You have been enjoying your German Shepherd dog, going places and just hanging out over the years. Now you start to notice that she is getting gray around the muzzle, maybe some little changes in her behavior and perhaps not as active as she used to be. Your German Shepherd dog is aging. How can you help your German Shepherd dog live a quality life comfortably?
Though your German Shepherd dog may be slowing down some, you still want to get her some exercise. Keep in mind she still needs the exercise to keep her muscles strong and her appetite up, as well as good for her behavior, just because she is slowing down doesn’t mean she can’t go out with you. Just be sure you don’t over due her exercise which may worsen any health issues she may have, such as hip dysplasia.
2. Make your home mobility accessible
If your dog is having issues with her hips or other joints you will want to change a few things in your home to make it easier for her. For example, to climb stairs or get in and out of your car, you could get a small ramp so she can walk up and down instead of having to jump up or down. If she sleeps with you may be a set of steps beside the bed. If your house has linoleum or wood flooring your German Shepherd dog may avoid these areas as she used to enjoy slipping and sliding on them before as a puppy she doesn’t so much now as slipping could hurt her at which you should address how you could fix this, maybe placing rubber backed rugs that won’t slip. She is going to want to be where you are and vice versa so whatever you can do to help her motivate around your house will help her immensely.
3. A Better Bed
Up till now your German Shepherd dog either had a cushion bed on the floor or she just spread out on the floor and snoozed. Now that she is older you will want to consider getting an orthopedic dog bed for your German Shepherd. They are thick and will provide support for her joints as well as keep her warm and be a source of comfort for her sore body.
You have been grooming your dog all along, but now as your German Shepherd dog ages she may have some needs that will need some attention. Such as her nails, she’s not as active as she was so you might need to trim them, to prevent her feet from getting sore, and causing her not to want to exercise which would be detrimental to her health. When she relieves herself should she have any waste stuck to her fur, you will need to remove it and maybe trim her shorter back there.
5. Look for growths
As you have groomed your German Shepherd dog you became familiar with her body. As you continue to groom your aging German Shepherd dog you will want to watch for any growths on her body as the possibility of growths rise the older, she gets, and the earlier they are caught the easier to remove and your dog will heal faster. The growth may be nothing at all or it could be devastating.
6. Supplements for their diet
There are supplements out there that you can give that are good for your German Shepherd dog. The one that is highly recommended is fish oil if your dog is not allergic to fish oil. This supplement will give her joint support as well as healthy skin and coat. A preventative supplement is glucosamine and chondroitin combination they work well for dogs with arthritis, the key is to get your German Shepherd dog started on this supplement before the arthritis sets in to the point to where she is stiff. Here is a good site to buy glucosmine of your German Shephered; bestglucosaminefordogs.org
Hyaluronic Acid is also another joint supplement to consider. This supplement major makeup is the same as that of the fluid in their joints. Its been used as an injection but is now available as an oral. As always if your German Shepherd dog is experiencing any of these health issues and you think one of these supplements would benefit her, talk to your vet, they can recommend the dosage and what they think would work best for her.
7. Changing their Diet
As your German Shepherd dog ages and slows down in their activity you may want to change the amount you are feeding them, as weight gain would put pressure on her joints and hamper her activity. But with the cutting back of the amount of feed you could also be cutting back on the number of her nutritional needs, and a supplement may be in order, which would be a conversation for you and the vet. You may want to consider adding water to her dry food to aid with her chewing and avoid any constipation issues. You could switch her to canned food as well as this is a very moist food and has a higher protein content and more moisture which would be helpful for her kidneys. Make sure you know what nutrients your dog needs and choose the best dry food for your German Shepherd.
8. Protect your dog from intense weather changes
The weather may become an issue with your aging German Shepherd dog. In the winter adding a fleece blanket to their bed will help with keeping them warm or a pad that retains and reflects their body heat, helping with her achy joints, and if she will wear them you could put dog boots on her feet when outside if there is snow on the ground.
In the summertime, you will want to be sure if outside she has access to plenty of shade and lots of water. As mentioned about the pads to help retain heat there are pads and beds to help keep her cool. If she likes to be outdoors when it’s warm, and if she likes to play in water you could provide her a little wading pool with water to lay in.
Your German Shepherd dog is getting older, but you can still have many years together by making some adjustments to her needs, having patience with her and getting in some extra loving with her, you will make her golden years golden for her and you.