Nutrition needs of your German Shepherd

German Shepherd is perhaps the world’s most popular utility dog. Their robustness, rusticity and intelligence, steals everyone’s hearts. They convey a sense of strength, intelligence and litheness. They radiate a harmonious sense of nobility and self-confidence that commands respect. Nevertheless while rearing a German Shepherd, their specific characteristics should be kept in mind and accordingly a well-balanced nutritious diet should be given to them.

GSDs have an established digestive sensitivity:

A higher intestinal permeability, a lower digestive capacity and a greater fermentative activity among large dogs are many factors that may explain their lower digestive tolerance. Hence, it is important to ensure maximum digestive security among German Shepherds through nutrition. Proper diet ensures digestion and absorption of nutrients and fermentation of undigested matter. It also helps in protecting and nourishing the intestinal and colonic mucosa, limiting fermentative activity and improving the consistency of stools.

GSD’s immune system put to test everyday:

German Shepherd is a utility dog par excellence, as a guide dog, rescue dog, police dog or defence dog. These varied chores put his immune system under severe pressure every day. The German Shepherd is among the breeds showing a weak plasmatic concentration of immunoglobulin A (IgA), which increases the risk of infection. IgA are antibodies specialised in the defence of mucosae and the skin against infectious agents and are essential ingredients of secretions such as saliva, tears and intestinal juices.

Sensitive skin of a GSD:

The dog’s skin pH is one of the highest among mammals (an average of 7.4). Among the canine species, the skin pH appears to vary according to breed.

An alkaline skin is more conducive to bacterial proliferation than an acidic skin. A German Shepherd’s relative deficiency in IgA (Immunoglobin A) and the high alkalinity of his skin can explain his sensitivity to bacterial skin diseases, such as pyoderma. So, it is essential to reinforce the integrity of the skin barrier, while preserving natural beauty of his coat, through nutrition.

The epidermis forms a barrier that limits water loss by the body and prevents its penetration by allergens. This barrier role is made possible by ceramides, which are lipids that form ‘cement’ that bonds the epidermis cells. The synergic action of a supply of various vitamins (choline, nicotinamide, inositol, pyridoxine and panthotenic acid) and amino acids (proline and histidine) augments the synthesis of ceramides, which helps limit water loss and prevent the penetration by bacteria or any allergens (pollen, dust mites).

GSD’s bone structure is under great daily stress:

The German Shepherd’s exceptional morphology enables him to perform as well in his work or walking with his master, as in the most diverse and most demanding of sporting disciplines: ring, mondioring, protection, campagne, and not forgetting search & rescue of course. This means that the joints of this versatile dog are put under great stress. Hip, elbow and knee dysplasia, cauda equina and articular osteochondroses are unfortunately not rare in this sporting dog. With time, his cartilages will be damaged and this wear and tear may gradually give way to osteoarthritis when the dog grows older. This means that it is essential to help prevent joint complaints and associated inflammatory mechanisms through nutrition.

Royal Canin’s made to measure kibble:

Royal Canin offers a nutritional programme for a German Shepherd of all ages. For 2-15 month old puppies, there is MAXIjunior, which offers a very high digestive security which ensures equilibrium of intestinal flora and regular digestive transit. German Shepherd 24 is for the adult dog, which is exclusively formulated taking into account his digestive sensitivity, reinforcement of natural defences, protection of the skin and the coat and articular capital. The advantages of feeding this food includes:

  • Guaranteeing optimal palatability : Born with an exceptional olfactory acuity, a German Shepherd is able to detect up to 5,00,000 different odours, compared with the mere 4,000 that humans can distinguish. His exceptional nose makes guaranteed optimal appetence of the food essential to satisfy his very high demands. The food is formulated with premium quality ingredients and exclusive aromas, based on a secret recipe.
  • Improving oral hygiene: The dog’s teeth are brushed mechanically as he chews, which helps limit the accumulation of tartar. This effect is reinforced by the presence of chelating agents of calcium, which render calcium unavailable for the mineralisation of dental plaque and so the formation of tartar.
  • Helping to prevent gastric dilatation-volvulus: After a meal, the stomach can achieve a volume of 3-4 litres in a 15 kg dog and up to 7 litres in a large dog. This predisposition to distension, associated to a relative laxity of the stomach’s means of attachment to the abdomen, means that the dog is predisposed to the gastric dilatation-volvulus. This complaint is fatal in 30% of cases. So, it is essential to feed the German Shepherd very digestible food that can be digested fast and efficiently.
  • Protecting joints: The food also protects joints and prevents or slows down osteoarthritis. It has an extra source of chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, the combined action of which helps stimulate the regeneration of articular cartilage and slows down cartilage degeneration.
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