German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Been reading all these sad posts lately about young dogs passing way before their time, it's heart breaking! Personally I've had two
Shepherds in the past that also passed away much too young (not like it's never enough time anyways). For those of you that have had shepherds that lived past 10 years old what did you do? What did you feed? What supplements did you give? We love our pup so much, he is our best friend! I want to do
everything I can to give him the longest life. Currently he eats raw food, takes supplements, gets marrow bones, eggs every couple days, and gets plenty of daily exercise including lots of swimming during the warmer months. He was a very sick puppy and I wonder how this will effect his later years?
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Hi all,
Been reading all these sad posts lately about young dogs passing way before their time, it's heart breaking! Personally I've had two
Shepherds in the past that also passed away much too young (not like it's never enough time anyways). For those of you that have had shepherds that lived past 10 years old what did you do? What did you feed? What supplements did you give? We love our pup so much, he is our best friend! I want to do
everything I can to give him the longest life. Currently he eats raw food, takes supplements, gets marrow bones, eggs every couple days, and gets plenty of daily exercise including lots of swimming during the warmer months. He was a very sick puppy and I wonder how this will effect his later years?
Thanks!
Very good subject for a thread Gandalf. I am one who has suffered the loss of one too soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,672 Posts
I think you're setting the bar too low at 10 years. I think getting them beyond 12 is very rare, so those are the dogs that are special.

My last one made 11 before cancer got him, and he started out life as a starved, emaciated adolescent, with pneumonia.

We rotated good kibble for him (Prairie NV, Wysong, and many others), but he also ate a lot of fresh produce -- we pureed some veggies or fruit, and he stole snacks from trees and vines in the yard much of the year (figs, blackberries, apples, sour cherries, and guavas).

I would say his challenges early in life didn't impact him late in life....except: his cancer was that the bone cancer hit him EXACTLY where there had been a pano lesion on an xray as a pup. It could be coincidence, but...no one knows.

I was just talking to a vet I love about GSD cancer this week, and she said to look at Nutrocept:
https://functionalnutriments.com/products/nutrocept/
The company has a parallel OTC product called EverPup that's about half the price. I'm not sure what the difference is. Their line is interesting because some of the ingredients are targeted to apoptosis (they also make Apocaps). The problem is the dang flax seed they use -- one of mine is allergic.

I also think environment matters for them, as for us. There are places in the U.S. where the expected lifespan for people is much shorter than in other areas -- compare Louisiana and Colorado! I would bet the dogs follow the same regional patterns. I also think exercise and body mass for them over a lifetime probably matters just as it does for us. The obesity trend for pets likely carries some statistical risk of shortening life spans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,758 Posts
I like the feeds of the Purina feed company. I trust the nutritional science behind them. I had a horse live to be 40 years old on Purina complete horse pellets, not old horse food covered with molasses, Purina 200 for breeding horses. Now I'm feeding Inga Purina 1 Large Breed after Purina 1 large breed puppy. She is healthy, lively, beautiful coat, eats every bit of her food with just a bit of hot water on it. Is available at grocery stores everywhere. Sure there is luck in the length of life of us all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,461 Posts
I guess stress in a dog's life would be a longevity factor. Living in a peaceful environment versus a contentious household, and the temperament of the dog, highly strung versus chilled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,489 Posts
I think I am on board with genetics and luck.

I know an aussie breeder who has recently lost two dogs young-ish to cancer. She barely vaccinates, feeds raw with all the supplements. I'm talking like 10/11 years these dogs go.

I lost my Florida ditch dog GSD mix to cancer at age 10. Other than the huge tumor, he was full of energy and life and did not act old at all.

My girl is 11 now, and she is still enjoying her life very much. I am trying not to let a single day go by without appreciating her and trying to make sure she and I enjoy ourselves together, because I don't know how much longer she will be with me. My vet has said "oh she'll make fourteen or fifteen, easy". If a sneaky cancer doesn't get her, she just might.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,635 Posts
I figured I’d have Sage until she was old, but in her case a freak infection got her when she just turned 5. When she was first diagnosed I asked my vet why this happened. He said “bad luck”.

Scarlet’s grandmother is still frolicking around, and will be 12 in Feb. Her sight is going, and she’s a bit dotty, but she’s enjoying life. I hope Scarlet gets her longevity!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,021 Posts
My goal in this life is to get mine to 15 plus, all of them. I know that might not be realistic but I keep that in my head at all times. I'm not a quitter....LOL. My oldest is 13(not a GSD but a 60 pound mix). One day she couldn't walk, I freaked out and thought oh no this can't be it. She eats good, asks to go out, has great hearing and sight plus APOLLO gets her playing quite often. Just those darn legs. I have never done so much research so fast in my life. I got her stabilized and just pray for the best.

For all of them..

I will never feed kibble again, vaccines are at a minimum, I've moved away from any flea treatment(I still give .3 ccs of ivermeticin for heartworm May-Oct every 45 days), I give filtered water, I no longer use chemicals to clean or wash clothes, no more candles or sprays(essential oils only) and I make sure they are not stressed and are exercised. They get Spirulina, bee pollen, colostrum, garlic and some get CBD oil.

