If you wish to know how to increase your German Shepherd’s lifespan, then congratulations, you have come to the right place. This blog provides scientifically proven methods for extending the lifespan of this lovely breed. So, to give your four-legged friend the best opportunity for a happy and healthy life with you, follow the tips!
So, how long do german shepherds live? German Shepherds live an average of 11 years, despite a defined age. In dog years, that’s a 77-year-old average. Unfortunately, dogs do not live as long as we want. However, German Shepherds can have quite long lives compared to other large breeds, especially if they are kept active and receive proper veterinary treatment when necessary.
Tips to Increase Life Expectancy
German Shepherds are intelligent family pets and are very loyal. We’d want to see them stay as long as possible because of the excellent companionship and delight they offer. Here are five healthy ways to extend the German Shepherd’s lifespan.
1. Maintain a Lean Physique by Limiting Calories
Dogs on a calorie-restricted diet live longer and have fewer chronic disorders associated with old age. Control your dog’s calorie intake so that after they reach their desired weight, they don’t gain or lose weight. Overfeeding an adult dog, especially a large breed puppy like a GSD, can lead to ongoing issues.
According to research, limiting your dog’s calorie consumption boosts their life span and lowers with age-related changes.
In the United States, 56 per cent of dogs are overweight, putting them at risk for life-threatening health problems. However, providing healthy and balanced food for your dog might be more difficult than it appears.
If your GSD is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about the best approach to help them shed weight safely.
2. Provide a High-Quality Food Source
A high-quality food helps your DOG’s immune system, digestive health, mental clarity, and joints and muscles stay in better form. According to some veterinarians, a high-protein diet extends a dog’s life. Dogs fed with a high-protein diet exhibited fewer indications of aging illness.
A high-carb diet is a warning indication that your dog is developing cavities, leading to dental decay, bacteria, and shortened life expectancy. However, this does not imply you should exclude grains from your diet, as grain-free diets have lately been linked to heart illness. Instead, stick with name-brand dog meals that have undergone extensive testing through feeding trials, as well as Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrition declarations on the label.
How can you determine whether the food your dog eats is of good quality? Here are some suggestions:
- Corn, animal by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives should all be avoided.
- The first component should be meat. For the initial component, real meat is preferable to a meat meal.
- Vitamins and minerals should be obtained from natural sources rather than synthetic sources.
3. Locate a Trustworthy Breeder
German Shepherds are such a popular breed. But, unfortunately, many breeders are simply interested in making money by breeding them, not enhancing them.
Therefore, German Shepherds raised to work and be as healthy as possible are more likely to suffer from hereditary issues such as hip dysplasia or degenerative myelopathy than those bred for beauty or money.
Because GSDs from American lines may have shorter lives than those from German lines, looking for reputable breeders incorporating German dogs into their breeding programs to help improve the breed and lessen the risk of genetic disorders may be worthwhile.
How can you be sure you’re not getting a puppy from a backyard breeder or a puppy mill? Here are some pointers on how to discover a trustworthy German Shepherd breeder:
- You should be able to see the puppies right on the premises.
- The breeder should ask you questions in addition to answering yours to ensure that you will be a good home for a German Shepherd.
- Their puppies aren’t for sale in pet stores.
- The parent dogs are subjected to health testing by the breeder.
4. Ensure that they have annual check-ups
Another fantastic strategy to extend the life of your German Shepherd is to take them to the veterinarian at least once a year for a check-up. You should take young puppies to the vet twice a year.
Hip and joint disorders are more common in large dog breeds. Hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is one of the most prevalent. Taking them for yearly check-ups boosts your chances of detecting certain problems or diseases early on in certain circumstances. This enables the veterinarian to take specific preventative steps if the disease is discovered early.
A dog may try to hide the fact that they are in discomfort. However, during the early stages, the veterinarian may detect certain signs.
5. Take Supplements into Account
You should start your German Shepherd on a joint supplement since they are prone to painful joint issues. When they’re young, kids should take a supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin to help prevent and relieve joint discomfort. Fish oil is another supplement to consider for your German Shepherd.
The following are some of the ailments that fish oil can assist with:
- Inflammation of the intestine
- Spinal issues
- Dysplasia of the hips or elbows
- Cholesterol levels are high.
- Blood pressure that is too high
- Itchy skin and a flaky coat
6. Look for safety hazards in your yard and garden
Keep an eye on what your dog does in your yard. Many life-threatening problems might be lurking just outside your front door. Chemicals used on lawns, some outdoor plants, and even mulch can be fatal to your pet. Find out which plants and substances are dangerous. A poison bite can have devastating implications, even if only a small amount. Secure all chemicals, and keep an eye out for dangerous things that your dog can run into and hurt himself on. Remove any things that might provide a trip hazard. Objects left out may cause harm to your dog.
They’re chasing a bird or catching a ball. Put away any pots that could fall over, as well as any equipment that might fall. Don’t forget to look for loose boards or escape ways in the fencing. Your GSD may like digging, so you’ll need to strengthen the bottom of your fence to keep them contained and secure.
