Hip and Joint Problems in German Shepherds, and How Supplements Can Help

German Shepherd dogs are a larger breed well known for their strength and intelligence, which is why they’re used as police dogs. However, they’re unfortunately also known for their joint problems, many of which have been caused by excessive interbreeding.

Here, we look as some of these joint issues and how giving your German Shepherd supplements for joint heath can help reduce their symptoms.

Common Joint Problems in German Shepherd Dogs

Hip and elbow dysplasia

German Shepherds can suffer from a genetic disorder called hip dysplasia, and every GSD puppy with police dog potential is checked for this condition before they begin training in earnest. Elbow dysplasia can also occur. Both are the result of joint malformation that causes ‘loose’ joints and movement in the socket, damaging the cartilage.

While it can’t be prevented, German Shepherd supplements may help to keep your dog more comfortable.

Panosteitis

Panosteitis is a painful inflammation of the outer surface or shaft of one or more long leg bones, which tends to affect rapidly growing dogs aged between 5-18 months. It can result in ‘shifting lameness’, with pain shifting from one leg to the other, or affect more than one leg at a time, in bouts of up to 3 weeks. If lameness persists for longer, another condition is more likely to blame.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Although seen as a senior condition, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) can occur in German Shepherds from the age of five. It’s a non-inflammatory degeneration of the white matter of the spinal cord, and while it’s often initially painless, it progresses through symptoms such as changed gait to difficulty walking, and eventually, to incontinence and back leg paralysis. There is evidence that vitamins E (present in our Omega Fish Oil Capsules) and B12 (in our Multivitamin Supplement for Dogs) help to decrease the degeneration of the nervous system and so could help with this condition.  Physiotherapy and swimming can also help by decreasing atrophy in the back legs due to muscle disuse.

Arthritis

Arthritis (inflammation at the joint caused by cartilage deterioration) can occur in any breed of dog, and is more common as dogs age, but German Shepherds are particularly prone to it.

German Shepherd supplements for joint pain

Because German Shepherds are so prone to joint problems, some experts recommend starting your dog on joint supplements from the age of eight weeks. German Shepherd supplements for joint health focus on preventing and reducing the joint inflammation that can lead to pain and stiffness.

Always check with your vet before starting your dog on supplements to ensure there’s no contraindication with an existing condition or medication.

Omega Fish Oils

While Omega fish oils aren’t quite the wonder supplement some companies claim, giving your German Shepherd supplements that contain Omega fish oils can help to prevent and reduce joint inflammation by decreasing the production of inflammation-causing chemicals called prostaglandins.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is a great all-round, multifunction supplement for German Shepherds, packed full of natural antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and Omega oils. It’s not just helpful in supporting joint health, but supports the immune system, and good gut and skin health. too.

Turmeric (curcumin)

Turmeric contains curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation when taken consistently, so it’s the perfect German Shepherd supplement to give your dog every day.

Green Lipped Mussel

Green Lipped Mussel is an excellent source of chondroitin, which may help strengthen the protective, fluid-filled capsule around your dog’s joint. It’s also rich in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids, and in glycoproteins, which have several essential functions throughout the body. Green Lipped Mussel supplements contain selenium, vitamin B12, zinc and folic acid, too.

Hip and Joint Supplement

Our Hip and Joint Supplement is a really powerful formulation that contains multiple ingredients to prevent and relieve joint inflammation, pain and stiffness, so it’s the ideal German Shepherd supplement. It includes:

  • Turmeric and Green Lipped Mussel, both mentioned above
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) and glucosamine, both thought to have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Hyaluronic acid (which may help to lubricate stiff joints)
  • Vitamin C
  • Additional chondroitin to strengthen the joint capsule.

Magnetic Field Therapy

Interestingly, magnetic field therapy, a technique that has been used on horses for several decades, is also thought to help with chronic conditions such as vertebral disease, degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia, tendonitis and problems caused by other neurologic or musculoskeletal conditions.  Our Bioflow® magnetic dog collars could therefore help and there have been reports of a dramatic reduction in lameness and an increase in the quality of life, particularly for older German shepherd dogs, when using magnetic collars.

Should you Give Your German Shepherd Supplements for Joint Health?

In short, yes. While no supplement can completely cure the joint issues that German Shepherds are prone to, giving your German Shepherd supplements that reduce their inflammation, pain and stiffness can help them lead a happier, more pain-free and more flexible life—and that’s what all caring dog owners want for their dog.