Despite their thick coat, German Shepherds should only be bathed every two to three months. Find out why over bathing your dog is a bad idea, as well as how to create a proper bathing schedule for them below.
How Often Should You Bathe Your German Shepherd?
There is no set schedule for how often you should bathe your German Shepherd. This depends on how dirty your German Shepherd is as well as the condition of their skin and coat.
Some owners bathe their German Shepherds every two to three months. Others bathe their dogs every three to four months. A few people only bathe their dogs twice a year.
You will need to decide what interval suits you and your dog best.
What you should avoid in this case is over bathing. Try not to bathe your dog every week or month. This will damage your dog’s skin and coat.
What a lot of people fail to realize is that a German Shepherd’s skin naturally produces oils for their skin and coat. This is what keeps them healthy and gives them a shine.
Every time you wash your dog’s coat, you’re getting rid of these oils. Wash your dog too often and you might strip them of these oils, causing the skin to become dry and the coat to become brittle and unhealthy.
Overbathing your dog can also trigger another reaction. Your dog’s skin might begin to produce an excess of oils to counteract the dryness. This will cause your dog’s skin and coat to feel more oily, leading you to bathe them more often and allowing this vicious cycle to continue.
How Often Can You Bathe German Shepherd Puppies?
Avoid bathing your German Shepherd puppy when they are too young. Some owners will wait until their puppies are several months old before bathing them.
On average, wait until your puppy is three or four months old before giving them a proper bath. If they have been given a vaccination, wait at least a week or two before immersing them in water.
It is best to avoid bathing your puppy unless necessary. If they get dirty often, try wiping them down with a damp cloth to get rid of the muck.
Just because you can’t bathe your puppy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get them used to groom, however. Make sure that your puppy is comfortable with you brushing and handling them. This will make bath time a lot easier.
What Should You Consider When Creating a Bathing Schedule?
To decide whether or not your pup needs a bath, consider the following factors:
Is Your Dog Very Dirty?
A bath should be reserved for when your dog is very dirty or muddy. If you can brush the grit and debris off, they aren’t dirty enough for a bath. In case your dog is covered in mud, something sticky, or anything that can’t be removed with a brush, you can bathe them.
Does Your Dog Smell?
If your dog is smelly, it’s time to bathe him or her. On average, German Shepherds don’t smell bad, particularly if they are groomed regularly. When their coat begins to smell, it typically means that there is a build-up of oils.
If your dog’s coat smells bad regularly, however, this could mean something else. Take your dog to the vet to make sure they don’t have a skin fungus or infection.
Is Your Dog’s Coat Oily?
Another sign that your dog needs a bath is that its coat feels oily to the touch. If the oil comes away on your hands, it means your dog is overdue.
If the oil is only on the undercoat, this is not an issue. Simply brush your dog thoroughly, so that the oils are spread throughout the coat.
What are the Signs That You are Over Bathing Your Dog?
As mentioned, every German Shepherd is different. Some dogs have hardier coats that can stand up to more regular baths. Others can only be washed sparingly. Here are some signs that will let you know whether you’re bathing your dog too often:
- Dull coat
- Dry or flaky skin
- Your dog itching themselves
If you notice any of these issues, make sure to take your dog to the vet. They will show you how to get your dog’s coat back into good shape. If your dog has particularly sensitive skin, your vet may need to prescribe your dog a special shampoo to avoid such issues.
How Can You Avoid Giving Your German Shepherd Too Many Baths?
Follow these tips to extend the time between your German Shepherd’s bath times:
How Often Should You Brush Your Dog?
German Shepherds’ coats are fairly resistant to dirt and grit. Heading out into wooded areas or dog parks does increase the chance of your dog getting dirtier. Due to this, make it a habit to thoroughly brush your dog after every outdoor expedition.
If your German Shepherd spends a lot of time outdoors, brush him or her more frequently. Make sure to use brushes for the undercoat as well as the outer coat. Not only do you need to get rid of more grit, but you can also help to spread the oils throughout the coat for healthier, shinier fur.
How Can You Prevent Them from Getting Muddy?
The main reason German Shepherds need more frequent baths is that they get muddy. This is why it is best to keep them inside on rainy days. Only let them out if you can keep an eye on them and prevent them from playing in the mud or puddles.
If you are taking them for a walk, keep a good grip on their leash and stick to proper paths, instead of heading out onto the grass.
How Can You Get Rid of Grime?
Your pup is inevitably going to be covered in grime in between baths. If you don’t want to bathe your dog too soon, get a damp cloth and wipe down the dirty areas. You can even wipe them down from head to toe. However, avoid wetting their fur too much in the process.
This article outlines how often you need to bathe German Shepherds. It’s a case of less is more, so bathe your pooch sparingly. Use some of the alternative methods to increase the time in between baths if needed.