What do I do if my dog is too skinny? A Comprehensive Guide

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Is my dog too skinny? Answering this question can not only help you decide whether you might be over or underfeeding your dog; it can also tell you whether your pet might need to be seen by the veterinarian.

Heres how to tell if a dog is too skinny, what might be causing your dog to lose weight and what being skinny means for your dogs health.

Many people have a hard time judging whats a healthy weight for dogs. This is likely due to the prevalence of dog obesity, which has led many dog parents to view overweight dogs as being at a normal weight, explains the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. As a result, dog parents might see dogs who are at a healthy weight as too thin, which can lead to overfeeding them.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Underweight?

There is a handy tool most veterinarians tell dog parents about called a Body Condition Score (BCS). BCS is a method designed by researchers at the University of Liverpool and Royal Canin. Veterinarians refer to BCS during your dog’s annual physical examination. According to PetMD, “Canine BCS is most commonly evaluated on a 9-point scale, and dogs that score in the middle of the scale (a 4 or 5 out of 9) have a healthy body condition.”

Dr. Natalie Stilwell of PetMD goes on to explain that dogs scoring 1-3 are too skinny, whereas a score of 6-7 implies that a dog is overweight (the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reported that in 2018, a jaw-dropping 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese). “Obese dogs typically receive BCS scores of 8 or 9, and it is possible for morbidly obese dogs to have a BCS greater than 9,” writes Dr. Stilwell.

A dog’s body condition score is evaluated by a vet who examines the ribcage, abdomen, and waistline by sight and by touch. Once you know their BCS, you can determine their ideal weight and talk to your vet about how to better your dog’s physical health and adjust their food intake accordingly.

Causes Of Underweight In Dogs

The weight of your dog could be an indication that he is suffering from a certain disease. For example, if he develops a disease that causes loss of appetite, then he would surely lose weight as a result.

Moreover, parasites can also be a culprit. Intestinal and skin parasites are known to suck nutrients out from your dog, leaving him malnourished and underweight.

Too much exercise could also lead to failure in gaining weight. If your dog is hyperactive, he could be using too much energy and consuming calories and stored fat.

Finally, one possible cause is a problem in his diet. It could be that he is given less food or if he is given enough food, it is the wrong kind of food.

Generally, your dog loses weight when what he takes in is less than what he is using.

Why My Dog is Too Skinny?

It can be difficult to tell if dogs are underweight. Some dog breeds naturally have more svelte builds, while other dog breeds can be a bit more stocky.

Feeding your dog the right amount of food and keeping them at an appropriate weight are crucial aspects of maintaining your dog’s health.

Now more than ever, veterinarians say canine obesity is on the rise, and so are the health risks associated with overweight dogs. But being underweight can cause health problems for dogs too.

If you think your dog is losing weight too quickly or that they’re underweight, be sure to talk to your veterinarian before doing anything else.

Remember, if your vet confirms that you have an underweight dog on your hands, it’s important that you take their advice to heart. Here’s what you need to know about finding out if your dog is underweight.