Why is My German Shepherd Not Eating?

gsd not eating
Photo by Manjari from Pexels

There is nothing more troubling than when your German Shepherd’s appetite dips. It can be particularly worrisome if your pup typically loves their food. Well, here is a guide to why your German Shepherd may be having this issue and what you can do to solve it.

When Should I Worry About My German Shepherd Not Eating?

Most owners know that a poor appetite isn’t a good sign. When should you worry about your German Shepherd not eating, though?

This depends on a few different factors. If your German Shepherd has skipped just one meal but appears to have plenty of energy and is in good spirits, you shouldn’t be too concerned. In case their appetite is back after the following meal or the meal after that, then your pooch may be fine.

You should continue to keep an eye on their appetite as well as their health and energy levels.

If your dog’s lack of appetite is accompanied by other health or digestive issues, don’t wait as long. It is best to take them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.

In general, if your German Shepherd is still not eating by the second day, take them to the vet as their health can begin to decline after this.

Reasons Your German Shepherd Isn’t Eating and What You Can Do

Let’s take a look at why your German Shepherd may not be eating and some of the solutions for this:

Your German Shepherd Dog Is Bored With Current Diet

If your dog gets the same food day in and day out, they can get bored of it in the same way that humans do. There are a couple of things you can try in this instance.

In some cases, adding broth or aromatic juices can help get your pooch more excited about mealtime. Mixing in some wet food may work as well.

You can also try switching flavors or dog food brands. Don’t immediately buy big bags of dog food if you’re thinking of making a change, though. Instead, buy smaller sample sizes and see if your German Shepherd finds another option more appealing.

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Remember that dogs can be fussy about aroma, size of kibble, texture, and more. It can take a bit some trial and error to find the perfect fit for your pooch.

Indiscriminate Meals With Your GSD

Do you leave food in your dog’s bowl at all times?

Or, do you just feed them throughout the day?

If so, you are probably giving your dog too much food or they have gotten used to feeding at odd hours.

With many breeds, sticking to certain portion sizes and feeding twice or thrice a day, at specific times is best. This ensures that your dog only gets as much food and nutrition as they require. It also makes it easier for you to keep track of their appetite.

You will need to switch over to mealtimes slowly, so your dog’s stomach gets used to it. Gradually increase the hours between meal times until it becomes a daily routine.

Your GSD Is Not Having Enough Exercise

German Shepherds have been bred to be working dogs which means they require more physical activity than many other breeds. If they don’t get as much exercise, they probably aren’t burning off energy. In turn, they may not have much of an appetite.

Adult German Shepherds need up to two hours of exercise each day. In addition to long, brisk walks, they also need to play fetch and Frisbee. Many German Shepherds also require agility training to be mentally stimulated.

Make sure your dog meets its exercise requirements daily. Also, try to break up their physical activity into two or more sessions during the day. If you have to work long hours, it is worth it to hire a dog walker to take your dog outside.

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Illnesses or Infections

Many illnesses or infections can strip your German Shepherd of its appetite. It can be one of the first or main symptoms.

In many instances, a loss of appetite will be followed by other problems. You may notice vomiting or diarrhea. A lack of energy is rather common as well. Dogs who are in physical pain may not feel like eating either.

If other symptoms present themselves, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible, regardless of how mild they may be. There is a good chance that the issue will not resolve itself and it may require medical intervention.

Even if there aren’t visible symptoms, take your dog to the vet if they aren’t eating by the second day. Most internal health issues don’t present themselves in the normal way. Your vet will need to conduct a thorough examination and run tests to determine if there is something wrong.

Your German Shepherd Might Have Some Dental Issues

Dental problems are common with all dog breeds. If your pooch is suffering from gingivitis, a loose tooth, or some other issue, their teeth and gums may be painful. This discomfort will dissuade them from eating.

The following symptoms can be signs of dental disease:

  • bad breath
  • discolored teeth,
  • excessive drooling
  • inflamed or bleeding gums
  • shaky or missing teeth
  • favoring one side of the mouth while eating

Your dog will likely require medication as well as deep cleaning to get rid of the problem. You should take them to the vet immediately.

To prevent this, get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. If your pooch is prone to dental issues, brushing their teeth every few days or once a week may be a habit that you need to get into.

GSD Anxiety or Depression

If your dog is upset or scared, there will be a loss of appetite too. One of the biggest reasons for anxiety or depression is often a change in environment or routine. For instance, if you have moved house or introduced a new person or family into the household, your dog may react negatively.

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German Shepherds are also intensely bonded to their humans and don’t do well when left by themselves for too long. They can have separation anxiety and this may present in a loss of appetite.

The first thing to do is to figure out what the problem is and find a way to address it. If there is a change in your dog’s environment, work towards creating a safe or secure space for them. Make sure that they’re surrounded by familiar bedding or other objects. If possible, try to get back to the way things used to be.

If your dog is separated from you for too long, try to find ways to spend more time with your pooch. For instance, you can try waking up earlier in the morning for cuddles or walks. You can also enroll them in doggy daycare or hire a dog walker to make up for you not being there.

Your German Shepherd Dog Is Getting Older

As your German Shepherd gets older, their appetite will lessen. This isn’t the only reason that an older dog may stop eating, though. If the food is too tough for them to chew or swallow, they won’t want to eat. Senior dogs may also have fewer teeth and can struggle with kibble.

Switching to dog food designed for senior dogs can help. You may also want to try wet food or to make it mushier so that it’s easier for your dog to eat.

These are the top reasons as to why your German Shepherd’s appetite may be impacted. The good news is that you now know what to do about it regardless of the circumstances.

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