How to Make a German Shepherd Gain Weight: Ultimate Guide

Are you a new German Shepherd puppy owner concerned about your furry friend’s lack of weight?

Are you worried that your dog might be underweight and want to find ways to help them gain a healthy amount of weight?

Well, you’re not alone. Many German Shepherd owners face this issue and are searching for effective solutions to ensure their beloved pets are thriving.

It can be incredibly distressing to see your German Shepherd looking thin and lacking the necessary body mass.

You may find yourself constantly worrying about their health, wondering if they are getting enough nourishment and sustenance.

This concern can be further magnified as your puppy’s size and weight hold significant importance in their overall growth and development.

The emotional distress caused by this issue can affect both you and your furry companion.

But worry not, as we have the ultimate guide to help you make your German Shepherd gain weight in a healthy manner. In this article, we will provide you with practical tips and proven strategies that will assist you in boosting your German Shepherd’s weight effectively.

With our comprehensive guide, you will have all the information you need to support your German Shepherd’s weight gain journey and ensure their overall well-being. So, let’s dive in and help your furry friend achieve a healthy weight that will have their tail wagging with joy!

Table of Contents

Is Your German Shepherd Underweight? Tips for Identifying Weight Issues

The first step in determining if your German Shepherd is underweight is to assess their body condition. Evaluating your dog’s body condition can provide valuable clues about their overall health and weight status. Here’s what you should look for:

  1. Ribs: Gently run your hands along the sides of your German Shepherd’s body, just behind the ribcage. You should be able to feel their ribs without pressing too hard. However, if the ribs are easily visible and there’s a lack of fat covering, it may indicate that your dog is underweight.
  2. Waistline: Stand above your German Shepherd and look down at their back. A healthy dog should have a visible waistline, where the body tucks in slightly behind the ribcage. If your dog’s waistline is not clearly defined, it could be a sign of being underweight.
  3. Backbone and Hip bones: Run your hands along the length of your German Shepherd’s back and feel for their backbone and hip bones. These should have a slight layer of fat covering them. If they are prominent and easily felt, it suggests that your dog may be underweight.

In addition to assessing your dog’s body condition, it’s important to observe their energy levels and behavior, as these can provide further insight into their weight issues. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  1. Lethargy: If your German Shepherd seems lackadaisical or has decreased enthusiasm for activities they once enjoyed, it could be a result of inadequate energy intake due to being underweight.
  2. Weakness: Notice if your dog appears weak or has difficulty performing normal physical tasks. An underweight dog may lack the muscle mass and strength necessary for optimal functioning.
  3. Changes in Appetite: Pay attention to any changes in your German Shepherd’s appetite. While some dogs may show decreased interest in food when underweight, others may exhibit an increased desire to eat to compensate for the lack of nutrients.
  4. Unusual Eating Habits: Observe if your dog eats rapidly or exhibits food guarding behaviors. These behaviors may indicate a chronic hunger due to inadequate caloric intake.

If you have concerns about your German Shepherd’s weight, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough physical examination, assess your dog’s body condition, and provide professional guidance tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Your veterinarian may also run diagnostic tests to rule out any underlying health issues contributing to weight loss.

Remember, always seek professional advice before implementing any weight gain strategies to ensure the health and well-being of your German Shepherd. Identifying weight issues early on and taking appropriate action will help your dog achieve a healthy weight and maintain optimal overall health.

Monitor Weight Fluctuations: Tracking Changes in Your German Shepherd’s Body

Step 1: Initial Weigh-In

To begin monitoring your German Shepherd’s weight fluctuations, it’s crucial to have a baseline weight. Take your dog to the veterinarian or use a reliable scale at home to weigh them accurately. Record this initial weight and establish it as a reference point for future comparisons.

Step 2: Create a Weight Log

Maintaining a weight log is an effective way to track your German Shepherd’s weight over time. Create a simple spreadsheet or use a notebook specifically dedicated to recording your dog’s weight. Note the date of each weigh-in and the corresponding weight measurement. This log will help you identify trends and patterns in your dog’s weight changes.

Step 3: Consistent Weighing Schedule

To obtain accurate weight measurements and monitor your German Shepherd’s progress effectively, establish a consistent weighing schedule. For most dogs, weighing them once a week is sufficient. Choose a specific day and time each week to ensure consistency in your measurements.

Step 4: Use the Same Scale

If possible, use the same scale for each weigh-in. Different scales can vary in accuracy, so sticking to one scale will provide more reliable data. If you don’t have access to the same scale every time, note the scale’s make and model beside each weight measurement for future reference.

Step 5: Take Multiple Measurements

When weighing your German Shepherd, take multiple measurements to account for any fluctuations or inconsistencies. Dogs can sometimes shift their balance or become anxious during the process, leading to slightly different readings. Take two to three measurements and average them for a more accurate weight estimate.

Step 6: Physical Examination

While monitoring weight is essential, it’s also crucial to perform regular physical examinations of your German Shepherd. Look for other signs of weight progress, such as changes in body condition, muscle definition, or the appearance of a waistline. These visual indicators can supplement your weight log and provide a more comprehensive view of your dog’s overall body composition.

