This morning, I was sitting at one of the park benches playing with my dog when I noticed there were two other GSDs shed their hairs. Suddenly, this question struck me and I was thinking this could be my next post here: “When do German Shepherd shed?”.
If you don’t know yet, German Shepherds shed all year long, yup you read that right, German Shepherds shed 365 days a year non-stop. And twice a year you need to be prepared, because German Shepherds “blow” its undercoat twice a year which produces a lot of shed hair — enough to keep you busy for hours of sweeping, vacuuming, lint-rolling, and finding tumble-weeds hair.
But don’t worry, in this post, I’ll share with you a few things that you can do to help minimize your German Shepherd’s shedding.
Why Do German Shepherds Shed a Lot?
The reason why German Shepherds shed a lot can be traced back to their ancestors. Originally, German Shepherds were bred as herding dogs. Coming from a long line of herding dogs, they have these two coats (a stiff guard top coat and a fluffy undercoat) that protect them against all types of weather conditions (during winter and summer).
Typically, the top coat is thick, has a long, coarse hair (you may spot this long, black and tan, or black and red hair easily all over your house and in your car) while the undercoat is thicker than the top coat and shed in both the spring and fall, which help to regulate your GSD’s body temperature against harsh winter and hot spring season.
German Shepherd Shedding Season
The top coat will shed all year long while the undercoat shed twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
The coat works to protect them against harsh winters season so they don’t get coldness. When winter approaches, your dog will begin to shed a lot of his summer hair, to give a room for this winter coat to grow thus you may notice a big increase in shedding for a few weeks during the winter season.
And during summer that old winter coat is no longer necessary. To keep their body temperature stay normal, they will start to get rid of their winter coat thus you may start to see a large chunk of shedding furballs all over your house when summer starts to roll around.
In every shedding season, you may expect the shedding period to last at a minimum for 10 days.
German Shepherd Grooming Guide 101:
1. Brush Your Dog Regularly
The good news is, thanks to their dense coat, you don’t need to bathe German Shepherds weekly, once a month is enough. However, you do need to brush them regularly.
Regular brushing is important for a double-coated dog likes German Shepherds. It’s recommended that you brush your German Shepherd at least twice weekly and have their coats raked during shedding season (during winter and summer) to prevent all types of skin problems from developing.
When brushing, be gentle and be careful not to damage the top coat as this coat keep the undercoat dry and protect it from bug bites. Remember to always begin brushing against the line of growth and end by brushing with the line of growth. And during shedding season, you want to brush deep enough to loosen up all the undercoat since it’s the main culprit that is responsible for all the furballs that you see around your home or car.
The Trick to Groom Your GSD’s Undercoat Effectively
To brush deep enough and reach the thicker undercoat you can’t just use a regular brush, you need an undercoat rake, or called shedding rake to do the job. Essentially, undercoat rake is just a soft-pinned comb, but this rake will allow you to penetrate deeply to the undercoat to loosen and rid of the shedding hair. You’ll be surprised by how much hair you’ll find when your dog sheds.
2. Bathe Your Dog with Deshedding Shampoo and Conditioner
During shedding season, you want to bathe your dog at least once every 6-10 weeks. This way you can remove a lot of loose and dead hair. It’s recommended that you bathe your dog with these German Shepherd shampoos and conditioners. These de-shedding shampoos will keep their hair slick and easy to remove.
After a bathing time, when your dog is slightly wet, you can further brush your dog with the undercoat rake to remove all the loose hair. Optionally, you can also use a high-velocity dryer which works great to blow all the loose hair. This high-velocity dryer for dogs is often used by professional dog groomers to quickly de-shed and dry the dogs quickly.
According to one professional groomer that I know, your dog can shed 80% less for about 2 or 3 weeks after using this dryer.
3. A Good Diet is Also Important
Your dog’s diet plays a major role in your German Shepherd’s coat quality. After talking to several vets, I can conclude that a poor diet is the number one cause of excessive shedding in dogs. A nutrient heavy and balanced diet can keep your dog’s coat healthy. A healthy coat is easier to maintain and to groom. A healthy diet is even more important during the shedding season because almost 30% of your dog’s daily protein intake is used for the renewal of skin and hair. Additional nutrients such as fatty acids, omega 3, and omega 6 are also essential since the deficiency of these nutrients can directly contribute to a dull coat, flaky skin, and excessive shedding problem.
Other Causes of Excessive Shedding in German Shepherds
Excessive shedding in German Shepherds can also be caused by several health problems such as:
- Poor diet.
- Neutered or pregnancy.
- Fleas, ticks, or parasites.
If you suspect that your dog’s excessive shedding is caused by one of the health issues listed above, you should bring your dog to vet immediately for a further check-up.
Further reading: +50 tips to stop or minimize excessive shedding.
Taking Your Dog to a Professional Groomer
Taking into account the complexity and difficulty of grooming adult German Shepherds. Once in a while, I would recommend a trip to a professional groomer. It’s not a cheap trip but you will learn a lot from a one-hour session with a professional groomer on how to effectively de-shed your German Shepherd, trim his coat, and keep his coat stay shiny and healthy.