A German Shepherd, a beautiful looking dog, as many other dogs is unique in their own ways. Their look is one of the aspects that attract people to them.
However, some dog parent worry about their German Shepherd in the summer; they want to keep them cool. So they wonder should they shave them or not.
Even though some other dogs can get shaved, the German Shepherd is one of the breeds that shouldn’t get shaved. This is because of their double coat that will grow in patches, become sticky, and mix together.
Also, it will not keep your German Shepherd cool rather it will make them feel hotter.
Nature of German Shepherd’s coat
A German Shepherd has a double coat. They have two layers to protect against weather whether it is too hot or too cold. A German Shepherd has two types of coats , the undercoat and the outer coat.
The undercoat lies close to the German Shepherd’s skin and keeps your dog warm and dry. This helps especially in cold weather where it become thicker.
In the summer, your German Shepherd sheds their undercoat leaving their guard hair. The guard hair in the outer coat protects your dog from sunburn and insulates them against the heat.
Also, without the undercoat, air could easily pass throughout your dog’s body making them cool.
The main difference between single coated dogs and double coated dogs such as German Shepherds is lies in the growth of hair.
The single coated dogs hair keeps growing. While double coated dog’s coat grow to a certain length and then stop.
A single coated dog hair can be shaved without any problems. While a double coated dog, if shaved, will change and ruin their coat.
Consequences of shaving a German Shepherd coat
Changes coat texture
If you shave your German Shepherd , their undercoat hair starts to grow first and quickly.
On the other hand, the outer coat are slower to grow and they mix with the fluffy undercoat.
Another disadvantage you’ll notice is that the texture of the new coat doesn’t feel the same as the before. It tends to be sticky and look like a velcro.
Due to this stickiness, if your German Shepherd plays outside outdoors, there will be plants, twigs, and grass stuck into their coat.
Also During summer, this combination of undercoat and outer coat will make your dog feel hotter than ever.
The reason is that the undercoat will stop the air from entering into your dog’s body and prevent the natural cooling process.
Also, your dog’s undercoat will absorb the sun’s rays and will make your dog become overheated.
In the winter, this sticky texture of your dog’s coat will cause their coat to matt. Matting is more likely to cause your German Shepherd skin irritations such as hot spots.
It doesn’t keep your dog cool
As mentioned, during the summer, the guard hair of the outer coat helps keep your German Shepherd cool by providing insulation and allowing the air to travel throughout your dog’s coat.
These guard hair also protect against sun rays which can cause your dog to get sunburned. The outer coat guard hair works by reflecting the sun rays.
It’s like a natural cooling process, however, if you do shave your German Shepherd, the fuzzy coat that is left will prevent cool air from getting in.
It will also won’t protect against sun rays causing your dog to have a sunburn, overheating, and even skin cancer.
Other Reasons for not shaving your German Shepherd
- A German Shepherd coat provides temperature control all year round whether summer or winter seasons.
- If your German Shepherd coat is shaved, they are prone to insect bites.
- Shaved dogs are more likely to suffer from dry skin conditions.
- A German Shepherd who is shaved will regrow their coat and they will still shed; however, when shedding, the hair will look more like pins and needles and will be harder to clean than before shaving.
- Your German Shepherd will be embarrassed and feel humiliated after the shave because they don’t feel like themselves.
- A German Shepherd coat does grow after shaving; however, it grows uneven and patchy. This especially happens if your dog is shaved for a couple of months.
Exceptions to shaving your German Shepherd
If your dog has a medical condition such as a serious skin condition, you may have to shave your dog’s coat.
This depends mainly when you consult your vet about the best course of action and shaving is required to treat your dog’s medical condition.
If a human member is allergic to dog hair, then the problem must be addressed.
However, it is best to address the problem before it happens so it is best to know if there is a human member that is allergic to dog hair and avoid the situation altogether.
If the situation is new, it must be addressed by shaving your dog.
High humidity and heat
In extreme humidity and high heat, shaving your German Shepherd coat may be the only solution.
Even though it is best to not shave your German Shepherd, there were some reports that when dogs’ coats were shaved, they felt relieve and were better in regards to weather.
This should be your last option when you tried every other way to keep your German Shepherd cool.
The best way to help your German Shepherd stay cool
The best way to help your German Shepherd stay cool is through summer is to take them to the groomer. Let your groomer bathe them and blow out your dog’s undercoat with dryers.
Also, let them comb your German Shepherd with a rake to help remove the loose hair in the coat.
If you want to do these steps on your own, you have to have the right equipment and know-how to groom your German Shepherd.
If you go to a groomer instead, you have to make sure that you tell them to not shave your German Shepherd dog. Never let them shave your German Shepherd.
Other ways to keep your German Shepherd cool during the summer
1.) Take your dog to a shady area
When you are out with your dog in summer, take your dog to shady areas and give them a bowl of water.
Give them a small amount of water at a time so they can drink it slowly. The reason is that your dog is more likely to pant during the summer.
So by offering small amounts of water, you allow for your dog to get the rest that they need. You are more likely to see a change in their panting from being heavy to becoming lighter.
2.) Feed your dog a few hours early
It’s important to feed your German Shepherd 2-3 hours before going out so they can digest the meal and not get bloated or stomach torsion.
This will also ease their movements and make them comfortable when exercising.
3.) Choose the time of exercise wisely
You have to choose the best time for exercising for your German Shepherd. The best times are either early in the morning or late in the evening.
Avoid walking or exercising your dog in the afternoon because the sun will overheat your dog and may cause them a sunburn.
Also , the ground will be hot for them to walk in the afternoon and will most likely hurt their feet.
6.) Don’t shave or give them a haircut
Shaving or cutting your German Shepherd’s hair will not keep them cooler rather it will make them feel the heat. It will also cause damage to their coat.
Instead, you can brush and comb their coat so you can keep away mats and allow air to circulate around their bodies. It will also help get loosen hair out from the undercoat.
7.) Limit time outside for your dog
Dog especially puppies and elder dogs don’t really realize when they are becoming overheat; they just keep playing and running around until it’s too late.
So it’s up to you to get your German Shepherd inside after being outside for some time. Get them in a room that has an air conditioner so they can cool down.
If you suspect that your German Shepherd has a heat stroke, go to the vet immediatly so they can best deal with the situation.
8.) Try indoor activities for playtime
When the weather is really hot, you can play with your German Shepherd inside through games such as hide and seek or giving them a chew toy to play with.
You can create as many activities as they you want as long as your German Shepherd is inside. Their safety is very important so they don’t get harmed.
In conclusion, you shouldn’t shave your German Shepherd in any situation. By doing so, you ensure that your German Shepherd’s coat remain healthy and doesn’t become destroyed.
Your German Shepherd dog will also cool down when in hot weather by their own.
All, you have to do is regular grooming such as brushing their coat and giving them regular baths.
To know more about why German Shepherds chase their tail, check Why do German Shepherds Chase Their Tails?