It's impossible to ignore the cuteness of a German Shepherd puppy; thus, many people are tempted to buy one on a whim.
However, German Shepherds are a high-maintenance breed, requiring a lot of time, energy, and money to keep them healthy and happy. Yet, having a German shepherd brings great companionship and loyalty. They are famous for a reason!
If you're thinking about getting a German Shepherd or already have one, here are nine steps to follow to ensure your German Shepherd is well taken care of. This guide will include plenty of helpful tips from feeding to exercise, socializing to grooming.
Get to Know the German Shepherd Breed
The first and foremost step in caring for your German Shepherd is learning about the breed. A little research will help you understand your dog's needs and how to best care for him. German Shepherds are a medium to large dog breed originally bred in Germany in the late 1800s, as stated in Wikipedia. They were bred as working and herding dogs, and today they are popular pets, service dogs, and police dogs.
German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and active dogs who require plenty of exercise and training to stay happy and healthy. They are also susceptible to some health issues, so it is critical to be aware of them and take preventative measures.
Feeding Your German Shepherd
A canine diet rich in nutrients is essential for all dog breeds, especially German Shepherds. Since this is a large breed, these dogs are susceptible to joint problems, so feeding them a diet that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help minimize the risk of developing these issues, according to the American Kennel Club. A well-balanced diet should also include plenty of protein to help the dog's muscles and carbohydrates for energy.
If you feed your German Shepherd commercial dog food, make sure it is formulated specifically for the breed's nutritional requirements. Avoid adult foods high in fat, as these can lead to weight gain and other health problems. The American Kennel Club also suggests avoiding bones and other food scraps as they can lead to digestive problems. You can also support your dog's diet with healthy human foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
If you want suggestions on which dog food to buy, we recommend The Best Reviewed Pet Food Nulo.
If you own young puppies, you may also want to supplement them with additional calcium and phosphorous to help support their growing bones. Since this is a large dog breed, feeding a puppy food might not be enough to meet their nutritional needs.
Here are The Best Rated Wet Puppy Food we recommend for puppies.
The best way to determine how much dog food your German Shepherd needs is to talk to your veterinarian. They can help you develop a feeding plan that considers your dog's age, activity level, and any dog health issues.
Vaccinate, Deworm, and Deflea, Your German Shepherd
I've seen experienced dog owners talk about this at the end of their guides, but I've seen plenty of cases to prove that this is one of the most critical steps. Vaccinating, deworming, and defleaing your German Shepherd helps protect him from diseases and parasites that can make him very sick.
German Shepherd dogs are particularly susceptible to worms, so it's essential to have your dog dewormed regularly. Intestinal worms can cause weight loss, diarrhea, and other health problems in dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.
Similarly, according to the ASPCA, fleas, and ticks can cause irritation and skin problems and transmit diseases to your dog. For example, tick fever is a potentially fatal disease transmitted by ticks. Simply using a tick and flea medication on your dog can help prevent these problems.
Finally, it's essential to vaccinate your German Shepherd to help protect him from diseases like rabies, Parvo, distemper, and hepatitis. Some of these diseases are deadly, so vaccination is the best prevention. I've seen plenty of young puppies suffer from Parvo (and die in most cases) just because their owners missed their vaccination by several days (not months), and it's heartbreaking. So, never miss your pup's vaccination, even by a day.
A vaccination schedule for your German Shepherd can be created with the assistance of your veterinarian. Sticking to this schedule is crucial to ensure your dog is adequately protected.
Did You Know? Deworming, defleaing, and vaccinating your dog can also help you to prevent diseases transmitted to humans. For example, rabies is a deadly virus that can be transmitted to humans. These diseases are known as zoonoses. Learn more about zoonoses from Dog Zoonotic Diseases.
Keep a Regular Grooming Routine for Your German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd is a high-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. German Shepherd's coat is a thick double coat that sheds year-round, so regular brushing is necessary to keep the shedding under control. These dogs must also be bathed regularly, though the frequency will vary depending on your dog's coat type. Some German Shepherd dogs only need to be bathed every few months, while others may need to be bathed once a week.
For example, if your dog suffers from a fungal disease or has allergies, you may need to bathe him more frequently. Check out Best Antifungal Shampoo For Dogs.
In addition to regular brushing and bathing, German Shepherds must have their nails trimmed regularly. If you don't feel comfortable trimming their nails, you can take your dog to a professional groomer or veterinarian.
Finally, checking your German Shepherd's ears every week is essential. These dogs are prone to ear infections like other dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, 20% of dogs suffer from some form of ear disease. As a result, keeping the ears clean and dry is critical. You can use a cotton ball dampened with water to wipe out the ear canal. Because you don't want to damage the ear canal, only go as far as you can see.
A regular grooming routine is essential for all dog breeds, but it's especially important for German Shepherds. These dogs have high grooming needs, so it's essential to be prepared to invest time and effort into keeping them well-groomed.
Exercise Your German Shepherd Regularly
German Shepherds are high-energy, so they need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. These dogs require at least one long walk or run daily and enjoy fetch and other active games.
If you do not have enough time to walk or play with your German Shepherd dog every day, we suggest hiring a dog walker or enrolling him in doggy daycare. These options can help ensure that your dog gets the exercise he needs, even when you're busy.
