German Shepherd Life Span: 15 Ways to Increase Longevity

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Do you want to know how to extend the German Shepherd life span and increase your German Shepherd’s longevity?

Then you’re in the right spot! This guide covers science-backed ways to extend our breed’s life span and increase longevity.

Follow the advice to give your dog the best chance at a happy and healthy life with you! Here are the best tips to increase longevity in the German Shepherd life span.

1. Restrict Calories to Maintain a Lean Physique

restrict calories to maintain a lean physique
Limit calories to increase longevity.

Research shows that limiting your dog’s calorie intake increases their life span and decreases with age-related changes.

Dogs fed a calorie-restricted diet lived longer and experience less age-related chronic diseases.

Control your dog’s calories so they neither gain nor lose weight once they achieve their ideal weight. Don’t overfeed your adult dog, especially a large breed puppy like the GSD, as this can cause lifelong problems.

56% of dogs in the United States are overweight and may experience life-altering health complications from this weight. Speak to your vet about calorie restriction for longer life.

2. Feed a High-Quality Diet

high quality foods
Invest in high-quality dog foods.

A high-quality diet helps strengthen your GSD’s immune system, maintains their intestinal health, increases their mental acuity, and helps keep joints and muscles in better shape.

Some vets state that a diet high in protein increases how long a dog lives. Dogs fed high-protein diets showed fewer signs of disease related to aging.

A high-carb diet is a signal for developing cavities in dogs, which leads to tooth decay, bacteria, and can decrease life expectancy. This doesn’t mean you should go grain-free, though, as grain-free diets have recently been a possible link to cardiac disease.

Instead, stick with name brand dog foods that use thorough testing using food trials, along with AAFCO nutrition statements on the label. You can find the top brands for your German Shepherd puppy by reading How Much To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy: Stop Guessing With Their Health

3. Keep Stress Levels Down

keeping stress low
Dogs will lower stress levels are healthier.

According to the Ontario SPCA, stress increases a dog’s chance of getting ill, not to mention displaying unwanted behaviors.

Avoid punishment, which contributes to stress and keep your training sessions upbeat. Offer plenty of calming massages to your dog, which is shown to decrease stress levels.

Some owners report changes in their GSDs personalities after daily massages. Work in times when you and your dog have quiet one-on-one calming sessions for both of your health.

4. Keep Up to Date with Vaccinations

 Routine vaccines help your GSD live longer.

Keep to a regular vaccination schedule for your German Shepherd so they don’t catch preventable disease or illness. Any sickness or disease increases your GSDs life span.

Check what vaccines you need when enrolling in dog training classes. Ensure they are strict on checking other dog’s records. When dogs are in close areas, they’re more likely to catch illnesses.

Dogs can also catch viruses when around other dogs, even when not at a kennel or dog class. For example, at dog parks or when out on hikes and walks.

5. Give Parasite Prevention

parasite prevention
 Parasite prevention keeps your dog safer from sickness.

Worm your dog and apply or administer any flea or tick treatments. These treatments ensure your dog lives a longer life without parasites, sickness or disease.

Don’t skip heartworm prevention. Heartworms decrease a dog’s life span significantly, as it weakens their heart from the parasitic invasion.

6. Keep Your Dog Away from Toxic Foods

avoid toxic foods
 Be careful about what human foods you feed your dog.

Toxic foods can make your dog ill. They can even kill your dog if left untreated or consumed in large amounts.

Don’t feed your dog any table scraps that might make them sick. Don’t leave out chocolate as some dogs enjoy the taste even though high levels of chocolate ingestion are poisonous to dogs.

7. Include Regular Exercise

exercise and longevity
 Exercise is part of a magical formula for longevity.

Exercise your GSD daily. Along with a life-extending diet, exercise is part of a magic formula.

Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, keeps joints and muscles toned, and increases cardiovascular strength. The right amount of exercise depends on your dog, but, in general, GSDs require 2 hours of exercise daily.

Exercise regularly for the most benefits to your German Shepherd’s lifespan. Engage in routine exercise year-round, adjusting your exercise as the weather permits.

Best Exercise Routine for Your GSD

Exercise is a key factor in a long, healthy life for your dog. Find out what health routines keep them physically fit and happy.

german shepherd running towards handler on green grass

8. Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

Did you know that German Shepherds are more prone than other breeds to develop a cavity? And dogs older than 3 years have an 85% chance of getting some form of gum disease!

These gum bacteria from gum disease can flow through your dog’s body and make him sick. Make sure your dog’s teeth stay clean and free from plaque and tartar.

Offer special dental dog chews that decrease tartar and freshen breath. Or, add in an oral care liquid tartar remover to help dissolve and loosen build-up.

9. Properly Groom Your Dog

regular grooming

Use grooming time for body inspection and early detection.

