The Doberman pinscher got its start in Germany in the late 1800s as a companion guard dog. Today’s Dobe is intelligent, alert, loving and fiercely loyal. Grooming this breed is a snap, but the ultra-active Doberman needs high quality protein and nutrients to keep him in top shape.
Dobermans have short coats that don’t require professional grooming. Twice-weekly brushing with a boar-bristle brush is enough to keep him looking sleek. During a Dobe’s biannual shedding cycles, daily brushing will remove errant hairs. Unless he's dirty, bathing more than once per month is excessive and can dry out his skin. The caveat of dog bathing is to rinse every trace of dog shampoo away to prevent irritation. Because your Dobe’s nails are black, making it hard to see the inner cuticle, a professional groomer should trim them every 4-6 weeks. If his nails are clicking on the floor as he walks, it’s time for a trim. Keep unscented baby wipes on hand for quick ear and face wiping, as needed.
Around 4 weeks old, the Doberman mother begins to push her litter away as their razor-sharp little teeth making nursing uncomfortable. Baby Dobes can now start eating commercial dry puppy food, softened in water. High quality puppy food should list real meat, such as lamb, chicken or venison in the first three ingredients. Avoid cheap puppy foods that include cornmeal, soymeal and rice flour. The food allotment on the package is an estimate. A 4-month-old, or younger puppy, should eat three times a day. After that, dividing his daily food allotment into two servings is sufficient. Between 9-12 months of age, switch your Dobe to an adult dog food specifically formulated for active dogs. Puppy foods contain higher protein levels, usually around 26 percent, compared to adult dog foods with about 22 percent. The more active the Dobe, the higher his protein needs.
Raw Diet Option
Your vet might recommend a raw diet to fill an active Dobe's nutritional needs. Sometimes called the BARF diet, which stands for bones and raw food, this is a diet of raw meat and healthy vegetables. Commercially prepared raw food is available frozen or freeze-dried, which requires water to reconstitute. Raw food should not contain added hormones, grain, fillers or artificial preservatives. You can alternately prepare your dog’s food from fresh ingredients. A typical raw diet consists of about 35 percent protein and 30 percent fat. The rest should be quality fiber sources, such as broccoli, beets, carrots, squash, apples and spinach. Your vet can help you choose a quality raw food manufacturer or suggest a different protein-fat ratio if your Doberman is less active.
Supplements and Foods to Avoid
Supplementing your Dobe’s diet with fatty acids, such as fish oil or flaxseed oil can keep his coat looking shiny and sleek, but don’t offer him a canine multivitamin unless your vet recommends one. Supplementing is a science that depends on the food your dog eats and his activity level. Likewise, it’s so fun to share your food with your dog but it’s not always in his best interest. Cooked meat table scraps are okay as long as they don’t contain bones, salt or added seasonings. Bland cooked veggies, except onions and garlic, can be an occasional treat. Avoid giving your Dobe grapes, raisins, chocolate or anything that contains sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you’re in doubt about the safety of a food item, don’t chance it.