Home GSD FAQ Why Is My German Shepherd So Skinny?

Why Is My German Shepherd So Skinny?

by David W.
Skinny German Shepherd

Have you noticed changes in your German Shepherd’s weight? It can be a minor issue or flat-out hazardous. So, we applaud you for trying to learn why you have a skinny German Shepherd. In this post, you’ll learn about the reasons for “Why is my German Shepherd so skinny?” and what you can do about it.

8 Possible Reasons why your GSD is Skinny

Low-Quality or Insufficient Diet

German Shepherds need 1272 to 1550 calories daily, while the active ones need even more. If you’re not feeding your pooch enough, it will eventually get skinny. Health issues also occur when the food isn’t of the right quality. Consider getting food specifically designed for your dog’s breed. 

Excessive Exercise

It could be likely that your skinny male German Shepherd is overly active and getting a lot of exercise. German Shepherds are working dogs, so it’s not odd for them to spend the whole day active. However, the problem arises when you don’t feed them accordingly. More work means more food, not just any food but those high in calories.

Dental Issues

We often let dental problems in our dogs go unnoticed. It can be a sore, abscess, ulcer, or even broken teeth and gum infections. Dental issues affect a dog’s eating habits. It can cause weight loss over time or even spread to other areas in the body if not treated quickly.

Health Problems

This is one of the leading causes of the sudden change in a dog’s weight. Health problems that affect their weight can range widely. Parasites and worms are common issues in many dogs, while more severe problems like cancer and heart disease also cause unusual weight loss. Look for other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and dizziness as they usually accompany weight loss when the dog suffers from a serious health issue.

Stress & Anxiety

Humans aren’t the only beings that suffer the adverse effects of stress and anxiety. Your dog can get undesirable effects too. Not getting enough attention, training, exercise, or not socializing enough can lead to anxiety in your dog. Other causes include moving to a new home and bringing home a new pet. Think about what might be causing stress in your dog and consider how you can improve its overall living quality.


Sometimes, the reason for a skinny German Shepherd can be as simple as its genetic factor. Most working German Shepherds are lean, so your dog will most probably be skinny because it is from this bloodline. Try to recollect how it looked when it was younger. If it was lean as a puppy, this might be the case, and you wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Their Age

As with most other dogs, GSDs become less active and eat less when they grow older. Aging causes dental problems and appetite loss, which makes them skinny. It’s only natural to face these things. However, it can also be because of deeper health problems brought about by aging, like cancer. 

Poor Eating Habits/ Picky Eaters

Maybe your German Shepherd doesn’t like what you’re feeding it, or maybe they’re just very picky

Ways to Improve your German Shepherd’s Health

German Shepherd at the Vet

There are a few ways you can help your skinny German Shepherd gain weight, depending on the cause(s). 

Here are some effective options you can consider:

Visit the Vet

The foremost thing to do when your German Shepherd is suddenly losing weight is to see a vet. They will diagnose the cause and help you improve your furry friend’s health sooner.

Feed Them High-Calorie Food

Not all dog foods are equal. Read the nutritional information when you buy your pet’s food and go for ones that have higher calories. Don’t buy food that has fillers in them. They will neither satisfy your dog’s hunger nor give them the necessary nutrients.

Consider Puppy Food

Puppy food contains ingredients that help puppies grow rapidly and healthily. Try feeding puppy food to your older dog to let it gain weight. However, consult with the vet before implementing this step to ensure safety.

Try Wet Food

German Shepherds with dental problems will benefit tremendously from wet food. It is much easier to consume, making your pet want to eat more.

Let Them Eat When They Want

German Shepherd parents who cannot make time to give them multiple meals daily should consider leaving the food out for them to eat anytime. Although this tip has its downside, it’s important to remember that you cannot leave your dog hungry any time of the day. Leave dry food instead of wet food, as they will remain fresh for longer.

Homemade Treats Might Help

Making treats for your dog at home ensures a healthier diet. You’d be able to provide better nutrition, and your dog will enjoy the change too. Cheese and peanut butter are great options. Homemade treats are available in pet stores if you’re too busy to make them yourself. While buying them, make sure to look for those high in calories.

Note: Steer clear of grapes and chocolates while preparing homemade treats for your GSD.

Record Their Weight

You can track your dog’s weight weekly to see whether the remedies you’re taking are helping. It can also relieve you to know that your pooch is gaining weight, even if slowly. Also, maintain a journal to record the foods you’re feeding them and how much they are eating. 

The Takeaway

Whether you have a skinny female German Shepherd or a male one, seeing them lose weight can be disheartening. While some breeds are lean by nature, a variety of underlying health issues might be causing it. Take it to the vet to rule out all possibilities, or treat them ASAP. You can also help your dog gain back weight by following the above measures. With these handy and effective tips, you’ll never say, “my German Shepherd is skinny!”

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