Having a constantly shedding German Shepherd can be frustrating, but you should never shave a German Shepherd. Learn all about why this is a bad thing and what you can do to prevent it.
Can I Get My German Shepherd Shaved?
There are several reasons why shaving your German Shepherd is a bad idea:
Why Can Shaving Your German Shepherd Cause Them to Overheat?
When most people think of the double coat of the German Shepherd, they imagine that the coat’s sole purpose is to insulate their dog in cooler months. As a result, some owners believe that shaving their dogs will allow them to be cooler during the summer.
This isn’t the case at all. In reality, your German Shepherd’s coat keeps him cool and makes it easier to regulate his body temperature. When you shave your dog, you take away their ability to do this, putting them at a greater risk of overheating.
You should also be aware that the coat may not necessarily grow back in time for the winter. Particularly with older dogs, this process can take a lot longer. If your German Shepherd’s coat hasn’t grown out when the temperature begins to drop, they may feel the cold more readily.
How Can Shave A German Shepherd Cause Skin Damage?
A lot of owners also fail to realize that a German Shepherd’s double coat acts as UV protection, keeping the harmful sun’s rays away from your dog’s skin.
When this layer is stripped away, your dog has a much higher likelihood of developing a sunburn, which can be quite painful. To add to this, German Shepherds can get skin cancer and this risk increases with greater direct sunlight exposure.
Can Shaving Your German Shepherd’s Coat Ruin Their Coat?
German Shepherd fur is not meant to be shaved. Due to this, it is difficult to know just how the new hairs will grow back once shaved. In many instances, they will be often shorter, and take a long time to return to the original length.
The texture of the new fur can be quite different as well. Many owners have noted that the new coat is more prone to matting, making grooming trickier than before.
As it is quite easy to distinguish between the new and old fur, your German Shepherd may look quite odd for a long time.
Why is a Shaved German Shepherd at Greater Risk of Insect Bites?
A German Shepherd’s coat protects your dog in more ways than you realize. Their coat acts as a layer of padding, keeping them safe from the bites of mosquitoes and other pests. When this is gone, your dog may be the recipient of insect bites.
Remember, such pests are most common in summer. Shaving your dog in the warmer months will only create more problems.
Can Shaving Make Your Dog’s Shedding Problem Worse?
Some owners shave their German Shepherds believing that it will solve or at least help with the shedding issues. Contrary to popular belief, this will simply make the problem worse.
Your dog will still shed, only now the hairs will be shorter and sharper. They will get stuck in clothing and fabric more readily, but won’t be easy to get out. Vacuuming will not help much either.
Can You Cut a German Shepherd’s Hair?
It is clear that shaving a German Shepherd is a bad idea, but what if you were to cut or trim your dog’s hair?
Unlike other breeds, German Shepherds’ coats rarely grow long enough to require cutting or trimming. Some long-haired versions may benefit from a trim now and then, however. This will mostly make them look neater.
Even with a trim, it is important to not take too much off the coat. It is unlikely that your German Shepherd will require more than half an inch of hair to be trimmed off any part of their body. Going in too close with the scissors can cause the same issues as shaving.
Also be mindful of the fact that cutting your dog’s hair isn’t easy, especially if they have a hard time staying in place. If you aren’t careful, you may accidentally nick your German Shepherd with the scissors.
This is why it is best to let the experts handle this process. Groomers have been trained and know how much to take off of your dog’s coat. They are also adept at dealing with jumpy or active dogs.
To add to this, professional groomers have proper equipment which makes trimming faster, safer, and more accurate.
What Grooming Tactics Can You Use Instead of Shaving to Reduce Shedding?
You don’t have to resort to shaving your German Shepherd to get their shedding under control. Here are the most effective alternate options:
What Brushes are Best for German Shepherds?
It is important to use the right brushes when grooming your German Shepherd. This ensures that all the loose fur is removed during the brushing session and doesn’t get all over your floors.
A slicker brush can help you tackle the upper part of your German Shepherd’s coat, while an undercoat rake helps to remove loose fur in the bottommost coat. You can use the slicker brush every time you brush your dog and then use the undercoat rake at least once a week.
You will also need a de-shedding brush. This comes in handy whenever your German Shepherd enters their shedding seasons. This brush doesn’t have to be used as often, about once a week should be enough to get the shedding under control.
How Often Should You Groom German Shepherds?
