The German shepherd is a versatile dog breed that makes an excellent family and service dog. They are sometimes referred to as German shedding dogs because of their excessive shedding. Grooming a German Shepherd dog is an important part of their care. This breed has a thick double coat that needs regular attention to keep it healthy and prevent matting. When grooming a German Shepherd, it’s essential to use the right tools, such as a slicker brush and undercoat rake, to effectively remove loose hair and prevent tangles.
Regular grooming sessions can also help strengthen the bond between you and your dog, as it provides a great opportunity for bonding and affection. By making grooming a German Shepherd dog a part of your regular routine, you can help keep your dog looking and feeling their best, while also keeping them healthy and happy. In this article, we discuss Grooming a German shepherd dog.
How to start Grooming a German shepherd dog
German Shepherds have a double-layered coat that requires regular grooming. The outer layer is harsh and dense, working as a protective layer. The undercoat is soft and thick working as an insulation layer shielding them from cold and heat. There are 4 different coat lengths for a German Shepherd dog.
Benefits of brushing
They need continuous brushing to keep their coat clean, smooth, and tangle-free. Brushing is an excellent way for removing knots tangles, and loose fur. It also gives you a chance to examine your dog for lumps infections or external parasites like fleas and ticks. German Shepherds are medium to heavy shedders and shed all year. They shed twice a year heavily and require more brushing during those seasons. Brushing is more important than bathing when it comes to the care of the coat and underlying skin. When it comes to Grooming a German shepherd dog brushing is the basic and easy to perform activity in their grooming.
Start brushing puppies when they are 8 weeks old at such a young age. They are not familiar with the grooming tools and may resist. But you can overcome their resistance by using treats and praises. Puppies have thick fluffy coats with only one layer around 4 to 6 months of age. They shed their puppy coat and develop an adult coat. You will notice a change in the color, length, and texture of their coat. They don’t shed abruptly but rather slowly from birth to 6 months of age. German Shepherd puppies don’t need a lot of brushing or coat care. It’s just to get them used to the process and brush them daily for a short time. Use gentle grooming tools that don’t pull their fur and choose a quiet and comfortable place. Where your dog will not be disturbed or distracted.
The process of brushing
If the weather is nice you can brush them outside during their heavy shedding. They need to be brushed outside because of excessive loose fur. Make sure your dog is at ease and relaxed. The first thing you need to do is to detangle his hair. You can use some detangling spray to soften the tangles using a slicker brush or a comb. To remove tangles and knots. Start brushing from their neck to his tail using a slicker brush.
The fur is thicker around certain parts of the body like the neck, legs, and tail. And these areas need special attention to give smooth strokes in the direction of the hair. Without pressing too much on a small area like the face and feet. Use a grooming comb to brush their undercoat using an undercoat rake or a d-shedding tool. This helps to remove tangles and lose hairs from the undercoat. In the end, use a bristle brush to add some shine to the coat. The bristle brush stimulates and distributes natural oils throughout the skin. After the brushing session praises your dog and gives him treats. This way he associates the process with a positive experience.
How much brushing
German Shepherds are medium to heavy shedders and they Shed throughout the year. It is recommended to brush their coat 3 to 4 times a week. For an ideal coat experience, they should be brushed daily. If you’re brushing them regularly they will require fewer baths. The length of their coat also determines their brushing frequency. German Shepherds with longer coats often need daily brushing. If your dog is more active and has a lot of outdoor activities. He needs daily brushing moreover, they need special care and grooming when they’re blowing out coats.
Blowing of coat
German Shepherds shed their coats twice a year. In the spring and fall, it is a completely normal process for dogs with double-layered coats. Generally called blowing of the coat it’s the seasonal shedding of the coat in the spring. They shed their heavier winter coats to make room for lighter summer coats. The same thing happens in the fall. The heaviest blows in the spring are when they’re shedding their winter coats. This blowing of the coat results in a lot of shedding. You will see clumps of hair strands falling out of their undercoat. There will be hairs all around the house this last for about 1 to 2 weeks. And they need to be brushed 1 to 2 times a day.
