German Shepherds are one of the best dog breeds on the planet. They are smart, caring, protective, and great with kids.
I guess you could say they truly are man’s best friend.
However, as many of you would know, German Shepherds are not without their flaws. And while they may be the perfect dog for you and your family, they do come with some unique and specific health conditions that you need to be aware of.
German Shepherd Health Concerns
Every purebred dog breed is prone to a number of breed-specific health issues — and German Shepherds are no different.
The most common issues that German Shepherds experience include Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, and digestive problems. Within this, they are also prone to arthritis, disc degeneration, joint issues, and eye problems.
Now, this does not mean that you should shy away from getting a German Shepherd — it simply means that you need to take some specific steps to maximize their health.
Maximising German Shepherd Health
When it comes to making sure your German Shepherd lives a long and active life, there are a few key things you can do to keep them as healthy as possible.
Although these are not groundbreaking tips, they are extremely effective — and as such, they should be made a priority for your doggo as soon (and as often) as possible.
1. Exercise them regularly
I know what you are thinking — “of course this is important.”
But you may not realise just how important it truly is.
Regular exercise improves the health and function of your pup’s heart and cardiovascular system. This can help prevent the onset of heart disease and diabetes, while also helping them maintain a physically active life by ensuring a high degree of fitness.
Importantly, the regular joint loading that occurs with exercise is integral when it comes to maintaining joint integrity and avoiding joint degradation.
Because German shepherds are a medium-sized dog breed, they tend to respond well to shorter bouts of activity throughout the day. This could be a walk before you leave for work, and another when you get home — or a couple of trips to the local park for a quick run around each day.
2. Keep a close eye on their weight
We have already established that German Shepherds are prone to a number of joint issues — particularly as they get older.
However, many of these can be mitigated by managing their weight effectively.
Putting it simply, more body weight means more load placed on their joints. Over time this can increase wear and tear, leading to joint damage, arthritis, and joint pain.
As a result, making sure that your dog is not carrying too much excess weight is imperative to their ability to live a healthy and active life.
Your German Shepherd should look lean and muscular, while also being nimble and light. You should be able to feel a couple of ribs under their coat, and see the outline of their muscles quite clearly when they move.
If they are any larger than this, then it might be time to pay a bit more attention to their diet and exercise patterns.
3. Invest in a breed-specific supplement
When it comes to owning a German Shepherd, it can be quite hard to ensure that they are getting every nutrient they need from the food they eat.
See, your dog needs a number of vitamins and minerals to maintain good health and function. Moreover, there are a variety of different nutrients that can also contribute to joint health and integrity.
And while they might be getting some of these nutrients in the food they eat, I would argue there is merit in ensuring they get all of them through supplementation.
If you are interested in finding a supplement for your German Shepherd, make sure it is breed-specific. Within this, there are a few key ingredients that they should have in their formula.
They should contain glucosamine and chondroitin, as both of these improve joint health, prevent the development of arthritis, and reduce the sensations of joint pain associated with dysplasia.
Omega-3 fatty acids should be included, as they prevent inflammation and arthritis, and can even reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.
And finally, it should also contain Lutein, which has been shown to improve vision, while also preventing age-related macular disease and vision impairment.
German Shepherds are one of the best dog breeds on the planet. But, because they are prone to a number of breed specific issues, you should be taking certain steps to make sure they remain healthy throughout the entirety of their life.
This can easily be accomplished by exercising them regularly, watching their weight, and ensuring that they get all the nutrients they need to function effectively on a daily basis. You need to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep them in tip top shape.
And using these tips, you can.