The Ultimate German Shepherd Care Guide

The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is one of the most common types of dogs in America—for good reasons. They're intelligent and energetic working dogs. They also have unparalleled loyalty and bravery making them incredibly powerful and versatile. But you can only enjoy and benefit from these traits if you take good care of them.

As a GSD owner, it's essential to equip yourself with basic care skills for your dog. Ideally, if you know that he or she needs an appropriate diet, good grooming, and regular visits to your vet, then you're good to go! Like you would do to a toddler, keep an eye on your German Shepherd. Close doors, pick up after yourself, and section off rooms as needed to keep him/her out of mischief and away from things he or she shouldn't eat.

Feeding Your German Shepherd

In a nutshell, German Shepherds thrive when fed with the right dog food. Maintain a consistent diet of high-quality ingredients. Feed your German shepherd with only what the breeder recommends, particularly in the first few weeks, to avoid causing digestive problems.

Also, listen to your vet's recommendations to understand the nutrition requirements of your dog (Cornucopia Pet Food should cover the necessary nutrients).This will help you when you visit the pet food store to get your canine friend a delicacy.

Below are some important tips for feeding your pet.

  • During the day, a German shepherd puppy should have access to fresh, clean water. The water should be removed overnight.
  • Feed three times per day 8 to 12 weeks of age, and twice a day after that.
  • When choosing food, make sure it's high-quality and organic dog food.
  • Slowly increase the amount of food per feeding.

Since he switched his clients to a whole-food / organic food diet, Dr. Broderick hasn't needed to treat a single case of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds in 40 years. Previously, this was a huge problem, and he was performing 2x hip dysplasia surgeries a week. Similarly, he has noticed his clients no longer reporting cases of dilated canine cardio myopathy after this doggy diet. 

What Foods Do German Shepherds Like to Eat?

Here are some foods that your German Shepherd undoubtedly loves to eat:

  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Popcorn
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pork
  • Green Beans
  • Celery
  • Grains
  • Honey
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Apples
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears
  • Watermelon

Foods Your German Shepherd Can Eat (Sparingly)

  • Bread
  • Cashews
  • Cheese
  • Tuna
  • Cranberries
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Ham
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Shrimp

Any uneaten food should be discarded, and the next meal's quantity should be reduced by the same amount to avoid waste. Never feed your pet anything spicy, as it can cause diarrhea and stomach upset.

Foods Your German Shepherd Should Never Eat

  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Ice Cream
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate
  • Almonds
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Cherries
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
german shepard

Exercising your German Shepherd

The value of a balanced diet and sufficient exercise cannot be overstated. German shepherds are very active, and they need a lot of exercise routines to stay comfortable and busy. This would also prevent them from yelling or nibbling on the furniture out of boredom.

Lack of exercise and stimulation can lead to behavioral issues in any breed, but German Shepherds are known for being particularly high-strung, so they require extra care and plenty of exercises. Every day, your German Shepherd will need at least two hours of exercise. This can include walks and off-leash exercise in a healthy environment and additional playtime and training to provide variety.

Rather than attempting to do two hours of exercise in one sitting, our veterinarians suggest spacing it out during the day. If you enjoy long walks and spending a lot of time outdoors, German Shepherds are a perfect breed for you. If you are unable to provide them with the exercise they need, enlisting the assistance of a relative, friend, or dog walker is necessary.

Grooming your German Shepherd

You must always keep your German Shepherd clean to avoid infections that can even be transmitted to humans. From the skin to the fur, nails, and teeth, your pet needs your help more than you may think.

Coat and Skincare

For regular brushing, a de-shedding tool is appropriate. A Furminator loosens and pulls stray hairs, and some of those extra hairs can show up during a show when you least expect it. This grooming technique will also help keep dirt and dandruff at bay.

Nail care

Irrespective of your dog's nail conformation or growth rate, it's critical to begin exposing them to nail clippers and the process of nail trimming as early as puppyhood.

Ear care

By the time they hit four months of age, German Shepherd dogs have tall, alert ears that stand up. These ears are a distinguishing characteristic of the breed, and if not properly cared for, they may become infected. To clean your dog's ears, use hypoallergenic baby wipes, which are simple to use and gentle. We recommend regular cleaning of your dog's ears and testing for ear infections.

Dental care

German shepherd Dogs usually have healthy teeth, which you can maintain by brushing them at least twice a week! For dental treatment, dogs now have access to a wide range of oral care items. Common dental problems may include broken teeth, Cysts, or tumors in the mouth, Broken (fractured) jaw, etc. Disposable dental wipes or dog-friendly flavored toothpaste are two options for at-home dental treatment. However, consulting with your veterinarian about which dental hygiene regimen is best for your dog is the best course of action.

