If you have invested in a show bred German shepherd puppy, then you may want to show your dog as he ages. If this is something you are interested in and you are an amateur, then you should understand that you need to pay close attention to your dog's coat through special grooming practices. Keep reading to learn about some tips to help you attend to the coat properly.
Attend To The Undercoat
There is some variation in the way that German shepherds look. Some of the dogs will have long or short hair, but the majority have medium-long hair that covers the outside of the body. The dogs do not simply have an outside coat though, they have an undercoat too that helps to trap heat close to the body. While the outer coat is much more wiry and coarse, the undercoat is smooth and soft.
You may understand that your German shepherd sheds all year round with the longer wiry hairs constantly falling out and replenishing themselves. However, the undercoat does not shed in the same manner. It "blows out" two times a year. This means that the undercoat sheds completely and replaces itself in the spring and fall.
Since the undercoat does not shed like the outer one, it does require more substantial maintenance. One of the most important tasks that you need to complete throughout the year is brushing with a dedicated undercoat brush called a rake. Rakes with shorter spines can be used during the majority of the year while your dog is not shedding. This will help to minimize matting issues. During the seasonal shedding, invest in a rake with longer spines. Also, you should think about buying a dematting tool if you notice matted hair in the coat. Matts should be removed promptly as they can stop a new and healthy undercoat from forming. Matt brushes often have long teeth that can grip the matt. Work the brush gently across the accumulated hair to remove the formation.
Purchase The Right Food
A glossy, shiny, and full coat is something you want to see on your German shepherd. However, all of the grooming in the world will not help to create a luxurious coat if you are feeding your canine a poor diet. To understand the diet needs of your pet, you should understand that he needs close to 2,000 calories a day if your dog is active. A more inactive dog needs only about 1,500 calories.
The calories should be supplied to your dog through a high quality dog food. This food is one that is high in animal protein from a recognizable source like poultry, beef, or fish. The meat should be listed first on the ingredients and this will indicate that it contains more meat than any other ingredient. Grains, carbohydrates, and vegetables will be seen next on the list. However, you should look closely at these things. The ingredients should be easily digestible and exclude corn, soy, and wheat. These ingredients are not healthy for your German shepherd and may result in intestinal problems and a dull coat.
For a glossy coat, make sure that the food contains either omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil. Also, the inclusion of preservatives from natural vitamin sources is ideal to chemical additives. Your may see both vitamin C and vitamin A listed on the packaging if the natural preservatives are included.
A high quality dog food should make up the majority of your dog's diet. You can provide one to two treats a day, but they should be healthy. Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and asparagus make good treats. You can also purchase commercial treats, but make sure they are high in protein like the dog food.
For more tips on caring for your German shepherd's coat, talk to breeders at companies like Von Anna German Shepherds, LLC.