Step 7: Consult with a Veterinarian

If you notice significant weight fluctuations or have concerns about your German Shepherd’s weight, consult with a veterinarian. They can offer guidance on interpreting the data in your weight log, assess your dog’s overall health, and determine if any underlying health conditions may be impacting their weight. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential in ensuring your German Shepherd’s well-being and tracking their weight gain progress accurately.

By monitoring weight fluctuations in a systematic and consistent manner, you will gain valuable insights into your German Shepherd’s development and progress. This detailed tracking will help you assess the effectiveness of any weight gain strategies you implement and ensure that your dog is on the path to achieving a healthy weight.

How to Help Your German Shepherd Gain Weight in a Healthy Manner

Now let’s go over 10 steps you can take to make your German Shepherd gain weight in a healthy manner.

1. Boosting Protein and Fat Intake: A Nutritional Approach

One of the key aspects of helping your German Shepherd gain weight in a healthy manner is by boosting their protein and fat intake. These macronutrients are essential for muscle growth and energy production. Here’s how you can incorporate them into your dog’s diet:

  • High-quality Protein: Ensure that your German Shepherd’s diet includes a good source of protein, such as lean meats (like chicken, turkey, or beef), fish, or eggs. Protein-rich options help build lean muscle mass and promote healthy weight gain.
  • Healthy Fats: Include healthy fats in your dog’s diet from sources like salmon, sardines, or flaxseed oil. These fats provide a concentrated source of energy and aid in weight gain. However, be mindful of portion sizes to prevent excessive weight gain or health issues.
  • Commercial High-Calorie Dog Food: You can also consider adding a high-calorie dog food specifically formulated for weight gain. These diets are enriched with protein and healthy fats to help your German Shepherd pack on healthy pounds.

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2. Incorporating 50% Puppy Food Blend: Gradual Transition for Weight Gain

If your German Shepherd is still a puppy, incorporating a mixture of puppy food with their regular adult food can be beneficial for weight gain. Puppy food is formulated to have higher calorie content and essential nutrients required for growth. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Start by adding a small portion (around 25%) of puppy food to your dog’s regular adult food.
  • Gradually increase the proportion of puppy food with each meal, aiming to reach a 50/50 blend over the course of a week or two.
  • Monitor your dog’s reaction to the transition and adjust the proportions as needed. Remember to consult with your veterinarian to ensure a smooth and healthy transition.

3. Supplementing Extra Meals: Increasing Feeding Frequency

To help your German Shepherd gain weight, consider supplementing their regular meals with additional small meals or snacks throughout the day. Increasing feeding frequency helps provide a continuous supply of nutrients and calories. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Divide your German Shepherd’s daily food intake into smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of two larger meals, offer four to six smaller meals throughout the day.
  • Gradually increase the portion size of each meal to ensure your dog is receiving adequate calories. Keep an eye on their weight and adjust portion sizes accordingly.
  • Add nutrient-dense snacks between meals, such as boiled chicken, cottage cheese, or dog-safe fruits and vegetables. These snacks can provide an additional boost of calories and nutrients.

4. Enhancing Nutrition with Vitamins: Supporting Weight Gain

In addition to a balanced diet, incorporating vitamins and supplements can aid in weight gain and overall health. Here are some key vitamins and supplements that can support your German Shepherd’s weight gain journey:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil, can help promote coat and skin health while providing additional calories.
  2. Probiotics: Probiotic supplements aid in digestion and can improve nutrient absorption. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with digestive issues or those who have difficulty gaining weight.

Consult with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your German Shepherd’s diet to ensure the appropriate dosage and to address any specific nutritional needs your dog may have.

5. Homemade Treats: Nourishing Rewards for Your German Shepherd

Using homemade treats as rewards not only helps with training but also provides an opportunity to add extra calories and nutrients to your German Shepherd’s diet. Consider the following tips for making healthy and nourishing homemade treats:

  • Choose recipes that use high-quality ingredients, such as lean meats, whole grains, and vegetables.
  • Avoid adding excessive amounts of sugar, salt, or artificial additives, as these can be harmful to your dog’s health.
  • Baking or lightly cooking treats can enhance palatability and digestibility while preserving nutrients.
  • Remember to monitor the calorie intake from treats and adjust meal portions accordingly to maintain a healthy balance.

6. Introducing Healthy, Natural Foods: Diversifying the Diet

Introducing healthy and natural foods can add variety and valuable nutrients to your German Shepherd’s diet, supporting their weight gain journey. Consider adding the following foods to their meals:

  • Cooked Vegetables: Introduce a variety of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, or sweet potatoes. These vegetables are rich in fiber and provide additional vitamins and minerals.
  • Fruits: Offer dog-safe fruits, like apples or blueberries, as occasional treats or mix-ins. Fruits can contribute to the overall nutrient profile and add natural sweetness to your German Shepherd’s meals.
  • Yogurt: Plain, unsweetened yogurt can be a tasty and healthy addition to your dog’s diet. It contains probiotics that aid in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut.
  • Pumpkin: Adding a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) to your German Shepherd’s meals can provide dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and weight gain.

