If your German Shepherd is very big you might be wondering why and if there is anything you should do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be big and what you can do about it.
So, why is my German Shepherd so big? Possible reasons are that it is genetically big, it’s eating the wrong foods, it’s eating too many calories, it’s not getting enough exercise, it’s getting fed without you knowing or it could be ill.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why it might be the case. There are also many things that can be done about it and the best option will depend on the cause.
Why your German Shepherd is so big
The different reasons why your German Shepherd is big will likely come with some clues.
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why it might be the case and what would make them more likely.
It is eating the wrong foods
The reason why your GSD is big could be that it is eating the wrong foods. This would be more likely if it started to get bigger when you changed its diet or you started feeding it other things that you normally wouldn’t. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your German Shepherd.
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 is eating too much of the correct foods
It might be the case that you are feeding it the right foods but it is getting too much of it. Generally, German Shepherds should be getting between 1,272 and 1,540 calories per day. If your German Shepherd is getting more than that then it is likely contributing to it being big.
It would help to check the calorie guidelines on the packaging of the dog food that you give it and to make sure that you are feeding it the right amount. It would also help to speak to your vet the next time you see them about what the right amount of food would be for your GSD.
It’s not getting enough exercise
German Shepherds were bred to work alongside their owners as working dogs so they are supposed to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to develop a number of issues including getting fat.
Generally, it is recommended for German Shepherds to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd is not getting that much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
It is eating things without you knowing
It could be the case that you are actually feeding it correctly yourself but it is eating more food without you knowing. This would be more likely if it has access to things that it might eat such as open cupboards.
If you think that your GSD might be eating without you knowing then it would help to consider what it might be eating and to restrict its access to it.
Someone is feeding it without you knowing
It could also be the case that someone else is feeding it as well. It would help to ask other people that are around it a lot if they have been feeding it and to ask them not to so that you can make sure that it is eating the right food and in the right amounts.
There are some diseases that can cause dogs to gain weight (source) and it might be the case that your GSD has gotten one of them. This would be more likely if it gained weight suddenly, if it has been showing signs of being ill and if it has been acting unusually as well.
If it does seem like a disease might be the cause then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.
Injuries such as hip dysplasia can cause it to be less active and to put on weight. Injury would be more likely to be the cause if your German Shepherd has been less active lately and if it has been showing other signs of being injured such as limping.
In this case, the best option for you would be to consult with a vet.
If your German Shepherd is older then it could be the case that it has gotten big because it is less active but it is eating the same amount. This would be more likely if it has gotten bigger since it started being less active. In this case, it would likely help to reduce the amount that you feed it after consulting with your vet on the right amount to feed it.
It could be the case that your GSD is genetically big. This would be more likely if your vet has not noticed any issues in checkups and if it has always been big and it has not come on suddenly.
Consider if it has always been big
When trying to figure out why your GSD is big it would help to consider whether or not it has always been big.
If it has always been big then it would be more likely that it is genetically big. However, it could still be the case that you have been feeding it too much or that other people have been feeding it as well.
Whereas, if it started being big suddenly then it would make it more likely that illness, injury or a change in its diet or activity levels are the cause.
How to get your German Shepherd to be less big
The best way for you to get your German Shepherd to be smaller will depend on the cause. However, I will show you some options that you have below.
Make sure that it is eating the right foods
It is important to make sure that your German Shepherd is eating the right foods. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding it. You should also make sure that no one else is feeding it without you knowing and that it is not eating things without you knowing.
Make sure that it is eating the right amount of calories for its activity levels
It would also help to make sure that your GSD is eating the right amount of food for its activity levels. If your German Shepherd is getting around an hour of exercise per day then it would be recommended to feed it a normal amount of between 1,272 and 1,540 calories per day. However, it would help to consult with your vet on the exact amount.
Give it exercise
If your German Shepherd is not currently getting much exercise then it is very important to make sure that it does. You can give it exercise by walking it, training it to play fetch or by getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Take it to a vet
If you cannot figure out why your GSD has become big then it would help to take it to a vet. This would be especially important if your GSD has become big suddenly and if it has been showing signs of injury or illness. When you see the vet it would also help to make sure that you are feeding it the right foods and in the right amounts.
Most Recommended For German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Training Program
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.
Best German Shepherd Guide
Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.