energy needs remain unchanged (loss of appetite or even anorexia, unsuitable food, etc.)
- Or both of the above phenomena: an increase in energy expenditure and a decrease in food intake
It is advisable to weigh your dog regularly (at least every three months) to monitor his weight. If your dog loses more than 10% of its weight, it is important to question the cause of this weight loss and consult a veterinarian.
Be careful: in small dogs, a 10% weight loss can represent only a few hundred grams!
Ideally, you should feel its ribs and observe a hollow in the flanks. If you can see its ribs, if you can see a muscular melting, etc... then the animal is thin or even cachectic...
What causes weight loss?
Here is a list (not exhaustive) of causes that can lead to weight loss in dogs:
It is advisable to feed dogs with premium quality food that will provide them with all the elements they need. The rationing tables found on kibble packages are only guidelines. It is preferable to ask your pet's veterinarian to calculate its energy requirements and the ration it needs. Be careful: the ration must be adapted according to the caloric losses, the energetic expenses, etc... For example, the ration must be increased for dogs with a high level of physical activity, for dogs that live outside in winter, etc...
Decreased appetite or even anorexia
A decrease in appetite is encountered in many diseases. It is a non-specific symptom that does not allow the veterinarian to point to a specific cause. Among the diseases responsible for a loss of appetite, we find oral diseases, digestive diseases, depression, heart diseases, etc...
Digestive parasites, when present in large numbers, can rob the animal of part of its ration and lead to deficiencies or even weight loss. Regular deworming is therefore necessary for the health of your dog. It is recommended to deworm puppies every month until they are 6 months old. After the age of 6 months, it is recommended to deworm dogs at least every 3 months.
Infectious or inflammatory diseases
Infectious diseases can increase energy expenditure and lead to weight loss.
Dogs suffering from chronic diarrhea may show weight loss. There are many causes of chronic diarrhea in dogs: parasites, diseases of immune origin, food allergies, etc...
In the case of cancer, weight loss may be due to a loss of appetite, but other causes are possible, such as the production of substances by the tumor that disrupt the animal's metabolism.