How to Make My German Shepherd Gain Weight: Food Tips and Review

Although being underweight in German Shepherds is less common than being overweight, it is much more dangerous for the animal. If your German Shepherd is underweight for its age, the reason for this may be a serious medical condition.

If the dog regularly regurgitates its food and does not produce a firm stool, take it to the veterinarian to rule out serious diseases. Then keep track of how much and what kind of food you give your dog to make sure it gets enough nutrients.

If your dog eats well, but still needs to gain weight, switch pet to another diet, add various treats to its daily diet, and/or give it more dog food. So, our topic is how to make my German Shepherd gain Weight.

How to Make My German Shepherd Gain Weight: Food Tips and Review

How to Help a German Shepherd Gain Weight: 3 Methods

#1: Change the diet of your GSD

Choose foods with higher fat content. If the German Shepherd eats as usual but does not gain weight, it may need another meal. Find dog food with a good fat-protein ratio. Adult and elderly dogs should get about 20-25% of their calories from protein and another 25-50% from fat, the rest comes from carbohydrates. During the first 6-12 months, puppies should be given specially designed food for puppies.

Puppies who cannot gain weight should be given additional nutritional supplements, otherwise, they will get worms. Ask the veterinarian to advise you on the right dog food for the German Shepherd and regularly treat puppies for worms.

Gradually transfer your German Shepherd from one meal to another. Along with regular dog food, start adding the best food with a higher fat content. Daily and slowly increase the amount of new dog food until your dog starts eating only it.

Feed puppy food to adult dogs

If your adult or elderly German Shepherd dog eats balanced dog food and still suffers from being underweight, it may be worth switching it to puppy food. Puppy-formulated food contains more calories than they need for growth.

Try mixing the usual dog food with puppy nutrition (in a ratio of 1:1) to help your German Shepherd gain weight. First consult with a veterinarian and make sure that your German Shepherd can eat puppy food with a higher protein content.

GSD puppys should only be fed puppy nutrition. To help your Shepherd gain weight, increase the amount of food and/or the frequency of feeding.

By mixing the usual food with puppy food, you will help your German Shepherd gain weight properly. If you feed the dog only with food for puppies, it will soon lead to overweight.

Feed your German Shepherd dry dog food

Dry dog food is denser and contains more calories than wet best dog food as the first simply does not contain moisture. One serving of dry foods contains 4 times more calories than the same amount of wet food.

Dry dog food will allow your German Shepherd to gain extra weight without consuming more food than usual. Find dog food with as much fat and protein as the German Shepherd needs.

If your German Shepherd is used to wet food, try alternating wet and food to help your pet to gain weight. Try adding a little wet to the food so that the German Shepherd is more inclined to eat it.

Dry Food for GSD

#2: Make your GSD eat more

Increase the number of feedings to stretch the food for the whole day. If you usually feed your German Shepherd to gain once in the morning and once in the evening, feed him again before going to bed. So your German Shepherd to gain will eat everything, and not eat his fill and leave a half-empty bowl of food.

Feed the dog the same amount of food, but stretch it over several meals. If this does not help him gain weight, perhaps you should start giving him more food (35-70 grams more feed).

Let your GSD eat when he wants

If the active dog breeds does not eat enough during meals, leave food in a bowl for him so that he can eat it at any time. Such a diet will allow the dog’s age to snack every time he gets hungry or bored, so he will start eating more.

This approach should be used only with healthy pre made dog foods, since wet food can spoil if left for several hours.

Please note that such extra food may not be suitable German Shepherd owners. The excitement that some dogs experience when we feed them at the allotted time makes them eat more than in a situation where food is freely available to them.

#3: Treats for your Shepherd

In addition to the usual best food, do not forget to feed the dog with various treats. These treats should not be the main source of calories for the German Shepherd’s health. A few treats during the day will help the German Shepherd to gain weight. Buy treats with a high content of fats and proteins and make sure that they make up about 10% of the daily calorie allowance.

Prepare homemade treats. Some dogs like to eat food from the refrigerator more than from a bag. In addition to the usual food, give your German Shepherd a little boiled chicken with rice, a spoonful of nut butter, scrambled eggs or apple slices.

