How To Tell Your German Shepherds Age
The single most effective way to tell a German Shepherds age is by their teeth. A puppy has no teeth until the age of about 4 weeks. It has incredibly sharp and thin teeth between 4 and 8 weeks, and at eight weeks they start to grow their permanent adult teeth. Puppies that have permanent teeth with no damage are usually aged between two months and one year, while one-year-old dogs start to show some staining on the teeth at the back of the mouth. By five years, a dog will have quite a lot of tartar and by ten years, your GSD will have cracked and broken teeth.
Your German Shepherd Dog’s Health
We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Shepherd. By knowing about health concerns specific to German Shepherd Dogs, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.
Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pets breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions weve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in German Shepherd Dogs to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we cant cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.
What Problems Do Australian Shepherds Have
- Australian Shepherds are generally a pretty healthy breed, but they can have several health problems. Vision problems are common, and epilepsy is also a concern. In merle-to-merle breeding, the puppies that have inherited two copies of the merle gene have an increased risk of being born blind or deaf.
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How To Stop Excessive Chewing In German Shepherd Puppies
Theres not much you can do about getting rid of your German Shepherd puppys desire to chew in the first six months. The most appropriate approach is teaching them not to bite on you, your clothes, couch, or other surfaces but instead provide a range of chew toys.
Specifically, you need to provide your puppy with alternative chew toys that can also serve as bites. Consider these two from Amazon:
- KONG Puppy Toy is made from soft rubber designed for a growing puppys teeth and gums but is durable enough to withstand a puppys natural desire to chew. This toy is also multi-functional and can be used as a fetch toy or as a treat-dispensing toy as you can stuff it with treats or peanut butter.
- Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone Dog Chew Toy is good for the aggressive chewer that your German Shepherd puppy can be. It gives your puppy a good grip from the wishbone shape and is durable. Your puppy can chew the same bone for weeks while getting real flavor and nutrition from the real bacon used to make the toy. You have a choice of various sizes to choose as your pup grows.
You can also use frozen treats so your dog can get relief from the cold and flavor from the tasty bite. For example, you can try frozen raspberries or other frozen fruits as an alternative healthy treat. Heres a list of 29 fruits that German Shepherds can safely eat that you may find helpful.
Destructive Behavior And Separation Anxiety In German Shepherds
The German Shepherd is originally a pack dog. That means he finds a replacement for his wild mates in his human family. Besides, the GSD is also a friendly and affectionate dog that loves cuddle time and spending time with family.
As such, leaving your German Shepherd alone can cause excessive loneliness, otherwise referred to as , when it gets into the levels of an undesired psychological condition.
The German Shepherd is among the top 10 breeds that are most predisposed to separation anxiety. This suggests that it could also be a breed thing, and you need to take extra precautions.
Dogs with this behavior problem find something to relieve their nervousness and stress, which is why most of them will turn to destructive behavior.
Common forms of destructive behavior include excessive chewing, house soiling, getting into the trash can, digging, destroying furniture and other items in the house, and increased aggression toward family, strangers, and other pets.
Below is a photo of my German Shepherd Willow at around 18 months old. I would never leave her for more than 2-3 hours in her crate. However, I got delayed in traffic for another 30 minutes on this occasion, and she clearly got bored!
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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 haven’t 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 you’re unsure about your dog’s 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 they’re still growing can lead to major issues later in life.
- Provide daily walks and exercise. They’re 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.
Are There Any Health Problems With Dutch Shepherds
- Dutch Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, according to the American Dutch Shepherd Association. They do not suffer from too many hereditary or genetic issues, but as larger dogs they are still prone to hip dysplasia. So you will need to make sure any puppy you obtain has been tested for that.
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Taking Care Of Your German Shepherd Dog At Home
Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth and coat, and call us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual . Be sure to adhere to the schedule of examinations and vaccinations that we recommend for her. This is when well give her the necessary check-ups and test for diseases and conditions that are common in Shepherds. Another very important step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.
Are There Any Health Problems With Bohemian Shepherds
- There are a small number of diseases which affect the Bohemian Shepherd but so far nothing has suggested the breed suffers at a high degree to any particular disease. The breed is generally in good health. The breeding program is aimed at reducing hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy.
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German Shepherd Health Problems Related To The Nervous System
These two German Shepherd health problems are connected with the nervous system, and can cause a lot of hardship to the dog:
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Epilepsy is one of the most common German Shepherd health problems.
- Degenerative Myelopathy: Degenerative Myelopathy is relatively frequent in the German Shepherd breed. The age at onset is 5 to 14 years.
DM is an autoimmune disease in which the dog’s own immune system attacks his central nervous system. As a result, the dog suffers from progressive neural tissue damage.
At its early stage, the dog’s hind limbs will be affected – the muscles will be weakened and you can notice a loss of coordination in the hind limbs.
As the disease progresses, the dog may also display symptoms such as incontinence, has considerable difficulties with both balance and walking, and eventual paralysis.
The treatment of DM involves exercise, dietary supplementation, medication, and other supportive measures.
Most Prevalent Health Issues With German Shepherds
Different breeds of dogs are affected by different health issues and conditions. For example, toy breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Malteses, have high rates of cardiovascular disease, with 19 and 21% of deaths within the breeds, respectively, but Golden retrievers and Boxers are known to have high rates of cancer, with 50 and 44% of deaths, respectively . Owners who can anticipate the most common health issues affecting German Shepherds will be able to manage their dogs wellness better and keep their dogs as healthy as possible.
So what are the main health issues with German Shepherds as they grow older?