Common German Shepherd Health Issues

German Shepherd Dogs are vulnerable to the same bacterial and viral infections as humans are, including parvo, rabies, and distemper. Vaccination can help avoid many of these diseases. Although not all German Shepherd dogs will suffer from health issues, some diseases are more prevalent in German Shepherd dogs than in other breeds.

Degenerative Myelopathy:

Degenerative Myelopathy is a chronic neurological disorder caused by an allergic reaction. A hereditary factor is also likely, but there's not enough research to prove it. DM seems to be the canine version of Multiple Sclerosis. It's commonly seen in dogs over the age of seven. Only supportive treatments are available today.

Gastric dilatation volvulus:

When air, food, or fluids accumulate in a dog's digestive tract, bloat occurs. The dog is unable to release the gases as a result. Toxins build up quickly when blood flow is reduced, killing stomach tissue. If enough pressure builds up, the stomach can rupture, causing an infection in the belly, or the twisted parts of the stomach can lose blood flow and die, causing a severe infection. To prevent bloat:

  • Do not let your German Shepherd eat fast.
  • Divide the food into small chunks of meals
  • Do not feed 'human food'
  • Keep away your dog from ingesting large quantities of water.


Skin disorders in pets are commonly caused by allergies. Food allergies are difficult to manage and are a chronic condition. In terms of skin disorders, there are three major forms of allergies. A German Shepherd may have a mixture of all three forms of allergies: Food Allergy, Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), and Atopy, or Allergic Inhaled Dermatitis, which are the three types of allergies common in this breed. We recommend organic foods to control or eliminate food allergies that can cause discomfort in your dog.

Von Willebrand's Disease:

In dogs, this is the most common inherited bleeding condition. The disease is due to the lack of a plasma protein required for normal platelet (blood clotting components) function in the early stages of clotting resulting in prolonged bleeding. A blood test is used to make the diagnosis. Prior to breeding, German Shepherd dogs should be tested for this condition.


Obesity in German Shepherd Dogs can be a serious health issue. It's a dangerous condition that may lead to or exacerbate joint pain, metabolic and digestive issues, back pain, and heart disease. You should rely on healthier foods developed to fulfill their dietary needs to prevent such issues. Additionally, walk your dog and do other sporting activities to help them burn excess fat.

    German shepherds are here to stay, and all we need to do is take care of them as they offer their unique services. Yes, even companionship is a service these intelligent and loyal animals provide. Most of what you should do to keep them happy and safe as you would your kids is common sense. Keep an eye on their diet, make sure they get plenty of exercise, brush their teeth and coat regularly, and call your vet if something appears out of the ordinary. Also, be sure to be up to date with the vaccination and pet care plans.
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    • "Many pet foods contain corn as the main ingredient. Dogs and cats are not “cornivores’….they are carnivores!"
    • "If I can’t eat the food, I won’t give it to my pets either."
    • "Our pets are the only ones in our family who give us unconditional love."
    • "The animals are our children. They deserve the same quality food as our two-legged children."
    • "Your pets are members of the family so treat them like members of the family."
    • "I can help your pets live longer, healthier lives."
    • "Feed your pets what your grandfather fed his pets."
    • "Would you eat what you are feeding your pet? No? Then don’t feed it."
    • "Cats are obligate carnivores, not herbivores."
    • "Animals are my children."
    • "You have never in your life been to a doctor or veterinarian who taught you how to prevent disease (or who taught you about nutrition.)"
    • "Developed with Passion by a practicing veterinarian."
    • "If your human children died at 25 instead of 75 that would get your attention as to what is going on with pets."
    • "I am abolishing disease in my practice."
    • "1 out of 5 children in the average American family walks on all fours."
    • "Tell your pet every day that you love them."
    • "You can communicate with your pet, just listen."
    • "Would you feed your other children pet food?"
    • "Think about which members of your family give you unconditional love. Then treat them the same."
    • "We don’t make pet food, we make food for pets"
    • "Give them a “mouse-full”"
    • "Read the ingredients, would you eat that?"
    • "Does your pet deserve any less?"
    • "Where else do you get unconditional love?"
    • "Who is always happy to see you?"
    • "Who never complains about their day?"
    • "Give back to your pets the unconditional love that they give you."
    • "I put unconditional love into my food, my products, my patients, my practice."
    • "These blessed creatures are giving you unconditional love. Feeding them healthy, pure organic food is not much to ask in return."
    • "Let an animal in your heart and experience unconditional love."
    • "Unconditional love is when you love with all that you have."
    • "Unconditional love is giving without taking."
    • "Unconditional love is above all the gift of one’s self."
    • "Unconditional love is above all the gift of life."
    • "Unconditional love is the deepest essence of life."
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