I can only hope for the best and I know I give it my best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,234 Posts
I've only had one not make it past 12 and had two live happily beyond 14. I didn't know any better and feed them whatever, even crappy fast food cheese burgers when we were on the go. My lab mix got bone cancer at the site of where he had broken his leg at 2. I thought the plate they had used may have been to blame, but who knows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,432 Posts
I've only had 2 dogs previously, myself personally. My family has raised dozens...big family, lots of dogs around always...mostly mixed breeds.

But my dogs have always been GSD ( though the first was mixed with lab to some degree). All of them lived past 12, and none had any arthritis or GI or hip problems at 12. No cancer, no other health issues... What I can say is that I never "babied" any of them ever. Most lived outside a lot of the time, ate different food one week to the next, and all of them got way more exercise than I see people advocating for puppies now. Running miles per day, jumping way more than is commonly prescribed, and playing and interacting with other dogs and puppies.

Maybe dogs are fine living in crates and being treated like tools, but in my mind they're so much more complex than that...

Most of the GSDs I have known in the past have made it beyond 15, some in better health than others, but the lifespans we're all seeing now to me is alarming! It's way different than I've been used to my whole life...

I think it's environmental, these short lifespans. But I also think that people always want more...more drive, more aggression, more focus...it's not healthy, or balanced, or right, but it does sell...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,726 Posts
My last two crossed the bridge at 14 and 17. Both large breeds. The 17 year old was a Rott/GSD/Pit/Chow/? mix according to wisdom panel (for what ever that's worth)

Varied diet based primarily on whole fresh foods with some emphasis on "super foods", focus on hydration, lots of sunshine, no leashes, minimal vax/antibiotic usage, limited pesticide exposure, lots of love and luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
I do think it's mostly genetics and luck.

If you are serious about longevity, the best studies I've seen show that living in a state of semi-starvation- eating very few calories- does extend life significantly. I'm not going to do that. I'd rather eat now and die at 90 vs 100. Since my dogs and I exercise together, we all have athletic body condition, but are not elite-marathoner skinny. I don't want to starve myself or my dogs to live a few extra years at the very end of my life. Quality vs. Quantity.

I've yet to see any reliable studies showing that supplements make a difference. Not living near a super fund site (hard to do, check out a map) is a good plan if you can manage it.

My female's sire is now a healthy 14 years old. For a larger dog, 88 lbs working weight, and a dog that titled to KNPV PH-1 (pretty demanding on the body), that's not bad at all. He looks good! I am hoping he passed that on to my girl, and his grandpups.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,503 Posts
I lost my (probable, exact mix unknown) GSD/BC at 14.5. She might have made it to her 15th birthday, but the time came to let her go. Blood tests were inconclusive, she wasn't in pain, but her body was starting to fail her. It might have been a cancer we couldn't pinpoint, it might have been something else, but by that time it wouldn't have made much difference.

She ate a basic kibble. Added fish oil capsules in her senior years. She got lots of exercise, traveled with the family, grew up with me. Nothing special. Standard vet care, spayed. She swam in the river and chased her football right up until her last summer.

Even though I can't prove or scientifically justify that it will make any difference, I have attempted to provide successive and current dogs with "cleaner" food, radically scaled back on chemicals used in my house (for my benefit as well as theirs), phased out a lot of plastic in favor of glass/stainless/wool, and I do add supplements to their food.

I won the genetic/luck lottery with my dog who lived that long, now I'm trying to stack the deck so that the rest of my dogs can stay with me as long as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,278 Posts
Genetics are a big factor in determining life span. This is a big hobby-horse of mine.

When I was young, the lifespan of a GSD was said to be about 12 to 13 years. Now I hear of popular studs dropping dead at 10 years of age, or even younger, and I hear owners saying they consider any years after 10 to be 'a gift'.

Now, I studied genetics at university. If you inbreed too closely with either plants or animals, the first thing that happens is you get a drop in fertility and longevity.

Gee, ya think this MIGHT be what's happening with purebred dogs?

Fortunately, my show line girl is a total outcross (ASL/GSL) and at 10 years of age, is still very healthy and active, but if I go back and look at the German show line side of her pedigree, the same dogs pop up as many as 14 times in 7 generations.

You will see similar intensive inbreeding with the American showline dogs. Here's an example...scroll down to read the comments, which come from a breeder who gave up on the American show line dogs, because so many were dying at a young age, or suffering from serious genetic health issues. If you look at the linebreeding on this dog, you will not see any common ancestry in 4 generations, but I've clicked on the icon to show the 7 generation linebreeding, which tells an entirely different story! YES IT DOES MATTER - it's called backmassing, and it DOES affect your dog's genetic makeup, when there are that many common ancestors in the 'back 40' of a pedigree! [Edit: you will have to click on the tab for linebreeding to see this for yourself.]

Karizma's Nicaragua

So, if you want your GSD to live to a ripe old age, avoid excessive inbreeding (line breeding) and pick a puppy whose parents and grandparents have live long, healthy lives.

One of the offspring of this dog belonged to someone I know, and he passed away recently at the age of 10. I am not surprised.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,432 Posts
My wl male (5 yrs) and wgsl male (3 yrs) are both from imported parents. Hope to have an answer to this in about 12 years or so. :smile2:
I've read lots of comments about how Europeans view and treat their dogs much differently than we typically do in the U.S., so I was thinking more about environment, nutrition and lifestyle for dogs living in Europe. Obviously this would not apply to imported dogs....

But I hope you're able to provide good news down the road still!
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top