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KAZKIRI GERMAN SHEPHERD DOGS

grooming

German Shepherd Dogs - Kazkiri GSDsRegular brushing is necessary to keep the coat clean & shiny & to remove any loose hairs. Usually this is done once or twice per week, but during the moulting season, it will need to be combed with a fine toothed comb or stripping comb to remove the tufts of dead hair, then followed with a bristle brush & finished off by rubbing over with a chamois cloth. If there is a severe flea infestation problem the dog may need to be given "Program" or the combined worm & flea prevention of "Sentinel".

For that important event when your GSD needs to look his or her best (see grooming article below) we recommend products from the Plush Puppy range. We use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo, Body Building Shampoo with Wheatgerm, Reviva Coat and Seabreeze Oil.

The ears need to be checked for any redness or soreness, or grass seeds - usually indicated by the dog carrying his head to one side & constant shaking of the head. If there is any infection of the ears caused by grass seeds this will need to be attended to by your Veterinary Surgeon. Normal cleaning of the ears should be done by mixing: 1 part warm water, 1 part baby oil & 1 part methylated spirits & dipping cotton wool into the mixture, squeezing out, then wiping thoroughly, to remove any dirt or wax.
For more information on how to groom your GSD download the article by Cheryl Lecourt, Plush Puppy Australia.

bathing
The German Shepherd Dog should not be bathed too often, as this will dry out the coat & skin & can cause irritation, leading to the dog scratching & biting all the time (often mistaken for fleas).

Dog shampoos should always be used when giving the dog a full bath, not human shampoos or wool-wash, because the dog's PH is totally different to humans. Humans have a high acid skin, whereas a dog's skin is neutral or alkaline so has a much higher PH, being around seven or more. Washing them in human shampoo can make them itchy because of altering the PH balance of the skin.

When bathed make sure all shampoo/soap is rinsed out thoroughly, then apply a flea rinse. As most flea treatments are very strong & toxic always follow instructions carefully. A flea rinse we use is: 2 cups brown vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lavender oil, 1 bucket of warm water. This works well & is non-toxic.

For in-between times, to clean the pup/dog, we fill a bucket with warm water, add 1 tablespoon of shampoo, 1 teaspoon of lavender oil & ½ cup brown vinegar, dip a cloth into this mixture & wipe the pup/dog all over till damp, then towel dry & brush. Spray with flea spray if necessary. This works well as it can be done as often as required without drying out the skin & coat.

"GSDs are the dog breed with one of the highest average skin pH of any dog breed. That's why our breed has more skin problems than other dog breeds! For example, the average skin pH of German Shepherds is about ten times more alkaline than that of a Golden Retriever! Meaning, it is about ten times more likely to develop skin problems! Rashes, hot spots, epidermal cysts etc, you name it.

Now, essential to know is that the pH scale is not linear but logarithmic, meaning every adjacent whole number changes the acidity or alkalinity by a factor of 10! With an average pH of 5.5 for human skin and 7.4 for canine skin, this means that your dog's skin is about a hundred times more alkaline than your own skin (which in fact is acidic)!
The next essential point to understand is that the lower the pH (ie the more acidic the substance) the harder it is for parasites and bacteria to survive, let alone to flourish!

Our fairly low human skin pH of an average 5.5 fends off many environmental attacks without us even noticing (because it is acidic). Conversely, canine skin with an average pH of 7.4 is about a hundred times less likely to fend off environmental attacks - because it is rather alkaline! That's why dogs in general have far more skin problems than humans have, and why we need to take extra care for our dog's skin and coat.

Your goal

Considering dog hygiene, your goal should be to maintain the average skin pH of about 7.4 - or, more generally speaking, a neutral to slightly alkaline cutaneous pH. In other words, don't destroy it say by using very acidic cleaning products - like some that are made for human skin, or indeed for the floor!

However: You have learned above that dog skin and particularly German Shepherd skin pH has such a broad range that it appears unreasonable to pay undue attention to the exact pH value of a cleaning product labeled for dogs. Following the general advice above (to use products with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH) seems to be both sensible and sufficient.

By the way, the salty seawater in the oceans has a pH of around 8.0, thus it is alkaline and pH-wise right in the range of dog skin. Meaning, even regular swimming in the ocean does not imbalance and harm your dog's skin (while it does imbalance human skin if we swim too long or too often in the ocean). Just ensure that you rinse off your dog (and yourself!) very thoroughly after salt water contact (because salt sucks up all moisture in the skin) - and of course much more thoroughly after swimming in open, standing water, like lakes".
http://mygermanshepherd.org/periodical/gsd-bath-or-shower/

trimming toenails
Sometimes the nails continue to grow if they are not worn down by exercise or the dog/pup is mainly on grass. When cutting the nail, only cut off the hook on the end of the nail. Use the pads as a baseline & cut at about a 45º angle. File the nails smooth if they are still a little sharp. Nails can be filed if you are worried about cutting the quick that runs down the length of the nail. Use an ordinary builder's file for filing; file from underneath, keeping in line with the pads.

Clipping Dog's Toenails

How to groom your German Shepherd Dog

Beyond Beauty - Grooming for good health

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