Giant Schnauzers are gorgeous dogs that are, well, huge. They are a larger image of the standard size of Schnauzer, if bred the way they are supposed to be bred. They can weigh up to about 95 pounds, which means that they are imposing in size, and despite this large size, they are very energetic and active dogs, which is an unusual characteristic of most large breeds. They require a lot of exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Giant Schnauzers are often used as therapy dogs and do make good household pets, and can do well with other dogs and children, but are better if supervised. You can’t mistake the look of a Giant Schnauzer with the drastic beard and eyebrows, that both give them a very inquisitive and wise appearance.
Giant Schnauzers do have the potential of having some health issues; some are more prone to familial inherited medical issues depending on their lineage. If you have, or plan to get a Giant Schnauzer, here are seven special health care tips for caring for your GS.
Store bought dog food often contains a lot of ingredients that dogs don’t need; preservatives, additives, grains and other ingredients. Giant Schnauzers do much better if they are fed home cooked meals made of fresh meats. Lean cuts of beef, turkey, chicken and even certain vegetables, like sweet potatoes, peas and carrots, help to give your dog the well-rounded balance of nutrition that will help him to grow and stay healthy. Cold cut deli meats contain a lot of salt and other preservatives, so those should be avoided. Table foods are also unhealthy for dogs, a lot being the higher contents of fats, salts and preservatives that are hard for a dog to digest, and can cause an array of other medical issues. You can get good, homemade dog food recipes and ideas online, if you aren’t sure what you can put together for your Giant Schnauzer on a daily basis.
2. Don’t overfeed
Large dogs have a tendency to over eat. If you set a big bowl of food in front of a big dog, chances are, they will gobble it all up in record time without taking a breath. Over eating can cause a medical condition known as bloat. It is a serious condition that can cause a dog a lot of pain and can even be fatal, if not treated right away. Never leave bowls of food on the floor for a dog to eat how ever much they want. Set a feeding schedule and monitor your Giant Schnauzer’s eating habits. If he seems to only eat a cup or so of food, pick up the rest and start feeding him the smaller portions in increments, such as morning and evening. A regular feeding schedule will help to train your dog when and how much to eat so that he doesn’t eat too much in one sitting.
3. Regular doctor’s visits
Your puppy will need several trips to the vet to get all of his puppy vaccinations. Keeping record, and on track with his puppy shots will help to keep your dog free of puppyhood diseases, as well as canine medical issues that are preventable by vaccination. Your vet will also be able to monitor your GS’s over all health and make sure your puppy is growing on schedule or doesn’t have anything that you hadn’t noticed yet. The sooner things are caught, the sooner treatments can begin. Vets are more trained to notice certain medical conditions that you may not be aware your dog has. It’s recommended that you take your GS to the vet once a year for a physical, once they are out of puppyhood, and sooner if you notice there is a medical problem that needs to be checked, in between yearly physicals.
4. Spay or neuter
If you do not plan to breed your dog, getting him or her spayed or neutered as soon as your dog is of the age to do it, is recommended. Having your dog spayed or neutered prevents unwanted pregnancies that could be hard on any dog, and it can be hard on the owner, if you weren’t expecting puppies. It is also a way to help cut out problems of going into heat, settles aggressiveness, among other issues. Find out the recommended age for your dog to be spayed or neutered and have it done while they are young, or as soon as you can.
Giant Schnauzers are more excitable, energetic, and playful than a lot of large breeds. They need to get out and get activity multiple times a day, whether you take them for long walks, or spend some time playing with them in the backyard. Ball, Frisbee, chase, tug-of-war, any games that gets them running, jumping and using their energy, will help to keep them mental and physically fit. Your dog should not be allowed to just run free, but kept in an enclosed yard where they are monitored while they get exercise, or taken for a leash walk/run, to exercise them properly.
6. Help prevent hip dysplasia
Large breeds are prone to something known as hip dysplasia. If you got your dog from a breeder, you should check to be sure the parents were checked for the condition, and if both have a clean record of the disease, and there is little of the condition known to run in the family, the chances for your dog having it occur, are slimmer, but care should still be given on how to treat and take of your GS to help prevent it. Don’t let your dog get in a habit of jumping from high places, be careful of how you handle your dog while he is still in puppy hood by not allowing him to jump from couches and beds, or fall down stairs. Protecting their hips through the years helps to keep them strong and durable. Talk to your vet about supplements that can help keep their bones healthy, as well as what they signs and symptoms of the condition are, so that you are aware early on, should it start developing.
Your GS will need to be groomed regularly. Giant Schnauzers have two coats of fur and keeping them tangle free will help to prevent your dog from being uncomfortable during certain times of year, as well as they will feel better, look and smell better. Brush your dog regularly, bathe when you need to, and trim nails and brush their teeth. The big breed of dog means that he will have a hefty chew, so check often that your dog hasn’t chipped or broken a tooth. If you notice your dog not wanting to eat or seems to be in pain, check their mouths and teeth for signs of oral problems, either with the gums or teeth. And only give your dog toys that are geared for large breeds with strong chewing abilities. Safe, strong and durable dog toys for large breeds are recommended.
The more you know about taking care of your Giant Schnauzer’s health issues prior to getting one, will help you to get off on the right foot on helping him to develop into a healthy adult dog. If you already have a Giant Schnauzer, learning what you can start to do for your dog’s health is always a good thing. It’s never too late to start taking care of your dog’s health so that he lives a long, healthy life with you.