You don't have a German Shepherd!
You have a German Shedder!
But you already know that.
And you're here today to learn how to groom a German Shepherd for summer. Right?
So, think about your GSD's coat for a moment…
They were bred to herd sheep and protect the shepherd in Europe.
Now think about Europe's weather conditions for a second…
Cold, icy and wet in winter. With some sweltering hot summer months…
It makes sense that your German Shepherd is bred with such a unique coat. That should be taken care of correctly.
If you're in a rush, check out my top choices for grooming tools on Amazon…
FURminator. – For de-shedding.
GoPets Double Sided Brush. – For daily brushing.
Flying One High-Velocity Dryer from Flying Pig Grooming. For quick drying and removing undercoat.
In this article I'll show you:
- 2 healthy ways to groom your German Shepherd for hot seasons.
- I'll share the tools you need, some which I use myself.
- And give you some insight into your dog's coat works to keep them warm and cool.
Use the links below and be magically transported to any section you're interested in.
Quick Navigation Menu
- How to Groom a German Shepherd for Summer
- Tools You Need to Groom Your German Shepherd
- The Benefits of Grooming Your GSD Yourself
- The German Shepherd Coat
- Final Conclusion
How to Groom a German Shepherd for Summer
To Shave or Not to Shave
Besides keeping your dog comfortable. Proper grooming in the summer will reduce the amount of shedding. And keep your GSD's skin healthy.
It's a win-win!
But shaving is a no-no!
And here's why…
Should You Shave Your German Shepherd?
You might think that shaving your German Shepherd is a great way to keep them cool in the summer.
Shaving works great for a single coated dog. Their coat will grow back just like human hair does.
For your double coated GSD shaving them will ruin their coat form many years to come.
Remember your GSD's double coated has 2 distinct coats, with 2 distinct purposes.
They work together to keep your dog comfortable and healthy. Cool in summer and warm in winter.
The outer guard hairs, and fends off water, dirt and insect bites. The undercoat is soft and fuzzy and works to insulate your dog from heat and cold.
And the outer coat takes much longer to grow than does the undercoat.
In this heat map, the yellow area is shaved and the purple area still has fur. Shaving your dog will not help them cool down. In fact, it has the opposite effect.
Shave these off, and your GSD has a serious problem…
What you're doing is removing both the protective layer and the insulating layer. If your dog has no fur you're putting them at risk.
The undercoat, also known as a false coat will grow back fast, but the guard hairs take much longer or won't at all.
Without both these coats, your dog will be hotter in the summer and cold in the winter.
The undercoat is actually absorbent and slow drying. And in extreme cases, it can actually start to get moldy.
It can also irritate their skin, cause infection, and make them uncomfortable.
Shaving you GSD also makes them susceptible to conditions, including alopecia, heat stroke, and skin cancer.
So here are 2 great ways to groom your dog without messing with their coat…
2 Healthy Ways to Groom a German Shepherd for Summer
The Bathe and Comb Method
This method is a simple bathe, comb, and spray method.
Here are the steps to follow…
Step One – Bathe your dog in warm water with good dog shampoo.
Although my dogs have healthy skin, I use a shampoo for sensitive skin. This way I know their skin is being cared for in the best way.
Read more about the shampoo's I recommend by reading this article.
Step Two – Once they’re done in the tub, dry them well with a towel.
Step Three – Spray them liberally with ShowSheen. (I'll share more about this product later).
But be warned…
Do this outside. ShowSheen is very slippery. If you do it in your bathroom, you’ll slip, fall, and break a couple of bones. I promise!
Here's how to groom a German Shepherd for summer using ShowSheen…
As you groom your dog, work from back to front, ruffling their fur down to the skin and massaging it in.
This is a great opportunity to tell your dog how wonderful they are!
Step Four – Once you're done conditioning with ShowSheen, start brushing.
Again, work from back to front and then down the body. Work in small patches with the brush.
Start with a wide-toothed comb and work your way down.
You can use a de-shedding comb to make sure that you have gotten all the undercoat out.
Step Five – Brush your dog weekly, or more often if necessary.
The Bathe and Blow Method
This method takes more work. But it's fantastic if your GSD has an exceptionally thick coat like my male Zè.
Step One – Bathe your dog in warm water. Lather them up and then let them sit for a few minutes before rinsing. This helps loosen the undercoat.
Again, use a shampoo for sensitive skin.
