Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Loosing wait has to be always an alarm bell that means something is not working properly on your dog. In old dogs there’s lots of diseases that can cause weight loss from Diabetes to cancer. Go to your vets for a general check up and blood test to start to find us what’s wrong with him.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Protein is a priority

“If the dog is losing lean body mass then a diet higher in protein may be necessary,” says Wakshlag. Protein is necessary to build and maintain muscles, and as dogs age, they often stop synthesizing as much protein on their own — increasing the need for it in their diet.

A dog who loses weight but still seems to be eating and drinking as much as before might need a visit to the veterinarian, too. “They`re not taking in enough calories to support themselves,” says Shawn Finch, DVM, with Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals in Omaha, Neb.
Your dog may develop one of many stomach disorders or other digestive system issues that cause him to lose his appetite. These problems may also make him feel nauseated when he does eat, which can further remove his desire to eat more than he absolutely has to. A dog without a good appetite will quickly lose weight.
Atrophy in older dogs is common because they begin to become less active and their ability to process nutrients from their diet changes making it harder for older dogs to process proteins the same way they did when they were younger.
insufficient food intake due to lack of appetite (anorexia), swallowing disorders, or regurgitation. malabsorption and/or maldigestion disorders (a decreased ability to digest and/or absorb nutrients from food) excessive loss of nutrients or fluid from vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination.
Examples of safe human food supplements include roasted chicken without the skin, boiled eggs, canned tuna, non-fat plain yoghurt, or plain canned pumpkin. It`s important to avoid human foods that can be dangerous to dogs, such as chocolate, raisins, grapes, garlic and onion.
Why Do Older Dog`s Spines Stick Out? In general, most older dogs have an increased chance of developing spinal issues, and a symptom of multiple spinal conditions is a protruding spine. With senior dogs, in particular, when their spine sticks out, it could mean that they have spondylosis.
Do dogs eat more as they get older? Yes. Sometimes this is due to underlying health conditions, such as diabetes mellitus or Cushing`s disease, or a medication they`re taking, like prednisone.
Some dogs gain weight as they enter their senior years (age 6-8 for larger dogs and 8-10 for smaller dogs), but most start to lose weight and muscle mass as they age. This may accompany other signs that your geriatric dog is having difficulty maintaining their body condition on their own.
As a rule of thumb, losing more than 5% of your weight over 6 to 12 months may indicate a problem. If you`re an older adult with other medical conditions and health issues, even a smaller amount of weight loss may be significant.
Although all dogs do tend to become more lethargic with age, muscle loss can visibly heighten this phenomenon. Having less muscle makes it much harder for your dog to move around freely, and can also cause pain in joints and muscles as a result of movement.
If those bones (they`re called the vertebral bodies and processes) are very prominent and easy to feel, then your pet may have decreased muscle mass and one of a host of the underlying conditions that can lead to such muscle loss.
If you notice changes to your dog`s backbone, such as vertebrae suddenly appearing more apparent, this may indicate a health concern. Muscle wasting, nutritional issues, metabolic disorders, certain types of cancers, and osteoarthritis in dogs can all make the backbone more visible.
Underlying Health Conditions

Being underweight can also signal an underlying illness, especially if the weight loss is sudden. A number of health issues can cause weight loss in dogs, ranging from tooth pain to gastrointestinal discomfort to more serious conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease and cancer.