Shaving a German Shepherd dog is a very bad idea shaving may work for single-coat dogs. Since their hair grows back normally it’s not recommended for double-coat dogs. Because their hair may not grow back properly, and the outer cost takes longer to grow than the undercoat. And shaving will affect the growth of both coats trimming is also not recommended for the same reasons. Their double coats serve an important purpose it’s a temperature regulator and a natural protection system. It keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Shaving will also expose their skin to a variety of problems. Like as infection, heat stroke, and insect bites. If you’re brushing them regularly they don’t need to be shaved or trimmed. However, it could be done for medical reasons after the recommendation of a vet.
The health and appearance of a dog’s coat are heavily influenced by its food intake. Protein accounts for more than 75% of a dog’s hair. If your dog is protein deficient his hair will be affected by omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Work as anti-inflammatory agents and also help with dry and dull coats. Excessive shedding can sometimes be attributed to a poor diet. A high-quality diet not only keeps their coat healthy but also reduces shedding. Diet is one of the main and key step when we talking about Grooming a German shepherd dog.
German Shepherds have thick double-layered coats. And they require high-quality grooming tools for brushing; however, the choice of brushes varies with the length of their coats.
A furminator is a de-shedding tool that allows you to deep clean and de-shed your dog. It gently reaches the undercoat and removes loose fur from it. Without harming the skin or outer coat. It also removes tangles and matted hair under the top coat. However, it should not be used on a wet coat. Furminator is a must-have tool for German shepherd dogs it is frequently used during their shedding seasons.
An undercoat rake is used for dogs with thick undercoats and long fur. It has fine blades that reach through the top coat and remove mats, tangles, and loose fur from the undercoat. Use a de-matting rake to keep their hair smooth and remove any bats. An undercoat rake is mostly used during their shedding seasons.
It is a common brush that is typically used for routine grooming. It has short wire bristles that are placed very close making it an excellent choice for removing tangles and mats. which helps you get rid of loose hairs from the outer coat. A slicker brush is best suited to medium and long-haired german shepherds.
You can also use a pin brush to remove loose fur dirt or debris from a dog’s coat. It’s a handy tool that is used for dogs with long and curly hair. It has wide-spaced bristles with a protective ball at the end of the pin to prevent scratching. It’s sometimes used instead of a slicker brush.
A bristle brush is often used at the end as a finishing brush to shine a dog’s coat. It is mostly used for medium or short-haired coats. It has tightly packed bristles that are ideal for removing dirt, debris, or any loose hair. A bristle brush is the best choice for giving shine to your dog’s coat. After the complete brushing process, it stimulates and spreads natural oils throughout the skin thus giving it a shiny look.
German shepherds shed throughout the year and there are going to be plenty of hairs all around the house. Invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner. It’ll make your life easier by dealing with those loose furs around the house.
Occasional baths are necessary for a dog’s coat. It helps them get rid of dirt debris and bad odor. Bathing is also beneficial for their skin. As it helps keep allergies and infections at bay. However german shepherds should be bathed in moderation and in accordance with their needs.
Brushing before bathing
Brushing your dog is necessary before bathing him brushing removes tangles and matted hairs. Which are difficult to remove once the coat is wet. It also removes debris and loose hairs thus making the bathing process much easier. Arrange everything you need for a bath and keep them close.
Arrange bath supplies
Such as shampoo towels washing cloth or sponges and other bath supplies. You can bathe your german shepherd in a bathtub or an outdoor place. The water temperature is important so make sure to use lukewarm water.
How to give baths
Fill the bathtub with a few inches of water and place a non-slippery mat. Or a towel at the bottom of the tub. To prevent him from slipping invite him to the tub using treats and praise. Pour water slowly and make sure to soak his undercoat and the whole body except the face. It is recommended to wash the face last. Since pouring water on his face or head could scare him. And he may try to jump out of the tub.
