Whether you’ve adopted a senior member of the German Shepherd breed, or you’ve had your dog since he or she is a puppy and now they are living their golden years with you, a senior German Shepherd needs special care and attention now that they are getting older.
While there have been plenty of German Shepherds who have lived to the age of sixteen and even a year or two beyond that, the typical life expectancy for the German Shepherd is twelve years. As the dogs age, they tend to run into several health problems, as well as advanced nutritional needs, and if they do not have someone who can support them and take charge of their health, these things can take their toll on your beloved friend. So ask yourself what you can do to make your dog happy, or to make his or her day a little easier and a little better.
As your German Shepherd ages, you will notice several different things with him or her, including changes in looks, stamina (they won’t quite be able to run as much and as far as they used to), changes in their diet (they might start eating less), and changes in how often they need to sleep.
Senior German Shepherds often face digestive issues, and will require special foods that are meant just for them. Older dogs, especially larger breeds such as German Shepherds, have been known to develop conditions such as Arthritis, Hip Dysplasia, and Elbow Displaysia. There are things that you can do to make them more comfortable, of course – your veterinarian might be able to prescribe a medication to ease the pain, and you can purchase special dog beds for older dogs that make it easier on their bones and joints. Helping your dog stay active is important, too – make sure you are still taking him or her for walks and playing together, as much as is comfortable for your companion. They do sell special dog ramps for helping your dog into places he or she can no longer get to with ease – such as your bed or into the car for a ride. Another thing you might need for your dog are special incontinence pads – because accidents are bound to happen every now and again.
As your dog gets older, his or her temperament might change a bit. A once sweet dog might not be quite as mellow as they once were, so make sure to let your dog drop the hints for when affection is wanted – if your dog is napping, the best course of action is to let your dog sleep.
Other health concerns might present themselves – such as cancers, heart problems, hearing loss, and skin problems – and these are all signs that your dog is getting older. However, these problems can be taken care of one at a time if they do occur, and in the meantime, you just need to remember to take your dog to regularly scheduled veterinarian appointments to keep his or her health in check. Also, don’t forget the most important thing to your dog – love from you.