For owners of German Shepherds, summertime grooming can be a bit tricky. The thick coat that makes these dogs so attractive in the winter months can become matted and unsightly when temperatures rise. To help your pet stay cool and look great, here are some pointers for grooming your German Shepherd at home for summer.
What to Expect for Shedding in Warmer Months
German Shepherds shed their thick undercoats in the Spring and Fall to prepare for the approaching season. In warmer months, the thick undercoat will shed, too, and it’s not unusual for patches of fur to remain. This can make your German Shepherd look disheveled.
How to Groom Your German Shepherd at Home for Summer
The German Shepherd dog breed has two types of coat layers: One is a topcoat or guard coat, and the other is an undercoat. Grooming these layers properly and regularly is key to your pet looking their best and making sure they stay cool and comfortable during the summer months.
The following will guide you on correctly grooming short and long-haired German Shepherds.
Short-Haired German Shepherd Grooming Tips: Brushing
Neglecting to brush your GSD as often as needed can lead to messy dog fur and unhealthy skin. You should brush your German Shepherd at least 3-4 times weekly for 5-10 minutes each session to keep that from happening.
Additionally, dogs can get things like foxtails, burrs, stickies, and other debris in their fur in the summer months. Brushing your German Shepherd’s coat regularly will help to keep them looking neat, as well as remove any unwanted particles from the fur that can cause discomfort.
For short-haired German Shepherds, a simple brush and comb are all that is needed to keep the coat looking neat. Start by using a slicker brush or pin brush for general brushing. Work your way up from head to tail.
Then, using a wide-toothed comb to work through the dog’s fur, remove debris, tangles and excess hair. You can use a rake or mat breaker to remove severe tangles and mats. A little dab of olive oil can loosen stubborn debris, too. If all else fails, use some grooming shears to snip burrs and such that are clinging on for dear life.
You can use a pin brush to groom the top topcoat. Be sure to brush your short-haired GSD at least 3-4 times weekly for 5-10 minutes each session for the best results.
Long-Haired German Shepherd Grooming Tips: Brushing
There is a little more to brushing long-haired German Shepherds than short-haired ones.
- Start with buying a good vacuum cleaner. GSDs shed a lot, so you don't want to deal with too much hair on the floor and furniture.
- To cut down on balls of fur around your home, invest in a high-quality de-shedding brush. Use it to brush your dog every other day. Do this process outside so you don’t leave big messes in your home.
- Start brushing at the head and back of the neck and work your way down the body.
- When brushing, make sure you get into all those hard-to-reach areas and check for any fleas or ticks that might be stowing away on your German Shepherd.
- For the best results, brush long-haired German Shepherds at least 3-4 times weekly for 5-10 minutes each session.
Tips for Bathing Your German Shepherd
Both long-haired and short-haired GSDs need regular bathing. You can use the following tips to bathe yours:
- Bathe your GSD every 3-4 months, unless they roll around in something yucky. Washing them more than that can dry out their essential oils and make their skin dry.
- Use a gentle shampoo formulated to remove dander, dirt, and odors. If your pet has sensitive or dry skin, talk to your veterinarian about what kind of shampoo you should use.
- Use warm water when bathing your dog; cold water can cause skin irritation.
- Don't forget to wash your pup's collar, harness or leash around the same time that you bathe them. They get really grungy and can irritate your pooch’s neck! Some warm water and gentle soap used on them will do the trick.
- Talk to your veterinarian to make sure that your dog's diet includes the right vitamins and minerals to make its coat look its best.
Special Equipment for Anxious Dogs
Some German Shepherds get a little anxious come grooming time. Things like “happy hoodies” that wrap around their head and ears can reduce noise during a blow drying session while also giving a swaddling effect. Dog grooming arms can keep pups in place that have a tendency to want to inch away or bolt.
You can also finish off the grooming experience with a professional touch like a cute bandana or some good-smelling finishing spray. I’m always partial to sugar cookie spray when my GSDs get a professional groom! That last bit is more for the proud owners vs. their dogs, but it's still fun.
Should I Shave My German Shepherd for the Summer?
If you think shaving your GSD will keep them cooler in the summer, you'd be wrong. Their fur is designed to keep them cool and shield them from the sun. Therefore, shaving it off is not recommended, as it can leave them susceptible to sunburns and heat exhaustion. Additionally, if you shave your long-haired GSD, you can damage their undercoat. Afterward, it may grow back patchy or with a different, undesirable texture.
German Shepherd Summer Grooming Tips for Nails
Nail care is also important in keeping your pet groomed for summer. Overgrown nails can be painful and make it difficult for your dog to walk properly. Trim your German Shepherd's nails weekly or biweekly, depending on how quickly they grow, using either a set of clippers or nail grinders.
German Shepherd Grooming Tips for Ears
Another important aspect of grooming is caring for the ears and teeth. Check your pet's ears for signs of dirt and debris, and clean them with an ear-cleaning solution.
German Shepherd Grooming Tips for Teeth
Dental hygiene is also extremely important, so brush your German Shepherd's teeth at least two to three times a week using toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Also, talk to your veterinarian about scheduling regular teeth cleanings. Dogs need them just like humans to get rid of tartar which can irritate their gums and lead to gum disease.
Best German Shepherd Grooming Tools
When grooming your German Shepherd at home, there are a few tools that can make the job easier. A high-velocity blow dryer is essential for drying off your dog after a bath. A slicker brush is good for detangling and removing mats; these often come in combination with comb attachments to make brushing even easier. Finally, a pair of shears is helpful for trimming the fur around your pet's eyes, paws and other areas.
Benefits of Grooming Your German Shepherd at Home
First, it's not cruel to shave your dog, even though those big, doleful eyes may convince you otherwise when you're starting out. Instead, grooming your GSD at home provides numerous benefits for you and your pet.
For example, professional grooming can be expensive and stressful for your pup. Grooming them at home ensures that you are in complete control of the situation and reduces stress.
In addition, grooming allows for more bonding time between the pet and the parent. Many owners feel closer to their dogs when they are involved in the grooming process. Dogs, on the other hand, benefit from the attention and special bond formed with their pet parents during grooming.
Finally, grooming your German Shepherd at home can help identify potential health issues before they become serious. In short, grooming keeps your pet beautiful, comfortable, and healthier.
Now that you know all the tips and tricks for grooming your German Shepherd at home, it's time to get started. With a bit of patience and practice, you'll be able to keep your pet looking its best all year round! For more tips about German Shepherd care and adopting a German Shepherd, check out Regis Regal's blog for more information.
German Shepherd Services and Adoption in the Chicago, Ill, Area
Regis Regal is a German Shepherd breeder of merit in the Chicago, Illinois, area. We are 100% dedicated to helping people and their beloved pets be the best they can be. In addition to breeding, training, and boarding German Shepherds puppies and service dogs, we provide essential resources like advice on caring for German Shepherds, as well as a wide variety of other services. We'll help you make sure your pet always looks and feels its best.
Please get in touch with us today at (847) 721-1908 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about adopting one of North America's finest German Shepherds. We can’t wait to match you with the perfect canine companion for your family’s needs.