Use some dog shampoo and rub it gently over its coat. Use your fingers or a washcloth to massage the shampoo into his fur. Start from the neck and work your way down to the belly. Feet and other parts of the body coat may need more shampoo and massage. While bathing takes special care of his face. Wipe his face with a clean damp towel to keep shampoo away from his eyes. And ears cover their ears during the bath to prevent infection.
It is very important to rinse your dog any soap residue can cause irritation and itching on his skin. Pay special attention to the areas that are thicker and can easily trap soap. Such as the neck, legs, and tail you may have to double-check to ensure no soap residue is left. Prepare for a big shake after you’ve rinsed your dog. It’s the natural instinct of german shepherds to get rid of excess water after shaking off the water. Dry him with a towel using clean soft towels to avoid vigorous rubbing.
You can also use a dog hair dryer. Since their thick coats may take a long time to dry blow in the direction of hair growth. And make sure it’s not too hot if the weather is not harsh. You can take him outside in the warm sunlight. Brush his coat after it is completely dried to straighten the hair.
Shampoo to use
Human shampoo is designed for human skin and is too harsh for dogs. It can cause irritation and rashes on their skin. Dogs have sensitive skin and different ph than humans. Choose a gentle high quality and ph balanced shampoo designed for dogs. Strong shampoo can dry out their skin and strip away its natural oils. If your dog has allergies or fleas you can use a vet-recommended shampoo.
How often do bath
German shepherd dogs don’t need frequent baths. The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every month. The American kennel club recommends bathing your german shepherd only a few times a year. Ideally you should bathe your german shepherd once every 2 to 3 months. You can postpone bathing for a while if his coat is brushed on a regular basis. And it appears clean and tangled free. Bathing too often will dry out his skin and strip away its natural oils. However some other factors also contribute to their bathing frequency. Such as the condition of their coat and outdoor activities. You can bathe them more if their coat is very dirty has an odor or fleas.
Fortunately, german shepherds have erect ears which makes them less prone to ear problems. They get more air circulation than floppy ear dogs. Because of their large erect ears these alert upright ears are the reason. They have a good hearing instinct making them excellent watchdogs. Puppies, however, are born with floppy ears and require a few months to make them erect.
Ear infections are more common in dogs. Because of the specific structure of their ear canals. Their l-shaped ear canals can easily trap dirt and debris. Which when combined with moisture provides a breeding place for bacterial growth. Dog ear infections are generally caused by yeast or bacteria however. It can also be caused by allergies wax buildup or other parasites. Moisture is the main cause of bacteria or yeast growth. Dogs who are more exposed to water through bathing or swimming have a higher rate of ear infections. These are some common signs of ear infections.
Some common signs of ear infections
- Frequent ear scratching
- Discharge from the ears
- Red or swallow ears
- Aggressive head shaking
- Bad odor coming from the ears
- Crust or scabs around the ears
Signs of ear infection
If you notice these signs take them to the vet for treating ear infections as dogs are easily treated. If diagnosed early check their ears weekly for any kind of wax debris or bad odor. Clean their ears once a month or as needed. If your dog has a history of ear infections you can clean their ears weekly. Puppies need special care. Because their floppy ears make them more susceptible to ear infections. Over cleaning is also a cause of infection. The best time to clean their ears is when you notice frequent ear scratching, head shaking and a foul smell. Coming from the ears normally dog ears are pink odorless and without any buildup of wax or debris.
Do not clean their ears with water or hydrogen peroxide use a vet-recommended ear cleaning solution. These specifically formulated solution help to fight off bacteria and dissolve wax and debris. Squeeze a few drops of ear cleaning solution into his ear and gently massage. The base of the ear to distribute the solution. Use a soft cloth to clean the visible ear don’t insert it deep inside. Your dog may shake his head to take the ear drops out. Place a towel to his ears to catch up on the debris from the ear. Clean his outer ears with a cotton ball.
Dogs have l-shaped ear canals and inserting q-tips will damage them. Q-tips may push the wax or debris deeper inside potentially damaging the eardrum. It is important to keep their ears dry especially after swimming or bathing moisture fuels bacterial growth leading to infections.
