There are many possible reasons your dog may be having difficulty putting weight on their back legs.
It could be a health issue, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, or a behavioral issue, such as anxiety or fear.
If your dog is having trouble putting weight on their back legs, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian to determine the cause and best treatment plan for your pet.
“Weight-bearing” refers to the ability of a dog to put weight on its rear legs when walking.
This allows for proper movement, balance, and support for the spine.
When a dog can’t put weight on his or her back legs, it can lead to pain, poor mobility, and possibly even paralysis.
A lack of weight-bearing also leads to bone loss and joint degeneration.
Dogs with weight-bearing issues need to see their vet regularly for checkups and treatments.
The sooner you take action, the better chance your dog has at recovering from this condition.
When it comes to getting help for your dog, there are two main options:
- Pet stores
The problem is that neither option is ideal.
Pet stores often don’t have a great selection of products, and vets often charge high prices for services and medications.
In addition, there’s not always a good understanding between veterinarians and pet store owners about what conditions can be treated by each discipline.
Fortunately, there are alternatives available to both vets and pet stores.
There are also several online resources for people looking for information on specific ailments or problems.
Here are some of the most popular sites:
This site answers questions about any topic related to dogs.
Ask an Expert
You’ll find helpful articles on everything from grooming to training to nutrition.
The Ask an Expert section is divided into four categories: Health, Training, Nutrition, and Behavior.
This site offers advice and tips for every type of dog owner.
From basic care to more advanced topics like training, DogChannel covers it all.
They offer a free newsletter that includes tips, tricks, and other helpful articles, and they provide access to a forum where users can ask questions and share experiences.
Canine Companions Animal Rescue
CCAR provides a variety of services to dogs who’ve been abandoned, abused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated.
They work closely with shelters and rescue groups to identify animals in need.
Once a dog is identified, CCAR helps find him or her a home.
They also provide medical care, rehabilitation, and socialization to these animals.
They also raise funds to purchase food, supplies, and equipment for homeless pets.
Dr. Block is a former veterinary student and currently a practicing veterinarian.
Dr. Susan Block’s Vet Page
She offers advice on pet-related topics ranging from vaccinations to behavior problems.
Her blog is full of useful articles on everything from flea prevention to how to get rid of ear mites.
Causes of Weight Loss in Dogs
It could be a health issue, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, or a behavioral issue, such as anxiety or fear.
If your dog is having trouble putting weight on their back legs, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian to find out what the problem is and how to fix it.
Here are some common causes of weight loss in dogs that you should know about:
- Kidney disease
- Dietary issues
- Hip Dysplasia
- Behavioral problems
- Infectious diseases
Arthritis can cause pain when a dog walks, runs, jumps, or plays.
This condition affects the cartilage (the smooth tissue that cushions joints) around the joint.
As the cartilage wears away, bones rub together causing pain and inflammation.
The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis, which occurs in older dogs.
Other types include rheumatoid arthritis and septic arthritis.
The treatment for arthritis depends on its type.
In case of osteoarthritis, medications and physical therapy will help relieve pain and improve mobility.
For other types of arthritis, surgery may be necessary.
2. Kidney Disease
A kidney disease called nephropathy can cause your dog to lose weight.
Nephropathy is a chronic condition that damages the kidneys and results in proteinuria (protein in the urine).
Protein in the urine leads to an increased need for water, which can lead to dehydration.
When a dog loses too much water, he or she may start urinating more often than usual.
If you notice your dog has lost weight, contact your vet immediately.
He or she will likely recommend adding fluids to your dog’s diet and possibly giving him or her medication to reduce the amount of urine produced.
A healthy dog who drinks plenty of fluid will have no issues with losing weight.
Anemia is a condition where there isn’t enough oxygen available to the blood cells.
This condition can affect all animals but is especially prevalent in older dogs.
Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, pale gums, rapid breathing, and vomiting.
To treat anemia, you can give your dog iron supplements, which are available over-the-counter at pet stores.
Your veterinarian may also recommend increasing your dog’s activity level to get them moving around more.
Exercise increases blood flow and helps the body absorb more oxygen.
4. Dietary Issues
Dogs that eat too little or not enough nutritious food will lose weight.
You can check if this is happening by weighing your dog before and after meals.
If you see a significant difference between the two weights, make sure you’re feeding your dog properly.
You can also examine his or her stool.
Stools that are too hard or liquid filled indicate that your dog isn’t getting enough nutrients from his or her food.
If your dog starts to pass stools consistently, ask your veterinarian whether you should switch formulas or add supplements to your dog’s diet.
Many commercial diets contain high amounts of fiber, so if your dog isn’t eating well, you might want to consider switching brands.
5. Hip Dysplasia
This condition occurs when the ball-and-socket hips become misaligned.
Dogs that suffer from hip dysplasia can experience pain during exercise and movement.
Your dog may also walk differently because one leg doesn’t work as well as the other.
