Almost all dog breeds shed, and anyone who has owned a German shepherd knows they are not an exception. There are some breeds that shed much less than others. In fact, there are some types of dogs that only shed seasonally, while others shed year round. German shepherds fit into the latter category, so they are known to shed quite a lot. While your dog will never completely stop shedding there are things you can do to reduce it. Today we will discuss how to reduce shedding in German shepherds.
Why do German Shepherds Shed?
The simple fact is this breed sheds heavily. While a certain amount of shedding is natural, there are other factors such as stress, poor diet, skin allergies, and dehydration that can make it even worse. There are several reasons this breed sheds so heavily, and those reasons are:
- Shedding Year-Round: While some breeds only shed seasonally, others do so all year and German shepherds definitely do. As their old hairs fall out new ones grow in their place. This breed has a large amount of fur, so shedding regularly ensures the dog keeps the same amount of hair constantly.
- Double Coat: Just like huskies and malamutes, German shepherds have what’s called a double coat. In other words, they have an undercoat that consists of woolly, soft fur and an outer coat that’s made up of long, thin protective hairs. The purpose of a double coat is to protect the dog from injury, disease, and infection. This is the reason a German shepherd should never be shaved.
- Seasonal: While this type of dog always sheds, it is stronger during summer and fall. The fall shedding helps prepare the dog for the cold winter months by shedding the outer coat, while summer shedding gets rid of the under coat to help cool the dog in hot summer months. This process is called coat blowing and can last several weeks each time.
- Underlying Health Issues: There are specific health concerns that can unnecessarily increase a German shepherd’s shedding. Such concerns include stress, dehydration, poor diet, and so on. If your dog seems to shed more than usual you can try administering a dog supplement for a healthy coat. If this doesn’t work, a trip to the vet is a good idea.
What’s the Purpose of Shedding for a Dog?
While you may think shedding is not necessary, there are three main reasons a dog sheds. Those reasons are:
- It assists with sensory perception
- Helps protect the skin from injury and disease
- Regulates body temperature
What are the Best Ways to Minimize Shedding?
Though you will never eliminate shedding entirely, there are certain things you can do to decrease it. Here are the best things you can do to try to reduce shedding in German shepherds:
Change Your Dog’s Diet
One of the main reasons for heavy shedding is feeding your dog cheap dog food that’s not nutritionally balanced. Such dog foods usually contain large amounts of grain and corn, which are not digested well by canines. These types of foods also don’t reflect well through the skin. In fact, it can be a cause of your dog’s itchy skin.
If you suspect your dog food is cheap and not well-balanced, try a new brand but be sure to buy one that has real meat as the first ingredient. Another wonderful choice is beginning your dog on a raw food diet. You’ll just have to research and learn how to give your dog the right amounts of food to ensure they get the vitamins and minerals necessary for their health needs.
Healthy diets not only reduce shedding, but also help with dry skin and improves the immune system. This is probably the most effective way to cut down on your German shepherd’s shedding, but be sure to change the diet gradually. Changing your dogs diet too quickly can lead to stomach upset and other issues.
Add Oils to Your Dog’s Food
There are several oils you can add to your dogs food that will help improve their coat. Some great choices are flaxseed, fish, or olive oil. All of these oils are great for improving coat texture and healing inflamed skin. Another option is supplements, as usually the best dog supplements for dry skin contain one of these oils. The oils work well because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Other great ways to make sure your dog’s getting enough omega-3s is by feeding salmon, tuna, and other types of fish.
Give Your Dog Plenty of Water Daily
Dehydration is just as bad for your dog as it is for us. Dry skin is a great indicator that your dog’s not getting enough water. Dry skin will lead to an increased amount of shedding and can eventually lead to sickness. The best way to make sure your dog gets plenty of water is ensuring the bowl is always full or you can also feed “water” foods such as watermelon if needed.
Feed Certain Types of Human Food
Though dogs have different nutritional needs than humans, there are still some foods that are great for them. Foods such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables are healthy for dogs’ skin when given in moderate amounts.
Though German shepherds do shed a lot, they don’t require excessive amounts of grooming like chow chows or poodles. However, this doesn’t mean you should not groom your dog. Your GSD should be regularly brushed to remove extra fur and bathed regularly to wash away loose hair. Just keep in mind that your dog only needs about 3 to 4 baths per year with a moisturizing dog shampoo.
De-shed your German Shepherd
To further reduce shedding you can use various de-shedding tools. While these tools won’t stop the dog from shedding, it will help remove some of it and prevent it from flying around your home.
How Do I Know if My German Shepherd is Shedding Too Much?
Since there are skin conditions that can cause your dog to shed more than normal it’s important to know what to look for. While entire patches of missing fur is obvious, there are some other signs that may not be as plain to see. Here are some things to watch for:
- Skin that is inflamed and red
- Skin that is flaky and dry
- Any wounds on your dog’s skin
- Discharge coming from the skin
- Missing patches of fur
- Excessive shaking and scratching
If you notice any of these symptoms, or suspect that your dog may have an underlying condition call your vet and make an appointment. It’s always better to err on the side of caution where your dog’s health is concerned.In conclusion, German shepherds are loyal dogs that make wonderful pets for the entire family. While they are heavy shedders, if you follow the steps above you will notice a significant decrease. You may also want to invest in the best dog supplement for dry skin, since this is one of the main causes of extra shedding. There are many dog itching treatments available on the market, so make sure you read the ingredients and choose wisely. One of the best dog supplements for skin allergies is made by VetGen, and it’s called Maximum Skin & Coat. It’s formulated for dogs of all sizes and is great for a dog’s itchy skin. It will leave your German shepherd’s fur healthy and looking amazing!