Is your German Shepherd too Skinny? (And How to Fix that)

As a new German Shepherd puppy owner, you want nothing but the best for your furry companion. You watch as they grow and develop, paying close attention to their appearance and well-being.

However, you may start to worry when you notice that your German Shepherd is looking thin and seemingly underweight.

This can be disheartening, and you may find yourself wondering if something is wrong.

But fret not, as we are here to help you understand and address this concern.

Nothing is more concerning to a pet owner than seeing their beloved German Shepherd looking too skinny.

It can leave you feeling worried, frustrated, and even a little bit angry.

You might find yourself constantly comparing your dog’s physique to other German Shepherds, wondering why yours isn’t as healthy-looking

Rest assured, you are not alone in this experience, and we understand the emotional impact it can have on you and your furry friend.

In this article, we will address the issue of a skinny German Shepherd head-on.

We will guide you through understanding the ideal weight for your German Shepherd, identifying signs of being underweight, exploring potential reasons for weight loss, and offering effective solutions to help your furry friend attain a healthy weight.

By the end of this article, you will have the confidence and know-how to help your German Shepherd regain their ideal weight and blossom into a happy and thriving companion.

Let’s dive in and discover how you can address your German Shepherd’s weight concerns together.

Table of Contents

How Much Should a German Shepherd Weigh?

Understanding the ideal weight range for a German Shepherd is crucial in determining whether your dog is underweight or not. These intelligent and loyal canines are known for their strong and muscular build, which contributes to their agility and endurance. The weight of a German Shepherd can vary based on factors such as age, sex, genetics, and overall body composition.

On average, a healthy adult male German Shepherd should weigh between 65 to 90 pounds (30 to 40 kilograms), while a healthy adult female should weigh between 50 to 70 pounds (22 to 32 kilograms). However, it’s important to note that every dog is unique, and slight variations in weight within this range may be considered normal.

It’s also essential to consider the dog’s age and growth stage. German Shepherd puppies typically go through significant growth spurts and may weigh less or more than the average weight ranges. Consulting with your veterinarian can provide you with a more accurate assessment of your German Shepherd’s ideal weight based on their individual characteristics.

To maintain your German Shepherd’s optimal weight, it’s essential to provide them with a nutritious and balanced diet, regular exercise, and monitoring their body condition regularly. Understanding the correct weight range for a German Shepherd sets the foundation for identifying if your furry friend is indeed underweight and helps you take appropriate measures to address it.

How To Tell If Your German Shepherd Is Underweight?

As a responsible German Shepherd owner, it’s crucial to be able to identify signs of underweight in your furry companion. Recognizing the early indicators can prompt you to take action and prevent any potential health issues. Here are some key ways to determine if your German Shepherd is underweight:

  1. Visible Ribs and Spine: Gently run your hands along your dog’s sides. If you can easily see their ribs or feel them protruding prominently, it may indicate that your German Shepherd is underweight. Similarly, if you can feel their spine easily without any resistance, it might suggest a lack of healthy weight.
  2. Lack of Muscle Mass: Underweight German Shepherds often have a noticeable lack of muscle tone and definition. When observing your dog from the side or top, a healthy dog should exhibit strong musculature, especially in the shoulder and hindquarters. If these areas appear thin and bony, it could signify inadequate weight.
  3. Prominent Hip Bones: Take a closer look at your German Shepherd’s hips. If the hip bones protrude visibly or feel sharp and prominent, this is another sign of potential underweight.
  4. Loss of Appetite: A decrease in your German Shepherd’s appetite or a sudden loss of interest in food can lead to weight loss. If your dog seems uninterested in their meals or is consistently leaving food untouched, it may be a cause for concern.
  5. Lethargy and Weakness: An underweight German Shepherd may lack energy and display signs of weakness. If your dog seems less active, tires easily during exercise, or shows a general lack of enthusiasm, it could be tied to their weight.