To correct the problem, your veterinarian will perform an x-ray to determine if your dog needs surgery.
Hip dysplasia is usually only diagnosed in puppies, but it can occur later in life as well.
6. Behavior Problems
Your dog’s behavior can affect his or her weight.
Anxiety or fear can cause dogs to stop exercising altogether, while aggression can lead to overeating.
If you notice your dog is becoming less active, anxious, or aggressive, take him or her to the veterinarian.
Your vet can assess your dog’s behavior and prescribe medication if needed.
Parasites like worms, fleas, ticks, and lice can cause your dog to lose weight.
If you don’t treat these parasites, they can spread throughout your home and infect your family members and pets.
Worms and fleas can hide in your dog’s coat, making it difficult to see them.
Ticks can carry Lyme disease, which is caused by bacteria transmitted through a bite and can result in severe damage to organs and tissues.
Lice feed off of the skin and hair, causing irritation and itching.
These pests can easily be treated with proper care, however.
8. Infectious Diseases
Many infectious diseases can cause weight loss in dogs.
Viral infections, such as distemper, parvovirus, and kennel cough, can cause lethargy and decreased appetite.
Feline panleukopenia is another viral infection that can be fatal to small and large breeds alike.
If your dog exhibits any symptoms of these illnesses, including lack of energy, fever, and diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately.
He or she can diagnose your dog’s illness and provide appropriate treatment.
9. Parasite Control
Keeping your yard clean and free of insects and rodents will prevent parasites from spreading throughout your house.
Regularly cleaning up feces, urine, and dead animal remains will also keep unwanted wildlife out of your yard.
Finally, keeping your dog on a regular schedule will allow your dog to exercise regularly, which will help maintain his or her weight.
When to See a Vet
If you notice that your dog has difficulty walking and seems stiff when they walk, they will often try to sit down when they have trouble walking.
This is because they do not want to put any strain on their hips or knees.
You should immediately take your dog to the vet if he/she is not able to put weight on his/her back legs.
Your vet can determine whether there is an underlying cause for the problem with your dog’s leg bones and muscles.
Diagnosing the Underlying Cause
If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should immediately take them to see a vet.
- Difficulty getting up and down stairs
- Pain when walking or running
- Sudden weakness or paralysis
- Loss of coordination
- Decreased appetite or eating less than usual
- Weight loss
These are all signs that there is an underlying condition causing your dog’s weight loss.
Your vet will perform a physical exam and run tests to determine what might be wrong.
Arthritis is one of the most common causes of weight loss in dogs.
Arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in joints, which can lead to decreased mobility.
This can make it difficult for your dog to walk or even get up from a sitting position.
Your vet will likely recommend a joint supplement if your dog is experiencing arthritis-related weight loss.
This supplement can help with pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
Hip dysplasia is another common cause of weight loss in dogs.
Hip dysplasia occurs when the femur (thigh bone) doesn’t fit properly into the socket of the pelvis.
The result can be pain, lameness, and weight loss.
In some cases, hip dysplasia can be corrected through surgery.
However, this requires specialized training and equipment, so your vet will discuss options with you before determining whether surgery is right for your pet.
Dogs can develop neurological diseases at any age, but they tend to occur more often in older animals.
Common neurological diseases include seizures, tremors, and head tilts.
These conditions can also cause weight loss.
Some dogs have behaviors that affect how they move around.
For example, some dogs have “over-excitement syndrome,” where they become hyperactive and start moving uncontrollably.
They may also try to escape by jumping out of a window or door.
Other dogs may exhibit aggressive behavior due to separation anxiety.
If you notice any unusual changes in your dog’s movements, you should contact your vet right away.
A behavioral specialist can evaluate your dog and determine what type of treatment would be best.
Treatment for Weight Loss in Dogs
Dogs with joint pain and chronic conditions often have difficulty putting weight on their back legs.
Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other conditions that cause joint pain can affect how well dogs walk, which can lead to weight loss.
If your dog is having trouble putting weight on their back legs, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian about what’s causing the problem and what treatment options you should consider.
Arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, which can make it difficult for your dog to move around normally.
Some types of arthritis can even lead to bone spurs, which can limit movement even further.
Some types of arthritis can affect all four limbs, while others only affect one limb.
In some cases, your vet may recommend an anti-inflammatory medication or injections to help with the pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
Your vet will also likely prescribe exercise and physical therapy to improve mobility and strengthen muscles.
When prescribing exercise for a dog with arthritis, you should keep in mind that they don’t always enjoy exercising.
If your dog isn’t up for it, try something more sedate like swimming or a short walk.
Once your dog feels better, he or she will be able to do more.
2. Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is another condition that can affect your dog’s ability to put weight on his or her back legs.
Hip dysplasia occurs when a dog has a small pelvis or excessive wear and tear on the hips.
This can cause abnormal alignment of the leg bones, which can make it difficult for your pet to stand up straight and put weight on its back legs.