During brushing and grooming, stroke your GSD slow and deliberate to learn your pet’s unique contours and bumps. Look for any abnormalities, like lumps, bumps, fleas or ticks, and any sore spots.

Early detection of any abnormalities needs to be looked over by a vet who can determine the cause. Early detection extends your dog’s life by catching underlying problems.

Proper brushing and grooming helps keep your dog’s fur and skin healthy, detects the presence of any skin and body abnormalities, and spot fleas and ticks. I’ve got a great guide if you want more help for grooming your German Shepherd.

10. Teach Your Dog Basic Commands

train your German Shepherd
Teach your German Shepherd basic obedience.

Teaching basic commands is more than just having an obedient dog. It’s a way to protect your Shepherd’s life!

A dog that picks up an unknown object to eat off the ground needs to learn to “drop it” so they don’t eat something poisonous.

And teaching your dog “come” and “STOP” will save your dog’s life if they run toward traffic.

To have a reliable dog train as soon as possible and stay consistent. Use this easy training guide for GSDs to get started with the basics.

11. Safety-Proof Your Home

safety proof your home
 A safe home extends your dog’s life.

Shepherds are intelligent dogs that will easily bore if not exercised and trained. Secure any safety hazards in your home so your dog doesn’t accidentally find them.

This means putting away any bed linens, rugs or other soft valuables that a puppy or adult will chew. Tie up curtains to keep them off the floor.

Roll up blind cords to avoid a choking hazard.

Any electric cables are a shock concern and need protection from sharp dog teeth. If you’re unable to put hazardous or valuable items away, then shut the door to the room or invest in pet-safe baby gates.

Don’t buy a regular baby gate with vertical bars since your GSD may get their head stuck and could seriously injure themselves! Only use pet safe baby gates!

12. Inspect Your Yard and Garden for Safety Hazards

yard safety
 There are many life-threatening issues lurking in your garden.

Pay attention to what your dog gets into in your yard. Many life-threatening issues could be just outside your door.

Lawn chemicals, certain outdoor plants, and even mulch are deadly for your pet. Learn what plants and chemicals are hazards. Even a small bite of a toxin can have serious consequences.

Secure all chemicals and look for sharp objects your dog may run past and cut themselves on. Put items that are a trip hazard safely away.

Objects left out may injure your dog as they run to catch a ball or chase a bird. Put away pots that could topple over and any tools that may fall.

Don’t forget to check the fencing for any loose boards or escape routes. Your GSD may love to dig and need extra reinforcement at the bottom of your fence to keep them contained and safe.

13. Keep Their Food and Bedding Areas Clean

clean food, water, and bedding
 Switch to stainless steel food and water dishes and clean them daily.

A dirty food or water dish may harbor bacteria and make your pet sick.

Wash your food and water bowls daily with warm soapy water. Replace any ceramic bowls with stainless steel dishes, since any cracks in a ceramic bowl trap bacteria.

You might not visually see all the cracks in a ceramic dish, as many are too small to see with the naked eye.

Their bedding needs regular weekly washing with a fragrance-free detergent to remove any dander and dust, and any parasites you might not initially notice.

And be sure their bed is out of high-traffic areas so they have a quiet spot to rest and renew themselves, which helps them stay healthy.

14. Stimulate Their Brain

use your dogs mind
Are you getting your dog to use their mind too?

German Shepherds are one of the world’s smartest breeds.

To keep them mentally satisfied and mentally happy included brain games and mental challenges. Even older Shepherd’s that aren’t as physically active enjoy a fun brain game.

A mental game can be as easy as purposely preparing their meal without their bowl once a week. Instead, use a food puzzle so that your GSD must sweat and nose out their food.

Mental stimulation is important for a healthy, youthful mind. Learn more than a dozen mental stimulation activities for your German Shepherd using this unique, helpful guide.

15.  Purchase Pet Insurance

purchase pet insurance
Having pet insurance helps you to afford the best veterinarian care when you need it.

Don’t get caught in a moral dilemma having to choose between paying for life-saving treatment or medical care and other family bills.

While it’s overwhelming to think your GSD may experience a disease or sickness, it’s also helpful to prepare yourself for treatment. Having a good pet insurance plan gives you the opportunity to seek treatement, without worry of financial devastation.

Buy the insurance as soon as possible because many pet insurance companies don’t insure pets after they’re 8 years old (although this age differs from company to company).

How You Can Help to Increase Your German Shepherd’s Life Span

A healthy lifespan starts with a healthy dog plan in place. Consider all the influences that go into your GSDs life.

There is no one action that will extend the life of your best friend, but a series of actions you have control over. Help your dog live his fullest and healthiest life possible by making wise decisions for their everyday care.

The German Shepherd life span is short compared to our own. But we provide our dogs happy and healthy years with accurate knowledge and safeguards.

Make the most of every year you and your German Shepherd have by following the tips and advice found right here at

Found this helpful? Share it with others!