Why Is Your Australian Shepherd So Skinny?

If your Australian Shepherd is skinny, then there could be cause for concern. In fact, if you’re not sure whether your Australian Shepherd is too skinny or not, the first thing you should do is take them to the vet.

However, with that being said, you can still find some peace of mind in knowing why they’re underweight and what you can do to help them!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

How Much Should An Australian Shepherd Weigh?

Before you begin to worry if your Australian Shepherd is too skinny, you should first know out how much they weigh. Males should weigh between 55-70lbs (25-32kg), and females should weigh between 35-55lbs (16-25kg)

So if you weigh them and they weigh less than this, then you’ll need to speak to your vet to assess the situation.

What Are Other Symptoms You May Notice Underweight German Shepherd?

You can’t go through life constantly weighing your Aussie, but fortunately, there are plenty of other signs they’ll exhibit when they’re underweight. Some other signs to look out for.

Lethargy/Lack Of Energy

If your Australian Shepherd is tiny and underweight, he is likely to be tired all of the time. This is because their bodies aren’t getting enough nutrition, which means they won’t have as much energy.

Deteriorating Muscles

If your Australian Shepherd isn’t getting enough nutrients in his food, he won’t be able to acquire the energy he needs to keep his muscles expanding. Furthermore, if the body runs out of energy, it will begin to consume itself. And the first thing to go are the muscles.

Their Rib Cage Is Showing

In severe circumstances, an underweight Australian shepherd’s ribcage will be visible. You should never allow your dog to get to this point, but if you do, you should take them to the vet right once.

Dull, Lifeless Coat

A dull, lifeless coat is another indicator of an underweight Australian shepherd. Once again, if they do not get enough nutrients in their diet, their body will suffer. In many circumstances, the quality of their fur will degrade first.

Loss Of Appetite/Vomiting/Diarrhea

Digestive issues are another common symptom. This can manifest as a loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. While this isn’t a direct symptom of a slim german shepherd, it is frequently a contributing factor. It can also be an indication of a major health problem.

How To Spot Weight Loss In Australian Shepherds?

The two best ways to spot weight loss in Australian Shepherd are by looking down at them and feeling their ribs.

Looking Down At Them

When your Australian Shepherd is standing up, stand over them and look down. They should look bulky and full. Slimming at the waist is to be expected as well.

However, if you notice your Australian Shepherd’s body looks more hourglass than triangular in shape, then they may be underweight.

Feeling Their Ribs

Another great test is to run your hands along their ribs. In a healthy dog, you should be able to feel their ribs ever so slightly under a small amount of fat and muscle. However, if your Australian Shepherd is underweight, his ribs will feel like skin and bone. (If your Australian Shepherd is overweight, you won’t be able to feel his ribs at all.)

Why Is Your Australian Shepherd So Skinny?

There are a whole bunch of reasons that your Australian Shepherd could be too skinny! Some of them are going to be fairly easy to fix, and some of them will require more care. Here are all the different reasons!

Poor Nutrition/Underfeeding

Are you certain that the food you’re giving your Aussie2 is nutrient-dense? And, if that’s the case, are you feeding them enough?

In fact, if you’re not feeding your Aussie at specific times in the day, then you could accidentally be underfeeding them. I know folks who feed their dog’s leftovers or don’t feed them the same amount every day.

The issue with this is that you can’t reliably gauge the amount of food you’re providing them. Some days they’ll have enough, while others, they won’t.

Aside from that, different food has a varied number of calories. While you may believe you are providing adequate care for your German Shepherd, you may not be.

Dental Problems

A lot of the time, your Aussie may have dental issues that you are unaware of. For example, one of my labradors had a chipped and decaying tooth that we didn’t notice for a while.

We didn’t see it for a long time, and thankfully, it wasn’t interfering with her eating. However, if it was, it would have been discovered by chance.

In addition to a damaged tooth, your Australian Shepherd may be experiencing additional dental issues that are causing him to stop eating.

To ensure that nothing is wrong with your dog’s teeth, look for other dental issues such as ulcers, lesions, and recoiling when you touch their mouth.


Your Australian Shepherd could also be infected with parasites or suffering from an illness or disease. While they may be suffering from something as innocuous as worms most of the time, it is possible that they are suffering from something far more serious.

So you should also check for lumps as well to ensure it’s not something more serious. This is one of the reasons you should take your dog to the vet on a regular basis!

A Change In Environment

If there has recently been a significant change in your dog’s surroundings, such as a house change or a new pet, they may be stressed, which can often result in them not eating.

