Caring For Underweight Dogs

Caring for an Underweight Dog
We spend more time focusing on dogs that are overweight and often forget the other end of the spectrum is also a significant issue. Whether your dog is a recent addition to your family, leaving tough circumstances, or seems extremely thin suddenly, it can be scary to see an underweight dog. Malnourished pets can be slow, inactive, and are conceivably at risk for extra health issues if their bodies don’t get the proper nutrients.

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How can I tell if my dog is malnourished
Looking at your dog from the side, answer these questions:

  • Is there a decline in self-grooming or the luster of his coat?
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  • Can you see a marked indent between his hips and ribs?
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  • Does his back become very skinny?

Food bowls left unfinished are a sure sign that your dog isn’t eating enough or may have more serious health problems.

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Causes of an underweight dog
Weight loss, particularly sudden weight loss in a formerly healthy dog, can be an indication of additional health problems, such as:

  • Worms and parasites
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  • Kidney disease
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  • Liver problems
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  • Heart disease
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  • Diabetes
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  • Cancer

If your dog continues to lose weight, can’t gain weight, or shows other signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, frequent urination, or strange behavior, contact your vet.

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How often should I feed
Instead of feeding once a day, try free feeding or multiple feedings a day. Leaving food bowls out all day can encourage an underweight dog to eat who may be timid eating in front of people, or who may prefer snacking on one meal for a few hours instead of eating it all in one sitting. Dividing your dog's daily meal into several servings can also give him more chances to eat the calories they need. If your dog doesn’t regain healthy weight, you may need to supplement his diet with vitamins..

Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet. This page is just basic information to help bring awareness to different health issues that are common in pets. If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.
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