Hello German Shepherd lovers, today we are going to be looking at 9 Tricks Pro Owners Use To Stop German Shepherd Joint Problems.
As we all know, German Shepherds and an incredible breed to own, they are beautiful, intelligent, and loyal.
Unfortunately, however, they can also be susceptible to a wide-ranging of health problems. One of the most common is problems of the joints & hips which can seriously affect your German Shepherd’s quality of life and in some cases prove to be fatal.
Let’s quickly take a look at the most common types of joint problems that affect German Shepherds, and then we can jump into some of the biggest hacks to treating and stopping their development altogether.
DM is a disease that doesn’t affect joints directly but the spinal cord itself, causing muscular weakness and an unsteady gate.
It is not painful but it can seriously affect your dog’s quality of life, and due to its degenerative nature it can leave your dog unable to walk within a few years.
Unfortunately, if your dog suffers from this, there is not much that can be done other than trying to make their life more comfortable.
Hip Dysplasia/Elbow Dysplasia.
Hip Dysplasia is a degenerative condition that develops in around 15%-20% of all German Shepherds. This condition can form as a puppy or develop later in life and can be accelerated by injury, obesity, and over-exercise.
It’s the result of a subluxation on the femoral head of the hip bone caused by a loose hip joint. The stress and damage are caused by the ball and socket which is partially dislocated resulting in the bone wearing and tearing against one another leading to inflammation, degeneration, and osteoarthritis. Elbow dysplasia is the same problem found in that particular joint.
This condition causes a generalized inflammation inside the bones of your dog and it is characterized by a sudden lameness. It specifically affects the humerus, radius, and ulna of the foreleg and the femur and tibia of the hind leg.
This can be a painful condition that affects more than one bone at a time. Usually, one leg will be affected and then a week later it will shift to another. Luckily there is no permanent harm if left untreated.
General Inbreeding Joint Problems
As the German Shepherd is the 2nd most common dog in the USA. The popularity has caused a lot of problems with breeding, often with lines being bred too close to each other. This has resulted in a variety of issues such as epilepsy, heart disease, Von Willebrands Syndrome, and hereditary joint problems.
This is a degenerative joint disease and is a common type of arthritis. It is a chronic form of joint inflammation that happens due to cartilage deterioration.
This type of arthritis is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.
Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA)
This type of arthritis happens when white blood cells or neutrophils invade your dog’s joints. Usually, neutrophils kill bacteria and other invading pathogens by releasing ‘irritating’ substances. In this case of arthritis, the substances are released into your dog’s joint, which results in severe swelling and pain.
Let’s now take a look at the 9 Tricks Pro Owners Use To Stop German Shepherd Joint Problems.
1.) Get Your GSD’s Joints & Hips Tested As Soon As You Buy Them
The vast majority of owners wait until there are already problems developing before taking action.
As with so many diseases, the key is getting on top of them early. An early diagnosis means treatment can get ahead of the problem, sometimes even before it fully starts.
You 100% take your GSD to a vet as soon as you buy them. The vet will be able to perform checks on your GSD’s hips & joints and tell you if they are likely to be susceptible to problems later down the road.
From there they can give you professional guidance on what can be done to heavily reduce the chances of problems developing down the line. Check out our post on 8 Proven German Shepherd Health Tips for more general health information.
2.) Correct Nutrition Is the Second Biggest Factor When it Comes To Stopping German Shepherd Joint Problems
Genetics are going to play the most prominent factor in general joint health, after that, nutrition is going to be the next biggest contributor.
It is essential you get this correct. Their joints & hips need to be fed the right nutrients over their lifetime.
So many owners buy poor quality food with a severe lack of nutrients just to save money. Don’t be one of these owners.
You can spot poor quality foods because they are made mainly from fillers like grain and corn. And meat made from meats like kidneys, liver, and spleen.
GSD’s need a balance of protein, fiber, carbs, and fat. The protein needs to come from real muscle meat from chicken, turkey, and lamb ideally.
It can be tough to know exactly where to get great quality food. A lot of our GSD community get their food from a breed tailored delivery service called MyOllie.com, they will create the highest quality food for your dog’s breed, size, and age and deliver it straight to your dog so you don’t have to worry about anything. Learn more about MyOllie.com here and get 50% OFF your first order.
If that isn’t in your price range check out the food made by Royal Canin that’s made for German Shepherds here at Petco.com.
If you also want more information on the correct German Shepherd diet, check out our blog post on 11 Proven German Shepherd Diet Tips.
3.) Manage Their Weight Effectively To Reduce Pressure on Joints
An overweight or underweight GSD is an unhappy GSD.
If they are overweight, this will cause a further impact on their joints and extra pressure on their hips as well as further health complications.
If you can reduce their weight it will take the pressure off the hips and reduce any pain or discomfort.
An underweight GSD is most likely not getting enough nutrients to their joints & hips.
