Some dog breeds shed their coats more profusely than others. Breeds with double coats have a reputation for being heavy shedders like the German Shepherd, also known as the ‘German Shedder.’
However, German Shepherd shedding is both seasonal AND year-round, because of the way it blows its undercoat.
Shedding can be normal or may be caused by skin problems or disease. Whichever the case is, pet owners, want to know how to manage German Shepherd shedding.
As excessive as hair loss can be in this breed, there are ways to manage the issue.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs shed their hair follicles all the time, but the shedding becomes overwhelming for some breeds due to seasonal hair loss.
Dogs that shed seasonally lose much of their coats towards the end of winter as they prepare for warmer temperatures.
The opposite is also valid as their winter coats grow thicker as the colder months approach to protect them from the cold weather.
A dog’s hair offers protection against extreme weather, is an inbuilt system for controlling their body temperatures, and a means to protect their skin from the sun and abrasions.
The amount of shedding differs between breeds, climates, amount of hair and the dog’s age and health. Shedding can either be a natural process, but occasionally it can be a sign of worrying health issues.
#1 Natural shedding by double-coated breeds
Dog breeds with double coats are known to shed more profusely than those with single coats. These breeds shed their undercoats seasonally in the spring and fall.
Seasonal shedding is a natural process that prepares the breed for weather changes.
Shedding undercoats allows for the breed’s natural ability to adapt to external temperature changes with the coat shedding process.
German Shepherds are one of these breeds that shed their undercoats along with Labradors and Border Collies, among others, so it’s not realistic to stop shedding completely – it’s more about how you manage their hair loss.
Fortunately, if you’re a German Shepherd puppy owner, younger GSDs don’t tend to shed until later in life as the puppy coat often becomes the undercoat and the guard hairs come in as the adult coat.
#2 Shedding due to skin problems
Parasitic infections can cause abnormal shedding. Dog lice, mites, fleas, and other parasites can burrow their way into the dog’s skin. Bald patchy coats and extra hair loss occur as the infestation increases, causing extreme discomfort for the dog.
Other skin problems can occur due to cancer or immune diseases. Dogs can suffer from dermatitis just like people, which may also be the underlying cause of extra shedding.
Ringworm and fungi can also be responsible for your dog losing its coat.
If you see your dog scratching excessively at dry skin and no fleas or ticks are visible–a trip to the vet is necessary to diagnose the problem.
Quick medical intervention will help resolve surplus shedding when skin problems are involved.
#3 Allergic skin reactions
Dogs can develop allergies to multiple sources such as fleas or the treatments used to control these pests.
Similarly, your GSD may have become allergic to its dog food or something in its environment.
If the cause of the allergy is unknown, it is best to take your pet for a checkup. A vet can draw blood to test for allergens, identifying the origins of the dog’s distress and health problems.
After identifying the problem, you can take steps to reduce or eliminate the dog’s exposure to the allergen, which can resolve excessive shedding in the long-term.
#4 Hair loss due to stress
If you or your family experience stressful situations like work loss, divorce, death, or moving home, your pet is also affected.
Animals experience stress much as people do and can demonstrate their stress through hair loss and behavioral changes. Consult a vet to obtain medication to manage your pet’s anxiety if this is the case.
Alternatively, take your pet to an animal behaviorist to help you both to manage stressful situations better, as this will also reduce coat shedding.
How Much Do German Shepherd Dogs Shed?
Pet owners still ask questions about German Shepherd shedding. How much is normal?
Is it okay to vacuum up so much hair that the equipment gets blocked? Is it healthy for an animal to lose so much hair so quickly?
The reason that German Shepherds shed so much hair is that they have an undercoat and a topcoat. This breed is known for its shedding throughout the year, whether it is long-haired or has a short coat.
But when it comes to spring and fall, the German Shedder really shows its true colors as it loses much of its undercoat. This process is referred to as “blowing its coat.”
All mayhem seems to break loose as the seasons change, and your pet adjusts its body temperature to the changing season.
Your German Shepherd‘s shedding characteristics come to the fore for about 2 weeks to a month when this happens. Hair is everywhere.
You find it on your furniture, clothes, in your food, and it probably also ends up on your face and even in your mouth.
