Wondering how to reduce German Shepherd Shedding?
Are you spending way too much time cleaning after your German shepherd lately? While it is not unhealthy for a German shepherd to shed, there are a few ways you can naturally help your German shepherd to reduce the amount of shedding. This article will give you some actionable tips and ways you can use to reduce the amount of shedding your Germans Shepherd has.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons as to why your German shepherd is shedding, what to expect when it comes to GSD shedding, how bad GSD shedding can get, and then I’ll provide you with tips to reduce the shedding. Enjoy!
Do German Shepherds (GSD) Shed So Much?
Fully grown German Shepherds and their puppies shed heavily throughout the year but especially twice a year when they are preparing for a change in season. You can expect your GSD to lose a significant amount of fur over 2-4 weeks during the Spring and the Fall. When they are shedding their medium-length double coat, you can expect your floor, carpets, clothes, and furniture to carry some pieces of the shed hair.
All dog breeds shed their coat after a certain period. However, there are some prolific breeds such as the German shepherd that shed all year round.
That’s because German shepherds are one of the dog breeds that have a double coat, meaning their fur grows into two different layers.Ben
They have a thick, woolly undercoat to protect them from extreme temperatures. It is the reason German shepherds are such excellent outdoor dogs and working dogs since they can tolerate extreme weather conditions. However, this does also mean that they shed more than other dog breeds.
The guard coat is usually coarse and dense and it functions as a protective layer for the dog’s skin. It also withstands water, dirt, and other harmful elements in the dog’s environment. What most people do not know is that German shepherds usually have a shedding pattern, in a sense. Twice a year, German shepherds change their coat. At these times of year, you will notice that your dog sheds a lot more than usual.
The amount of fur your German shepherd sheds is mostly dependent on weather and seasons. The health of the dog is also a major factor in determining how much your German shepherd is shedding. The dog that sheds a lot is, however not necessarily unhealthy, but if they are shedding way more than they should, they might have underlying health issues.
Owning a German shepherd comes with a set of rules. Most GSD owners know this fact. The first one being that you must understand your dog’s shedding habits. German shepherds usually shed twice a year, particularly in the spring and fall. During these periods, your dog will “blow” his coat and grow a new one.
Since the German shepherd is bred as a working dog and an outdoor dog, your dog must change their coat in the change of seasons to prepare for new conditions. It is a totally natural process that your dog needs to go through and it allows them to be comfortable and playful all year round.
For 10 to 15 days each time, your dog will shed his thick undercoat in clumps. At this stage, you will notice the clumps of fur falling from your dog’s body. The shedding is quite intense in some GSDs at this time as they molt out of the dead undercoat. Your dog’s coat may look a little shabby for the length of this period, but before you can begin to worry about it, the hair will grow back and they’ll look even better than they did before.
While your German shepherd will “blow” his coat twice a year, he will still continue shedding year-round. German shepherds have large athletic bodies and with a large amount of hair on their bodies, you can understand why they seem to be shedding all year round. The year-round shedding in GSDs is similar even in the short-haired and long-haired varieties.
If your German shepherd was wild, he’d probably shed twice in a year. However, with the warmth and bright lights in our homes, their molting cycle is affected when they keep indoors and then come out in the cold –their bodies react as if it were time to grow another coat. It is why German shepherds seem to be shedding all the time. It shouldn’t worry you too much that your German shepherd seems to be shedding all year round, but if he’s shedding too much for long periods, then you should look deeper for any underlying conditions.
Why a German shepherd shedding excessively
If you have noticed that your German shepherd is shedding a lot more than usual, it could be a sign that your dog has an underlying medical condition or disorder. Some of the disorders commonly related to excessive shedding in GSDs include:
- Poor diet
- Low hydration causes dry skin, which in turn stimulates hair loss
- Stress causes hormonal imbalance, which could consequently lead to excessive shedding
- Low activity in German shepherds increases hair loss
- Parasites like fleas and mites make the dog stressed and scratch his hair off
- Immunity diseases in German shepherds have also been linked to excessive hair loss
- Liver, kidney, or thyroid related diseases
- Pregnancy or lactation
- Skin allergies
How bad is German shepherd shedding (images)
If the fact that you are here reading about German shepherd shedding is not enough, then the images below may be proof enough that German shepherds can shed way more than you’d expect a dog to. Most of the images with piles of hair shed were likely taken when the shepherd was blowing off his coat.
