Bathing your German Shepherd dog is an important aspect of taking care of it. You do not want your dog to be emitting bad odors.
However, getting a German shepherd dog to stand still for a bath can be a daunting task, and the question of how often you should bathe your shepherd friend can be tricky. This article will give you some guidelines on what to do.
Many owners assume that because of the energetic, playful nature of GSDs, who are always up and about, exercising and playing, they should be bathed regularly, but that is not the case.
Let’s look at how frequent you can bath your shepherd friend.
How Often Should You Bath A German Shepherd?
It is recommended that you bath your German Shepherd dog once every 3 to 4 months, as shepherds are generally clean and odor-free animals.
German shepherds usually develop such skin conditions as skin dryness etc. When bathed regularly, these conditions can rather worsen, as stuff like scented shampoos can act as irritants.
German shepherds are double-coated dogs. They have a top coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions like in an extremely sunny situation. It also protects them from dust and other particles.
They also have an undercoat that protects them from the harsh winter weather and even heat during summer. These coats contain natural oils and as such frequent baths will only strip the oils off, leaving the coats dry, and you do not want your dog’s coat to be dry.
There are, however, some exceptions to how often you can bath your GSD. For instance, during the flea season, you can bath your dog once every 2 months to control pests. Same for if your dog often plays outside in the dirt and so usually gets his fur soiled.
You can also regularly brush your dog’s hair, so you do not have to bath it more often. Brushing 3-4 times a week reduces the amount of shedding and removes dirt that gets trapped in your shepherd’s coat. Brushing also makes their coat shinier and healthier.
Steps In Bathing Your German Shepherd
It is the common practice for German shepherd owners to bath their dogs in a standard bathtub with a shower. We however recommend that if your GSD is still a puppy, you use a sink with a sink sprayer. Also, when using the tub, make sure the water level is at par with the ankles of your dog, so they are not paddling but firmly standing in it.
Here are the steps you can follow in bathing your German shepherd.
The first step is to get your shepherd’s coat wet. Make sure the water is mildly warm to avoid discomfort and burns to its skin. Avoid using the jet side of the shower if that’s what you are using.
Only turn it halfway, so you don’t scare off your dog. It is incredibly important to get the water temperature and pressure right, else your dog will be uncomfortable and will likely associate baths with unpleasant situations. Subsequent baths may prove difficult because of this.
The next step is to lather the shampoo into your shepherd’s coat gently, with your hands. A gentle, soap-free shampoo is recommended for German shepherds, given their sensitive skin.
Wahl’s 4-in-1 doggy shampoo and conditioner are one of the highly recommended shampoos for your German shepherd as owners do not need to get a separate conditioner and yes, it smells great too and as well serves as a good moisturizer.
Next, you need to rinse the shampoo off with clean water. You can repeat these first three processes as many times as you want until you have got rid of all the dirt on your shepherd’s coat.
You should then apply a conditioner (scent-free, to prevent skin issues and allergic reactions for your GSD) to the coat and brush it through with a wide-tooth comb. Use a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs and not human shampoo.
After a minimum of 2 minutes, the conditioner should settle, and then you can rinse your dog’s coat again – thoroughly this time.
The last thing to do is to dry up your dog’s coat with a towel or a hand dryer with very low settings to avoid discomfort due to too much heat. This part is very important if you want to avoid the nasty wet dog smell after a bath.
Why It Is Vital To Avoid Excesive Bathing
As already mentioned, regular baths take the essential natural oils off the skin of your dog, and this can be dangerous for its health. The shampoo is what does the removal, but it is also an essential part of the bathing tools.
As such, you should not regularly bath your shepherd friend, as more and more bathing takes off more and more oils.
Without the natural oils, your dog faces the following health risks associated with its coat and skin:
- Its skin becomes dry and itchy.
- It develops raw skin through itching.
- Its coat tends to be smelly.
- It feels itchy all the time.
- Its coat tends to have a dull look.
What Shampoos Should I Avoid?
- Do not use human shampoo as it is too strong and acidic for your dog’s skin
- You should also not use regular pet shampoo
- Avoid dawn washing up liquid.
You can however use baby shampoo, but only if you cannot get hold of shampoo specifically made for dogs.
How To Improve Your Shepherd’s Skin And Coat
There are a few things you can do to help improve the skin and coat of your shepherd friend. Here are some ways:
- A good, balanced diet, with all the necessary ingredients, will go a long way to improve your dog’s skin and coat. Human skin can glow and be better with good, nutritious food, and it is the same for dogs. Feed your dog well and watch it glow. You can contact your vet to get assistance with the specific nutrients that will help your dog’s skin and coat.
- You should regularly brush your dog’s coat to help evenly distribute the natural oils, which will in turn improve the coat’s dirt repelling capabilities.
- You should also be observant to see if your dog seems to be biting fleas and ticks off its skin. This can cause skin irritation, hair loss and dryness. You should immediately visit your vet when you notice this.
- Avoid hot weather conditions as the sun’s ultraviolet rays can affect your dog’s skin. We recommend that you use pet sunscreen if you’re going to be out there with your dog for a while.
Bathing your German shepherd dog should be done once every 3 to 4 months, as regular bathing will be detrimental to its skin, stripping off its essential oils.
These oils are needed by your dog to regulate its body temperature. You should always use specialized shampoos for your dog as shampoos with harsh chemicals, parabens, soap, detergent, alcohol or artificial fragrances will damage your dog’s skin and coat.
You can also improve your dog’s skin and coat by feeding it properly, taking it to the vet to check for fleas and ticks, and by avoiding sunny weather conditions.
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