Step Two – Rinse them off thoroughly. It will take much longer to rinse than it did to shampoo.
If you don't rinse properly, your pooch will start scratching like crazy. So don’t rush the rinsing.
Step Three – Use a high-velocity dryer is this next step – more on the dryer later.
You’ll want to do this outside. Unless you want your house to look and feel like a meadow at the height of Goldenrod season!
You'll be breathing in dog fur and scratching at your face so definitely do this outside!
Step Four – Work from the back to the front. This lifts the guard hairs and blows at the undercoat. Which is what you want.
Use an undercoat rake as you dry, this helps to loosen the undercoat.
For those hard-to-reach places like their chest and belly, sit below your dog.
If you have never used a high-velocity dryer on your dog, there will be a learning curve for both of you.
Slow and easy is the way to go. As with anything new and scary to my dogs, I turn it into a game and reward them with treats.
You want to make this a positive experience for them. Once your dog gets over the noise of the dryer, it should feel really good to them to be blown out in this way.
Imagine the sheer joy your GSD will feel being pampered. So don't be afraid of using the high-velocity dryer.
This method takes about three baths and blow-out sessions.
The first bath makes your dog’s shedding MUCH worse, but that’s okay, it gets better from here on out.
Make sure that you keep lint brushes around – you’ll need them. And dress in something you'll never wear in public again!
You'll need some tools to groom your dog's coat. Some of them are pretty fancy and some more basic.
But here I've brought you the best of the best so you can make the right choice for your needs.
Tools You Need to Groom Your German Shepherd
Those are my basic grooming tools up there. And that hair is from a regular daily brush!
My tools are a little old school but they do a great job! There are more modern, comfortable, and easier to use tools which I'll be showing you next.
Why You Should Use De-Shedding Tools
De-shedding tools are your best chance to remove the dead undercoat from your German Shepherd.
Without a de-shedding tool, you'll be brushing until the cows come home. But you'll be getting nowhere.
De-shedding tools are a must-have when grooming a German Shepherd for summer or you'll have a collection of fur balls all over your home.
And a very hot and unhappy pooch.
There are a ton of de-shedding tools that both professional groomers and pet owners use.
And de-shedding tools are a must unless you want your house filled with tumbleweeds of hair.
The stainless steel de-shedding edge is designed to reach deep under your dog’s topcoat to gently remove loose hair.
It's got a neat button to release hair as it clogs the brush. When you're working with a GSD's coat, this is a very useful feature.
The handle is also pretty comfortable to hold. Which is what you want when you're working with a thick coat and brushing for a while.
The FURminator comes in 5 different sizes depending on your dog's weight. Although, if you have a GSD pup now, I'd go with the large one, straight off the bat.
This way you don't have to upgrade to a bigger size when your dog is fully grown.
Whether you have a short or long-coated GSD FURminator has one designed for each.
It's important to pick the right one here because different coat lengths have different needs.
How to Use the FURminator
The tool should be used as a brush, using gentle strokes across your dog’s coat along the grain of their fur.
Use long strokes, and work from the head back, being careful around your pooches sensitive areas.
Do not brush deeply, roughly, or with any downward pressure.
You should only use the FURminator on dry fur. With wet fur, the undercoat is clumped together so de-shedding is impossible.
When the FURminator is full of hair, just click the release button and the excess hair will pop out in a nice clump. This makes for a less messy de-shedding session.
My Thoughts on the FURminator
I like the FURminator for de-shedding, especially if you're new to grooming your GSD. It's really easy to use and it's one of the best de-shedding tools to remove loose hair.
Many dog owners have commented that this tool removes so much fur from their pets that they could make another dog!
And the release button is a major plus point for me.
The only downside is its price. But if you consider how easy it is to use and how much work it gets done in a small amount of time, I think it's worth it.
DakPet’s Grooming Tool
The DakPet's Grooming Tool is a stainless steel comb. It's got a 4-inch blade with a safe blade cover that prolongs the lifespan of the blade.
The handle is also pretty strong which is important. There's nothing worse than a flimsy handle that breaks after 1 or 2 uses.
Although there have been customer complaints about it being uncomfortable to hold.
If this de-shedding tool is used properly, it will be gentle on your dog's skin. The last thing you want is to grate your dog's skin during grooming.
It only comes in one size and the company says it's suitable for long and short coats as well as single and double coats.
How to use the DakPet's Grooming Tool
Using this de-shedding tool is exactly the same as using the FURminator.
