If your German Shepherd is small, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be the case and what you should do.
So, why is my German Shepherd small? Possible reasons are that it is getting the wrong diet, genes, anxiety, illness or that it is not eating enough calories for its activity levels.
There are a number of things to consider when trying to figure out why it is the case. Depending on the cause, there are also many things that can be done about it.
Why your German Shepherd is so small
There will likely be some clues that will come with each of the different reasons that it is small.
Below, I’ll mention a number of reasons why it might be the case and what would make them more likely.
It’s getting the wrong diet
The cause of your GSD being small could be that it is not getting the right diet.
It might be the case that it is not eating enough calories for its activity levels. Generally, it is recommended for German Shepherds to eat between 1,272 and 1,540 calories per day. If your German Shepherd is active for most of the day then it will require even more. It is recommended that active German Shepherds get between 1,740 and 2,100 calories per day.
It would be a sign that it is not getting enough calories if it always seems to be hungry and if it tends to eat things that it should not. It would help to ask your vet whether or not you are feeding it enough the next time you take your GSD there for a checkup.
It could also be the case that you are feeding it the wrong types of foods which is causing a nutritional deficiency. This would be more likely if your GSD seems to be trying to get the nutrients in other ways such as by eating dirt. You can read here to see what you should and should not be feeding your GSD.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
It could be the case that the cause is that it is simply genetically a smaller GSD. This would be more likely if it has always been small for its age and if your vet has not noticed any issues on checkups. It would also be more likely if it has been acting normally otherwise and if it was still small when you were feeding it differently in the past.
If your German Shepherd has become small suddenly then the cause could be that something has caused it to develop an anxiety-related issue. This would be more likely if it has started acting differently at around the same time that it became smaller and if it started at around the same time that something happened that could have caused it to become anxious.
In this case, it would be important to deal with the issue and it would be highly recommended for you to get the help of a vet and a dog behaviorist.
I have also written more about why your German Shepherd might be anxious and how to reduce its anxiety here.
The reason that it is small could be that it has an illness or disease. This would be more likely if it has become small suddenly, it started acting differently at around the same time that it became small and if it has been showing other signs of being ill such as vomiting.
In this case, the best option for you would be to take it to a vet for a checkup.
Consider whether or not it has always been small
When trying to figure out why your German Shepherd is small it would help to consider whether or not it has always been small for its age.
If it has always been small then it would make it more likely that it is small due to genetics.
Whereas, if it has become small suddenly then it would make it more likely that it is due to things such as illness, anxiety or a change in its diet.
How to get your German Shepherd to be bigger
The best way for you to get your German Shepherd to be bigger will depend on the cause. However, I will show you some options that you have below.
Talk to a vet
If you are unsure of why your GSD is small or it has become small suddenly then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet. When you are seeing the vet it would also help to show them what you are typically feeding it and to ask if you are feeding it enough or if you should be feeding it differently.
Feed it the correct foods
It is important to make sure that your German Shepherd is getting all of the nutrients that it needs. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your GSD.
Feed it the right amount for its activity levels
It is also important to make sure that it is getting the right amount of food. As mentioned above German Shepherds are supposed to be getting between 1,272 and 1,540 calories per day (source). German Shepherds are supposed to be active so it is unlikely that it will need more than this. However, if your German Shepherd spends most of the day doing activities then it might need more calories in its diet.
Take measures to reduce its anxiety
If your German Shepherd has become small suddenly and the vet has not found any issues then it could be due to a behavioral issue.
One possible cause is that it has become anxious, I have written more about why your German Shepherd might be anxious and how to reduce its anxiety here.
However, there are many other possible causes. It would help to ask your vet what else might be causing it other than illness.
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.