Guidance on dealing with health issues in the German Shepherd.

Free Feeding: Why It’s a Bad Idea for Your German Shepherd Puppy

When and how to feed their German Shepherd puppy is a question that many new owners have. Answering every element of that question takes time and the answer may vary from dog to dog, but the one thing that applies to any dog, but especially to a large – or soon to be large – dog like a black and red German Shepherd is that ‘free feeding’ should never be an option.

‘Free feeding’ is a term that refers to the practice of leaving food out for an animal at all times, even if it is ‘just’ a harmless bowl of kibble to ensure, in the owner’s mind, that their canine companion never goes hungry especially if no one is home. It is an easy way of doing things for the owner, just top off the bowl before they head to work and Puppy should be fine all day. It is less of a good thing for the German Shepherd puppy though, and in fact it can be a very bad thing.

Try thinking of it in terms of your children. Would you leave them all day with open access to all the food they want? No, of course you would not. Meal times are set and only the occasional snack is allowed. It’s all a part of good discipline and teaching healthy eating practices.

So why should it be any different for a ‘fur kid’? As they are highly intelligent, German Shepherds can get bored rather easily and like humans if the food is there they will eat it, not necessarily because they are hungry, but because they have nothing else to do. And just like a human, if the practice continues the dog will become overweight and sluggish.

Even if your pup does not gain excess weight there are other reasons why free feeding should be ‘taken off the menu’. For example, one of the earliest signs of a number of serious ailments in dogs in general is a sudden loss of appetite. How are you ever going to notice such a thing though if several members of the household are in the habit of filling up the food bowl when it starts to look empty? Chances are that everyone will simply assume that someone else filled up the food when it is has actually gone untouched for some time and by the time everyone figures out that is not the case it may be too late.

Then there is the sanitary aspect of things. Would you leave your own food out all day, where it can easily also become a meal for flies and other flying critters who carry all kinds of bacteria with them? There are even tales of animals like raccoons learning to crawl their way through pet doors because they have discovered that there is a constant source of food waiting for them just behind it.

Finally there is the matter of discipline. If you want to integrate your German Shepherd into the family, the way that most owners do, then they need rules as much as all of the human members of the household do. Mealtimes should, as far as possible, be a set time affair for everyone, including the dog.

Removing a Tick from a German Shepherd the Right Way

Removing a Tick from Your German Shepherd’s Skin the Right Way

Dogs, especially larger, active dogs like German Shepherd puppies, love to get out and exercise and in reality doing so is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. The summer is an exceptionally good time for dogs and their owners as the walks that can be such a chore in the colder months become far more pleasant when the sun is shining and in many areas there is plenty of lush green summer foliage to explore and enjoy.

Something else that enjoys all of this warm weather though is the tick. And as many treatments, powders and flea collars you might have taken the precaution of providing your GSD with the odd tick may very well still latch on to your pet in an attempt to score itself a nice nourishing meal. Once there they are notoriously hard to remove, but doing so as quickly as possible is a must. There is a right and wrong way to go about removing a tick though, both for your dog’s safety and your own. Here are a few tips:

Glove Up

Before you attempt to remove the tick you need to think of your own safety as well. Don a pair of rubber gloves before you begin the ‘operation’, as the infective agents ticks carry can easily enter your own bloodstream through small nicks, cuts or grazes or through the mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth if you happen to inadvertently touch them.)

Enlist a Helping Hand

As previously mentioned, removing a tick is not easy and it is very likely that your pup will object to all of the poking and prodding and try to squirm away. If at all possible enlist a second pair of hands to calm and distract them while you work so that the ordeal can be over as quickly as possible.

The Actual Removal

Before beginning you should gather a few supplies; rubbing alcohol, tweezers and some kind of lidded receptacle, preferably a jar, to put the tick into once it is removed. Once you have located the tick using your tweezers grab the pesky tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible and pull upwards in one swift, decisive movement, immediately placing the critter in the jar.

Never twist or jerk the tick as, besides causing extra discomfort for your pet you run the risk of leaving behind the tick’s ‘mouth parts’ in the skin or of having it regurgitate those infectious fluids.

