I have a beautiful German Shepherd named Bullett, he is 2, but to look at him, he looks like I do not
feed him. He goes to the vet for his checkups and does not have worms, parasites, etc. He eats like a
pig, but will not put any weight on.
I have tried different foods, but nothing is working. I know dogs are like people as far as some will
be fat, some will just be skinny, but he is really skinny, you can see his ribs, and his bones in the
back. When I watch animal cops and see the dogs that they take away because they are being abused I say
to my hubby, if they saw Bullett they would think the same thing.
He goes outside, but he is an inside dog. I do not trust people (terrible to say) since three of my
dogs were poisoned. I give him extra treats, he is a big spoiled baby, but just plain skinny.
Sometimes the stool check they do at the vet's office does not pick up on all parasites (some parasites
are very difficult to pick up by scope like giardia, etc.). A prophylactic measure may be to have your
vet prescribe a broad-spectrum dewormer. (I'm not crazy about giving any medications, but may be
necessary in this case).
Also, I wonder if Bullett is getting enough protein. Bullett sounds like a high-energy dog. Most
dogs need approximately 80% protein in their diet. Check your dog food bag and make sure it says 80%+. If not,
I would recommend supplementing with "people food", i.e. real meat, even hamburger. I have seen many
skinny dogs improve on a diet of high quality protein (the protein in most commercial dog foods is low
quality, ie chicken beaks, etc., stuff not fit for human consumption.) If they won't feed it to humans,
why are they giving it to our animal companions?
Check out the "BARF" diet on the web. Good luck! (03/19/2005)
Great advice Kriso. But I wouldn't recommend the barf diet to just anyone although I know it has been
very successful with many dogs. Personally, I don't like to handle all the raw meat & have it on my
surfaces, etc. The Whole Dog Journal is a very respected dog journal written by holistic/traditional vets
and I consider it my dog bible. They have recommended dog foods every year and I've learned a lot. Also
www.api4animals.org will send free brochures about what's in dog food. Shocking. I have educated myself
extensively over the years and only feed a good all natural dog food. Yes, it's a little more expensive,
but guess what, I have had almost no health issues with my dogs over the years and I save on vet bills.
The last dog I had put to sleep was 20. She was the oldest dog in the history of my vet. Besides, they
are entitled to the best. In the past I have gone without to make sure of it. (03/19/2005)
When in doubt, ask your vet. (03/19/2005)
Try Bil Jac. It's sold in the freezer section of your store. (03/19/2005)
By Kelly-boxer owner
Does he get enough water? Has he been tested for diabetes? Must be something else going on. I would
take him back to the vet. (03/21/2005)
My German Shepherd/Akita/Chow mix is having the same problem. No matter how much fatty food we give her,
we can't reverse it. My aunt says that some growth spurts can cause this, and that they'll eventually
grow as tall as they are long. (05/30/2005)
I'm not a vet, but you might want to ask yours to check for any thyroid problems. The thyroid controls
metabolism. If his thyroid levels are too high, it will cause his digestion to be faster than normal.
This would result in a skinny puppy.
Just thought I would throw that out there.
Best of luck!
I too have a very lanky German Shepherd. He is two and although very big, still so very thin. Our vet
told us quite honestly that if you have an "American" German Shepherd, they will indeed be lankier and
leaner than their bulked-up "German" German Shepherd counterparts. If he's eating well, and active and
happy, let sleeping dogs lie and just enjoy your pet. (12/21/2005)
I own a 6 year old German Shepherd wolf mix. He is very energetic, but so thin that people would rudely
comment on his weight. I tried every thing and finally found the key, Innova Evo with 42% protein.it is
the best dog food on the market that I have found for this issue. It costs $40 a bag, but is well worth
it. He finally is at a perfect weight and his coat is gorgeous! (02/12/2006)
Thank goodness I'm not the only one!
I get looks for my super-skinny Shepherd. Had her checked for everything, including EPI, and she's just
skinny. Not a big eater either. I had her on raw food and that worked for a while (though she was eating
four to six pounds of food a day and weighs only 50 lbs herself, so she was eating her own weight every
Innova Evo is one food that she will eat, but my vet thinks the protein is too high and carbs would help
her keep weight on. I mix it with mashed potatoes, and that's helped her weight stabilize. (04/10/2006)
Hi there, I'll bet your dog has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. This is actually quite common in
German Shepherds, however I never heard of it till my German Shepherd was diagnosed at 8 months, she is
now 2 and I'm still having trouble getting her to gain weight. So my suggestion is go back to your vet
and have them test for this. Best of Luck (07/20/2006)
I also have a skinny Shepherd. She is healthy according to Vet. I have now put her on Wellness Puppy
food. I also use some stage 2 weaning milk mixed in with it when she doesn't seem to want to eat her
portion at any given time. She is recovering from having some foreign body in her throat. She got down to
45 lbs. She has gained 10 lbs in one week is continuing to recover. I have also found her to be an
extremely picky eater. She won't eat anything with beef in it. She will eat anything with chicken in it.
The Vet told me to keep her on puppy food until she has her weight on. (01/20/2007)
I see a lot of you don't realize that Shepherds are prone to the pancreatic disorder that does not enable
them to metabolize the food they eat. No matter how much they eat, they do not absorb the nutrients from
the food. I had a friend who had a cat with the same problem. He gave his cat a product called "Total-
It replaces the enzymes that the pancreas is not secreting enabling the body to once again absorb
nutrients. His cat had lost more than half it's body weight. After taking the supplement for a few
months, the cat is almost back to his original weight. I now have a Shepherd that has the same problem.