We have identified the following most frequent health issues with old German Shepherds, and assigned a frequency rating for each based on the available data :
German Shepherd dogs are more at risk of several conditions affecting spinal cords, including degenerative myelopathy and lumbosacral disease:
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- What do do: unfortunately, the disease is incurable. It is however important to manage the condition: make sure your dog is not overweight so closely monitor your old German Shepherds food intake and exercise routine. Treatments for conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia may also provide some relief from pain.
According to a study by Banfield Animal Hospitals that captured data from over 2.5 million dogs visiting their pet hospitals, old or senior dogs are also more prone to the following conditions:
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The German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherd is a large dog with a thick coat that became popular after the First World War. In fact, the name Alsatian came about because the British didnt want a dog named after their then enemy the Germans.
Theyre strong dogs, in need of lots of physical exercise. As a high-energy working breed, they also need mental stimulation or can become prone to neuroticism, anxiety, and nervous aggression. They are generally easy to train and enjoy competitive sports like agility, obedience, and herding.
German Shepherds usually have a healthy lifespan of 12+ years, but they are prone to many hereditary issues that can limit their quality of life and be expensive to treat. So, what German Shepherd health issues should you be on the lookout for?
What To Watch For
Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The important thing is to be able to tell when to seek veterinary help and how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your German Shepherd Dog needs help.
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German Shepherd Training & Exercise
Smart and eager to please, the German Shepherds attentiveness and trainability has made it one of the most versatile breeds in the world.
- German Shepherd puppy training is best started when the dog is 8 weeks old. If not given structured training from early on, GSD puppies will quickly make their own rules.
- Because the breeds loyal nature can make GSDs defensive around strangers, its important to prioritise socialisation. Puppies should be introduced to new people, places and experiences early.
- Its also much easier to teach German Shepherds to walk on the lead politely while they are still small!
- German Shepherds are keen to please and can be sensitive to your reactions. Its therefore best to focus on praising good behaviour and either ignoring bad behaviour or giving them a No before moving on.
- A combination of stamina, intelligence, athleticism and enthusiasm means that adult German Shepherds need at least two hours of exercise per day, as well as plenty of .
- Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, GSDs are prone to burning off excess energy through destructive or unwanted behaviours like chewing, chasing, pulling on the lead and barking.
- Try playing games that involve seeking objects, tracking and retrieving.
- GSDs are very owner-focused, and generally very good at and willing to engage in obedience training.
German Shepherd Grooming
German Shepherds have a thick coat to protect them from the elements, so they do shed and need regular grooming.
Is It Better To Have A Female Or Male German Shepherd
Research shows that males German Shepherds are more aggressive than female German Shepherds. This means that a family should consider choosing a female for a companion over a male. Males tend to perform better for roles in protection and guarding and could do well in a home without children and the proper training.
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White German Shepherd Puppies Before You Buy
Naturally occurring White German Shepherds are quite rare to produce a white puppy, both parent dogs need to carry and pass on the recessive white gene. It is therefore often the case that White German Shepherds will have siblings within their litter that are not white. In fact, the only way to guarantee a litter of white puppies is to breed from two white dogs.
As such, it is significantly more difficult to find and purchase a White German Shepherd puppy than a standard colored pup. From a practical point of view, for those looking to buy a White German Shepherd, you should expect to wait longer for a puppy to become available, and you may also need to pay more than you would for a standard German Shepherd puppy.
Why Does My German Shepherd Have Behavior Problems
Like all other dogs, German Shepherds have innate behavior dispositions that are unique to the breed. Think of their instinctual protectiveness towards their loved ones and how that can cause them to be aggressive towards strangers.
But German Shepherds grow to be the dog that you train them to be. And if that is not done correctly, behavior problems will occur. However, that is not the only reason why your GSD may be misbehaving.
German Shepherds have behavior problems due to poor or incomplete socialization and training, letting your dog have his own way, insufficient exercise, hormones, health reasons, and using aversive training methods. Genetics can also be the cause of poor behavior, which is easily solved by training.
Learn How to Eliminate 90% of Dog Behavior Problems
in This YouTube Video
Lets now detail the most common causes of behavior problems in German Shepherds, and yes, as in the video, one of them is a lack of structured exercise!
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Letting Your Gsd Have His Way
What if you heard a GSD owner say their dog never behaves badly, only to discover that the owner allows the dog to always have their own way! Would you call that a well-behaved dog?
Not setting boundaries with your dog can be another reason your German Shepherd is having behavior issues. Your dog can pee on your newly purchased couch, and youll still feel pity for him .
Such a dog will show aggression the minute someone tries to set boundaries, such as at the vets or the dog park. Research has shown that spoiling your dog is one of the major factors leading to dominance aggression in dogs.
What Do German Shepherds Usually Die From
Dog breeds represent genetic islands and as such each breed has a different propensity to die from certain serious conditions ranging from cancers to infections. A study that looked at the cause of death for nearly 4,000 German Shepherds showed that old German Shepherds die most frequently from the following conditions:
Neoplastic / Cancer .
Neoplasms are abnormal growths. These could be benign or malignant . Signs of neoplasia in dogs include abdominal swelling, bleeding from the mouth, nose, or other openings, difficulty breathing and eating, or lumps appearing on the skin. These conditions can be either dangerous or nothing to worry about and need the evaluation of your veterinarian as soon as possible if you observe the above symptoms.
- What to do: use food rich in antioxidants to improve your dogs condition and make sure they are getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. We recommend visiting the veterinarian as soon as possible to find out if growths are cancerous. Since there are many different types of neoplasia, your veterinarian will base their diagnosis on medical history, physical examination, and lab tests like radiographs, CT scans, and biopsies to develop a treatment plan. Treatment options can include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
A dog that has experienced physical trauma or an accident will show signs of injury and may even exhibit behavioral changes. Trauma can be very serious depending on the nature and location of the injury.
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