Once the tick is removed cleanse the bitten area with rubbing alcohol. Keep an eye on the bite for the next several days and if it becomes red and inflamed or you notice any change in your black and red German Shepherd’s health or behavior the best course of action is to take them to the vet for a check up. It may also be a good idea to hang on to that jarred tick as should your dog become ill having the creature available for testing will help in your pet’s treatment a great deal.

Hot Weather Health Tips for Your German Shepherd

Hello German shepherd dogs and German shepherd puppies lovers:

Sadly, once again this summer there have already been a number of harrowing stories highlighted in the media about the fate of dogs left alone in a hot car, and even a few about concerned citizens taking matters into their own hands to free a distressed animal.

Any truly responsible pet owner knows that leaving their dog, especially a larger breed dog such as a German Shepherd, in a hot car, even a ventilated one, for as little as a few minutes can be dangerous for their pet and should be avoided whenever possible. There are some other dangers associated with the hot weather and the summer season that are sometimes less obvious to even the most doting of pet parents. Here are just a few of the things that you should be aware of as the temperatures continue to rise.

Dehydration Dangers

Many German Shepherds and German Shepherd puppies love spending time outdoors in the summer with their human family. Just like those humans though, even if pets are simply enjoying a little lazy time in the back yard they need easy access to a nice cool drink as and when they need it. They should also have a shady spot to retreat to that still offers plenty of airflow. That means under a shady tree or even sheltered by a canopy if no such thing exists in your yard rather than being cooped up in a kennel.

It is possible for even the healthiest of dogs to suffer from heat stroke and dehydration, especially if they are stubborn about ceasing playtime to drink their water. Warning signs that your German Shepard is really suffering in the heat include excessive panting, an increased heart rate or breathing pattern, disorientation and/or excessive lethargy. If you observe any of things get your pet back into a cool indoor environment as soon as possible and make a call to your vet to obtain professional advice.

Pool Rules

Another thing that lots of German Shepherds enjoy in the summer is swimming. They should not be allowed to take a dip unsupervised, even in the backyard pool. Not every dog is a great swimmer at first, so a floatation device is a good idea for a first timer. Even a strong swimming pup can over exert themselves having a little too much fun so there should always be a watchful human eye nearby.

If your pup is swimming in chlorinated water rinse them off when they get out so that the chemicals do not irritate their skin or damage their fur. Also try to limit the amount of pool water they drink, as chlorine can cause a nasty tummy upset.

Watch Where They Walk

The next time you are out in the street on a hot day, take your shoes off for a moment. Chances are that the hot pavement, especially if that pavement is asphalt, will burn your tootsies pretty quickly. That is how it feels for your dog almost from the first moment they ‘set paw’ on it.  To help make your dog’s summer more enjoyable, and save their paws from unnecessary pain, try to limit their walks and exercise to grassy areas or at very least to shady sidewalks that are out of the sun.

I hope this is useful. We at Banffy Haus German Shepherds want you to has a great life with your German shepherd puppies.

Cleaning Dogs Ears

Hello German shepherd puppies and dogs owners: This is Dr. Banfe of Banfe Haus German Shepherds. Below are some pointers on cleaning your dogs ears taken from an article I wrote on the k-9 college, with an important addition.  Caveat: If your dogs ears are flapped over and not yet erect, please make certain to get the ears dried out. Moisture is a great environment for yeast and other infections. Ear Cleaning Ear infections can be painful and uncomfortable for your German shepherd dog. Simply cleaning them can be a proactive way to minimize these problems that can not only cause discomfort and related illness, but hearing loss for your best friend. Here are some simple steps to mitigate any kind of repercussions from dirty ears:

  1. Check ears at least once a week looking for wax and dirt build up. If you see dark dried crust it might be a good idea to take your friend in to the vet for a look.
  2. Clean the ears at least once a month. Some do it every week. But I would say, barring filthy build up, once a month should be fine.
  3. To clean the ears:
    1. Get an ear solution from the vet or a pet store. I just use a diluted solution of alcohol, water and white vinegar.
    2. Get some cotton which can be rolled into 3 or 4 inch narrow tubes
    3. Saturate one tube with the solution.
    4. Twist the tube down into the ear, and keep twisting when it is down in to catch wax build up. Then grasp the ear at the base gently, pulling out the tube.
    5. Do this until the cotton tube you insert comes out fairly clean.
    6. Take a cotton pad and saturate it and wipe inside the ear making sure to clean the folds. Clean and wipe until the pad comes out clean.
    7. FINALLY: Saturate some cotton and squeeze a little liquid into the ear.
    8. Then quickly grab the base of the ear and squeeze and massage it. You should hear the squishy sound of the liquid. Do this for about 15 seconds.
    9. Step back and let your German Shepherd shake. And watch out. Sometimes he/she will shake wax out of the ear.

