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Skinny German Shepherd

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Having a very thin dog can be disturbing. Trying to determine the reason your pet won't gain weight is an important step toward getting your pet up to a healthy weight. This is a guide about a skinny German Shepherd.


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By 1 found this helpful
August 15, 2013

You should have any skinny GSD, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever, or other breed known to be born with EPI checked to make sure their pancreatic acid is working. EPI is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which means they don't manufacture enough pancreatin, hence the food is improperly broken down and doesn't digest, causing diarrhea and weight loss. EPI is not uncommon in certain breeds.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 4, 2017

I rescued a German Shepherd off the streets. He weighs in at 52.1 and is 4 years old. I have trouble getting him to eat, I mix can food and dry food, and take his medicine even if it's with peanut butter. How can I get him to eat?


December 4, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

For a picky dog it might be best to try something like cooked pasta or rice. I know my dogs love cooked pasta or rice mixed with their dog food.


You can also make some chicken broth or even buy some in the cans. Pour some of this over his food and he might really love it. Do not add water and use the broth as it is out of the can.

As for taking medicine I wouldn't use peanut butter. I'd roll this up in a slice of cheese and give it to him. This is what I have to do with my dog.

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December 5, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have a German Shepherd who loved Blue Buffalo dog food. It is a little more expensive that the other brands. I will take a piece of meat (any "people" meat will do ) warm it up in the microwave in 1/4 cup of water for about 10 to 15 seconds (all depends on you wattage) and then mix it around in the dry dog food.


Try and see if your dog will eat it !!

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By 1 found this helpful
October 30, 2013

My 1 year old female German Shepherd is gulping her food, but is thin. She ate a mouse weeks ago; is this the problem? She has been wormed.

By Sue

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August 31, 20131 found this helpful

I have a 1 and a half year old male German Shepherd. He is right around 80 lbs, but seems small when compared to other male Shepherds or even the female we had before him.He doesn't seem to have that fluffy coat that makes them look fuller. Any suggestions on how to help him put on some healthy weight and muscle?


By S. DeRosia

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By 0 found this helpful
December 1, 2009

I have a 7 year old German Shepherd mix. She is so skinny you can see her ribs and her back bone. We put food out for her, but she just won't eat. And when she does, she doesn't gain anything.

We took her to the vet for blood work; she has no worms, no cancer, and no parasites. She has diarrhea. I am afraid that I will lose her. We used to give her dry dog food. Now we switch food every day from meat to fish to pasta. She doesn't eat, she only rests. Please help me.

By dakota

December 1, 20090 found this helpful

It's obvious to both of us there's something very wrong with your german shepherd. I'd get a second vet's opinion elsewhere and soon.

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December 1, 20090 found this helpful

This link is where you get expert answers but for a fee. How much? I don't know, but it's a live response to this question/answer type website if you might be interested. I hope your german shepherd gets well. Keep us posted please and good luck.


http://www.just  -german-shepherd

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with Lorelei I would get a second opinion. We all know there's something wrong. good luck and let us know how your german shepherd is doing.

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

Is your dog pooping? Check out "constipation in dogs" on Google. If they have a bowel obstruction, they won't eat. Ask your vet if they checked that.

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

Keep hydrated-keep hydrated-keep hydrated. Give enema with colloidal silver (health food store) 1/2 hour later another enema. If she has sickness in her intestines this will help. Right now, it sounds like she will die if nothing is done.


Get another vet. He should have at least hydrated her with bag fluids. This dog could have been poisoned. Could have kink in gut, Could have pancreatitus. Could have sensitive tummy. A good vet can find it.

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December 3, 20090 found this helpful

Personally I would go on and get the Total-zymes Plus as quickly as possible. Read some of the testimonials on that site. I have been giving it to my dog for about 4 weeks now. Its digestive enzymes and probiotics. I also give my dog plain yogurt 1 Tbsp per day. She would always throw up the "yellow foamies" and whatnot and she's had some problems with pancreatitis. She's been good for a while now. Please try it. I don't think it's that expensive for what you get.

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December 3, 20090 found this helpful

I have worked for a Veterinarian for over 27 years. There is something wrong with your fur baby. Please go to another Vet for a second opinion. A dog that does not eat is an emergency. You can have your current Vet fax all the medical records/lab results to your new Vet, then the new Dr. can evaluate how to treat your baby. Good luck

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December 4, 20090 found this helpful

There is something wrong with your dog! Please, please take her to another vet or you are going to lose her. She is suffering and in need of medical attention so please do the right thing and get her help with another vet. Any good vet should be able to figure this out without sending you home with no further ideas! Good luck and I hope this can be resolved quickly so your baby doesn't continue to suffer and die.

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December 4, 20090 found this helpful

Recently, some people we know had the same thing happening to their dog. Like with your dog, at first the vet found nothing. But at their second visit he took x-rays which showed that the dog had ingested a partially eaten ball and it had caused a a blockage in his intestines. It took emergency surgery to save him. He is now well and thriving.

