Overweight pup? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Overweight pup?

Everyone says he is overweight, especially his groomers. But every time I ask, they've only had the tall, lean, American line shepherds. I have a shorter, broader-chested German line. I don't have an exact weight on him as he hasn't been to the vet in a few months, but I would say he's right around 85-90 and 14 months.
He's also long haired; very thick and somewhat coarse hair in some areas. Because of this and his torn ear(doesn't stand up) people often ask me what he is mixed with because he doesn't have the "build" of a german shepherd.
It seems to me like he has a lot of loose skin, mostly on his chest and shoulders. His stomach doesn't have any loose-ness or fat that I can tell.
Should I try to slim him down? If so, how?
I walk him about every other day for an hour or so, if not every two days but never more than that unless the weather is bad. On the off-days he plays fetch with me twice a day for roughly an hour and a half.
Also, he has bad hips and long walks really seem to bother him- he gets pretty slow and half the time I end up tugging on him until I give in and just turn around to go home, even if the walk was shorter than normal.
He eats about three cups a day, two in the morning and one in the evening. Unless he decides to sneak into the other dogs' food which is rare because I'm usually nearby. He's on Science Diet right now, switched from BB.
So I ask again, should I slim him down? Less food, more exercise? What is gentle enough for him that I could get him to do?

Also, he is constantly panting! The vet said not to worry about it unless it seemed labored. Someone else said this was normal for puppies, but he's just over a year now. And I do mean he is ALWAYS panting. Even on a rainy day when he's just laying around inside with me. He only stops when he is sleeping, or the first few minutes after waking up. It's pretty rapid as well, not compared to my other two(non gsd) who only pant when they're hot or excited and that's not nearly as fast either. Should I be worried?

I realize this is long but I'm concerned I'm not doing enough for him.
(the pictures are only a couple months old)
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Last edited by Cinnacake; 05-22-2014 at 10:56 PM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 10:58 PM
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Sounds like a big 14 month old puppy...

I'd take that pooch swimming if you are looking for quality low impact exercise.....start small and increase as necessary.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Any suggestions on acclimating him to swimming? He absolutely hates bath time, it's almost ironic that's the first suggestion.
But I haven't thought of that, to be honest, so thank you.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 11:12 PM
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Take the dog to a lake, river or pond and check him out....explore the shallows together...no pushing or prodding. Bring a favorite fetch toy and have him retrieve it in the shallowest ankle deep water....slowly experiment with getting the dog to go deeper....observe the behavior...any reluctance, go back shallower...maybe not even make the dog go to the "deep end" the first outing but keep it fun. Once the dog gets the feel for deep enough water to actually swim, it should be a nonevent. Many people on this forum have GSDs which love to swim, mine included but a proper indoctrination is important as you don't want to screw it up....and then again...your pooch might go charging into the water and love it. Just observe the dog's behavior and go with it...encouragement without prodding.

Oh, a bath versus going swimming are two different events to a dog...I believe...

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 12:29 AM
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He looks heavy to me, but I can't feel him, and the two photos really do not give a good overall impression of his true condition. Can you see a waist-line when you look from the top?

I imagine it is hard to see a waistline from the side with a coat? Can you feel ribs?

How is the dog moving, what is his energy level?

If the dog is over-weight, than it will impact his joints, his energy level, his ability to get up and down, possibly healthy growth, and his heart. It will most likely shave a year or more off his life, and it will make the old-age complaints come much earlier.

Vets generally will not tell you that your dog is overweight because they will lose a client. I mean, when you take him in for a routine exam, they will not, on their own say, "Fido is about 20 pounds overweight, it is time to cut his food back and increase his exercise." You have to ask outright. And not, "Is his weight ok?" Much better is, "Should he lose some weight?"

I sold a dog that was 80 pounds at 4 years old. At 7, his owner died and I got him back. I took him to the vet, 105 pounds. Uhg! I said to the vet, "He's overweight." The vet said, "No, he looks good." I said, "He looks like a coffee table." She said, "He can carry that much weight."

I gave the old boy to my contractor the next day, he deserved a home like he had, not just one of the group that I have. Not fair. I told him he should take some weight off the dog. A few months later, he told me his hips were having trouble, as he was having trouble getting up and down the stairs. I told him his hips and elbows are fine, OFA good on the hips and normal on the elbows. Take some weight off the boy.

So he did, a few months later, he told me the dog is zooming up and down the steps now.

They are much happier and healthier if they are not overweight.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 12:38 AM
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i would feed more protein and fewer carbs and science diet is primarily carbs
lean meat is best
he does not look overly fat to me but like selzer i cant see or feel the dog
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 07:57 AM
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Can you post a photo of him standing, a photo from the side and a photo looking down at his back?


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this, I've had some issues with my laptop.

I have a good side view of him, finally, and I hope it helps. I'm convinced he is overweight, I'm just very frustrated. My mother is claiming that it's "loose skin and muscle", like our pit-mix had and grew into beautifully. I disagree. I suppose now that I'm mainly posting this for assurance, your opinion on how bad it is, and possibly back up haha!

While I know his long stock coat makes his chest look much poofier than it actually is, that's where I see most of the weight. It shakes back and forth like a bull when he trots and runs! Yet she still says he's not fat.

I do not feel prominent ribs, I have to sort of press for them but not much at all.

This picture is a couple weeks after the groomer, they clipped his chest a little but not too short, and his entire underside is very short, about a quarter inch. Which I am not happy about. Nonetheless, it should help you see.
His chest is about twice the size of his waist. He looks completely top heavy and ridiculous. Not to mention his head seems small to me but that can't be helped much.

I like to think I "rescued" him, as he did come from a BYB. I do not think of BYBs as "bad people" just ignorant ones who don't know any better. His mother was papered but his father(whom I did see and does not look or act like a mix in any way) was not. I fully believe he is a purebred, just lacking his fathers papers due to BYB carelessness. As such, I know he may not have perfect conformation, excluding the torn ear obviously, and he does have bad hips. He is a fantastic and intelligent dog, as are all gsd, and I hope to help solve this problem first and make him much happier.

PS: Swimming is a great suggestion, and I can't wait to try it! I've gotten a kiddie pool to start trying to get him into it at home, not only to get used to water but to get cooled off as well.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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This is right before I brushed him today, just fyi! I don't always let him running around that rugged looking hahaha.
I got him out to play some frisbee and took this, then brushed him out so he looks much better.
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