Caring For Your GSDs Skin and Coat

“Caring For Your GSDs Skin and Coat” is a guest post by Emma Green.

German Shepherd Dogs are known for having some issues with their coat and skin. It is important to take special care of these amazing dogs so that they do not have to suffer with these skin problems. Here are a few tips for taking care of your dog and making sure that he is healthy and happy.

Correct grooming procedures are key for a healthy coat. Bathing too often (or not enough) will compromise the lush, beautiful coat that German Shepherds should have. Giving a bath once every month or two should be plenty. Over bathing can cause the skin to dry out, while waiting too long between baths can damage the coat.

If your dog already has skin problems, make sure that you use a colloidal oatmeal shampoo to soothe the skin. If you notice a lot of flaky, dry dandruff then use a (hypoallergenic) conditioner and let it sit on the skin and coat for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. After the bath, when your dog is dry, take the opportunity to brush the coat in order to get rid of any undercoat that may be trapped. This will help the skin to breathe, and will make the coat look and feel much better overall. Immediately following a bath, take the time to clean the ears, and trim the nails.

The cause of many German Shepherd skin problems is their diet. Many Shepherds have a wheat or grain allergy, and if fed a diet containing these ingredients, the side effects will often manifest themselves through the skin and coat. By feeding a breed specific kibble, such as Royal Canin, you can avoid some of the problems found with generic “junk” dog food.

It is recommended to begin feeding a good quality grain-free food from day one in order to avoid any skin problems. If you have been feeding any food that does contain wheat or grains, and you notice any flaking of the skin, or if the coat looks dull rather than shiny, immediately begin the switch to a better food. Check the ingredients on the label before purchasing any food to make sure that your dog is getting exactly what he needs to stay healthy.

Exercise can be a great way to encourage healthy coat growth. Weight management is a very important part of having shiny healthy coat and radiant skin. When a dog is underweight, the body pulls nutrients away from places where they aren’t “needed” and the skin and coat are usually the first areas to suffer. When a dog is overweight, the skin and coat may not suffer as much, but joints and other areas will be compromised.

Swimming can be great exercise, but be aware that chlorine can dry out the coat. If your dog loves swimming , then just make sure to give him a quick bath after each swim session in order to remove the chlorine from the coat and skin.

Running is a great form of exercise as long as your Shepherd has good hips. No doubt your dog will be able to easily outrun you, so you might want to consider using some type of dog treadmill so that he can work out, and you can sit back and relax. Or you can even train him to run on your own treadmill. But watch out, if he gets addicted to running then every time you try to work out on it, he’ll want to join and run right along with you!

Skin Infection
If you feel that the above possible solutions don’t seem to apply to your dog, or if you are trying to improve your dog’s coat and skin, but you don’t see any sort of progress, then take your dog in to get his skin checked at the vet’s office. He may be suffering from a skin infection called Pyoderma. If this is the case, antibiotics may be the only way to soothe the problem. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from this, don’t wait to take him in for a checkup. The longer the problem is allowed to linger, the harder it will be to clear up.

If you ever have any questions about your German Shepherd’s skin and coat, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They will be able to offer additional advice about each individual situation!

Emma Green is passionate about dogs and healthy living. In the past, she enjoyed being a full time dog groomer, but now focuses much of her time on writing for websites like If you have any questions for her about dogs or fitness, feel free to contact her at


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