If you observe any of these signs or have concerns about your German Shepherd’s weight, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination, assess your dog’s body condition score, and provide professional guidance on how to address any underlying issues contributing to the underweight condition. Remember, early detection and intervention can lead to a healthier, happier German Shepherd in the long run.

Why Is Your German Shepherd Losing Weight/So Skinny?

There can be various underlying reasons why your German Shepherd is losing weight or appearing skinny. Identifying the cause is crucial in addressing the issue effectively. Here are some common factors that may contribute to weight loss in German Shepherds:

  • Inadequate Diet: A poor or inadequate diet can lead to weight loss in dogs. Ensure that you are feeding your German Shepherd a high-quality, balanced diet that meets their specific nutritional needs. Low-quality or inappropriate food choices can result in inadequate calorie intake, leading to weight loss.
  • Parasites: Parasitic infestations, such as intestinal worms, can cause weight loss in German Shepherds. These parasites consume nutrients from your dog’s body, depriving them of proper nourishment and causing weight loss. Regular deworming is crucial in preventing and addressing this issue.
  • Illness or Disease: Weight loss can be a symptom of underlying health problems in German Shepherds. Conditions such as gastrointestinal diseases, infections, metabolic disorders, thyroid issues, or cancer can impact appetite, nutrient absorption, and overall weight. If your German Shepherd is losing weight inexplicably, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions.
  • Dental Problems: Dental issues, such as gum disease or tooth decay, can make it painful for your German Shepherd to eat. This discomfort may cause them to avoid or struggle with consuming their food, leading to weight loss over time.
  • Stress or Anxiety: Severe stress, anxiety, or changes in the environment can affect your German Shepherd’s appetite and cause weight loss. Events such as moving to a new home, the addition of a new family member or pet, or traumatic experiences can contribute to stress-induced weight loss.
  • Increased Activity or Exercise: If your German Shepherd has recently undergone a significant increase in physical activity or exercise regimen, they may be burning more calories than they are consuming. While exercise is essential for a healthy dog, it’s crucial to ensure their food intake matches their energy expenditure.

Identifying the specific cause of your German Shepherd’s weight loss or skinny appearance may require veterinary examination and diagnostics. Your veterinarian can perform tests, assess your dog’s medical history, and provide a tailored treatment plan based on their findings. By addressing the underlying cause, you can help your German Shepherd regain and maintain a healthy weight.

Ways To Help a Skinny German Shepherd Gain Weight

If your German Shepherd is underweight, there are several strategies you can implement to help them gain the necessary weight and achieve a healthy physique. Here are seven effective ways to support your skinny German Shepherd in gaining weight:

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1. Consult with Your Veterinarian

Start by consulting with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues and create a personalized plan for your German Shepherd’s weight gain. A professional assessment will ensure the best course of action.

2. Adjust the Diet

Increase the calorie intake of your German Shepherd by adjusting their diet. Opt for a high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for weight gain or choose a brand that offers a higher calorie content. You can also consider adding healthy, dog-safe human foods such as boiled chicken, lean meats, and sweet potatoes to their regular meals.

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3. Frequent Meals

Rather than feeding your German Shepherd two large meals a day, divide their daily ration into several smaller portions throughout the day. This helps to stimulate their appetite and makes it easier for them to consume the necessary calories without feeling overwhelmed.

4. Supplement with Healthy Fats

Consider adding healthy fats to your German Shepherd’s diet to aid in weight gain. Options like fish oil, coconut oil, or flaxseed oil can provide additional calories and promote a healthy coat and skin.

5. Monitor Weight and Adjust Portions

Keep a close eye on your German Shepherd’s weight by regularly weighing them and monitoring their body condition score. Adjust their portions accordingly to ensure they are steadily gaining weight without becoming overweight. Your veterinarian can guide you in determining appropriate portion sizes.

6. Provide Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is important for overall health, but it’s vital to strike a balance for a skinny German Shepherd. Engage them in low-impact activities such as short walks, gentle play sessions, or swimming. Avoid high-intensity exercises that could burn excessive calories.

