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Helping Your Overweight German Shepherd: Understanding and Managing Obesity

German Shepherd dog fat

German Shepherds are large, but their massive build doesn't always mean a muscular body. Upon closer inspection, some may be growing overweight with a higher fat ratio than required.

Obesity in them is as common and as dangerous as in humans, if not more. If not addressed at the right time, an overweight German Shepherd can develop various diseases.

Excessive weight gain in dogs can be due to two very common reasons: eating more and exercising less. Additionally, various health conditions can also lead to a dog being overweight. However, combating the situation is not as difficult as it seems.

Just as your German Shepherd has gained weight, they can also lose it.

Read the article and get insights into various concerns, including:

How can my dog lose those extra pounds? And the dangers associated with obesity in dogs.

We've covered everything you need to know about overweight German Shepherds. How to determine if your GSD is overweight and how you can help them shed the excess weight. We'll also share some tips for keeping your GSD healthy. What are some signs and reasons why your German Shepherd is obese?

What is the ideal weight for a German Shepherd?

The weight of your German Shepherd varies depending on gender, genetics, environment, and upbringing. While some may remain smaller, others may grow excessively and still be healthy.

Ideally, a male German Shepherd weighs around 66 to 88 pounds, while a female German Shepherd weighs between 48 and 70 pounds. Their weight will start to grow from birth and continue until 18 months or 2 years old. In some rare cases, German Shepherds may continue to grow (both weight and height) until 3 years old.

How can I tell if my German Shepherd is overweight?

Determining if a German Shepherd is overweight is not easy. Since they are in front of your eyes every day, noticing subtle changes becomes difficult. However, some tips will help you know if your GSD is gaining

7 Signs that your German Shepherd is overweight.

One of the easiest ways to discover obesity is by monitoring weight. If your dog looks visually larger than usual, have their weight checked; the scale number is getting higher than the ideal weight.

German Shepherds have a slight definition between the upper and lower body, particularly in the waist, which should be practically determinable. If not, they are likely gaining weight.

Whenever you touch your dog's ribs, you should be able to feel them and not any layer of fat. Signs of your GSD being overweight include feeling fat.

German Shepherds have a wider chest with a tucked belly. An indication of an overweight German Shepherd is when their belly falls below the chest when standing, except in pregnant bitches.

German Shepherds starting to pant after just a minute of a walk or activity likely have overweight, as these dogs are super energetic, getting tired so soon is definitely a sign.

While your GSD struggles to groom themselves, it indicates that their weight is getting in the way. They will find it difficult to scratch or lick themselves, essentially lacking flexibility.

While usually, German Shepherds are active and energetic, obesity will make them lazy, avoiding any physical activity, lying in the same place for long hours, and showing minimal interest in energy-requiring activities.

Why is my German Shepherd overweight?

Reasons for excessive weight gain in German Shepherd dogs.

German Shepherds are not naturally overweight dogs. Therefore, if they are gaining weight, there must be some other contributions from both the dog and the owner.

Here is a list full of reasons explaining Obesity and Overweight in German Shepherds:


The most common reason for weight gain in both humans and animals is overeating. If your GSD overeats or is left entirely to free feeding, their weight gain will eventually accelerate.

Lack of Exercise

German Shepherds that act lazy and lethargic mostly tend to gain those extra kilos. Or, often the dogs that tend to be overweight are the ones with apartment owners who do not provide proper physical stimulation.


Your dog's diet means your dog's food. And if your GSD is being fed all kinds of human food and table scraps, the habit must stop immediately. Not only will it make them gain weight, but it will also lead to other diseases.

High-Calorie and High-Carbohydrate Diets

Diets high in carbohydrates and calories in dogs can lead to obesity. Be very particular about what, how, and when you feed them.


The sterilization of German Shepherds can result in those extra pounds. This is because, after sterilization, the dog's metabolism slows down. Therefore, during this phase, if your dog's diet and exercise are not controlled, they will gain a little more weight.

Underlying Health Conditions

Some underlying health conditions can make your dog gain weight. From hypothyroidism to diabetes, fluid retention, urine marking in other dogs, thyroid issues, stress, depression, and various health conditions can make GSDs gain more weight than usual.


Genetics play a very important role in both human and animal clans. So, if the GSD's parents are overweight, keep an eye on the child. Although genetics are inevitable, the fight against obesity is not.

How can I help my overweight German Shepherd lose weight?

The moment you discover that your German Shepherd is overweight, it's time to start the weight loss journey. Although before starting the journey at home, first have your GSD medically examined. Rule out any medical conditions that may lead to an overweight German Shepherd.

Once you discover that their obesity is entirely situational and not conditional, here are some tips to follow:

Reconsider your German Shepherd's diet

Have a plan for everything, from what they eat to how much and when they eat. Also, make sure to follow it every day. The idea here is not to reduce what they eat but to manage their nutrition and feed them through multiple small meals.

Promote physical and mental stimulation for your dog

Start with a short 15-minute walk (twice a day) and gradually increase it. Make sure you tap into both their physical and mental energy.

Reduce the size of treats or eliminate them altogether

If you offer several treats a day to your dog, reduce them by a third or eliminate them altogether.

Feed early and have a light dinner

So that your GSD doesn't gain those extra pounds during their night sleep.

After half an hour of each meal, consider having your dog engage in some physical activity

It can be anything from climbing up and down stairs, a quick running session, or a short game of fetch.

Monitor progress

While following the path of weight loss, make sure to monitor progress as well. However, if none of these helps, it's time to visit your veterinarian.

An educated expert can always guide you better and intelligently. Your veterinarian can help design a diet chart for your GSD, especially based on their personal nutritional needs. From the amount of food to the type of dog food that is best for your canine, a veterinarian can suggest what's best.

Recommended Dog Foods for Weight Loss

If you're looking for dog food options to help your furry friend shed some pounds, here are some recommendations:

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal low fat

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal low fat

Hills Diet id low fat

Hills Diet Canine i/d Low Fat
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Alberto Pardal, As an expert in the dog world, I provide valuable information about dog breeds. With years of experience, I offer informative articles to help owners better understand their pets and promote a healthy bond