What Health Problems Does A German Shepherd Have
While food and exercise will help, some common health problems are all but unavoidable in the German Shepherd breed.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are the most common health issues in these dogs and can severely impact mobility and overall comfort level.
Dysplasia of the hip occurs when dogs have been exercised too hard or have been overfed. Unfortunately, the unique breeding of some German Shepherds for traits such as a sloped back leads to an incredibly high risk of hip dysplasia.
Elbow dysplasia, while less common, can appear genetically and still impact mobility.
Here are some other conditions that can appear in German Shepherds:
Gastric Dilation Volvulus, otherwise known as Bloat or Torsion. This can occur when gasses build up in the digestive system with no way out. In addition, the stomach can sometimes twist and further block the tract.
Pannus, or German Shepherd Keratitis, commonly occurs in Shepherds or Shepherd mixes. This is a corneal inflammation that can lead to blindness.
Arthritis, which is common in large dogs as they age. This can also severely impact mobility but can be managed with medication.
These are a few common health problems in German Shepherds.
They can be managed with medication, and mobility aids can help with getting around as your pup ages.
How Long Do German Shepherds Live Everything You Need To Know
The German shepherd is popularly known to be a working dog and it is a new dog breed.
They have been particularly used for sheep herding and many other activities. This dog is the fourth among the UK’s most registered dog breed and holds the second position in the American Kennel Club.
In the American region, most German shepherds have been bred to be a breed of dog show standard, generally calling for a back that is sloped. Unfortunately, this type of breed’s sloped back offers a higher dogs risk of health issues like elbow dysplasia, hip, and several other joint and back problems which all contribute to affecting a dogs mobility. Also, they usually acquire behavioral problems like biting, chewing, destructive attention-seeking behavior, loud and continuous barking, and so on. On the other hand, in Germany, many GSDs are supposed to pass some tests for proving that they are mentally and physically sound before breeding them. When the German shepherds in Germany and American German shepherds are compared, the ones in Germany perform well overall and have very few problems of mobility compared to the other. According to records, the longest living German shepherd was about 18 years old.
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Notable Individual German Shepherds
- The dog on which the breed was founded
- Horand von Grafrath , considered the first German Shepherd and the genetic basis for modern German Shepherds
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What Traits Influence A Breeds Longevity
So what is it about long-living breeds that allow for their outstanding health? According to science, several factors are likely to contribute.
It is true that smaller dogs usually live longer than large dogs. You can count on most small breeds of dog to live into their teens, with many living into mid-to-late teens. This is usually attributed to heart health, as large breeds hearts must work harder to circulate blood.
However, medium-small dogs such as Collies seem to have the longest maximum lifespan. The two oldest living dogs, according to Guinness World Records, were 24 and 29. Both were Australian cattle dogs.
Additionally, two out of three of the dogs with the highest median lifespan are Collies. These types of breeds have one major thing in common that likely contributes to their longevity: hardy breeding practices.
These breeds of mid-sized, lightweight herders and workers were bred to be smart, healthy and athletic. Their lineages were not bred for cuteness or other physical characteristics that are perceived as desirable but often result in health complications, such as snub noses and sloped backs.
Smaller mid-sized dogs also have less broad chest cavities which limits the risk of exercise-induced collapse and the collection of air between the outside of the lungs and chest wall known as pneumothorax.
So, the major contributing factors to a breeds longevity seem to be size, for circulation and heart-health, and breeding practices that avoid genetic disease.
You Can Take Action To Help Your German Shepherd Live As Long And As Happy As Possible
German Shepherds are vulnerable to a host of problems that can prematurely shorten their lives, but not all is gloomy.
You can work proactively to help your German Shepherd live their life to the fullest with a reasonable expectation for optimal health.
Buying your dog from a reputable breeder may decrease the incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia. The AKC recommends screening X-rays for German Shepherds in breeding programs.
Conscientious breeders will also pay attention to the temperaments of their dogs.
Feed your Alsatian a high-quality dog food or raw diet under veterinary or nutritionist supervision. Optimizing nutritional value in your dogs food is one of the basic steps in preventing disease.
Many conditions arise from nutrient deficiencies if the dog cant absorb or digest the vitamins and minerals. The more balanced, high-quality, and natural a diet is, the more bioavailable the ingredients are.
Consider preventative nutraceuticals such as joint supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants to delay the onset of degenerative diseases like arthritis.
Your German Shepherd should receive physical check-ups by a veterinarian multiple times per year. Remember how fast large-breed dogs can age compared to humans.
Frequent checks may catch some diseases early when you can still treat or manage them.
Limiting food intake and paying attention to how you time feeding with other activities is vital to preventing GDV.
Give Them The Exercise They Need
German Shepherds are naturally active dogs. Giving them daily exercise is good for their health and may eliminate some common illnesses. They need a big space to run around and longer time to play.
As an owner, it will also be good for your health to walk every day. I recommend using a durable dog leash when you walk around with your German Shepherd. It helps you gain more control over your dog while hiking.
Signs That Your German Shepherds Life Is Ending
It can be difficult for any dog owner to dwell on the thought of losing a beloved friend, but eventually, that day will come, and you need to be prepared. If youve spent plenty of time with your dog, youll easily notice drastic changes with its behavior, yet some signs can be uncertain. So without further ado, we will be discussing 5 of the most prominent signs that your GSDs life is ending. Lets begin.
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Things The Gsd Pet Parent Knows
German Shepherd Life Span How Long Do German Shepherds Live
The worst part of being a dog owner is that youll eventually have to say goodbye to them. Sure, its unpreventable, but can you really do nothing about it?
