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7 Common Health Issues Affecting Your German Shepherd and How to

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By Abi Gibson - - 5 Mins Read
A happy German Shepherd
German Shepherd | Sofia Guaico/Unsplash

German Shepherds, also known as GSDs, are beloved worldwide for their loyalty, intelligence, and versatility.

Thanks to their smart minds and strong bodies, they excel in various roles, whether as family companions or working dogs in police and military services.

With their adaptability, they fit into any lifestyle, whether it's playing fetch in the backyard or tackling search and rescue missions. 

German Shepherds, like all breeds, have their health concerns. Understanding these common health issues and providing proper care can ensure a long and fulfilling lifespan for your German Shepherd, bringing joy and companionship to your family for many years.

Here are 7 common health issues that can affect your German Shepherd and how to provide help.


1) Skin Allergies

German Shepherds are prone to skin allergies triggered by environmental allergens, food sensitivities, and fleas. These allergies lead to discomfort and an increased risk of infections. Identifying and avoiding these triggers is crucial for managing the condition and supporting the German Shepherd's lifespan.

Recommended Help

When allergen avoidance isn't entirely possible, veterinary interventions like antihistamines or corticosteroids may be recommended to manage symptoms and ensure the comfort and health of German Shepherds affected by this common sickness.

2) Degenerative Disc Diseases(DDD)

This can cause pain, nerve damage, and paralysis due to spinal disc deterioration. Owners must monitor their dogs' spinal health through regular vet check-ups to detect and manage DDD early, potentially slowing its progression and easing symptoms.

Recommended Help

To manage DDD in German Shepherds, focus on maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in low-impact exercises, and following vet-prescribed treatments.

Given their susceptibility to this common sickness, a balanced diet and tailored exercise plan are crucial for supporting German Shepherds' overall well-being and lifespan.


German shepherd dog in a field
German shepherd in a garden | Katrina S/Pixabay


3) Panosteitis

Panosteitis, also known as "growing pains," affects rapidly growing German Shepherd puppies, causing intermittent lameness.

Veterinary oversight and pain management strategies are crucial for managing this common sickness and supporting the German Shepherd lifespan.

Recommended Help

Owners must closely monitor their puppy's behaviour and mobility, adjusting activities to navigate panosteitis. Seeking veterinary advice promptly ensures proper management of this growth-related condition and promotes the puppy's comfort and development.

4) Epilepsy

This causes recurring seizures, a common sickness in the breed, ranging from mild to severe. Stress management and regular veterinary care are crucial to managing this neurological disorder and maximizing the German Shepherd lifespan.

Recommended Help

Maintaining a calm environment and following the vet's treatment plan are essential in managing epilepsy in German Shepherds. This ensures the brain's party lights stay on a dimmer switch to avoid unexpected fireworks.

Also read: Beyond Barks: 7 Silent Cues Your Dog Isn't Happy With You

5) Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)

This poses a dramatic health risk for German Shepherds, potentially threatening their lifespan as a common sickness. Symptoms can escalate quickly, including a swollen belly and restlessness.

Recommended Help

Include lifestyle tweaks for German Shepherds, like feeding smaller, frequent meals and avoiding heavy exercise after eating, crucial for their lifespan and common sickness.


6) Diabetes

Diabetes in German Shepherds is a sugar management issue, a common sickness in the breed, with signs like excessive thirst and weight loss despite a good appetite. It's essential to maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise to manage your dog's weight and insulin levels, supporting the German Shepherd lifespan.

Recommended Help

A daily routine of good food and active exercise helps keep diabetes at bay in German Shepherds, ensuring their well-being and effectively addressing common sicknesses.


7) Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia, a common sickness in German Shepherds, causes symptoms like limping and stiffness due to joint mismatch. Ethical breeding practices can reduce its incidence, supporting the German  lifespan.

Recommended Help

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with moderate activity and proper diet is crucial for German Shepherds to prevent elbow dysplasia and support their overall joint health, addressing common sicknesses effectively.