German shepherds are wonderful dogs but they’re not for everybody. Due to their high energy and intelligence, they take lots of time and attention. They are also high maintenance in the grooming and exercise departments.
Despite all the time they require, they are worth every minute. Their love and loyalty is unmatched and there is no greater companion than a faithful German shepherd dog by your side.
Whether you own one or are planning to get one in the future, there are 17 items that you must have if you own a German shepherd. They are:
1. Good Quality Crate
There are many good reasons to teach a dog to use a crate and very few excuses not to. Even if you don’t keep your dog crated, training them to relax and accept a crate is important to their wellbeing.
Just a few reasons why crate training is a good idea include, they may be crated at the vet so being familiar with one will help them be calm; they may at some point in their life need to travel in a crate; during an emergency, they may need to be crated for their own safety; a crate is the perfect place to keep your dog when home repair is being done and other strangers are going in and out of the house; when recovering after illness or injury; it is a great training tool, a safe place for an unsupervised puppy.
2. Strong Leash and Collar
German shepherds are incredibly strong and very determined. The last thing you need is a collar or leash that will break at the wrong moment. By investing in a strong leash and collar with a durable snap buckle, you’re buying peace of mind that you will be able control your dog if things ever get out of hand.
Even better, owning several leashes and collar styles can come in handy. For example, a short traffic lead, a 6’ leash, a martingale collar, buckle collar, and a prong collar all have their place and purpose.
3. Training tools
From the day you bring your dog home, you’ll want to start training. Some tools that can help are educational books, videos, clickers, tugs, treat bag, high value treats, crate, leash, and slip collar. Since German shepherds are so intelligent, there are many things you can teach them so these tools are just the tip of the iceberg. Your plans will depend upon the tools you need so these are just the basics that everyone can use.
4. Chews and toys
German shepherds have powerful jaws and they love to chew, especially puppies. Because of this, you’ll want to be sure to have plenty of chews and toys on hand so they don’t chew up your house instead.
There are some companies that make durable rubber dog chews such as Ruff Dawg and Westpaw that are great for German shepherds. Some of these can hold treats to help keep their interest. If you want a more natural chew, bully sticks, antlers supervised with caution to ensure they don’t break their teeth, yak cheese, and made in the USA jerky, and dehydrated proteins are great options.
German shepherds also need lots of exercise and love to play. You can do both at once by playing games of fetch, Frisbee, tug, and more. Nothing will make your German shepherd happier than spending time playing with you and their favorite toy.
5. Good Brush
German shepherds shed and shed a lot. You’ll find that you need to brush your German shepherd each week, all year long. To reduce the amount of pet hair in your home, a good deshedding brush is great and a slicker brush will also help remove loose fur. If you keep your dog brushed, you’ll also help keep their skin and coat healthy so the benefits of a good brush are many.
6. Shampoo and conditioner
Despite their shedding, German shepherds are relatively clean dogs unless they get into something that makes them dirty. For the most part, they’re not smelly like some dogs. However, they will need to be bathed so a good Ph balanced moisturizing shampoo and conditioner will help keep them clean and remove dead fur.
Since they are also known for their sensitive skin and some have allergies, there are special shampoos that can he kept on hand to reduce itching, seasonal dry skin, or to heal skin irritations.
7. Fenced Yard
German shepherds need lots of exercise and a place to safely run and burn off some of their energy. A yard with at least a 6’ foot fence is a good idea to give them a safe place to go out to do their business and to play. They also have a high prey drive and many love to chase small animals and such so a fenced yard will also help keep them safe should they encounter wildlife or see neighborhood animals.
8. Healthy Food
Notorious for their sensitive digestive systems, German shepherds do best on a high-quality diet formulated for large breed dogs and puppies. If you’re planning to get a German shepherd, you’ll probably want to find a food that is easy to digest, nourishes the skin and coat, and provides plenty of animal protein to fuel their body with a caloric count that meets their activity level.
9. Storage container for food
To help keep food fresh and preserve nutrients, an airtight storage container is perfect. They make them large enough to store an entire bag of food, which is a huge plus. They will also help keep your dog from getting into their food when you’re not home. If you choose to use a storage container, always keep the food in its original packaging to help keep oils and such from getting on the container to prevent bacteria growth and this way you’ll always have the package in case of a recall.
You’ll be training your German shepherd throughout their life and treats are a great reward. But they are also yummy and fun and like all dogs, shepherds love them. Healthy treats are also a great to incorporate into play time and sniffer games, such as ‘find it.’ There are all types of healthy treats on the market and part of the fun is discovering what your dog’s favorite is.
11. Food and water dishes
Depending on the dog, the best food and water dishes are either stainless steel or ceramic. These two materials are easier to keep clean than plastic and, when washed, don’t harbor bacteria like plastic can.
If your dog likes to dig in their water, a heavy bottomed bowl can help reduce spills. If your dog eats too fasts and gulps their food, a slow feeder can help slow them down and make mealtimes more enjoyable.
12. Portable water bottle
If you’re going to be out and about with your dog, a portable water bottle or dish is a must so that they can stay hydrated. Some bottles have a built-in dish that the water squeezes into so they are super convenient. Other styles include a collapsible bowl but you’ll have to carry water separate. Our favorite is a bowl with a leak-proof lid for the car that also helps keep the water cool.
13. Dog poop bags
Another must for going out with your dog is a supply of dog poop bags. There are containers you can attach to their leash or you can just keep a supply in the car and put one in your pocket. Either way, to avoid embarrassment, they are a great to have on hand. They are also perfect for other uses such as mini trash bags while you’re on the go.
14. Dog bed
Since German shepherds are over 50 pounds when grown, they are considered large dogs. They love a good dog bed that is comfy but also supports their back and joints. A dog bed is also a great place to send them when you need them to ‘place,’ have them relax, or send them to prevent them from getting underfoot. Even if they sleep in your bed, their own dog bed is a great idea.
15. Nail clippers
Since German shepherds are so active, their nails should be kept trimmed unless they wear them down themselves. Even if you have someone else trim their nails, a good quality nail clipper is good to have on hand in case you need to trim or cut a nail. If you prefer, a nail grinder tool can be used. Nail grinders are easy to use but take longer than a traditional nail clipper and some dogs just don’t like the sound or vibration that they make but if you’re nervous about cutting the quick or hurting your dog, they’re a great alternative to traditional clippers.
16. First aid kit
It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit for your dog. This is not a complete list but things to consider putting in your kit include the phone number for animal poison control, blood stop powder, bandages, ace bandage, Gas X and Benedryl, Zymox Otic Ear Treatment, etc. You can buy premade kits but you’ll probably want to customize it for your dog’s risk factors, health issues, and lifestyle.
17. Tags and microchip
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to keep their Identification tags and microchip information up-to-date. Sadly, every year, lost and stolen German shepherds find their way into shelters or with the people who find them that don’t want to take them to a shelter. With no way to reunite them with their family, they are lucky if they are rescued but many dogs are euthanized simply due to overcrowding or they are injured before arriving at the shelter. To protect your dog from becoming a statistic, always keep their ID on them and your contact information current. No one thinks their dog will be the one to get lost but, sadly, it happens all the time.
We hope you find this list helpful. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.
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