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Doberman Pinscher running

Skin Problems

Skin problems in Dobermans most commonly present as dry skin that can lead to severe itching and loss of coat.† The dog will scratch and bite herself, causing bleeding; these symptoms may not appear until around three years of age.† The best approach is to be cautious and avoid potential problems from the beginning by not over-bathing a Dobe: a sponge bath usually works quite well in removing dust and loose hair and even mud as long as the coat isnít completely saturated.

Use a rectangular bucket that the Doberman can stand in two feet at a time.† Fill the bucket half way with warm water and a little vinegar.† Use a sponge and start cleaning the face, working back.† In hot weather this is a good technique for gradually cooling an over-heated dog: use cool water and gradually saturate the coat and top of the head to bring the body temperature down without trapping heat inside the body.† If a dog is hot and dirty from exercising this technique works well; when bathing a hot dog in the tub, be careful not to lower the body temperature too quickly by spraying with cold water; start with tepid water and cool it gradually over a period of 20-30 minutes.

When giving a complete bath, both rinse-out and leave-in type conditioners can be used after shampooing.† Hansenís Cherry Remoisturizer is a good leave-in conditioner that can be applied while the coat is still damp; rub a small amount of the conditioner into the coat and skin with your hands.† Be careful not to use very hot water when bathing a Dobe; barely warm water is better for preventing dry skin, even if you have to heat the bathroom for a few minutes before the bath.† Also, for safety reasons, use one or two bath mats to prevent slipping in the tub; two mats can be placed sideways, one for each pair of feet.† A sponge can be used to scrub a Dobeís sensitive areas, and a rubber brush for the top of the back where the coat is more dense.† A soft brush with long bristles will reach areas between the paw pads to clean the feet thoroughly. You shouldnít need to bathe a Dobe more than once a month (once every three months would be better), but you may never need to resort to a complete bath unless the dog gets muddy.

Diet is very important in preventing skin problems in Dobes.† Unlike water dogs such as retrievers, Dobes are prone to dry skin, but the advantage for the Dobe lover is that Dobes donít have a strong odour from skin oils in the coat.† Make sure the kibble you buy is fresh; even a product that boasts linoleic acid will not be helpful if the oils are stale.† In addition, be sure to store the kibble in an air-tight food-grade container to keep it fresh. Clean grape juice bins are handy for large quantities, and the kibble stays fresh longer if half of it is stored in a separate container that isn't opened until needed. Eliminate as much air space as possible. The lids fit very snugly to reduce oxidation.
Doberman Pinscher snacking

Purchase a bottle of flax seed oil to add to the kibble; this should be used within six weeks of opening and should be kept refrigerated; a 60-80 pound Dobe will consume a small bottle of oil in that amount of time.† Linoleic and linolenic acids are important for healthy skin and an oil supplement added to the kibble is a convenient and inexpensive way to ensure skin health.† A teaspoon or so on a cup of kibble two or three times a day will keep the skin healthy and also prevent constipation.† An added bonus is that dobes enjoy the taste and smell of flax seed oil.† Products containing other oils as well as flax can be purchased, but be careful to follow dosage directions for oil-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E.† Plain flax oil is usually the most economical choice.

If you have other suggestions for controlling skin problems, please contact me.

If your Dobe should develop severe dry skin, rub a moisturizer into the coat several times a day and cover with a sweatshirt to prevent the dog from licking the moisturizer off.† Using an edible oil like olive oil is probably the safest course of action, but find it in the drugstore rather than the supermarket.† Avoid cocoa butter based products.

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