In this article, we will be taking a look at how to help your german shepherd gain weight. The methods we will be covering take the slow and steady approach rather than trying to get results as quickly as possible as it tends to be the safer route.
No matter the reason why you have an underweight german shepherd dog there is sure to be something in this article that can help you. These tips and tricks are either free or cheap enough for any dog owners to be able to implement them.
How To Help Your German Shepherd Gain Weight
We will be taking at a number of strategies in this article so let’s get started with the most obvious one.
How To Make My German Shepherd Eat More
Although more generic, our post on how to get your dog to put on weight quickly may offer additional help to this article. When looking at how to bulk up a german shepherd most owners will usually jump straight to getting their dog to eat more.
There are two main approaches you can take with this. The first is to increase the amount of food that you give your dog at meal times. This can work for some dogs but for others, it can be a waste of time. For example, if your dog has stomach issues it may not be able to eat all of that food in one sitting and another dog in the household may finish the food off for them.
The second way is to reduce the amount of food you give your dog at each meal but add an additional meal time at the end of the day. This should help your dog eat all of the food it is offered while ensuring that it puts weight one.
To keep the math simple, let’s say you would normally feed your dog 100 calories twice per day this would result in your dog eating 200 calories per day as normal. With strategy one, you may increase this to 125 calories pet meal resulting in 250 calories total. With strategy two, you may reduce this to 80 calories but add a third meal later in the day resulting in 240 calories total.
Different dogs and different circumstances will respond better to different strategies so try your german shepherd with both. Once you know what one works better for your pet, move forward with that one.
Offer Some Free Feed
This is another simple strategy, you basically leave out some food for your dog to pick at throughout the day. Again, it’s not a perfect strategy but it does work for some dogs. Although you can try using a bowl of their standard food it is unlikely to work. You can try using a high-quality freeze-dried 100% meat dog treat. As they contain nothing but meat, they are soft and easy to push chunks of your german shepherd’s regular food mix in to add additional calories.
Some dog owners take this a step further by adding some gravy or bone broth (our post on how to make bone broth for dogs) to their dog’s free feed in an attempt to encourage it to eat the food. In our opinion, if you want to be adding gravy to your german shepherd’s meals, do it to the main meal servings as that is where the majority of its calories will come from. Getting it to eat more of its main meals will help it gain weight quicker.
Supplement With Treats
Although we previously touched on using treats to your advantage to help get your german shepherd to gain weight, you can do it free hand. Every now and then offer your dog a few treats as a way to get additional calories into its system.
Try to find high-quality treats that are packed with fat and protein to help your dog gain weight. If they are gluten and lactose-free then even better as they can cause digestive issues with your dog meaning they won’t be absorbing calories efficiently.
We always recommend Stewart pro freeze dried treats for this. They have an excellent reputation with dog owners the world over and have been tried and tested over and over again. You can click here to read independent, third-party reviews of these treats from dog owners.
You can also use homemade doggy treats if you like or even table scraps. As dogs are actually omnivores and not carnivores as most people think, they are able to eat almost everything a human can. Just try to minimize gluten and lactose although most dogs are fine having them in their diets, they can cause digestive issues in some.
Popular homemade doggy treats you can use to your advantage include:-
- Scrambled Egg
- Apple Slices
- Peanut Butter
- Or any of these recipes
Mix Up Your Dogs Current Diet
Sometimes your dog may be underweight simply because it doesn’t enjoy eating the food it is offered. Many low-quality budget dog foods skimp on the ingredients in an attempt to keep the cost of the product down and to maximize profits.
We always recommend dog owners use a taste of the wild dog food as their pets staple food. It is both grain and lactose-free, high in protein from real meat sources, jam-packed with superfood fruits and vegetables, and has an excellent reputation with the dog owners community. You can click here to read some of its reviews from independent third party dog owners.
If you choose to go with a different food brand then try to always find ones with a high-fat content. A gram of fat contains nine calories whereas a gram of protein or carbohydrates contains only four calories. A higher fat content in the food means a higher amount of calories in a smaller volume increasing the chance your german shepherd will eat it and gain weight.
Switch Over To Puppy Food
In extreme cases such as your german shepherd being severely malnourished or struggling to keep weight on then, you can switch over to puppy food. We only recommend that you try this is your dog is really underweight as it often swings the pendulum and ends up with your dog being overweight.
Puppies required a higher calorie content in their food to help them grow at a healthy rate and have all the energy a puppy needs to play. Due to this, gram for gram, a puppies food contain more calories than a food designed for an adult dog. This can be a quick and easy way for you to sneak some extra calories into your dog and help it put weight on. Our post on the best puppy food for german shepherd puppies is perfect for helping you make your mind up on a product.
Make Sure That You Are Using Dry Dog Food
Another simple change you can make to help your pet gain weight is to switch it over to a dry dog food mix. Dry dog foods are almost always denser than their wet counterparts while containing more calories gram for gram too. Although it changes brand to brand, the difference can be as much as three times the calories per mouth full!
If your german shepherd has only ever eaten wet food then converting it to dry food mix may be a challenge for you. Thankfully, our article on getting your dog off wet food is perfect for helping you in this situation.
I Own An Underweight German Shepherd Puppy
Making sure that your puppy keeps up to date with its expected weight gain progress as it grows can be a daunting task for both puppy and master. If you own a german shepherd puppy that needs to gain weight then we recommend that you read our article on the best puppy foods for german shepherds.
It goes into detail on a number of different foods that you should be feeding your puppy to ensure it leads a healthy lifestyle. You can also use any of the strategies mentioned above hand in hand with a suitable dog food to help it gain weight.