Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

Weight Loss In Older Dogs: When To Worry

As dogs enter their senior years, various changes become apparent. While there's a natural concern about weight gain, there's also a significant focus on weight loss in older dogs. In Ypsilanti, our veterinarians discuss the topic of weight loss in senior dogs and the circumstances that warrant concern.

When Your Older Dog is Losing Weight

While it is typical for dogs to gain weight as they age, specific situations can lead to your dog losing weight. This could raise concerns about your pet, prompting you to inquire about the reason for the weight loss. This situation may fall into two categories: it may be due to an underlying health condition, indicating a more substantial issue, or it could be a result of your dog's changing dietary requirements as they age.

When is Weight Loss in Older Dogs a Concern?

When older dogs experience weight loss, it often results from an underlying health condition. These conditions include liver/gallbladder disease, dehydration, dental issues, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Each of these problems must be diagnosed and addressed by your veterinarian. Most of these underlying causes typically manifest alongside other symptoms in conjunction with weight loss.

The best thing you can do for your senior dog if they are losing excess weight is to make note of all their symptoms and bring them to their vet in Ypsilanti 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 cannot identify any root cause for the weight loss, consider altering your dog's diet. Discuss their present diet and the proportions of protein, fat, and fiber with your veterinarian.

In the event that your senior dog is experiencing a substantial, swift weight loss, promptly seek advice from your veterinarian. If you have concerns about your dog's weight, raise this matter with your veterinarian during the routine examination of your senior dog.

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 Ypsilanti vets right away to schedule an appointment.

Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (734) 482-8171