Choosing The Right Pet Insurance For Your German Shepherd Made Easy

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If you have a German Shepherd (or several) you know exactly what’s so great about this breed. They’re regal, handsome, strong, and loyal dogs.

Sadly, these beautiful dogs are predisposed to certain medical conditions, many of which can be very expensive to treat and manage. Investing in pet insurance for your German Shepherd could cover these costs and keep your best friend happy and healthy for longer.

The pet insurance plan you choose will depend on your dog’s age, size, breed, and where you live. Certain plans are better for large dogs like GSDs and specifically cover conditions these dogs are prone to. The simplest way to compare pet insurance prices is to use our tool.

Let’s get more into the conditions you’ll want your insurance to cover and the average costs of managing these issues.

Common Health Problems Associated With German Shepherds

Hip Dysplasia

This is one of the most common problems in larger breed dogs. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 19.8% of German Shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia.

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and hip dysplasia causes malformation of the two components. That makes it difficult for your dog to walk, and the chronic laxity can cause abnormal wear, which leads to osteoarthritis.

Elbow Dysplasia

Similarly, elbow dysplasia is most commonly seen in larger dogs. This condition occurs when the three bones making up the elbow joint don’t properly fit together, causing progressive arthritis and pain.


This chronic joint disease prompts progressively worsening inflammation of the joints caused by the deterioration of cartilage. Hip and elbow dysplasia may lead to osteoarthritis, and German Shepherds are at high risk for the condition.

Degenerative Disc Disease

This condition affects your dog’s spinal cord. Untreated, it results in progressive paralysis. Treatment will be based on the stage of the disease. If it progresses too far, you’ll likely have an expensive surgery to remove pressure on the spinal cord ahead.



Often an inherited condition in German Shepherds, seizures will typically begin between six months and three years of age. Lifelong medication will likely be required to control your dog’s seizures.


GSDs are one of the breeds predisposed to this condition where the esophagus becomes enlarged, making it difficult for the affected dog to swallow food and water. They’ll often regurgitate food, so your dog will need to be fed in an upright position, so the food goes down.

Perianal Fistula (Anal Gland Condition)

This is a serious condition that most commonly affects German Shepherds. A fistula is an abnormal tunnel that forms between two tissues that normally do not connect. Perianal fistula is when this occurs in the area surrounding the anus. These fistulas can lead to infection, and your dog will suffer pain while trying to defecate. They may also experience decreased appetite and changes in behavior.

Typical Costs Of Treating Health Issues In German Shepherds

If left untreated, certain conditions can result in long-term consequences, which ultimately makes them more expensive to manage and treat. Knowing the signs and symptoms of these conditions common in German Shepherds can help you catch them early. When in doubt, take your pup to the vet to have them diagnosed.

Many of the health issues listed above can be very expensive to treat, especially when surgery is required. Here are just some sample veterinary expenses:

  • Hip Dysplasia: According to, the cost of surgery for hip dysplasia can range from $4,000 to $6,000 per hip. Surgical options include Triple Pelvic Osteotomy, Femoral Head Osteotomy, and Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis, all costing thousands of dollars.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Depending on the progression, Degenerative Disc Disease may rack up vet bills between $3,000 and $9,000.
  • Osteoarthritis: Joint disease can require anti-inflammatory drugs, joint supplements, and a change in diet and exercise. It could also mean your dog needs physical therapy or surgery to remove damaged tissue. That will cost you at least $1,000, likely more.
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy treatments range based on the severity of the condition. It could involve a special diet, long-term or permanent medication, nerve stimulation, and even surgery to remove brain tumors. Ultimately, the goal of epilepsy treatment is to decrease the frequency, severity, and duration of the seizures. In simple cases, this treatment plan may cost you $200 to $500 per year. In severe cases, however, you could pay up to $15,000 in surgery costs.
  • Perianal Fistula: This disease will require many different treatments, including antibiotics, oral anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs, and topical medication. In severe cases, your dog may need surgery to remove dead tissue, costing $2,000 to $5,000.

What Is Pet Insurance And Why Do I Need It?

Pet health insurance works very similarly to human health insurance. Your policy quote will range in monthly price, depending on your dog’s breed, age, and where you live. Typically, you’ll spend around $25-$45 per month as a pet parent.

Pet insurance is mainly about peace of mind, knowing you won’t be totally overwhelmed in case of an emergency. Enrolling even when your dog is young and healthy will ensure you have plenty of coverage when they need expensive medical care later. If you choose a plan more suited to your dog’s particular breed, you’ll be more prepared when something happens later on in their life.


Some plans cover accidents and illnesses, while others only cover accidents. Certain plans do cover breed-specific illnesses, and others do not. It all depends on what type of coverage you choose. You can get quotes from multiple insurance companies with no obligation to commit with

As I mentioned earlier, the perfect plan for you and your dog depends on many factors. There are many different types of plans out there designed to suit different needs. This site helps you compare pet insurance plans side by side so that you can get the right coverage for your German Shepherd’s needs.

Whatever plan you choose, you’ll feel better knowing you can take care of your dog when they need you most. Learn more about how pet insurance works here.

iHeartDogs is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

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