How to Reduce Shedding in German Shepherds

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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?


We can’t help but laugh when folks ask “Do German Shepherds shed a lot”? 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. 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: Some of you may be wondering, “When do German shepherds start shedding”? 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 German shepherd health issues that can unnecessarily increase their 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?

For those wanting German Shepherds that don’t shed, you’ll need to redirect your sights to another breed (or a mixed breed) if you don’t think you can handle the shedding!

If you want to know how to stop German shepherd shedding, you once again may want to consider a different breed, however, there are certain things you can do to decrease shedding.

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.

Regular Grooming

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.

July 2023 Update:

We’ve included a few more practical things you can do to assist your German Shepherd in shedding less:

  1. Blow dry your dog: After bathing your German Shepherd, use a blow dryer to remove the last of its loose fur. Even between baths, blowing them off with a dryer on a cool setting can help remove loose fur after brushing, keeping their shedding under control.
  2. Visit a professional groomer: If you don’t have the time to groom your dog yourself, an occasional trip to a professional groomer can be a lifesaver. They have all the tools to do the job and can usually perform hygiene trims and clip nails.
  3. Add Omega fatty acids to diet: Omega oils can promote healthy skin and coat, reduce excess shedding, and help relieve allergy-related itching. Good-quality fish oil contains EPA, DHA, and Omega-3 fatty acids, all of which can promote healthy skin.
  4. Use an undercoat rake: An undercoat rake can easily remove the dense undercoat to keep it from matting. This will help keep your house cleaner and your dog happier.
  5. Use a magic coat curry brush during bathing: This grooming tool can help make bath time faster by quickly removing loose fur. It can also help keep skin healthy by conditioning it with oils and preventing excess shedding.
  6. Use a slicker brush: A slicker brush can help remove the loose top fur. Brushing regularly will also help distribute the natural oils on their skin and coat and remove dead skin flakes and hair.
  7. Use an anti-shed shampoo: A gentle anti-shed shampoo can help keep skin healthy by conditioning it with oils and preventing excess shedding. Specific shampoos are available designed to reduce shedding by nourishing the skin and strengthening hair follicles.
  8. Use a high-velocity dryer: After bathing your dog, use a high-velocity dryer to remove loose fur. This can be particularly effective during your dog’s shedding season.
  9. Maintain a regular exercise schedule: Regular exercise can help manage your dog’s stress levels, reducing excessive shedding.
  10. Use a furminator: A Furminator is a specific brush designed to reach down into the undercoat and remove loose hairs before they can be shed.
  11. Consider a hypoallergenic diet: If your German Shepherd’s excessive shedding is due to allergies, a hypoallergenic diet might help reduce shedding.
  12. Use a rubber grooming mitt: A rubber grooming mitt can gently and effectively remove loose fur, especially when your dog is shedding heavily.
  13. Keep your home cool: German Shepherds shed more when hot, so keeping your home cool can help reduce shedding.
  14. Try a leave-in conditioner: A leave-in conditioner can help keep your dog’s coat healthy and reduce shedding. Look for one that’s specifically designed to reduce shedding.
  15. Use a diet rich in protein: A diet rich in high-quality protein can help keep your dog’s coat healthy and reduce shedding.
  16. Avoid stressful situations: Stress can cause dogs to shed more than usual. Avoid exposing your German Shepherd to stressful situations to help manage their shedding.
  17. Regular health check-ups: Regular health check-ups can help identify any underlying health issues causing excessive shedding.
  18. Consult a vet: If your dog suddenly starts shedding more than usual or has changes in their skin, and they are not blowing their coat, you should get them checked out by a vet. Many health problems can contribute to shedding. 

How Do I Know if My German Shepherd is Shedding Too Much?

How much do German shepherds shed?A lot! But even then, there is such a thing as 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 Pharmaceuticals, 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!