Keeping a Healthy and Tidy Doberman Puppy

It is also wise, before bringing home a Doberman puppy, to create a plan for maintaining proper puppy hygiene. This plan must be robust, able to counter the puppy’s strong affinity for a state of filthiness.

In nature, puppies are kept clean with nearly constant liking from their littermates and adult pack members. As humans, we lack this propensity for licking and generally have a fresher smelling standard for cleanliness, so we must take a different approach.

Bathing

Bathing should occur every couple of weeks with a new Doberman puppy, or after he has rolled in poop or peed on himself. There are special, and expensive, puppy shampoos available but I have found that good old baby shampoo works fine for the first few months.

Consistent bathing of a young Doberman puppy not only keeps him fresh and shiny, it also allows him to grow accustomed to being clean and being bathed. A dog accustomed to being clean will avoid getting dirty. Also, lifting a Doberman puppy into the tub is fine for the first few months. When his weight surpasses 40 or 50 pounds, however, lifting is ridiculous. By this time a consistently trained and bathed Doberman should happily hop into the tub for a nice bath.

For bathing my Dobermans, I have a nozzle that hooks up to my shower. Its' cost was around $20 and I count it essential for dog bathing. It has a long hose with a shower head at the end with a trigger. That trigger allows me to waste very little water.

Care should be used with this type of dog washer. Never spray water immediately onto the dog. Always spray it away from the dog initially to test the temperature and keep a finger where you can feel the temperature continuously throughout bathing to monitor any changes.

Initial spraying of water away from the dog should be done every time you stop spraying. If you stop spraying even for a minute, it is enough time to allow any pressure difference between the cold and hot water supply to accumulate either cold water or scalding hot water in the hose. The initial spraying away will clear the hose of this accumulation and replace it with water you properly adjusted for temperature.

Kennel Keeping

Your Doberman puppy’s kennel should be cleaned often with a friendly disinfectant and his bed laundered. Food bowls should be removed after feeding and washed.

After a meal it is also helpful to wipe off the puppy’s muzzle with a warm wet washcloth. This will help remove oils and other food material which promote bacteria growth and can cause puppy acne.

Ear Cleaning

If you don’t plan on cropping your Doberman puppy’s ears, ear cleaning must be a priority. Long floppy unaltered Doberman ears are prone to infection. For a quick cleaning, wet wipes work well. For a more thorough cleaning, ear cleaning solutions are available. Q-tips are good for getting into the nooks and crannies.

For a puppy with cropped ears, cleaning is part of the posting and taping process of training the ear to stand. Once the ears are standing, Doberman ear cleaning is simple. A weekly swabbing with a wet wipe is adequate for general cleanliness with a thorough cleaning every few months, including removal of any stray hairs inside.

Oral Health

Doberman puppies teethe early and quickly, so fooling around trying to brush a Doberman puppy’s teeth is silly. Having milk bones and other teeth cleaning treats is all that is needed. It’s a good idea, however, to examine the puppy’s teeth. Doing so, if nothing else, will condition him to having you work inside his mouth.

After teething, brushing your Doberman’s teeth is important. There is special dog toothpaste that is apparently very tasty. There are also special dog toothbrushes that are made for dog mouths. Young dogs are rarely cooperative in this task. Like most things with Dobermans and dogs in general, it will become easier with consistent training and maturity.

Grooming

Doberman puppy grooming is minimal. Doberman puppies shed very little. The only requirement is trimming the nails. If you start early and stay consistent, this task will not turn into the monumental event that it is to so many adult dogs.

Starting early and maintaining consistency with nail trimming is good for two reasons. One, overgrown nails are difficult to get back to a short length. And two, it prevents the puppy from becoming foot shy and fearing the nail clipper.

The key to producing a good nail clipping experience for your Doberman puppy is to take care in not cutting the cuticle, the flesh inside the nail. The Doberman has black nails so it can be difficult to spot.

With a sharp pair of dog nail clippers, start by cutting only the tip of the nail. Examine the now flat end of the nail. If the nail looks solid, clip off a thin amount and re-examine. Continue until you start to see a circle become visible, this is the end of the cuticle. In case you do hit the cuticle, always have on hand some styptic blood stop powder.