This process usually does a great job cleaning the ear. The rotated cotton tubes usually catch a lot of wax instead of just pushing it deeper, and the liquid massage loosens a lot of the wax. Also, the solution will change the PH balance of the ear making it hard for a yeast infection to set in. For German shepherd puppies, be very gentle when cleaning deep inside, and rub gentle on the folds. For significant build up, you may have to repeat this on consecutive days. But then the health of your friend is very important. I hope this has been helpful to all the German shepherd puppies and dogs friends that we have at Banffy Haus German Shepherds.

Banffy Haus: Feeding: Put Away the Trout Almondine

Hello Everyone From Banffy Haus German Shepherds:

We love our black and red German shepherd puppies.  But more is not necessarily better with puppies.  We tend to measure our deals by the pound. We want the biggest pup in the litter, get upset when a puppy is not growing into Clifford the dog, and brag about how large the paws are on our puppy.

We spoil them rotten and feed them anything so that they will keep growing, even though they have become so picky we have to continue to rotate their “menu” to make certain they are interested in their food.  We wet the food, heat the food, stress over whether they are getting enough probiotics or chondroitin/glucosamine.  We fret giving them tap water and instead use filtered water.   And of course, who would feed their dogs anything but vegan, kosher, halal, organic, free range, homogenized, bio-balanced, genetically scrubbed meat?

And, poor Helmut, our lovely male German shepherd puppy.  Yikes! We can see one of his ribs!  (See the pictures at Banffy Haus K-9 U)  And he just won’t eat!  Quick, get his trout/almondine/ epicure’s delight dog food and mix it in!  We need to fatten him up, quickly.  What if this stunts his growth?  Quick, rush, get the appetite enhancers!

Stop already.   Dogs will not starve themselves.  Set the food down for little Helmut, and if he doesn’t eat, take it up after 3 minutes.   So what.  He skips a meal.  But he will learn to gobble up the food placed before him quickly over time.  If a dog does starve itself, them certainly they are ill and need to take a trip to the vet.

Feeding simply is simply superior.  That’s three S’s in a row.   Alliteration to facilitate memorization.   Anyway, you and your dog will be much happier if they gratefully gobble up what you feed them and do so quickly.

And seeing the ribs is not a bad thing.  If you see no ribs, and they are hidden behind a bulbous layer of excess fat, it is time to, for their own health, lower the food intake.  It isn’t cute when our black and red German Shepherd puppies look like watermelons, and it is healthy for adults to look svelte and lean. Banffy Haus German Shepherds.

Should you buy a “monorchid” puppy?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

The question is whether or not you should be concerned with buying a monorchid (one testicle down) male German Shepherd Puppy.

Well let’s consider the facts.  First of all, if you not a very experienced breeder who knows how to choose a potential top stud, and if you are not willing to put in the $4,000-5,000 for training, if you are not willing to shoulder the risk that the puppy may end up with bad hips, bad conformation may not have enough libido, or may be sterile, then you should not buy a puppy with the hope of getting stud or a top show dog.

Second of all, if you are buying the dog as a pet, it is irrelevant.  When buying as a pet one would want to neuter the dog when he gets to the relevant age anyway, at which point he will have neither scrotum. Having them removed has some clear advantages such as less or no sexual behavior, diminished marking and roaming, no chance of testicular cancer, less aggressive behavior, and less embarrassing displays of male body parts.

The neuter operation is a little more expensive when one testicle does not fall, but usually not exorbitantly.  And after the neuter there are absolutely no long-term effects to the dog of having been monorchid.  Nor was any significant risk when the dog was waiting to be neutered.

So should one buy a monorchid male puppy?  If you are buying a pet male, then this should be irrelevant to your decision.