7. Make Sure They Get Enough Exercise
Exercise is an excellent technique to ensure that the dog has a long and healthy life while keeping its mind engaged and focused.
Your German Shepherd should get at least two hours of exercise every day to ensure maximum health and lifespan. According to the American Kennel Club, this is the case. German Shepherds are energetic dogs with a lot of energy to be released. When German Shepherds get older, they are more likely to develop hind limb weakness. Regular exercise aids in the maintenance of their health. Taking a dog for a walk
every day will assist in extending both dog’s and the owner’s life expectancy. According to the American Heart Association, the more individuals walk, the better their health. It is a fantastic method for you and your German Shepherd to benefit from.
Here are some entertaining activities to keep the dog active:
- Take them outside at least once a day, preferably twice if possible.
- With their favorite ball or toy, play fetch with your dog.
- Make an impromptu obstacle course for them to race through.
- Play frisbee in the backyard or the park with them.
- Take them for a walk on a dog-friendly route in your area.
8. Brush Their Teeth Every Day
Regular brushing your German Shepherd’s teeth will help prevent periodontal disease and extend your German Shepherd’s lifespan by up to 3-5 years. Periodontal disease affects up to 90% of dogs over three. It is, in fact, the most prevalent infectious illness in adult dogs. It’s an inflammatory condition that affects the supporting tissues surrounding a dog’s teeth caused by germs in the mouth. In addition, it’s a degenerative disease that worsens with time.
If left untreated, periodontal disease in dogs can lead to tooth loss and eventually make its way into your German Shepherd’s circulation, causing harm to the heart, kidneys, and lungs. If left untreated, this condition can be lethal. The more you exercise your dog, the less bored it will be. This results in a healthier dog overall and a sharper mind.
9. Make Sure Your Dog Is Properly Groomed
Brush and groom your GSD slowly and methodically to become familiar with its particular features and bumps. Look for lumps, bumps, fleas, ticks, and painful places, as well as any anomalies.
Any anomalies discovered early on should be examined by a veterinarian who can determine the reason. By recognizing underlying issues early, you can extend your dog’s life.
Brushing and grooming your dog properly keeps his fur and skin healthy, identifies any skin or body anomalies, and detects fleas and ticks.
10. Maintain their mental activity
German Shepherds are very clever and quickly bored. A bored German Shepherd can develop undesired behavior, which may or may not decide to rehome the dog.
Here are a few ideas for keeping your German Shepherd’s mind stimulated:
- Agility, flyball, freestyle, and other dog sports
- Continually learning new skills, competitions in obedience, toys that make them think
11. Make Your Home Safe
Shepherds are bright dogs that can quickly become bored if not exercised and taught. Secure any potential safety dangers in your home so that your dog does not come across them.
It involves putting away any soft goods such as bed linens, carpets, or other soft items that a puppy or adult could chew. To keep curtains off the floor, tie them up.
- To avoid getting your GSD choked, roll up the blind ropes.
- Remember to keep the electric lines away from sharp canine teeth since they are a shock hazard.
- Close the door to the room or invest in pet-safe baby gates if you can’t put dangerous or precious objects away.
12. Keep the areas where they eat and sleep clean
Bacteria may breed in a filthy food or water dish, making your pet sick. Wash your food and water bowls with warm soapy water daily. Because any flaws in a ceramic bowl retain bacteria, replace any ceramic bowls with stainless steel dishes. Many cracks in a ceramic dish are too small to perceive with the human eye, so you might not see them completely. Their bedding should be washed regularly using a fragrance-free detergent to eliminate any dander and dust, as well as any parasites you may not see at first. Also, make sure their bed is away from high-traffic areas to relax and replenish themselves in a calm environment, which will help them stay healthy.
13. Teach Your Dog the Basics
It takes more than having an attentive dog to teach basic instructions. It’s a strategy to ensure your Shepherd’s survival!
To avoid eating anything toxic, a dog that picks up an unfamiliar object to eat from the ground must learn to “drop it.”
If your dog runs toward traffic, teaching them “come” and “STOP” will save their lives.
To have a consistent and dependable dog trainer as soon as feasible.
14. Vaccinations should be kept up to date
Maintain a proper immunization plan for your German Shepherd to avoid contracting diseases or illnesses. When enrolling in dog training programs, make sure you know the type of immunizations your dog requires. Also, please make sure they’re thorough when verifying the records of other dogs.
When dogs are in close quarters, they are more susceptible to sickness. Even when not in a kennel or dog class, dogs can get diseases from other dogs. For instance, when visiting dog parks or going on excursions and walks.
Any illness or contagious disease will shorten the lifespan of your GSD.
15. At the Appropriate Age, Neuter or Spay
Ensure your German Shepherd is neutered or spayed at the right developmental stage. Spaying or neutering your dog too soon might cause issues.
Reduced health risks associated with neutering or spaying:
- There is a lower chance of acquiring some types of reproductive system malignancies.
- Testicular cancer is no longer a possibility.
- Prostate cancer rates are lower.
After they have finished developing, which is usually between 12 and 15 months, male German Shepherd home dogs should be neutered. Any earlier than this might harm their skeletal development. Female German Shepherds should be spayed or neutered before they reach the age of five months.