9 Ways to Reduce German Shepherd Shedding
Get a de-shedding tool that is designed for German shepherds
As we discussed earlier, the German shepherd dog has a double coat, meaning you will have to invest in a tool that is designed specifically for German shepherds to get the most out of your deshedding session. A good de-shedding tool for your German shepherd should be able to dig out any loose hairs from the dog’s undercoat that would otherwise end up littered across the floor of your house.
Brushes and de-shedding tools designed for German shepherds should reach all the way through the dog’s fur and be able to brush out any loose hairs sitting there. The tools are especially ideal for German shepherds that are blowing their coats.
I prefer using the FURminator de-shedding tool for clearing up my German shepherd’s coat. It is really good at removing all loose and dead hair as its long bristles reach through your German shepherd’s top coat without harming the dog’s skin or damaging the outer coat. The tool is available in any good pet store and has 5-star ratings from a horde of verified buyers on Amazon.
Switch to dog food that is good for the skin and coat
Most of us GSD owners already put in a lot of thought when it comes to feeding our furry friends. However, you might not realize that the type of food you feed your German shepherd goes a long way in determining his shedding habits. Yes! If your dog is shedding too much, it is probably time you changed his diet. We recently wrote a guide and reviewed the best food for German Shepherds which much contain protein and limited portions of carbs and fatty acids.
Most of the cheap dog foods available largely consist of ingredients that may be hard for your German shepherd to digest. Such ingredients include corn, grain, and the added colorings, chemicals, and preservatives. Instead of saving on these foods, you should consider looking for an alternative dog food that has a solid protein source as its main ingredient. Proteins are essential to your German shepherd’s skin and coat health.
If you are not providing your German shepherd with the right nutrition, the little proteins he gets will go towards maintaining his muscle mass leaving the skin and coat to deteriorate. It does cost more to provide your German shepherd with sufficient protein in his diet, but it will help him in a myriad of ways, including maintaining a healthy shedding cycle and a long, healthy life.
Groom and bathe your GSD 3-5 times every year
We already know now that a German shepherd has two main shedding seasons every year; once in the Spring and one in the Fall. Since you cannot stop the fur clumps from eventually falling off, you should try to get rid of most of it at once by grooming and bathing him, especially during these periods.
Letting your German shepherd’s fur fall off in the two weeks coat-blowing period will result in clumps of hair all around the home, which might be quite hectic to vacuum or clean off fabrics in your home. Instead, you or the hired groomer should help loosen up the fur on his body and get it all off him by giving him a bath. It is, however, essential to note that over-bathing your German shepherd will strip him of natural oils, which causes dry skin and hence further shedding.
German shepherds also need specific deshedding shampoos and skin/hair conditioners to help loosen their undercoat during a bath. It is wise to find those that are rich in omega 3 and/or 6 fatty acids. You could try out the FURminator de-Shedding Ultra Premium Dog Shampoo to help reduce your dog’s shedding habits.
Maintain regular brushing of your German shepherd
Like most dog breeds, your German shepherd will shed through the year. While you can reduce it, you cannot stop it entirely. De-shedding and brushing your dog regularly will help keep his hair from ending up on your house floor and furniture. Maintain a consistent schedule of brushing the dog and the hair will be much easier to clean up. There’s bound to be some hair on the floor of your house from time to time but with a regular de-shedding and brushing session, it will not take much effort to clean up after him.
To be honest, it does not take up much time or effort to brush your dog daily. There are plenty of daily brushes that can help you get the job done easily and perfectly, leaving your dog looking nice, tidy, and sharp as a German shepherd should be. Personally, I prefer the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush, which is also great for getting mats and hair tangles off your GSD’s coat. It is also pretty easy to use and clean, with a button that removes hair that sticks between the bristles.
All your German shepherd needs from you is a few quick run-throughs with a good brush for a deshedding tool once daily or after two days and the shedding will drastically reduce compared to a weekly brushing session. To ease the job, you could use this Dual Head Dog Shedding Tool (on Amazon) to groom short-haired German shepherds. This one is really one of the best brushes you can get in the market to brush your short-haired German shepherd.
