GSD WATCH: Watch those supplements!!

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is just a short blog post about an issue I see come up quite a bit.  My clients always ask me about vitamin supplements for their dogs.  They love their German Shepherds and want the best for them. It is their desire to do what is best that motivates this question.  They are intelligent and caring owners.

However, please, please be careful.  Supplements can lead to many problems in German Shepherds, especially in German Shepherd puppies which have less stable physiologies.  If you go with a high quality commercial kibble that is well tolerated by your dog, you will likely be feeding a very well balanced food with minerals and vitamens in the right proportions and form. I happen to like Royal Canin 24 max for shepherds.  It is a breed specific formula into which much research has gone.  By the way I don’t get anything from Royal Canin.

Let me give you one for instance.  Take a fairly benign, non-toxic mineral such as calcium.  As a good owner, thinking in terms of humans, you want to make certain your dog has the calcium for bone development and growth.  However, too much calcium can lead to joint laxity increasing the potential for crippling hip displaysia.  And you have decided to do a raw diet not specifically formulated to the age or breed or size of your German Shepherd, your dog may not be getting what it needs in terms of nutrition.  This is also a contributing cause to joint deterioration.

Also, be careful with rich holistic and natural foods which are not size nor breed specific.  For example, I was trying Blue Buffalo a few years ago and my dogs had unrelenting loose stools.  I worried about EPI (a pancreas disease in which dogs cannot digest fats).   Then I found out through the grape vine (one of their own sales people) that Blue Buffalo was experiencing multiple complaints from GSD owners for the same problem as I was experiencing.

If you are going to use a raw diet, please be careful to research this first and ensure that you dog is getting a balanced (nothing left out) diet, and one which will be appropriate for your dog’s age and growth.  I would probably recommend not going to a new food with your new puppy until they are used to your water, been through the stress of leaving their siblings, and anything else within the new environment.  I would just stay away from unformulated diets made for all sizes and ages.  I might wait until older, maybe 1.5 and above to switch to raw.

The answer, find a high quality premium food specific to your German shepherd or German Shepherd puppies’ age, size, and breed (if possible).  Be careful with natural and holistic foods not specific to age, size or breed.  Feed the proper amounts of food at scheduled intervals twice a day, with adequate water.    I will discuss bloat at a later time.  With older dogs you may speak to your vet about specific recommended medications/supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine. But in the growth stages rather rely on the preformulated balanced nutrition of the food rather than intervening and supplementing.  Be especially careful with puppies.  Keep it as simple as you can with your puppy.  Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.

I hope this post on supplements for German shepherd adults and German shepherd puppies was helpful.  Keep tuned for a discussion of a number of health issues in the near future.






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