How to Improve Your German Shepherd’s Coat Naturally (Science Based Tips)

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Imagine you knew all the secrets to how to improve your German Shepherd’s coat naturally to experience how a healthy coat looks and feels.

Shiny fur, less shedding and itching, and compliments from friends and neighbors would ring in your ears about how pretty your German Shepherd looks.

It’s easier than you think using these scientifically-based, natural tips to help experience a naturally beautiful coat!

1. Add in High-Quality Protein to their Diet

A shiny coat starts with a high-quality diet rich in the right amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

If you don’t think your current food is producing the shine you want, or your dog is itching and scratching frequently, then consider switching to a more reputable name brand food.

Reputable dog foods typically contain nutrients, including essential fatty acids, to maintain your Shepherd’s healthy skin and a shiny coat. But, dogs on low-quality dog foods or improperly balanced homemade foods may not get enough essential nutrients to keep their skin and coat healthy.

A lackluster and dry coat is often the result of a poor diet or poor quality food. A dog’s coat comprises roughly 90% protein.

When their diet is deficient in a protein coat quality suffers. Once your dog has a balanced diet with the right amount of protein, then they have the building blocks of the hair’s natural structure (source).

Look for dog foods higher in protein to help them on the path to shiny fur that glows!

2. Give Them Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids have many incredible health benefits for your dog.

But their most outstanding benefit is for your dog’s coat and skin!

Found in fish oils (like salmon and sardines) and some plant oils, such as hempseed, borage seed, and flaxseed oil omega fatty acids increase shine and luster. Concentrated capsules found in pet supplements contain therapeutic amounts of omega fatty acids.

Most dog owners prefer to use fish oil or hemp seed oil for pets, as they are the most readily available and produce such fantastic results. To relieve inflamed skin or itching, look for supplements that contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Omega fatty acids are shown to:

  • improve coat condition
  • improve heart health
  • increase brain function
  • decrease itching and scratching
  • maintain skin health
  • reduce inflammation
  • decrease the symptoms of an allergic reaction

I supplement my GSD’s diet with an inexpensive salmon oil mix that is providing outstanding results for her! She’s shedding less and has a gloriously full, mirror-like shine to her coat!

I love using this salmon oil brand! The oil contains a nutritious mixture of wild salmon and pollack oil that my German Shepherd rushes to eat.

The dosing is 1/2 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight daily. Add this oil to their usual food, or feed directly as a treat if they enjoy it plain. For best results, use on a long-term basis.

3. Use the Power of Coconut Oil

cracked open coconut showing the white flesh inside

Coconut oil is another great choice for enhancing the skin and coat condition of your German Shepherd.

Coconut oil is a wholesome, easily digested oil that has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties! Coconut oil has two uses: internal or topically applied.

Want the full scoop on coconut oil?

Learn how itchy German Shepherds benefit from all-natural coconut oil. Including dosage facts and tips!

Application and supplementation can also help ease symptoms of allergies in Shepherds when given routinely. Apply the oil directly to dry, rough skin spots daily until the patch heals.

Better yet, why not use a shampoo with coconut oil that helps with shedding, too?

4. Make their Color Glow with Beta-Carotene

bunch of carrots together on a dark table

Beta-carotene plays a significant role in the intensity of your Shepherd’s coat color.

The build-up of beta-carotene influences their coat color the same way it gives various fruits and vegetables their vibrant orange-red hues.

The addition of mashed up, boiled baby carrots or plain, canned pumpkin improves and intensifies the red and copper tones of your German Shepherd’s coat.

Besides the benefits to coat color, beta-carotene is an outstanding antioxidant with benefits to eye health. Pumpkin, carrot, and sweet potato are the ideal sources for beta-carotene since they are easy to source, and most GSDs enjoy their taste.  

Remember to boil or steam carrots and sweet potato so they easily digest. And only buy pure pumpkin puree – not the pumpkin with spices for pie filling.

5. Supplement with Zinc for Healthy Skin

medication pills of various sizes and colors

Zinc is a vital mineral for skin and coat health.

Dogs suffering from a zinc deficiency may exhibit poor skin and coat conditions.

