Up, down, left and right. The ears of the German shepherd change from day to day during the puppy months. Many new shepherd owners are not aware that their puppy’s ears aren’t born “up.” It’s a process their little guy will go thru as it matures into an adult. Once they are upright, your shepherd will look regal, so be patient. This process is something you cannot rush or force.
Puppy Teeth Age
Adult Teeth Age
Your puppy is growing every day, and part of this developmental process is the teething phase. It is hard to tell for sure when your puppy starts losing its 28 baby teeth. A puppy’s baby teeth, or milk teeth, come in at four weeks of age and commonly start to fall out between weeks 14 and 30, to make room for the 42 large adult teeth that will grow in their place.
Teething hurts and this pain is evident in your puppy’s little antennas. The ears will be floppy one second, and erect the next. They may take turns. This process will happen throughout the puppy stage, as your German shepherd’s body is using calcium when his teeth and bones are developing, so the formation of his ears’ cartilage is being halted. You might see them rise when he perks up in response to a noise but see them flop down quickly afterwards. You may find a tiny tooth laying around. This sign is the most obvious indication that your dog is teething. You can also look for a decrease in appetite or small traces of blood left on chew toys.
RULE OF THUMB
If your puppy’s ears can stick up straight during the first five months (prior to the end of the teething phase), then it’s likely that they will be straight and pointy for the rest of its life.
It’s What’s Inside that Counts
What your dog eats is a good starting point for getting ears to stand. Your dog should have a diet that is abundant in protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Cheap commercial food is definitely a no-no. Stick to high-quality dog food.
Cottage cheese: This is a good source of calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins. Adding 1 teaspoon of cottage cheese per meal is a good idea.
Yogurt: If we were to choose between cottage cheese and yogurt, yogurt is the better choice because it is a great source of protein, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains probiotics that help a lot in keeping your pup’s digestive system healthy. You may add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon to your pup’s food. Remember to give only small amounts at first to prevent digestive upset. Give your pup only plain yogurt to avoid unnecessary sugar intake.
Glucosamine: Unlike calcium, excess Glucosamine won’t put your puppy’s future health at risk. It has been proven that Glucosamine helps strengthen and rebuild cartilage.
Canina Supplements: This supplement is specially formulated for dogs and includes the vitamins your puppy needs in order to grow in a healthy way. Most over-the-counter calcium supplements aren’t absorbed well by the body. Giving your GSD pup too much calcium isn’t only unnecessary, it can be dangerous thing for your pup as the excess calcium can settle in your puppy’s joint and lead to future health problems.
Chicken feet: If you opt to give your pup natural sources of Glucosamine and Chondroitin instead of supplements, feeding your dog chicken feet is a good alternative.
Chew, Chew and Chew Some More
Precautions: Do not leave your dog unattended with the items below. Any item can become dangerous when ingested incorrectly. You should replace your dog’s chew when the knuckle ends are worn down or if it becomes too small to chew safely (if it is so small if could be swallowed by your pup, throw it out). There are also different types of chews and sizes available for different chewing strengths and styles. So make sure you know your pup and know what style you should get. You can always address your concerns with your vet, and see what they think would be best.
What You Can Do To Help
Keep your puppy healthy. If your GSD puppy has been suffering from a sickness or parasite for a long period of time that means it can’t absorb the nutrients from its food, and it may affect how your GSD’s body and ears develop. Regular vet checks can help prevent this.
Keep your hands off your German Shepherd’s ears – This is the most important thing you should remember if you want your GSD’s ears to stand up naturally. Never let anyone – even other dogs – to fold, bend, pull, fondle, or play with your German Shepherd’s ears. There are some research that suggests that massaging the base of the ears – and not the ears themselves – can help as this can help increase blood flow in the cartilage.
Keep your dog away from rough housing with kids or other animals. Dog ears can be damaged from fighting, playing and pulling. The damage can be from other puppies and dogs and young children, usually by accident.
Leave Them Alone
Don’t Mess With the Ears too early. Some German Shepherd owners panic too early and start taping their pup’s ears at the young age of 3 or 4 months because they’re ears are not standing up. But taping German Shepherd ears too early or in the wrong way can do more damage than good so it’s best to be patient and wait until the pup stops teething.
Plenty of Room
Do not let your puppy sleep with its head wedged up against the wall of its crate. A growing puppy should have plenty of room to spread out. Keeping him in an enclosed space too long will permanently damage ears and even cause hip and elbow issues.
Clean The Ears
Never neglect your puppy’s ears or clean them the wrong way. Make sure you use a gentle cleaner and soft pads when cleaning the ear, and be sure not to go too deep in the ear canal.
After all your hard work, it’s time to see some results. If you have taken the proper steps in caring for the ears, there should be no reason your dog’s ears are not up. You already did your due diligence in purchasing your puppy from a reputable breeder, and asked to see pictures of the parents (make sure the parents ears are nice and strong).
The normal age range for the ears of a German shepherd to stand upright is from 4-7 months, but of course there are some that come up quite early or even as late as 8 months. By the 8th month, the ears will usually take on their adult form.
The Ears of Our Clients At a Glance
When you purchase a puppy from us, we walk you step by step thru the process of raising a healthy German shepherd puppy. Following the SV guidelines for the German shepherd is our standard that we live by to include; size, training, breeding, etc. Once you get a dog or puppy from Haus Amberg Shepherds, we are there on your journey from start to end and are always available for any of your questions and concerns that you may have. We have years of experience with the GSD and understand what works and does not work for the German shepherd. Every dog breed is difference and what works for one breed may not work for another. Our clients understand this idea, and look to us for our expert advice with great results, whether it’s diet recommendation, training advice or grooming tips.
Alishia co-owns Haus Amberg Shepherds with her husband, Patrick. Having lived and worked with shepherds in Germany for years, she has collected a pool of knowledge that she would like to share with fellow German shepherd enthusiasts.