7. Minimize Stress

Reduce stressors in your German Shepherd’s environment as much as possible. Ensure they have a calm and quiet space to eat, sleep, and relax. Minimizing stress can improve their appetite and facilitate healthy weight gain.

Remember, patience is key when helping your German Shepherd gain weight. Gradual and steady weight gain is healthier than rapid weight gain, as it allows their body time to adjust. Regular monitoring and communication with your veterinarian will ensure that your efforts are on the right track and that your German Shepherd achieves a healthy weight safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why has my German Shepherd lost their appetite?

    Several factors can cause a decrease in appetite, including illness, dental issues, stress, or changes in the environment. If the loss of appetite persists, consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.

  2. Do German Shepherds have sensitive stomachs?

    While not all German Shepherds have sensitive stomachs, it's common for this breed to be prone to digestive sensitivities. They may be more susceptible to food allergies, intolerances, or digestive disorders. Feeding a high-quality, easily digestible diet can help manage these sensitivities.

  3. What’s the correct weight of a German Shepherd?

    The ideal weight range for an adult male German Shepherd is 65-90 pounds (30-40 kilograms), while for adult females, it is 50-70 pounds (22-32 kilograms). However, individual German Shepherds may slightly vary within these ranges due to factors such as genetics and body composition.

  4. When to see a vet about a skinny German Shepherd?

    It is recommended to consult with a vet if your German Shepherd is significantly underweight or experiencing unexplained weight loss. A veterinarian can perform a thorough examination, assess their overall health, and provide guidance for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  5. Are German Shepherds supposed to be skinny?

    German Shepherds should not be excessively skinny, but they should have a lean and muscular physique. Healthy weight and body condition are essential to maintain proper health and adequate muscle mass.

  6. How do you know if your German Shepherd is too skinny?

    Signs of a German Shepherd being too skinny include visible ribs and spine, lack of muscle mass, and prominent hip bones. If you can easily see or feel these features, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian to assess their weight and overall condition.

  7. How do I know if my dog is too skinny?

    Besides visible ribs, spine, and hip bones, other signs of a dog being too skinny include lack of energy, dull coat, and overall weakness. It's crucial to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause of their thinness and develop an appropriate plan.

  8. What do you feed a skinny German Shepherd?

    Feed a high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for weight gain. Look for nutrient-dense options that have a balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Additionally, you can add healthy supplements like coconut oil or fish oil to their diet for added calories.

  9. How can I fatten up my skinny dog?

    Increase their daily caloric intake by offering a nutrient-dense, calorie-rich diet. Feed them smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. Additionally, consider adding healthy fats to their meals, and consult with a veterinarian for personalized guidance.

  10. Is it normal to feel a dog's spine?

    It's normal to feel a dog's spine when running your hand along their back, but it should not feel overly prominent or sharp. The spine should be covered by a healthy layer of muscle and fat, providing a natural padding.

  11. Is it bad if I can see my dog's ribs?

    While slight visibility of a dog's ribs under a thin layer of fat is considered normal, if the ribs are highly prominent or easily visible, it may indicate that your dog is too skinny. Consult with a veterinarian to assess their weight and overall health.


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.


Ensuring the health and well-being of your German Shepherd is of utmost importance as a responsible pet owner. If you notice that your German Shepherd is too skinny or has lost weight, it’s essential to take action promptly. By understanding the ideal weight range for your German Shepherd, recognizing signs of being underweight, and addressing potential causes, you can make informed decisions to help your furry companion regain a healthy weight.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized guidance and support throughout the process. Working closely with professionals will ensure that your German Shepherd’s weight gain journey is safe and effective. By implementing the recommended strategies such as adjusting their diet, providing regular exercise, monitoring their weight, and addressing any underlying health issues, you can help your German Shepherd thrive and lead a happy, healthy life.

With patience, dedication, and proper care, you can witness your skinny German Shepherd transform into a robust and well-rounded companion. Together, you and your German Shepherd can overcome weight challenges and create a strong bond built on love, trust, and optimal health.

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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