German shepherds are a popular dog breed, and it is understandable why. Known for being fiercely loyal and confident but also gentle, these remarkable creatures have captured the hearts of many throughout the years. Their personality and characteristics make them ideal for various households, from having a single owner to a growing family.
Choosing to adopt a German shepherd can be an exciting new chapter in a person’s or family’s life. When welcoming a new addition into your home is a momentous moment, it is understandable that there might be a few queries. Many of these queries will likely be focused on their dog’s health.
Whether your newly adopted German shepherd is your first dog or you have had dogs previously, you will want to know how you can provide the best care possible. If you have recently adopted a German shepherd, keep reading to find a selection of ways to care for the latest addition in your home.
1. Consider Their Age
Are you adopting a more senior German shepherd or a younger/puppy German shepherd? The age of your newly adopted German shepherd will alter how you care for them. With a younger dog, for instance, you will want your home to be prepared for their arrival. You will likely have toys for them to chew and play with and food and treats suitable for their age. These items will be tailored toward helping them with their development.
If you are adopting an older German shepherd, the necessities you buy for them might differ slightly from those of a puppy. The choice of food and treats will be different, and you might not have as many toys. Another thing you will have to consider about getting an older dog is their health.
2. Know Potential Health Issues
Older German shepherds are more susceptible to developing health issues. A common health issue in German shepherds, especially older ones, is with their hind legs. Medically referred to as degenerative myelopathy, this disease gradually affects the spinal cord of a German shepherd. The condition causes symptoms such as loss of coordination and weakness in their hind legs, which can paralyse their hind legs when the disease progresses.
Diabetes and cataracts are also common health issues that German shepherds are likely to develop the older they get. If you notice them struggling with navigating new spaces or that their eyes look slightly cloudy, it is worth a visit to the vet to see if it is cataracts that they are struggling with. With diabetes, the symptoms in dogs are similar to that in humans. Dogs might experience excessive drinking, dry mouth and fatigue. Only in severe cases of diabetes might vets prescribe a dog a daily insulin injection.
3. Invest In Insurance
When our beloved canine friends become ill, taking them to the vet is often a top priority. Vet visits can be a traumatic experience for a dog. For the owner, the bill to pay can be eye watering. Not having insurance for your dog could lead to some costly visits if your canine companion were to be injured or fall ill. Spend time comparing different providers until you find the right one to offer the coverage you need for your newly adopted German shepherd.
You might find dog insurance providers like Purely Pets, who offer coverage to a vast range of dog breeds, including German shepherds. Dog insurance is an investment, but it can be worthwhile. Some pet owners choose not to invest in coverage. However, should their beloved pet fall ill or sustain a severe injury, the vet bill likely has them regretting their decision.
4. Prepare For Their Arrival
When you bring your newly adopted dog home, you want to help them settle into its new home. In the days and weeks leading up to their arrival, make a list of what items your dog will need. Beds, bowls, crates, food, treats and toys are just some of the necessary things you want to invest in. Having these readily available when your newly adopted German shepherd arrives helps to reduce any stress on your side. You do not have to worry about something being missing as you will have everything you need there and ready. All these new items could help your German shepherd settle into its new home a little easier.
Aside from having all the items ready, consider having a routine. The routine could be what times in the day they have food and times they go on a walk. They will gradually learn these routines, which can help your dog feel settled into its new home.
5. Learn Mental Stimulation Games
German shepherds are known for being intelligent dogs that can easily be trained. Keeping them mentally stimulated can help to prevent them from becoming a handful. If German shepherds are not mentally stimulated, their boredom can become destructive. They might chew shoes and furniture and dig holes in the garden because they are not being mentally stimulated.
Spend time researching what games to play with a German shepherd. These games could require you to participate, such as tug of war or guiding them through an obstacle course. Other games could be puzzles to complete that release a treat when they succeed. These treats will further fuel them to complete the different puzzles to release more treats.
6. Be Patient And Keep Calm
When adopting a German shepherd from a rescue centre, remember that their previous homes might have influenced their behaviour. Their previous owners might not have been able to care for them anymore, and their lifestyles might have changed and having to care for a dog that needs mental stimulation wasn’t feasible anymore. Unfortunately, some might have been in an uncaring home and experienced traumatic moments.
Regardless of its background, moving from one place to another will likely be an overwhelming experience for your newly adopted dog. As you bring them home and help them to get settled in, ensure that you are patient and calm. It might take them time to feel settled or warm up to you. When showing affection, watch how they react. If they seem apprehensive, consider a different approach and allow them to warm up to you. If you notice they seem weary, try not to crowd them or make them feel trapped. This could further upset them, which is something you would want to avoid. Showing patience and staying calm will help to build trust in you. Over time, you will likely notice the difference in how they are with you.
Start Of A New Chapter
As you prepare to welcome home your newly adopted German shepherd, keep in mind some of the tips mentioned. It is possible to offer the care your German shepherd needs to be happy and healthy in its new home. Being patient, staying calm, being prepared and having measures in place in the event they fall or have an injury will help you provide them with the care they need.
In return for the care and love you show them, you will have a loyal companion by your side. This beloved addition to your home will make a great friend by your side for the years to come