Tricks to add flavor

Sprinkle something on the dog food. If your German Shepherd doesn’t want to eat his normal food, try to make it more attractive by sprinkling something on top of it. A pinch of rice, a few spoons of pumpkin, a little soft wet foods or a large spoonful of nut butter with a slide mixed with healthy food may interest the dog.

You can also add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of high-quality coconut oil to the dog food. Coconut oil contains a lot of calories, and the dog digests it well.

A German Shepherd wants a treat

Finding the Cause of a Weight Problem

Make sure that the dog’s food matches his age. Nutrition for puppies, adults and elderly dogs should meet their nutritional needs. Make sure that the dog’s food matches its age so that it maintains a gain healthy weight. On the packaging of many German Shepherds foods, the age group for which this food is intended is indicated.

Write down the calorie calculation

Write down how much food you give the German Shepherds. It is necessary to be sure not only that the extra meal is suitable for the active dogs, but also that you give it enough. The amount of food required by a German Shepherd depends on its size and age, as well as on the type of food.

Read on the packaging how much food the manufacturer advises to give in order to understand how much food the underweight German Shepherd needs.

As a rule, an elderly or sedentary senior dogs needs 1272-1540 calories per day, while an active adult German Shepherds needs 1740-2100 calories. Here you can see your dog’s calorie requirement by weight.

Puppies need different amounts of calories, depending on their size. Ask your veterinarian how many calories a day your puppy needs.

If you own a cross-bred dog, your pet requires an individualized nutritional approach. Calorie needs depend on which genes dominate your pet. For example, the German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix can range from small to large in height.

German Shepherd and Chihuahua breeds

Consider your dog’s features

Keep in mind that during the cold season it is necessary to increase the caloric intake of your shepherd. This is especially true if your German is kept in an outdoor aviary. Our post How Cold Is Too Cold for German Shepherd: Rules for Winter Keeping has detailed information.

Also, a special approach to nutrition is required for pregnant and lactating dogs:

Pregnancy and lactation (nursing puppies) put extra nutritional demands on dogs. If they don’t take in more calories, they will lose weight.

Why Your Dog’s Losing Weight and What to Do by PetMD
In winter GSD needs to eat more

Visit a vet

Make an appointment with a veterinarian. If the German Shepherd is underweight, make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Let him know that you are worried about the weight of your animal. The veterinarian will help determine whether your German Shepherd is really suffering from underweight. If this is the case, the veterinarian will do some tests to understand whether the underweight is caused by some disease or medical problem.

If a underweight dog shows a strong bend from its chest to its hind legs or its chest is visible through the skin, then it probably suffers from underweight. In a healthy German Shepherds, you can feel the chest, but it should not be visible.

If the underweight of the German Shepherds are caused by some kind of disease, follow the instructions of the veterinarian regarding feeding, exercise, taking medications and caring for the adult dog. Different diseases need different treatment.

GSD visits a vet

What Can I Give My German Shepherd Gain Weight?

To make your shepherd to gain weight, feed him food with a high content of complex carbohydrates and high protein diet (dog’s diet). For example, cereals such as wheat or barley, buckwheat, rice. Also let’s give more high-calorie types of meat. High protein diet will help to quickly build muscle mass.

Healthy weight gain largely depends on the diet, so follow the instructions to German Shepherd weight gain. If you can’t weight gain, then contact specialists.

For example, freshly cooked chicken will be a good source with a high fat and animal proteins content. Weight loss with this diet will stop. The digestive system will recover. We advise you to exclude raw meat for the dog’s health, since the immune system may be weak (with a weak immune system, it is easy to get poisoned).

You can carry out gaining weight under the supervision of a veterinarian. They can make a proper diet plan for gaining weight. Also pick up vitamins for gaining weight.

How Can I Get My Dog to Gain Weight Fast?

Vitamins: weight gain in the form of muscle growth

The animal’s body needs nutrients that are not always contained in the feed. If you want your shepherd to gain weight due to mass, pay attention to such complexes as “Volmar” and “Protevit plus”.


