Why Is My German Shepherd So Skinny?

A German Shepherd dog should always be healthy and have a strong personality. However, it’s also a typical issue if your German Shepherd is skinny or loses weight even after eating. In that case, the owner becomes conscious of “Why Is My German Shepherd So Skinny?” 

Actually, your dog gets underweight owing to factors such as genetics, dietary changes, poor nutrition, parasites or worms, a lack of appetite, changes in the environment, sickness, emotional trauma, or maybe due to their older age. Remember, they are picky eaters too. However, you must keep an eye on the dog’s health.

Trying to find out the solutions to keep the dog healthy or fat? Just go through the article, and you will have your answer specifically. 

Is It Normal For A German Shepherd Puppy To Be Skinny?

why is my german shepherd puppy so skinny

Yes, it is fairly normal for German Shepherd puppies to be underweight. Because their bones grow at a different rate than their muscles, they are not fully grown. Or maybe they’re skinny because they have health complications. As a result, meeting with the vet on a regular basis is the ideal choice.

How can I tell if my German Shepherd is underweight?

is my german shepherd underweight
  • Grab your dog’s chum and run your hands down their sides. You have an underweight dog if there is too much rib and you can’t feel much between your dog’s skin and ribs.
  • The ribs of an underweight dog will be more visible.
  • An underweight dog has a prominent spine with little or no flesh on top of the individual vertebrae.
  • Your German Shepherd may be too slim if it has a triangle shape with the most significant part of its body at the front.

German Shepherd eating but losing weight

  • The loss of appetite in German shepherds can be caused by low-quality food, stress, excessive treats, or too much exercise, which can cause them to lose weight rather than gain weight.
  • Your dog is either not eating enough calories or has digestion or absorption difficulties that are preventing them from gaining weight.
  • If the GS dog gradually loses interest in eating, it will lose weight because it consumes less.
  • Also, they might be suffering from stress, surgery, drug reactions, cardiovascular diseases, or other disorders that induce weight loss.

See More: Why Is My German Shepherd Not Eating?

German Shepherd Is Skinny: 13 Possible Reasons

skinny german shepherd


Physical features are influenced by genetics, thus there is a chance that your German shepherd dog will be exceptionally skinny or small if they come from a bloodline of such breeds. But it’s natural.

Poor nutrition

Giving the appropriate quantity of fresh food is vital. Make sure you avoid feeding them poor nutrition levels since they run, walk, or exercise all day. Instead, let them consume nutritious foods that promote growth.

High Energy Demands

The amount of energy a dog has will decrease if the German Shepherd’s body is not receiving enough nutrients. They lack energy if they are underweight or skinny.

High exercise levels

The reason for your GSD’s thin body is possible because the dog is very active and spends a lot of time outside each day. German Shepherds require special care and diet because they are typically high-energy canines.

The majority of German Shepherds typically require at least 90 minutes of exercise a day. Likewise, if your GSD exercises for more than three hours a day, she will probably require between 1750 and 2000 calories a day.

Changes in diet

Your dog may become quite unhappy if your diet changes or they might start to lose weight. The same eating plan is also not a good idea. Getting confused?  It’s alright! We think they require new foods while we forget about their eating routine, which allowed them to discontinue eating.

In comparison to the sense of smell, the sense of taste is pretty useless. They get choosy, so they only eat what they prefer, and they occasionally go skinny if you continually change their food without even noticing.

Loss Of Appetite

Digestive problems are another pretty common sign of skinny dogs. Loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhea can be signs of the problem. Therefore, try to give them some interesting items to enrich their appetite.

Getting Older

This is the most common and realistic idea, where a shepherd dog ages and loses its appetite, so it becomes less active. Along with aging, they also experience dental issues, and due to some other health issues, they become skinny.

Lifeless coat

Another sign of an underweight German shepherd is a lifeless coat. Without the right nutrients in their diet, their body will start to suffer.

