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Common German Shepherd Health Problems

Are German Shepherds Good With Cats

4 Most Common German Shepherd Health Problems

Like many other dog breeds, German Shepherds can be trained to get on well with cats as long as they are introduced properly from an early age. German Shepherds are highly trainable, intelligent and loyal dogs who tend to form bonds with any person or animal they perceive as part of their pack, including cats.

Bloating / Gastric Dilation

This typically happens when the dog eats too much too quickly, then immediately follows the meal with intense physical exercise.

Like when humans do this, the dog experiences gas build up in the stomach. The dog then struggles to rid the gas and begins to struggle with its breathing forcing the body to go into shock.

If your pet is attempting to vomit without anything coming out of its mouth, it could be very serious, and you should talk to your vet.

In order to prevent this, you should make sure that your dog does not eat too quickly and all at once. Smaller meals throughout the day could have a much healthier impact on the digestive tract of the dog versus one larger one. Avoiding strenuous activity after eating will also contribute to this effort in preventing bloating.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Health Issues In Your German Shepherd Dog

Over 50 preventable diseases plague this breed. These hereditary diseases can be eradicated through ethical breeding

Sadly, more than 50 hereditary disorders affect German Shepherds and are preventable through responsible breeding.

However, the risk and severity of many health issues can be reduced with proper care.

Here are some critical steps you can take at home to reduce the risk of significant health issues in your GSD.

  • If you are considering purchasing a German Shepherd puppy but havent taken the leap yet, you can avoid many genetic issues by finding a responsible breeder and avoiding puppy mills.
  • Obesity contributes to many chronic health conditions, so maintaining a healthy weight is essential. If youre unsure about your dogs weight, check with your vet to see if they need to lose a few pounds.
  • Avoid heavy impact and overwork of the joints until your dog is fully grown. Large breeds mature more slowly than small dogs, and overworking their bones when theyre still growing can lead to major issues later in life.
  • Provide daily walks and exercise. Theyre crucial not only for physical health but for mental health as well.
  • Provide socialization from a young age for good mental health.
  • Provide regular checkups so your vet can catch health issues early.
  • Feed a high-quality, species-appropriate diet.

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Bone And Joint Problems

A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in German Shepherd Dogs. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friends bones, joints, or muscles you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life.

Intervertebral disc disease. Note how the cushion of the disc materal has extruded and puts pressure on the spinal nerves.

Intervertebral disc disease is a common condition in Shepherds. The disease is caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the disc to press on the spinal cord. If your dog is suddenly unable or unwilling to jump up, go up stairs, is reluctant to move around, has a hunched back, cries out, or refuses to eat or go potty, he is likely in severe pain. He may even drag his back feet or be suddenly paralyzed and unable to get up or use his back legs. If you see symptoms, dont wait. Call us or an emergency clinic immediately! For less severe cases, rest and medication may resolve the problem. In many cases involving paralysis, well recommend surgical removal of the ruptured discs . As with so many other diseases, weight control helps to prevent this problem. You should also use ramps or steps from puppyhood on so that your dog doesnt spend a lifetime stressing his back by jumping on and off of the furniture.

Are German Shepherds Prone To Health Problems

purebred dogs at higher risk for many health problems german

In general, the German Shepherd is considered one of the healthier breeds of dogs. However, if you dont train or walk with your GSD, and your German Shepherd doesnt have a proper diet, he can get sick easily. To keep your German Shepherd healthy, it’s inevitable to provide him with enough exercise and vitamins.

Each dog breed is prone to some diseases, but you play a big role in your German Shepherd’s life. Educate yourself, be with them, work with them, give them enough supplements and food, and your German Shepherd will live a much, much longer, and happier life.

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What Can You Do To Help Prevent German Shepherd Health Issues

Unfortunately, there are over 50 genetic disorders that affect German shepherds. However, most of these can be prevented via responsible breeding.

The risk and severity of many of the German Shepherd health issues can be reduced by providing them with proper care. Following are the steps which you can take as a dog guardian to reduce the risk of the aforementioned health issues in your dog:

If you are thinking of purchasing a German Shepherd puppy, go for a responsible breeder. Do not go for breeders who run puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills not only have a series of health problems, they also suffer from a lot of psychological issues like eating poop, drinking urine, and training problems.

Maintaining a proper weight is very essential in the case of German shepherds. A lot of these diseases affect your dog because of obesity. Therefore, always keep a check on your dogs weight and discuss with your vet if you feel that your dog needs to lose a few kilos/pounds.

Do not overwork your dog till he or she is fully grown. Overworking cant put a lot of pressure on the joints. Overworking when the dog is still growing can lead to severe bone issues later in your dogs life.

Do not miss out on the daily exercise and outdoor walks. These are crucial not only for your dogs physical health but for your dogs mental health as well

Make sure your dog is properly socialized and vaccinated.

