Anyone who remembers Rin Tin Tin, the canine hero of 1950’s television, recalls that famous German Shepherd’s regal silhouette — head erect, muscular body ready for action and, most notably, ears standing straight up. But as many shepherd owners learn, it can take a while for pups to acquire that signature pointy-eared look.
While the floppy ears of a playful pup are cute, you may wonder if your shepherd’s ears will ever stand up. If he is a mixed breed, you’ll have to wait and see.
If you’ve seen them up, they’ll stay up.
Most breeders and veterinarians will tell you that floppy ears are common while your German Shepherd is teething, which usually ends between 16 and 20 weeks. By then, the cartilage in the ear has become hard and strong enough for the ear to stand permanently.
During the teething months, you might notice the ears going up naturally for a day or two, or when your dog barks, gets excited, or hears a sudden noise. If you’ve seen the ears go up on their own for any amount of time during that first five months, you can be pretty sure that they will stand permanently when the teething period is over.
Keep an eye on his ears
If the ears of your German Shepherd are not erect after his fifth month, and this is the look you desire, you may want to contact your veterinarian or breeder. Between the 5th and 7th month the ear cartilage is still soft enough to encourage the ear into an upright position. By the 8th month, the ears will usually take on their adult form.
In the meantime, take a lot of pictures of your puppy’s comical expressions, and whether his ears wind up floppy or straight, enjoy the great dog that he is.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.