Ask the Veterinarian/GSD puppy


Hi I have a question / concern. 3 weeks ago we adopted a 4 mo old GSD male pup. Average weight is supposed to be 40 -50 lbs at this age according to stats online. We took him to doc yesterday to me neutered and he only weighs 26 lbs and is 18" tall to his shoulders. The stats say he should be at least 21" tall at this age I have changed him to Purina food and been giving him a can of wet food a day as well as one cooked egg. I am wondering if his malnutrishioned puppyhood will affect his adult size, or is that more attributed to genetics. Is there anything I can do to ensure he gets to normal size quickly or has his growth been permanently stunted. Thank you for reading and is really appreciate Any advice u can provide.

His growth isn't stunted and dogs are like people. Everyone is different. Unless you paid $2000 for a show quality, highly over-bred dog, you can forget about the "standards."
What he is now is perfectly normal and healthy.

If you force him to grow bigger or faster- you will have a dog that will have to be euthanized at 9 months old because he won't be able to walk or stand.

You need to get him OFF of Purina food and put him on Science Diet LARGE BREED Puppy food and NOTHING else. Hills was the first pet food company to find the correlation between diet and hip and elbow dysplasia in large breed dogs due to diet excesses. Too much calcium and way too much phosphorus are the main culprits that cause terrible hip, joint and bone growth disorders in these dogs. Feeding cheap food that is not formulated correctly for large breeds will lead to these dietary problems.

Purina's foods are all open-formulations which means they buy whatever is cheapest on the docks that day to make their food with. Hills Science Diet is one the last foods with fixed-formulation which keeps the food exactly the same from batch to batch. Plus they do NOT buy off the docks from China or anywhere except mutton from Australia and New Zealand. Everything else is grown right in the USA and is human grade quality food.

You can find videos on YouTube of their factories and how they make their food.
So get him off the junk food, he doesn't need the canned food either unless it's Science Diet as well.

Do not over feed him. He should be eating two meals a day until he his 6-7 months old then he can eat once a day, preferably in the morning. His total amount of food- going by the bag- should be spread out among the two meals.

For training use pieces of his own food and not treats. Treats are made with way too much salt and sugar (unless they are Hills treats as well) and are one of the leading causes of obese pets in the USA. The other causes are overeating and feeding people food.

When you feed a food like Purina, or Nutro etc, the dog eats and eats trying to get enough nutrition out of the food to meet their energy needs. It's like trying to get steak protein out of a box of saltine crackers. It's not going to happen.
So the dog continues to be hungry, the owner feeds more and more, the bag of food barely lasts two weeks.

With Science Diet the food is formulated for optimal nutrition. This means that the dog eats  until the energy needs are met, then they start to eat less and less. Why? because their needs are being met with less but more nutrient dense food.
So the bag of food lasts way longer and the dog stays slimmer because it isn't eating 24/7 or begging for food. In my 42 years as a Technician I have NEVER seen a dog fed strictly on Science Diet be obese. Never.

So unless your dog is suffering from knock-knees, bad hips or elbows now I doubt if he was undernourished but he will be if you keep him on Purina foods. Donate it to a neighbor or your local animal shelter and get him on the Science Diet Large Breed Puppy food.

He will grow until he is two years old. You won't see much of it after the age of 9 months but he will continue to fill out and grow. The key is not letting him grow too big or too fast.

Don't worry about his size or weight right now. He is fine.

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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