Thursday, January 24, 2019

Does Your German Shepherd Dog Eat Grass?

Does your German Shepherd Dog eat grass?

Grass Eating Habit in German Shepherds

If your German Shepherd Dog is eating grass, he is certainly not the only dog on the Earth that exhibits such strange behavior. There are many schools of thoughts and theories as to why a German Shepherd Dog eat grass, but there’s no proven and confirmed conclusion as to why they eat grass. Dogs, irrespective of breed, gender and age eat grass at some point of time.

Veterinary researchers have been pounding on the mystery of dogs eating grass. Dr. Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD, has studying on animal behavior for over 50 years and according to him one of the questions he is hit with most frequently from dog owners is: “Why does my dog eat grass?” Researchers have carried out study on the dogs eating grass. A number of 49 dogs were exposed to vegetation and grassland. It was observed that around 39 out of 49 dogs had consumed plants at some point of time. It noticed that the grass was preferred more than other plants by most of the dogs. Now the question is: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

This behavior that is characterized by knowingly eating things by a species that are not their food is called “Pica”. If your German shepherd Dog or any other dog or mongrel is eating grass, this is a kind of pica, a behavior that is not necessarily fatal or harmful, as long as you garden is free from poisonous pants along with the grass that your dog can accidentally ingest.

There are different reasons but none of them have been scientifically proven and confirmed. Some the probable reasons that many canine experts have laid down are as follows:

Settling their stomach: Those there in the veterinary profession would clearly say that your GSD eats grass because he has a natural instinct to use grass as a medicinal herb, whenever they feel irritation or ache inside their stomach. According to some people (especially those directly or indirectly related the veterinary profession) believe that dogs – irrespective of breed – eat grass and then vomit in order to settle their stomach.

Controversy: Many dogs, most of the times, do not vomit after eating grass. This goes a long way to prove that grass is not used by the dogs to vomit in order to settle their stomach. Moreover, in a survey it has been noticed that grass eating and vomit do not always go together… nor grass eating and illness are always associated. In the study of clients and veterinary students it was observed that 18% of the clients’ dogs that ate grass vomited after eating. On the other hand, 9% of the dogs owned by the veterinary-students showed some symptoms of illness before eating grass.

Nutritional deficiency: Some experts consider that dogs eat grass because of nutritional deficiency in their regular diet. Since dogs are not purely carnivorous they needs plant fibers as a part of their diet. Some dogs eat grass probably because their food doesn’t meet their requirement of veg nutrition which they try to compensate by eating grass.

Controversy: Many dogs that are fed on purely non-commercial food, without any vegetables also eat grass. Home made food usually consist of meat, eggs, fruits, veggies etc. that are quite nutritious. Many dogs that are give enough of vegetables of different types also eat grass. Moreover, if it’s a question of nutritional benefits, there wouldn’t have any reason for some dogs to vomit after eating grass.

Natural instinct: Grass eating habit of dogs is a natural instinct. Their ancestors used to eat small amount of grass and plants nutrients as a part of their natural diet indirectly by eating the intestines of herbivorous prey for instance deer, goat, sheep etc. This is considered as the instinctual craving for the roughage or minerals or fiber present in the vegetation

They love to eat grass: Some canine experts conclude that dogs love to eat grass because they like the taste. Grass and plants or weeds contains a vegetable sap that is a sometimes tastes sweet. Your German Shepherds probably like eating grass because of the taste.

We do not have any solid explanation as to why dogs eat grass. There are different school of thought and theoretical statements and believes. Researchers have been burning their midnight oil to come up to a rock solid reason for dogs’ grass eating habits. Now the question is: Is there anything to be worried about? Dog’s grass eating habit doesn’t always cause for alarm. Dogs usually do not eat grass excessively. If you notice your GSD eating grass in excessive quantity you should consult your vet instantly. Grass eating by dogs is something not to be worried about as long as your lawn is not treated with poisonous substances like fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or any other chemical components.

Important Related Read: Herbal Cure For Dogs


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Panosteitis (Pano) or Long Bone Disease in German Shepherd Dog

X-Ray of the Dog's Long Bone having Panosteitis
(Fatty bone marrow inflammation)

Panosteitis (Long Bone Disease) is a growth disorder which causes great pain to young dogs but vanishes with age. Different rate of growth of the bone plates is the culprit causing the discomfort. The bone growth stops once the dog reaches maturity. Hence, in adulthood, there's no more pain experienced by large, big boned dogs, for instance German Shepherd dogs apart from Great Danes, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador and Dobermans. The incidence of Panosteitis is higher in males than females.

Usually when the dog is in between the age of 6 to 18 months, the growing pain affects the animal. In short, it is a juvenile disorder which automatically regresses with the onset of sexual maturity.

Signs that Says Panosteitis

The pain causes limp and more than one leg can get affected by Panosteitis (short name is Pano), which should not be considered as a disease but as a teething problem of body growth in canine breeds. The lameness is clinically described as 'shifting lameness' or 'shifting pain disease'.

Generally such dogs show signs of lethargy and appetite loss (since they remain depressed) combined with feverish body temperature or tonsillitis. Also evident is increase in the white blood cell count. There is a noticeable reluctance to walk or exercise. The clinical symptoms of Panosteitis is periodic and reflect a waxing and waning pattern. The signs last either few days or few weeks and then disappear to resurface again.

