German Shepherds are one of the most beautiful dogs on the planet. They are kind, loving, caring, brave, and protective. They are always down for a walk, or just as happy to spend a relaxing day on the couch.
In short, they are the perfect companion.
But they are also prone to a number of breed specific health issues.
The most common genetic issues that German Shepherds experience are Hip Dysplasia, Hemophilia (only in males), Elbow Dysplasia, and digestive problems. They can also be prone to disc degeneration, joint issues, and eye problems.
As sad as it may be, these issues can drastically reduce your dog’s time on this earth, while simultaneously making their final years less enjoyable.
We all know that a good diet and plenty of exercise will have enormous benefits, but there’s also another option that’s been gaining in popularity…
Dog supplements are exactly what they sound like — supplements for your dog.
They often take the form of a multivitamin that contains a number of different vitamins and minerals. Because your dog’s body uses these to maintain health and function, they can have a positive impact on things like eye function, joint health, and digestive health, while also staving off disease and illness.
With this in mind, they are a great addition to your dog’s diet if you want to provide them with everything they need to maximize health.
Over the last couple of years there has been a huge influx of dog supplements onto the market. Some of these are “general” in nature, while others are “breed specific” (i.e. designed for specific breeds of dogs).
All of which begs the question — is one better than the other?
The One-Size-Fits-All Solution
General dog supplements are simple in their approach.
They try to provide the most important vitamins and minerals for all dog breeds into a single option. With this in mind, they do cover most of your bases when it comes to things like cardiovascular health, joint health, and eye health.
As an added bonus, because they are easier to create, they are often a bit cheaper than breed specific supplements.
The downside here is that while they capture what most dogs need, their dosages are not tailored towards specific breeds. As a result, they could be lacking certain nutrients that are important to some dog breeds, but not others.
Although they are not a bad option, they may not be as effective for dog breeds that have common and unique issues.
Which is where breed-specific dog supplements enter the discussion.
Breed-Specific Dog Supplements
Breed specific supplements are exactly what they sound like — supplements tailored to provide everything a single breed of dog needs to optimize health and function.
Many would argue that these particular supplements are much more effective at improving the health of your dog because they provide the specific nutrients that your dog needs.
In the case of German Shepherd health supplements, they would be tailored towards preventing things like hip and elbow dysplasia, while also acting to improve joint and digestive health and function.
In fact, over the last couple of years we have seen a number of supplements for German Shepherds hit the market because they are one of those breeds that have somewhat unique issues.
The only negative to these types of supplements are they do come at a higher cost, because they are more complicated to make.
Ingredients to Watch Out For
If you are interested in pursuing a breed-specific supplement for your German Shepherd, then there are a few key ingredients that you want to look for.
First on the list are glucosamine and chondroitin.
Both of these compounds are renowned to improve joint health, prevent the development of arthritis, and reduce sensations of joint pain. This makes them a great way to improve any side effects of dysplasia, while also improving daily function.
These should be a staple in all specific German Shepherd joint supplements.
Second up, Omega-3 fatty acids are a must. These compounds have been shown to prevent inflammation and arthritis, while also improving cardiovascular and metabolic health.
And lastly we have Lutein.
Lutein is a compound with anti-inflammatory properties. More importantly, its supplementation has been shown to have some very positive effects on eye health — especially when it comes to improving and preventing age-related macular disease and vision impairment.
This is key in making sure your German Shepherd maintains its eyesight into its golden years.
Supplements are a great way to improve your dog’s quality of life and maximize their health — however, not all supplements are made equal.
If you have a German Shepherd, finding a breed-specific dog supplement that meets your needs is going to be the best way to maintain their health and function.
Just make sure you do your research and pick a good one.