​​ GERMAN SHEPHERD CANINE

Again I very carefully selected various products for you to view that may aid you and your dog with some health concerns, grooming, eyes, ears, ticks and other interesting products available. Hope you find something you like or of interest to you. Please bookmark this site and don't forget to visit our Senior's Tab.

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  • Common Dog Skin Problems: ALLERGIES


A variety of allergic reactions can plague dog skin. It is common, it can be lifelong, it is a challenge to diagnose, can even be resistant to attempts at treatment once identified. All the other categories of dermatitis must be ruled out before a diagnosis of allergic dermatitis can be made.

  • Dogs exhibit allergy symptoms through their skin rather than their sinuses.
  • Parasite, food, or environmental allergies all can cause skin problems.
  • Of the three, the easiest to cure is parasite allergies, which can easily be prevented with flea and tick repelling medication. Even though you do not see any parasites on your dog, an allergic dog can experience an allergic reaction weeks after only one flea bite.
  • Food can also cause skin allergies, which cause your dog to chew on his skin and excessively lick himself.
  • Diagnosing a skin allergy usually requires a food trial, during which you remove your dog from all food except one novel protein and vegetable source, such as duck or venison and potato. Food items are gradually added back in until the allergens are identified.  
  •  Dogs can also have allergic reactions to grooming products.
  • Anything around us can be an allergen – carpeting, blankets, dust mites, mold spores in the air, plastic food dishes, furniture stuffing, and even ornamental plants all have the potential to trigger an allergic reaction in your dog. The most common type of environmental allergy is atopic dermatitis.


  • Dogs with Atopy lick and chew at their paws and scratch their face, eyelids and ears. A peek at the skin often reveals an ugly rash.


There is a new product to treat Atopic Dermatitis in dogs called Atopica, which works wonders.







​​Oral antihistamines can help neutralize some of the destructive effects of internally released histamines but there is often no cure for environmental allergies. The most effective treatment is to identify and avoid exposure to the allergens. This can be determined through a blood test and skin test.

Treatment of allergic dermatitis includes topical medicated soothing baths, ointments, and sprays. Regularly bathing your dog with an oatmeal shampoo or wiping him down each time he comes in from outside can ease symptoms on the dog's skin.

 Maxx had seasonal rashes, always in the summer months, I bathed him with Oatmeal Shampoo, on occasion would apply a hot spot spray and put a Tshirt on him!

Several times I was prescribed Predisone in a very low dose and for a very short time. Prednisone is a steroid and I do not like using steroids since they may aid with the itching but may also create long term illnesses since the dog's immune system is compromised.


BLOAT  is a gastric dilation and occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with air, the air filled stomach can twist. Bloat is an emergency since the twisting can impact the blood flow to the stomach and toxins will be released to the dog’s bloodstream.

  • Bloat can result in death within 4 to 6 hours. Dogs become extremely uncomfortable, restless and may grow depressed. The dog’s belly will show signs of protruding or bloating. If you suspect bloat you should rush your dog to the emergency unit.


  • Dogs who gulp their food may be susceptible as well since they swallow a lot of air at the same time. Ryker is a gulper so I have purchased him a dish that has obstacles molded into the form of the dish, like little mountains inside of his dinner bowl. Slows him down. Although since I cook for him bloat is not too big of a threat. You also should not feed before or after exercising either.​
  • In general the larger the breed the greater the risk. A variety of factors may increase the risk of bloat:
  • Temperment such as being fearful, anxious and nervous
  • Genetics: the liklihood of bloat occuring in an individual significantly increases if the parent or sibling has bloated.
  • Fast Eating: the faster the dog eats the more air he or she will take in.
  • Eating only one meal a day, especially for a large breed dog since the dog has to take in large amounts of food at one time and this may result in the stomach stretching.
  • A diet of Only Dry Food: Some recommend soaking the dry food thoroughly before feeding and not allowing your dog to exercise for an hour after or before  eating.
  • DigestiveEnzymes may be a possible aid to help prevent bloat.