I hope this was helpful.

Homepage at “Banffy Haus German shepherds” to take advantage of the rich information about black and red German shepherd puppies.

 

 

 

Coprophagia: Yuk…But we have to address it.

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

Well, I would really rather not deal with this issue, but we must.  It is just so objectionable, so gross when we see a German Shepherd puppy do it.  You never want them to lick you again, or breath in your face.  You lose all respect for your best friend as if they intentionally have done this to shame you.

And when you see it you just get grossed out.  It is coprophagia.  And many dogs do it, and that is eating their  _________ .     There can be many causes including:

  1. Hunger, they are not getting enough food (if they are normal weight or fat this is not the problem.
  2. It could be a vitamin deficiency or mal-absorption of nutrients in the dog’s food.
  3. It can be behavioral, scavenging, (for puppies) mimicking mom’s behavior in cleaning up after the puppies.
  4. It can also just be that some stool has enough palatable attributes (flavor, texture, smell) that they are attracted to it (yuk).

How can you change this behavior?  Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. First and foremost, clean up after your dog!
  2. Make certain that they have no access to a yard in which your other dogs relieve themselves.
  3. When walking, be careful to watch them, and use a leash correction if they approach it.
  4. You can purchase a powder which, when mixed with food and they injest it, makes it not attractive to the dog.
  5. A bit of a more drastic approach that I have used is to spray all the poor in the yard with pepper spray.  This experience certainly can be uncomfortable for the dog and make them hesitant to do it again.

But, no matter what, always, always clean up their excrement.  For example, with puppies, take them out at predetermined intervals to relieve themselves, and then pick it up before leaving.  And once you start to treat the behavior it can take a number of months to stop it.

Sorry.  I will stop with this subject now.  But I know there are people out there for whom this might be helpful.

I hope this was helpful.

Please visit our current litters at “Banffy Haus Current Litters” to see some of our world class German shepherd litters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running with Your German Shepherd

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I would like to just jot some thoughts down about running with your dog.  First of all never jog your German shepherd puppy.  Wait until they are at least one year old to begin any serious long distance running.  At this point the hip will have seated well into the socket, the growth plates will be set and the dog will have reached its maximum height.

But, please remember that you must matriculate your dog to running, a little at a time.  One reason is the tender pads of the feet.  These need to toughen up and callous over.  If you do not heed this advice and overdo the running too soon, you dog can get nasty cracks in the pads which can take a good deal of time to heal.  Of course it is best to run on grass as opposed to cement.  But if you will be running on a hard abrasive surface, build up the callous incrementally over time.

Also, it is best to build up their cardiovascular starting with 1/2 mile for a few days, then to one mile for a few days, etc.   Also, be very sensitive to your dog when running in heat as German shepherds can suffer heat prostration.  Make certain to have a bowl of cool clean water ready when they return.  If you are going on a long run on a hot day, bring water and  watch for signs of heat prostration.

As I know that a dog’s joints don’t last as long as a humans, I think that it is best to max out running at 5 miles a time and then drop your buddy home for a rest while you continue on. I know that dogs can run long distances with proper training and that people do run longer distances with their dogs.  But I worry about the constant trauma running on hard pavement.  We have well engineered shoes which cushion the shock.  Just my feeling.  Even we humans do get excessive and joint replacements are on the increase related to sometimes excessive exercise regimens.

Click on the link to read about the Banffy Method and how we develop our German shepherd puppies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Feeding Advice: German Shepherd Puppies

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is a subject I could spend a long time discussing.  But I will try to focusing on a few important points and on the early years with your new German shepherd puppy.  A couple of key points:

1.  Try not to switch foods in the first couple of months.  GSD digestive systems, especially when they are puppies, are very sensitive.  You don’t want to go through bouts of diarrhea and then have to go through the boiled rice and chicken protocol as you attempt to re-equilibrate their systems.  So unless there is a problem, stick with what you have until they are more mature (maybe 6 months-1 year).

2.  Don’t overfeed, especially at this young age.  We need to protect developing joints.

3.  Always have water available when they are eating.

4.  Please do feed at least two meals.  There are some logical reasons to think that eating one large meal a day could contribute to bloat.

