Care and Grooming The GSD

Exercise Requirements

All dogs should receive daily physical and mental exercise sessions. German Shepherds need both in order to be happy, and consequently, keep their owners happy. Depending on the age and activity level of the particular dog, physical exercise might amount to throwing a bal for 10 to 30 minutes in the backyard or
dog park and/or going for a walk around the block or the neighborhood. Mental exercise is an important factor in creating a wel ­balanced German Shepherd Dog. Obedience sessions, learning new exercises including play breaks, make them fun for both dog and owner. Positive training can be incorporated into the dog's daily life to the enjoyment of al concerned. Interesting,
indestructible, dog appropriate toys should also be provided. For example, many shepherds enjoy a hard rubber toy called a "Kong" available at many pet supply stores. Kongs come with instructions on how to fil with appropriate goodies to keep the dog interested and prevent boredom­related destructive behaviors.

Grooming

The shepherd is a "double­coated" breed. It has a "down" type undercoat next to the skin, with longer, coarse hair as an outer shell. Under normal conditions, the shepherd wil only require regular brushing, and an occasional bath. Diet plays a
significant part in coat condition, so feeding quality foods wil help prevent any skin problems.

Grooming the German Shepherd Brushing

The shepherd can easily be brushed from start to finish in 10 minutes or less, provided it is brushed 3­4 times per week. Time and frequency wil vary according to coat length and condition. Although long coats are considered a fault, some shepherds do sport long hair and wil require more extensive brushing, more often. Use a wire "slicker" brush available at most pet stores, or coat grooming rake, andbrush with the grain of the coat. Regular brushing and handling wil teach your shepherd to stand quietly and enjoy these sessions.

Bathing

Shepherds wil need baths rather infrequently, provided they are fed quality foodand brushed regularly. One bath per month should sufice. During flea season it is sometimes necessary to bathe more often as part of a complete program to control pests. Please do not bathe more frequently than every 10 days or so as over­bathing wil strip the coat of it's natural oils. It is also important to use a
shampoo made for dogs, as their "pH" is diferent from shampoo meant for people.

Toenails

Your shepherd will also need to have his toenails, ears, and teeth atended to. If your dog runs on pavement daily, you probably won't have a problem with nails. However you should check the nails on a weekly basis (while you are brushing) to avoid future headaches caused by split or broken nails left growing too long. Commercial nail trimmers for dogs are available at any pet supply store. 

Most black and tan shepherds will have black toenails. These are usually hard in density, and wil hide the "quick" (small vein that feeds the nail). It is beter to trim off small amounts of nail a litle at a time. If you cut the nail too short it is painful for your dog and he wil bleed. If you do cut the quick of your dog, use styptic powder, scrape the nail against a bar of soap, or press cornstarch firmly into the quick to stop the bleeding. Have one of these items on hand, and within easy reach when trimming

Ears

Ears should be checked and cleaned at least weekly. Your vet has products that will dissolve excess wax when used regularly. To clean excess wax and dirt simply deposit a few drops of the ear solution into each ear, massage the base of the earfor a few seconds, and then wipe out any debris with soft tissues or a coton pad.
The remaining solution wil be shaken out by the dog or wil evaporate quickly. The ear solution is inexpensive and should be purchased from your vet. Try to avoid geting water in your shepherd's ears as it wil sit at the botom of the ear canal and can create infection. The ear solution helps keep ears dry.
Prevention is the key to maintaining healthy ears.

Teeth

Check your shepherd's teeth once a month or more, and during your yearly vet check­up. Teeth wil accumulate tartar over the years, and wil need to be cleaned occasional y. Feeding hard "cookies" wil help keep teeth and gums healthy.Try to brush your shepherd's teeth at least three times a week and every day if
possible. Follow these steps to get your dog used to a brushing routine.

Step 1: Acquaint your dog with the process. Begin slowly, merely touching the muzzle and lifting the lips to expose the teeth and gums. Over a few days, begin handling the mouth gently, and eventual y stroke the dog's teeth and gums with a finger.

Step 2: Introduce the toothbrush and toothpaste. Always use an edible toothpaste specifical y formulated for dogs; do not share your own toothpaste (which is not meant to be swal owed) with your dog. Place a smal amount of toothpaste on your finger and al ow the dog to sample the taste. Then, apply a smal amount to the teeth and gums. When you can touch al of the teeth, place a smal amount of toothpaste on the brush and gently brush one tooth and adjoining gumline.

Step 3: Begin brushing. Gradual y increase the number of teeth brushed, working your way to the back molars. The dog's mouth may remain closed ­ the accumulation of plaque occurs mainly on the outside of the teeth. Angle the brush at a 45° angle toward the gumline and use smal back­and­forth or circular strokes, gently brushing al of the teeth. Once the habit of toothbrushing has been established, brush the teeth every day if possible

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