The most important things to remember are:
- Use it only on dry fur.
- Don't brush with pressure.
- Never brush too deep or rough.
My Thoughts on The DakPet's De-Shedding Tool
Some owners described it as flimsy and uncomfortable to hold. This is a problem when you're de-shedding a large dog like the German Shepherd.
Some pooch parents complained it didn't remove enough of the undercoat. And it is messy with fur flying all over the place.
And it doesn't have that handy release button, so you're left to clean the brush with your hands when it's full. That makes de-shedding messy.
GranPaws De-Shedding Tool
Okay, so the company claims the handle is unbreakable. And that's a bold statement to make, nothing is unbreakable.
But from my research, I haven't come across any complaints of the handle breaking.
It comes with a 4-inch stainless steel blade. And as far as I can tell, the replacements are easy to find and replace.
As with all the other de-shedding tools with this design, it has a blade cover to protect it while you're not using it.
The GranPaws has a soft handle. Which is what you want. It's got to be as comfortable as possible to hold and work with for an extended period of time.
The brush is one-size-fits-all. So you can use it on long or short hair and single or double coats.
How to Use the GranPaws De-Shedding Tool
It works exactly like FURminator and DakPet's tools but the basic things to remember are:
- Start working from the neck to the tail of your GSD.
- Don't apply pressure, brush to deep or roughly.
- Only use it on a dry coat.
My Thoughts on the GranPaws De-Shedding Tool
I'm impressed with the reports of how comfortable this tool is. Most dog owners, in general, say this tool is easy to use and comfortable to hold.
Also, a lot of pooch parents have raved about how much their dog's shedding was reduced in just one session. Of course, this depends on how well you use the tool.
The replacement blades are easy to find and install. And the plastic cover protects the blade when not in use.
This is great when you consider it's an investment in your home-grooming plans.
But the thing that makes it such a great choice is that it compares in effectiveness to some of the more pricey options. At a much more affordable choice.
JW Pet GripSoft Shedding Comb
This tool is in a slightly different category from the three tools discussed above. And it's the one I use and prefer.
The handle is not too big and it's also non-slip. So pretty comfortable for me.
But it's not as simple to use as the other de-shedding tools.
The tool has no blade attachment but rather stainless steel teeth in 2 different lengths.
The teeth are turned 90 degrees away from your dog's skin. And remains parallel to the skin during use.
How to Use the JW Pet GripSoft De-Shedding Tool
There is a learning curve, so if you plan on using this brush, make sure that you start slowly to get the hang of it.
But, this comb doesn’t pass easily through your dog’s fur. This is because it is doing a good job of lifting the undercoat from underneath the guard hairs.
To use it, keep the tool parallel to your dog's fur. Start at the neck and work towards the tail of your dog. And make sure to stroke the tool along the grain for your dog's fur.
My Thoughts on the JW Pet GripSoft De-Shedding Tool
I guess I still use this tool because I have a lot of experience with it. It's always done a great job of de-shedding all 3 my dogs. And it's good for sorting out small matted spots.
And I like the fact that there's no chance of grating the skin.
I find the handle comfortable to hold. But I have seen reports of handles breaking. Although I'll bet my bottom dollar that's from using it incorrectly.
For the most part, the undercoat stays on the comb until you clean it off. So it doesn’t make a terrible mess.
Although it doesn't hold as much hair as the FURminator or the GranPaws de-shedding tools.
Overall, I find this a great tool for grooming my German Shepherds for summer! But I wouldn't recommend it unless you're willing to learn how to use it properly.
Conclusion on De-Shedding Tools
To groom a German Shepherd for summer, my first choice is the FURminator. It works exceptionally well and gets the job done. I love the release button though – for me that's the deciding factor.
If you don't want to spend the dollars on the FURminator, my next recommendation is the GranPaws tool.
It's right up there with the FURminator when it comes to performance and it's half the price. Of course, it doesn't have that handy release button.
I don't like the DakPet tool at all. Purely because I don't think it's performance is up to scratch compared to the Gran Paws.
Although I use the JW Pet GripSoft and I love it. I'd only recommend it if you want to put the time into learning how to use it properly.
The main feature for me is that I know there's no way I can hurt my dog's skin with it.
Why a Double-Sided Brush Should be in Your Grooming Box?
A double-sided brush is a 2-in-1 tool. This is handy for grooming because you can switch between bristles, depending on what you need.