Why Is My Dog Getting So Skinny? Weight loss in dogs is the result of a calorie deficit. This may be caused by high energy demands, poor quality food, or a number of health issues. A sudden weight loss can be caused by many different diseases including dental problems, intestinal parasites, diabetes, and cancer.
Your Senior Dog: What to Expect at 13 to 15 Years. Show respect to your elders — that includes your dog, who at 13 to 15, has officially entered old age. Even if your dog is moving a bit more slowly these days, there are lots of things the two of you can still enjoy together.
White or instant rice is an easily digestible carbohydrate which makes it a good source of energy when your dog has an upset tummy or if you are feeding an older dog.
Less interest in food is a normal sign of aging for dogs, but not eating for more than a day or avoiding drinking their water are both good reasons to call the vet. Whether your senior dog is slowing down or still a puppy at heart, they need the right nutrition.
Vestibular disease is the main reason why an older dog may experience a sudden loss of balance and an inability to stand or walk normally. How can you tell if a dog has a vestibular disease? A few of the signs include dizziness, stumbling or wobbly steps, and falling over.
The most prominent sign that you will notice is a complete relaxation of the body, your dog will no longer appear tense, rather they will “let go.” You will notice a slimming of the body as the air is expelled from their lungs for the last time and you may notice the lack of life in their eyes if they are still open.
It may include orthopedic braces, mobility aids, or physical therapy. Also, pain medication can be administered for pain relief. In addition, dogs suffering from hind leg weakness may benefit from joint supplements for better joint health, which is a common cause of back leg collapse.
‍Stage IV: Signs are at their worst because there are severe elevations of kidney values in bloodwork. Kidney failure can also cause painful ulcers in a dog`s mouth and make them feel sick, nauseous and weak, leading to poor quality of life in the later stages.
Why is my dog so hungry? A sudden increase in appetite in older dogs, while less common than a decrease in appetite, can be a symptom of a medical condition. Endocrine disorders such as Cushing`s disease and hypothyroidism are examples of medical-related appetite surges.
Are carrots safe for me to feed my dog?” While some of the vegetables we love are unsafe to feed our dogs, carrots are a perfectly safe and nutritious treat for your dog.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. My 4 yr old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix is a rescue. He’s become very possessive of me around larger dogs. How can I correct this behavior?
ANSWER : A. Sudden behavior changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, so scheduling a checkup with your regular vet is always the first step. Once any health issues have been addressed, then you can address the behavioral ones. It is very common for dogs to become “possessive” of people or objects when around other dogs or people, and is called location guarding. Possession of objects or places can be a little easier to manage, however possession around other dogs can be treated as well. Working from a distance in a technique called BAT or Behavioral Adjustment Training may help. This technique involves your dog and another calm dog. Start off at a far distance and then move in until your dog becomes reactive or wary of the other dog. Move back a small amount and wait for your dog to become calm. If he shows calm behavior, reward with lots of praise, treats and love! If he becomes agitated or possessive, move back until he is calm, or stop the session completely and try again later. While this may take some time, it can help dogs learn that other dogs are not a threat to them or their people. Reading more information about BAT training or contacting a local trainer in your area can help with further advice and techniques!

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. What can I do to stop my dog from barking at people and front doors?
ANSWER : A. Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. This means don’t give him any attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When he finally quiets down, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. Dogs learns that if they bark long enough you’ll give them attention.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. It may sound nonsensical, but the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Teach your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.

Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of fetch and playing with interactive toys.

Q. How can I train my 4 month old puppy to sit?
ANSWER : A. Training basic commands such as sit is very easy using a positive reinforcement method and does not require any more materials than a place to sit and some very yummy treats! When beginning to teach your dog new tricks, starting off in a distraction free area (such as a quiet room in the house) is best. The training can then expand to more distracting places once your dog has the hang of things.

Start by showing your dog a tasty treat and placing it over his or her nose. When they begin to sniff at the treat, gently move the treat backward. Most dogs will follow the treat with their head, and the backward motion will cause their back ends to sit down! Once your dog sits, reward with the treat and some praise. If your dog tends to walk backwards instead of sit, doing this technique against a wall will prevent your dog from walking backward and encourage sitting.

Once your dog has done this a few times, begin to add the word “sit” every time you put the treat above your dog’s head. Only say the word once, and then continue with the luring motion. Your dog will begin to associate the word with the action after several tries! After this, you can begin to attempt to offer the word “sit” once, and if your dog does so, reward with a treat and praise! If your dog forgets, or appears bored, stop training and try again at a later time- most puppies only have an attention span of a few minutes at most!

Q. Why does my dog eat grass?
ANSWER : A. As another user mentioned, dogs can eat grass when they want to vomit. Sometimes, when a dog has an upset tummy, they will eat grass. If you notice your dog eating grass frantically, you can assume vomiting will shortly follow. Grass does not digest and pass normally. If your dog eats too much grass, it can cause serious issues with pooping. Your dogs poop can end up all tangled inside of her, and it can need veterinary assistance to remove it. The same goes for celery, so avoid feeding celery to your dog.

The other day my boyfriend accidentally left the laundry room door open where we were keeping the trash that was filled with cooked chicken bones. She ate one of the chicken bones lightning fast. We had to induce vomiting by feeding her some hydrogen peroxide. After we had fed her the peroxide, she immediately began frantically eating grass because her tummy was upset.

If there is something lacking in your dogs diet, it could be that your dog is eating grass to make up for it. I am sure that my dogs diet is extremely well balanced (I do not only feed her an air-dried raw food-type diet (Ziwipeak), but a wide variety of safe, healthy foods), so when she eats grass, I know that it is because she has an upset tummy.

That is why I think it is important making sure your dog has a very well balanced diet. If your dog is on a low quality kibble, your dog may be trying to let you know by eating grass (or eating poop).

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

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