We all know German Shepherds shed like crazy – both short hair and long haired.
Especially with a long haired German Shepherd, you want to make sure the coat stays de-matted (tangles can hurt if your dog gets them caught), but both coat types can benefit from a good brushing routine – with short haired GSD’s dropping a lot of hair if you don’t manage it.
We asked a professional dog groomer contact of ours what their advice would be for short and long haired coats.
You are free to choose your own brushing method, but you might choose to consider their advice for a beautiful coat on your dog, and to cut down on the amount of dropped hair for you to pickup around the house – we hate cleaning as much as you do!
Brushing Your German Shepherd: Advice From A Professional Dog Groomer
To sum up what our professional groomer said, brushing your German Shepherd can be done as follows:
“I find the most simple advice to follow is to stick to a 5-10 minute 3 step brushing process (brushing with the grain, not against):
1. Slicker Brush for removing mats and tangles
2. De-matting rake or deShedding tool to remove loose fur in the undercoat
3. Run over the top coat with a comb
It’s as easy as that. Of course, a good coat (strong to minimise breaking, and looking naturally radiant) starts from a balanced diet, which you should consult your vet about.
But, if you want to then apply an organic fragrance coat spray, or non-toxic coat conditioner, to give the coat a lovely smell and extra shine – that’s fine too.
One last thing – always brush outside so you don’t have to clean up or vacuum!.”
If you want to read about some good rakes, brushes and combs – you can read more in this guide.
1. Slicker Brush
Brushes are for removing tangles and matting of the fur before your run through the fur with a rake or deShedding tool – so are great for long haired and thick haired GSD’s.
There are three types of brushes – bristle, wire pin and slicker brushes.
For a German Shepherd, you can use any brush type – just make sure the bristles on the brush are long enough for the depth/length of the coat, and set apart wide enough for how thick or thin the coat is.
A slicker brush will generally be a fine bristle brush – which gives you a fine coat finish.
Bristle and wire pin brushes are good to use to – but will vary in how wide apart the bristles or wire pin teeth are set apart.
2. Rakes & deShedding Tools
Rakes and deShedding tools are best for thick coated, long coated, and double coat dogs – and their primary purpose is to remove shedding and dead fur.
In terms of types of rakes, there are standard rakes, and undercoat rakes.
Standard rakes will remove dead fur, and fur that has shed from the body. They tend to have either straight pin or straight cone shaped teeth which ‘rake’ through the fur.
Undercoat rakes are the rakes that have the curved sharp teeth on the end that are hooked. They are designed to remove dead and shedded fur from the undercoat, but will sometimes cut the top coat in the process. For this reason, some people choose not to use an undercoat rake.
With an undercoat rake, they can be used on wet or dry fur, and are best on thick, double and long haired dogs. Make sure not to press down too hard with an undercoat rake.
Try to use a rake with rotating pins or hooks if possible, as they move with the coat. If you use a rake with fixed pins/teeth/hooks, be careful getting stuck on tangles and pulling.
With all rakes, note that the distance between the hooks or pins/teeth decreases the finer you want to rake the fur. Usually you start with a wide set rake, and work down to a thin set rake.
deShedding tools will usually remove dead fur or fur that is being blown out from the undercoat, whilst leaving the top coat as is.
deShedding tools like the FURminator are not supposed to be used on wet fur – so make sure your dog is dry and follow the instructions of use of any rake or deShedding tool.
Combs are for getting the final fine finish on the coat – to get the fur looking straight and neat.
Combs usually come with fine, thinly spaced, soft teeth – and a rubber handle.
You can get a comb which suits the coat type of your dog, and the fineness of coat brushing finish you want to go for.
4. Coat Fragrance, and Coat Conditioner
These are optional steps, but I wouldn’t say no to an organic or non-toxic coat spray and/or conditioner.
You would simply follow the instructions given from the manufacturer of whichever product you get.
But, always stay away from the nose, ears and mouth as a rule – really anywhere where the product can get into your dog and cause anything unnatural to their bodies.
5. Balanced Diet – Gives The Coat Nutrients
Without giving out health advice, it’s been proven through numerous veterinary findings that feeding your GSD a well balanced diet is key to giving your dog the nutrients it needs for a strong and shiny coat.
If you haven’t already, it’s definitely worth seeing your vet about how you can best feed your dog a good diet for overall and coat health.
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