Skip to Content

13 Alarming Reasons Why Your Pitbull Is So Skinny (2023)

Why Is My Pitbull So Skinny

Unlike what most people are thinking…

Not all Pitbulls are big and muscular.

Some may also have lean bodies due to genetics.

But if your Fido’s so much slimmer than other Pits their age…

Then you might have a reason to be concerned.

What is it?

Continue reading to find out:

  • The ideal weight for every Pitbull type.
  • 3 easy ways to tell if your Pitbull’s too skinny.
  • 13 alarming reasons for your Pitbull’s sudden weight loss.
  • And a lot more…

Why is my Pitbull so skinny? 13 reasons

#1: Intestinal parasites

Want to know the most common reason for dramatic weight loss in dogs?

It’s the annoying parasites.

They suck up the nutrients in your Fido’s body. And they may also cause loss of appetite.

Then, as a result, your pooch will slim down rapidly.

“So, what are the common parasites in dogs?”


An infection due to a 1-celled parasite that feeds on the intestines.

And based on a recent study, 12.2% of dogs in the US have Giardia. Making it the most common parasite in canines.

The symptoms are:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.

These worms stunt growth and cause an upset stomach.

A sign of this is when your dog drags their bottom on the floor.


These usually irritate the large intestines, which cause bloody diarrhea.


When infected, dogs will have bad gas and serious stomach issues.

And other signs you’ll notice are:

  • Vomiting.
  • Dull coat.
  • A ‘pot belly.’
  • Stomach ache.

These damage the heart and lungs of a canine which results to:

  • Fainting.
  • Coughing.
  • Difficulty breathing.

The same study above says that these are the 2nd most common dog parasites in the US. And it has a 4.1% prevalence rate.

These worms suck blood that may lead to anemia and other signs, like:

  • Dull coat.
  • Pale gums.
  • Weakness.
  • Bloody loose stools.

What to do?

Parasites could be life-threatening, especially for small puppies.

So if you suspect your Pitbull of parasites…

Have them checked by a vet asap. 

Note: The rule is to deworm puppies as soon as they’re 3 weeks old. Then repeat it every 2 weeks until 6 months of age.

#2: Poor nutrition

Is your Pitbull still a puppy?

If so, you may have read about the golden rule in dogs’ growth.

It says that within the first 5 months, puppies develop fast.

And during that course, you’d expect them to gain 0.0044-0.0088 lb (2-4 g) daily per kilogram of their adult weight.

“What’s the ideal weight for adult Pitbulls?”

The word ‘Pitbull’ is a general term for 5 similar-looking breeds. 

So the weight depends on your dog’s type and gender:

TypeWeight (males)Weight (females)
American Staffordshire Terriers55-70 lb (25-31 kg)40-55 lb (18-25 kg)
American Bully44-132 lb (20-60 kg)
American Pit Bull Terriers35-60 lb (16-27 kg)30-50 lb (14-23 kg)
American Bulldogs50 lb (23 kg)40 lb (18 kg)
Staffordshire Bull Terriers28-38 lb (13-17 kg)24-34 lb (11-15 kg)

Now, based on the table…

An adult male American Pit Bull Terrier weighs 35-60 lb (15.8-27.2 kg).

So, using the rule, a puppy should gain at least 0.018 lb (8 g) a day.

“How do I know if my Pitbull’s too skinny?”

Here are the common signs that your dog weighs below normal: 

  • Clearly visible ribs.
  • Fewer muscles in hips and shoulders.
  • Feeling no fat when feeling your dog’s ribs, backbone, or pelvic bones.

Note: It’s still best to bring your pooch to the vet or a certified veterinary nutritionist to be sure.

Now, if your dog appears so skinny despite how much they eat…

Your Pitbull may not be getting enough nutrients from their food.

“But what causes poor nutrition in dogs?”

Changes in meals

Have you introduced a new food to your Fido?

If yes, it might have been so sudden that it caused stomach issues. So your Pitbull eats less than usual.