Go for annual or biannual health checkups with your veterinarian.

Nutritional Needs Of Mini German Shepherd

Its best to consult your vet when choosing the right diet for your mini German Shepherd. The vet will decide if your dog has any underlying medical issues like endocrine or renal problems that require a special diet. Generally, a diet high in lean protein, like poultry, is the best for nutrients and digestibility.

Its advisable to feed your mini GSD twice instead of one bulky meal because theyre prone to bloat . Mini German Shepherds need less calorie-dense food for small or medium dogs, depending on their size and weight.

Dont supplement your dogs diet with minerals and vitamins unless the vet instructs, as that would lead to health complications.

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Training & Socialization Requirements Of A Mini Shepherd

These intelligent hybrids are easy to train, grasping and retaining new commands after a couple of repeats. Their strong urge to please increases ease of trainability, although it wont be a walk down the park as they can choose to be stubborn. Early socialization with various people and animals ensures a well-adjusted dog.

Examine Your Pup While Grooming

5 Most Common Health Problems Of German Shepherd | German Shepherd Health problem Prevention

Youre going to need to groom your dog a lot, as this breed is known for their heavy shedding. While you do this, however, its important that you examine your pup for anything suspicious. Things to look for: rashes, redness, inflammation, infection, parasites, abnormal discoloration, and bumps.

Be sure to wipe your dogs face clean and inspect his nose, eyes, ears, and mouths for anything that could be a sign of an ailment.

Just as well, make sure youre taking care of his hygiene. Brush your pups teeth 2-3 times a week. Clean his paws and tail too.

At the end of the daydespite all that you should be aware ofthese are fantastic dogs with sturdy and resilient structures.

The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is usually past a decade and they can often adapt or live through complications.

It is important to note that while these conditions mentioned above can affect a German Shepherd,it doesnt mean they will.

You have a much higher chance of raising a healthy, loving, disease-absent canine than one which falls victim to an ailment.

The risks of these health complications lowers dramatically if you follow the tips above, remain diligent in your canines life. The German Shepherd has kept their #2 popularity spot for good reason, and thats because there is arguably no better breed.

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Most Common Health Problems And Issues With German Shepherds

Owning a dog is always a huge commitment. This is even truer for owners of German Shepherds, the worlds second most popular dog breed. While German Shepherds may seem like the cool dog, its important to understand that they are prone to certain diseases other dogs may not be.

For example, German Shepherds are at a huge risk for hip dysplasia, a condition that affects a dogs hips and mobility. Before deciding to adopt a German Shepherd, be sure to educate yourself on all possible health problems and make sure you can afford the problem down the line.

Read below to learn some of the most common German Shepherd health problems.

German Shepherds And Other Pets

To help them be calm and patient, it’s best to socialise your German Shepherd with other dogs and pets from a young age. Some can be a bit bossy with other dogs as they get older but with proper care, training and socialisation this is unlikely to become a problem. If youre having issues with your German Shepherd around other pets, the best thing to do is get advice from a trainer or behaviourist.

German Shepherds are usually fine with other family pets they have grown up with. If they havent grown up with a cat or other smaller pets, though, they may have the urge to chase them so any introductions later in life should be done very carefully.

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Grooming Needs For Miniature German Shepherds

Miniature German Shepherds have manageable grooming needs to keep them neat and disease-free. These needs include:

  • Coat brushing at least twice a week to reduce matting and tangles and distribute natural oils
  • Daily brushing when the dog blows the coat during spring and fall
  • Monthly baths to remove dirt and grime. You can bathe more frequently if the dog is muddy or smelly
  • Teeth brushing at least 2 to 3 times a week to remove plaque, preventing canine periodontitis
  • Clip nails at least monthly or when you can hear them when the dog walks

Routine Care Diet And Exercise

Dog Lip Fold Dermatitis

Build her routine care into your schedule to help your GSD live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.

  • Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep doors closed, pick up after yourself, and block off rooms as necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldnt put in her mouth.
  • She needs a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year she blows her coat and loses crazy amounts of hair daily brushing is recommended during this time.
  • German Shepherd Dogs generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!
  • Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Dont worrywell show you how!
  • She has a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a fenced yard is a must.
  • Shes a large smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or shell get bored. Thats when the naughty stuff starts.
  • Naturally a bit wary, shes distrustful of strangers bond her to children early to trigger protective behaviors.
  • Keep your dogs diet consistent and dont give her people food.
  • Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.
  • Exercise your dog regularly, but dont overdo it at first.