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December 6, 20090 found this helpful

I remember reading an article somewhere that specifically talked about germen shepherds with this problem. It resonated with me because we have a german shapherd that we took in that was really skinny. The article stated that these dogs are often allergic to the grain based foods they are often fed, and will loose weight rather than gain it--almost like a human with severe lactose intolerance (stomach pain, diarrhea, etc). Try switching to a meat-based food, giving all meat and veggies, etc, to see if it helps. Luckily, our dog did gain weight, but it took a long while, and he is still trim. I'd still call around, do internet research, and get a second opinion too.

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December 7, 20090 found this helpful

How is your dog doing, and did you find out what the problem is/was?

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By 0 found this helpful
April 24, 2018

What kind of food helps German Shepherds gain weight? I rescued a German Shepherd in December and he started eating on a schedule. He is much happier now, however, despite him eating more he hasn't gain much weight. I took him to the vet and they took blood samples and it came back with no problems.


April 24, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

A German Shepard dog is usually a big eater as you must know as it looks like you have two to feed.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 19, 2015

I have a German Shepherd female dog. She is 5 months and she is 22 kgs. She is properly vaccinated and de wormed. I want her to put on weight, she eats properly, is very energetic, and very playful. She does not look skinny or thin, but I want her to look a bit more fat. Is it possible? If yes then how?

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By 0 found this helpful
March 23, 2017

My German Shepherd looks too thin. He is 6 and a half months old and I feed him three times a day. Can anyone recommend a correct diet chart for him along with what to give him in his diet?

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By 0 found this helpful
December 26, 2018

We have a 1.5 year old female German Shepherd. She eats, but she looks like she is not gaining any weight. She has a high metabolism. When you pet her on her right side feels like you could feel a little bit of rib. What can be done? Should we be concerned?

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By 0 found this helpful
March 15, 2017

My male German Shepherd is about 15 months old. He gets fed 3 cups of food twice a day and still looks very skinny. What can I do to make him gain weight?

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By 0 found this helpful
March 19, 2005

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 check ups 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.


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By 0 found this helpful
February 27, 2016

Roxy turned nine back in September, but she has been awfully skinny for the past few years. Lately it seems worse than usually. She has long fur, so it's hard to tell unless you pet her. She's probably around 45 pounds. She hardly eats her food without us putting something in it to make her want to. And even since she was probably around three or four, she goes out to poop a lot.

Is it actually normal for a dog of her weight to have to go poop four or five times a day, if not more? Yesterday she had diarrhea. She's going to the vet today at 11, so we're hoping for at least some result (although the there hasn't been in years). Do you guys have some weight gain tips for her or have anything I should have the vet check for?

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August 5, 20140 found this helpful

I rescued a adult German Shepherd named Big Guy, from the pound. When I got him he would not eat and was afraid of everyone and everything. I have had him for about 8 months he seems to have built a trust relationship with me. He eats all of his food now and weighs about 80 lbs, but I can still see his ribs and his hip bones. What can I do to get him to gain fat and muscle. The vet told me he is perfectly healthy and is at a healthy weight, but probably he just needs to gain some muscle.

By Sharon

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By 0 found this helpful
August 20, 2015

My Shepherd just turned a year. He was the runt and has always been kind of small, even though everyone who sees him says "wow he is going to be a big boy". He is long and has always been on the slender side, but still looked healthy. He has had food allergies since he was a pup and it took me a long time to find a food he would not throw up. I recently changed from puppy to adult food and found something that seems OK, but over the last couple of months he looks too skinny. You can even see his ribs a little. He eats but not a lot. He is still very active and energetic, but it worries me. I tried adding some wet food to the dry and he threw up really badly, even acid, after he lost everything he ate that day. I am back to straight dry food, lamb and rice seems to sit well with him, but is there something else I can do or anything I should be concerned about? Please help. He is my baby and I don't want anything to happen to him. He is up to date on shots.

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December 10, 20130 found this helpful

I have female German Shepherd, she is 7 months old and looks very weak and skinny. She's having milk, eggs, and dog food, but still not putting on weight and she is under weight. What should I give her to eat or supplement ?

By Varun

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December 30, 20100 found this helpful

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.



Skinny German Shepard

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)

By kriso

Skinny German Shepard

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 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)

By Vicki

Skinny German Shepard

When in doubt, ask your vet. (03/19/2005)

By Linda

Skinny German Shepard

Try Bil Jac. It's sold in the freezer section of your store. (03/19/2005)

By Kelly-boxer owner

Skinny German Shepard

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)

By guest

Skinny German Shepard

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)

By Cara

Skinny German Shepard

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!

By Julie

Skinny German Shepard

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)

By Althea

Skinny German Shepard

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% 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)

By miakita3

Skinny German Shepard

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

10 days!)
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)

By Fiona

Skinny German Shepard

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)

By Melissa

Skinny German Shepard

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)

By Gloria

Skinny German Shepard

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)

By Rosemary

Skinny German Shepherd

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)

By Jose Porres

Skinny German Shepherd

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,


By Katy

Skinny German Shepherd

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.


By Steve

Skinny German Shepherd

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

up. (09/20/2009)

By Mikki Solodow

Skinny German Shepherd

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)

By Nan Corpe

Skinny German Shepherd

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)

By Pensive

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