German shepherds are fondly called ‘German Shedders’ for a reason-they shed year round. On top of that, one or two times per year, they blow their double coat. As summer approaches, they seem to explode dog fur, leaving the tuffs everywhere.
To help control shedding, grooming of their double coat is essential. As described by the AKC, German shepherds have a “medium-length, double coat consisting of a dense, harsh, and close-lying outer coat with a softer undercoat.” To keep this coat in shape, they need to be brushed every few days.
Since they shed year round, continual brushing will help keep loose fur to a minimum and reduce the amount of fur they leave behind in the house, on furniture, and in the car in the summertime. Typically, German shepherds require only occasional bathing and nail trims. They don’t require professional grooming unless you prefer it.
Feeding a healthy diet will also keep their skin and coat healthy as well as keep shedding to a minimum. For optimal health, they should be fed high quality dog food and can be given a joint supplement and omega-3’s.
Notorious for a sensitive digestive system, care should be given to their diet. Incorporating fresh food into their diet such as eggs, fresh vegetables, yogurt, and low fat meat may also be helpful.
Although brushing year round can help keep shedding to a minimum, all German shepherd owners know, as temperatures start to rise, they will blow their undercoat. To reduce this massive shed event, and keep the dog cool and comfortable, a summer comb out is a must.
Start with a good bath
The undercoat will shed itself so all you need to do is help manage it. The best way to do this is to start with a good bath to help loosen and remove the undercoat. Use a high-quality shampoo and conditioner to moisturize the skin. Conditioned fur will also make future brushing easier. A rubber grooming brush or shampoo brush is a great tool to loosen fur while bathing. Allow the dog to thoroughly dry before brushing.
An alternative to bathing is a waterless shampoo dog spray, which will help freshen and loosen fur without having to give a full bath. There are many products on the market, some allergy friendly. These products can be used year round and are especially helpful when it’s cold.
After the dog is dry, the next step is to brush with a good quality undercoat rake, deshedding brush, undercoat deshedding tool. Brush in the direction the fur grows until the majority of the loose undercoat is removed. Pay special attention to the areas around the neck, the hind end, and the dense fur on the back legs, where the undercoat is the thickest.
Once you are done with the deshed and have removed all matts, brush the dog with a slicker brush to loosen and remove any remaining dead fur and the loose top coat.
Finish brushing and remove the rest of the loose fur with a rubber wet dry brush or alternate with the slicker brush. If you prefer, you can brush first and wash the dog last.
Never shave your German shepherd
Double coated dogs should not be shaved. Their top coat helps protect their skin and regulates their body temperature, which will help keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
If you shave a double coat, the undercoat will actually grow in faster than the top coat or guard coat. This will not only ruin the appearance of the coat, it will cause the dog to get hotter in the summer. It will also make it easier for their fur to pick up dirt, grass, twigs, stickers, etc.
Despite their constant shedding, German shepherds are actually very easy to groom. All they require is regular brushing and a bath and nail trim, as needed. The love and loyalty they’ll return for your effort is worth their weight in gold.
Please share these summer grooming tips with your family and friends.