The German Shepherd has a heavy, thick double coat that keeps them warm in the winter. Unfortunately there is a common misconception that their coat makes them hotter when summer rolls around. While some people think that shaving your German Shepherd will solve all their problems, it won’t. You should really never shave your German Shepherd. There are many reasons to this so let’s get into the article. The only time it’s really acceptable is for any sort of injury or surgery.
We will also have alternatives to keep your shepherd cool during summer towards the end of the article.
1. Shaving Them In The Summer Will Only Make Them Hotter:
This is the main reason owners make this mistake. They believe that shaving all that thick fur off will make them cooler. Yet it’s actually the opposite.
The dog’s coat is kinda like its own heating and cooling system. When it’s the cold season the dog’s coat gives them warmth. While when the hot seasons come like summer, the 2 levels of coats act as a ventilation system to keep them cool.
This means that when you shave your German Shepherd during the summer, it will make them feel the normal temperatures, and they have no way to cool down by themselves. This makes them in danger of overheating. Also, if the coat is still shaved when fall and winter come they will be very cold.
2. Shaving Can Lead To Skin Problems:
Without a dense coat there to protect their skin, your dog’s body is exposed to more things. This includes the sun! Just like humans dogs can get sunburn. Dogs only have about half as many layers as humans have, making their burns worse. Humans have 16 – 20 layers, and dogs only have 6 – 10.
Sunburns can lead to hot spots, skin, irritation, and even skin cancer! Make sure if your dog does get burnt to keep them from licking the burns. Use a dog cone if necessary. Licking those burns can make it a lot worse. Your dog may experience dandruff and flaking for a while, even when their fur has grown back.
If you do shave your German Shepherd for the summer, play and exercise out of the sun as much as you can.
More about hot spots:
Hot spots are when your dog scratches their skin so much that it leaves red irritated lesions on the skin. These are somewhat like wounds. Yet they can not only be caused by burns but also bugs. Now that your dogs coat is gone, bugs can just bite your shepherds skin. After getting those bites your dog will scratch like crazy. This will form these hot spots.
These hot spots can also lead to alopecia areata, which is patchy hair loss. We don’t want that!
3. Shaving Their Fur Can Ruin The Texture and Style
When the dogs fur grows back after shaving, the undercoat grows back faster. This means less room for the slower growing guard hairs.
These longer hairs don’t always grow back as long leaving your dogs fur with a different texture and style. It may be shorter or not as thick. Overall it just doesn’t look too pretty.
4. Shaving Raises The Chance of Matting
Shaving your shepherd damages the coat. This can lead to matted clumps of hair that will not be comfortable to your German Shepherd. Since the shaved hair isn’t as long and thick it can’t repel things as well, like sticks and other things that will get their fur even more tangled up.
This may not look pretty but it’s also not comfortable at all to your dog. Think about that before you resort to shaving.
5. Shaved Hair is Harder To Get Rid Of
The outer layer of fur, or the guard hairs are much more coarse and shed a lot. That’s why most people think shaving will get rid of the shedding worries. Yet that’s not true.
Your shepherd will still shed, though this time the fur will be thinner. This is even worse, since its small thinner hairs will stick easier to things. This will make it even more stressful than normal unshaven hair.
6. Shaving Won’t Help Coat Blow
If you don’t know what coat blow is, it’s when your shepherd changes from their winter coat into their summer coat. The dogs undercoat is very comfortable and thick, keeping them warm in the winter. When summer comes around this is not very comfortable anymore, so they shed their undercoats.
This is a period where they shed way more than usual. You will not enjoy it, but there’s no way to fully stop it. Shaving doesn’t really help at all. There are other ways that can reduce shedding other than shaving all their fur off. We will talk about better alternatives to the situation later on.
7. Especially Never Shave an Older Dog
It’s more important to never shave your German Shepherd if they are a senior. The older the dog is, the harder it is to grow back the guard hair.
Their hair grows back slow and it is even thinner than it normally would when shaving your dog. Their guard hairs (which are very important to the dog) won’t grow back as freely as a younger dog.
Alternatives For Shaving Your German Shepherd:
You should know by now that shaving your German Shepherd is a big NO! Yet if you’re still worried about your dog overheating over summer, here are some alternatives to keep them cool without giving them the discomfort of being shaved.
Correctly grooming them can help your problem. There are two grooming methods to get all that extra heavy hair out that aren’t damaging.
Bathe and Brush:
The first way is by giving your dog a bath with dog safe shampoo and conditioner just as you would wash your own. Make sure to get in there good. Once you rinse that off you can use a wide brush and brush out the fur, sections at a time.
Brush in a downward motion. This will get clumps of extra hair out that were otherwise going to be shed and make it not as heavy on your dog.
Bathe and Blow:
The other way also includes washing your dog. This time just shampoo their fur, but let it sit for a few minutes. Next wash it out real good or it will irritate them. Next take them outside. You’ll wanna do the next part out there unless you want your house completely covered in dog hair.
Get a strong blow dryer and dry out their hair. It will get all the loose extra hairs out and they will feel much better. Work from the back to the front to lift the guard hairs and get the undercoat dry.
If you have never used a blow dryer on them, they will most likely be scared of it. Try to make it fun and reward them with treats.
Brush your German Shepherd daily in summer. A de-shedding tool can be very useful around this time. Make sure you do not over bathe your shepherd. Just do it occasionally when it feels necessary. If you bathe them too much it can damage their beautiful hairs.
Trim Their Hairs:
This is a good way to get rid of extra hairs, yet is not as extreme as shaving it all off. Use scissors used for hair cutting and just give your dog a trim as you would a human. You can trim the longer hairs, but don’t cut them too short! Your dog will feel much better after their trim. They will even look better too.
Keep Them Out of The Heat:
It’s simple as that. Summer can get very hot, even us humans have to take breaks in the shade or air conditioning. That’s exactly what your dog needs. Even though it may seem so simple and pointless to some owners, your dog will thank you much more if you resort to this and not shaving.
After playing outside for a bit, if you notice your dog panting a lot and getting hot, take them inside for a while. Let them cool off.
You can even try moving your activities like walks or any sort of exercise for in the early morning or evening when it gets cooler.
Give Them Plenty of Water:
Make sure you always have a supply of cold and fresh water out for your German Shepherd to drink. After being in the summer heat so much they can begin to become dehydrated. They need to have water present at all time. Water helps them regulate their temperature better by panting.
Use a Cooling Mat:
Dog cooling mats are very useful on hot summer days. They have cooling gel in them so when the dog lays down on it to relax it can feel cool. This is especially great to come back to after playing outside on a hot summer day. It’s popular with owners of dogs that tend to overheat.
The overall lesson learned is to not ever shave your German Shepherd in thinking it will cool them off for the summer. You should always want what’s best for your shepherd, and they will not like shaving. Try those alternatives and you stay cool yourself. Come back for more articles to help your German Shepherd!