Symptoms include:

  • cracked paw pads
  • excessive hair loss
  • lesions around the mouth, eyes, and ears

Zinc, besides other important minerals like copper, improves a dog’s coat if they are not getting enough of these minerals in their diet. You can easily provide extra zinc with a few pumps of a liquid supplement.

6. Add in Moisture Rich Foods as Snacks and Treats

sliced cucumber on a white background

Moisture-rich foods increase your German Shepherd’s hydration internally and externally.

And hydrated skin means that their fur has a healthy surface to grow from.

Slice up small pieces of fresh cucumber for a tasty, healthy treat for your dog. Other skin-loving ingredients include strawberries, blueberries, and even sliced apples.

Most dogs readily enjoy the extra snacks and are happy to eat them! Be sure to include the calories from these snacks as part of their daily intake so you don’t overfeed them.

7. Include Additional Brushing to Help Improve Your German Shepherd’s Coat

hair brush bristles up close

A more thorough brushing routine helps with skin and coat health.

Brush your German Shepherd for at least 10 minutes a few times a week at a minimum.

But adding in another brushing session or two with a gentle, rake brush helps to remove dull, dead hair, spread healthy skin oils, and acts as a mini massage to increase blood circulation.

All these benefits contribute to a healthier coat and more resilient skin. Use a rounded-tip rake brush by brushing with long strokes for 10 minutes, at least 4 to 5 days a week to help improve a German Shepherd’s coat.

You can brush your GSD’s coat daily if you use a gentle brush and soft, smooth strokes that don’t dig into your dog’s skin.

8. Skin-Loving Bathing Products Add Gloss and Shine

shampoo and conditioner bottles of different colors on a white background

Using the right products for sensitive GSD skin is paramount to keeping their skin and coat resilient.

It’s best to use gentle products to keep their skin and coat moisturized.

Use both a shampoo and a conditioner to rinse away dirt and debris and maintain the shine and pH of your dog’s fur. Look for a shampoo that contains aloe vera or oatmeal for moisture and has moisturizing oils added, like coconut oil, avocado oil, or shea oil.

I prefer an oatmeal shedding shampoo with the added benefit of coconut cleansers, like this gentle and moisturizing shampoo.

Using a shampoo with oatmeal provides your dog’s skin with an extra layer of protection and adds shine to a dull coat. Washing also removes dead fur, but be sure to give your GSD a thorough brushing before the bath to keep drains clear and make shampooing your dog easier.

Not rinsing thoroughly can also leave a residue on the skin, which increases itchiness and irritations. After you’ve rinsed your GSD, rinse again.

Their thick undercoat holds more product than you might realize.

9. Use a Spritz of Silk for Instant Detangling and Luster

Along with daily brushing, include a light spritz of a detangle spray with silk proteins.

Silk helps release dead hair because of tangles and adds back in moisture.

This is especially important in the winter when weather conditions are harsh and drying.

Besides also freshening up your dog’s coat, the detangle spray helps to keep dirt off the hair. Removing the dirt allows the hair to reflect light, which gives the hair shine.

It also reduces brushing time when using a silk protein spray.

This modern detangling and moisture spray freshens up your GSD and has plenty of healthy ingredients to condition the coat and protect sensitive skin.

Find Your Dog’s Underlying Health Problems

dog fur and undercoat up close

If you’re here, then you enjoy taking excellent care of your dog’s health.

While there are many great ways to supplement your GSD’s current diet and routine, a poor coat has an underlying cause. Finding this cause helps you choose the correct treatment.

Dogs may have a poor coat because:

  • they eat low-quality food
  • they’re not regularly groomed
  • they’re over washed with stripping chemical products
  • they spend time outdoors in harsh elements
  • they have a medical condition
  • they’re stressed

Dandruff, itchy and dry skin, coarse fur, and lackluster coat pigmentation improve with a proper diet and supplementation with specific nutrients, but other conditions require a veterinary visit and medical treatment.

Bringing out a Beautiful Shine and Thick Fur

Many GSD owners struggle with skin and coat issues.

A beautiful coat starts with a nutritious foundation. Choose a healthy base for your dog’s food.

Diet even influences the color and clearness of your dog’s eyes—that’s how powerful the impact of nutrition is on your pet.

Supplements can help when given in moderation. Anything in excess can cause unwanted effects. Be sure to check with your vet for further advice.

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