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Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

As our furry friends age, some senior dogs may experience weight loss, which is a cause for concern. At Ambassador Dog & Cat Hospital, our veterinarians provide insights on this issue and offer guidance on when to take action.

Older Dog's Weight

Many dogs tend to gain weight as they age, but some dogs experience weight loss instead. You might be wondering why your dog is losing weight. The answer falls into two categories: either there is an underlying condition causing the weight loss as a symptom of a bigger issue, or your dog's aging process requires a different dietary balance.

Cause of Weight Loss In Senior Dog That Are a Problem

When elderly dogs experience weight loss, it could be a symptom of underlying issues. These commonly include liver or gallbladder disease, dehydration, dental issues, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

It's important to have your dog diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian for any of these issues. Other symptoms often accompany weight loss, which can help your vet make a quicker diagnosis.

As a pet owner, the best thing you can do for your senior dog is to observe them for any other symptoms and inform your vet promptly.

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 to Do If No Underlying Medical Issues are Causing the Weight Loss

If your dog is experiencing weight loss without any apparent underlying cause, it may be worth considering a change in their diet. It is advisable to discuss their current diet, including the amount of protein, fat, and fiber they are consuming, with your veterinarian for expert advice.

In conclusion

If you notice that your senior dog is losing weight quickly, it's important to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If you have any concerns about your dog's weight during their bi-annual routine exam, make sure to discuss them with your veterinarian.

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 contact our vet in Los Angeles right away to schedule an appointment for your dog.

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Ambassador Dog & Cat Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of pets in our Los Angeles community. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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