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Tips To Keep German Shepherd Healthy

  • Hip dysplasia and many other problems can be taken care with an appropriate diet to promote healthy development of muscles and joints.
  • Be careful while exercising and do not over-exercise otherwise, you will hurt their joints.
  • Regular walks and exercise will help prevent the health problems to some extent.
  • Avoid heavy work when they are puppies that can impact their joints and bones.
  • Try feeding them high quality food such as duck dog food, minerals, and fats.
  • Avoid grapes and raisins as they are found to be poisonous for German Shepherds fruits containing seeds can be harmful for them as well.
  • Identify the early signs of the disease and try to take care of it as soon as possible.

What Are The Most Common Health Issues In German Shepherd

German Shepherds are very athletic and strong kind of breed but they are prone to illness and it is mostly because of their large body structure. There can be various reasons sometimes its because of genetics and sometimes its because of their coat.

Today we will be going through German Shepherd sickness and symptoms, and common health problems.

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Hip And/or Elbow Dysplasia

This is a condition not exclusive to GSD’s it is found in many medium to giant sized breeds. In fact, the prevalence in GSDs has been declining over recent years according to the OFA. Dysplasia is largely caused by genetic predisposition, thought possibly to be affected by environmental factors during a pup’s development. Hip and or elbow dysplasia can be crippling, cause minor occasional abnormal gait, lameness, or produce no symptoms whatsoever depending on the severity. Hips do not form a normal “ball and socket” joint, and the resulting lack of correct cartilage formation and wear may create osteo-arthritic changes sometimes requiring medication or joint surgery depending on the case. Elbow dysplasia or “ununited anconeal process” is a condition which results from a fragment of bone that does not fuse as it should during the dog’s development. Intermittent lameness can occur and surgery is sometimes required. X-rays of dog’s hips and elbows are rated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for the purposes of evaluating suitability for breeding. Passing dogs are given a rating and certified by the OFA.

How To Avoid Getting A German Shepherd Puppy With Health Issues

German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia: Warning Signs, Treatment, Prevention

Unfortunately, its not possible to avoid getting a German Shepherd Puppy with health issues.


It is possible to minimise this risk by making sure you only get your puppy from a reputable breeder. As I mentioned above they are fully aware of the health risks associated with the breed due to genetics and the last thing they want is to breed sick puppies.

They will ensure that they breed only the healthiest of dogs whose genetic history will have been researched for any signs of potential issues.

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How To Feed A German Shepherd

Although there is a genetic component, science shows that rapid long bone growth in puppies such as German Shepherds and other large- and giant-breed dogs contributes to development of joint and bone conditions.

Rapid bone growth is suspected to be caused by overfeeding and calcium supplementation. German Shepherds that are fed free-choice or overfed are at higher risk of rapid bone growth. Its recommended that large- and giant-breed dogs be switched from puppy to adult food when they are 12 to 18 months old, respectively.

Its important to consult with your dogs veterinarian to calculate the proper amount of food to feed. Maintaining lean body weight will also help to decrease the rate of bone growth. Calcium supplements and adult dog foods rich in calcium should never be given to German Shepherd puppies under 6 months of age, as they cannot absorb calcium appropriately when they are that young.

Conditions caused by rapid long bone growth and excess calcium supplementation can include:

Are German Shepherds Easy To Train

German Shepherds are a member of the working breed group. Like their other working dog counterparts, German Shepherds are intelligent and highly trainable, with an eagerness to please. Because of this, German Shepherds can be sensitive and respond best to positive reinforcement methods with lots of praise but need set boundaries to keep their behaviour under control.

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What Is The Most Common Disease In German Shepherds

Not all diseases are equally represented among German shepherds. Some diseases are common, while some diseases are very rare.

But without doubt, one of the most common diseases in German Shepherds is Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia scares every owner of a German Shepherd dog. In general, this disease is more prevalent among larger dog breeds. This disease will make it difficult for your German Shepherd to move and will probably shorten his life.

In this article, we mentioned the symptoms and treatments for this disease. If you notice “strange” behavior of your German Shepherd, please don’t ignore that. Call your veterinarian and make an appointment.

Common Health Problems With German Shepherd Dogs

Common German Shepherd Bladder Issues

While not all GSDs will have health problems, there are particular types of diseases that are more common in GSDs than in other breeds. While not solely in the shepherd, listed below are some of the diseases that seem to be more prevalent in the German Shepherd than in other breeds. They are just some of things you should be aware of and know certain symptoms of if you hope to own a GSD. In addition, most of these disorders are believed to be genetic in some way which means that GSD mixes would be more prone to them than other breeds as well so owners of purebred GSDs as well as GSD mixes should be aware of them.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy is an autoimmune-based, progressive neurological disease affecting the spinal cord. It appears with relative frequency only in the German Shepherd Dog therefore, a hereditary factor is likely but not yet proven. A general reduction in mobility starting in the rear of the dog is noted. DM is the apparent canine equivalent of Multiple Sclerosis in humans. It is usually associated with dogs over the age of 7. Minimal available treatments are supportive only.

More information on DM:

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