To avoid this, gradually add the new food to your dog’s meals over 7 to 10 days.

Unsuitable diet

Kibbles for puppies won’t be enough for adult Pitbulls. And vice versa.

So assess your Fido’s formula to see if it fits their current age and nutrient needs.

Food lacking in nutrition

Lastly, you might give your Pit the correct amount of dog food.

But you didn’t notice that the formula has lower calories or nutrients than before.

What to do?

Ensure your Pitbull’s getting the right amount of nutrients every day.

The National Research Council, a.k.a. NRC, says that adult dogs should have these daily:

  • 5.5% – fat.
  • 10% – protein.
  • 50% – carbohydrates.

Meanwhile, the daily meals of puppies should comprise of these:

Check out also:  7 Real Reasons Why Pit Bulls Are So Small

#3: Malabsorption

Your Pitbull eats high-quality dog food. And you’re sure that it offers enough nutrients.

But although your pooch eats it heartily…

They continue to lose weight. And your dog’s poop color is weird too.

If this is your case…

Your Fido may have a problem absorbing nutrients from their food. So they’ve become so skinny.

And vets call this condition ‘malabsorption.’

“What are its causes?”

Based on specialists, it’s usually caused by ‘exocrine pancreatic insufficiency,’ a.k.a. EPI.

It’s when the pancreas can’t make digestive enzymes that break down:

  • Fats.
  • Proteins.
  • Carbohydrates.

As a result, the affected dogs won’t digest these nutrients. 

So it can deter them from gaining weight. And show these other signs:

  • Bad gas.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loose, yellowish poop.

You may also wonder: Why do dogs eat deer poop?

#4: Digestive issues

Your Pitbull Is So Skinny Because He Has Digestive Issues

Pitbulls may not be on the list of 21 dogs with the most sensitive tummies

But some of these Fidos might still have one. 

So you can’t cross out this possibility right away.

This condition could either be present at birth. Or your Pitbull grew to have a sensitive stomach later in their life.

And according to vets, the latter can be due to:

  • Pancreatitis.
  • Lack of fiber.
  • Food allergies.
  • Bacterial growth.
  • Too much fat in the diet.

“How will I know if my Pitbull has a sensitive tummy?”

Your dog will display these symptoms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Excessive gas.
  • Being less active.
  • Frequent diarrhea.

#5: Dental problems

Aside from having no appetite…

Do you also often notice your Pitbull pawing at their face or mouth?

Then the root of the issue might be an aching gum or tooth.

But experts say it could also be:

  • Periodontitis.
  • Loose/cracked tooth.
  • Tooth root abscesses.
  • Gingivitis (swollen gums).

So if you suspect your Pitbull of having a dental problem, look out for these other signs:

  • Tartar.
  • Bad breath.
  • Thick saliva.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Whining when eating.
  • Chewing on 1 side only.

Reading tip: 9 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Is Eating Slowly

#6: Diabetes

Let’s move on to more severe conditions.

I hope this isn’t the reason why your Pitbull’s so skinny. 

But diabetes can also cause extreme weight loss in dogs.

“Why’s that?”

Specialists say it’s a condition where the body’s not creating enough ‘insulin.’

It’s a hormone that allows the cells to get glucose for energy.

So if your dog lacks insulin, their body won’t have enough energy to use.

As a result, their system will use the stored fat and muscles instead.

Hence, the weight loss.

And besides it, other common signs you may notice are:

“What are the common causes of diabetes in dogs?”

  • Genetics.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • High-fat diets.
  • Cushing’s disease.
  • Increased hormone levels.

Trivia: A study found that fur parents with diabetic dogs are at risk of developing diabetes. It says the chance is 0.77% or 7.7 cases per 1000 people. And it could be because both dogs and parents:

  • Have the same physical activity level.
  • Live in and be exposed to the same environment.

#7: Hyperthyroidism

Next, a thyroid issue can also cause dogs to eat a lot but have unexplained weight loss.