The good news is that hip dysplasia doesn’t usually get worse over time.
However, if left untreated, it can eventually cause permanent damage to your dog’s hips.
Treatment includes surgical repair of the hips, but this is not recommended unless there is severe pain or discomfort from walking.
Fear and anxiety can cause your dog to avoid certain situations, including going outside.
This can result in weight loss due to decreased activity levels.
To treat a dog who is fearful of going out, start by increasing exposure.
Take him or her out every day for short walks, whether it’s just around the block or farther.
Gradually increase the length of each outing until your dog is comfortable with longer excursions.
If your dog has a history of being anxious, consider taking advantage of your local animal shelters.
Many shelters offer free playtime for adoptable pets, which can help reduce your pet’s stress level and build confidence.
If your dog still has anxiety issues after trying these tips, it might be time to consult with a behaviorist or trainer.
They can help your pet overcome any fears and address underlying issues that may be contributing to the problem.
4. Other Conditions
Other conditions can cause weight loss in dogs, including thyroid problems, tumors, kidney disease, and Cushing’s disease.
Talk to your vet about all potential causes so he or she can rule them out before jumping to conclusions.
In addition to addressing the underlying cause, your vet may recommend treating your dog with medications to manage symptoms.
For example, if your dog has Cushing’s disease, your vet may prescribe steroids to control excess cortisol production.
Feeding a Dog with Weight Loss
Dogs that lose weight will often turn to food to help them gain weight.
This can be problematic because not all foods are healthy for dogs and some foods can even make them sick.
Talk to your vet about what’s best for your dog.
Here are some things you should know when feeding your dog with weight loss:
- Never feed your dog undercooked meat.
- Do not give raw bones to dogs unless you have been advised by your vet.
- Avoid giving any food items that require cooking, like sausages or hot dogs.
- Do not feed your dog any type of processed food, including dry kibble, canned food, and treats.
- If your dog has lost a significant amount of weight, they may need special care to get the nutrients they need.
- The best thing you can do to help your dog gain weight is to keep up with their normal exercise routine.
Helping Your Dog Gain Weight
If you have a dog that has trouble putting weight on their back legs, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian to determine whether there’s an underlying medical condition causing the problem.
There are many different factors that can cause weight loss in dogs, including poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and other health issues.
Some conditions that cause weight loss include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Liver disease
- Mast cell tumors
- Neurological disorders
Weight loss is also common in older dogs, which is why it’s important to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and proper food.
In addition, if your dog isn’t getting enough sleep, they will not be able to maintain healthy body weight.
Many dogs lose weight when they don’t get enough exercise.
Even if your dog is overweight, it’s still important to take them for short walks every day.
This helps them release toxins from their bodies, and it keeps them active.
You should also encourage your dog to play fetch with toys regularly, especially if they like to chase balls.
If your dog is overweight and doesn’t get enough exercise, it’s likely that they won’t put weight on their back legs.
They may also become lethargic and develop joint pain.
It’s important to talk to your veterinarian about ways to improve your dog’s physical activity levels, so that they can regain their energy and start to build muscle mass.
Your dog needs to eat properly to gain weight.
Make sure they have fresh water available at all times, and provide them with quality kibble and treats.
Dogs who aren’t fed properly will often lose weight, even though they’re eating.
Make sure that your dog has access to clean water, and that they’re given a variety of high-quality foods throughout the day.
If they aren’t being fed properly, they won’t put weight on their back legs.
While some dogs are naturally skinny, others may develop weight problems due to behavioral issues.
Some dogs are more likely to overeat and gain weight than others, while others tend to avoid food altogether.
This can lead to weight gain because they never feel full.
If your dog is fearful of eating, this can cause them to lose weight.
You should talk to your vet if you think your dog might be suffering from anxiety or a phobia.
Overweight Dogs Don’t Like Exercise
If your dog is overweight, it’s likely that they don’t enjoy going outside to do any kind of exercise.
This makes it difficult for them to put weight on their back legs, since they don’t want to go out and run around.
To help your dog gain weight, try taking them on long walks, rather than just short ones.
They’ll get more exercise and burn calories during these longer walks.
If you’re wondering why your dog has trouble putting weight on their back legs, there are several reasons that could be the cause of this problem.
It’s important to remember that dogs don’t have the same body structure as humans and therefore they can develop different problems.
For example, a dog’s joints aren’t as mobile as ours, so if he develops arthritis, it might take longer for him to recover from joint pain than it would in a human.
Another thing to consider is that your dog’s legs are shorter than yours, so they will always weigh more than you do.
This means that if your pet isn’t gaining weight, it’s likely because his diet or exercise routine needs adjusting.
If you suspect your dog has any sort of medical condition, then it’s best to consult with your vet before making changes to either his diet or exercise routine.
Your vet will be able to run some tests to confirm whether or not your dog does indeed have an issue.