Caring For a Doberman’s needs
The foundation of a healthy Doberman is a consistent high quality diet and vigorous exercise several times throughout the day. The foundation to a happy Doberman with a reliable temperament is socialization and training. The provision of these foundations is the responsibility of the Doberman owner. Also his responsibility is maintaining the Doberman’s hygiene through regular grooming, bathing, ear care, and oral care; as well as proper veterinary care.
Doberman Dietary Needs
A consistent and high quality diet for your Doberman is worth every penny. Not only will he be more healthy and happy, he will also avoid many future health problems. Quality food costs more, but you need less, this means less poop in the back yard and less noxious gas in the house.
Consistency is important. Changing a Doberman’s food suddenly will cause an upset tummy and likely some diarrhea. Buying whatever is on sale at the supermarket is a harmful habit.
When choosing a commercial food, it should be specific for your Doberman’s age. Dogs in different age groups (puppy, adult, and senior) have very different needs.
Table scraps are not part of a quality diet. Growing up, my family treated our dogs like garbage disposals, giving them whatever we wouldn’t eat including fat. This is wrong and very harmful to the dog’s health.
Choosing a Diet for the Doberman Pinscher
What a Doberman Needs, and needs to Avoid
Deciding on what food to feed your Doberman can be difficult and confusing. There is a huge amount of authoritative information available online and in books, much of it less than credible and lacking references. The trouble is, relatively little veterinary research has been performed on the nutritional needs of the domestic dog, but there are plenty of self proclaimed experts on domestic dog nutrition, including Doberman nutrition.
A dedicated Doberman owner could go crazy reading all of the contradictory and unsupported information out there. I know I nearly did preparing this article. For the record, I am not a dog nutritionist. The authoritative statements in this article contain only universally accepted truths; the controversial stuff I will simply summarize in as fair and rational manner as my nature will allow.
A reliable food choice for a Doberman diet is an age specific premium dry kibble such a Nutro or ProPlan, both of which have worked well for myself in the past. My Dobermans liked it and neither is that expensive, about $35 for a 40 pound bag. Even for a very active dog a 40 pound bag should last more than a month.
There are two main things to look for in a quality dog food. First, the food should be chicken, lamb, or venison based without byproducts. Grain based is bad. Beef based food should also be avoided because it contains a beef antigen, a protein molecule hard on the dog’s system, and these beef based foods often contains more protein than stated on the label. The second thing to look for are the two harmful preservatives butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). These chemicals have been linked to liver damage, fetal abnormalities, metabolic stress, and increased cholesterol.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Don’t Overdo It
The subject of dog vitamin and mineral supplements is fraught with confusing and unsupported information, more so even than the subject of dog food. This will not likely change anytime soon. Look at the countless theories and philosophies surrounding vitamin and mineral supplements for people!
Commercial dog food producers assert their food is nutritionally balanced, voiding the need for supplementation. Holistic health advocates and some dog experts attest that their supplementation plans have improved the health of their dogs, cured illness, remedied problems, and healed injury. Vitamin producers site their research and customer testimonies in advertising their products.
Care should be taken with any supplementation program. Lacking certain vitamins and minerals can be harmful to a Doberman, but so can having too much, especially minerals such as calcium.
A good veterinarian should be able to tell if your Doberman is suffering from a vitamin or mineral deficiency and will prescribe the appropriate vitamins and minerals in appropriate amounts.
EAR CROP & TAIL DOCK
Dobermans are born with floppy ears and long tails, similar to a labrador or hound dog. The ears are cropped and tails docked so that they achieve the upright standing ear and the short tail. There can be a lot of controversy surrounding this topic so we want to be as educational and sensitive as we can.
It is prudent for all Doberman owners and prospective owners to be fully educated on this topic so they can make the best choice for their dog and so that they can educate others that inquire (people always ask questions when they see a natural eared dobe or a puppy with tape on its ears). We are in favor of maintaining our right of choice on this elective surgery and respect that others may choose differently than us. Extreme activists are lobbying to take away our choices and ban all cropping and docking. Please read and research for yourself. Don’t just assume it is cruel or assume it looks better so it must be better. Find out why or why not.
Some countries do not legally allow these practices but that does not mean they are unethical. Many of those same countries have exceptions to allow cropping and docking on dogs meant to do working sport/competition such as Schutzhund.
The Doberman is the ONLY breed bred for personal protection. This is their true nature at heart – to always be protecting and “working” anyways whether they are active in competition for it or not. For this reason and the following explained reasons, we fully endorse cropping and docking when done ethically by a skilled professional with proper after care and follow up.