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Taking Care of Your Black German Shepherd
Wondering how to care for your new German Shepherd? What kind of food do they eat? How often should you bathe and exercise them? We answer all of your questions and more about this amazing breed right here!
German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and high level of intellect that makes them so easy to train. That’s why households adore them, farm owners need them, and police forces employ them. Thisbreed forms a close bond with its owners, quickly becoming a beloved member of any family.
If you are the proud owner of a black German Shepherd or are looking into buying one, then it is essential to understand the care and maintenance they require. Here is everything you’ll need to know from food to healthcare and what kind of temperament to expect.
Understanding the Breed
Every dog is different, but there are always traits associated with specific breeds. Understanding these personality traits ahead of time allows you to properly train and socialize your pet. Here are the more common qualities found in the German Shepherd breed.
Social and Friendly
The black German Shepherd, or any color, requires social connections to thrive. Their best qualities are brought out by interaction with both people and other dogs from an early age. The more you familiarize them with the outside world, the more mild-mannered and loving they become.
Socializing this breed with other people is incredibly important. Left at home with little care, interactions with strangers can become frightening experiences that yield negative results. Fear can lead to aggression, but introducing them to others at a young age will leave you with a happy dog that loves to meet new people.
Herding and Hunting Instincts
These dogs make excellent companions on farms with their natural instinct to aid in the herding of other animals. This attribute also shines throw in their love for a good game of fetch. There are multiple training tools and classes available to help your pooch master this inherent skill.
The herding instinct tends to go hand in hand with a strong prey drive, which your German Shepherd will most likely display in the form of catching frisbees and balls. However, the urge to hunt may also manifest when your dog is around other animals such as cats, rabbits, or other household pets.
Even if you have socialized your dog with other animals, it is highly advised that you never leave them alone with smaller pets in the house. At the same time, you should always keep your dog on a leash when out an about. Their drive to hunt could cause them to unknowingly run into traffic after a squirrel or injure another person’s pet.
Thankfully, you can help to curb their desire to hunt. Playing lots of fetch or having them catch a frisbee will help them run through their energy. You should, however, still follow the tips above to keep your dog and other animals safe.
Defensive and Mild Tempered
German Shepherds are generally neutral in their temperament towards other people and dogs, but their instinct to defend their flock or pack is still present in their behavior. If your pet perceives a threat to itself, you, or a family member, then there is a good chance that it will act defensively. When properly socialized, your dog will easily be able to tell the difference between normal behavior and a potential threat.
Despite this urge to defend its loved ones, German Shepherds are mild tempered by nature. Aggressive or mean dogs in this breed are the result of abuse, improper socialization, or mental illness. These dogs are one of the most loyal, loving, and affectionate around.
Feeding Your Pet
Did you know that an adult black German Shepherd can eat up to 100 pounds of dog food in a month? With that much food going into their bodies, it is essential to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need.
Unlike many breeds who require them for proper digestion, German Shepherds should eat as little grains as possible. Their diets should resemble what they would eat in the wild, which means mostly meat and a small number of plants. Buying breed specific food is an excellent way to make sure your pet is eating a healthy diet.
Adult German Shepherds should eat once or twice a day depending on their activity level, while puppies should eat closer to four times a day to help them grow. Most trainers will also advise that you take the bowl away after your dog has finished eating. This helps to eliminate the habit of snacking and maintain a healthy weight.
Key ingredients to look for include:
- High protein in the form of chicken, beef, or turkey
- Plenty of vegetables
- Eggs for added protein and vitamins
Avoid wheat, corn, and rice. These ingredients are tough on a German Shepherd’s digestive tract.Additives are also a bad choice, as they add unhealthy calories.
Your black German Shepherd needs plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Puppies and adults alike can quickly become bored without a daily walk or time spent playing outside, which can lead to behavioral issues. Letting them run around in the yard twice a day also helps to prevent hip dysplasia later in life.
Daily schedules can become a busy nightmare for everyone, but it is imperative that you make the time to play with your pet whether they are an adult or puppy. This breed has a high level of energy that needs to be let loose. If you do find yourself incredibly busy, even just allowing them to run around in the yard chasing a ball will help.
How to Groom a German Shepherd
Your black German Shepherd has a double coat on top of its skin, which means you’ll need to take extra care when grooming it. Unlike shorthaired dogs, this breed requires plenty of brushing along with other grooming requirements.
Bathing your dog too often will result in dry and irritated skin, but washing them too little will leave them a dirty mess. With a double-coat, your German Shepherd will need a bath roughly once a month. If the two of you have a day where you exercise extensively, or if you find a flea, then another bath isn’t a bad idea.
Stay away from regular shampoo, however. It is highly recommended to use a brand specifically designed for dogs with thicker, double coats and plenty of hair.
While your dog will need the occasional bath to stay clean, you will probably need to brush it twice as often. Double-coated dogs typically need to be brushed around 3-4 times a week to eliminate loose hair and keep their fur shiny. This will also help to reduce shedding, which can prevent your vacuum from clogging up.
Toenails and Teeth
You will more than likely need to trim your dog’s toenails once every week. Since most German Shepherds have black toenails, picking up a commercial nail trimmer will help to ensure you don’t cut the nail back too far. These tools have a backing to help gauge depth.
As for their teeth, you will need to regularly remove plaque just like you would for any other breed. Since this breed is larger, a toothbrush and dog-friendly toothpaste are all you’ll need. Make sure not to brush too harshly, however, as you could harm their gums.
Those Adorable Ears
Cleaning out your black German Shepherd’s ears is another weekly task that helps to eliminate wax and debris. You can use a solution to help break up the wax, then use a cloth or cotton pad to remove it. Never use water to clean your dog’s ears. Water will seep into their ear canal and cause an infection. Also, make sure to be as gently as possible and clean their ears in a quiet location.
Like all breeds, German Shepherds are prone to certain illnesses. Breeders should provide health records for both parents, which can help you determine the likelihood of your dog’s future issues. This breed commonly experiences:
- Bone and joint disorders
- Cancer of the bones, lymphatic system, skin, and capillaries
- Pancreas issues
German Shepherds are also predisposed to specific disorders, which typically appear late in life. Theseinclude:
- Heart disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- And problems with their vision
Your dog may experience some, none, or all of these issues as they age. A healthy diet, exercise, and regular checkups at the vet can help them to avoid these issues as long as possible. Since bone and joint pain are the most common, kibble or food fortified with minerals to help prevent these issues is highly recommended.
A Loyal Companion
Caring for your black German Shepherd is essential to their long-term health and temperament. Luckily, caring for a new dog is easier than most first-time or new owners think. With the right care, you’ll have a friend for plenty of years to come.