It can be difficult to tell whether your dog is losing weight in a healthy or unhealthy manner at first. However, keeping an eye on his eating habits can help to determine the condition. It’s time to take your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup if you notice he isn’t eating or drinking as much as he used to.
There are various reasons why your puppy may be underweight even though he eats a lot. It may be because of its breed. Some breeds are inherently thin and have relatively little body fat. On the other hand, some breeds can have an underlying bodily issue or expend more calories than they consume.
As long as your puppy’s ribs aren’t apparent and he doesn’t appear to be too thin, it would be best if you weren’t too concerned. Whether you’re not sure if your puppy is too small for his age, breed, or sex, here’s a brief guide to see if he’s too skinny or needs to see a veterinarian right away.
Why Is My Dog So Skinny Despite The Fact That He Eats?
Your dog’s weight may fluctuate due to a lifestyle change such as getting more active outdoors or switching food or treats. While this is normal, sudden and rapid weight loss in dogs can indicate illness or other health issues.
If your dog appears to be eating properly but is still underweight and not gaining weight, one of two things is likely to be the case: you aren’t feeding them enough, or there is an underlying condition preventing them from gaining weight.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in and see various reasons that can make your dog skinny. Shall we?
1. Dietary Changes
Diseases aren’t the only cause of weight loss in dogs. You can be shocked to find out that one of the most prevalent reasons for weight loss in dogs is altering their food.
You can think that this isn’t possible because you haven’t changed your dog’s diet in years. However, just because your dog is eating the same brand of kibble doesn’t mean the manufacturer hasn’t changed the formula.
Suppose you continue to feed your dog the same amount of food as before, completely unaware that the new formula contains 10% fewer calories. In the end, your dog consumes fewer calories than it requires and begins to lose weight sooner or later.
Since many dog foods are labeled confusingly, it’s easy to miss these changes. So, before you assume your dog is sick, look at the ingredient label on the food to see how many calories each serving contains.
However, if the meals are the same as before, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Moreover, if you have changed the formula and now contains fewer calories, you need to feed your dog properly—with more calories.
2. Intestinal Parasites
Internal parasites can contribute to your dog’s weight loss; it is still a viable possibility even though it isn’t a common cause.
However, most dog owners keep up with monthly deworming treatments, which protect their dogs against intestinal parasites and heartworms. Moreover, there are various intestinal parasites to be aware of, and not all deworming treatments are equally effective.
For instance, whipworms can be challenging to treat, but your dog can become infected by ingesting eggs from contaminated water or soil.
The main problem with intestinal parasites is that they consume all of the food consumed by your dog—depriving it of all essential nutrients. Besides, if your dog is overeating but losing weight, intestinal parasites could be the cause.
Apart from weight loss, intestinal parasites can result in the following signs and symptoms:
- Increased gas
- Abdominal swelling
Fortunately, intestinal parasites are easy to detect with a feces examination and treated with a broad-spectrum dewormer. A monthly deworming medicine is the best preventative after successful treatment.
Regrettably, diabetes is frequently diagnosed in older dogs, particularly females. Diabetes causes dogs to lose weight quickly because their bodies cannot obtain energy from glucose and instead attempt to convert fat or protein into energy.
Additionally, you should take your older dog to the veterinarian to lose weight while eating and drinking a lot of water. This is because most diabetic dogs lose weight quickly and may begin to lose muscle mass as well.
And, because diabetes causes excessive thirst, your dog will need to urinate frequently and, even if properly housetrained, may have accidents in the house.
The following symptoms characterize diabetes in dogs:
- Weight loss
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Increased appetite
- Cloudy eyes
- Chronic or recurrent urinary infections
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, you should take them to the veterinarian right away. To determine whether your dog has diabetes, the veterinarian will perform blood glucose tests and a urinalysis. Moreover, once diabetes has been confirmed, treatment will consist of insulin shots and a special diet.
Maldigestion disorders occur when your dog’s body cannot properly break down food into its constituent parts caused by a lack of enzymes. As a result, the nutrients can be broken down differently.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, for instance, impairs the body’s ability to break down food into usable nutrients. This means that all of the essential nutrients your dog consumes daily pass through its digestive system and are not absorbed by the body.
When your dog is suffering from maldigestion, it will have a normal appetite—but it will continue to lose weight. Additionally, it may also have diarrhea, loose yellow stool, and gas. All these symptoms, however, are insufficient to diagnose the problem.
As a result, you’ll need to take your dog to the veterinarian for a complete physical examination and tests. Your veterinarian will most likely take a stool sample and perform a digestive enzyme test on your dog’s blood.
Malabsorption disorders make it difficult for your dog’s body to digest and absorb nutrients from the intestine. One of the most common malabsorption disorders in dogs is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Moreover, irritable bowel syndrome is when your dog eats a lot but loses weight, in conjunction with vomiting, diarrhea, or has foul-smelling loose stool. However, the exact cause of this disease is unknown, but it results in gastrointestinal inflammation.
Inflammatory bowel disease is diagnosed with a fecal examination, blood tests, and an X-ray or ultrasound of the intestines.