Coat blowing is unavoidable, but you can take certain steps to de-shed and limit the volume of hair fall when the German Shepherd starts (or continues) shedding.
Extra care for your pet’s skin from the inside and the outside will help relieve some of the frustration associated with German Shepherd shedding.
Once you take the necessary steps to control this issue, the problem becomes more bearable. Living with your heavy German Shepherd shedder also changes.
Pet owners see a way forward to living with their beautiful pet that has one drawback. Life becomes easier when acceptance is matched with action.
How To Reduce Shedding In GSDs?
Grooming regularly helps to limit German Shepherd shedding. A collection of good grooming tools and a brushing schedule are key to reducing shedding.
Pet owners will need a collection of brushes to properly manage their German Shepherd’s coat.
#1 Basic brushing
Daily brushing with a basic brush will eliminate loose dog hair in the topcoat, or outer coat. A basic brush will also catch loose guard hairs in the undercoat.
A basic grooming brush is suitable for short-haired German Shepherds, but more advanced de-shedding tools are needed for long hair pets.
#2 Slicker brushing
Slicker brushes have longer teeth and finer bristles. Use this brush type on German Shepherds with long coats as the brush effectively catches loose dog hair in the undercoat.
Using this tool for regular brushing will also help reduce German Shepherd shedding by capturing loose hairs before they fall.
#3 De-matting your German Shepherd
De-matt your pet’s coat with this tool which reaches deep into the soft undercoat. Even if your pet’s undercoat is not matted, this is a good tool to use as it catches loose hairs in the soft fur below the topcoat.
A de-matting comb is also ideal for protecting your pet’s skin from harm caused by too much brushing.
#4 De-shedding brush
Use a de-shedding brush, like the Furminator, to groom your dog daily. This tool is one of the best methods to control German Shepherd shedding as it has a deep reach to the ‘problem’ area of the undercoat.
Instead of letting nature run its course, using a de-shedding brush helps speed up the shedding process by reducing hair fall. Combine these steps with special conditioner and dog shampoo to promote hair growth and a healthy coat.
After controlling for external German Shepherd shedding, the next step is to manage shedding from the inside-out.
You can do this by testing your pet’s blood at the vet to discover if it has any nutritional shortages or a poor diet.
Common shortages in the German Shepherd that may impact its shedding include supplements that can improve your dog’s coat, include:
- Insufficient Omega fatty acids, specifically 3 and 6.
- A lack of zinc in the diet
- Probiotics and digestive enzymes
When you look after your pet’s internal health, they suffer less stress and distress. Natural oils like Omega fatty acids help to improve coat health, especially Omega-3.
Looking after their diet and supplementing food with zinc liquid is also known to promote the German Shepherd’s health if your pet suffers from this deficiency.
Take care of gut health by adding probiotics and digestive enzymes to its food.
Purchasing reputable, vet-approved food brands is another method to help reduce shedding. Healthy insides mean that you increase your pet’s chances of being healthy on the outside, and using nutritious supplements is key to achieving this goal.
Antioxidants help eliminate any foreign food preservatives that your pet may be allergic to. Allergies contribute to coat shedding, so it is always a good idea to cover this base with a quality antioxidant.
Even if you give your pet high-quality food, remember that it also gets boring eating the same food. Change your pet’s diet by buying different food brands. Add to their variety with treats, raw foods, and homecooked meals.
German Shepherd shedding is a common problem, but you do have some control over how much your pet sheds.
Support their health with grooming and supplementing their diet to make life more pleasant during seasonal shedding and the remainder of the year.
Yes, German Shepherds do shed. In fact, it is no secret that this breed sheds excessively. These animals blow their undercoats twice a year which causes dramatic and often quite scary hair loss during shedding season.
German Shepherds also shed throughout the year–adding to their owners’ woes and at times making some German Shepherd owners feel like professional dog groomers instead!
Shedding is often a natural occurrence, but when your dog’s coat appears blotchy and unsightly and is accompanied by discomfort–another problem is present.
Allergies, stress, or disease can also cause shedding. The best course of action is to consult your vet to determine whether there is an underlying problem responsible for surplus shedding.