Muscle Deterioration

The dog won’t have enough energy to maintain his muscle growth due to the shortage of nutrients. Muscles start to weaken, and the body starts to consume itself when it’s too energy-starved.

Ribcage Seen

It’s a simple approach to make sure the dog is thin because a German shepherd that is underweight will have a noticeable ribcage. However, this is an indication of being underweight if you notice their ribs coming out or when you can easily feel their hip bones. Therefore, met your vet immediately.

Side Effects of Vaccination

Vaccinations can possibly result in fever, weariness, loss of appetite, swelling of the face or paws, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulties in breathing, or seizures. Finally, your GSD begins to lose weight.

Environment Changes

New home? New pet? A new member in the house? Watch your dog! He or she is scared or stressed due to the new environment. Such behavior makes your Shepherd dog feel unwanted and uncomfortable, which makes them stop eating entirely or reduce their eating.

Depression can develop as a result of this stress and anxiety. While adjusting to the new changes, they could struggle to eat appropriately. As a result, people might lose weight. Anyway, let’s discover the environmental changes that affect the health of the dog.

  • Schedule updates.
  • Changes to the walking time.
  • Changing in feeding times.
  • A new home.
  • The new baby’s in the family.
  • A new pet is brought into your house.
  • Home conflicts typically happen.
  • They are being left in the hands of a caretaker or brought to a dog daycare.


Parasites or Worms

German Shepherds could have worms or parasites if they experience sudden weight loss. The nutrients that the dog receives from intestinal parasites can cause them to lose weight quickly. They might have tapeworm, a parasite that dwells in the intestines of canines. Usually, if your dog has worms, you will notice:

  • Losing weight
  • Stool with blood
  • Stomach bloating
  • Diminished appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Worms in the vomit
  • Scratching in the anus
  • Worms or worm eggs in its feces
  • Dragging its back on the ground or rubbing things.

Diabetes Issue

Your German Shepherd’s body state changes as a result of diabetes, which is a metabolic illness. The pancreas’ inability to make insulin is the culprit. The bloodstream is therefore filled with glucose, which should be avoided. The body will then ultimately digest protein and fat.

As a result, there is more urine, thirst, and weight loss. Because their hormones mess with the manufacture of insulin, female dogs that have not been spayed are more in danger.

Dental Discomfort

Dental issues might include infections, ulcers, or abscesses. Then gum issues, infections, and broken teeth are also among them. When they eat, they might experience discomfort if they have a chipped tooth, an ulcer, or a gum infection.

There is a possibility of oral bacteria spreading if it isn’t treated right away. It will lead to further complications like infections of the heart or kidneys. Therefore, met your vet immediately.

Liver Sickness

In order to maintain body health, the liver releases nutrients. Liver disease causes vomiting, loss of appetite, and underweight dogs as a result of weight loss.

Kidney Sickness

Even after eating, your dog may still be underweight due to kidney illness, another major problem. Take your dog to the vet if you observe dehydration, appetite loss, or vomiting.

Gastrointestinal Condition

Ensure the safety of your dog from gastrointestinal illnesses because vomiting and diarrhea stop their bodies from digesting nutrients from their meals.

Malnutrition or malabsorption disorders are some other conditions that can affect dogs. These conditions restrict the intestine from absorption of nutrients from meals and digesting them. Ultimately, they become skinny.

Thyroid Difficulties

Another problem that could arise from a dog’s thyroid problems is a hormonal imbalance. Massive weight loss eventually results from the condition’s high body metabolism.

Heart Sickness

Heart disease is another serious illness that causes dog weight loss. They began to put on weight, which is really just fluid absorption. So keep an eye on the dog, and if they’ve lost some weight, increase their calorie intake.

Addison’s Illness

Your German Shepherd might face symptoms of Addison’s disease such as lethargy, nausea, unusual weight loss, or diarrhea. The underlying reason for this is a reduction in hormonal balance from the other half of the adrenal gland.

