Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed's health and wellness.
If you own or have owned a German Shepherd in the past, then you’re probably well aware of how important it is to take care of their health. If you haven’t and you're planning to get a German Shepherd, then it’s very important that you learn about the potential health hazards that these beautiful dogs face.
One of the most common things that German Shepherds will experience is a problem with their bladder. There are a number of different bladder issues that present in these poor dogs, and it’s important to prepare for them and know how to manage them if they do occur.
In this article, we’re going to outline the most common shepherd bladder problems and give you a brief outline of potential solutions. After reading this, you should be better equipped to help keep your shepherd strong and healthy.
Bladder infections most often occur when bacteria enter the German Shepherd’s urinary tract. This compromises the function of their bladder and can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms. If the bladder infection is not the result of bacteria, it can be caused by eating bad food or drinking tainted water, having kidney stones, or bladder tumors.
Female shepherds are more likely to get bladder infections than males, and older dogs are more likely to get them than others. Shepherds aren’t necessarily more or less susceptible to bladder infections than other dogs, but all dogs run the risk of developing them.
You might need to get your dog checked out for a bladder infection if they display any of the following:
- Suddenly consuming a lot of water despite the temperature remaining the same
- Straining to urinate or only urinating tiny amounts of urine
- Urinating with excessive frequency or without control
- Fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and other flu-like symptoms
If your dog is experiencing several of these symptoms then take them to the vet immediately.
Urinary stones, bladder stones or kidney stones can happen in dogs for a few reasons. There are different types of kidney stones and thus there are different causes and treatments.
- Metabolic kidney stones are usually caused by some problem with the blood or the urinary system.
- Some kidney stones can be caused by bladder infections or other forms of infections.
- Some dogs develop kidney stones from eating foods high in uric acid. Uric acid is the main culprit of kidney stones in humans because it builds up in the blood and kidneys and crystallizes.
- In the case of bladder stones, the urinary tract can become blocked making it more and more difficult for your German Shepherd to pee. If you don't go to the vet when your dog is having difficulty peeing this could become very bad. Especially in older dogs the bladder can expand to a very large size and stay that large even when the stones are removed. Your dog's bladder will save up its pee for days and at certain times there will be bladder overflow resulting in massive uncontrolled peeing.
If you feed your German Shepherd dry food or some lower quality canned foods, your dog runs more risk of getting issues with struvite crystals. The key here is having your dog drink enough water to avoid problems. If your dog is not drinking enough and you see he's not peeing easily, go to the vet.
Raw food or adding enough fluids to your dry food can prevent issues. We gave our dogs a combination of raw food and dry food with additional fluids or some wet food. Also providing running water (fountain) to invite more drinking can help.
If problems arise, vets often put your dog on specific diet food. If the stones are serious and can't be peed out, they have to be removed first.
If your dog has a kidney stone then they will probably display several of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the kidneys
- Bloody urine
- Changes in the frequency of urination
- Low appetite and vomiting, weight loss
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms then you should take them to the vet so they can get checked up on.
Urinary incontinence is a condition in which dogs lose control of their bladder. The intensity of the condition can vary—some dogs only spill a little bit of urine whereas others can void their entire bladder without any control.
There are a number of things that can lead to the development of urinary incontinence. If your dog has experienced any of these then they may be more likely to develop the problem:
- Hormonal problems
- Other bladder issues like a UTI, urinary or kidney stones, spinal problems, prostate problems, anatomic problems, certain medications, or diseases that cause excessive water consumption
Urinary incontinence can usually be noted by your dog dribbling urine and being unable to control their bladder. Check with your vet if you have noticed this.
If you have read the information in this article, then you’ll be better prepared to know the signs and symptoms of a bladder problem in your shepherd. If you notice some of the above symptoms, then you should make a point of getting your puppy to the vet as soon as you possibly can.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you gain some new knowledge about common German Shepherd bladder issues. Good luck with your shepherd and hopefully the two of you share a happy and healthy relationship.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2019 Sam Shepards