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Do German Shepherds Need a Lot of Maintenance?

Whenever you are thinking about adopting or buying a dog, you need to make sure that you can take care of your dog to the best of your ability. Some dogs are very high maintenance with constant grooming needs and expensive vet bills. However, some dog breeds are easier to take care of with fewer needs. 

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Do German Shepherds Need a Lot of Maintenance?

German Shepherds are in the middle when it comes to their maintenance needs. They are low maintenance in terms of grooming and training, but higher maintenance when it comes to energy levels and their health.

If you can handle the frequent brushing that German Shepherds need then grooming won’t be a big problem for you at all. 

Brushing

German Shepherds have very thick double-coats that keep them warm in the winter but hot in the summer. This breed has two shedding seasons, but they still shed a lot throughout the year. Weekly brushing is needed to combat the amount of shedding. 

During their shedding season, you can even brush them several times a week. A German Shepherd is not the dog to have if you have allergies to dog dander. 

Trimming

However, German Shepherd coats are more manageable in the sense that they won’t need frequent trimming. 

Their coats never grow more than their normal medium length, so you won’t need to take your dog to the groomer for a haircut. German Shepherds might need a tiny amount of trimming around their ears and paws, but that is the extent of their haircutting needs.

Bathing

German Shepherds don’t need to be bathed too often. These dogs need a bath every 3 to 4 months unless they get too dirty outside. The bathing needs of a German Shepherd are easy compared to long-haired dogs that need to be bathed every week or every other week.

During bathing, it is good to do any treatments that your German Shepherd may need. This can include flea and tick treatments to keep your German Shepherd itch-free, special medicated soaps, and nail trimming. 

You should also clean your German Shepherd’s ears during this time, but ear cleaning should be done more frequently anyways. 

Do regular ear checks for your German Shepherd to make sure they are clean and free of bugs. A good routine to have is to check their ears every week or biweekly. 

What Are the Exercise Needs of German Shepherds?

German Shepherds are very active dogs with lots of energy. If they are left with too much energy at the end of the day from an improper amount of exercise, they might face behavioral or health issues as a result.

German Shepherds need at least an hour of exercise a day, but the more the better. German Shepherds were created in the image of a perfect working dog, meaning that they were bred to have enough energy to work for several hours a day. 

Depending on the German Shepherd, you might have to give it 2 or more hours of exercise a day. 

There are several ways that you can get your German Shepherd the exercise that it needs. This includes frequent walks, playing with your dog inside or in the backyard, letting your dog run around at a dog park, or even bringing your German Shepherd with you on outdoor adventures. 

Make sure to spread out their exercise time throughout the day. If you consistently try to do their 1 to 2 hours of exercise in one go it can be too much of a strain on your German Shepherd and can lead to bone problems later on.

A good routine can look like a walk in the morning, playing with them when you take them outside, taking them to a dog park for a little bit, and then an evening walk. 

Some of your German Shepherd’s daily exercise can even be completed with their training which we will discuss further below.

What are the Training Needs of a German Shepherd?

When you get a German Shepherd from the time that they are a puppy, they need to start training very soon. While all dogs need some amount of training, German Shepherds gain many benefits from consistent training that starts early in their life. 

First, German Shepherds will need to start with basic obedience training and learn the basic commands such as sit and stay. They will also need socialization training to prevent social anxiety and separation anxiety. 

However, German Shepherds are very intelligent and love to make their owners proud. This makes them super easy to train as they will pick up on the new commands and tricks quickly. 

If you are nearby when they are being trained, they will learn things even faster because they will want to impress you. While German Shepherds need plenty of training, they are highly cooperative which makes training so much easier.

Training for German Shepherds can include leash training, agility training, leadership training, and so much more. In fact, training is good for the mind and body of the German Shepherd as it will work their mind and allow them to get some exercise in. 

What are Health Problems That German Shepherds Face?

Whenever you get a new dog, you must be aware of the possible health problems that the breed can have and how to look out for them. Being aware of possible behaviors that can indicate illness can help you catch problems early on to prevent long-lasting damage.

Bone Problems

So many high-energy and active dogs face problems with their bone structure. With these dogs being super active, they wear down their joints much faster than other breeds of dogs and this can cause both pain and movement limitations down the line.

German Shepherds are highly susceptible to both hip and elbow dysplasia. This can cause a malformation of the bones which then causes a lot of pain and instability in your dog. 

Dysplasia is mostly caused by genetics so it is important to look at the parent’s health files if you are buying a German Shepherd from a breeder.

This problem is a big reason why to avoid blocking out all the exercise your German Shepherd needs in one sitting. That much exercise at once will create stress on their bones and can lead to worsening symptoms.

Digestive Problems

German Shepherds can face several digestive problems that can make them not feel good. These dogs are prone to food allergies and sensitivities so make sure that you are buying the proper dog food for them. 

Dog food with clean ingredients that avoid grains and corn is good for German Shepherds. If your German Shepherd does face a lot of sensitivities, buy dog food that is for sensitive stomachs.

German Shepherds can also have a problem called bloat. It can be hard to spot bloat at first since it is an internal problem. Bloat is when your German Shepherd’s stomach gets twisted on itself and causes immense swelling.

It can be caused by playing and exercising right after eating when the stomach has more weight to it, but it is possible to happen at any time.

Bloat is life-threatening so if you have any suspicions that your German Shepherd is facing bloat, call your vet right away. If caught early enough then your German Shepherd won’t face any long-term harm. 

Eye Problems

Many dogs face eye problems but German Shepherds are more prone to eye problems than average.

Common issues that a German Shepherd may face are cataracts, pannus (scar tissue in the cornea,) and several issues that involve eyelashes or hair getting into the eye.

With any eye problem, blindness is a possible result. Many problems can be helped or solved with surgery, but it is very common for German Shepherd to at least go partially blind as they get a lot older.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a German Shepherd?

Dogs are expensive no matter the breed. From adoption fees to possible surgeries, don’t be surprised if you spend thousands of dollars on your dog over time. Over the course of its life, a German Shepherd can cost a total of $12,000. 

The price can be even higher if your German Shepherd faces many health issues.

Expect to pay anywhere from $100 – $700 a month for everything that your German Shepherd needs. They can be really expensive to take care of, but their love is worth it. 

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds can be both high and low maintenance. They have certain qualities, such as health problems and food necessities that can make them higher maintenance. However, grooming and training are quite simple for the German Shepherd. 

If you want a dog that is right in the middle when it comes to maintenance needs, a German Shepherd might be right for you.

Even though a German Shepherd can be a lot of work to take care of sometimes, the love that they give and their loyalty make it all worth it.

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