Brushing Your German Shepherd
The German Shepherd Dog has two coats: A thick wooly undercoat for insulation and waterproofing; and a shiny overcoat. Most GSDs have a medium length coat, although there are also those with long-coats. Since GSDs shed their coats continuously it’s desirable to brush them once or twice a week, to reduce the quantity of hair falling around the house. In addition this will enhance the health and beauty of the coat, since brushing removes dead hair and distributes the natural oils. Older loose hairs dull the appearance of a dog’s coat, so when they are removed the fresh luster of new growth restores the appearance. Please use the hover arrows at the right and left of the slider to scroll back and forth.
Brushes and Combs
Use a Pin Brush to brush the thick undercoat, getting all the way down to the skin. With care on your part, the rounded ends of this brush’s bristles should protect the skin from abrasion and irritation. Brushing backwards can be helpful in loosening dead hairs. A Bristle Brush is easy on the skin – a good choice for puppy hair and for more extended brushing sessions on grown dogs. It is helpful in removing dead hair, in addition to distributing the natural oils. Slicker Brushes have many fine bent wires and are used for removing shedding hair. Since they can cut the outer coat, go gently and move with the grain of the hair. The wide-toothed comb is useful for removing loose hair left behind following a brushing. An undercoat shedding rake is the best tool for shedding periods when large quantities of the undercoat typically come loose. The rubber nubs help it to easily pull out the dead hair.
Washing and Drying
Your German Shepherd’s nails need to be clipped regularly. Also, if your dog still has his dew claws, they should be kept trim to prevent them hooking onto things and getting broken. Since your German Shepherd is unlikely to relish this aspect of dog grooming, it is a good idea to start getting him used to the idea from a young age. A good break-in approach is to handle your pup’s paws often; then you can transition into actually clipping – having treats on hand to reward good behavior.
Get into a weekly routine of nail clipping, keeping the sessions short – you might like to clip the front and rear nails in separate sessions. It’s better to clip small amounts off regularly than to clip larger portions less frequently. Only clip the hollow, end part of each claw, avoiding the area beyond that has the red vein running through it. If you accidentally clip too far and hit the vein, put on styptic powder to stop the bleeding. If you don’t have that you can dip the nail in flour, or hold it against a wet teabag. You can choose the scissor or guillotine type of clipper. Heavy duty ones will be needed for adult German Shepherds.
The tall upright ears of the grown GSD allow for plenty of natural ventilation, preventing the heat buildup and infection sometimes associated with dog breeds with closed earflaps. To maintain healthy ears in your German Shepherd, check periodically for dirt or wax buildup. If cleaning is needed, use a dog ear cleaning solution; alternatively you can make your own with one part rubbing alcohol to two parts white vinegar. Take your dog outside and, holding him at the base of the ear, squeeze in some solution. Massage the liquid downward and squish it around. After about 15 seconds, by which time the itchiness will probably be driving your pooch nuts; stand clear and let him have a good shake. Hopefully you’ll succeed in getting out of range as the dissolved wax and dirt flies out! Avoid using a powder-type ear cleaner since it can cake in the ear. Hydrogen peroxide should also be avoided because of the moisture residue it leaves in the ear.