A double-sided brush ensures you have the tool at the right time. Whether your dog is short, medium, or long hair.
Or single or double-coated a double-sided brush is a must.
With regular brushing, loose hair is removed which helps reduce shedding. So these brushes should be your go-to brushes in between full grooming sessions.
The bristle side of the brush is soft and dense making it perfect for grooming your German Shepherd's legs and around the face area.
You use it the same you'd use a broom to sweep off dirt and loose hair on your dog’s coat.
The pin brush side is good for long coats and thick double coats. It's also great for finishing, tangles, and small matted patches.
I like the convenience of double-sided brushes and how fluffy they make the coats of my GSD's.
GoPets Professional Double Sided Pin & Bristle Brush
Rounded ends on the pin brush penetrate your dog’s coat to groom the undercoat and protect your dog’s sensitive skin.
Non-slip, silicone gel-filled handle conforms to your hand and is comfortable to hold.
Unlike plastic-tipped pin brushes, the rounded ends are integral to the metal bristles. So there's no chance of the tips falling off and grating your dog's skin.
There is also a ventilation hole in the brush head so that the metal bristles conform to the shape of your dog's body.
Other dog owners are happy with the comfortable handle. To clean the bristle side is easy with an old comb.
I just use my de-shedding comb to clean out the soft-bristled side.
Hertzko Double Sided Pin and Bristle Brush
Dual-sided brush, with densely pack soft bristles on one side to knock off loose hair and dirt from the topcoat, and a pin comb on the other side to detangle and loosen dead undercoat.
The pins have rounded ends to avoid scratching your dog’s skin. And for your comfort, the brush has a comfort-grip anti-slip handle to prevent wrist strain.
I'm not convinced by this brush. To me, it seems cheaply made. I'd rather go for a different double-sided brush that falls in the same price range but has a better reputation.
Self Clean Slicker Pin and Bristle Brush Comb
This brush is designed to work like any other double-sided brush. It's got soft yet firm nylon bristles. And the rounded pins are designed to penetrate deep into your dog’s coat.
It's got a soft silicone handle which makes it pretty comfortable. Even if you're working with it for an extended period of time.
And the entire brush is made from eco-friendly materials which are great if your eco-conscious.
Like the other brushes it works well for all coat types and it's safe to use every day. The rounded pins protect your dog’s skin from scratches.
And because the bristles and pins are one you won't run the risk of grating your dog's skin.
From my research, there has not been one complaint about poor performance from other dog owners. But take into consideration that it's a fairly new product on the market.
Conclusion on Double-Sided Brushes
There are only 2 features that set double-sided brushes apart. Firstly, how well is the brush made?
Is it going to last or is it going to snap at the handle? And how strong is the pin pad? Is it going to start cracking after a few uses?
And secondly, how comfortable is it for you to hold and work with? A comfortable handle is super important.
I mean, what's the point of home-grooming your pooch if you're not enjoying it?
In my opinion, all the brushes I've reviewed are on par when it comes to how well they are made. I haven't come across complaints about these brushes breaking or falling apart.
As for your comfort. My first choice is the GoPet's double-sided brush. I think the handle is well designed and made with comfort in mind.
Why You Should Consider a High-Velocity Dryer
If you're going to follow the bathe and blow method to groom your GSD for summer, you'll need a high-velocity dryer.
Sure, you can try this method with a regular hairdryer.
No human hairdryer is made to dry the thick fur of an 80 lbs German Shepherd that originated in Europe!
You can try, but your efforts will fail. And you’ll still end up with a damp dog!
High-Velocity driers make de-shedding your dog a lot easier and quicker. The air from the dryer lifts and blows right in under the guard hairs.
This loosens and removes those millions of undercoat hairs.
But be warned, using an HV dryer might make de-shedding easier, but it's no less messy!
Yes, de-shedding is a messy business no matter how you look at it.
How do High-Velocity Driers Work
There's one main difference between hair dryers meant for humans and high-velocity (HV) dryers for dogs.
With your regular dryer, you hold it several inches away from your scalp. This avoids burning and allows the heat from the dryer to speed the evaporation of water from your hair.
With a high-velocity dryer, you hold the dryer about a half-inch from your dog’s skin. It's the force of the air that blows the water off your dog.
And it's a lot messier than drying your own hair! And you WILL get wet in the process!
There are several different kinds of dryers for dogs. One thing that is never recommended for dogs is a dryer that has a heating element.
