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  • underweight German Shepherd

    Hi guys! More questions from me! I just went to drop my daughter off at her girlfriends house, and they have a beautiful, active, healthy German Shepherd. But he is severely underweight. She says he eats like a horse, but they just can't get weight on him. This is a nice household with other pets who are all of healthy weight...so I know it's not a neglect issue. She said she wanted to start feeding him Beneful but her vet told her not to because lots of dogs don't agree with it. By this statement, I gather he gets regular vet visits as well. He's neutered and 2 years old. You can see his ribs...he probably weighs about 50-60 pounds. He's super sweet and very energetic. Doesn't seem to be unhealthy in any other way. Does anybody have any ideas on how to put weight on him?

  • #2
    OMG, she should not feed that poor dog Beneful, it is total **** in a bag! She needs to get him on a super premium food. Grain free foods contain the highest calories/cup and would much easier put needed weight on a dog. He is probably eating all his stomach will hold and it isn't enough calories for him. Yes, she would be paying a lot more per bag for the good food, but she could feed him much less of it. My 140lb danes only eat 3-3 1/2cups of Evo a day.
    I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
    -Michelangelo

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    • #3
      Find out what they are feeding him. I have a friend with a black lab that was pretty thin. He ate a ton and was super energetic. He also pooped at least 5 times a day. Huge poops. I commented on how much he pooped and suggested they reconsider his diet. They switched foods and he put on a couple pounds and poops substantially less. I don't know what they were feeding or what they switched to but it definitely made a difference. Perhaps your friends dog is similiar and eating something that is just bulk but not particularly nutritious.

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      • #4
        I would want to know what they are feeding him. If he eats everything they give him, then they probably need to go to a food that has more calories per cup, or at least a food that is more digestable so that he can actually utilize what he is eating.

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        • #5
          satin balls

          I have a hard time keeping weight on my dogs even though I feed sled dog food. Has the GS been neutered? She needs to change food and feed a good, high protein/fat formula, grain free. Of course a vet should rule out parasites or anything like that.

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          • #6
            My German Shepherds are usually thin as juveniles and tend to fill out at maturity. If they're feeding him junk in bag, they'll never get enough in him. I use grain free, high quality kibble (Orijen or Acana) and feed small frequent meals. My young dogs will eat as much as twice the daily requirement given. e.g. 1 1/2 - 2 cups 3x per day.
            If you look at this photo, you can see this young male's ribs. That's okay. He's fit and healthy.
            Attached Files
            "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza

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            • #7
              I would make sure there is no medical reason on why he is not gaining weight first. Many Shepards can have gi issues like pancreatic insufficiency, or maybe parasites. Or maybe it is inadequate nutrition. I would double check with my vet first or get a 2nd opinion.

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              • #8
                i agree on switching to premium diet, one of dogs does great on a food, the other just o.k.once he is off **** in a bag they also should give digestive enzymes, some g.s.ds have absorption probs,even yogurt would help. five that is one gorgeous dog!
                ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~

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                • #9
                  They need to check him for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency! http://www.epi4dogs.com/

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                  • #10
                    Id want to know his age first actually. I find shepards are often very gangley (spelling) until they get to be 2 -2 1/2 yrs old. Also many shepards suffer with anxiety which keeps the weight off. (constant worry and pacing, ) Ive seen many shepards who just look skinny until they are mature and fill out.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Odette ;-)

                      He's one of those ****** linebred/ inbred/ purebred dogs we've been reading so much about.
                      "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza

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                      • #12
                        Hey skiny.......

                        Sometimes its just as simple as a good de-wormer. The poor thing my just have a simple case of tapeworms. I had a client who had taken her $4000.00 standard poodle in to the vet for weight loss,sleeping long periods and white stools. The vet took a liver sample first thing , the dog almost died during the process. All he needed to do was look in the dogs stool. He had tape and hook worms. It took 4 rounds of treatment, but he is fine now. As far as a food issue. They should really try bil-jac. It is the best thing I have ever seen. My dobie would smell terrible no matter what he ate, or what I bathed him in. I tried the bil-jac select and wow, what a change. No odor and stools are very few as there are very few fillers in the food. 70% chicken no corn added.

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                        • #13
                          I agree that the dog needs to be worked up for EPI. It's fairly common in GSDs, and if he doesn't have the proper digestive enzymes he's never going to gain weight.

                          If everything is fine at the vet's, I'd probably go with satin balls or macaroni and cheese. I know, everyone's gonna say macaroni is bad because it's grain, but sometimes it's the only thing that works, and it's far cheaper than making satin balls.

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                          • #14
                            We're getting that with our boxer.

                            She's 4 months old now, but her ribs are showing despite feeding her double the amount of kibble she's supposed to have (4 cups of Taste of the Wild). We went to our butcher and found out he had ground bison, so we've been giving her that for dinner and it's helping a lot.

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                            • #15
                              We had trouble keeping weight on our GSD that we had when I was a kid as well. Tried switching foods, but no matter what we gave him he just seemed to run it all off. We also found our Rottie was bullying him away from his food at times, even though they were best pals, Buck would steal Arian's food if we didn't watch. if she has other dogs could they be doing the same thing? Of course I woul recommend a full work up at the vet as well. And please don't think I am some horrid supremist with a GSD named Arian. I was young when I named him and the Little Mermaid was my fave movie but Ariel was a girls name so I came up with Arian, thinking it sounded like a boys name. had no clue at the time how it sounded! Sadly he passed from bloat when I was 16.
                              What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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