If you’re the pet parent of a German Shepherd, then you already know they shed a lot! There may be times when you swear there’s another dog around due to the amount of shed fur! With that much fur around, you’ll find it on everything from the furniture, bedding, clothes, and more. Is there a way to control shedding?
Some pet parents consider shaving their German Shepherds to control shedding. But is that advisable? Can this be harmful to the dog?
We’ve put together some information about whether or not it’s a good idea to shave your German Shepherd! Let’s get started!
The German Shepherd’s Coat
German Shepherds have a double coat, with a thick outer coat and a shorter undercoat. Their coats can vary. Some German Shepherds have short coats, while others may have long or fluffy coats. Others may have dense, thick coats, and other dogs may have long or even medium-thick coats.
In addition, some German Shepherds have fur around their ears, chest, tail, and on the backs of their legs. All of these variations are traditional for German Shepherd dogs.
The dog’s outer coat is coarse, repels water, and protects his skin from UV rays. The undercoat is soft and fluffy and provides insulation. The undercoat and the outer coat work together to help the dog regulate his body temperature.
Remember that Germans Shepherds were bred in Europe to herd and protect sheep. The weather in Europe can vary greatly from cold, rainy/snowy winters to hot, humid summers. German Shepherds were bred to survive these variations in weather and temperature. Their coats are the dogs’ main protection from the weather in all cases.
So, the German Shepherd’s coat has a purpose. But what happens if you shave a German Shepherd’s coat?
Shaving a German Shepherd’s Coat Causes Major Problems
Shaving a German Shepherd’s coat can cause major problems for the dog. So, shaving is not recommended. Here are some reasons why shaving a German Shepherd is not a good idea:
1. Body Temperature Regulation is Gone
Shaving a German Shepherd may seem like a good idea. Wouldn’t this make the dog cooler in summer? No, it can actually make the dog hotter!
The dog’s double coat is the main way he regulates his body temperature (along with panting, of course). The German Shepherd’s coat provides insulation from heat and coat. But what most people don’t realize is that the coat also provides ventilation to cook the dog.
If you shave your dog for the summer, this will put your fur baby at risk of overheating and possibly developing heat stroke. This is because your dog’s ventilation system (his double coat) has been shaved. He no longer has the double coat, with the longer outer hair and shorter undercoat to help air pass over his cool to keep him cool.
2. Danger of Sunburn and Skin Cancer Increases
A German Shepherd’s double coat does even more than regulate his body temperature. It also works to protect the dog’s skin from the sun’s damaging rays.
Think of how you feel if you get a bad sunburn. There’s plenty of pain involved, which may last for a few days (depending on the severity of the burn). Now, consider this is happening to your dog. Would you want your canine companion to suffer sunburn and feel miserable? We didn’t think so!
Not only does having your German Shepherd’s coat put him in danger of sunburn, but it also increases his chance of developing skin cancer. That’s because the sun’s rays can hit the shaved dog’s skin and burn.
Here, again, we have to mention that a shaved German Shepherd is also at higher risk of overheating or heatstroke.
One more interesting note about a German Shepherd’s skin. These dogs have skin that’s about 6 to 10 layers deep. Compare that to our skin, which is 16 to 20 layers deep. What does this have to do with sun damage?
If you shave your dog, the sun can reach through many layers of his thinner skin. This causes damage at a deeper level than most humans may experience.
Now think of a sunburn that reaches through several layers of your dog’s skin. It’s more than painful. The sun can do great damage to the dog’s skin if his outer and undercoat have been shaved off.
3. Bug Bites Are Worse
When you shave your dog’s fur, not only does it cause the problems already listed above. If that’s not enough, shaving also puts your dog in danger of bug bites and parasites.
Insects and parasites need to get to the skin to bite. Here, you can think of mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. When your dog’s fur is shaved off, he no longer has protection against these pests. Instead, they can have a picnic since they can more easily get to the dog’s skin.
That’s a miserable thing for us. You can imagine how it will be for your dog. Not only that, but flea bites and parasites can cause skin irritation and infections. And some dogs are allergic to flea bites. Doesn’t that make you shiver at the thought of what your dog would have to endure without his fur?
4. Shaving Can Ruin the Dog’s Coat
Shaving can also ruin a German Shepherd’s coat! Not many people realize this, either. The problem is that the outer coat and undercoat grow at different rates. That means if the undercoat grows faster than the outer coat, the dog’s fur could become a tangled, matted mess. That’s not pleasant, as the mats can cause skin pulling and irritation.
In addition, the fur may simply not come back in as thick or grow as long. And the dog’s coat could even grow in patchy.
So, shaving isn’t a good idea.
Summing It Up
As you can see, shaving your German Shepherd’s coat is not beneficial for the dog. Shaving can damage his fur, cause skin irritation, leave him susceptible to pests and UV damage, and more.
If your fur baby really needs some grooming, then it’s best to find a groomer who understands how to correctly deal with German Shepherd coats. Your vet may be able to recommend a groomer who has experience with grooming these beautiful dogs. It should be someone who doesn’t shave, but grooms with scissors and brushes.