It is too easy to either burn your dog’s skin or to overheat them. The air that the dryer blows acts as a mechanism to cool the motor.
So the air that comes out of a high-velocity dryer is slightly warmer than room temperature.
Tip: When shopping for a high-velocity dryer, avoid any models with auxiliary heaters. They are not necessary and can be dangerous to your dog.
This warm air is no threat to your dog’s health or safety. And because the air is moving so fast the water is physically blown away.
The two things that measure how effective a high-velocity dryer is are airflow and velocity.
Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute and velocity is measured in feet per minute.
The higher either of these numbers is, the faster it will be at drying your dog.
The most versatile of these high-velocity dryers are those with variable speed.
You can use it at high speed to quickly dry your dog, and then lower the speed for finishing and for sensitive areas.
Also known as “forced air” dog dryers, they are by far the quickest and safest way to dry both your dog’s inner and outer coats.
Also, be careful around your dog’s eyes, nose, ears, genitals, and anus.
And, you should not use a high-velocity dryer near an old or frail dog’s kidneys or heart.
Tip: When working around your dog’s face and nether regions, hold your hand over these areas and blow dry around your hand.
Some HV models come with stands, wall mounts, or table mounts. These hands-free options may seem like a smart idea.
But take into account where you will be grooming your German Shepherd to make the best decision.
If you have a grooming station set up in your garage, basement, or mudroom, a wall mount is a great idea.
But, if you plan to groom your dog on the lawn or patio, a wall mount is a waste of money.
Metro Air Force Quick Draw Dryer
- All steel construction.
- Portable dryer.
- 1.3 HP motor.
- 18,000 feet / min.
- Compact and lightweight.
Includes 6 ft stretch hose, air concentrator nozzle, air flare tool, shoulder strap, and mounting hook.
This dryer delivers warm air without an auxiliary heating source. Some users think that this is not as powerful as some of the more expensive models but that it works well.
Some pooch parents noted that the noise level is high. But that goes for any high-velocity dryers.
You can’t have a high-velocity airflow without a strong motor, and a strong motor makes noise.
Flying One High Velocity 4.0 Hp Motor Dog Grooming Dryer
Since B-Air discontinued my favorite pick of the high-velocity dryer, I went on a mission to find another top-quality option. Thanks to Deborah for bringing this to my attention! 😉
The Flying One High-Velocity Dryer from Flying Pig Grooming!
This dryer is the flagship dryer on offer from this company and it's definitely something to write home about!
- 2 speed, 4 horsepower motor.
- Robust steel frame.
- Motor insulated for quieter operation.
- Two nozzles; Flat – for drying sensitive areas. Round – for dealing with heavy coats.
- Air Volume: 240 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute).
- Heat settings: None, low or high.
- Temperature: Variable between 85 and 165 Fahrenheit.
- A removable, washable filter keeps the unit clean and running smoothly.
- Easy to clean filter and casing.
- 10-foot long hose for optimum flexibility.
Okay, I'll say right off the bat that this dryer is in the higher price range.
But if you consider that your German Shepherd has a thick double coat that will need constant care, it makes sense to own a high-quality dryer like this one.
Other pooch parents are over the moon about the quality build, ease-of-use, and performance of this dryer.
And professional dog groomers are just as happy with this machine, which says a lot about its value.
If you're in the market for a high-velocity dryer, this is the kind of decision you want to splurge on. I highly recommend this one from Flying Pig Grooming.
B-Air BPD-1 Bear Power 2 HP High-Velocity Dryer
This model from B-Air is no longer available. It has been replaced with the B-Air Fido Max 1 Dog Dryer, which you can see by scrolling down.
- Two speeds, low for gentle airflow and high for thick-coated dogs.
- Insulated for quieter operation.
- Four nozzles; fluffing, cone, brush, and slot.
- Made from high-impact ABS plastic.
- The high-velocity motor heats the air to about 20° F above room temperature without an auxiliary heating element.
- A removable, washable filter keeps the unit clean and running smoothly.
- 2 HP motor, 30,000 feet / min.
Users comment on how effective this unit is at drying their dogs. And to never use this unit inside. Unless you actually like dog fur sticking to your walls and ceilings!
B-Air Fido Max-1 Dog Dryer – Cesar Millan Premier Grooming Collection
- Can be used wet or dry to blow dirt off or your dog’s coat.
- 165 CFM
- No auxiliary heating unit
- ETL certified
This dryer is endorsed by Cesar Milan. And all of the product information about this dryer is based on Cesar’s tips.
