5 Health Care Tips For Your German Shepherd
A German Shepard is typically a healthy breed of dog with an average life span of 12 to 16 years. A well-bred German Shepard will usually not have any serious health problems; however, all German Shepherds are susceptible to a few health conditions. Health conditions may include; canine hip dysphasia, Von Willebrand’s Disease and/or skin allergies.
One of the most important things you can do for the health of your German Shepherd is feed him a healthy, well-balanced diet. German Shepherds are very active, so they require a great deal of protein in their diet. Fresh meats such as chicken, beef and turkey are excellent sources of protein; however, they also need a balance of vegetables, eggs and rice included in the diet. It is best to avoid wheat, corn or rice, as these foods may be difficult on his digestive system. The amount of food your dog eats depends on his activity level, but the average is about three total cups of food per day and any uneaten food should be removed after about thirty minutes. Avoid feeding your German Shepherd any foods that contain additives as they are difficult to digest and will only produce unhealthy calories.
German Shepherds require regular exercise in order to prevent boredom as well as to help reduce symptoms of arthritis or hip dysplasia. You should take your German Shepherd for daily walks and let him outside play at least twice each day. If you notice he is having difficulties walking or moving, it is important to take him in for an examination to make sure he is not experiencing hip dysplasia. Overtime, without the proper treatment, hip dysplasia can lead to muscle waste, especially in the leg of the affected hip.
General Health Checks
It is important to routinely spend a few minutes checking the German Shepherd for any signs of a potential serious health problem. Some of the signs you should look for in his overall general health include: lack of coordination, increased aggression, loss of appetite, loss of water consumption, weight change, bloated abdomen, gagging, coughing and/or change in muscle tone. The feet should be checked daily for abrasions, damaged pads and nail problems and check the skin daily for hair loss, red spots, parasites and sores.
Eyes, Ears and Nose
The eyes, ears and nose of your German Shepherd should be checked on a daily basis and if you notice anything unusual, it is important to have him examined by the vet.
Eyes should be checked for discolored whites, discharge, squinting, cloudiness or pupils that are unequal or unresponsive.
The ears should be checked for redness, excessive scratching and bad odor.
The nose should not have any discharge, change in color or crusted top.
Good oral hygiene is also important to prevent other serious health problems in your dog.Check the mouth for red, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, sores on the tongue and loose or dirty teeth. Brush his teeth regularly and have them checked by a veterinarian about every six months. It is also beneficial to talk to the vet for recommendations on treats that will also help to keep his teeth and gums clean and healthy.
One of the most important things you can do for the health of your German Shepherd is to make sure he is up to date on all of his shots and vaccinations. Schedule yearly health checks with the veterinarian and if you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or activity take him in for a checkup as soon as possible.
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