If you have ever owned a German Shepherd, then you already know that confidence, loyalty, and courage are some of the defining attributes of this breed.
Not only does the breed really stand out when it comes to the ability to learn and follow commands, but their gentleness and ability to form an intense bond with you are what makes a German Shepherd a true gem to keep as your pet.
However, seeing your beloved pet suffering from any disorder is never enjoyable, and German Shepherds are actually prone to a few different health problems.
One of the most commonly experienced is arthritis (otherwise known as Osteoarthritis or OA), which can affect your pooch at any stage in life, not just in their senior years.
Want to know how to prevent this as much as possible?
Read on to find out…
What is Arthritis in Dogs?
Unfortunately, just like human beings, dogs can also suffer from arthritis.
What is arthritis?
It is a medical condition that affects the joints of a dog, causing an inability to move.
Unfortunately, arthritis is not curable, and affects around 20% of dogs all over the world. Compared to other dog breeds, German Shepherds (and other large breeds) are more susceptible to developing this painful condition.
Veterinary treatment of canine arthritis usually involves surgery (which can never guarantee results), the use of NSAIDS given orally or injected into the joint, or corticosteroid use (which is less common today). Unfortunately veterinary surgery is costly, but sometimes necessary.
Fortunately, while there may not be a cure, there are plenty of steps that you can take to prevent this condition from developing in your pooch. As with any other health condition, arthritis is best caught early, before it begins to cause lameness and have a serious impact on your dog’s quality of life.
How Can You Prevent Arthritis in Your German Shepherd?
Three to four years of age is a common age for large breed dogs such as the German Shepherd to begin to develop arthritis.
As a responsible pet owner, there are several ways in which you can try to prevent arthritis and other joint conditions from developing in your German Shepherd.
Here are a few tips, although keep in mind that you should discuss any major changes in your pet’s diet, exercise and lifestyle with your vet before making a start:
Monitor Your Dog’s Calorie Consumption
This may sound peculiar to you but, like with many of us, German Shepherds are also prone to obesity, which means extra calories.
This doubles the chances of your dog developing arthritis or joint pain.
Because the extra weight puts stress and tension on your dog’s joints.
If you know that your dog could afford to lose some weight, strict calorie management is essential. This means not only looking at their main meals, but also treats.
A nutrient rich diet, combined with exercise, makes for the perfect weight loss routine.
There are many clinical studies out there that link the positive effects of the below supplements with improved joint health in dogs.
Here are a few effective supplements when it comes to preventing and managing arthritis:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Turmeric golden paste
- Devil’s claw
We recommend Natural Vet Co Joint & Ligament Formula by Dr Jack Ayerbe of Geelong, Victoria. It’s Australian made, 100% natural and is trusted by Orthopaedic Veterinary Surgeons across Australia for pre and post joint operative care. If you’ve tried supplements in the past without success, take a look. It has got great feedback from dog and cat owners whom haven’t seen improvement on other supplements.
Keep Your Dog Moving
Unfortunately, if your dog develops arthritis, revamping your pooch’s exercise routine is essential. You need to keep your dog active in order to improve joint health.
However, instead of making your pet do any strenuous exercises or vigorous walks, try shorter but frequent walks instead, as well as indoor play sessions. Swimming is another fabulous option for dogs that are in pain after walks, as it’s non weight-bearing.
Try Canine Acupuncture
The idea may sound odd to you, but research shows that canine acupuncture can be extremely effective.
Wondering what canine acupuncture is?
Just like with humans, canine acupuncture refers to the insertion of tiny needles into certain pressure points around the body to promote healing.
This treatment is gaining popularity across the globe, and many people have reflected on the promising results for many canine ailments in addition to arthritis and joint pain.
Keep in mind that you will need consistent and regular sessions in order for acupuncture to make a difference.
Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment
The strain on your dog’s joints is one of the contributing factors to the development of arthritis.
This is why creating a safe and comfortable environment for your dog should be your top priority as a dog owner. Ensuring that your pet is comfortable on a daily basis will help to prevent and manage arthritis and its symptoms.
How do you do this?
Here are a few guidelines:
- Make sure you secure bare flooring with carpets or rugs, as slippery floors can be dangerous to walk on and can cause stress on your dog’s joints
- Try to use a small ramp to help your pet to move. Do not let your pet jump and hop out of the car or off the sofa
- Raised water and food bowls can make eating and drinking easier for your dog
Keeping your pet well-groomed may sound insignificant, but this can really help to keep your German Shepherd arthritis-free.
Long nails will affect your dog’s gait and posture, adding unnecessary stress on your pooch’s joints. So trim or file them back every six weeks or as needed.
THE BOTTOM LINE…
Overall, there is no doubt that arthritis is a painful disorder that your German Shepherd may develop.
However, by being vigilant when it comes to monitoring your pet, you will be able to delay the onset of the condition, keeping your pet healthy, active and pain-free for longer.
How do you manage arthritis in your dog?