The marketing of this product is all about the bonding experience in using it.
It was impossible to find actual specs about this dryer. Like what it is made of, the HP, or the air velocity.
I even went to the company website. This puts me off right away. I'm not bothered with which celeb is endorsing the dryer. I want to know the specs!
Some users have complained that it is extremely loud and not powerful enough to blow their dog’s undercoat away.
This is by far my least favorite high-velocity dryer. I wouldn't use it on my dogs and recommend that you don't either.
Which High-Velocity Dryer Should You Pick
Of the three high-velocity dryers my first choice is the Flying One High-Velocity Dryer from Flying Pig Grooming.
It's powerful enough to do the job of drying your dog fast. And it has the versatility of two speeds.
It's light and portable, but still robust enough to stand up to your German Shepherd’s massively heavy coat.
And the variety of nozzles are great for seasonal grooming or just a quick touch-up!
If you're committed to grooming your dog yourself, a high-velocity dryer is a great investment.
These models are very reasonably priced and way less than truly professional models but you get the same performance.
How to Nourish Your Dog's Coat
ShowSheen Dog Detangler
ShowSheen is used in the bath and comb method.
I don't usually sing the praises of a product. But I absolutely love ShowSheen! It's great for grooming my 2 GSD's but it's also amazing to keep my Shollie's, long-haired coat untangled and free from matting.
ShowSheen is used to spruce dogs up for dog shows, but it's great for us dog parents who don't show our dogs too!
It's made to detangle and shine up your dog’s fur after a bath.
ShowSheen is also made to nourish their coats too with the fortified Pro-Vitamins and silk. And it smells lovely with the jasmine and sandalwood fragrance!
If your dogs are like mine, they love to get muddy and swim wherever they can.
So you'll be happy to know that ShowSheen helps repel dust and dirt. It's so much easier to wipe down their coats after a mud bath!
Once you've used it for the first time, you'll notice how easy it is to remove burrs and tangles from your dog’s coat. And it helps to reduce grooming time too.
Since ShowSheen is made from silicone, so it works by making your dog’s fur slick. But it will not make your dog’s fur greasy.
Although, it's super slippery if you spray it indoors and it lands on a hard floor. So be careful here.
As well, if your dog lays down on a hard floor after ShowSheen has been applied, there will be a slick spot.
But only until the ShowSheen has been properly absorbed by your dog's coat and skin.
I recommend that you don't spray ShowSheen directly on your dog’s head or face. Rather spray it on a rag and wipe it on those areas.
Also, don't use this product on the underside of your dog’s ears. This is the one place that you do want debris to stick, rather than entering your dog’s ear canals.
The only downside of using ShowSheen is if your dog lays down on a hard floor after ShowSheen has been applied, there will be a slick spot.
But this only happens for a few days, until the ShowSheen has been properly absorbed.
The Benefits of Grooming Your GSD Yourself
There are many benefits to grooming your dog yourself.
It'll Save You Green Backs
It's a definite money-saver over the life span of your dog. German Shepherd's can live to the ripe old age of 15.
And although there is an upfront investment for grooming equipment, it won't be long before you win that money back.
Grooming costs are based on how much fur your dog has. You have a German Shepherd and that equals A LOT of fur.
Here's an example for 2019:
For a German Shepherd with a double coat that needs regular grooming from an experienced, professional groomer who knows their stuff the prices go something like this…
Shed-less Treatment: $28
Extra Brush Out: $16
That's a whopping $164 per visit to the groomer per month!
And with a high maintenance coat like the German Shepherd's, your GSD will need a minimum of 2 visits per month from the start of Spring to the end of Summer. That's roughly 5 months.
If you have one dog, that adds up to $1620 per year!
So, you see, home-grooming makes a lot of financial sense!
Regular Home Health Checks
Your dog's skin is very good at letting you know there's a health issue. And it's difficult to pick this up without checking regularly.
When you groom your dog yourself you can do a thorough health exam. Look for things like:
- Skin inflammation.
- Skin lesions.
Sure you can leave these health checks up to a groomer.
Do you really think they'll check your dog as thoroughly as you will? Especially if there are 10 other dogs waiting in line.
I don't think so!
Bonding Through Touch
Like I mentioned before, home grooming is an excellent bonding experience.
Did you know that every hair on your dog's body is a receptor for touch?