I've ordered the product for him and I plan to start him on it ASAP. Hope this helps. (07/09/2007)
I have a 3 1/2 year old female GSD and she finally is gaining some weight. She is about 75 lbs. now, I
have been feeding her with Eukanuba dry food for GSD, about 4 cups a day and I mix it with rice and
sardines (1 or 2 pieces) and she loves it. She was skinny for a long time till about 6 months ago, which
is in a way is better, you don't want a dog that looks like a pig. Anyhow as long as they are healthy it
should be OK if they are a little light, try mixing the food with rice and sardines, it worked for me.
Sometimes I give her pork or chicken also, she is very healthy, they are great dogs. (11/28/2007)
Bullet is only two so he will still bulk up more. Have you tried feeding him a raw meat diet? Our
Shepherd had the same problem and our vet offered high fat packaged dog food. However, that was the worst
thing to give our Shepherd. She didn't need fat, she needed nutrients. It was a naturopathic vet that
turned us on to raw meat. Bullet will love you for it. Check out holistic breeder web sites and websites
that support holistic feeding and medical care. A good site to start with, www.gentlesoulsshepherds.com
This can also be a lack of proper exercise. German Shepherds with good genes will typically not get
overweight, so feeding them a lot doesn't mean they will gain weight. In fact, you don't want your dog to
gain fat, you want them to gain muscle. Now, unfortunately a lot of people are taking in German Shepherds
as pets and not offering them the exercise they need to develop muscularly. If you want to "bulk up" a
Shepherd, it needs vigorous, difficult exercise. I start by running my Shepherds with a bike until they
can run at least 10 miles without breaking. Then, get them a weighted training vest and do hill charges
with them. This is how we get working dogs in shape, and if you want a bulky, muscly Shepherd, this kind
of training is the best way. They love it too. I should mention you shouldn't have them do this vigorous
of work until they are 18 months due to their hips still developing, up until then, swimming is the best
and healthiest approach. Give them exercise, feed them well and you will have a beautiful, in-shape dog.
Another thing to consider is Addison's Disease! If your dog has been checked for EPI and does not have
it, think about Addison's. Addison's can go undiscovered until a crisis hits and then it can be awful. I
had no idea what was wrong with my first Shepherd. She was tall and skinny, had a lot of diarrhea, but not
the characteristic greasy yellow stools of an EPI dog. The vet tested her for EPI and it was negative and
he had no idea. She went in for grooming and the groomer mistreated her and she went into an Addisonian
Crisis! I rushed her to the vet who quickly gave her an injection of prednisone and she "arose from the
A month later we tested her for Addison's and it was a borderline positive. We started treating her
and she is doing well. She is now 10 1/2 years old and her Addison's is under control and she has gained
20 healthy pounds. Addison's affects their ability to eat as it affects their jaw muscles, as well as
other things.The vet did some studying on Addison's and he feels there are a great number of undiagnosed
AD dogs who never get treated and are destroyed because they simply never do well and their owners give
By all means get another vet. I feed my GSD Purina One Large Breed Weight Management food. That works
well for her and she likes it. She's healthy and her weight is good. You don't want an overweight GSD,
but you don't want him emaciated either. Let another vet get a good look at him. There seems to be
something causing him to be so thin if he doesn't have parasites, etc. I've had so many GSD's, and I have
been fortunate that they have all been healthy. Good luck! (10/02/2009)
In the past few months I've been forced to read a lot of literature about mal-absorption in dogs and
specifically in German Shepherds. Ignorance among various vets including even faculty members of
allegedly well respected institutions is astounding. For example, most vets do not understand that B12
deficiency itself can cause mal-absorption of B12, i.e. a chain reaction whatever started it originally.
If a dog is B12 deficient most treatments of any underlying GI problem will not work.
Second, German Shepherds are prone to SIBO as a standalone disease. I think I may have caused it in
mine by treating his Lyme and forgetting to re-inoculate his intestines with probiotics. Hopefully I can
correct it, but it has been hell. My dog is finally gaining weight, I feed him probably 10 cups daily and
spritz sublingual B12 behind his cheek. Most of it is wasted, but some gets absorbed through the mucous
membranes in the mouth. Since daily need is only micrograms, 1.2 milligrams is probably OK. Vets can
give injections of 500 micrograms weekly. If your dog cannot absorb much because of Small Intestinal
Bacterial Overgrowth you may need to treat it with Oxytetracycline (best), Tylosin, or Metronidazole.
At Tufts Vet. School, they think 10 days of anti-biotics is enough. It is NOT. If the intestinal
permeability is increased then the infection will recur. 4-6 weeks or longer is needed to let the time
for the intestinal lining to heal (if not permanently damaged by stupid vets putting your dog on a food
trial for 1-3 months and wasting time while your dog suffers). The problem is that if intestinal
permeability is increased your dog will probably be allergic to ANY normal food after a short while. I
tried a bunch of foods and after a couple days rest the diarrhea always came back. Allergies in this case
maybe the effect, NOT the cause. (12/29/2009)
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