Actually, you can. Dogs can go beyond the average lifespan of a German shepherd. Regular exercise, proper diet, constant veterinary care. There are countless remedies. Unfortunately, many dog owners dont know about this. Thats why they dont bother doing something to change their German shepherds lifestyle.
Thats why I created this blog post to inform owners of the German shepherds life expectancy. Understanding this aspect of their dogs better will give you a sense of urgency. That way, youll become much more eager to prolong your German shepherds life span.
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How Do I Know If My German Shepherd Is Dying
Dogs that are nearing the end of their life span are usually lethargic. They might not want to participate as much and would much rather sleep all day.
Try not to neglect them and shower them with affection instead.
They will usually lose weight and their undercoat will become quite sparse. Their double coats will no longer have the sheen of a healthy dog.
Dogs that suffer from spinal cord or joint problems might have weak hind legs.
How To Take Better Care Of Your German Shepherd
The best way to help lengthen the lifespan and increase the life quality for your German Shepherd dog is by taking good care of them. For the most part, the GSD breed is pretty low maintenance.
You just need to understand their health and personality needs and ensure that you customize your care plan with that in mind. Here are a few tips on how to improve your GSDs health condition so that you know where to start.
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Longest Living German Shepherd
Owners have reported their GSDs living well into their teens and beyond, with the oldest being between 18 to 20 years old.
However, there are no official records to go by, and these are all based on word of mouth.
Considering that theres no GSD on the list of the worlds oldest dogs, we can conclude that no Alsatians have lived past the age of 20.
It does seem that females live 1.4 years longer on average, than males do. The general median for females is 11.1 years, whereas male GSDs dont live past 9.7 years.
Make Sure Your German Shepherd Dog Is A Good Fit For You
Before you bring a German Shepherd Dog into your home, its important to do your research and make sure they are a good fit for your family. German Shepherds are large, active dogs that need plenty of space and exercise. They also need to be with a family that is prepared to handle their high energy level and train them properly.
Also, its important to adopt the right type of German Shepherd, as some of their dog breeds, also known as bloodlines, make good family dogs, while others are more suited to police and military work.
Its best to talk to a breeder like Regis Regal to find out what type of German Shepherd will work the best in your situation because, sadly, another large factor that can strongly impact a dogs life is being raised in a loving forever home versus being given away to a shelter.
If you take good care of your German Shepherd throughout its lifetime, you can expect to enjoy many happy years with your furry friend. So, while we cant make them live forever, there are things we can do to help increase our time with them. And thats really all we can ask for.
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Training Goal #: Socialization
Puppies of all breeds have a critical socialization window that closes at 12 to 16 weeks of life, and your GSD puppy is no exception. In fact, for GSDs, who by nature are protective guardians, socialization is extra important so that your puppy learns which strangers are friendly and not a threat.
GSDs are very observant, and your puppy will pick up on your cues and reactions around new people and new situations. During this critical period, having exposure to many different kinds of people in non-threatening situations will help your puppy be confident among friendly strangers rather than fearful or aggressive. And even during times of social and physical distancing, you can still socialize your puppy safely.
Proper socialization cannot be overemphasized for this breed as Adams notes, The foundation for most training is confidence. It is critical that the GSD puppy is well socialized from an early age onward. Safely exposing the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells is absolutely critical for development. Good socialization translates to confidence.
Certified dog trainer and CGC evaluator Jacqui Foster, CPDT-KA, echoes this sentiment: I tend to lean more towards developing self-confidence in the puppy. For this I recommend short, fun, three-minute games that engage the puppy with the owner as well as in noises, weird and uneven surfaces, family members, etc., throughout the day. A confident puppy is a happy puppy.
Exercise And Weight Control
Just like humans, dogs need exercise to maintain and support good health. Exercise increases circulation, oxygen intake and builds strong muscles. Exercise will also keep your dog limber, which is good for the health of her back and hips. Plus its fun, and your intelligent German Shepherd needs fun as much as she needs to get her blood flowing. Exercise will use up excess energy and will tucker your dog out, leaving less energy for mischief.
There is a serious reason for regularly exercising your German Shepherd, in addition to it being fun and using energy that might otherwise go towards antics. It is incredibly important to maintain your German Shepherds weight. This is a serious health issue for any dog, but with German Shepherds propensity towards joint issues, it makes it of the utmost importance.
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Overview: How Long Do German Shepherds Live
The life span of German Shepherds actually depend on their genetics. Those that come from healthy and long lived lines, will often surprise you with their longevity.
Puppy mill dogs dont have the same luxury, and youll be lucky if they make it past 6 years old.
On an average, you can expect your best friend to celebrate their 10th till 13th birthday with you.
Breeders in the United States are also less regulated than Europe breeders, which contributes directly to their Alsatian breeds overall health.
Finding The Correct Breeder
You will need to find a breeder who is still enthusiastic about the breed you want to buy. When I say this, I mean that you should look for a breeder who is breeding with the goal of improving the dog breed rather than just seeing it as a commercial opportunity. German Shepherds bred in the United States have shorter lifespans than those bred in Germany. It is then recommended that you carefully examine the breeders program to see if he has any German bred dogs in his program. If there is, it will improve the overall strength of the dogs bred through the program. As a result, it has the potential to significantly reduce the occurrence of common illnesses in German Shepherds.
A good breeder will be able to show you the puppies and answer any questions you may have. They should ask you a few questions to see if this breed is a good fit for you and if you are prepared to welcome it into your home. Stay away if a breeder displays his puppies in a pet store. A good breeder will take care of the adult dogs in his breeding program as well. When you go to see the puppies, dont just look at them also consider the conditions in which the breeding dogs live and how they are cared for. Health testing should also be done on the breeding dogs.
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