If you are an owner of a German Shepherd dog, you will know the struggle of your dog shedding. Not only does a German Shepherd blow its coat twice a year, but it feels like they are constantly shedding their fur. This problem may even leave you wanting to tear your own hair out!
It really does feel like an impossible task to stay on top of, especially during the coat blowing seasons. While there are many suggestions online to help with shedding, not all of them are successful – trust us, we have tried them all.
However, from trying out many techniques on our own German Shepherd dogs, we have discovered 20 options that have made a noticeable difference.
In this article, we will be chatting you through the 20 best ways you can help to reduce your German Shepherds shedding. Not only do these suggestions make a big difference, they are easy to implement too.
1. Brush Regularly
One of the best ways in which you can help to reduce shedding is by brushing your German Shepherd regularly. This is especially important when your dog is blowing out its fur.
If you are not brushing out the fur regularly, this will lead to the fur that is being shedded to stick to furniture, carpets, and bedding, which is less than ideal. In addition to this, if you are not brushing regularly, the undercoat can become compacted, which is not good for the dog.
The more you can physically brush out the dog’s fur, the less fur there will be that shed on to the floor. In addition to this, it does not take long to brush a German Shepherd. While the first time may take longer, the more you brush, the quicker this will become.
2. Regular Baths
With baths, it is important to ensure that you are not bathing the dog too often. This is not good for the natural oils on the skin and coat, and it can lead to dry and irritated skin.
However, a bath every six or so weeks can be fantastic for shedding. It will help to remove any of the dead fur, and it will keep the coat nice and healthy. It will keep the coat clean, and remove any dirt that can potentially irritate the dog too.
3. Deshedding Shampoo and Conditioner
When you are bathing your German Shepherd, we would recommend using a deShedding shampoo and conditioner. This is a fantastic product that will encourage the dead fur to be removed while you are washing and massaging the coat.
While it can be more expensive in comparison to regular dog shampoo, it does work and has proven results. It will need to be diluted in water before it is placed on the dog’s fur. You will be surprised by how much of the shedded fur it will remove.
4. Using a Pet Hair Dryer
Once you have washed your German Shepherd, you will want to use a pet hair dryer to dry the fur. While you can use a regular hair dryer, a pet hair dryer is more effective, and will be more efficient.
Grooming hair dryers are more powerful and as a result, you are not having to wait for too long for your dog to dry. In addition to this, it will encourage any of the shedded fur to be removed while you are using it.
One pet hair dryer in particular that we would recommend in the CHAOLUM Dog Dryer. It is not too expensive, works quickly, and is effective in helping to reduce German Shepherd shedding.
5. Using a Furminator
In addition to a good dog hair dryer, you will want to invest in a Furminator too. These are a type of deShedding tool that have proven results. They will remove more hair than a standard dog brush, and a slicker.
As they are quite sharp, care will need to be taken when you are using them, but it is great if you have problems with the undercoat becoming compact. It is especially useful when your dog is shedding a lot, and it will help to reduce the amount of shedding you are experiencing around your home. The large Furminator is the best option for German Shepherds.
6. Using a Slicker Brush
While Furminators are great to use a few times a week, you will also want to invest in a slicker brush. These are a lot softer in comparison, and they are great for daily use. They will help to keep on top of shedding during the seasons where shedding is at a minimum. They are also fairly inexpensive to purchase.
7. Flea Treatment
It is important to ensure that you are keeping on top of your dog’s flea and worming treatment. Though you may be wondering how this helps to reduce the amount of shedding from a German Shepherd, the answer is simple.
If your dog is free from fleas and is regularly treated, they are not going to be excessively scratching. If they have fleas and are scratching a lot, this is going to encourage more fur to be shed. You should be treating your dog for fleas and worms as a precaution every four weeks.
8. Itch Relief Spray
When it comes to the summer months in particular, you may find that your dog is itching more than usual. If you are sure that your German Shepherd does not have fleas, and you have treated for this, it could be due to other issues.
Allergies are common for dogs, and they can cause a dog to scratch more than they should. Not only does this cause irritated and sore skin, but it will also cause your dog to shed more if it is scratching often too.
To help combat this, you can purchase an itch relief spray. This helps to soothe the area the dog is scratching, which will help to lower the amount of scratching that occurs.
9. Fish Oil
This is something that may come as quite a surprise to you, but fish oil is a fantastic way to prevent shedding. This is because fish oils are a fantastic supplement that helps to keep a German Shepherd’s coat and skin nice and healthy.