The complex, containing 18 amino acids, 12 vitamins and minerals, affects the growth of muscle cells. By adding vitamins to your pet’s diet, you give him the opportunity to develop harmoniously.

The main task of the vitamin complex is to activate the synthesis of muscle protein. This allows you to increase the muscle mass of the dog, and, accordingly, the weight. Vitamins also replenish the body with energy, which is necessary for increased loads.

Protevit plus

In order to prevent metabolic disorders, add this vitamin complex to the animal’s food. It improves appearance and well-being, increases performance, increases endurance.

The complex contains protein, potassium, magnesium, ascorbic acid. Vitamins have a beneficial effect on the condition of the dog.

Reviews of Nutritious Dry Food

When choosing dry food for your pet, consider a number of characteristics on which health depends. Currently, manufacturers offer us a variety of options.

What nutrients a GSD needs

Royal Canin

This is a popular food among breeders, which has collected a large number of reviews. It is divided into several lines, which means that it gives the right to choose.


Strengthens health during treatment, being an auxiliary therapy. The manufacturer develops special diets for dogs with kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, liver and gastrointestinal diseases.

There are diets for 20 different breeds, taking into account the individual characteristics of dogs. It is developed taking into account the conditions and lifestyle.

Manufacturers refer the food to the super-premium class. However, veterinarians refute this statement, as they find a number of disadvantages in the feed: for example, low fiber content (1.2%).

The feed includes: animal protein (poultry), corn flour, corn, wheat flour, animal fats.

The developers do not indicate the percentage of components, which does not allow us to talk about a balanced diet. In addition, not all ingredients have the property of being well absorbed. Yeast, which in some cases can cause allergies, became additional additives.

The feed provides the body with some nutrients, but a significant disadvantage is the predominance of plant-based ingredients in it.

Royal Canin ProsRoyal Canin Cons
Special diet for dogs with diseasesLow fiber content (1.2%)
Diets for 20 different breedsContains yeast
Life style dietsContains predominantly vegetable ingredients
Low costNo info about the percentage of components
Royal Canin Pros and Cons
Royal Canin body condition score for GSD


BritCare’s ProsBritCare’s Cons
Contains meat as the main source of proteinNo disadvantages have been found,
Contains rice as a source of carbohydrates, which is more digestible than wheat or cornexcept that the price may be higher than average.
Essential vitamin and mineral supplements included
BritCare Pros and Cons

Happy Dog Supreme Sport

Dry food intended for sports dogs. It helps to replenish energy and increase endurance.

Ingredients: corn, poultry, poultry fat, rice flour. The manufacturer guarantees the absence of flavors, dyes, preservatives.

Happy Dog Supreme Sport ProsHappy Dog Supreme Sport Cons
Natural products are usedSpecific meat ingredients are not specified
Comtains a large amount of vitaminsHigh cost
Happy Dog Supreme Sport Pros and Cons

Hill’s Science Plan

Dry food allows you to balance the nutrition of the German Shepherd’s weight, taking into account its characteristics. However, be careful: the food contains potential allergens.

Hill’s Science Plan ProsHill’s Science Plan Cons
Low costThe exact amount of meat is not specified
There is a medical lineThe main ingredients are corn and wheat
Contains vitamins and mineralsAllergens
Hill’s Science Plan Pros and Cons

If you have more than one animal, make sure everyone gets the same amount of food. Maybe one of the pets is eating more than just his food. Here’s a video that shows an overview of dog food and how to feed a pack.

Chapter FAQ

Why is my German Shepherd getting skinny?

  • Dental disease
  • Chronic inflammation and infection
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Tumors
  • Digestive disorders / malabsorption

The most important thing is not to overdo it with the weight gain, otherwise it will be too much weight.

Underweight German Shepherd


German Shepherds tend to need constant weight control. Therefore, it is very important to always remember to weigh your dog, give him omega fatty acids and sometimes give him treats.

It is best to focus on high-protein foods, since this breed is very active, high-protein foods will help maintain weight. Be sure his daily caloric intake is met and he should be fed age-appropriate food. If underweight, encourage weight gain.

Malena Parker

I run this blog and I want to share with you useful information about the life, health, and care of a German Shepherd

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