I have provided a very brief description of some of the conditions that German Shepherds as a breed may be susceptible to.  As with all of us they may acquire almost any disease that we humans can be diagnosed with.

I have included a “Special Seniors " tab on this site that will cover some of the age related disorders. I will share some of my experiences there that may be of help if you are lucky enough to have one of those ‘VERY SPECIAL SENIORS’.  See you there!

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  • Styptic powder will stop the bleeding if this happens but we all try to avoid this happening. Puppies should only have the tips clipped to get them used to the task. They do have special clippers on the market today that will identify the quick and let you know before clipping the vein in the nail. I would still not take anything for granted and proceed with care and caution.


  • EARS  need to be checked regularly. I buy ear wipes to cleanse and then if there is a problem my vet gives me a solution that comes in a squeezable bottle . So after cleansing I squeeze the solution into the ear and then massage each ear as if you are milking a cow. Start from the base and slowly move up and then start over at the base.
  • If your dog starts scratching with their hind legs around the neck and ear area and if his or her ears are red, this is a pretty good indication to check, clean and medicate your friend's ears.
  • If you ignore these signs your dog could end up with a very irritating and painful ear infection and this can lead to more serious damage to his or her ears if left untreated. If your dog is left outside in an environment with a lot of bugs such as flies, mosquitoes, etc they may attack the ears and cause major concerns.
  • If this is the case you should invest in a pet friendly spray or solution to repel the insects.
  • To many bites may lead to a real bad infection and eventually disfigure the ears for life if left untreated.



  • EYES  should be observed for tearing, blood shot and any fluid leaking from the eye.The surface around the eyes should be observed for any loss of hair or redness since this could indicate an allergy, insect bites or something else that should be checked by your vet. Personally I have used certain Polysporin products, but again you should consult a pharmacist who has taken the pet pharmacology course or your vet for anything you want to drop into your dog's eyes or ears.


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If you think he or she is acting not themselves get a check-up. It is of the utmost importance that you find a vet that you can talk to and a vet with an open mind who understands your concerns, is willing to discuss them with you and guide or assist you with those concerns.

  • After many years I found one of those vets. When Max was having arthritis and urinary infections my vet would return my telephone calls sometimes as late as 10 pm. I know from experience with vets that this may be a challenge to find these days, but if you feel at all intimidated by your vet and not comfortable then keep looking.

    ​My vet understands my disposition on administering to many vaccinations, my feeding beliefs and he supports me on these issues and adds assistance. He respects my wishes and views and I respect his professional opinions and his knowledge as well. I am proud to say that I am fortunate to have my Vet, but I did go through several Vets before I found him.

    ​I will share some of my experiences with arthritis, skin irritations and senior concerns under the Seniors tab. See you there.


GROOMING NEEDS:  The German Shepherd needs to be brushed. Grooming and training go hand in hand. As soon as you bring your new family member home you should begin to practice a grooming program, and investing in the right tools will provide harmony for you and your dog. Cherrybrook has long been a favourite among all dog professionals and are the trusted


  • DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY is a disorder of the spine resulting in partial or full paralysis of the dog’s limbs. This is a progressive disease and comes on slowly. Owners usually see stiffness in the legs and may confuse this disease with arthritis as I did.


  • If you suspect your dog has this disorder you can order a DNA test from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and all you need to do is take a swab of your dog’s saliva and send it back to them. They will screen and advise you of your results and they will include the data to their on line data base. ​I did this when Max was showing signs of stiffening limbs at 10 years.
  • The DNA was a simple procedure and I recall the cost to be about $70.00. His test came back negative and sure saved my Vet and I a lot of tests and gave us some peace of mind. Well worth it. There are many support groups out there who offer a lot of assistance for this progressive disease.

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  • AORTIC STENOSIS is an illness of the heart. Dogs affected with this condition have a narrow connection between the left ventricle and the aorta. Dogs are usually born with this condition that is believed to be genetic. Dogs affected may show reluctance to exercise, intolerance and fatigue easily.


