How To Keep Your German Shepherd Healthy

The German shepherd is widely known for its strength, energy and health. The German Shepherd Dog is generally a healthy and robust breed, which were originally bred as a distinct working dog, which it still is today. A well-kept German shepherd rarely needs to see the veterinarian, other than the yearly vaccination. However German shepherd does get sick, and here the most often are listed.

Hip Dysplasia, abbreviated HD

german shepherd

Hip Dysplasia also affects German shepherds. The disease has a hereditary predisposition, but the environment has much bearing on whether and how severe an animal develops HD. The disease progresses through the puppy’s growth and can be detected by an X-ray, which for most breeds can take place at 1 year of age. Not all dogs show symptoms in the case of HD, but in some cases they can be seen limping on one or both hind legs, may have difficulty raising the back body off the ground (especially in the morning), or you can watch a wriggling walk and that the dog tries to relieve the hip by twisting their body.

The disorder has been known for many years, and lots of German shepherds associations are in cooperation to fight the disease my making sure all German shepherds are X-rayed before being selected as a breeding dog. It has however not been easy and it has not succeeded eradicating the disease. Second, it depends on a number heredity, and the impact from the environment is a factor. For example, obesity and excessive exercise has a negative effect on the development of a healthy hip joint.

By X-raying German shepherds are divided into a group: Group A has completely healthy hips, B represents a transitional form, while C is a mild HD. These three categories are approved for breeding. D is labelled as having an average HD and E is severe.

The inheritance of HD is not simple, and therefore a new instrument has been used to. It’s called an HD-index. Here the dog’s expected breeding abilities are calculated on the basis not only of its own status, but it also factors its parents, siblings, half-siblings and any offspring. The more animals to fit in the equation, the greater safety. This HD-index is used to determine whether or not different German shepherd kennels accept the dog as a breeding dog. It should be mentioned that the use of the index is also uncertain. An index is not necessarily the ultimate truth about a dog’s breeding abilities. There are uncertainties, but it is definitely a better weapon in the fight against HD, because the entire family tree is factored.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the HD in German shepherds in public has been given an attention, which go well beyond reasonable limits. Many other large working breeds also knows the problem, but compared to the vets generally seeing more German Shepherds in their practice, they will also get the most publicity. Every German shepherd club is aware of its responsibility and does everything to make preventive action.


The German shepherd is not particularly predisposed to allergies, but it is a possibility. The symptoms of allergy are itching because of a skin irritation, which can turn into a skin infection.

The following types of allergies: Food allergy. Inhalant allergy, caused for example by house dust. The contact allergy, caused, for example by fleas.

Today, the veterinarians see most often skin problems due to fleas, lice, mites and ticks.

Pancreatitis, KEP

The German Shepherd Dog is a breed that are more likely than other to develop a chronic pancreatic inflammation (chronic exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, KEP). When the pancreas is not functioning optimally, the dog will not receive the full nutritional benefits of its food. The dog will be unthrifty, have decreased appetite and its stools are yellowish. Often this disorder is seen in young dogs.

Why precisely the German shepherd has this disease than other races is not known. Presumably the disorder is hereditary, but a possible inheritance is not yet clear. It is now possible to get a blood test that can reveal whether a German shepherd dog is suffering from pancreatic insufficiency.


Cryptorchidism is an inherited defect which means, that either one or both testicles does not migrate into the scrotum, but remains lying somewhere up in the abdominal cavity.

The testes are created during fetal stage up under the lower back and starts in the puppy’s first weeks of life to wander down to the scrotum. Normally, the testicles are in place when the puppy is eight weeks old. It can be extremely difficult to notice the testis on an 8 week old puppy, for one must be very careful.

One can hear allegations that Cryptorchidism dogs should be more mating eager and in some cases more aggressive than normal males. However, there is no facts to suggest this.

When The German Shepherd Gets Ill

Disease Symptoms

There are several indications that the dog is about to be sick.

german shepherd health

If it behaves differently it usually becomes slack, gets thin or constipated. Vomit, wanting to be alone, will not eat or drink, or drinking more than usual. However, you must remember that the dog might take a few days without eating, without meaning it has a disease. Keep an eye on the dog, and ensure that it behaves normally. Other disease symptoms is if the dog gets cramps, the tail runs along the floor, discharge from the eyes and nose, difficulty urinating, any bloody urine, fever.

If the dog has any of these symptoms, or are you unsure if your dog is ill, you should contact the veterinarian; rather one time too many than one too little. However it makes sense to take the dog’s temperature before you call a pricey doctor.

A German shepherd dog’s normal temperature, at rest is about 38 to 38.5 degrees Celsius, slightly higher for puppies. You take the temperature with a normal medical thermometer well up in the dog’s rectum.


You would do well to get your German shepherd vaccinated and comply with the schedule of the vaccinations, since occasionally an epidemic can hit the country especially of canine distemper and parvovirus diarrhea.

The diseases are extra dangerous for puppies, young dogs and older German Shepherds. Puppis is protected against these diseases after birth by maternal antibodies (provided that the mother is vaccinated of course).

When the puppy is 3 months and 4 months old it must be vaccinated by the veterinarian. They are generally vaccinated against canine distemper, infectious hepatitis and parvovirus diarrhea in a combined vaccine. Agree with your vet how often the vaccine should be repeated. Do you think that there is a possibility that the puppy are going abroad in its first year, for example an exhibition in Germany or holiday, it is a good idea to vaccinate against rabies, canine madness. Rabies vaccine should be repeated every year, to ensure the dog is covered all the time.

Before a combination vaccination the dog must be free of intestinal worms, which means the dog will receive a “dewormed” 14 days in advance. You call the vet and get the worm cure on a prescription.

The puppy has probably been wormed by his breeder 2 times when the puppy was 4 and 7 weeks old.

It can be hard to tell if a puppy has worms, but if it has hiccups more than usually, or eats a lot without gaining weight – it might have a distended abdomen and if its fur is very dull, it may be signs of worms, talk to your vet about any additional deworming.