And it doesn’t have to be a drastic adjustment. Things that appear insignificant to you may be upsetting to your Australian Shepherd, resulting in weight loss.

They’re Getting Old

As your Australian shepherd ages, he or she may begin to eat less and less. Sometimes this is just the normal way of things, but other times it is due to a health issue.

Again, your best bet is to take them to the vet and get them checked out.

They’re Picky

Some Australian shepherds are finicky eaters as well. If they aren’t eating, it’s possible that they don’t like the food you’re giving them. Furthermore, your pup may not feel comfortable eating when you are present.

If you believe this is the case, you might try altering their diet and allowing them to eat on their own.

They’re Getting A Lot More Exercise

If your Aussie is getting lots of exercise, you’ll also need to feed them more to compensate for this. Otherwise, they’re going to gradually lose more and more weight over time.


One symptom of diabetes in dogs is weight loss. However, as well as weight loss, you may also notice symptoms such as excessive thirst, urination, and urinary tract infections. 

A selective focus shot of a cute Australian Shepherd purebred dog outdoors

How To Fatten Up An Australian Shepherd

If you notice that your Australian Shepherd is underweight, then there are plenty of things you can do to get them back up to weight. Most importantly, the first thing you should do is take them to a vet to be sure everything is okay. And then, once you’ve done that, you can try the following:

Give Them High Calorie Food

Not all dog food is the same. The food you’re currently feeding your Australian Shepherd may not include enough calories to help them gain weight.

If this is the case, you might think about switching to a new sort of food. You should seek foods high in protein and fat. Also, check sure they don’t contain any filler ingredients.

Arguably the best food you can give your german Shepherd to help them gain weight is Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food.

With 525 calories per cup, you should notice an increase in your Australian Shepherd’s weight over time.

Try Puppy Food

As well as using high-calorie dog food you could also give your Australian shepherd food made for puppies.

This type of food is designed to sustain a puppy when they’re growing. Just think, if it can support a puppy going from something so small to so big, it’s going to be able to help your German Shepherd gain weight as well!

If you’re going to use puppy food, you shouldn’t swap completely—Mix 50% puppy food with 50% adult food.

If you do plan on feeding your german shepherd puppy food, make sure you consult your vet first.

Give Them More Treats

Another excellent suggestion is to provide your Australian Shepherd with plenty of goodies throughout the day. They’ll enjoy it, and you’ll be increasing the number of calories they consume!

Just remember to stick to nutritious treats and not overdo it. If you give your Australian Shepherd too many snacks, he or she may become too full to eat his or her regular meals.

As a general guideline, treats should account for 10-15% of their diet, and they should be high in protein and fat.

Apples, bananas, peanut butter, eggs, and strawberries are all delicious options!

Try Home-made Treats

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on dog treats, you can just make your own. Giving dogs peanut butter and cheese is a terrific way to introduce more calories into their diet (in small amounts).

When giving your Australian shepherd homemade snacks, keep in mind that some foods are okay for humans but not for dogs. Avoid chocolate and grapes, and double-check before adding anything new into their diet.

Increase The Number Of Meals You Give Them

Some people recommend feeding your dog four smaller meals a day or two big meals and one small meal. It’s all down to your personal preference.

Two big meals and one small meal have the added benefit of already being similar to the routine they have now. However, four small meals throughout the day are more manageable to a dog that’s struggling to eat lots.

Whatever you choose, just make sure you tailor it to your dog’s needs.

Let Them Eat When They Want

If you are unable to feed your Australian Shepherd many meals per day, you could try leaving their food out and allowing them to eat whenever they like.

This is a terrific option if you’re too busy, but it does have some drawbacks.

To begin, make sure you’re only leaving out dry food for your Australian Shepherd, as wet food is far more prone to spoil soon.

Second, if your Australian Shepherd discovers they may eat anytime they want, they may eat even less than they did previously. They’ll believe they’re not in a hurry to eat.

Keep A Journal

This may appear to be a lot of work, but try keeping a log of everything you feed your dog and weighing them once a week. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on whether your dogs are losing or gaining weight.

By doing so, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t, what you should keep doing, and what you should stop doing.

Being organized will assist a lot and is one of the best things you can do to help your German Shepherd acquire weight.

Try Wet Food

If your Australian Shepherd can’t eat due to dental issues, then you may need to switch to wet food. Wet food is going to be a lot easier for them to eat, and once they can eat easily, they should start gaining weight again!


As you can see, there are so many things that can be causing your Aussie to be underweight, and fortunately, a lot of things you can do to help them gain weight again!

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