It's a common condition and most owners don't realize that this condition in fact does affect dogs. The symptoms can be confusing causing dog owners to downsize the reality that something is wrong. Today, with our precious dogs in mind, dog wellness practices will bring to the attention of dog owners the condition of Hypothyroidism - the symptoms, how it is treated, and dog wellness practices once your pet returns home.

Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for producing and secreting thyroid hormone (thyroxine). Thyroxine is the hormone responsible for regulating the metabolic rate of many different tissues in the body. When hypothyroidism sets in, not enough thyroxine is produced, causing the metabolism of the different tissues to slow down.

Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disorder in dogs and often develops between the ages of 4 to 10 years, and more commonly with castrated males and spayed females. Certain breeds of dogs are prone to this disorder such as the Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Great Dane, Poodle, and Boxer.

Sign To Be Aware Of

Good dog wellness practices means being clued into the clinical signs, which are usually non-specific, and slow to develop. There is no one symptom in which to recognize this disorder, however combined symptoms is what a vet will use to determine the possibility of the disorder in a dog. However, as a dog owner it is up to you to first recognize the signs so you can seek the attention of a vet.

Symptoms to look out for
  • Lethargy, increased sleeping time
  • Depression
  • Tires easily during exercise or is suddenly not interested in exercising at all.
  • Weight gain without an increase in food
  • Feeling cold or not liking the cold
  • Slow heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Infertility
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin, thinning of hair coat or excessive hair loss or slow growth of new hair
  • Neurologic signs
  • Hormonal abnormalities

Unfortunately this disorder is not always straight forward to diagnose and various tests are required to get a diagnosis. These tests include:
  • History of the dog
  • Clinical signs
  • A complete physical examination
  • Diagnostic tests

Luckily hypothyroidism is treatable with daily doses of synthetic thyroxine administered daily, and usually for the remainder of the dogs life.

Dog Wellness At Home

Once the dog has been diagnosed and treatment has been subscribed, it is very important that the owner pay close attention to the dog over the course of each day. Look for improvement in the clinical signs or no improvement at all. Take care when medication is administered. Over dosage can cause hyperactivity and weight loss and the owner must never decide on his own to increase the dosage. The vet will have his own procedure for monitoring the dog such as scheduled blood tests in order to ensure dosage is of medication is adequate.


There are no effective ways to prevent hypothyroidism. The good news is that treatment works and most symptoms usually disappear with a 2-3 weeks.

With hyperthyroidism being a rather common illness amongst dogs and one that is not so easy to spot, it is important that dog owners take hold of dog wellness practices in order to gauge their dog's behavior, activity, and eating. Knowing how to help your dog, when to help him, and how to best nurture him back to health is a high standard of dog wellness practice and can ensure the happiness and well being of your dog.

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