Groom a German Shepherd

Edited by Doug Collins

The German Shepherd (GSD) is a very regal breed of dog. Created in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1899, the GSD is capable, fearless, and confident. They have that natural need to look good. If you consider getting a GSD for your companion, you should make sure that you take good care of every need, including grooming needs. GSD's have standard medium haired and long haired varieties that both require special attention when it comes to grooming. German Shepherds are large dogs and you should be in control whenever you groom them. They have beautiful double coats that need to be taken care of. Other issues also need to be dealt with while grooming your GSD. As a responsible dog owner, you should learn to recognize grooming issues and resolve them so that you and your GSD can have a positive experience during every grooming session.

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How to Reduce German Shepherd Grooming Issues

Make sure that you have a grooming schedule for your German Shepherd on a regular basis. This is the best way to make sure that his grooming needs are not neglected. Below are ways to reduce the issues in grooming your GSD:

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  1. 1
    The Brushing Process.
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    Take note that German Shepherds have a sleek overcoat and a thick undercoat for waterproofing and insulation. They always shed, so it is necessary to brush them one to two times a week. The brushing reduces the amount of hair that falls all over the house. Brushing enhances the beauty and health of the German Shepherd's coat because it circulates the oil and removes dead hair. Getting rid of the dead hair eliminates the dullness of the coat and makes it shine more.
    1. Start brushing your GSD's head. A slicker brush works well for this purpose. This brush removes dead skin cells, dead hair, and mats. It will also stimulate proper circulation. Always brush with the direction of the hair growth. Continue brushing downward towards the body, including the chin, the tail, and right behind the dog's ears.
    2. Use a metal comb to remove all the loose hair. You can then use a rubber brush to massage your German Shepherd. This will also leave the coat shiny.
    3. Check your GSD's coat for ticks, flea dirt, plants, and debris. Any debris resembling rice around the anus indicates an intestinal worm issue. This is enough to notify your vet about the problems and start resolving them.
    4. With a shedding rake, remove your dog's loose hair from the undercoat. This rake looks like a small garden rake. It is really effective in eliminating hair.
    5. Get a pin brush for the thick undercoat. This brush also reaches the skin but don't worry because it doesn't abrade or irritate. Brush the coat backward so that you could loosen up dead hair.
    6. Use a bristle brush for extended brushing times. It helps circulate skin oils and remove dead hair as well.
    7. Use a comb that's wide-toothed. This removes any loose hair that is left behind.
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  2. 2
    The Washing-Drying Processes.
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    1. Choose the right shampoo. Check for a shampoo that matches pH 7.5. Human shampoo will cause irritation and scaling, so forget about using it. Choose an anti-seborrheic shampoo for scaly, oily skin; a moisturizing shampoo for scaly, dry skin; an oatmeal-based anti-pruritic for itchy skin; and an anti-microbial shampoo for the infected skin. Take note that regular dog shampoos also have flea killing properties. Just prevent or treat fleas and you can save money by not buying flea shampoos anymore. If you want quick cleanups, dry or waterless shampoos are also available. You can use these shampoos if you're giving flea treatments.
    2. Place a non-slip mat in your tub.
    3. Use an attachment that has a handheld hose. Let the warm water flow through it. Make sure that the temperature of the water is just right. Wet your GSD's coat thoroughly.
    4. Shampoo your dog's coat in sections. Also, rinse by sections. Use a wet cloth to wash your dog's face to avoid getting shampoo and water in the eyes, nose, and ears. You can dilute the shampoo so it can be used easier.
    5. Dry your GSD's coat thoroughly. This is important especially if the weather is cold. Vigorous drying with the use of a towel will start it off. ## Blow dry 10-12 inches away from the dog's coat on low heat. This is needed if you're in a wet climate.
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  3. 3
    The Nail Trimming Process.
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    You should regularly clip your German Shepherd's nails. Always include the dewclaws so that it won't be hooked into things or cause scratches.  
    1. Prepare treats every time you trim the nails. This will give a positive impression of the nail trimming process. Small amounts of nails trimmed regularly is better than trimming off huge chunks. You should avoid clipping the vein. If you do, the styptic powder can stop bleeding immediately. You can use flour on the bleeding nail while you hold it with a moist teabag in case you don't have styptic powder. Consider heavy-duty nail clippers for your German Shepherd.
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  4. 4
    The Ear Cleaning Process.
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    The alert ears of a GSD are designed to provide ventilation to prevent the buildup of heat and some infections
    1. Check your GSD's ears for wax buildup and dirt. Use an ear cleaning solution for dogs. An alternative solution would be a mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol (2:1). Massage the base of your dog's ear as you squeeze some of the solution in your dog's ear. Then let your GSD shake it off after 15 seconds. Do not use hydrogen peroxide because it leaves moisture residue. Powdered ear cleaners cake inside the ear.
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Grooming your German Shepherd not only ensures a healthy and good-looking dog, but it also helps you bond more because of the close contact that you provide.

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  • Devote a day each week to groom your German Shepherd.
  • Brushing should be done once each day.
  • If the ears of your GSD look irritated and red, consult your veterinarian.
  • Be aware that ear mites infestation can occur and this needs veterinary intervention.

Questions and Answers

Misting the GSD coat before brushing?

Do you recommend misting the dogs coat before brushing, and if yes, which brush... I have tried: Have used EQyss Avacado Mist after brushing, but have read that some groomers suggest misting first. Something about less damage to coat. My guys are not show dogs, just pets. I just want to make grooming a pleasant experience for them. PS one is long coat (very), the other is regular coat.

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