Undoubtedly, German shepherd dogs (GSDs) are among the most beautiful canine breeds in the world. Their luscious, shiny, and thick coat is quite a sight to behold. Being the superstar canine that they are, you may want to go the extra mile to ensure your German shepherd maintains its crowning glory. (1)
Your dog’s well-groomed hair is a sign they’re a healthy and happy furry buddy. On the other hand, a thin and dull coat indicates they might not be getting enough nutrients, which could lead to too much shedding in the long run. If you know the proper way to take care of your shepherd’s fur, you can keep its shiny and healthy look for years. (1) (2)
Why choose a German shepherd?
It’s impossible not to be smitten by a shepherd’s charm and energy. This is one of the reasons you’d often see them in movies flaunting their playfulness, intelligence, and irresistible adorableness. Of course, part of that charisma is the canine’s lustrous hair, which makes you want to run your fingers over it as you cuddle and pet them on the floor.
It’s true when they say all dogs are a gift to mankind, but there’s something special about shepherds that make them one of the most lovable breeds in the universe. A German shepherd’s intelligence is what makes them highly capable. That’s why it isn’t surprising to find them working for the police, among other careers they may find apt for the talent.
On the other hand, pet lovers appreciate GSDs for their loyalty, obedience, and ability to socialize. And with proper training, these dogs can be very gentle but with more than enough demeanor to protect everyone in the family. If you have one at home, you can show them how much you appreciate their presence and loyalty by giving them your love and care. Of course, this includes making sure their hair and skin stay as healthy and beautiful as they can ever be. (1) (3)
German shepherd coat care 101
A German shepherd coat requires extra attention and care because of its double coating. The first one is the undercoat, which is the layer closest to your dog’s skin. The undercoat is essentially made of short hair strands, making it quite dense. The other layer, called the guard hair or topcoat, is longer and what you usually see and feel as you play with your furry buddy. The topcoat also helps keep moisture and dirt away from your dog’s actual skin. (1)
Because of these two layers of fur, grooming your canine friend takes more effort since you have to ensure you’re giving attention to the inner coat as well. Shedding can take an unexpected turn if you don’t pay the coat enough upkeep. And surely you don’t want your dog’s hair taking over your furniture and clothes because of the uncontrollable shedding. (4)
To avoid this, it’s crucial to know how to extensively and adequately care for your German shepherd’s coat. Whether you’re a new owner or you’ve been with your dog for a while now, it pays to be reminded of some tips to keep your GSD’s hair shiny and healthy. If you’re ready to find out, here are five essential tips you can follow.
- Regular grooming is key
As with anything, consistency is key when it comes to keeping your dog’s coat in tiptop shape. Regular grooming is necessary because it means you’re able to sustain the care and lifestyle your precious dog requires. Because GSDs moderately shed hair all year round, it’s ideal to groom them at least two to three times a week. (2)
You can take your dog to a professional groomer, especially if you’re a first-time owner and unsure of what to do. After some time and you’ve gathered enough grooming tips, you might be able to take on the process on your own. It can be quite an excellent bonding opportunity for you and your furry buddy as you get to spend enough quality time together.
If you prefer to groom the shepherd by yourself, that works as well. Just be sure to do it in a calm and comfortable environment, where you can both connect with each other. As much as possible, avoid having other people in the room as this might affect your dog’s vulnerability. (2)
- Don’t forget to brush their hair, too
When regular grooming of your shepherd’s hair is already ticked off the list, the next thing to ensure is to always take the time to brush the hair. Doing so will keep the coat sleek, lustrous, and looking healthy at all times and also minimize fur shedding.
Brushing your pet’s hair every day will significantly help achieve this goal. But if you don’t have the luxury of time to do so, three to four times a week should be enough. When doing it, use a soft brush so you won’t hurt your pet’s skin. If it’s been too long since the fur has been groomed or brushed, expect to find loose hair hiding in the undercoat. In these situations, use a separate brush or grooming rake to remove the loose strands. (1) (4)
Apart from this, you can follow these additional tips to ensure proper brushing of your GSD’s fur:
- Use a slicker brush to remove excess hair in their backside.