As we have already touched upon, if your dog is scratching or itching due to an irritation or allergy, this will cause them to shed more fur. The fish oil helps to combat this by soothing the skin and allergies.
It is something that is recommended by veterinarians, and is an inexpensive and useful supplement to give to your dog. Cod liver oil in particular is a great option, and the Pure Icelandic Cod Liver Oil is recommended by many dog owners.
Hoovering is a must when your dog is shedding. Even if you have wooden floors, you will want to ensure you are sweeping up regularly. Even when you are keeping on top of your dog’s shedding, you are still going to find dog hair around your home. Unfortunately, this is inevitable.
However, hoovering or sweeping up the floor is a fairly quick process. We would recommend doing this every few days, especially when your dog is blowing out its fur. This will help you to keep on top of the amount of fur in your home.
11. Trips to a Professional Groomer
Through owning a German Shepherd, you will know that keeping on top of their grooming is important. However, if you are not confident doing this yourself, or if you do not have time to manage this, your dog’s coat and shedding can quickly get out of control.
To help combat this, we would highly recommend taking your dog to a professional groomer. Groomers are training in helping to reduce shedding, and this will make such a difference.
While groomers are more expensive in comparison to keeping on top of the shedding yourself, they are a great option to consider. In addition to this, they can also recommend some tips you can use at home too.
You can choose to use a groomer and keep on top of the grooming at home, this is a great way to reduce the shedding of your German Shepherd as much as possible.
12. Undercoat Rake
In addition to a slicker brush, you can also choose to purchase an undercoat rake. While these will work similarly to the Furminator, they tend to be more affordable. Given this, they are a great option if you are shopping on more of a budget.
They are great to remove the dead fur from the undercoat which is one of the main causes of the shedding. They will also help to combat any fur compacting that has occurred. We would recommend the Pawradise Pet Undercoat Rake.
The only thing you will need to be aware of with this rake is that it is quite sharp. As a result of this, care will need to be taken when using it so that you do not hurt yourself or your German Shepherd.
13. The Correct Food
The correct food is something that many people do not consider when thinking about shedding. While grooming techniques and brushes are great at removing the dead fur to reduce shedding, the correct food can help to get to the root of the problem.
We would recommend purchasing high quality premium dog food. This will help to provide all the nutrients needed to keep your dog as healthy as possible. Ideally, you will want to choose food that is good for the skin and coat. When the skin and coat are healthy, this will help to reduce any shedding that occurs.
If you are feeding your German Shepherd food that is not as nutritious or good for the fur, this will have a negative effect on the fur as a whole. Feel free to look over our guide on the best dog foods for German Shepherds.
14. Grooming Glove
In addition to grooming brushes, a grooming glove can be a useful purchase, especially if your dog enjoys being fussed and stroked. These gloves allow you to groom the dog whilst petting them. They are a great option if your dog is not as keen on brushes too.
While they are not as effective as brushes, they are great for everyday use. They are inexpensive and are a great way to help reduce shedding overall. They help to de-shed softly and effectively.
15. Healthy Snacks
When you are giving your dog treats, it is useful to feed them healthy and nutritious snacks. Things such as fish and chicken are great options. These are not packed with unhealthy additives, and the oils from the fish in particular will help significantly with your dog’s coat.
Not only will these types of treats be delicious for your dog, but they are great for their overall health too.
16. Regular Walks
Regular walks and time outside can help your German Shepherd to not shed as much. If your dog is exercising and running around, some dead fur will shed outdoors, rather than indoors. This is a great way of fur shedding naturally. In addition to this, it is great for your dog to spend time outdoors as it is necessary.
17. Removing Hair from Upholstery, Furniture, and Carpets
When your German Shepherd is shedding, the fur will get everywhere. This can be frustrating, especially if you have fabric sofas, carpets, and upholstery. It can feel like you are constantly trying to remove the fur.
However, we would recommend you do this often to help keep on top of this. You can purchase lint rollers which will help to remove the fur. In addition to this, washing fabric can remove the fur too.
18. Wash Dog’s Bedding Often
In addition to your furniture, you will also want to regularly wash your dog’s bedding. This will help to remove any shedded fur and keep it clean and comfortable for your German Shepherd. It will also help the bedding to look cleaner too.
You can use a lint roller on your dog’s bedding, or you can wash your dog’s bedding and use a FurZapper Pet Hair Remover in the washing machine drum. These are inexpensive to purchase and effectively remove the fur from the dog’s bedding.
