German Shepherd Health
German Shepherds have been an immensely popular breed for over a century. This
large breed was first introduced outside of Germany during the first World War and has
steadily gained a loyal following. German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal dogs and
make great family pets. They are also well suited to work in such occupations as
seeing eye dogs, watchdogs, police work and more. These canines are well rounded
and make great additions to any family.
When looking to add a new German Shepherd puppy to your family, be sure to
choose a reputable breeder. You can avoid many German Shepherd health problems
this way. Due to the popularity of the dog, many people breed them, but they are not
always concerned with quality. Look in a specialist dog magazine or paper to find a
good breeder or contact the breed council.
German Shepherd health concerns are breed specific. But there are some
general items that an owner of any dog needs to be aware of. Diet plays a huge role in
the overall health of a dog. Choose a balanced dog food that is specially formulated
for large breeds. There are some who believe in feeding a more natural diet, but that
is up to an owner and their veterinarian. Be sure to keep the teeth clean and free of
plaque. It is not necessary to brush the teeth, simply providing hard things to chew on
will help keep your pet's teeth clean.
German Shepherds, like many large breeds, commonly suffer from hip dysplasia.
This is a disease that affects the shoulder and elbow joints much like arthritis. One
way to reduce the chances of this German Shepherd health problem occurring is to
keep exercise to a reasonable level for the first six months. This is a crucial time in
your puppy's development and overdoing it can cause problems down the line.
There are several other German Shepherd health conditions. Epilepsy is quite
common and can be frightening at first. Fortunately, this condition can be managed
with medication. CDRM is a condition that is much like multiple sclerosis in humans.
This normally occurs during middle age and slowly paralyzes the hind legs. Sadly,
there is no cure for this. Anal Furunculosis is a penetrating infection of the anus. The
most common treatment is surgery and, unfortunately, this can be a reoccurring
Other German Shepherd health concerns include Hemophilia A. This blood
clotting disorder affects the males and can be hereditary. Although not subject
themselves, the females can be carriers. Pancreatic Insufficiency causes food to not
be digested properly. Treatment is a life long process. Bloat or Gastric Torsion is also
common. Feeding two smaller meals a day instead of one large one can help prevent
this painful condition.
Many of these conditions can be hereditary. With this in mind, be sure to check
with your breeder to be sure that the parents do not have these conditions. General
German Shepherd health maintenance can be achieved by routinely taking your pet to
the vet for vaccinations. These active, social dogs require regular exercise and lots of
attention. If you take good care of your German Shepherd, you will have a healthy,
happy friend for many years.