Let me Tell You About My German Shepherd Rosie

by Theresa

I have a German Shepherd Dog, and her name is Rosie. I love the GSD breed for many different reasons, but as many of you know the breed is prone to many different ailments, both genetic and environmental.

One of Rosie’s biggest genetic issues we've already noticed is hip dysplasia. We noticed that whenever she’d overexerted herself while playing, she started to “bunny hop” and limp. Luckily we noticed and brought her in early enough that we’re able to help her out in a number of ways.

First, we give her glucosamine/chondroitin daily. This helps with joint health by making the hips themselves stronger. We also give her fish oils 2 times a day, which helps to lube the joints up so they’re not so stiff.

Next, we take also take her swimming as much as possible, instead of running and we lift her into the car whenever we have to go somewhere. We’ll take her in later this year to get follow-up x-rays to the ones that were taken when she was 8 months old that diagnosed the condition.

At qround two years of age, the growth plates close in GSD's and you know how the joints formed, so it’s easier to treat the condition and you know what to expect. What we’re doing may not make a difference now, but eventually it may prolong the time before she needs total hip replacements.

One of the other easiest things you can do to prolong your pups life is to get its teeth cleaned annually by a veterinarian. Just like with humans, when bacteria get into the bloodstream it can break down organs more quickly and cause your dogs health to suffer.

By brushing their teeth at least weekly and getting them professionally cleaned yearly, you can prevent most of that nasty bacteria from entering their bloodstream. It’s been said that this can prolong your dog’s life up to three years if you follow this schedule regularly. I’ll be taking Rosie in for her teeth cleaning in August, around her second birthday.

Rosie’s also allergic to grains that are commonly found in almost all brands of dry dog foods. We’ve found that Blue Buffalo dog food has the best formula to fit her needs. It’s important to make sure that what’s coming out of them looks healthy and good too.

In fact, if we hadn’t noticed how badly and often Rose had diarrhea, we may have never figured out what the problem was. Knowing your dog well and understanding what their “normal” is absolutely vital to catching things early.

German Shepherds are considered to be a “deep-chested breed,” which means that their cavity for their organs goes down, instead of out. As such, German Shepherds are prone to bloat, which is when the intestines twist upon themselves. It’s a very dangerous condition because it can easily kill a dog within hours if not treated.

In August, when we go in for Roses two-year x-rays and teeth cleaning, we will also do an outpatient procedure that tacks the intestines so they can’t twist. It’s a fairly inexpensive procedure, only costing us about $350. It may seem like a lot, but this dog is definitely worth it to me.

I had mentioned it before, but knowing your dog well is crucial to their health. If you don’t know what normal is, how do you know when something is wrong? About once a week I do a once-over on my dog to make sure her anus looks normal, there are no lumps or bumps, her coat is shiny (if not it can be a sign of malnutrition), and that she’s generally in overall good condition.

As you can probably tell, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure my dog is healthy and happy. If it means taking 5-10 minutes once a week to make that happen, it’s a sacrifice I’m more than willing to make.

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