Diet

Your Doberman puppy’s initial diet when he enters your home should be no different than his diet from the breeder. In order to avoid an upset tummy and loose poop, you should find out exactly what food the breeder was feeding.

Hopefully this is a high quality chicken or lamb based puppy food. If you have taken your time in finding a breeder who is producing quality puppies, it is likely they are also feeding quality food.

The amount of food to be fed is tricky. The breeder can be helpful with this but remember, he is accustomed to feeding a whole pack, not just one little puppy.

With my litters, I would put food down three times a day and closely watch as the ravenous puppies vacuumed down their food. Certain puppies would get a better spot and certain puppies were larger and stronger so they would fill more quickly. When a puppy gets full, and it’s easy to tell with puppies under six weeks, I would remove them from the feeding area.

Doberman puppies at this age are little more than stomaches with stubby little legs and super suction mouths. A Doberman puppy at the age proper for being placed in a home has grown significantly and cannot be monitored this way.

The safest practice is to feed a Doberman puppy smaller amounts several times each day. This food should be a high quality dry food that you have allowed to soak in warm water until it has fully expanded. Not soaking the food is dangerous for a puppy.

People always want to know the overall amount of food to feed their puppy. Daily food amounts for a Doberman puppy will increase with their fast growth. Also, this increase will not be consistent. Overnight a puppy might grow 2 pounds and today woof down 1 ½ cups of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tomorrow that same 1 ½ cups might last him all day.

Avoid feeding unsoaked food as this will expand in the puppy’s tummy and can hurt him. Avoid overfeeding, this is damaging too. Otherwise, don’t let the little devil go hungry. He’s growing like a weed.

Treats

When choosing a treat, avoid the commercial dog treats with fancy colors and packages. Low calorie biscuits are a good choice. So are fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and apple slices.

For training purposes, most Dobermans do not require the motivation of food rewards. Their desire to please their master is motivation enough. However, certain Dobermans are extremely motivated by food rewards and using food can be effective. In this case, particular care should be taken in choosing a healthy treat. Some Dobermans are motivated well by their regular dry kibble. Used as treats, the dry kibble will not have to be soaked because you are feeding it in small slow quantity.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

The use of vitamin and mineral supplements is a controversial subject in the dog world. Dog food manufacturers attest that their food offers complete nutrition, voiding the need for additional supplements. Many breeders, dog experts, and holistic veterinarians assert that their supplementation programs have drastically improved the health of their dogs. However, little veterinary research has gone into the vitamin and mineral needs of the domestic dog, so there is little credible data.

A healthy Doberman on a consistent diet of quality dog food specific to his age group will likely get his needed nutrients, especially if his owners use fruit and vegetables as treats. However, all dogs are unique. Your Doberman puppy’s system may, for example, produce low amounts of vitamin C. This deficiency may then cause a lowered immune system allowing the bacteria in his coat to invade the hair follicles and cause skin problems.

But then, if your Doberman has skin problems, this does not necessarily indicate a vitamin C deficiency. Other deficiencies can cause skin problems as well as poor hygiene and genetic issues.

Also, stress and injury can deplete vitamins and minerals from your Doberman’s system. When planning the diet of a new Doberman puppy, you must take into consideration the stress that he will be facing from his tail doc, separation from his mother and integration into his new family/pack, his series of harsh vaccinations, and the teething process.

Additionally, the cropping procedure and taping and posting the ears causes stress which may deplete certain vitamins and minerals. Certain vitamin and minerals will also support cartilage development and promote the standing of the ears such as calcium and vitamin C and E. Likewise, any injury or infection can also deplete these nutrients.

This complex maze of supplementation can be confusing and frustrating to a dedicated Doberman puppy owner. Especially since some supplements must be introduced slowly and gradually. Vitamin C, for instance, will cause diarrhea if introduced suddenly.

A knowledgeable veterinarian is helpful in planning supplementation for your Doberman puppy and much of this planning will be based on your specific puppy’s needs.