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Care and Grooming Beaucerons
The Beauceron is pretty much a wash and wear dog. They don't require much attention to keep them in good shape but like all dogs a certain amount of care is required. The first thing to consider is of course immunizations. When you get your puppy you should receive a record of worming and shots already given. Take this record to your veterinarian so they can establish a record and determine a correct protocol for maintaining the good health of your puppy. While there is some discussion of how often immunizations are necessary, regular worming (especially heart) should be done monthly, no matter where you live. Your veterinarian can explain the latest data.
Coat care is relatively simple. The Beauceron has a harsh weather resistant coat. It has more natural oils than some breeds to help repel water and keep the dog warm. This natural oil tends to attract dirt and a monthly bath should be sufficient to keep your dog clean without compromising its weather resistant properties. Bathing too often will wash away these protective oils and should be avoided. A Beauceron sheds hair constantly and bathing tends to loosen the coat and produce more discarded hair. After the bath, plan to give your dog a good brushing to reduce the amount of hair everywhere. If you don't want to brush, we recommend the purchase of a blow dryer for dogs to get rid of this loose hair. It can be used to dry the dog and help to eliminate shedding. Don't use your own hair dryer, it's too hot and not powerful enough to blow away the loose hair. Go to a pet store and purchase a blower made especially for dogs. Keeping expenses to a minimum is always a good idea but now is not the time to cut corners. Expect to pay more than $125 for a minimal blower that can do the job. Some blowers that are extra powerful can cost $400 or more. The advantage of a powerful blower is that you virtually eliminate all the loose hair and can forget about it until the next bath. Twice a year dogs will turn over their coat and they shed more than normal. This usually happens in the fall and early spring. During these times, brushing twice a week or blowing out every two weeks is necessary. The cycle of heavy shedding is over in about a month if you use a blower. It takes longer with just brushing.
In case you haven't noticed, the Beauceron has double dewclaws on the rear legs. It is a trait of the breed and they must be there if you plan to show your dog. This adds two extra nails on each rear leg that must be kept trimmed. It's easy to overlook proper nail care for dogs but it can have serious consequences. Nails that are allowed to grow too long put excess pressure on the toes and will eventually cause them to break down. Severe cases can cause the dog to become lame and the condition is permanent. Trimming the nails after this happens cannot correct the condition. Unfortunately, all dogs hate to have their nails trimmed. If you don't have a grooming table to put them on and help control them, this process can be quite difficult. If you don't want to trim the nails yourself then plan to take the dog to the vet every month. We recommend the use of a grinder to file the nails shorter. A clipper can be used but you take a chance of cutting the nail too short and into the quick. This is painful, bleeds, and makes an unpleasant experience for the dog causing greater resistance for the next time.
In the wild, canines are meat eaters and chew bones and other materials that keep the tarter off their teeth. Domesticated dogs eat man made foods that allow the buildup of tarter causing dental problems. Dogs can be trained to tolerate teeth brushing and you can purchase tooth paste and brushes at most pet stores. There are also chew toys available that can help reduce tarter. If tarter does build up then professional cleaning by a veterinarian is required. Unfortunately, this requires sedation of the dog and there are inherent risks involved with it. These risks increase as the dog gets older.
There is nothing more important to your dogs good health than nutrition. A premium dog food is worth it's weight in gold. Beware, not all dog foods are created equal. Your most important tool in selection of dog food is the label but they can be quite confusing. Therefore, we will try to make this simple so you have some idea of what you are buying. The first rule is to understand the terms by-products and meal. As an example, if you see the product contains chicken meal, that means the whole chicken was processed and contains everything. If the label says chicken by-products then that means it is mostly feathers, beaks, feet, and other parts of little value. In short, meal is better. The next thing to remember is to avoid corn. If the word corn appears in the first three ingredients on the label, find another brand. Corn is used as a filler and makes the dogs feel full. Unfortunately, it has little nutritional value for canines. Ingredients on the label are listed in descending order of percentage in the food. In other words, if chicken is the first ingredient listed then it has the highest percentage in the food. The next ingredient has the second highest percentage, and so on. The better the dog food that you feed means that you don't have to feed as much to achieve the required nutrition. It also means there is less to pick up after your dog removes the nutrients. That's always a plus.
Updated March 16, 2010
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