Dog grooming must include cutting the nails. Examine their nails once a week and trim. If needed paws and nails are the sensitive body parts of dogs and they don’t like them to be touched. It’s very important to make them comfortable with nail trimming from a young age.
Wearing down nails
Puppy’s nails grow faster than adults. The growth of nails and wearing them down are influenced by the surface they’re moving on. If they routinely walk and play on hard surfaces they will soon wear down their nails. Those who play on soft surfaces need more frequent nail trimming.
How often to trim
An easy way to determine the time of nail trimming is by observing their walk on the floor. If you can hear the sound of nails clicking on the floor they need to be trimmed.
Use dog’s nail clippers
Human nail clippers do not work for dogs humans have flat nails while dogs have round thicker nails. Use a good quality dog nail clipper or grinder and make sure it’s sharp. So it can give you a clear result. If this is your first-time nail trimming and you’re not comfortable with it. Take your dog to a professional groomer and watch how they do it. Keep all objects such as Neil clippers cotton ball’s styptic powder and treats. It would be preferable if you sterilize tools before using them. Start nail trimming when your dog is comfortable. If he keeps pulling away you may cut deep into his nails give him treats. After the successful completion of the process.
A quick portion of nails
You need to be very careful about the quick portion of their nails. It is a pink area of the nails that contains blood vessels and nerves. The quick portion is clearly visible in light-colored nails. But since most German shepherds have black nails. The quick portion Isn’t clearly visible in such cases. Trim their nails bit by bit until you come across the quick portion. If you accidentally cut the quick portion apply some styptic powder. It stops the bleeding after trimming their nails use a nail file to smooth out the rough edges.
Long nail problems
Long nails can be very troublesome for your dog. Dogs with long nails cannot walk properly . Which affects their walking style and body balance. It could eventually cause orthopedic or postural problems due to an unbalanced walk. Their long nails could harm you whenever they jump on you. Long nails are more prone to splitting. Which provides an ideal place for infection growth. There is also the danger of ingrown nails. If nails are left too long they could develop. If you cut their nails regularly the quick portion will remain in its natural position.
Dental problems are very common in dogs according to the American veterinary medical association. Around 80% of dogs have some periodontal disease by the age of 3. Adult german shepherds have 42 strong teeth giving them the ability to have a scissor-like bite.
Unfortunately, they are prone to a number of dental problems. That affect them more during the first few years of their lives. So you need to be vigilant during this period. Plaque buildup is the first step towards chronic periodontal diseases. When food becomes stuck between the teeth. It creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth. The bacteria combined with saliva and food creates plaque. If not cleaned plaque hardens over time and becomes tartar. Plaque buildup is the root cause of many other dental issues. Like tartar, bad breath, gums inflammation and eventually tooth loss. Dogs develop plaque if they’re not brushed properly. Their mouths are less acidic than humans. So they cannot break down the plaque effectively it has to be removed through brushing.
Signs of dental problems
There are some early signs of dental problems. Plaque and tartar buildup are indicated by a yellow or brownish-gray discoloration of the teeth. It is visible on the teeth and along the gum line, red inflamed or bleeding gums. Are an indication of gum and periodontal issues. Bad breath is a good indicator of excessive plaque buildup and the incoming periodontal diseases. It is caused by bad bacteria which breaks down the plaque. And causes bad breath however bad breath can sometimes be caused by other health issues. Such as liver or kidney diseases.
Ideally, their teeth need to be brushed daily. If that’s not possible brush several times a week brush their teeth in a circular motion. And cover all areas of teeth front and back. And top use a soft toothbrush and don’t rub it harshly against the teeth or gums. After a successful brushing session give them treats and praise their behavior.
Grooming a German Shepherd dog is an essential part of maintaining their overall health and well-being. Regular grooming sessions help to keep their thick double coat healthy, shiny, and free of tangles. When grooming a German Shepherd, be sure to use the right tools and techniques to effectively remove loose hair and prevent matting. By making grooming a German Shepherd dog a regular part of your routine, you can help keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best while also promoting a strong bond between you and your beloved pet.
After reading the article I hope you will know how to start Grooming a German shepherd dog.