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Published: Apr 09, 2012

Monitoring a pet's diet and exercise is essential, as pet owners need to make sure their dog maintains a healthy body weight. If you notice that your canine companion has experienced unplanned weight loss—either rapidly or over time, this could be indicative of a serious health issue, and you should bring your pet to an animal hospital as soon as possible.

Some weight loss problems can be attributed to dietary issues, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. These could include a poor quality diet or even a change in diet that your dog does not find palatable or has significantly less calories than a previous food. More concerning causes of weight loss include anorexia, swallowing or regurgitation issues, vomiting, diarrhea or maldigestion or malabsorption disorders.  Cancer present anywhere in the body can also cause significant weight loss.

When you take your dog to the vet clinic, your vet will obtain a full medical history and perform a thorough physical examination.  They may also recommend blood and urine tests and possibly radiographs for your dog. This will help narrow down the possibilities of what is causing the excessive weight loss. Once a diagnosis is made, your vet will develop a treatment regimen tailored to your pet's illness.

The prognosis of an animal suffering from excessive weight loss can vary greatly depending on the illness. Following the diagnosis and treatment detail, your vet will likely provide you with more information on what you can expect in the coming weeks and months.