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SHEDDING… When and why and what to do about it. Hello German Shepherd lovers, today we will be looking at 10 Things Owners Need To Know About German Shepherd Shedding!
We all know that GSDs are heavy shedders with the majority having double coats, as in the case of Huskies and Malamutes. These coats are designed for a purpose, to provide protection from the elements and the environment, making them highly suitable for a working dog breed.
Apart from shedding constantly throughout the year and additionally at certain times of the year, there are many other reasons why a GSD may shed hair. As a pet owner or potential owner, we need to be aware of these factors, which will enable us to keep on top of our pet’s health and well being.
So today we will list and briefly discuss the possible reasons for GSD coat loss and what you can do to make your life more manageable.
1) General Shedding
German Shepherds loose hair constantly 365 days a year, being replaced on a constant basis. Most GSDs have double coats that consist of a soft, downy undercoat next to the skin, with a longer coarser outercoat.
There are three coat lengths short, medium, and long, the shorter-haired dogs will shed more than long-coated GSD’s, females also tend to shed a bit more than males.
Maintaining a regular grooming routine with occasional bathing will help to keep the coat healthy and cut down on hair dispersal around the house.
Choose grooming tools that work effectively on coat type like a de-shedder comb that you can get from Amazon, and using a suitable, sulfate-free shampoo, will be more effective and helpful, you can get one here from Amazon called Burt’s Bees which is great.
For quicker and easier cleanup, we recommend getting a high-velocity dryer and mini vacuum for dogs. XPower makes the best ones, check them out here at Amazon.
If you’re finding tons of excess hair all over the house, consider buying a FURemover broom which is made from rubber that collects hair like a magnet.
If you’re looking for more information, check out our other blog post on 7 Simple Steps For German Shepherd Grooming.
2) German Shepherd Shedding – Blowing Season
This is the term used to describe a period when extra heavy shedding occurs.
This happens twice a year during the spring and autumn. This process sheds hair follicles and allows for entire new growth to appear.
The onset of this is noticeable when the undercoat coat starts to shed away in large tufts before coming out completely. The thin summer undercoat is shed in autumn to be replaced by a thicker more insulating one for winter. Then in spring, the warm undercoat is replaced by a thinner cooler coat for the summer.
This is why shaving a GSD is not recommended at all because the coat’s natural function takes care of temperature regulation.
3) Loss of Puppy Coat
Puppies are born with a single soft, fluffy coat that helps regulate their body temperature. At around 4 months of age, this starts to be replaced with an adult double coat, which has a much coarser textured outer coat. This may sometimes coincide with one of the seasonal shedding periods if you’re lucky time-wise.
4) Diet is a key factor is German Shepherd Shedding
This plays a huge role in the health and condition of the GSD coat.
Just as we suffer or excel with our dietary choices, the same applies to our pets with the choices we make on their behalf. A dog fed on a low protein, bad quality diet, will likely develop a dull coat with flaky, dry skin.
This is a major cause of excessive shedding and it will continue unless the nutrition is improved. It is estimated that almost 1/3 of a GSD’s protein consumption is used to form skin and hair alone, so its value is very high.
So for overall health that includes coat quality, providing a good nutritional diet is essential. Try to buy the best quality food you can afford, as it can save problems further down the line. Ideally a raw diet is the best one, this will have 10% more digestible protein contributing further to a healthier coat. Omega 3 fatty acid is an excellent addition to the diet. Good sources are fish oils such as salmon, sardines, and phytoplankton, or flaxseed/olive oils.
There are many examples of dog foods around that fall short nutritionally.
It can be challenging to know which foods to trust and buy which are more affordable.
From us talking to literally thousands of German Shepherd owners, there is a real range of different companies who make great food and bad food. There are 2 that companies that owners generally seem to be very happy with:
Royal Canin German Shepherd Food for Adults – You can buy this from Amazon here.
Royal Canin German Shepherd Food for Puppies – You can buy this from Amazon here.
Victor Hi-Pro Plus – You can buy this from Amazon here.
