Caring For A Schipperke?



There are a variety of foods that may be used. Your dog may have his/her own likes or dislikes. Most breeders are usually eager to explain the foods that they are feeding and why. Some feed canned, some only dry, some mix them and some feed raw diets. It is individual in what you and your dog are happy with. A Good balanced food is important, but always remember to keep plenty of fresh water available.

Here at Heart-Throbs we recommend a raw diet consisting of fruits and vegetables as well as meats, we do also use some dry kibble as it also helps in dental cleansing. Much reasearch has been done and is currently being done that shows what we feed our dogs may actually be detremental to their health. By law, pet foods are not required to contain optimum or best levels of each nutrient. Most foods claim to be "nutritionally complete" as they contain certain minimum levels to prevent obvious deficiency symptoms. The law does not require that all of the nutrient levels are kept below a safe maximum level either. Please investigate the following books and articles.
From Natural Pet by Ann Martin Article 2.
There are 2 books available by Ian Billinghurst titled
"Give Your Dog A Bone"
"Grow Your Pup on Bones"

Puppies may be feed several times a day, or some breeders leave food out for them to eat as they want. The amount of food a puppy eats will vary. A reputable breeder will provide a diet for your puppy, follow it closely expecially the first few days, then you may slowly adjust the food to your choice of food. Always remember when changing foods, to do it slowly. Most puppies depending on the age may feed twice a day. When your puppy reaches 9 to 10 months or older, you can easily move to once a day, unless you are free feeding in where there is plenty of food available at all times.

Health Care:

A regular vet check is vital to make sure you dog is free of all parasites. The dog should be put on a heartworm preventative and recieve all booster shots and/or necessary wormings. There is also reasearch being done regarding the vaccination of dogs and puppies and what is really necessary for the dogs immune system. We recommend that titer levels be done to see if your dog has the proper immunity in his system before you vaccinate. Some states are now requiring rabies vaccinations every 3 years instead of annually.

General Care:

All dogs require baths and brushing to keep the dog clean and maintain good basic health. A Schipperke actually requires a minumun amount of grooming care. Daily brushing will keep the coat clean, use a brush that has medium to hard stiff bristles. This will remove loose dead hairs, and superficial dirt.

Start by brushing against the hair, especially on the neck and chest. Then brush with the hair to give a finished look. A Schipperke will shed very little during the year, but may all of sudden loose their guard coat and undercoat all at once. This could be caused by a number of things ex: heat cycle, stress, worms or anesthesia. When this happens the undercoat comes loose in thick clumps, use a wide tooth metal comb to remove the clumps of hair. If you do not remove this, the dog may become very uncomfortable and resort to scratching and could cause skin injuries or infections. The fastest way to get your dog back into coat is to give the dog a warm baths making sure you get the dead coat out and not leaving any soap residue in the coat. Oils may be used to lubricate the skin if dry, and when shedding dandruff may occur.

Bathing A Schipperke:

Schipperkes do not have an offensive doggy odor. A Schipperke has a harsh outer guard coat that sheds dirt and water. A mild shampoo for dogs works quite well. An important thing to remember in bathing a Schipperke is to get the coat wet all the way to the skin. The next and maybe the most important tip in bathing a Schipperke is to rinse thorougly. It is easier to get the shampoo into the coat, than to get the coat rinsed of shampoo. Make sure you get all of the soap out of the coat. Then dry the dog or keep the dog in a warm draft free environment until dry.

"Do not clipper cut a Schipperke." It "will not" keep the dog cooler in fact will remove the natural insulation that protects him form the heat or weather.

A Schipperke should have it's teeth cleaned, and toenails trimmed. The toenails should be kept short, long toenails could be a source of infection, and could cause the dog to walk splay footed by spreading out the toes, or on the back of it's feet. Long toenails may also get hung in carpet, upholestry etc. and cause damage to the foot. When clipping toenails be careful not to cut into the quick. If you are unsure on how to do this have a groomer or vet cut them for you. If your dogs dewclaws were not removed as a puppy make sure that these nails are also clipped.

The teeth should be kept clean and free of tarter by brushing or scaling. If a puppy's teeth are cleaned regurarly you may not need to have a vet clean them for you.

A Schipperke doesn't have any eye problems as such but should be checked regurarly. Their eyes may get dust in them and become irritable just as yours do.

Ears should be checked, but seldom are any cause of trouble. Any foul smelling thick brown substance could be ear mites and could cause infections and possible loss of hearing.

Some Possible Health Concerns:

There aren't many health problems in Schipperkes, and the schipperke is the hardiest of all small dogs. There are a few problems that owners and breeders should be aware of.

Cryptorchidism- The absense of testicles or the failure of the testicles to descend into the scrotum.

Coughing- Some bloodlines tend to have a chronic cough, which may be aggrivated by a colar on the neck. This is not kennel cough, but seems to be the structure of the trachea of the individual dog.

Epilepsy- Some forms are hereditary and can be passed on from generation to generation. Other forms are caused by brain injury. Symptons could range from a blank stare to a full seizure. However a seizure doesn't necessarily mean that the dog has epilepsy. There could be a number of possible concerns that may cause a seizure, diabetes, poor nutrition etc. A vet should be consulted immediately. Diagnosis may be difficult without witnessing a seizure. There are medications prescribed to control seizures if needed.

Fungus- Mostly in the grown dog, a common ailment but difficult to conquer. Some bloodlines experience this more than others. Bare patches of skin usually during hot, damp weather, but can occur in the cold of winter. Consult your vet if you experience this.

Legg-Perthies Disease- No evidence of apparent genetic irrigularites is recognized. Seen in adolescence, it is the loss of blood circulation to the femural head, results in deformity as it literally erodes away. By the time the dog may exhibit discomfort the process is nearly ended or ended. Surgical reformation of the femoral head and neck is needed, but may result in chronic abnormalities in gait and arthritis of the hip.

Parasites- Intestional worms, must be tested for and identified. A fresh stool sample should be taken to your vet every six months. Fleas carry disease and are a host for tape worms. Defleaing should be done with a safe for cats product. Less toxic products are recommended.

Heartworms- Identified by testing blood. Prevention is the key. Have your dog tested and then put the dog on a preventative medicine recommended by your vet.

Vaccinations- Done regurarly with health checkups. Age of dog and number of vaccinations required will determine the schedule. Rabies innoculations vary from state to state.

What Is A Schipperke? Our Girls