5.  Don’t give supplements.  Unless the vet has identified a critical need, use a top choice, balanced puppy food.  We use Royal Canin Maxi large breed puppy.  They also now have a GSD specific puppy food.  Supplements may over-balance nutrients and can have deleterious repercussions (example:  joint laxity for too much calcium).

6.  Never free feed or they will never be able to learn to control their bowels.

7.  Don’t feed table scraps.  This can lead not only to obesity, but can destabilize their digestive systems (especially puppies).

8.  I wouldn’t use raw diets especially if they are not puppy specific, and I would wait until they are at least one, when all of the joints are set and the growth plates developed, height complete.

Remember always put your food down for 3 minutes then take it up. Don’t relent.  They must learn to live within your time frames.  You don’t want to play the waiting game as you watch your watch and get to work late again.

Now, puppies can be finicky. But do, I repeat, do not start throwing everything in the food to make it more palatable.  You will just make the situation worse.  They can become increasingly picky, and you will be at their whim, rushing into the kitchen to concoct some culinary delicacy, as if you were their own, unpaid, personal chef.

The time to stop using puppy food is when they are growing more quickly than normal.  Americans tend to attribute value by the size.  They think a bigger dog is better and brag when they grow unusually fast.  But they need to grow within standard, or at least close to it, or they may be overgrowing.   Overweight stresses joints, hyper-growth can lead to improper bone development.  I have heard it said, one can palpate the heat in the hips of a dog that is growing too fast.  If they are growing normally, keep them on the puppy, if not, take them off.   Some breeders say to take them off puppy very young (4 months) to protect hips.  I don’t know if this is advisable as they need the nutrition a puppy food has for proper development.  But, certainly, if they are experiencing hyper growth, take them off.  You can also mix adult with puppy to reduce the puppy rich content.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

DANGER: GERMAN SHEPHERD AT RISK!

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I just feel drawn to list a number of very irresponsible things some people do with their German shepherd puppies and older dogs.  I hope the list just might caution someone against doing something they may have done had they not read it.  I think I will make it a list so that it can stand out:

1.  Don’t overfeed your dogs:  No, it is not cute that Klaus is grossly overweight.  Shepherds have a breed standard.  Unless you have an unusually large dog, the standard is a good guide.   American buy dogs by the pound and believe bigger is better.  Also, for some reason we fear underfeeding our dog.   We are an obese culture and our animal reflect our own obesity, as we feed them into oblivion.  With a shepherd, lean is good and how they should be.  It is alright to see some ribs.  They are not dying.  If they have energy, do not excessively shed, don’t have a strange odor, don’t have overly flaky skin, and are just lean, that is good.  Their hips joints are finite in terms of use, and overweight reduces the longevity of joints.

Sorry I took so long on overfeeding.  But there are just so many other related health concerns regarding obese dogs.  You can look at a picture bird’s-eye view of a representative healthy weight and overweight at our K-9 college at “GSD K9 U“.

2.  Don’t leave dogs with things near them they can injest:  Like tennis balls.  By the way, the glue on normal tennis balls erodes the enamel on dogs’ teeth.  When they have bitten a bone in pieces, take it away right away.   My dog destroyed a kong and then vomited up the pieces.  I should have been watching.  I know a dog who swallowed a tennis ball whole.  Watch out for those plastic packing peanuts.  They are toxic.  Antifreeze is sweet but deadly.

3.  Don’t leave your dog tied to a tree or post with a choker on the live link:  They can easily wrap themselves around the post and strangle themselves.

4.  Dont feed only one big meal a day:  Although I have read that bloat (too much air and fluid in the stomach) can be caused by other things (older age, stress, acidic foods), one cause attributed to bloat is eating one large dry dog food meal a day.  Instead give your dog two medium sized meals.

5.  Don’t use the “knee” correction for jumping up: Some people, and I have also, use the knee correction for dogs which jump up.  They just throw their knee into the dogs chest as they jump up.   But this can lead to broken bones, and painful bruises.  Better is to “block” the nose, cupping your hands and letting them run into it.  Or have someone hold their leash and yank back as the jump up.

 

I will give you some more on another blog.  But those are just a couple of things to think about.

 

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our current and planned world class German Shepherd litters by clicking on “current litters“.