13 Ways to Keep Your German Shepherd Healthy And Happy

13 Ways to Keep Your German Shepherd Healthy And Happy

German shepherds are wonderful dogs that make the most amazing pets. They also require more attention and care than some breeds due to their high energy and super smarts.

To keep a German shepherd healthy and happy, here are some tips to help your pup stay a wonderful family member, no matter their age:

  1. Teaching boundaries is the foundation of all good behavior

From the time you bring your puppy home, you’ll want to start teaching your dog the house rules. Since German shepherds are so curious, they want to explore everything. To help your dog fit into your expectations, begin giving them boundaries right away and stick to them to avoid sending mixed messages.  By puppy proofing your home and teaching your dog what is and what isn’t allowed, you will help lay the foundation for all future training.

  1. Training helps create dogs that are a pleasure to be around

Along with teaching the house rules, training your dog how to behave in public is also very important. German shepherds are powerful dogs so you’ll want to be sure you can safely take them anywhere and everywhere you go while maintaining control over them.  By teaching them how to walk on a leash, recall, and basic commands such as sit, stay, down, drop it, etc., you’ll build a strong bond with your dog and your dog will also be a pleasure to take places.

  1. Socialization builds confidence and prevents behavior problems

Due to their nature, German shepherds can be wary of strangers and new situations.  By socializing them from a young age, you can prepare them for all the people and other animals they’ll encounter in life. Socializing them also helps prevent unwanted fears and anxieties and helps them develop into a confident dog. By socializing your dog, you help mold their personality as they grow up to be a pleasure to be around and safe to introduce to new people and situations.

  1. Mental stimulation helps keep them content

Since they are so smart, German shepherds can get bored easy.  By challenging their mind, you can help meet their need for mental stimulation as well as burn off some of their excess energy. To do this, they need training and play time as well as to experience new things. By investing time into expending their mental energy, you help prevent anxiety and other destructive behaviors that they can suffer from when they get consistently overly bored.

  1. Playtime is for fun and bonding

Along with training and mental stimulation, they also need down time to just play and have fun with you and any other dogs you have. Games of fetch, Frisbee, swimming, or just letting the zoomies out is great way to burn off excess energy and bond with your dog. Play time is fun for both of you and your shepherd and will help you develop a close friendship.

  1. Exercise equals a happy dog

Along with play time, your German Shepherd may need extra exercise. Walks, jogs, hikes, and active play can all help burn off excess steam so that your dog is calm and content indoors.  The level of exercise your dog will need will vary upon their breed but each owner should expect to provide time for exercise each and every day, rain or shine, to prevent destructive behaviors indoors and outdoors.

  1. Nutrition is the foundation to good health

What you feed your dog is a very personal decision and each dog is different. What one dog thrives on can be a gastrointestinal disaster for another. Since German shepherds are over 50 pounds when grown, they should eat food intended for large breed dogs. Many shepherds tend to have sensitive skin and stomachs so a high quality, easy to digest food usually works well.

  1. Control their weight

Weight control is very important for German Shepherds. By preventing obesity, you’ll help protect their joints and may help prevent certain diseases. By feeding them a high-quality food in the right amount and incorporating their treats into their daily calories, you can help them maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Groom them often

While German Shepherds don’t require professional grooming or lots of baths, they do need regular brushing to prevent tons of shedding indoors as well as a matted coat. Brushing them often not only keeps loose hair at bay, but it also helps their digestive system since they won’t be ingesting so much fur. Brushing also helps remove dirt and distributes natural oils over their sensitive skin, both important for double coated breeds.

  1. Chew toys are your best friend

Chews and other toys intended for power chewers will be your best friend as you raise your dog. When you can’t entertain your pet, they provide a great distraction and enjoyment to help keep busy dogs occupied. Investing in high quality, durable toys is worth every penny and will keep you and your powerful chewer happy.

  1. Love and companionship are vital

German Shepherds are very loyal and don’t like to be alone. They thrive when they are part of a family or even just one person but either way, they crave love and companionship, which they will return a hundred times over. The breed doesn’t do well when isolated. They are happiest when they are the center of the family and getting plenty of affection.

  1. Veterinarian checks

German shepherds are hardy dogs but can develop health problems. An annual physical and flea, tick and heartworm control can help prevent and identify health issues before they get serious. Ensuring that your dog is healthy, will provide a lot of peace of mind and may save you money in the long run.

  1. Pet insurance, if needed

If you are worried about how to pay for vet bills, consider purchasing health insurance for your dog. This monthly investment can give you lots of peace of mind when caring for a large, active dog. Ironically, the less you feel you can afford health insurance, the more you may need it so you may want to shop around and see what plans are available to help protect your pet.

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