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Specializing in German Shorthair Pointers
German Short Hair Pointers
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Grooming your GSP

ZoomGroom dog shampooThank Goodness GSP’s are wash and wear dogs!! No long coats to deal with! However, they will still need grooming. The Zoom groom is good at removing loose coat.....this one is a rubber brush with conical bristles.... it gives a nice massage and many dogs love it. The Zoom Groom also works great in the bathtub for rubbing in the shampoo and working up a nice lather.

You want to handle paws often, as you will need to trim their nails approximately every 2-4 weeks. ForNail clippers for dogs nail trimming, you will want to buy a trimmer for large dogs. The large pliers’ type is the best, and I recommend purchasing this style. I do not recommend Resco (guillotine) style trimmers, as they tend to split the nails.

Styptic powder AKA Kwik StopYou will also need some "Kwik Stop" just in case you cut too close. Never trim nails unless you have some Kwik Stop by your side (Cornstarch can also be used, but the Kwik Stop works much better!). Nails bleed a lot. If you do trim too close, do not make a big deal out of it. Calmly apply the Kwik Stop and go onto the next nail. I am sure it hurts some when we do this, but sometimes it just happens, and they recover very quickly. As in, as soon as you are finished and let them down off the table! I see dogs regularly that strongly object to having their nails trimmed and I have to either muzzle them, or refer them to a vet. This is pure silliness! Work on this care of your dogs feet is very important. Nails that are not trimmed can be injured, requiring a trip to the vet that could be costly, not to mention painful for the dog. If you don't feel comfortable trimming the nails yourself, then pop into the local groomers or vets for a nail trim on a regular basis.

When bathing, use a good quality mild shampoo that is sold for people, I do not recommend the doggie shampoo purchased from discount stores! However, there are excellent dog shampoo’s that can be purchased from dog supply catalogues or dog shows. Puppies get dirty fast and bathing them when they are young is easy and part of the learning experience. Puppies can be bathed in the kitchen sink for the first month. Puppy coats dry fast. However, you want to make sure your puppy is dried well and does not catch a chill. This is a great time for some crate time with a towel to play with, followed by a trip outside when he is dry and a playful brushing. Before bathing, stuff a cotton ball (or part of one, you want a nice tight fit!) in each ear to help keep out water, then wet down the entire coat. Never put shampoo directly on the coat. Use a squeeze bottle and a couple ounces of shampoo diluted in water to apply to your already wet puppy.

Make sure you scrub every square inch of your German Shorthaired pointer...this includes the head (careful to avoid soap in the eyes!) face and ears, between the toes, in the armpits, under the tail. It is very important you get all the shampoo rinsed out, or you will have a puppy with flaky skin. Rinse until you are sure you removed all the shampoo, and then rinse thoroughly one more time! We call bathing a dog, giving the dog a "bath". Actually, it's giving the dog a shower.. I never fill a bath tub with water and "bathe" a dog in standing water. You really need some type of hand-held shower sprayer to rinse the dog effectively....a bucket just won't do a thorough job.

How often to bath? As often as your shorthair needs it! Even weekly baths are okay as long as you use a top-quality mild shampoo with conditioners. You can always do just a plain water rinse-down in between baths to freshen up. And most of the dirt and mud will fall off the dog anyways after it dries.

Ears. Your dogs ears must be kept clean and dry. German Shorthaired Pointers can be prone to ear infections, mostly due to moist conditions related to the drop ear flaps. If your puppy's ears smell foul, consult your vet. I clean ears every other week, but check them weekly. I only use real cotton balls, not cosmetic puffs. The puffs have fibers that irritate the ear. You can use ear cleaners that you purchase at a pet store for mega bucks, or you can make your own equally as good ear cleaner for next to nothing: Mix 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% rubbing alcohol.

The alcohol dries the ear canal and the vinegar changes the pH balance in the ear preventing yeast growth. 99.9% of ear infections in German Shorthaired Pointers are yeast infections because the ears are a warm and moist place for yeast to grow. Please understand this is a preventative only, not a cure for yeast infections. If you have problems with the ears, do not assume anything. Take your dog to the vet. Careful using Q-Tips to clean ears, even though it's extremely hard to damage the ear drum due to the construction of the canal. Q-tips can push wax or objects down into the ear, hence requiring a vet visit. I flood the ear with cleaner and massage the ear canal, then clean out with a cotton ball. This helps expel rather than force things down further. Carefully cleaning afterwards between the ear folds with a Q tip may be okay, but don't stick it where you can't see!

More details on Ear Cleaning, and healing click here!

How to De-skunk your dog!

First Aid for your dog!

A final word on grooming....the anal glands! These are a small pair of glands located one on either side of the rectum, and their job is to help lubricate the bowel movements by emitting a small amount of very offensive-smelling liquid. Dogs may also empty their glands if very frightened. The problem is, the glands do not work effectively in some dogs and can clog up and get overly filled, to the point of abscesses and bursting in severe cases! It can be diet related (too much or not enough fiber), or just the way the dog's glands are built (too small openings, etc). The most common sign of clogged, overly-filled glands is the dog dragging its bum on the floor. Contrary to the often heard myth, this does not mean the dog has worms, it means his anal glands are bothering him and he needs to have them emptied.

I generally recommend taking your dog to a groomer or vet to have this done, as although it is not difficult to learn to do, it is not especially fun for you, can be uncomfortable for the dog, and is often just plain messy and stinky. If your dog is one of the dogs with continuing gland problems that need attention regularly, you may consider having the vet or groomer teach you to empty them yourself.

Happy grooming!