19. Pet Vacuum
Another useful tool is the pet vacuum. This is a type of dog safe vacuum that you place over the dog’s fur. It is a grooming tool that will help to remove the dead fur straight from the dog.
It works similarly to a brush, but it is useful as it collects all the fur and does the job for you. While they are more expensive in comparison to a brush, on the whole they are very affordable.
They are easy to use, and do not harm the dog in any way. As Gforest Pet Vacuum is universal, it is one we would highly recommend. It can be attached to most vacuum cleaners.
20. Fresh Water Available
Finally, you always want to ensure that your dog has fresh and clean water. While this is a given for owning any animal, it is something you should never forget. This is an essential part of keeping your dog healthy and happy.
Fresh water will help to keep your dog’s body refreshed, and it will ensure that your dog’s coat and skin are nice and healthy. When fresh and clean water is paired with healthy snacks and good quality food, you will notice a reduction in the amount of shedding that occurs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The German Shepherd Coat Like?
The German Shepherd was developed in an area and during a time when dogs were necessary to help herd flocks of sheep and cattle.
These dogs were bred in the often harsh northern European climate, and many of them had double coats as a result.
The German Shepherd Dog is one of these sheepherding dogs. Ironically, although these dogs had an undercoat, the topcoat of fur was less likely to pick up burrs (compared with other dogs), making care easier for the shepherds and farmers.
The German Shepherd’s topcoat is also resistant to dirt and grime while snow, rain, and mud are unable to penetrate the water-resistant undercoat. This insulation gives the GSD a means of protection when working outdoors.
Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot?
Yes. German Shepherds are medium to heavy shedders. They are not hypoallergenic and they will shed year-around.
Like all kinds of shepherds, German Shepherds have thick double coats: the outer layer is the guard hair, and the inner layer is the undercoat. The guard hairs are actually visible, and have the typical brown or black colors, and are straight and thick. This hair does not shed heavily and mostly stays the same year-around.
The undercoat, which usually isn’t visible, is the part that actually sheds, and consists of thick, wooly hair close to the skin. You have to actually part the fur with your hands in order to see this part of the coat.
Why Do German Shepherd Dogs Shed So Much?
The breed was originally developed to serve as a livestock herding dog in various, and sometimes extreme, weather conditions.
These dogs have coats designed to deal with cold, constant damp and rain, intense heat and everything in between. Their coats have very unique properties to protect the dog while they are working.
The German Shepherd coat is a double layer. This means there is an outer layer that is the first line of defense against the elements, predators, pests and the environment.
This outer layer is medium length, coarse and naturally water-resistant. It is extremely thick and dense.
There is also an inner layer hidden underneath that is designed to keep the German Shepherd dog warm and dry.
The inner layer is very different from the outer layer. The fur is soft and fine and incredibly dense and thick. You can think of this layer like the filling in a down coat.
Together, these two layers protect the German Shepherd dog from nearly anything the weather or environment might present.
But this coat has to be constantly replenished to ensure it works properly, which is where all that shedding comes from.
So The German Shepherd Has Two Coats – Is This Why He Sheds So Much?
Not entirely. The German Shepherd simply sheds a lot. It’s a part of his genetic makeup.
What Is the Difference Between Regular Shedding vs Coat Blow Shedding?
Just as people naturally lose hair every day, so too does the German Shepherd Dog.
For most of the year, this shedding is unremarkable. Sometimes hairs get old or break off and then they shed off. Getting rid of old hair helps the dog keep its coat healthy and lush.
But, once to twice a year, the coat goes through a more drastic period of shedding called the coat blow.
During this coat blow shedding period, the GSD coat is preparing for a seasonal change. The major change that needs to happen is taking place in the soft, downy undercoat.
Winter to Spring
The winter to spring coat blow is generally regarded as the worst shed of the year, with “worst” meaning the most hair getting shed out.
This is because the undercoat is shedding out to a massive degree. With the winter season now nearly over, the German Shepherd needs to lose the majority of the thick insulating undercoat to avoid overheating as temperatures warm up.
Fall to Winter
As the temperatures cool down and winter approaches, it is time for the German Shepherd to bulk up the thick insulating downy undercoat for extra protection.
So the existing undercoat will start to shed out and replenish itself with extra dense growth.
This coat blow is usually not as overwhelming as the winter to spring shed, but it is still substantial compared to the regular ongoing shedding of GSDs.
How To Handle The “Blowing” Of The Coat?
First, you should know exactly when to expect Coat Blow. Typically, you will see this happen at the end of winter and just before winter begins. (In other words, spring and late fall are the primary times this will take place.)