Good Suppliers of GSD Food that reduce German Shepherd Shedding
An example of good quality manufactured food is Royal Canin Adult German Shepherd ( from 15 months ) which is enriched with EPA and DPA / Omega 3 and highly digestible protein. You can get it here from www.PetCo.com here.
They also make dry puppy food from 8 -15 weeks. The list of nutrients included in this brand help to reinforce several areas including the skin and coat.
This is not an economy brand, the quality of ingredients is reflected in the price and its suitability for the German Shepherd breed. You get what you pay for when it comes to the dietary choices you make for your pet.
The food delivery service by MyOllie.com also delivers tailored German Shepherd food of the highest quality. You can get 50% off your first order here.
If you are looking for more information on German Shepherd diets, check out our blog post on 11 Proven German Shepherd Diet Tips.
5) Hydration is often forgotten with German Shepherd Shedding
Providing adequate amounts of fresh water at all times is important.
A dehydrated GSD will shed more since dehydrated skin can’t hold the hair effectively causing it to loosen and shed.
Dogs often get most dehydrated from long walks and exercise, here is a cool little water bottle that serves as a dispenser so you can keep them hydrated wherever you are.
6) Parasites are a big factor in excess German Shepherd Shedding
External parasites such as fleas, ticks, mites, and biting flies ( occurring most often in warm weather ) will commonly invade a dog, living in the hair or on the skin. These pests can cause skin irritation and allergic reaction which in turn causes scratching and extra shedding.
Remedies can be applied to areas of the skin to kill the parasites and prevent re-infestation, along with thorough bed washing at the same time.
German Shepherd can suffer from a range of allergies so here we will briefly mention the most common ones that contribute to shedding.
The most common causes of allergy in the GSD are due to parasites, food, and environmental factors. Some of the signs and symptoms of allergy may include –
- Hair loss and scratching
- Ear infection
- Eye discharge
- Appetite change
- Swelling of muzzle/eyes/ ears
Foods that may cause a problem are chicken, beef, wheat, soy, and dairy. These are the most common allergy-causing foods, but there are additional things added to some foods, that can cause a reaction.
Environmental causes arise due to dust, pollen, plants, grass, shampoos, and household chemicals.
Hormonal changes can occur due to neutering, spaying, pregnancy, and lactation.
For example, postpartum shedding can occur due to the depleted minerals and energy expenditure of the female.
Remedies to support the dog at this time will include good nutrition, including omega 3 oils and supplements. CBD oils & treats are also looking likey they are very effective.
9) Stress / Pain
If a GSD is suffering from stress or pain this will have an effect on excess shedding.
The list of behavioral changes associated with stress and pain is long, in general, if your pet displays any of the following signs it could be due to one or both of these factors.
- Destructive behavior
- Whining/ Barking
- Tail Between Legs
- Panting / Drooling
- Pinned Back Ears
- Licking Lips
- Avoidance Displacement
- Shifting Weight/ Posture Change
- Whale Eye – white iris visible around a bulging eye
10) Other Causes of German Shepherd Shedding
Other causes of excessive shedding are:
- Fungal or bacterial
- Excessive Sun exposure/sunburn
- Immune disease
- Kidney, Liver, Thyroid, Adrenal disease
- Cushing’s disease
Here’s a question for you, as an owner are you worried about German Shepherd joint & hip problems? If so, get our FREE guide called ‘The Experts Guide to Avoiding Joint Problems in German Shepherds’ Here.
So we have looked at the various reasons that can bring about shedding and excess shedding in the GSD.
We have learned that there are many things to observe and watch out for regarding a dog’s health and well-being. The shedding may occur excessively in response to an illness, allergy, infection, infestation, or through poor nutrition.
So to help with the control of excessive hair loss, you must provide them with a good quality high protein diet, Omega 3, plenty of available water, regular brushing, flea treatments, and occasional bathing.
Following these steps will help your pet to maintain a healthier skin and coat, reducing excess loss and helping you in turn with less hair dispersal around the home.
I hope you have found this informative and useful.
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Thank you for reading.