More About Panosteitis

The key characteristic of Panosteitis is fatty bone marrow inflammation – the limb bones are the targets of Panosteitis. The long bone shafts which have higher percentage of bone marrow face the brunt like ulna, radius, femur, humerus, tibia, pelvic and foot bones. The bone pain can be excruciating and might lead to lameness. The bone inflammation occurs because Pano leads to degeneration of fat cells of bone marrow and certain structural changes like osteoblasts.

The cause of Panosteitis is yet to be deciphered. Initial hypothesis point that some bacteria were responsible has been ruled out. There is a consideration that Pano is viral keeping in mind the symptoms of virus infection (fever, decreased white blood cell count, etc).

Whether or not Panosteitis is genetic, the scientists are yet to determine. A connection is made to the genetic link since certain breeds of dogs are more affected than others. But the main reason behind Pano is seen as diet that's rich in protein and fat. So, the occurrence of Pano is more dependent on nutritional aspect rather than genetic or viral aspect.

How to Diagnose Pano?

Panosteitis goes away and hence it is not a matter of utter concern; only your little pup will have to undergo a passing phase of pain. It can be diagnosed by X-Ray and only a vet, specialized in canine orthopedics, can identify the disorder from the X-Ray plate.

Vet surgeons have found out that there is an increase in bone density in Panosteitis. In the later stages the bones take on a patchy or mottled appearance, which returns to normalcy once the dog outgrows puppyhood.

Treatment of Pano

Never administer steroids to dogs afflicted with Pano. Pain killers come with side-effects like irritation in the intestines. Most important of all, is feeding an appropriate diet to such dogs is crucial because food plays a vital role in the growth and skeletal development. Natural nutrition and exercise management are ideal ways out to deal with Panosteitis.

Make a Stop to Growing Up Too Fast

Retard the process of growing up too fast – because that's the reason behind Pano. Ideally the growth rate should be slowed down in puppies affected by Panosteitis. Puppies who are not affected by any conditions should be offered good quality food with right amount of protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals. Home made food with right amount and types of ingredients are great option. An all-natural diet is helpful in this regard. Even in home food, the amount of bones should be kept to minimum. Strategic feeding is highly recommended by your vet.


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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Stride Without Extremes

Please note: This article was lovingly contributed to be published on the German Shepherd blog by Lt. Linda J Shaw, MBA Author of “The Illustrated Standard for the German Shepherd Dog” on Saturday, Mar 12, 2016. This article and the image(s) remain under the copyright of Lt. Linda J Shaw and Aringsburg, and are not to be used without my written permission.

* Aringsburg and Shawlein jointly assert full copyright over the images in this post.

* "Seven photos should be self explanatory" - Linda J Shaw

The article goes here...

I am not especially enthusiastic over the increase in rear angulation that has commandeered the breed in North America over the last fifty years, and is now taking hold in Germany. The theory has always been that more acute angulation between the great levers of the hind leg; the femur, the tibia/fibula and the metatarsus; creates more drive and more powerful propulsion. I found, from my study of the gait of the wild gray wolf, that this is not the case. An increase in angulation does increase the length of the stride at the trot, but it also requires the dog to trot faster, and will tend to tax the dog’s endurance. Moderate angulation provides the best balance of speed and endurance.

Extreme angulation has also resulted in hindquarters that sag, producing an abnormally sloped topline and hocks that sickle and rotate to the midline, cow hocks, and sink to a plantigrade position. None of these problems should be rewarded in the show ring, but they are. I doubt that show judges or breeders will ever reject an increase in angulation in the rear. The side gait it produces is just too attractive.

However, it is possible to “have your cake” as it were, and produce beautiful side gait without the collapsing hindquarter and weak hocks. The dog pictured is a female from thirty years ago. In the black and white photos, she was about 18 months old (and out of coat). In the color photos, she was about 30 months. She obviously possessed the side gait so loved in the North American show ring, and appeared when posed to be as angulated and any judge would want.

Interestingly though, when set up in a normal support position, or “four square”, with the rear feet under the hip joints, or even with the rear feet set under the rear of the pelvis, she actually stands very high in the rear. Her hind legs are long, and not abnormally angulated. From the rear, her legs and hocks are straight and strong. She moved cleanly going away and was an enthusiastic jumper and fast at the gallop. At the trot, her back remained level and strong, not sloping, and she did not stand or run with her hocks on the ground.

No doubt few show people would want to see a dog standing with its croup higher than its withers. In actuality, she normally stood with her hind legs more or less in a show pose, and with a level back. She never sagged into a crouch or sit. I know because I owned her. She finished with three five point majors at specialty shows, including under Sam Lawrence, and in the working group defeated Canada’s top winning dog, all breeds. She had issues, but strength in the rear wasn’t one of them.
So if show dogs are your thing, there is no excuse for weak, sagging rears and soft, sickle hocks. They don’t have to be the price for the extended side gait required to win in the show ring.

Please Note: Copyright: These pictures are copyright protected by Aringsburg and Shawlein.

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All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.

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