German Shepherds are intelligent dogs, so they also need to be given mental stimulation. One way to do this is to teach them tricks or give them puzzle toys to play with. These activities help keep your dog's mind active and prevent boredom.
Overall, German Shepherds are active dogs who need plenty of mental and physical exercise to stay healthy and happy. Many dog owners end up with frustrated and destructive dogs because they don't provide enough exercise. So, if you own a German Shepherd, be prepared to invest time and effort into exercising him regularly.
German Shepherd Training and Socialization
German Shepherds are intelligent dogs, so they're easy to train. However, these dogs can also be stubborn, so it's essential to be consistent with your training. Positive reinforcement methods, such as treats, rewards, and praise, must be used to train German Shepherds. Here is The Best Reviewed Pet Food Express Dog Treats that may help with your training sessions.
Give Your German Shepherd Puppy House Training
If you bring in a new German shepherd puppy home, it may be unfamiliar with house rules, such as where to use the restroom. It will be your responsibility to teach these things to your puppy. Positive reinforcement, such as rewarding your puppy with a treat when he goes to the bathroom outside, is the best way to teach this.
It's important to be patient when house training your puppy, as it will take time for your puppy to learn the rules. However, if you're consistent with your training, your puppy will eventually learn what is expected of him.
Give Your German Shepherd Puppy Obedience Training
Housebreaking isn't the only thing you'll need to teach your new puppy. You'll also need to teach him basic obedience commands, such as sit, stay, come, and down. These commands are essential for your dog's safety and help you have a better relationship with your dog.
German Shepherd puppies need to be trained using positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise. However, it's also important to be consistent with your training. Your puppy will get confused and not learn the commands if you're inconsistent.
Socialize Your German Shepherd Puppy
In addition to obedience training, socializing your German Shepherd puppy is essential. Socialization means exposing your puppy to other dogs, pets, people, places, and experiences. This helps your puppy to become comfortable with new things and to learn how to behave around other people and animals.
Taking your German Shepherd puppy to different places and introducing him to different people is the best way to socialize him. You can still enroll him in a puppy class, an excellent way to socialize puppies in a safe setting.
Take Necessary Actions to Prevent German Shepard Inherited Diseases
When it comes to German Shepherd's health, there are some things you can do to help prevent inherited diseases. According to the AKC article about the German Shepherd Dog Breed, specific health issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, are prevalent in German Shepherds.
You can help prevent these problems by getting your German Shepherd dog from a reputable breeder who health tests their dogs. You should also regularly bring your German Shepherd to the vet for checkups and vaccinations.
Providing your family pet with a specially designed Orthopedic Dog Bed is one of the simplest things you can do to avoid joint issues. An orthopedic dog bed is designed to support your dog's joints and muscles, which can help prevent joint problems.
German Shepherd dogs come in various sizes, so you can find the perfect bed for your dog. You can also find a variety of orthopedic dog beds online.
Prevent Separation Anxiety
According to the AKC, German Shepherd is an affectionate breed that loves being around their family. However, this can lead to separation anxiety, a condition in which dogs become anxious and stressed when separated from their owners.
If you think your German Shepherd has separation anxiety, there are some things you can do to help him feel more comfortable when you're away. For example, you can give him a special toy he only gets when you leave the house. This will help him associate your separation with something positive.
You can also try leaving the house for short periods, such as going out to get the mail. This will help your dog adjust to being separated from you.
Whatever you do, don't leave your pet for more than four hours at a time, as this can cause severe separation anxiety.
Spaying or Neutering Your German Shepherd
Spaying or neutering your dog can benefit its health in various ways, as stated in a PubMed journal article, "Current perspectives on the optimal age to spay/castrate dogs and cats." For example, spaying helps prevent pyometra, a potentially fatal uterus infection. Neutering also helps to prevent testicular cancer and prostatic hyperplasia.
In addition, spaying and neutering can help to reduce problem behaviors, such as roaming, barking, and aggression. Spaying or neutering is good if you're not planning to breed your German Shepherd.
You can have your dog spayed or neutered at eight weeks old. However, some vets prefer to wait until the dog is six months old.
Tips and Warnings
- German Shepherds are highly energetic dogs. This is not your breed if you are not ready to deal with an active dog.
- It will be better if you have a backyard. If you don't, at least take them for two long walks a day.
- Be prepared to devote significant time to training your German Shepherd. They are intelligent dogs who require stimulation. They are intelligent dogs who require stimulation. Without proper training, they can become destructive.
- This is not the breed for you if you are an asocial person or have no patience. German Shepherds are social creatures and need human interaction. They might become aggressive if they feel isolated.
- Caring for a German shepherd can be expensive. They require a lot of food and regular vet checkups. So, if you can't afford the cost, consider another breed.
- Slowly introduce them to other pets when bringing a new German Shepherd home. They might be aggressive towards other animals if they're not properly introduced.
German Shepherds are loyal, loving, and intelligent dogs that make great family pets. However, they do require some special care. Be sure to socialize your German Shepherd puppy, engage him in playtimes, take necessary actions to prevent inherited diseases, and spay or neuter him to help reduce problem behaviors. With the proper care, your German Shepherd will be a happy and healthy dog that you can enjoy for many years.