What to do when your dog is underweight - Blog Bowl&Bone Republic




What to do when your dog is underweight

dog eats from the duo dog bowl

Dog being underweight is a severe problem. A dog’s lack of appetite, illness, or too much exercise combined with too few calories can cause it. If you notice underweight in your dog, try to assess the cause of this problem as soon as possible and take appropriate steps to help him.

If your dog is underweight, it may be due to a lack of appetite. The reason may be a change in food or a disease of the quadruped. An unbalanced diet of a dog with high physical activity can cause excessive weight loss in a dog.

Dog underweight

  • Your dog may be underweight due to a lack of appetite
  • a malnourished dog may be due to disease
  • A poor dog diet can lead to underweight

The vast majority of dogs I know are huge gluttons. They cannot pass by indifferently the taste offered to him. However, not every dog ​​has such a relationship with food. Unfortunately, the problem of being underweight in dogs is often overlooked and underestimated. Many people perceive a skinny dog as entirely usual. There is a misconception that the dog looks like this because he likes physical activity, which burns a large part of his calories. The reality, however, looks a bit different. Yes, there is a possibility that the dog is skinny due to increased activity, although this is not a normal phenomenon. What’s more, there are many other causes of underweight dogs.

How to recognize an underweight dog

Contrary to appearances, it is not easy to recognize an underweight dog. Whether we talk about a body weight deficiency in the case of a given dog depends mainly on his breed. Dogs can be very different from each other; underweight dogs look different. Regularly leaving dog bowls full of food does not mean the dog will suffer from malnourishment. According to the breed standard, the Labrador will have a much more massive body than the Italian Greyhound. Therefore, before you start worrying about your pet, check what the estimated dog weight of this breed should be—comparing him to completely different dogs will be senseless and unreliable. The situation becomes more complicated for mongrels. Here we cannot refer to the standard of a given breed, which determines how much a given dog should weigh. Therefore, you must be especially vigilant because your task will be much more difficult.

That is how you will recognize an underweight dog

They assess the correctness of the dog’s body weight using several criteria: the palpability of the ribs, the amount of muscle mass, the visibility of the waist and the amount of body fat. These guidelines are helpful because bodily patterns between dogs can vary greatly.

  • Visible ribs – One of the most noticeable signs of an underweight dog is the visible ribs. If the dog is initially skinny, the ribs may not be visible, but you can feel them when you touch the skin with your hand.
  • Hollow waist and belly – An underweight dog will have a visible hollow belly. You can see the abdomen and waist both from the side and above when this dog’s body resembles an hourglass.
  • Muscle mass – It is challenging to assess the amount of muscle mass only by visual observation. Especially when you don’t know what the dog looked like when his body weight was average.
  • Amount of body fat – A decrease in body fat in a dog is one of the first visible signs of being underweight in a dog. A dog’s body, as in the case of humans, uses fat reserves when it does not get enough food.
a dog eats from a brown duo bowl

Weakness and lack of energy

You can see a dog’s underweight symptoms in his external appearance. Yes, it is a significant indicator that something is wrong. However, the dog’s body sends other signals that something terrible is happening to the dog. An underweight dog will be noticeably sluggish. He may spend a lot of time sleeping or just lying down. That is because the canine has no strength. Lack of energy and willingness to spend time actively is another symptom accompanying underweight quadrupeds. It is the natural order of things that an organism that does not receive enough food does not have the strength and energy to act. Therefore, if you notice in your dog that his enthusiasm and willingness to serve are starting to fade, let it signal to you that something is wrong. The dog in such a situation will need your help and support.

Causes of being underweight in a dog

A dog being underweight is a serious problem that, in the vast majority of cases, the pet will not be able to deal with on his own. There can be several reasons for dogs lose weight. What makes your dog underweight will determine how to proceed in this situation.

No appetite

An underweight dog may be because he lacks appetite, so he eats too little than he should. If your dog’s body doesn’t get as many calories as he needs, it will show weight loss. A dog’s illness can cause a loss of appetite. A widespread symptom of ill health is an unwillingness to eat. I’m sure you also have a worse appetite when you’re sick. Therefore, if your dog is less willing to eat, it may be due to the deterioration of his health. A prolonged lack of appetite in a dog can lead to being underweight. Therefore, your quick reaction to the situation is crucial here.


If your pet has no problems eating and willingly eats his meal every day, yet his weight decreases, the cause may be an illness. In such a situation, the problem may be parasites in his body, but not only. Diseases that affect involuntary dog weight loss include digestive disorders or severe food allergies. That is a much more dangerous situation than a lack of appetite in a dog. If the canine eats a constant, theoretically sufficient amount of calories a day for him, and despite his body weight, it is a sign that something is wrong. In this situation, be sure to seek help from a specialist. The veterinarian will help you assess the health of your canine, as well as what ails him. Do not act on your own in this matter. That may do more harm than good.

Wrong diet

A poorly selected diet can also cause being underweight in a dog. If the canine has an appetite and is always willing to eat, yet his weight drops, we can look for a problem in the dog’s food. Ensure it contains enough calories to meet your pet’s daily needs fully. What’s more, when choosing the right caloric content of food, you must pay attention to your dog’s lifestyle. If he is very energetic, loves to run and spends time actively, he will need to give his body more energy than you think. When excreting food for your dog, you must act intuitively. If you know your dog is very active, you can’t follow the strict guidelines on the packaging. They refer to the average values ​​of the dog’s needs. If you feel your dog has a higher caloric requirement, you can give him more food without fear. A dog’s diet should be rich in vitamins and minerals for health and well-being. It would help if you took care of the proper diet of your pet. The dog won’t do it alone. If you want to learn more about what an appropriate diet for a dog should contain, I refer you to the article in which we write about what a dog should eat to be healthy.

a dog on the pink dog bed

High physical activity

Physical activity burns calories in the body for us and our pets. Thus, intensive sports practice will directly affect the fat-burning of the canine. If the pet receives too few caloric meals, such as a very active dog, it can lead to being underweight. Therefore, if your dog has a sporty lifestyle, ensure that the meals you give him are enough. If you are unsure, ask your vet for advice.

Being underweight in a dog is a serious matter

First, I would like to sensitize you to the seriousness of the problem of a dog being underweight. If you notice such an abnormality in your pet, react as soon as possible. Is underweight in a dog a new concept for you, or have you already had contact with this phenomenon? Share your answer with me in the comment. Also, read our post: what valuable dog food should contain.

Author: Klaudia, great dog lover

The dog by my side teaches me to enjoy every moment and to perceive each subsequent day as a chance for a new, wonderful adventure. While looking for my soul mate, I found it in a dog's wise eyes.

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