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Belgian Shepherd Health Care & Feeding

Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Groenendael (Belgian Sheepdog), by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Belgian Shepherd

Start your Belgian Shepherd off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Belgian Shepherd Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Belgian Shepherd puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Belgian Shepherd lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Belgian Shepherd are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Belgian Shepherd will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Belgian Shepherd puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Belgian Shepherd be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Belgian Shepherd? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Belgian Shepherd suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Belgian Shepherd

Complete list of Belgian Shepherd health problems

Belgian Shepherd is the umbrella name for the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Laekenois, and Belgian Groenendael (aka Belgian Sheepdog). Some countries consider them to be varieties of one breed, while other countries consider them separate breeds. See my Belgian Shepherd Review for my thoughts on this issue.

Inherited epilepsy is the most frightening health problem in Belgian Shepherds.

Epilepsy occurs in all four varieties, but is especially common in Tervurens, with up to 17% of the breed affected.

Compared to other large breeds, hip dysplasia is not a serious problem in the Belgians. The Malinois has the highest rate, at 5% affected. The other varieties are at 3-4%.

Elbow dysplasia is also most common in the Malinois, with 10% affected. The Groenendael and Tervuren are at 5-6%. Can't tell about the Laekenois – not enough X-rays submitted.

Other orthopedic diseases in Belgian Shepherds include osteochondritis, panosteitis, and luxating patella.

Eye diseases affect about 15% of Belgian Shepherds. Most common is cataracts, which appear in adult dogs. Persistent pupillary membranes are fairly common in the Tervuren. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia have been reported in Belgian Shepherds.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma) and demodectic mange. In Tervurens, a rare skin disease called vitiligo has been reported.

Like most breeds, Belgian Shepherds are often victims of cancer. The most common cancers in Belgian Shepherds are lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Other potentially serious health issues of concern in the Belgians include hypothyroidism, bloat, heart disease (cardiomyopathy), degenerative spinal myelopathy, colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), and pancreatitis.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

FREE eBOOK! My free online health care program, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Belgian Shepherd in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.