We have some good news if you are the owner of an Australian Shepherd – they don’t need to be bathed often! In fact, bathing this breed too often can be harmful to their coat. Here is everything you need to know about giving your pooch a bath:
How Often Do Australian Shepherds Need to Be Bathed?
Australian Shepherds only need to be bathed every 3 to 4 months. In some instances, it could be as little as 2 or 3 months, if your dog’s fur has a tendency to get oily or dirty rather quickly. However, you shouldn’t bathe them more than this as there will be certain unfavorable effects.
Bathing Australian Shepherd Puppies
As you can imagine, there are different rules for puppies.
Don’t bathe your puppy until it is at least two weeks past their vaccinations. You will then be able to ensure that their immune system can handle it.
If your puppy does get dirty before this period, you can gently wipe them down with a damp cloth. Don’t get their fur overly wet, though.
Once your puppy has had their first bath, you can hold off another four to six months at a time. There is no need to bathe them before this. Once again, if they do get dirty, simply wipe them down.
After they have reached adulthood, you can begin to shorten their baths to 3-to-4-month intervals.
The Dangers of Over Bathing Your Australian Shepherd
You may be wondering why you shouldn’t be washing your Australian Shepherd on a weekly or even fortnightly basis. After all, don’t baths help to keep these canines healthy?
Well, what most people don’t realize is that your dog’s skin and coat produce natural oils. These oils help to keep the skin moisturized and healthy. It also keeps the fur looking silky and good.
If you bathe your dog too often, you will end up stripping your pooch of these natural oils. The first symptom of this will be dry and irritated skin. This can lead your dog feeling itchy and uncomfortable.
After a while, the dog’s body may begin to overcompensate for this lack of oil by producing far more than necessary. This will leave your dog’s coat oily and probably smelling odd as well.
Naturally, you will respond by bathing them more often and the problem will only get worse. Eventually, a trip to the vet may be in order.
However, if you make an effort to only bathe your dog as needed, then this will not become an issue.
When to Know It’s Time to Bathe Your Dog
You may have a rough time line for when you should bathe your Australian Shepherd. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only information you need.
After all, this is an active breed that spends a lot of time outdoors. As a result, you may feel like you need to bathe them before. How can you know for sure, though?
When They are Very Muddy or Dirty
The one time that you shouldn’t put off a bath is if your pooch has rolled in the mud or dirt. If they are caked in grime, then it is time to hose them down.
First, trying brushing off any grime or dirt. If it is largely debris, you may be able to get it off this way. However, if there are still remnants, you will need to bathe and shampoo them.
When They Begin to Smell
A sure sign that your Australian Shepherd needs a bath is when they begin to smell. If it has only been a short while since their last bath, you may want to wait until the odor is quite noticeable before giving in.
If your pooch seems to smell bad on a regular basis, then a visit to the vet may be in order. It is possible that they have a skin condition that is causing the smell and medications or medicated shampoos may be able to help.
When Their Coat is Very Oily
Some Australian Shepherds’ coats may produce more oil than others. In this case, your dog may need to be bathed more regularly. Just make sure that the oiliness isn’t a result of over-bathing.
You may also want to check with your vet as there could be an underlying issue that is causing the oiliness. If this is your dog’s natural state, however, you may have to bathe them every two months or so.
How to Increase Time Between Baths
Of course, the goal is to bathe your pooch as little as possible. Here are a few ways that you can manage this:
Keep a Close Eye During Rainy Days
It can be difficult to keep your Australian Shepherd from jumping in puddles or rolling in mud. However, keeping a close eye on them during rainy periods may help. You can keep them inside on these days and take them on supervised walks.
Brush Them Regularly
Brushing your pooch does a great job of getting rid of most dirt and grime. It also helps to distribute oils more evenly and keep their coat healthy.
If your dog spends a great deal of time outdoors, it can be helpful to get into the habit of brushing them every day. Nevertheless, you should do this weekly.
Wash Their Bedding
If there is dirt on your dog’s bedding or if it smells bad, it will be tricky to keep your pooch clean. So, vacuum and wash the bedding on a regular basis. Make sure to only use mild detergent, though.
Use a Damp Cloth
Just because your pooch gets dirty doesn’t mean that a bath is the only solution. If they aren’t too muddy, then wiping them down with a damp cloth can be a good way to keep them clean without stripping their natural oils.
Wash Only Use Water
Finally, if you need to wash your dog before the recommended period, you may want to consider washing them only with water.
In most cases, it is the shampoo that strips their skin of the natural oils. As a result, skipping the shampoo every now and then may help the coat to retain some moisture.
The Top Tips for Bathing Your Australian Shepherd
Here are some important guidelines for bathing your pooch:
Brush Before Bath
Prior to bathing your pooch, you should brush them thoroughly. Make sure to use a slicker brush as well as a rake brush for their undercoat. This will work to dislodge any loose hairs that may become matted during the bath. This is also great for ensuring that your drains don’t get clogged with fur.
Some owners will brush their Australian Shepherds after their bath as well. Once again, this works well if you are worried about matting. However, if you carry out this step before you bathe your pooch, it isn’t necessary.
Avoid the Ears
Water in the ears can lead to a nasty infection, so it is important to avoid this scenario. Some owners place cotton wool in their pup’s ears to avoid getting water in them. Of course, not all dogs may be receptive to this.
If you want to, you can soak your pup’s fur right up to their head. For their face and head, clean off with a damp cloth.
Get a Good Lather
If they have a double coat, make sure that you work up a good lather. Otherwise, you will only end up cleaning the top part of your dog’s coat. This can cause them to become smelly rather quickly, resulting in you needing to bathe them sooner.
So, make sure that you work the lather well. Start from the skin and work your way outwards.
Rinse Out Shampoo Well
The double coat can also make it tricky to rinse out all the shampoo that you have just lathered on. However, this isn’t a step that you should rush, either. If your pup’s skin is exposed to shampoo for too long, it may become irritated and itchy.
Not to mention, the shampoo can cause the coat to get matted as well. This is why you should carefully rinse it out. Use a gently powered hose or shower head to work all the soap out of the fur. Pouring a few buckets of water may help to get rid of any leftover suds.
Finally, dry off your pooch thoroughly. This, too, can take time because of their fur. Use towels to absorb the moisture. Then, if your pooch is open to it, use a blow dryer on a low setting. Make sure to keep the nozzle at least six inches away from their fur at all times.
This is what you need to know about bathing your Australian Shepherd. We also looked at the reasons why it would be a bad idea to over-bathe them. You will now be more aware of the tips and tricks you can use to lengthen the time between baths.