Thyroid problems are not uncommon in dogs. If your dog appears to be suffering from a weight problem, there may be more to your pooch’s condition than just lack of exercise and overeating. Certain breeds, such as golden retrievers and greyhounds, tend to be more susceptible to thyroid conditions than others.
It may not always be obvious right away that your dog is suffering from a thyroid problem. There are some signs to look for. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, be sure to see your veterinarian to find out if the thyroid is the problem. If your dog is feeling lazy or he is not showing an interest in playing; is gaining weight but not showing additional interest in food; has dry skin or hair loss, particularly in the tail area; is suffering from bacterial infections; suffers from recurring colds; or exhibits abnormal behavior such as aggression, depression or compulsion, a thyroid problem is a possibility.
Most dogs that are diagnosed with a thyroid condition are medium-sized breeds. Thyroid problems can be hereditary, and they usually affect dogs that are 4 years old or older. A veterinarian will need to diagnose the problem, and she can recommend the best treatment option. Thyroid disease can be difficult to pinpoint, but it is usually discovered with a thyroid test.
Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism
When a dog suffers from a thyroid problem, it is usually hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid produces too much hormone. Hyperthyroidism is less common in dogs, but it does occur.
Treatment for canines with hypothyroidism typically consists of two daily doses of thyroxine. Dosage is based on the dog’s body weight. The dose is more effective when it is split, because of the way the medicine is metabolized. The veterinarian will most likely want to redo thyroid tests after the dog has been on the medication for a month or two.
Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding the dog food you feed him with his thyroid problem. You may be advised to stick to dry dog food and avoid table scraps or canned food. Your veterinarian will tell you which dog food is best for your dog. Stick with a natural diet and monitor what your dog eats.
Foods to Avoid
In addition to feeding your dog food that is healthy for him and his thyroid problem, there are many foods that should be avoided for any dog. In small amounts, chocolate can be deadly to small dogs. In large breed dogs, it can cause serious health conditions. Eggs are excellent for dogs, but you should never feed your dog raw eggs; eggs should be cooked just as they are for human consumption. Many dogs love cat food, but since it is not formulated for dogs, it’s not healthy for them to eat. In reasonable amounts, cat food won’t hurt your dog, but avoid letting them eat it. Onions contain a substance called n-propyl disulfide, which can ultimately destroy red blood cells in dogs, leading to death.
Based in the Midwest, Beth Lytle has been writing professionally since 2008. Working as an editor and with recent work published on eHow, LiveStrong and the Bayer Aspirin website, Lytle is a self-made freelancer. Lytle writes health-related and home-improvement articles, first beginning her writing journey while attending writing workshops and classes during childhood. Lytle has owned transcription and commercial construction companies since 2006.