German Shepherds have a beautiful thick coat, requiring regular and thorough care. In the first place, it involves the correct selection of a full-fledged diet and various hygienic procedures. The owner of such a dog should know exactly what and when to do to ensure that the coat of the pet is properly cared for.
How often and at what age should you bathe your dog?
Often German Shepherds tolerate water procedures and love to bathe if they were accustomed to it from an early age.
Bathing a German Shepherd puppy should not be started until he is three months old. During this time, the pet’s body is strong enough to tolerate water procedures without consequences for health. Until the age of three months, wiping the baby’s fur with a wet cloth or tissue is enough.
Later on, an adult kept in an apartment should be bathed with special products two to four times a year: in autumn, spring and summer. In winter, the coat is sometimes cleaned with snow outside. Water procedures performed in winter can cause the dog to fall ill. If there is an urgent need to bathe the pet during this period, the room allocated for bathing should be well prepared and warmed up.
If your dog gets dirty on a walk, wash him under the shower or use a wet towel to wipe his coat.
If your pet is clearly attracted to water procedures in summer, you can shower him after walks.
When keeping a Shepherd Dog in an apartment, you should wash it during the following periods:
- after shedding;
- 7 days before the treatment against parasites (ticks, fleas, and others);
- before the dog shows.
If the pet is kept in an aviary, bathing is performed no more than three times a year. With more frequent bathing, the protective layer of fat is washed away from the dog’s hair, which may lead to catching colds.
Small puppies should not be bathed several days before vaccination and during the 14-day quarantine after vaccination. The first vaccinations are given quite early, at 6 weeks or 2 months of age. Bathing a puppy at 1 or 2 months is still too early. After vaccinations, the baby’s body is weakened, and bathing can provoke complications.
How to bathe GSD at home
Before the first procedure of bathing a puppy, it is necessary to make preparations. The dog’s attitude towards the following baths depends on how it goes this time. Try to communicate with the puppy calmly and gently, not frighten him with harsh motions. Allow him to settle in by sniffing and looking around in the bathtub. After that, you can start bathing your German Shepherd puppy.
What you need for bathing at home
Prepare in advance everything you may need for the procedure:
- First, provide the bottom of the tub with a non-slip surface – a cloth or rubber mat – to prevent your dog from slipping.
- Wear clothing suitable for this kind of procedure (a waterproof apron).
- Lay out plant or castor oil for your dog’s eyes and cotton pads for his ears in an easy-to-access area. These items are necessary to minimize discomfort from soapy foam or water getting into your pet’s sensitive organs.
- You can use a disposable shower cap to keep soap out of your puppy’s ears.
- Get shampoo for dogs’ coats from a specialist store. Do not use soap on your Shepherd.
- Prepare a bathing towel.
Remember to take your pet for a proper walk outside before bathing. Otherwise, he will want to go for a walk again afterward and may get dirty or catch a cold.
How to bathe a German Shepherd puppy
Treat your puppy’s first water procedure like bathing a newborn baby. Prepare carefully and anticipate everything beforehand.
Steps of bathing your puppy for the first time:
- Fill the tub with water so that it covers the pet’s paws or reaches most to the dog’s chest. Make sure the water temperature does not exceed 35-36 degrees Celsius.
- Drop one drop of plant oil in the pet’s eyes and place cotton pads in his ears.
- Place the dog in the bathtub and shower the pet’s fur all over except the head.
- Using a special shampoo and sponge, thoroughly soap his entire body, including his paws, belly, and neck.
- Rinse off the foam with your shower. Repeat if necessary. Don’t leave detergents on your pet’s skin: their fur tends to clump together in these areas, and dogs’ skin can be irritated by chemicals.
- Turn off the water, take the pads out of the dog’s ears and treat its ears with oil.
- Wrap your puppy in a towel and get him out of the tub. Try your best to dry the pet’s fur as much as possible. If the coat is still partially wet, let the puppy shake it off and dry himself by running around the house. If the puppy is not afraid of loud noises, try drying the coat with a hairdryer.
After bathing, Shepherd fur dries for about 3 hours.
Try to bathe your pet in 10 minutes. Exclude the possibility of draughts in the room to avoid the risk of catching a cold.
After washing, walks are allowed only after 3 hours.
How to bathe a German Shepherd outdoors
In the summer heat, you can bathe your German Shepherd puppy in an open pond every day, starting at the age of 4 months. Such procedures will help strengthen the dog’s muscles and are great for stimulating his physical development.
If you take your pet to a river or lake, pay attention to the state of the body of water and the shore before bathing. Are there any sharp objects, shards of glass, or other trash visible? Such precautions will help avoid unwanted injuries and poisoning of your pet.
After examining the area, let your dog off the leash and allow him to get acclimated to his new surroundings. German Shepherds are not timid, but each animal has its own personality traits.
Swimming in a body of water is good for strengthening muscles and joints.
How to act at a body of water:
- If you see that your puppy is scared and takes his time getting into the water, don’t try to drag or throw him in forcefully. Start by stepping into the water and calling out to your dog. Due to their high degree of trust in their owner, Shepherds are then eager to follow.
- If he doesn’t follow your call, try luring him into the pond with a toy or stick. Don’t forget to use the “Fetch!” command.
- When the weather is nice, there’s no need to dry your dog’s coat with a towel after a swim. Allow him to dry naturally, play and run with him.
After sickness, it is better to wait about ten days after the pet has recovered before bathing.
German Shepherd coat care procedures
The German Shepherd’s fur is one of the main indicators of a pet’s health. If the coat falls out or it is dull and broken, it indicates a disease or lack of vitamins in the animal.
German Shepherds are divided into long-haired and short-haired according to the fur coat.
Their coats need daily brushing. While brushing, dirt, dust, and dander are removed from the coat and skin. At the same time, skin diseases are effectively prevented, and blood circulation and metabolism in the pet are stimulated.
The following tools are necessary for taking care of the coat:
- A frequent brush for the massage effect (for long-haired – with long teeth, for short-haired – with short teeth).
- Metal comb: used to detangle fleece hair.
- Scrubbing brush: used during the seasonal shedding of the pet and for detangling the tangles.
In brushing, it is necessary to release the brush from the clogged hair and dirt periodically. If your pet is calm, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a small brush attachment.
After dry brushing, wet-clean the coat with a special mop, then dry the coat with a dry towel, and do not forget to wipe the eyes and ears with a wet cloth.
There are special complex procedures designed to care for the fur and skin of animals, the so-called grooming. It includes:
- brushing the pet’s coat;
- bathing and drying;
- claw care;
- ear cleaning;
- brushing the dog’s teeth.
The German Shepherd is not the kind of breed whose coat needs to be shaped often. The correct shape of the coat is inherent in its nature. But for hygienic purposes, experts recommend grooming German Shepherds by trimming the hair around the anus and between the pet's toes.
The first bath of a 3-month-old puppy is an important procedure, which imposes its mark on all subsequent baths. Therefore, it is worth preparing in advance, behave with the puppy gently and calmly. It is recommended to bathe apartment dogs with special products no more than four times a year and the aviary dogs no more than three times.