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Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

Senior dogs may experience weight loss, which can be a concern. Our Poway vets discuss weight loss in older dogs and when you might worry.

When Your Older Dog is Losing Weight

As dogs age, it's typical for them to gain weight. However, they may lose weight in some situations, which can be concerning for their owners. This weight loss can be due to two reasons: an underlying condition causing it as a symptom of a more significant issue, or your dog's aging process requires a different diet balance.

When is Weight Loss in Older Dogs a Concern?

If your older dog experiences weight loss, an underlying health condition may likely exist. These conditions could include liver or gallbladder disease, dehydration, dental problems, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or arthritis. It is important to take your dog to the vet to diagnose and address any of these issues. Usually, these underlying conditions come with additional symptoms that co-occur with weight loss.

The best thing you can do for your senior dog if they are losing excess weight is to make a note of all their symptoms and bring them to their vet in Poway in order to have them examined. Here are some of the issues that may affect your pet, causing weight loss, as well as the common symptoms for each of these conditions:

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 veterinarian is unable to identify any underlying reasons for your dog's weight loss, it may be necessary to alter their diet. It is advisable to discuss your dog's current diet and the levels of protein, fat, and fiber they are consuming with your veterinarian.

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 during your senior dog's 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 noticeably losing weight, contact our Poway vets right away to schedule an appointment for your dog. 

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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