How To Deshed A German Shepherd Dog (GSD) – A Step By Step Approach

You can’t eliminate dog hairs around the house, but you can massively reduce their amount if you know how to deshed a German Shepherd.

German Shepherds are a dog breed that requires a lot of work in many aspects of their existence. Regular grooming is one of those aspects.

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Luckily for you, we will provide information on the most important features when it comes to deshedding your dog step by step.

Believe it or not, it doesn’t take too much effort to make your GSD look like a dog model.

How Often Do You Brush A German Shepherd?

German Shepherds should be brushed at least 3 times a week, preferably 4.

If possible brush your dog for 10 minutes. Use a rake and go through the fur thoroughly. During the shedding season, you can even brush for 15 minutes every day for about 2 weeks.

The frequency of brushing depends on the dog’s lifestyle as well.

Activities like swimming and rolling in the grass can clump the pet’s hair. If your dog prefers this active life brush more often.

Brushing A German Shepherd Puppy

German Shepherd puppies need to get used to the feeling of brushing as early as 12 weeks of age.

You can start with short daily sessions that last 1-2 minutes.

The initial goal is to get the puppy used to the routine.

Instead of using a normal brush, you can get a soft grooming glove. Work your way up to 5-minute sessions before introducing a real adult rake.

Learning How To Deshed A German Shepherd

Using an undercoat rake start brushing from the dog’s back.

Starting anywhere else can make your dog anxious.

Go with lighter and longer strokes a few times over each area.

Successfully brushing the undercoat is the most important part of deshedding.

That’s why you will need a quality undercoat rake or a soft-edged metal comb that can get deep enough and remove loose hair

Whenever you are having problems with clumps of fur that are hard o take out you can use a grooming spray. The solution makes the coat smooth and soft and should be applied everywhere on the dog’s body except the facial area.

Brushing The Thicker Areas

Pay close attention to the areas with thick hair such as the belly, the back of the legs, and around the neck.

Use a pin brush and apply light pressure to get everything you missed with the undercoat rake.

At last, take a comb and brush the whole body of your German Shepherd once again. This way you will ensure no clumps, debris, stick, or grass remained lodged within the coat. The comb also helps you brush in narrow areas like the feet or the face.

Do Bathing And Drying Help With Deshedding?

Using deshedding shampoos can make the removal of loose hair easier.

You should bathe your German Shepherd every 6-10 weeks to remove most of the dead hair.

When applying deshedding shampoo don’t rinse your dog’s coat right away. Allow for the product to work its magic for 5-10 minutes.

High-velocity dryers are a dog groomer’s secret weapon when it comes to deshedding.

They have the power of leaf-blowers but are completely safe and effective when it comes to getting the unnecessary hair out.

What Type Of Coat Do German Shepherds Have?

As a double-coated breed, German Shepherds have two layers of fur. The top layer is called a guard or topcoat.

It’s slightly harsher compared to the underlayer.

The undercoat is softer and has light colors.

The combination of the two layers is needed for many reasons. It protects the dog’s skin from bad UV rays, maintains regular body temperature, protects the skin from mechanical injuries, and repels water.

Although it’s a rarity, some German Shepherds have only one coat layer.

They are also called smooth-coated shepherds. Technically these dogs do have both layers, but the undercoat is so sparse it’s not even considered a coat whatsoever.

Are German Shepherds Big Shedders?

Yes, German shepherds shed a lot.

On a 1 to 10 scale, they are a solid 9.

The fur will completely dominate your home unless you are sweeping or vacuuming twice a week.

Of course, once you implement the deshedding routine, you won’t need to lint-roll your clothes every day.

GSD’s shed all year long. At certain periods like fall and spring, the shedding turns into a non-stop furball festival.

These are the times you are probably thinking about why I got a dog in the first place.

Shedding Season

As winter approaches and the days get shorter, your dog will begin the natural process of growing its winter coat.

The old summer hairs will be being pushed out by the new winter hairs.

The winter coat won’t do your dog any good during summer.

When the days start getting longer you will be gifted with another huge shedding increase.

This increase is referred to as ‘blowing out’ and happens each spring.

It’s Not Just The Seasonal Shedding

Excessive and abnormal shedding in German Shepherds can be a sign of a health problem.

Sometimes it’s poor diet to blame.

The dog’s coat and skin are especially sensitive to nutritional deficiencies so an unbalanced diet can produce loose and dry hair.

Allergies are one of the most common causes of shedding, scratching, and inflamed skin in dogs. Triggers for skin allergies in dogs include food allergens, environmental allergens, and flea bites. Only a vet can determine the exact cause.

At about half a year of age, German Shepherds lose the thick and fluffy coats that kept them super-warm because they don’t need it anymore.

This sudden increase in shedding is not something to be concerned about since it only means your baby is ready to take on the world.

Dogs Under Stress Shed More

Dogs under stress can be aggressive, lethargic, wary, or destructive, you name it.

But they can also be shedding a lot. Funny enough, this also happens with humans. We do lose occasional hair when we are under massive stress.

To prevent stress-related shedding in German Shepherds, you will need to identify the triggers making your dog anxious.

Dogs can shed a lot when they are afraid of loud noises, strangers, unfamiliar places, other animals.

It can also be an unidentified source of pain or illness that’s causing them to be under a lot of stress.

Always Think About The Parasites

The second most common cause of hair loss in dogs is parasites.

Infestations with fleas, lice, sarcoptic mange, or Demodex are very uncomfortable and cause damage to the hair follicles.

Some parasitic problems are itchier than others.

For example, Demodex isn’t itchy at all, but it can cause far greater damage to the skin compared to the super itchy sarcoptic mange.

There is no such thing as ‘there is no chance my dog has parasites’. Even dogs that live strictly indoors (yes, there are such) can get pesky bugs on them.

So call your vet and make an appointment if you are in doubt.

Can You Reduce The Shedding In German Shepherds?

Besides regular brushing and bathing, there are other things you can do to reduce the shedding in German Shepherds.

Your dog will need a protein-based diet with high-quality meat (beef, fish, poultry), It’s also important that the fat ratio is 5-8%.

Supplementing your dog’s diet is always a good idea.

Essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids keep the pup’s fur soft and shiny and provide other health benefits as well.

Are you sure your German Shepherd eats quality food?

The most important supplements for the dog’s fur are:

  • Vitamin A (helps the hair follicles work normally)
  • Vitamin E (antioxidants that maintain healthy hair growth)
  • Vitamin B Complex (skin and hair strength)
  • Copper (for soft and shiny fur)
  • Zinc (prevents skin inflammation/itching)
  • Omega 3 & 6 (maintain skin elasticity and health)

Why You Shouldn’t Shave A German Shepherd?

It can be disastrous for the health of any dog with a double coat if you shave it.

Shaving your German Shepherd will massively decrease its comfort and well-being.

Some people believe that shaving the dog will make it less hot during the summer.

That’s not true because the coat protects not only from cold weather but from extreme heat as well.

When you shave a double-coated dog, the hair never grows back the same.

Every owner that decided to take that step instantly said goodbye to that silky and beautiful coat forever.

Shaving The Dog Doesn’t Help With Allergies

Another miss belief is that a shaved German Shepherd will be less prone to allergies.

The coat is a natural barrier.

Even in dogs with allergies, there are a lot of allergens that cannot get to the skin and cause inflammation because the hair prevents it.

Some types of allergies are triggered by dog dander.

These skin particles are shed throughout the whole year and by shaving the dog you leave the skin exposed and vulnerable even more.

Photo by Robert.

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