  • EXOCRINE PANCREATIC INSUFFICIENCY is a genetic disorder affecting many breeds. By the time most German Shepherds are 2 years the disease usually becomes evident. The pancreas fails to produce a number of enzymes required to break down specific nutrients.


  • Therefore, dogs with this disorder will not receive the proper nutrition from their food as they should. Usually these dogs have a good appetite but will continuously lose weight and may suffer with continuous diarrhea. Your vet may acquire blood panels to confirm this condition that can be treated quite efficiently with certain supplements added to individual and special meal planning. Some owner’s I know swear by a RAW food diet for this condition, since there is little fat. ​

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  • PANOSTEITIS tends to show up before 1 year and is a genetic disease which affects the leg bones and can move from one leg to the other. Max was about 9 months when he had this condition and our vet gave him some anti-inflammatory medication for a very short duration and he improved quickly, eventually growing out of this. Dogs usually grow out of this condition by 2 years of age. Max was only affected once. Large breeds grow very quickly and this growth rate is related to Panosteitis. ​ 
  • ELBOW DYSPLASIA is related to Hip Dysplasia but affects the front legs and is from the elbow joint not fitting properly into the socket. Again the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals screens. Remember, having certified parents will not guarantee that your puppy will not develop any of these conditions.

​​​SEVERAL HEALTH ISSUES THAT ARE MORE COMMON IN GERMAN SHEPHERDS AND A LITTLE ON GROOMING: 


  • As with all breeds of purebred dogs, German Shepherds may have illnesses or diseases that are genetically linked as a result of years of line breeding and they may acquire other illnesses due to the physical characteristics of the breed. If you are shopping for a puppy find out about the pup’s parents as discussed earlier and if they have any known disorders, which may affect your puppy in the future. 

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  • HIP DYSPLASIA is one of the most common genetic disorders which affect the hip joints. The head of the thigh bone (femur) does not fit properly to the hip socket. Today there are organizations such as the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA) www.ofa.org who offer screening for allGerman Shepherd dogs that are used in a breeding program. You can go directly to their site and click in your dog’s parents/ pedigree; if they are registered with the foundation you will see the results.



  • You should make it a routine to check your dog's complete body while grooming for anything that you may find suspicious. As mentioned earlier our dogs and all of our pets may develop  illnesses or diseases such as diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart conditions and so on that all of us as humans may acquire through-out our lives. 
  • Be observant and common sense goes along way. We all get to know our dog's habits and characteristics. 

GERMAN SHEPHERD CANINE HEALTH CARE​, grooming & skin

  • NAILS need trimming. Usually the breeder will have the back dewclaws removed shortly after the puppies are born. However, if not, it is a good idea to have your vet remove them, a good time is if you are neutering or spaying so that your pet only needs one operation.  Since removal of the dewclaws at a later time will require anesthetic.​


Ryker is extremely active and part of our yard is brick or concrete so this surface acts as a file for his nails. However, once they slow down into their senior years as Max did we had to regularly trim his nails. 

  • Getting your dog used to feeling the toes really helps when you need to trim the nails. Personally, I do not enjoy trimming the nails since their nails are black and you cannot see the quick which is the vein that runs through each nail and if this is clipped bleeding will occur. 



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  • Get your puppy used to touching his or her teeth, gums, check the body  for  lumps or wounds, anal sacs sometimes need  attention if your dog is paying a lot of attention to his rear end and be observant of eyes, ears and general coat condition. A lot to do with the coat is in what you feed your partner.Teaching your dog his or her commands become very important on visits to the Vet, for grooming and examining your pet's body for any concerns.

  • Atopica is used to treat atopic dermatitis (commonly called skin allergies) in dogs. Signs of skin allergies include itching, scratching, licking, gnawing, chewing, skin infections, hair loss, terrible odor, and sleepless nights.    You will need a prescription for Atopic from your Vet.

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