German shepherds are one of the most loyal, loving, and caring dog breeds on the planet. Combine that with a high IQ, an ability to listen to commands, and a protective demeanor, and you have a recipe for success.
The only downside?
They can present with a number of unique health issues later in life — which is why we wanted to outline some strategies to make sure that doesn’t happen.
1. Pay Attention to their Weight
One of the most common issues to plague German Shepherds as they get older is joint pain and degeneration. While this is partially due to the structure of their joints, it is also related to the fact that many dog owners simply don’t pay attention to their dog’s weight.
A healthy German Shepherd should look lean and muscular, while also being nimble and light. With this in mind, you should be able to easily feel a couple of ribs under their coat and see the muscles in their legs clearly as they move.
If they are carrying any extra weight than this, then they could be at risk.
2. Regular Walks and Exercise
This one builds upon our previous point, while adding an extra layer of benefits.
Firstly, regular exercise is incredibly important for weight management. It allows your dog to burn off extra calories and maintain a healthy muscular system.
Secondly, it improves the health and function of their cardiovascular system. This can stave off heart disease and diabetes, while also ensuring they maintain the fitness required to live a long and active life.
Medium-sized breeds like German Shepherds tend to respond really well to small bouts of activity throughout the day. This could mean two short walks per day, or a couple of visits to the dog park.
3. Adequate Socialization
Speaking of the dog park, let’s talk about socialization.
Giving your German Shepherd enough time to socialize with other dogs can help with problems like aggression. It also makes them less likely to show poor behavior when you are out and about and surrounded by other people.
This can reduce stress and anxiety, and cause huge improvements in mental health.
While socialization needs to be done regularly at a young age to ensure appropriate development, it is also something that should be maintained into adulthood. If it isn’t, it can lead to the development of behavioral problems.
4. Implement Some Supplements
Over the last few years, we have come to realize that supplements offer an excellent way to improve the health and function of your German Shepherd.
Things like glucosamine can help prevent joint degeneration and joint pain. Things like Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent inflammation and arthritis, while also improving cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Hell, there are even supplements like L-Theanine that have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve behavior.
The key is to find German Shepherd Supplements that have been designed specifically for German Shepherd Dogs and go from there.
You can also get German Shepherd joint supplements, and even German Shepherd heart supplements, if you think your dog has a specific need.
5. Get Regular Check Ups
This last point should be an obvious one — but often it is not.
Most dog owners only take their dogs to the vet when something goes wrong. As a result, they often take them when it is too late.
Taking your dog to the vet every 6-12 months is the perfect way to get on top of any potential problems before they get serious. This will have a serious impact on the health of your german shepherd, while giving them the best chance at having a long and enjoyable life.
As simple as this tip is, it is probably the most important.
The health of your German Shepherd is in your hands — so make sure you take the right steps and do everything you can to keep it in tip top shape.