It is critical that you maintain a healthy weight in your dog at all times. If you are unsure about what quantities to give them consult a vet.
Again, MyOllie.com can support you in finding the right quantities you should be feeding them.
4.) Get a Dog DNA Test to Get Ahead of Any Joint or Hip Problems They Could Be Inheriting
This is a trick that is gaining momentum with owners every year.
Not only is it just generally interesting to see the hereditary traits and background of your dog, but it can also be extremely useful in getting ahead of potential hereditary diseases.
A lot of owners are getting one of these tests, then using the data to find out what problems their dog may be prone to getting in later life, then using this information to get the right help in place to stop future problems.
The most popular DNA test is made by EmbarkVet.com, learn more here.
5.) Make Simple Changes Around the House
We don’t think of it but here is an unnecessary amount of daily joint impact that takes place around the house.
Initially, they may seem small, but constant impact every day will add up over the years.
For example, if you have floors that your dog is slipping on every day when they are running around, their joints will be making irregular movements on a daily basis, and over time, this can weaken their joints.
Make sure you have plenty of rugs around, especially near to where they like to sit or sleep so that when they are called and rush off from a prone position, they don’t slip around.
Another factor is your GSD jumping up and down from high places, this causes an impact on their joints & hips. Try to stop them from jumping up on your bed and couches, so they can’t jump off.
The same goes for if you take them for a walk and they are in the back of your car, try and carry them off in you can instead of jumping.
Worth noting is your choice of bed. If your GSD is sleeping on an old hard bed, or on the floor, this will result in pressure on their hips & joints. The best thing to do is invest in an orthopedic bed, as this will soften their joints into a more natural sleeping position.
Take a look at the orthopedic beds made by MyKopeks.com that GSD owners seem to love. Learn more about them here.
6.) Invest in a Health & GPS Tracker for Your GSD
Sometimes it’s hard to see if our dog is struggling. They don’t show pain like humans do.
Which is one of the main reasons why we end up taking action way too late.
A Health Tracker is similar to a FitBit for a human. You can track from your phone their activity levels which give you a good indication of their health over time.
They can monitor their sleep, anxiety levels, skin conditions(also check out our post on 8 Things You Should Know About German Shepherd Allergies), daily movement, and overall health and behavior. You can then give this data to your vet to use to administer treatment for conditions.
Again, this is another way of getting ahead of the game.
The most popular trackers are made by FitBark.com, learn more about them here.
7.) Laser Therapy is A Revolutionary New Way To Treat German Shepherd Joint Problems
This is another new way of fighting against German Shepherd Joint Problems.
This treatment is well-liked because it is non-invasive, pain-free, surgery-free, and drug-free.
Laser treatment for dogs employs deep-penetrating light to promote a chain of chemical reactions known as photobiostimulation.
This process helps relieve pain through the release of endorphins, and it stimulates injured cells to heal at an accelerated pace.
If you search Google for Laser Therapy center’s in your area they may come up.
If not, ask your vet if it is a practice they have in-house or whether they know other vets who can help.
Alternatively, you can also do your own dog laser therapy from home whilst sitting on the couch with the handheld Dog Med Laser, learn more here at DogMedLaser.com
8.) Consider Using CBD products if you’re GSD Already Struggles with Joint Problems
This is more of a technique used if your German Shepherd is already struggling.
CBD and Hemp are becoming ever more popular in the fight against many health problems. You won’t find much scientific evidence just yet, but it seems like the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
It will be a couple of years until the real evidence shows up but all you need to do is look at forums and Facebook posts on dog groups to see how it’s positively affecting dogs with joint problems by alleviating pain and increasing mobility to young and old dogs.
Check out these guys for pet-specific CBD products.
9.) Joint Protection Supplements are Key For Stopping German Shepherd Joint Problems
Just like your dog’s nutrition, joint care supplements are going to have a huge impact on reducing the development of hip dysplasia.
Think of them as hundreds of little vets working inside of your GSD’s hips, keeping them lubricated and healthy at all times.
Even for dogs already experiencing these problems, they can have great pain relief and mobility improvement qualities.
It’s important to remember, these will not work on their own, they are there to ‘supplement’ not become ‘wonder drugs’ for your dog.
It is essential you make sure your diet and training regimes are the main foundations.
Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM are the main ingredients you should look out for in a joint care supplement.
Conclusion To German Shepherd Joint Problems
Unfortunately, our beautiful breed of German Shepherd is susceptible to these problems.
In some cases, there is nothing you can do.
But in other cases, you can have a real impact in the reduction of problems developing.
Even if they do continue to develop, there is a ton of techniques that can be used to stop the pain and increase mobility so that they can continue to live a great standard of life.
In truth, there is not one main thing you can do. It’s a combination of multiple factors as outlined today.
If you are looking for more general German Shepherd information, consider checking out our FREE Guide called ‘ The Experts Guide To Owning A German Shepherd That Every Owner needs To Know’. You can download it here.
Thank you for reading.