It’s a common sign of ‘hyperthyroidism.’ Or having too much ‘thyroxine’ in the body.

Those thyroid hormones speed up metabolism.

So if your Pitbull has this condition…

They’ll suddenly lose a lot of weight. And your pooch will also display the following signs:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Excitability.
  • Faster heart rate.
  • Increased thirst and peeing.

#8: Liver disease

Do you notice any discoloration in your Fido’s skin?

Like having a hint of yellow on the body parts below?

  • Ears.
  • Eyes.
  • Gums.

If so, it’s called ‘jaundice.’

And it’s one of the most common signs of liver disease in dogs and humans.

“What may have caused this?”

Based on vets, liver disease in canines is due to:

  • Toxins.
  • Bacteria.
  • Diabetes.
  • Virus/fungi.
  • Leptospirosis.
  • Canine hepatitis.
  • Untreated heartworms.

And a dog with a liver problem will also have these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Different stool color.
  • Increased drinking and urination.

#9: Kidney disease

Same with a liver problem…

Having an unhealthy kidney might also stop a dog from gaining weight.

And experts say it could be:

AcuteHaving severe signs in a short period.Toxins.Heat strokes.Severe dehydration.
ChronicPersists for a long time.Old age.Dental disease.

So if your Pitbull has this condition, they may show signs, like:

  • Inactivity.
  • Bad breath.
  • Bloody urine.
  • Mouth ulcers.
  • Increased or decreased thirst.

#10: Heart disease

According to vets, around 8 million dogs have heart problems. 

And the factors that contribute to this condition are:

  • Age.
  • Breed.
  • Obesity.
  • Nutrition.

Then apart from being skinny, other signs you’ll notice in a Fido are the following:

  • Coughing.
  • Weakness.
  • Collapsing.
  • Bluish skin.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Decreased energy levels.
  • Sudden paralysis or rear leg weakness.

#11: Cancer

Based on AVMA, 1 out 4 dogs may have ‘neoplasia’ or unusual growth at least once in their lifetime.

Then 50% of canines above 10 years old are at high risk of cancer.

Moreover, 1 research found that purebred Fidos usually get this condition, like:

  • Boxers.
  • Yorkshire Terriers.

Although Pitbulls aren’t in it, you must still consider this condition.

And watch out for these common signs of cancer in dogs:

  • Lameness.
  • Swollen belly.
  • Visible tumor.
  • Breathing issues.
  • Non-healing wounds.
  • Blood discharge (from nose, mouth).

#12: Stress

Like humans, dogs can also lose their appetite due to stress.

This could be due to a sudden change in their:

  • Environment.
  • Daily routine.
  • Exercise schedule.
  • New member/pet in the house.

And specialists say that a stressed Fido will often show these behaviors:

  • Pacing.
  • Shaking.
  • Whining.
  • Barking.
  • Avoiding you.
  • Escaping/hiding.
  • Drooling or licking.

Learn more: 17 Clear Signs Of Dog Stress (Stressed Dog Body Language)

#13: Low calories, high energy

Lastly, Pitbulls are athletic and lively dogs.

So if your Fido burns more calories than they take daily, they’ll be skinny too.

And this could either be due to:

  • Low-calorie intake.
  • Too much exercise or physical activities.

“But how many calories do dogs need in a day?”

According to NRC’s paper that I mentioned earlier…

It’ll vary per age and weight:

  • Puppies:  990 kcal/day.
  • Inactive dogs: 296-1,540 kcal/day.
  • Active adult dogs: 404-2,100 kcal/day.
  • Pregnant canines: 518-3,170 kcal/day.
  • Active senior Fidos: 327-1,700 kcal/day.

Exercise is important in canines. And it’s also a great bonding time for you and your Pit.

So if your dog’s in good condition, don’t cut off their exercise. 

Instead, ensure your Fido’s getting enough calories daily by checking if you meet the above data.