It is best to brush your German Shepherd twice or thrice a week, depending on their shedding levels. This does involve some trial and error and you will need to figure out the most effective schedule for your dog.
During your German Shepherd’s shedding season, you will need to increase the frequency that you brush your dog. In most cases, once a day daily is best. Otherwise, you may find that your home will be covered in their fur.
Does Bathing Reduce Shedding?
For a healthy coat, it is often recommended to only bathe your German Shepherd once every four to six weeks or when they are very dirty. Bathing your dog too often can strip their coat and skin of natural oils, causing various skin problems.
When you do bathe your dog, you may want to consider using an efficient de-shedding dog shampoo. There are plenty on the market but not all get the job done. Make sure to find one that works well.
This type of shedding ensures that most of the loose fur in your dog’s coat can be washed out when they are bathed. This results in less shedding and you may even not have to groom them as often.
How Can You Keep Your German Shepherd Cool Without Shaving Them?
Perhaps you want to shave your dog to keep them cool in the summer. If this is the case, there are plenty of alternatives that you can consider instead:
What are the Signs That Your German Shepherd is Overheated?
The German Shepherd’s coat increases the risk of them overheating. This is why it is important to know the signs and what to do about them. It is just as important to prevent overheating in the first place.
A dog that’s overheated will pant excessively and produce an enormous amount of saliva, causing them to drool quite a bit. Their breathing may also be labored and it may seem like they are hyperventilating.
An overheated German Shepherd may appear disoriented, vomit, or have diarrhea. They may also be quite weak.
In such instances, you should take your dog indoors immediately. Use a wet cloth to wipe your dog down. Alternatively, you can have them sit under running water as well. Make sure the water is cool and not cold. Coldwater could be too much of a shock to their system.
Make your dog lie in front of or underneath a fan. Provide them with cool water to drink. Once again, don’t make the water cold.
Keep a close watch on your German Shepherd. If you think they aren’t improving or that their condition may be steadily deteriorating, take them to the vet immediately.
Should You Let Your Dog Stay Outdoors?
You can let your German Shepherd go outside during the summer but do so sparingly. For instance, only let them out earlier in the morning or later on in the evening. Keep them inside during the hottest parts of the day.
Before letting your dog outside, test the pavement with your foot. Is it too hot for you to walk on? If so, it will be too hot for your German Shepherd as well. Either put dog shoes on your pup or wait until the ground is cool enough to walk on.
If they are going to be outside for more than fifteen minutes at a time, make sure that there is a cool, shaded area for your dog. Provide them with plenty of fresh, cool water at all times.
Fill a paddling pool with water and let your dog splash around in it. Some dogs may enjoy simply sitting in the water. Alternatively, you can turn the sprinklers on and have your pup run through it instead.
How Can You Keep Your Dog Cool Inside?
Try to keep your dog away from direct sunlight. Make sure that there is at least one room in the house that’s dark and cool at all times. Keep a fan on in whichever room they spend the most amount of time in.
Keep filling their bowl with fresh and cool water. You can also add ice cubes to their bowl. For example, freeze small blocks of dog food to give as treats. Or, freeze sodium-free chicken broth into cubes and let your pup have these as a snack. They are sure to enjoy treats like these in warm weather.
How Can You Exercise Your German Shepherd During the Summer?
As mentioned, only take them out when the sun is low. Make sure that your route has plenty of shaded areas where your dog can stop and rest. Take water with you for your German Shepherd, even if the walk is short.
If possible, try to break a longer walk into smaller parts – such as once in the morning and once in the evening. This ensures that your pup gets as much exercise as needed but reduces the risk of them overheating.
You may want to look into alternative activities during the summer as well. Look for indoor dog parks in your area. You can do some research into public pools that allow dogs or find a pond or lake that your pup can splash around in.
What Can You Do to Keep Your German Shepherd Comfortable While Sleeping?
You can also find cooling sleeping pads on the market. This causes your dog’s body heat to dissipate rather than get absorbed by the material. As a result, the mat or pad will remain cool, making it far more comfortable for your pup to sleep on.
The other option is to buy an elevated bed. These allow for better circulation of air, preventing the bed from overheating. You can have these beds in addition to your dog’s regular bed. This way, they can choose their sleeping platform depending on how hot they are.
From the above points, it’s clear that shaving your German Shepherd in the summer is a bad idea – and now you know why. You can instead follow the suggestions to keep your pup cool and reduce shedding without resorting to the clippers.