Deadly Cancer

Cancer can cause unexpected weight loss due to the tumor’s metabolic needs. Cancers associated with weight loss include hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, and osteosarcoma. Aged dogs frequently suffer from such illnesses, particularly oral tumors.

How to fatten up a German Shepherd – 15 Effective Tips

how to fatten up a german shepherd
  1. Monitor the weight loss and gain.
  2. Give them the right nutrition, i.e., food that contains more calories. Dry kibble has more calories to offer.
  3. Pick foods that are higher in fat and protein.
  4. Add an extra meal to their regular schedule.
  5. Include healthy foods and tasty toppings.
  6. Add homemade recipes to their meals.
  7. Feed them wet food.
  8. Give them ideal food according to their age.
  9. Be certain to feed the appropriate quantity.
  10. Don’t restrict your dog’s diet.
  11. As they eat, sit next to your dog.
  12. Offer them treats.
  13. Use plants or herbs that stimulate appetite.
  14. Add some vitamin B.
  15. Take your dog for regular exercise.

Among everything, the best and most necessary part is visiting veterinarians to check their health and ensure how to make German Shepherds fat.

How Much Should Your German Shepherd Weigh?

how much should a german shepherd weight
  • An adult male German Shepherd weighs between 75 – 90 pounds.
  • A female German Shepherd weighs 55 – 70 pounds.
  • Males normally grow between 24 and 26′′ and females typically grow between 22 and 24′′.
  • Remember, if the male Shepherd is 26 inches tall and weighs 66 pounds, you need to take proper care of the dog.

How Do I Determine The Track of My German Shepherd’s Weight Gain?

  • The ideal weight for a German Shepherd is determined by its age and gender.
  • The most important element to consider is the adult weight percentage based on their age.
  • You can set some weight-gain targets for shepherds.
  • Keeping track of your weight with a notepad or an app is a great idea.
  • Make a list of the diet plan.
  • You can keep the track of your German Shepherd’s weight by the week.
  • It’s useful to have that comparison to confirm that the modifications you made are having an effect on your friend.
  • You can take them for a short walk to keep them fit.
  • The best idea would be if you took advice from the vet.


1. Why is my dog so skinny even though he eats?

Generally, the dog loses weight because of a calorie shortage, poor diet, health conditions, parasites, a high energy requirement, an environmental alteration, or other factors. As a result, you must meet with the veterinarian to get advice.

2. What human foods can I give my dog to gain weight?

Human foods such as boiled eggs, roasted chicken, turkey, lean slices of beef, plain yogurt (non-fat), peanut butter, cheese, canned tuna, or plain canned pumpkin can be added. But never feed them chocolate, grapes, garlic, onions, or raisins.

3. Why is my 4-month-old German Shepherd only 9 kg?

If you have a 4-month-old German Shepherd that weighs only 9 kg, you should check to see if the dog is purebred, how much food you are feeding, if the dog has been dewormed, and if they need a rabies vaccine. You can also exercise them, adjust their eating habits, and, most importantly, take proper advice from the vet.

4. How do I get my 1-year-old German Shepherd to gain weight?

Fat and high protein can help the 1-year-old German Shepherd gain weight. Dog food that contains moldy corn can increase weight, but there is a risk of mycotoxins. So it’s best if you feed them some human foods like chicken, cheese, or eggs.

Final Words

So, say goodbye to the German Shepherd skinny or underweight problem since we have mentioned all the possible causes of “Why Is My German Shepherd So Skinny?” After that, we also shared some of our best tips to fatten the dogs, like increasing calories, fat, protein, healthy foods, toppings, treats, homemade recipes, and wet food, along with focusing on the timetable, checking the quantity, and making sure they exercise daily.

Follow this given advice, and we hope your dog will become healthy again. If the article grabs your attention, don’t forget to visit for our upcoming content.

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