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My GSD is roughly 16 months old, male, weighs 68lbs and is very lean.

It isn't to say he's drastically underweight or noticeably skinny, but he does look rather lean.

Although 68lbs, he only gained roughly 4-5lbs in the last 4/5 months. The vet mentioned that he does look rather slim and it could be a case of his body not producing enough enzymes, and it might be a case of having to supplement them.

She argued that he currently is gaining weight so it might not be needed ASAP, but to put a pin in it.

Our GSD is very active, runs around all the time and is generally high energy so it could simply be a case of him burning a lot of his food off.

We tried upping his food intake but it honestly seems like he isn't interested too much in the extra food at times. He typical meal is 2 scoops of Victor Active Puppy/Dog (all life stage) in the morning, then 2 more in the evening. We have since upped it to 3 each time, but it's hit or miss whether he's interested.

I'm going to double check with the vet but wanted to get some insight or suggestions, is it safe to give him an enzyme supplement to try or does it need to be prescribed?

Reviews I saw on Amazon honestly matched his description, especially comments such as him drinking a lot of water. He drinks water almost excessively, I'm not sure if that's a sign of something.

I was more honestly curious about trying it and seeing if it made an impact, the last thing I want to do is stunt his growth during his younger years. Although he's 16 months he still has a puppyish look to him, rather than a dog entering adulthood.

As I said, I'd love to get your input and if enzymes is a possibility - what brand or type would you recommend?
 

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I wouldn't willy nilly add enzymes. If the vet was concerned did they mention or actually do any blood work? If you are worried about something like EPI I would recommend having that discussion with your vet. They can test.

How much is a scoop? A cup? I'm assuming that since you saw the vet a current fecal was negative and intestinal parasites aren't an issue.

I think at 16 months I would have long since switched from active puppy to active adult food. That's just me as I don't consider 16 months to be a puppy but a young adult dog. Adult and physically/mentally mature are not the same in my mind. Also to be considered is the adult weight of the dam and sire. My female didn't gain much weight at all after 12 months. She very slowly gained 10 lbs. between age 2 and 3 and has stayed steady ever since. So I think what you are seeing is a natural slow down of weight gain due to actual growth. Next should come weight gain from muscle mass building.

EDIT: Sorry I reread your post and see it's an all life stage food. Maybe switch to a food with a higher caloric content per cup and see if that helps.
 

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If your dog has normal stools (?), appears healthy and active, and is just slim (not abnormally underweight), enzymes would probably be a waste. Mixed with food, they make it less attractive, so a healthy dog might eat less. Untreated EPI dogs generally stay hungry, and are not likely to pass up food (or anything else semi-edible). Drinking a lot of water is normal with a very active dog, and some drink more than necessary, but a urine test can reassure you.
 

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There are OTC enzyme products (like PROZYME) that are probably lower-strength than the RX ones given to EPI dogs. I've used Prozyme with good results in a few dogs. Prozyme solved a bad flatulence issue for a dog that I owned, years ago. It also helped a tender-tummied dog that don't have EPI but just seem to be really prone to digestive upset (and cholitis). Here it is:

In your case, though, I wonder if you just have a lanky adolescent? It's pretty common for healthy adolescents to go through a string-bean stage between 1-2 years, and then start to fill out between 2-3. Needing extra calories during this stage is pretty common. You might want to check out a food like Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete. It's higher calorie. I think Victor makes one of those high-cal foods too.

How many kcals per cup are in the food you are feeding?
 

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Kibble fed dogs drink a lot because their food takes moisture from the body rather than providing it.
Your dog may benefit from adding some wet food to his meals.

I found Dr Karen Becker to have lots of helpful info about dog food. If you do an online search there are lots of videos she made.
 

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There are OTC enzyme products (like PROZYME) that are probably lower-strength than the RX ones given to EPI dogs. I've used Prozyme with good results in a few dogs. Prozyme solved a bad flatulence issue for a dog that I owned, years ago. It also helped a tender-tummied dog that don't have EPI but just seem to be really prone to digestive upset (and cholitis). Here it is:

In your case, though, I wonder if you just have a lanky adolescent? It's pretty common for healthy adolescents to go through a string-bean stage between 1-2 years, and then start to fill out between 2-3. Needing extra calories during this stage is pretty common. You might want to check out a food like Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete. It's higher calorie. I think Victor makes one of those high-cal foods too.

How many kcals per cup are in the food you are feeding?
Yes, exactly what I was going to say too. I think your dog is in the "lanky" adolescent stage. Quite common. Especially an active puppy which is using up all the calories per day. I would still feed 4 cups a day and probably use a Victor formula that has more protein in it. Don't worry about it.

Oh btw, my previous dog had EPI I wouldn't give enzymes to your dog without knowing for sure if your dog has it or not. Too much enzymes can cause diarrhea or vomiting. It took a long time for me to figure out the right amount of enzymes to give my dog. And meanwhile there were many 4-5 times a sleepless night of bouts of diarrhea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How much is a scoop? A cup? I'm assuming that since you saw the vet a current fecal was negative and intestinal parasites aren't an issue.
They did some blood work since it was time for a check up and I delivered his fecal sample the following day or so later. Should be getting results back in the coming days.

A scoop is likely a cup, it was honestly one which came with a bag of food in the past. I will look and see if they have higher calorie options though.
 

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In your case, though, I wonder if you just have a lanky adolescent? It's pretty common for healthy adolescents to go through a string-bean stage between 1-2 years, and then start to fill out between 2-3. Needing extra calories during this stage is pretty common. You might want to check out a food like Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete. It's higher calorie. I think Victor makes one of those high-cal foods too.

How many kcals per cup are in the food you are feeding?
Website says it's 384 kcal per cup and he is getting 2 cups morning, 2 evening.

It could be that he is just lean and will have another growing phase, I keep joking that he needs to grow into his ears because they honestly look too big for his head. String-bean might be a pretty solid description.

I may try Victor's Ultra Pro - it's higher kcal (414 per cup) and a higher percentage for protein and fat.
 

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Yes, exactly what I was going to say too. I think your dog is in the "lanky" adolescent stage. Quite common. Especially an active puppy which is using up all the calories per day. I would still feed 4 cups a day and probably use a Victor formula that has more protein in it. Don't worry about it.

Oh btw, my previous dog had EPI I wouldn't give enzymes to your dog without knowing for sure if your dog has it or not. Too much enzymes can cause diarrhea or vomiting. It took a long time for me to figure out the right amount of enzymes to give my dog. And meanwhile there were many 4-5 times a sleepless night of bouts of diarrhea.
Appreciate the input, I think I may switch to Victor's Ultra Pro. It's their highest protein mix and has maybe 30/40 more calories. He seems to be getting a bit bored of his current mix anyway. I'll hold off on the enzymes until I see how a different formula works. Ultra Pro is their lowest carb food, but I'm assuming a 16mo GSD would be wanting more protein rather than anything else. I don't really want to put him through stomach upsets or diarrhea if I can avoid it.
 
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