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A Guide on German Shepherd Grooming

A GSD needs as much attention to grooming and hygiene as exercise, food and sleep. Educate yourself on the importance of GSD grooming as we explain the benefits, techniques and conditions on how to groom a German Shepherd.

How To Groom A German Shepherd

Trimming a German Shepherd once every few months in certain areas is fine, but shaving may present complications when maintaining its regular body temperature. Always think twice before considering regularly getting a German Shepherd haircut! 

What areas on my GSD can I trim?

It is safe to trim areas on your GSD’s legs, feet, foot pads, and parts of its back. As much as possible, trim less than an inch, only use scissors and avoid using electric razors when giving a German Shepherd haircut.

Under what conditions can I shave my GSD?

If you feel that your GSD is overheating, you can shave it. Factors that may contribute to your GSD overheating are poor ventilation of your GSD’s double coat, excessive tangling or matting of its coat and regular GSD exposure to hot and humid environments.

Shaved German Shepherds are also only viable if they have a medical condition or if other family members may be suffering from shed fur from your GSD.

German Shepherd Hygiene

This section has tips and methods on how to groom a German Shepherd’s teeth, nails, ears and coat.

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No special equipment is needed to brush GSD teeth and it is recommended to start cleaning their teeth with a soft toothbrush when they are young. Specially-formulated or herbal toothpaste for dogs is good to use, but not necessary. Clean your GSD’s teeth twice or three times a week for optimal results. 

Brush each tooth on the outside individually and gently massage the gumline to prevent periodontitis for your GSD. Use water to rinse.


Maintaining short nails is important to consider when grooming your GSD. Ingrown nails can be painful and may lead to infection in GSDs. In addition, long, untrimmed nails can become breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi, so trimming your GSD nails regularly can prevent this.

Trim your GSD’s nails once every 2 months to prevent pain and complications.


A German Shepherd’s ears can become oily and collect excess debris or dirt if neglected and left unchecked for long periods of time. Prevent this by inspecting your GSD’s ears on a regular basis. If cleaning is needed, only use ear drops to clean them and use cotton pads (not Q-tips or cotton swabs) to wipe off the excess dirt. Do not use water to clean your GSD’s ears. 

Clean your GSD’s ears once a week. 


GSDs are notorious for their constant shedding, so be prepared for long haired German Shepherd grooming. It is best to groom your GSD’s coat two or three times a week on average to maintain hygiene and cleanliness, but be prepared to brush their coat everyday during the fall and spring seasons. When brushing your GSD’s fur, use long brush strokes working towards the direction of the fur growth and apply gentle pressure to evenly straighten out and clean its coat.

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When grooming with an undercoat rake, be very careful when applying pressure as the grooming tool may scrape or scratch your GSD’s skin.

You can give your GSD a complete bath once every four or five months if contemplating how often should you bathe a German Shepherd.

German Shepherd Grooming Kit

The following items are highly recommended to keep around if you want to keep your GSD hygienic and well-groomed.

Soft-bristled Toothbrush

It is recommended to buy a toothbrush with soft bristles (or a child’s toothbrush) as the texture of the bristles is less likely to irritate or hurt your GSD’s mouth while you clean it.

Dental snacks

An easy way to clean your GSD’s teeth is to feed them dental chews, sticks or biscuits. They typically have some additive to them and are specifically made with a rough texture to prevent and get rid of tartar buildup.

Chew toys

You can give rubber chew toys, rawhide chews and tennis balls to your GSD to promote a healthy mouth and clean teeth.


Using a clipper may require knowledge of where the “quick” of your GSD nail is. Take your GSD’s paw and make as few clips as possible to reduce anxiety when grooming your GSD.


Easily the cheapest option to use when grooming your GSD’s nails, nail files are easy to use and are less intimidating for GSDs. Files are the best tools to use for inexperienced users following nail care routines.

Automatic dremel tool

A more expensive but convenient option, an automatic dremel tool sands down your GSD’s nails very quickly and painlessly. This is the quickest and easiest nail care tool you can invest in for your GSD.

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Ear drops

Only use vet-prescribed dog ear drops and NOT ear drops for humans. Special dog ear drops are the only recommended option to safely clean and disinfect your GSD’s ears.

Undercoat rake

This is an indispensable tool to have for your German Shepherd grooming kit. It is useful for long haired German Shepherd grooming as well because it digs underneath the top coat of your GSD to pull out loose or dead fur from the undercoat.

Slicker brush

This type of brush is used mainly for the top coat of GSDs and can be used to remove loose fur. This tool can also be used to remove debris or smooth out mats and tangles. Slicker brushes are also best used for shaved German Shepherds or GSDs with short coats.

Metal comb

A metal comb can be used alongside slicker brushes to remove any tangled or matted fur from the top coat. The material of the comb needs to metal or some kind of alloy to prevent it from breaking against the tough coat of your GSD.