FAQ's: Weight Loss

Why has my dog lost weight since being diagnosed with cancer?

Two types of
weight loss are common in cancer pups — anorexia and cachexia.

Anorexia can occur when your dog loses interest in food, generally because they don’t feel well, or are nauseous.  In these cases, it’s important to find something that your dog is willing to eat, which can sometimes take a little coaxing and creativity.  If tempting your dog with some of her favorite foods is not enough to do the trick, you may want to consider providing something that is very bland, such as baby food.  If that is still too much for your dog to handle, try giving her a frozen meal.  Frozen food doesn’t have the same odor and flavor as unfrozen food does, so it can be easier to tolerate than regular food if your dog is feeling nauseous.  Frozen Hill’s n/d canned food is a great choice, or even frozen fish, such as smelt, can be a good meal.  Ultimately, if your dog becomes fussy about eating though to the point that they are consistently losing weight, it’s more important to get them to eat than to stay on a strict diet.

Cancer cachexia is a different type of weight loss, and the reason that cancer is often called a “wasting disease”.  Cachexia occurs when the body is taking in enough calories, but it’s not able to absorb nutrients properly and so the dog becomes weak as it begins losing fat and muscle mass.  If your dog starts to lose weight because of cachexia, you may want to try adding digestive enzymes to their food, such as Prozyme.  These enzymes will help your dog’s body to absorb the nutrients in their food more easily, helping them to maintain or gain weight more easily.  A pre-digested fish protein called Seacure was also very helpful for Georgia, helping to add protein and calories that could be easily absorbed without having to increase the volume of food.

hether the cause is anorexia, cachexia or a combination of both, it’s important to monitor your dog’s weight regularly and to notify your vet if your dog starts to lose weight on a consistent basis.

This website is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinary professional, and is for informational purposes only.   Please seek the advice of your veterinarian or a veterinary specialist before giving your dog any supplements or pursuing any alternative cancer therapies. 

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