Brushing your German shepherd with a regular brush will not do the trick; you will need a shedding rake/ undercoat rake to do a good job. An undercoat rake is essentially a soft-pinned comb that allows you to reach into the undercoat to loosen and pull out the shedding hair. Since German shepherds shed a lot more than other dogs, it is essential to choose the right tool for the job and maintain regular brushing for the best results.
Provide your GSD with more fresh water
Most German shepherd owners that have noticed excessive shedding in their dogs may simply be denying them access to enough clean water. Allowing your German shepherd more access to clean water may significantly reduce the amount of hair he sheds. This is because dogs, especially those with thick coats like the German shepherd, tend to shed more when their skins get dehydrated. The best way to get their skins hydrated is allowing them more access to clean water.
By providing your German shepherd with sufficient water every day (about one ounce of water for every pound of body weight), you can greatly improve a horde of areas of his health and limit the shedding that almost always ends up on the floor or furniture of your house.
For those of us with tight daily schedules and keeping up with your German shepherd’s water regimen is a hassle, consider purchasing an automatic dog water dispenser. The device will only need you to refill its big tub of water, so you do not have to keep reminding yourself to add more water to the dog’s bowl throughout your busy day. If Amazon is your preferred shopping place, I’d recommend taking a look at this automatic dog water dispenser as it is great for German shepherd dogs and it allows you to adjust the water flow to suit your dog’s regimen.
During the summer, you could also give your German shepherd ice cubes or frozen fruits such as strawberries as a healthy treat to boost his hydration and quench his thirst.
Keep up with better flea and tick treatment options
If your German shepherd is infested by fleas or ticks, he keeps gnawing and scratching on his coat excessively, which leads to excessive hair loss. While flea treatments may not stop your German shepherd from shedding, they help his coat keep free from parasites hence reducing the amount of hair pulled out while the dog scratches his coat.
The more you allow your German shepherd to try and scratch out the parasites from his skin, the more the hair he will pull off his skin. However, some flea treatment options are outdated and may even cause more discomfort and irritation on your dog’s skin causing even more shedding. Remember to do quality research on your dog’s flea treatment options and routinely apply it or give it to him. For me, I provide my GSD with flea treatment medication along with deworming medication every three months to keep him free from ticks and fleas as well as internal parasites.
Include Omega Fatty acids in your GSD’s Diet
We have already looked at ways you could improve your German shepherd’s diet to reduce the amount of shedding, but adding Omega fatty acids to his daily diet could also go a long way in reducing the amount of shedding from your dog year round.
Including Omega fatty acids in your dog’s diet can be achieved by selecting dog foods that are rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. You can also achieve this by providing your GSD with supplements that constitute these nutrients.
Good examples of foods that are rich in these nutrients are fish oils and vegetable oil, which can easily be incorporated in your dog’s cold-pressed foods to keep his skin and fur coat in top condition. If your dog’s favorite food does not contain these nutrients, you could try adding olive oil to his food. Olive oil is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that will help improve your dog’s skin health drastically. Vets recommend giving your GSD up to 1 tablespoon of Olive oil per day for the larger dogs.
Your dog will always be around if you are having a salmon dinner. Make a point and add a little of the salmon to your dog’s dish; it provides him with the proteins necessary for replenishing his skin and also contains Omega 3 fatty acids that will work wonders on his skin and coat. So including these nutrients in your dog’s diet will not only reduce the shedding, but also keep him healthier and more active.
Get rid of stress and pain
It is a fact that dogs that are in stress or pain shed more than dogs with a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it can be quite a hassle to figure out the cause of your dog’s stress. In most cases, dogs are stressed due to injuries or lack of enough exercise. Allow your dog to go out and play or take them out on a run; they will highly appreciate it. As stated earlier, German shepherds were originally bred for work; if they stay indoors too often, they tend to get stressed and might be dangerous for kids and other family members.
If you cannot figure out what is causing your dog to be stressed, take him to a vet for a diagnosis; your dog might have an underlying health condition. Getting the stress figured out and sorted may greatly reduce the shedding, but the important part is keeping up with a healthy lifestyle for your dog. Regularly take your shepherd out for a walk or to the park so he can play with other dogs. That, combined with a nutritional diet will help your dog reduce the amount of hair he shed year-round.
