Congratulations! You’ve decided to commit and take the first steps on raising and caring for your first GSD. Even if you are a veteran dog owner, it is recommended to read on and educate yourself on how to take care of a German Shepherd because of physical and personality quirks exclusive to this breed.
Read here for tips on how to take care of a newborn German Shepherd.
Invest in your German Shepherd diet
A GSD is a highly active dog breed and will benefit greatly from eating certain foods and diets. Depending on what stage you adopt a GSD, familiarization with certain diets for each stage of a GSD’s life will save you a lot of money and be very beneficial for its overall health in the long run.
GSDs that consume a healthy, well-balanced diet have less digestion problems, can play and exercise a lot longer, are less vulnerable to contracting diseases or illnesses and live longer and healthier lives.
However, remember that GSDs are also known to have allergies to certain foods and diets with side effects ranging from mild and uncomfortable to life-threatening.
Here’s a guide on how to properly invest in your German Shepherd diet.
Ensure your German Shepherd exercise needs are met
Part of the challenge of owning a GSD is keeping up with its demanding exercise and play regimen. In general, you should be prepared to spend at least 2 hours a day exercising or playing with your GSD. Regular physical exercise is essential to maintain your GSD’s strength, agility and overall level of fitness.
Physical exercise also ties in with mental fitness. Typically, a GSD’s mental health can easily be determined by how often they are engaged in their exercise or play activities. A mentally healthy GSD is properly socialized, exhibits signs of self-control and shows strict obedience to its owners.
GSDs that do not exercise regularly are more prone to contracting obesity, become fatigued easily and may experience symptoms of joint issues or bone problems early on in their life.
Familiarize yourself with your German Shepherd exercise needs.
Make time for German Shepherd grooming and hygiene
Regular grooming and maintenance is a requirement for all GSDs. Their double coat serves as protection and insulation, but may also provide the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and fungal infections if not maintained properly. A well-groomed GSD should have clean ears, a thick and shiny top coat, a healthy mouth with clean teeth and short, clipped nails.
Clean, healthy ears can serve as its own indicator that a GSD is well-groomed and properly taken care of. They should be pink and not smell or discharge any fluid.
A well-groomed GSD coat is less likely to suffer from skin irritations and rashes, should have no trouble regulating its body temperature and can keep your GSD dry in most weather conditions.
GSDs that have hygienic mouths are less prone to tooth loss, periodontitis and halitosis. Healthy GSD mouths improve bite force, aid in digestion and are overall aesthetically pleasing.
Another good sign of a well-groomed GSD is its nails. You should not be able to hear a GSD’s nails on hard surfaces or floors. Well maintained GSD nails improve a GSD’s walking stance, posture and gait.
Read this article on German Shepherd health tips and a guide on German Shepherd grooming.
Make sure your GSD gets enough sleep
A healthy GSD should get between 10-15 hours of sleep a day. If you keep your GSD indoors a lot, 15 hours is typically the longest amount of sleep to expect from it. Likewise, more active GSDs may require less sleep and will tend to take short, frequent naps throughout the day.
A lack of sleep in GSDs may result in mental problems like increased aggression, inattentiveness, forgetfulness, slower reflexes and disorientation. Physical effects of sleep deprivation in GSD’s include slower movement, increased fatigue and fainting.
Keep their mental and physical faculties accounted for by taking of your German Shepherd sleep.