German Shepherds are incredible dogs that make great household companions. If you’ve just adopted one or are considering taking the leap, you’ve likely wondered, “do German Shepherds shed?” This is an essential question because it can affect your quality of life if you don’t adequately prepare for the outcome.
Let’s look at whether or not these dogs are prone to shedding and how we can manage it.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs, like people, need to shed to maintain healthy skin and fur. Damaged hair falls out to make way for new growth. For many dogs, this happens continuously throughout the year.
Some dogs will shed cyclically as well, which means they will lose more fur at certain times of the year. This extra loss is usually due to a double coat of fur. The second layer does double duty, keeping the dog warm in the winter and protecting it from excessive heat.
Do German Shepherds Shed?
Most German Shepherds have a double coat, especially if they are purebred, and will shed no matter how long their fur is. You can expect your dog to blow out their undercoat completely in spring and fall. During these periods, regular grooming is essential to keep them comfortable.
Are There Any Other Reasons for Shedding?
If you find yourself in the predicament that your German Shepherd is shedding more than you think is healthy, it’s best to contact your vet and ask, “do German Shepherds shed this much?”
Sometimes dogs will shed for reasons that have nothing to do with the time of year. In some cases, it could indicate an underlying medical or behavioral issue.
Here are a few reasons you might be finding some extra fur on your couch if it isn’t shedding season.
If so, explore the environment for anything that might be distressing the dog. These can include loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, or even the vacuum cleaner.
Dogs might also lose fur due to certain skin conditions. Conditions like allergies and mange are incredibly itchy and might cause your pet to lose hair from scratching it too often. This is a serious issue because it can lead to discomfort and potential infection.
It’s also a good idea to watch for pressure sores and other irritations causing hair loss. This problem is more typical in older dogs but can happen at any age. If your German Shepherd loses hair in clumps, schedule a trip to the vet immediately.
Sometimes, your German Shepherd might pick up a parasite that leads to excess shedding. In such cases, your dog will likely have other symptoms and need to be tested by a vet for confirmation.
If you suspect your four-legged friend might have an infection, look for other signs like lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Dogs, like humans, need vitamins and minerals to function correctly. If they’re not getting the proper nutrition, their bodies won’t be able to replace the fur that they lose.
Check your pet’s food. Is it well balanced, including plenty of essential nutrients like zinc? A zinc deficiency is a common reason for hair loss. Ensure your dog gets the nutrients they need with high-quality dog food.
It’s also essential to make sure they’re eating at every meal.
Many environmental factors can cause a dog to lose its hair. Too much time in the sun, for example, can cause sunburns that can make your dog’s hair fall out.
A drastic change such as moving or construction can be stressful enough to your German Shepherd that it will cause extra shedding. If this is the case, it’s best to remove your dog to a calmer or safer environment if you can.
How To Manage Shedding?
The fact is that you can’t completely eliminate shedding in almost any dog breed, but especially not German Shepherds. There are ways to help keep it off your bedspread, however. Check out these tips for managing shedding.
Invest in a high-quality brush that will comb through the top layer of their fur and get to the undercoat. By removing as much excess fur as you can outside, there’s less for the dog to lose around the house.
There’s also the benefit that many dogs love brushing. This maintenance makes it a great way to bond with your best friend.
It would be best to brush at least once every few days and possibly more during the shedding season. This will help keep their coats shiny and soft.
Don’t Bathe Too Often
Dogs should get baths regularly, but not too often because it can strip away healthy oils. Dry skin is a sure-fire way to cause additional shedding. It may also cause stress, which can ramp up hair loss even more.
Aim to bathe your German Shepherd no more than once every six weeks. Ten to twelve weeks is ideal. When you do clean them, really get into the coat and try to wash away the trapped fur hiding beneath the top coat.
Do Not Cut Your German Shepherd’s Coat
Dog fur is not like people’s hair. Some canines can be shaved and need to be in cases of matting or surgery, but this requires a trained hand.
Cutting or shaving their fur can damage it. It might leave skin or the undercoat exposed to harsh elements like the sun. If your vet or groomer does recommend having it cut, leave it to the professionals who will know where and how much to remove.
Keep It Clean
Dogs need safe, clean environments to thrive. So, scrub their kennel regularly, wash the blankets, and wipe down their food dish. This can help prevent them from getting infected with parasites, fleas, and allergens.
It’s also worth noting that dogs don’t like to be unclean. If they are left to get dirty and matted, they could start to lose some fur just from the stress.
Invest in High-Quality Supplies
Not all grooming tools are created equal. Many combs, brushes, and rakes are not up to the challenge of a German Shepherd’s thick double coat. Find supplies explicitly designed for this breed or something similar.
It would help if you also took your dog to the groomer regularly. They can help you control shedding and are great at spotting potential skin conditions lurking beneath your dog’s coat.
Try a Supplement
Talk to your vet about a supplement or dog food created specifically to target a healthy coat. In many situations, your dog may need a little support to keep its fur healthy. Don’t forget that shiny, healthy fur is less likely to fall out.
Never give your pet supplements that your vet hasn’t approved, however. Unknown substances may have the opposite of your desired effect.
Remember That Shedding Is Normal
At the end of the day, it’s helpful to remember that shedding is entirely normal for a German Shepherd. Other than the mess, it’s not typically something to worry about. However, it can be alarming to see how much fur they lose during the shedding seasons.
In the meantime, you can try out different tools to help remove unwanted hair from your living space. Here are some great ways to keep fur off your furniture.
Try a Lint Roller
There are a few different kinds, one of the most popular being the sticky roller. These effectively pick up loose hair from clothing and furniture in just a few swipes. If you don’t have one, wrapping some tape around your hand accomplishes the same thing.
Give Them Their Own Sleeping Area
Confining your dog to its bed or crate while relaxing can prevent a lot of hair from getting onto your furniture. It’s also wise to invest in a bed that’s easy to clean, such as a machine-washable dog bed or cover.
Deep Clean Often
You’d be surprised how much fur gets trapped in cracks, cushions, and corners. These little stashes can become a big problem if you do not address them while cleaning, so make sure you really do the dirty work with a deep clean.
Get Couch Covers
Couch covers are great if you need a quick fix. They are easy to take on and off, so it’s as simple as changing the sheets during shedding season.
Keep Your Dog Calm
Preventing too much stress or excitement will make your dog less likely to drop fur. Provide comfort during scary events like thunderstorms and fireworks.
Play Outside Whenever Possible
Brushing and playing outside help keep the mess out of the house. In addition, with such an active breed, outdoor play helps keep their energy levels at bay and avoid other mess-making and destructive behaviors.
Answering the question “do German Shepherds shed?” is easy, although finding a solution is a more significant challenge.
Don’t let that discourage you, though. Owning a dog, especially a breed as magnificent as the German Shepherd, is usually well worth these minor drawbacks. Just get your brushes ready!