7. Promoting Digestion with Fresh, Stimulating Ingredients

To support weight gain, it’s essential to ensure that your German Shepherd’s digestive system is functioning optimally. Fresh and stimulating ingredients can help promote digestion and nutrient absorption. Consider the following:

  • Include fiber-rich foods, like cooked vegetables or pureed pumpkin, to facilitate smooth digestion.
  • Offer chew toys or bones specifically designed to promote dental health and aid in digestion. Chewing helps stimulate saliva production and aids in breaking down food.
  • Monitor your dog’s response to different ingredients and tailor their diet to include those that are well-tolerated and easily digestible.

8. Adjusting Portion Sizes for Age-Appropriate Feeding

As your German Shepherd grows, their nutritional needs change. It’s important to adjust portion sizes to ensure they receive an appropriate amount of food for their age and weight gain goals. Consider the following:

  • Consult with your veterinarian to determine the ideal weight range for your German Shepherd based on their age, breed, and overall health.
  • Use a recommended feeding guide specific to your dog’s food brand as a starting point. However, keep in mind that individual dogs may have different calorie requirements, so adjustments may be necessary.
  • Monitor your German Shepherd’s weight closely and make adjustments based on their progress. If they are gaining weight too rapidly or not gaining at all, consult with your veterinarian for guidance.

9. Maintaining an Exercise Routine: Balancing Activity and Weight Gain

Regular exercise is crucial for your German Shepherd’s overall health, muscle development, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, it’s important to balance exercise with weight gain goals. Here are some tips:

  • Engage in low-impact exercises, such as leash walks, swimming, or interactive play, which provide mental and physical stimulation without excessive strain on joints.
  • Avoid intense endurance activities or prolonged high-impact exercises until your German Shepherd has achieved a healthy weight.
  • Monitor your dog’s energy levels and adjust exercise durations and intensity as necessary to prevent overexertion or fatigue.
  • Consult with your veterinarian for specific exercise recommendations based on your German Shepherd’s weight gain plan and any underlying health considerations.

10. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Ensuring Progress and Health Monitoring

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring your German Shepherd’s weight gain progress and overall health. Here’s why they are important:

  • Your veterinarian can assess your German Shepherd’s body condition, weigh your dog accurately, and provide professional guidance tailored to their individual needs.
  • Regular check-ups allow your vet to monitor any underlying health issues that may be affecting your dog’s weight and make necessary adjustments to their care plan.
  • Your veterinarian can provide recommendations on appropriate feeding amounts, offer advice on specific dietary needs, and ensure that your German Shepherd’s weight gain journey is on track.

By incorporating these strategies into your German Shepherd’s daily routine and with the guidance of your veterinarian, you can ensure that they are gaining weight in a healthy and sustainable manner. Remember that every dog is unique, and it may take time to find the most suitable approach for your German Shepherd’s specific needs. With patience, consistency, and a focus on their individual well-being, you’ll help your German Shepherd achieve a healthy weight that promotes optimal growth and vitality.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What can I feed my German Shepherd to gain weight?

    To help your German Shepherd gain weight, focus on nutrient-dense and calorie-rich foods. Boost their protein and fat intake by incorporating lean meats, fish, eggs, and healthy fats like salmon or flaxseed oil. Consider feeding a blend of high-calorie puppy food and gradually increasing portion sizes. Consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.

  2. How can I get my German Shepherd to gain weight fast?

    While it's important to promote healthy weight gain, it's best to avoid rapid weight gain as it can lead to health issues. Instead, focus on a balanced approach that includes increasing calorie intake through nutrient-rich foods, portion control, and regular exercise. Consult with your veterinarian for tailored advice.

  3. How can I get my dog to gain weight fast?

    Fast weight gain can have negative consequences on your dog's health. It's important to prioritize a healthy and gradual approach. Increase calorie intake with nutrient-rich foods, consider supplementation after consultation with your vet, and monitor their weight regularly. Slow, steady weight gain is optimal for your dog's overall well-being.


In conclusion, helping your German Shepherd gain weight in a healthy manner requires a comprehensive approach that includes proper nutrition, portion control, exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups.

By following the tips and strategies discussed in this ultimate guide, you can ensure that your furry friend attains a healthy weight and thrives. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance throughout your German Shepherd’s weight gain journey. 

With patience, consistency, and a focus on their well-being, you can provide your German Shepherd with the necessary support to achieve and maintain a healthy weight that will contribute to their overall happiness and vitality.

Once again, if you want to learn everything you need to know about German Shepherd nutrition in one single place – click here to check out The Ultimate Bundle.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Please read our full disclaimer by clicking here.

I have been fortunate to have German Shepherds as my beloved companions for the past decade. I trained , cared for them, and formed an unbreakable bond with each fluffy butt that I came across. Inspired by my profound love for German Shepherds, I decided to start a website dedicated solely to these magnificent dogs
Zara Hawkins

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