Yes, your dog loves and needs to be touched. And home grooming meets that need.
Okay, so now you know how to take special care of that beautiful thick coat and what you need to do it right.
But it's also important that you know exactly how the GSD's coat works to protect them in winter and summer.
The German Shepherd Coat
Your German Shepherds has a double coat. The outer coat of guard hairs is straight, with dense coarse fur that lies close to their body.
The fur on your dog's neck is longer and more dense than the fur on their body.
And they have an undercoat which is soft and thick – kind of like the down on a goose.
So your German Shepherd has a beautiful coat designed to withstand the cold and heat of the elements.
German Shepherd coats come in four lengths:
- Short with an undercoat
- Medium with an undercoat
- Long with an undercoat – Fur feathers on the ears, back of the legs, and tail.
- Long without an undercoat – Fur feathers on the ears, back of the legs, and tail. The outer coat is softer and finer than the above three lengths.
5 Ways Your GSD Regulates Body Temperature
Dogs control their body temperature in several ways.
And their fur is as important in hot weather as it is in cold weather…
Panting – Panting helps dogs cool themselves through evaporation. Dogs sweat differently from humans.
They only sweat through their paws, which does them little good in terms of cooling.
When your dog pants they breathe in and trap moisture. When they exhale through their mouth, heat is released.
This effect is increased when they pants. And the evaporation of saliva from their tongue helps to increase this cooling effect.
In cold weather, dogs keep their mouths closed. And breathe in and out through their nose to conserve heat.
Conduction – In conduction, heat is transferred from one surface to another. This is why your dog will lie flat on a cool tile floor when it is hot, but prefers carpet (or your bed) in colder weather.
Convection – This is the process of heat regulation when air passes over an object. Sitting in a breeze (or in front of a fan) is a prime example. This is one of the reasons that dogs love sticking their heads out of the car window!
Radiation – This is a natural process of the body releasing heat into the environment. Dogs naturally cool themselves in summer as heat is released from their bodies.
In the winter, dogs like to be near heat-radiating objects. My dogs sleep in a sunny spot or next to the radiator or the wood stove in colder weather.
Fur – Fur is great at preventing heat loss in the winter and acts as a shield from heat and sun in hotter weather.
It not only helps your dog’s body from not taking on too much heat, but it also protects their skin from sunburn. In deserts, people wear loose clothing that covers their entire bodies to protect themselves from the heat.
This loose clothing promotes a convection current inside the clothes to keep cooling them down.
Many vets and professional groomers advise against shaving a dog's coat. I also recommend not doing this.
But if you're worried about your dog overheating and tumbleweeds of fur all around, don't be…
There are healthy and effective ways to groom a German shepherd for summer.
Keep reading to find out how…
German Shepherd Coat Maintenance
Before we get into how to groom a German Shepherd for summer, there's one thing you should know…
They have high-maintenance coats!
Depending on the length of their fur, they will need daily to weekly brushing. But especially during coat-blowing season, which happens twice a year.
If you're struggling with tumbleweeds of hair from your German Shepherd, check out my article on the best vacuum for German Shepherd hair.
Regular grooming will keep your GSD comfortable and it's essential for several reasons…
- It distributes the natural oils in their fur.
- Regular grooming promotes a healthy coat and skin.
- And it prevents matting.
- But it's way more than just a health exercise…
- Regular grooming is a wonderful way to bond with your pooch.
My 3 are so in love with their grooming sessions, they tend to fall asleep!
Ideally, you should start grooming at a young age. This will help your GSD feel comfortable with all the grooming tools.
If you've got an adult dog or a rescue, it's going to take some work getting them comfortable. But it's not impossible…
Using clicker training and positive reinforcement is a great way to teach any dog a new behavior.
There’s no question about it, home- grooming your German Shepherd for summer has so many benefits…
Yes, there is a benefit to your pocket.
More importantly, home-grooming will deepen the bond between you and your dog.
So the time spent is well worth it in the end!
Imagine the emotional fulfillment for both you and your dog.
What could possibly make your pup happier than a couple of hours of your complete and undivided attention?
And with the grooming methods you've learned here, you know exactly how to groom a German Shepherd for summer.
Having the right equipment helps to streamline the grooming.
Sure, it's an initial investment. But in the long run, home-grooming is much less expensive.
And now that you know what tools you need and how to find quality equipment you can shop with confidence and make choices that will last you for many years to come.
Check out this article for the best grooming tools for German Shepherds.