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Male dog lost weight when female in heat.

Species: Dog
Breed: American Bulldog
Age: 2-5 years
My American Bulldog male always loses weight when our female goes into heat because he is so focused on her that he can't function LOL. Anyways, he usually puts the weight right back on afterwards. This time he hasn't, and now in the last day or two he has taken to licking himself (tummy, paws ,etc..) all the time, and tonight he was playing Hoover vacuum and licking up all the loose hair on the floor. It caused him to vomit up a big hairball.... What could be going on and what can I do about it?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hmmm...interesting question.

It is definitely common for an unneutered male to lose weight when there is a female in heat nearby. This is one of the reasons why I recommend neutering males - because it is so frustrating for them to have the desire to breed and then not be able to go through with the act. The frustration is so stressful that many dogs don't eat.

It's really hard to say why he has not gained his weight back though. Sometimes when a dog is trying to eat everything in sight it can be because of nausea. My theory is that they seem to know that if they fill their stomach up then they will be able to vomit and then somehow feel better.

There are lots of possible reasons for nausea including ingestion of something that has irritated the intestinal tract, a foreign object in the intestines or stomach, an infection, a problem with the liver or kidneys or more.

While parasites are possible, most dogs don't lose weight with parasites unless they are severely infested.

If this were my case I would be doing a good physical exam and likely do some bloodwork as well as a fecal exam for parasites.

If he does not start to gain weight soon, I think a vet visit is definitely in order.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.