Coat Blow actually involves not only shedding the topcoat, but also the undercoat of a dog. Owners with double-coated dogs claim this is the worst part of Coat Blow, as the undercoat often comes out in clumps. In fact, they state that one might fill trash bags with the shed hair!
When you begin to notice clumps of hair coming out of the dog’s coat, then you CAN take some steps to at least minimize the amount of hair that is freely shed.
You can purchase a slicker brush or a dog rake to help remove loose hair from both the top and undercoat of the German Shepherd Dog.
Keep in mind, dogs that are kept primarily indoors may have varying patterns of Coat Blow as the controlled climate of the indoors can lessen the phenomenon. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered also have differences in the typical Coat Blow.
Remember, this won’t completely eliminate the shedding from Coat Blow, it will help you to keep it more manageable.
So I Understand How To Combat Coat Blow, But What About Regular Shedding?
Shedding takes place not only because of the changing seasons and a dog’s need to rid itself of last season’s coat, but also to get rid of damaged or unnecessary hair.
You should keep in mind that all dogs shed, even though German Shepherds are known for their penchant for shedding.
Even though you cannot totally prevent shedding in the German Shepherd (a breed that is sometimes called “German Shedders”, you CAN reduce the amount of shedding so that you can manage it.
Perhaps the best way to combat shedding is to commit to regular brushing. Regular brushing on a daily basis can help to loosen damaged or extra hairs.
This also allows you to control exactly where these hairs go – on a brush rather than just simply on your furniture or clothing.
Although some experts say it is just fine to brush three or four times per week, I recommend daily brushing on a hardwood or tiled area where you can sweep up any stray hairs.
Previously, the slicker brush was recommended for combating Coat Blow, and this is true. However, for daily brushing, you can use a combination of a slicker brush, a pin brush, and a finishing comb in order to remove as much loose hair – and the undercoat during Coat Blow – as possible.
This is a great video which explains how to handle coat blow.
If you begin with a pin or slicker brush every day then finish up with the comb – this will help keep the coat clean and healthier looking. An added benefit to this is that most of the dirt will be removed from the coat, leaving the hair cleaner and shinier.
You’ll also find that dogs that are brushed daily have fewer fleas or other parasites.
Will Bathing My German Shepherd Dog More Frequently Help to Reduce Shedding?
Yes, and no. You should give your dog a “routine” bath in order to combat shedding. Routine means that you give a bath on a regular basis whether that is once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month.
The bath itself may help to remove some of the loosened hair, but it will not remove all of it, nor is it a cure-all for shedding. However, it will help to prevent hair from just randomly falling anywhere and everywhere in your home.
It is of the utmost importance that you use a shampoo that is specially made for dogs, and that the shampoo is all-natural.
Look for a shampoo that is a dull yellow color, appears almost watery in consistency, and does not possess a very strong fragrance. Anything different from these criteria is likely to contain added chemicals that can harm your dog’s skin.
Can You Shave a German Shepherd Coat?
It sure can feel tempting – and even intuitive – to simply shave your German Shepherd. No hair means no shedding, right?
This is one of the worst things you can do to your dog for several reasons, the most important of which is this one: your dog has no protection from the elements and the environment.
That thick, double-layer coat may look very hot and heavy. But your dog needs it to self-regulate body temperature, guard against pests and skin damage, and to protect against sunburn.
Dogs don’t sweat like people sweat. They can only sweat through their paw pads and by panting. So the coat acts to wick away moisture and keep your dog’s body cool.
Dogs can get sunburned just like people do. The thick coat keeps the sun from burning your dog’s sensitive skin underneath.
Pests like fleas, flies, ticks, mosquitoes and other biting, stinging insects can do real harm to your dog. Luckily, those tiny pests have trouble making it through the thick double-layer coat.
So please don’t shave your German Shepherd. On top of all the potential suffering, this can cause your dog, it may also cause the coat to not grow back in properly.
Once damaged in this way, it may never grow back with its former biological protective properties fully intact.
We hope that you have found our suggestions useful and helpful. As you can see, many of these suggestions are so easy to implement, but they make a significant difference.
The most important thing to remember is to stay on top of your German Shepherd’s shedding. If you ensure that you are regularly brushing them and remove the shed fur, this will make a significant difference. The more fur you are able to remove, especially during blow out season, the less you will find on bedding, clothing, and the floor!
While the shedding brushes are more expensive in comparison to a regular dog brush, they do make a huge difference. They allow you to remove the dead fur from the undercoat, and stop it from compacting. This is great because it means that there is less fur to shed.