If you suspect that the cause of your dog’s excessive shedding is an allergy, pregnancy, or pain, it is essential that you take them to a vet as soon as possible. German shepherds are prone to a range of allergies and immunity diseases and getting to the bottom of their problem as soon as possible is essential to their recovery.
Take your GSD to a professional groomer
It can be quite challenging to some GSD owners to groom their dogs properly. Instead of doing a shoddy job, it is recommended that you take your dog to a professional groomer every once in a while. It will not be among the cheapest visits, but a single one-hour session with a German shepherd professional groomer will teach you a lot on how to properly deshed your GSD and keep his coat trimmed, shiny and healthy.
Best Brush and Deshedding Tools for German Shepherds
As discussed earlier in the article, German Shepherds demand specialized de-shedding and brushing tools. On separate posts, we have review brushes in detail for both short-haired dogs and long-haired dog breeds. However, the market is flooding with German shepherd de-shedding tools and brushes, making it quite difficult to select a quality tool for deshedding your German shepherd. Fortunately for you, we are here to help. Below is a sample of some of the best German shepherd brushing and de-shedding tools:
Review of the top 3 best brushes for German shepherd
Overall Best Brush for a German shepherd dog
FURminator Deshedding Edge Dog Brush
Our overall top choice for the best German shepherd dog brush is the Furminator deshedding Edge Dog Brush. It comes in a minimalistic design with small, medium and large sizes available for dogs with different sizes of fur. The long fur version is recommended as the best for de-shedding German shepherds with long fur coats.
The deshedder features a stainless steel edge to enable you to clear up even the hairs stuck in your German shepherd’s under coat without damaging the top coat or the skin in the process. The handle design is also ergonomic, allowing you to easily handle the tool when in use. With regular use, this tool could help you reduce your dog’s shedding drastically.
Runners up for Best Brush for German shepherd
Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush
Coming in as our runners up, the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush is comfortably among the best brushes and deshedding tools for your German shepherd. It ranks high in our review for its ease of use and its efficiency in removing dead and loose hair from your German shepherd’s coat. With this brush, it is easy to pull out tangled hair, loose undercoat hair, dander, knots and dirt trapped in the dog’s coat.
The Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush features bent, fine bristles that are not only effective in penetrating deep into the dog’s undercoat, but are also gentle on the dog’s skin. After you are done brushing the dog, it is easy to clean the brush too; just click on the button on its handle and the bristles will retract, letting the hair fall off. This brush features an ergonomic handle design that prevents wrist strain. It also has an anti-slip grip so nothing interrupts your brushing!
Dakpets FURblaster Deshedding & Light Trimming Tool
Third on our list is one of our top choices for German shepherd brushes: Dakpets FURblaster Deshedding & Light Trimming Tool. Like its competitors above, it is renowned for its ability to pick up loose and dead hair deep inside the dog’s undercoat without hurting or causing allergic reactions on the skin. The brush is made from eco-friendly bamboo material, making it one of the most durable brushes on our list.
This double-sided grooming brush has stainless steel pins on one side for its pin brush and boar bristles on the other for spreading your dog’s skin oils naturally through its coat. Natural wooden brushes are highly recommended as the best for grooming dogs since they possess the ability to absorb your dog’s skin oils over time making them even softer to the dog’s skin and more effective in picking loose hairs in the dog’s coat. The brush also features an ergonomically designed handle for maximum control and comfort when grooming your dog.
Quick tips for cleaning up/Removing piles of dog hair
- Dampen your carpet before vacuuming
- You can use a roll of tape to pick up loose dog hairs
- Dryer sheets are great for picking up pet hair from surfaces
- Alternate your vacuum’s directions to pick up pet hair more effectively
- Use a rubber broom to pick up pet hair in your bathroom
- Do regular maintenance checks on your vacuum to keep it in good shape
- Adding a humidifier in your home could help you keep pet hair from sticking onto surfaces
- Use rubber gloves or a damp sponge on upholstered furniture
- For vinyl and hardwood surfaces, use a dampened mop to clean off pet hair