Impaired Senses and Mobility

Older Dog MobilityFor German Shepherds, this seems to be the most common senior dog health problem of all: impaired mobility at age due to Arthritis, Degenerative Myelopathy, or Hip Dysplasia. And because of age, this at times then goes in line with impaired senses (taste buds, then vision). While the latter are typical signs of old age, the causes for impaired mobility actually are not.

None of the big three would have to come about with old age:

  • Arthritis can be postponed if not completely avoided with a healthy homemade diet and regular gentle exercise: The healthy homemade diet avoids the toxic chemicals that are in commercial pet food, and if eaten, accumulate in the dog's body over the course of its life. The regular gentle exercise maintains muscle strength and thus takes the load off the joints.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy and Hip Dysplasia both are inherited, and then triggered by accumulating environmental intoxication (foremost from commercial pet food!). Thus make sure that you only get a GSD of parents that have both been tested for these (and other) hereditary defects, or at the very least, avoid all commercial pet food.

Here you see again that 1) healthy homemade food, and 2) regular varied exercise are THE two factors to ensure a healthy and long life for your German Shepherd, and why we repeat these two factors so often on this website. They really are that important!

If only you observe these two points, your GSD will maintain optimal mobility and senses for many years more.

If however your senior dog already shows signs of impaired mobility, then providing healthy homemade food and regular gentle exercise now will not be able to reverse your dog's health status. In such case a quality joint remedy may do wonders though: Countless dog owners have reported that a tablet a day of Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM has returned their old dog's mobility to that of a young puppy.

Not least, a food supplement like this comes much cheaper than say surgery - and surgery isn't indicated at old age anyway. Personally we have also made good experiences with Yumove (it is too early to say which one may be better). If your senior dog's mobility is dwindling, you may want to try out one or both of these remedies.


Note that every key point raised above you can find more comprehensively explained in other places on this website. The menu is your friend. Here, links have been omitted only to keep this decision tree straightforward.

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PLEASE NOTE: Posting a fragment of your overall dog problem in the comments below is not going to help. Provide complete details if you really seek the right solution. Of course we have a page for that as well: Dog Problem Consultation.





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    I have a12 year old male named dakota. He's eaten healthy, gotten lots of exercise and is very friendly and loving. May of 2014 I noticed a jelly bean sized lump on his left knee joint area. Three separate doctors told me it was a fatty tumor. Don't worry. Well after it got to be the size of a softball, turned red. They took liquid it and still said it was a fatty tumor . When it burst and he had to under go surgery. It turned out to be a nerve sheath tumor. That was May of 2015. His left leg had since gotten worse. He needs help getting up and looks like a drunk when he walks. Did a dna test to rule out DM. He's under going accupuncter. It helps his mobility and he is more alert and play full but, sad to say, not his left leg. Would a nerve sheath tumor cause this to happen? When I begged then 3 times to remove it when it was small, would it have prevented this? What's next. He's very healthy other wise..


    Hi, I have an 8 and a half year old German Shepherd, Shadow. He's displayed weak back legs since a puppy I guess. Docs recommended calcium and other supplements which seemed to help a bit, but I'm not sure whether it was just his young age which helped him cope with it. He has always squatted funnily, sits on his butt directly with his back legs spreading out. And while squatting if he tries to pick up something from the ground then his front legs start slipping and spreading. When he gets from a lying down position he is not able to start walking immediately. And while getting up from a lying down position he uses only his front legs to lift himself up. This, I believe, has led to him to have pain in his front leg muscles.
    Now, especially in the past couple of months his back legs have become worse. He finds it difficult to get a grip with his front paws to get up. Also has difficulty keeping his front half up for long while lying down on his side. For the past 3 or more years I have kept him on a home food diet of mixed meat nd bones nd rice. I do buy him snacks from the pet shop.
    I do tke Him for a very short walk everyday in the morning but he gets tired very easily.
    He is a large dog, weighing abt 30-35 kgs.
    Please help nd tell me what I can do.


      I am not suggesting one, I am asking: Have you done a HD review when younger?
      Have you seen the parents at the time?
      Have you got family tree documents?

      Because, from the tiny bit of info you provide I suspect he has a genetic immobility defect that has plagued him all his life, poor dog!


        Hi, when I got him home as a 6week old pup back in 2008 he was such a playful baby.
        I am sorry, but though I have grown up with animals around me, I was ignorant abt all the checks tht have to be done before getting a GSD pup. I didn't do any of the checks at the time nd neither am I in touch with the people I got him from.
        I have been around him nd spent maximum time with him at home during his 8 yrs.

        Do nd tell me what I can do for him now.


        Natasha, ALL puppies are playful (except for the moments they feel sick, of course). Puppy playfulness does NOT suggest a healthy puppy (neither in terms of defect, nor disorder, nor disease).

        You DID do checks, don't feel bad: "He's displayed weak back legs since a puppy I guess. Docs recommended calcium and other supplements". It appears you had the wrong vets though - as most people have (most vets shouldn't have a practicing licence at all!). "Calcium and other supplements" is never going to repair a defect (defect I explained here). Real food together with Reha sometimes is enough, else additionally surgery may be required to repair a defect. But now it's too late for that, either way.

        There isn't much I can suggest at this point, very sorry, prevention always is so much easier and cheaper than cure. Your focus now should be on making the days and nights as painfree as possible.

        "For the past 3 or more years I have kept him on a home food diet" - again, that is VERY GOOD what you do, keep that. Just leave this out: "I do buy him snacks from the pet shop" - that's the worst.

        If he's weaker in the mornings, I suggest you defer walks to later in the day (but of course let him relieve in the morning). Re/ pain: there do exist good canine painkillers these days, see in Dog Health under First Aid Kit, but do reserve that for the worst times, pain-wise (you'll see that).

        While the ordinary vets' standard treatments (round after round of steroids, and antibiotics) will NOT help at all, so be careful. Forget about vaccinations too. All these would only finish off his body systems now!

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