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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 1 y/o male shepherd and I believe he is underweight. He is extremely active and has high energy and doesn’t really seem to enjoy eating. He usually prefers to only eat one meal in the evening and maybe again before bed. (To give you an idea of how uninterested in food he is, if we give him table food he will take it but doesn’t bother us for more ever) I can feel all his ribs (can’t see obviously because he’s a long hair shepherd) and his hips also poke out. He’s always been lean but I’d like to get him to gain some weight. What’s the best way to get a highly active dog to gain weight who doesn’t have a great appetite?

as of now his dog food is 428 kcal per cup and max he eats of that is maybe 4 cups a day. The instructions on the bag say 6 to 9 cups a day - there is NO way he would ever eat 9 cups of food a day. we add ground beef and chicken breast to his food to encourage him to eat. Maybe 1 chicken breast or hamburger patty a day. He also has some treats everyday - maybe 100-200 kcal worth. He hasn’t gained any weight and maybe even lost recently. We took him to the vet and gave a stool sample recently to ensure no parasites. He is 60-65 lbs depending on the day. His dad was 100 lbs and mom 60 lbs so I feel he should be larger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hard to get a photo demonstrating how skinny he is because of his fluff but ideally I think at his current stature and height / build he should be 75 lbs but I’m not sure how to increase his eating or caloric intake enough to gain about 10 lbs

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I crack a raw egg or squirt some salmon oil in the bowl of kibble to get my dog to eat the recommended amount. Cheaper than adding meat daily and they get a nice shiny soft coat out of the deal.
 

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Jazmine Auf Der Marquis
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He looks healthy to me, not under weight, at 4 cups that is 1712 kcal a day and should be enough and more than the avg 65 dog needs. Unless he is a hard working dog, busy all day. What is daily routine like?

Too much weight is not good for GSDs, lean is better. Too fast a weight gain is very bad. He won't completely fill out until he's between two and three years old.
 

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Jazmine Auf Der Marquis
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Have you seen a vet, what do they say? Worms could be stealing nutrients, when was the last time a stool sample was tested?
 

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wet him (drench) and retake the photos.
how tall is he?
my LC was 25” and never hit 70lbs.... hovered around 60lbs for most of his life. incredibly lean, tho his coat hid it well..... lived a long happy healthy 13yrs.
i do however draw the line at protruding hip bones.
 
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Hi, I don't think this product is available in your area : Organew® Pet - Vetnil however I think it can give you an idea of what I would be looking for in a supplement to improve the digestion and healthy intestinal microbiota. I tried in the past and it has been proved to me like a good product to gain some weight. I would suggest something similar that you can find in your area. Regards!
 

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He looks fine to me but yes I'd get him weighed if you are concerned, remember though all the charts are guides only each dog can healthily vary quite a bit.
 

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Satin balls for weight gain, maybe?

 

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When my dog was recovering from illness and treatment that caused muscle mass loss and general weight I added raw lamb patties of this brand of premade food: OC RAW. It really helped over time.
 

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Looks fine to me as well, I'll second the comment (how tall is he?)
I have never seen a GSD eat 9 cups of food/day that's rubbish. Rogan ate 6-7 for about 6 weeks when he was in a growth spurt 7-9 months period as he was already ~90 pounds. Your dog will natural fill out another ~10 pounds from 12-18 months imo

Double check the hips but other than that, nothing to be concerned about imo
 

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Just to add, Max my GSD/Rough Collie cross looked like a real bruiser until he got wet them looked more like a bedraggled greyhound. Perhaps there's another dog hidden in that tail fluff stealing his dinner!
 

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Looks fine to me as well, I'll second the comment (how tall is he?)
I have never seen a GSD eat 9 cups of food/day that's rubbish. Rogan ate 6-7 for about 6 weeks when he was in a growth spurt 7-9 months period as he was already ~90 pounds. Your dog will natural fill out another ~10 pounds from 12-18 months imo

Double check the hips but other than that, nothing to be concerned about imo
Fama was eating 10 cups a day when deployed, but backed down considerably in civilian life, ending up at about 2.25lbs a day raw. That would be about 4 cups a day of quality kibble.
 

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He looks great.
You don’t want a fat GSD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Height is 25 to 26 inches from ground to withers. 26 is including floof.
I feel like he needs to fill out. My guess would be by age 3 he should be 80 lbs but I cannot imagine how he will gain 15 lbs at the rate of activity he is at and how little he eats. I think at best between kibble chicken or beef and treats he gets 2,000 kcal a day. At worst he gets 1000kcal a day (some days he will skip a meal and cannot be convinced to eat). Activity wise he walks probably 3-5 miles a day between all his regular walks plus he usually has some sort of exercise activity (playing fetch with a ball or a hike) for 30 min to 1 hour a day.
 

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again, no matter the angle.... a photo of a dry long coat will never give us the info we need. if you are feeling protruding hip bones and/or spine... he’s too thin.
 
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again, no matter the angle.... a photo of a dry long coat will never give us the info we need.
This. We're on our 4th longcoat, we've had nothing but coaties since 2004, and it's impossible to tell how thin/chubby they are simply by looking at them unless they were sopping wet. I could only tell by running a hand down their sides to see if the ribs were overly prominent or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah so basically this … he looks fine in photos but if you touch him you can feel his hip bones prominently, all his ribs, and his spine vertebrae. So I’d like to see what options people suggest for getting him to gain weight. He’s not a big kibble fan but we convince him to eat it by mixing it with chicken or beef but I really cannot convince him to eat more than 4 cups a day. He refused dehydrated food completely. I don’t think he would like raw food and don’t want to spend a ton of money on raw food for him to snub it. I’d cook for him but not sure I can cook a balanced diet without some important nutrients missing?
 
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