Making Sure Your German Shepherd Is In Tip-Top Shape

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Your German Shepherd gives you lots of years of unconditional love, loyalty, and friendship. In return, he counts on you to provide her with food, water, safe shelter, regular veterinary care, exercise, companionship, and more. Follow these 10 essential, and you’ll be assured to develop a rewarding relationship with your healthy German Shepherd.

1 External Identification. Outfit your German Shepherd with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address, and phone number. No matter how careful you are, there’s a chance your German Shepherd may get lost (quite normal for dogs to stray, especially when it gets old) —an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your German Shepherd will be returned home safely. The GSD’s collar should not be tight; it should fit so two fingers can slip easily under his collar.

2 Follow local laws for licensing your German Shepherd and vaccinating him for rabies. Check with your local animal shelter or humane society for information regarding legal requirements, where to obtain tags, and where to have your pet vaccinated.

3 Follow this simple rule—off property, on leash. Even a German Shepherd with a valid license, rabies tag, and ID tag should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard. It is best for you, your community, and your German Shepherd to keep your pet under control at all times.

4 Give your German Shepherd proper protection. A fenced yard with a doghouse is a bonus, especially for German Shepherds; however, GSDs should never be left outside alone or for extended periods of time. German Shepherds need and crave companionship and should spend most of their time with their family, not alone outside.

5 Take your German Shepherd to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet-owning friend for a referral and check out our information on choosing a veterinarian.

6 Spay or neuter your German Shepherd. German Shepherds who have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier, and have fewer behaviour problems (e.g., biting, running away). By spaying or neutering your German Shepherd, you are also doing your part to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation. This link can help in finding low-cost spay and neuter clinics in your area.

7 Give your pooch a nutritionally balanced diet, including constant access to fresh water. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet. Dietary requirements change as your German Shepherds gets older, and its teeth needs to be cleaned and monitored regularly to ensure he can eat properly.

8 Enroll your German Shepherd in a training class. Positive training will allow you to control your companion’s behaviour safely and humanely, and the experience offers a terrific opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your German Shepherd. Check out our information on choosing a dog trainer.

9 Give your German Shepherd enough exercise to keep him physically fit (but not exhausted). Most dog owners find that playing with their canine companion, along with walking him twice a day, provides sufficient exercise. Walking benefits people as much as it benefits dogs, and the time spent together will improve your dog’s sense of well-being. If you have questions about the level of exercise appropriate for your German Shepherd, consult your veterinarian.

10 Be loyal to and patient with your faithful companion. Make sure the expectations you have of your German Shepherd are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems can be solved. Remember, not all “behavior” problems are just that; many can be indicators of health problems. For example, a German Shepherd who is suddenly growling or snapping when you touch his ears may have an ear infection. If you are struggling with your pet’s behavior, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice, and check out our behavior tip sheets, too.

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