- If the topcoat has excess or dead hair, use a wire pin brush. A deshedding tool also works to address this hair problem. (5)
- Go along the fur’s grain as you brush the fur from top to back.
- To help your dog get used to the brushing routine, try to do it at the same time every day.
If you’re consistent with grooming, you may hardly find any loose, excess, or dead hair on your shepherd’s coat. In this case, you only need a wide-toothed comb to brush the hair. However, be extra gentle when brushing your dog’s belly part, which is a pretty sensitive area of their body. Don’t push or brush down too hard to avoid hurting them. (1) (5)
- Give your dog a healthy diet
A healthy and balanced diet plays an essential role in ensuring the health and beauty of your German shepherd’s hair. If they’re not able to get the right nutrients they need, their fur will shed more, look flat or bland, and appear to be lacking luster. If you notice your dog’s hair shedding constantly, it might be time to rethink what you’re feeding them. (6) (1)
For a healthy and balanced diet for your GSD, here are some tips to remember:
- Look into the ingredients and nutrients of the products before buying and feeding them to your pet.
- A good formula should contain a combination of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. (4) (6)
- Always change and refill your dog’s water. Dehydration can affect not just their skin and hair but more importantly their overall health.
- For an extra boost of glow, you can try adding a tablespoon or two of vegetable or salmon oil to your dog’s food.
- Make sure you also give them high-quality treats and snacks. A great example would be raw carrots, which are good for the skin and teeth. (6)
A high-quality and balanced diet is crucial if you want to keep your dog healthy and their skin lustrous all the time. German shepherds are prone to acquiring arthritis and hip dysplasia, but giving them nutritious meals could keep them always healthy and away from any disease. (7)
- Don’t bathe your shepherd too often
Compared to other dog breeds, German shepherds don’t relatively need frequent bathing. Most owners admit to giving their pets a bath only when necessary, like when attending a dog show or they’re already starting to smell. Otherwise, there’s no need to commit to a strict bathing schedule. (1) (2)
In general, GSDs are recommended to bathe no more than two to three times a year. That’s essentially every four or five months. This is because getting their skin and hair wet too often can do more harm than good. The bath can strip away their skin’s moisture and natural oils, resulting in irritation and dryness. In such cases, you may find your dog’s hair looking dull and less shiny. You may even wonder why your dog’s feeling itchy all the time. (1) (2)
- Keep the parasites away
Ticks and fleas can be such a pain for both you and your pets. Aside from irritating your canine’s skin, these parasites can also make your shepherd scratch incessantly, sometimes even biting themselves just to stop the itch. When this happens, their well-loved fur can easily go from fab to drab. (8)
To avoid this, use preventive products that can keep the annoying parasites away. You can ask for your vet’s recommendations, and they’ll be able to give you a list of the best products to buy. (2) (8)
Also, check your yard for potential infestation. If you find any, treat it right away.
Your German shepherd’s coat is literally their crowning glory. It’s an indication of their healthy and happy upbringing. That’s why it’s essential to know how to maintain their hair. Keeping your dog’s coat shiny is a commitment. But if you love your pet enough, you won’t look at it as a daunting task. Instead, you’d consider it as a way to show your love and affection to your best furry buddy.
- “How to Groom a German Shepherd Dog”, Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/tips-for-grooming-german-shepherd/
- “German Shepherd Coat Care and Grooming Tips”, Source: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/German-Shepherd-Coat-Care-And-Grooming-Tips
- “German Shepherd Dog”, Source: https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_german_shepherd
- “Long Haired German Shepherd – Top Guide”, Source: https://animalcorner.org/dog-breeds/long-haired-german-shepherd/
- “The 8 Best Dog Brushes of 2021”, Source: https://www.thesprucepets.com/best-dog-brushes-4172609
- “Healthy German Shepherd Diet – 5 Tips For The Perfect Diet”, Source: https://happydoggo.com/german-shepherd-diet/
- “17 Common German Shepherd Health Problems”, Source: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/13-Common-German-Shepherd-Health-Problems
- “The 10 Best Ways to Get Rid of & Prevent Ticks on Dogs”, Source: https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/evr_dg_10_ways_to_stop_ticks_from_biting_your_dog