According to HumaneSociety.org, neutering or spaying will significantly extend the German Shepherd’s lifespan. In addition, 70,000 animal researches conducted by the University of Georgia yielded some interesting results.
For example, the life expectancy of male dogs who were neutered increased by 13.8 percent, and the life expectancy of female dogs increased by 26.3 percent.
Unaltered dogs have a shorter life expectancy for various reasons. One of them is that they are more inclined to seek out other partners. As a result, there are more battles with other dogs, leading to diseases or injuries. They are also at a higher risk of being hit by an automobile.
What is the maximum age at which a German Shepherd can live?
Larger dogs naturally put greater pressure on their bodies. Therefore, regardless of how well they are cared for, they are unlikely to survive past 13. However, there have been German Shepherd dogs who have lived to be over 13 years old.
Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a German Shepherd
Mobility concerns such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and back problems are some of the most significant variables that influence the longevity of a German Shepherd. Unfortunately, while mobility impairments won’t kill a dog, the loss of quality of life they might cause sometimes leads to owners euthanizing their dogs to relieve them of their suffering.
Other factors that might impact the life of a German Shepherd include:
- Bloat: Is a condition in which the stomach fills up with air and twists on its axis, cutting off the intestines’ blood supply. In nearly half of all instances, it is fatal.
- Degenerative myelopathy: Is a degenerative spinal cord illness that causes paralysis and has no treatment. German Shepherds have a higher prevalence than other breeds.
- Hip dysplasia: Is a painful disorder in which the thigh bone does not properly fit into the hip socket. Arthritis and mobility problems are common side effects.
- Hemangiosarcoma: Is a malignancy that affects the cells that line blood arteries and is very aggressive. In German Shepherds, this is a common occurrence.
- Epileptic seizures: Are treated up to a point, but they can be lethal in the long run.
The following are some health issues that may or may not affect a German Shepherd’s lifetime but may have an impact on their quality of life:
- Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (EPI)
- Problems with vision
German Shepherds with Back, Hip, and Other Joint Issues
All big dog breeds are prone to hip and joint issues, but the German Shepherd’s typical sloping back, back, hip, and other joint disorders are more frequent than in many other breeds. While there is no way to prevent these issues, there are things you can do to assist your German Shepherd’s quality of life by delaying or lessening symptoms.
What Is The Best German Shepherd Dog Food?
German Shepherds usually require a minimum of 22% protein during growth stages and 18% protein for adult dogs. Puppies need 8% fat, and adults require 5% fat to meet their energy needs. German Shepherds require a low-protein diet containing roughly 18% protein ranging from 1,740 to 2,100 calories per day. Supplementing your dog’s diet with high-quality dog food should reduce the need for vitamins and minerals. Some dogs have special nutritional needs, so talk to your veterinarian about the best food for your dog.
The main nutritional requirement of dogs is protein. Protein has several functions: it provides energy, helps build and repair muscles, forms new skin, hair, and nail cells, and keeps the immune and musculoskeletal system strong. The amount of protein requirement of puppies and adult German Shepherds are different.
Breeding Issues with German Shepherds
The predominance and perceived attractiveness of a sloped-back in German Shepherds breeders is something to be mindful of.
This feature is currently being repaired since it causes joint, hip, and leg abnormalities that can increase with time and make it impossible for dogs to walk.
The Sheprador has arrived! Discover what happens when two of your favorite breeds come together.
However, some breeders were still being chastised in 2017 for producing top-lines with excessive slope (backs). Therefore, perform due diligence on possible breeders and use caution.
Skeletal disorders do not directly shorten the lifetime of German Shepherds. Still, they can cause so much discomfort and a loss of quality of life that they must be euthanized.
What signs do you look for to see whether your German Shepherd dog is overweight?
1. They Have No Feeling In Their Ribs
You should be able to feel the ribs of your German Shepherd when you run your hands over them. This may be tough to determine depending on the length of your German Shepherd’s coat, but if you gently press through their coat, you should be able to feel their ribs.
2. No Definition
You should be able to tell that your German Shepherd tucks in at the waistline whether seen from the side or from above when standing. It’s time to start dieting if your German Shepherd resembles a straight hairy sausage.
3. Excessive Panting
German Shepherds pant when they are overheated to remain cool. Still, they can also pant when they are uncomfortable or overweight.
As you can see, there are several things you can do to assist in extending the lifetime and improving the quality of life of your German Shepherd.
German Shepherd lifespan is 10 to 13 years. However, German Shepherds can survive into their late teens and early twenties if they are well-bred and active, although they are more likely to live to be about 11 years old.
They won’t live forever, but with luck, you’ll be able to spend at least a dozen happy years with them. Moreover, the German Shepherd is not among the breeds with the shortest lifespans, such as the Dogue de Bordeaux or Great Dane. Overall, the German Shepherd has significant disadvantages, but it is still a sturdy breed in general.
We may never be able to provide them with the same length of life as we do, but we can surely do everything to guarantee that they live as long as we do.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.