Common symptoms include:
- Weight loss,
- Muscle weakness,
- Abdominal discomfort,
- Bad smelling stools
- Swollen feet and hands
This disease has no cure, and the only treatment options are a special diet, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Although inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition, your dog can live a normal life with the proper diet and treatment.
6. Dental Disease
Many dogs, especially senior dogs, suffer from dental disease. Broken or infected teeth, gingivitis, or gum disease can be excruciatingly painful for your dog, making it difficult for him to eat properly.
Because dental problems make chewing extremely painful, many dogs stop eating and begin to lose weight. Canines that don’t experience oral pain can eat normally but are bound to lose some weight as they won’t be able to chew.
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of dental disease:
- Bad breath
- Difficulty in eating and chewing
- Excessive drooling
- Swollen or bleeding gums
You need to take your dog to the veterinarian for a dental exam to lose weight and exhibit the above symptoms. Keep in mind that if dental disease isn’t detected and treated promptly, oral bacteria can spread throughout your dog’s body, causing problems with the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Dental disease is relatively easy to treat but unless detected early enough. Moreover, most dogs resume normal eating habits once the problem is resolved. Finally, dental issues can have severe consequences for your dog’s overall health—you should start brushing your dog’s teeth at a young age.
7. Kidney Disease
While weight loss can be a symptom of various illnesses, dogs with kidney disease don’t lose weight right away. Your dog’s organs become less effective as it gets older. However, weight loss, on the other hand, is usually associated with advanced kidney disease.
Kidney failure in dogs can be a result of acute or chronic. The latter is a disease that develops slowly over time and is usually detected in older dogs. Moreover, underlying illness, hereditary conditions, and dental disease all contribute to chronic kidney disease.
The following are the most common signs of kidney disease in dogs:
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss
- Pale gums
- Diarrhea or constipation
Kidney failure is a life-threatening condition, so if you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately take your dog to the veterinarian. Besides, the severity of your dog’s symptoms and whether the condition is acute or chronic determine the treatment for kidney failure.
8. Liver Disease
Another possible cause of your dog’s weight loss is liver disease, a common condition in dogs. This is because the symptoms of liver disease are similar to those of other illnesses; many owners are unaware that something is wrong until it is too late.
Liver disease is most often caused by aging, but it can also be caused by a genetic mutation, an infection, fatty foods, or certain plants and medications.
Dogs with liver problems can show the following symptoms in addition to weight loss:
- Increased thirst
- An unstable walk
- Jaundice – yellowish eyes, tongue, or gums
While the liver disease is more common in older dogs, it can also affect young dogs. Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if he is losing weight and exhibiting any of these symptoms. The severity of your dog’s liver damage and the problem that caused it will determine how your dog is treated.
9. Heart Disease
Heart disease in dogs does not cause immediate weight loss, as it does in kidney disease. However, early signs of heart disease in older dogs are so subtle that most owners mistakenly attribute them to normal aging.
Even though heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure, it’s critical to understand the signs and symptoms so that you can help your dog with what it requires.
Symptoms of early-stage heart disease in dogs include:
- Tiring easily
- Exercise intolerance
- Excessive panting
As the heart disease progresses, your dog may experience additional symptoms, such as:
- Swollen belly due to fluid build-up
- Change in tongue and gum color
- Weight loss
Since heart disease is a serious condition, you should take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice any of these signs. Heart disease can be treated if detected early enough, and with proper care and regular checkups, your dog can live a long and happy life.
Another illness that can cause your dog to lose weight despite eating the same amount of food as before is cancer. Dogs can develop various cancers, and some of them don’t show symptoms until they’ve spread.
Another disease that can cause your dog to lose weight even if he eats the same amount of food is cancer. Besides, cancers can affect your dogs in various ways—and some don’t show symptoms until they’ve spread.
Weight loss has been linked to various cancers in dogs, including osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and lymphoma. A dog with this type of cancer may lose weight due to the tumor’s metabolic demands or because it is in too much pain to eat.
Try not to panic and assume your dog’s weight loss is because of cancer, even if it’s challenging. A variety of diseases can cause weight loss in dogs, so have your dog checked out by a veterinarian.
If your dog’s weight loss results from cancer, talk to your veterinarian about all of your treatment options and do what’s best for your dog in the long run.
What Causes A Dog To Stay Skinny?
Your dog can stay skinny because of surgery, drug reactions, stress, heart disease, and other health-related issues. If your dog is refusing to eat, losing weight, or has any other digestive or feeding issues, take precautions and have your dog examined by a veterinarian.
What Does It Mean When A Dog Eats But Doesn’t Gain Weight?
Your dog’s weight may reduce even though he eats well due to a lifestyle change such as getting more active outdoors or switching food or treats. Moreover, if a dog eats but doesn’t gain weight, there are only two ways to explain it: you aren’t feeding it with enough food or an underlying condition preventing it from gaining weight.
How Can I Bulk My Dog Naturally?
The following are some of the best human foods for bulking up your dog:
- Raw eggs, scrambled eggs, and over-easy eggs
- Cottage Full-fat cheese
- To fit their diet, they should eat lean meat, which can be consumed raw or cooked.
- Quinoa is one of the few carbohydrates that contains all of the necessary amino acids for muscle growth.