How Often Should You Bathe a German Shepherd and How to Do It Properly

Dog washing is quite a debatable topic and depends on the tone with which you ask. Perhaps your German Shepherd loves to bathe and you wonder if you wash them too often. Or, more likely, your shepherd would rather wait for the dirt to ever fall off on its own, but that doesn’t suit you too well.

In fact, how often to wash depends on your dog’s health and activity, the condition of his skin and coat, your preferences and habits, and even the time of year. Let’s break down how often should you bathe a German Shepherd.

How often should you bathe a german shepherd: 9 points to do

Factors Affecting How Often Should You Bathe a German Shepherd

A dog healthy with a short smooth coat that does not have skin problems does not need to be bathed often. In most cases, washing dogs brings more joy to the owners than to the animals themselves.

It is recommended to bathe the German Shepherd at least once every two to three months. Bathing a German Shepherd gives you a great opportunity to check it for body problems or seals that may indicate serious health problems.

However, in some cases it may be useful to arrange bathe your German Shepherd more often. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding how often to bathe a German Shepherd.

German Shepherd activity level

If the German Shepherd is very active and spends a lot of time outside, it should probably be bathed more often, especially if it regularly swims in reservoirs or messes around in mud.

Even sports two German Shepherds that are not prone to getting dirty may need more frequent bathing to control the smell. Washing the German Shepherd after a walk will be appreciated not only by the pet itself, but also by your pets.

Coat or skin type of German Shepherd

According to the American Kennel Club, loose hair and curly-haired dogs usually require more frequent washing and care in order to avoid tangling of the coat. Dog lover also recommends bathing such dogs at least once every four to six weeks with regular combing between bathing to care for the dog’s coat.

Shorthair breeds, such as the Labrador Retriever, who do not have health problems, do not need to wash often. They can be bathed about once every three months.

What should I do if you have a German Shepherd without fur? Washing dogs without coat, such as the Chinese crested, whose skin is not protected by fur, is necessary weekly. German Shepherds with oily skin, such as Cocker spaniels and Basset hounds, will also benefit from more frequent baths, which will prevent the accumulation of fat on the skin.

A German Shepherd is badly soiled in mud

Allergic reactions or skin problems of German Shepherd

Some two German Shepherds suffer from skin allergies or skin diseases that require regular bathing with therapeutic shampoo. In such cases, the correct frequency of bathing the pet will depend on the recommendations of a veterinarian or groomer.

If the German Shepherd itches after washing, regular baths with colloidal oat shampoo can help it. German Shepherds that do not respond well to oral or topical remedies for parasites may need regular baths to control fleas and ticks.

However, you may not realize your German Shepherd has a significant problem with common allergens until the reaction affects their skin. Although allergies can develop at any age, the allergic reactions most likely to trigger German Shepherd skin issues generally appear between the ages of one and three years.

3 Common German Shepherd Skin Issues by Vetericyn Animal Wellness

Your health and comfort

Sometimes more frequent bathe your German Shepherd is beneficial to the owner. For example, if you are allergic to pet dandruff, or if a puppy has a tendency to bring allergens into the house from the street.

Regular bathe your German Shepherd and cleaning its fur will help you breathe easier. And if you allow your pet to lie on the couch or in your bed, bathing at the first signs of an unpleasant smell will make life easier for everyone around you.

There is another side to the coin. Having pets at home with their germs trains the human immune system:

There has been much work aimed at the effects of dog ownership on allergies and asthma in humans, exemplified by a recent study demonstrating that exposure to pets and farm animals reduces the risk of childhood asthma

National Library of Medicine

How Much Bathing Is Too Much for Your GSD?

If you are wondering how often you can bathe your German Shepherd, you need to know that excessive washing can do harm. Bathe your German Shepherd too often can deprive a German Shepherd of natural fats necessary for the health of the coat and skin irritation, according to Reader’s Digest.

If the German Shepherd itches after bathing, the reason may be dryness and dullness of the coat and itching of the sensitive skin. If you need to bathe your pet more than once a month, be sure to use a moisturizing shampoo for German Shepherds or apply a moisturizing conditioner for dogs after washing, which will make up for the lack of natural moisture.

Should you wash your GSD in winter

Winter is not the most favorable time of year for bathing. If you keep your German Shepherd outside in an enclosure, washing is strictly forbidden. Wet coat makes the dog sensitive to the cold and provokes illness.

If you keep your GSD inside, you can wash it on the condition that a few hours, and preferably overnight, pass before the next walk. But still shampoos wash off not only the dirt, but also the fatty film that protects against the cold.

A German Shepherds sits in snow yard

For how to keep your German Shepherd dog from the cold, see our post How Cold Is Too Cold for German Shepherd: Rules for Winter Keeping.

If you are still not sure how often you should bathe your German Shepherd, ask a veterinary specialist or a groomer about it. Taking into account the breed, health status and lifestyle of the German Shepherd, they will be able to give individual recommendations on how many times to bathe the German Shepherd and how to choose the necessary funds for this procedure. Expert advice will help you keep the German Shepherd clean and maintain its health.

How to Bathe German Shepherds?

Before the procedure, make sure that you have clothes in which you will bathe your German Shepherds. While washing the German Shepherd, things will get wet, and you need to be prepared for this.

Prepare and take to the bath the accessories necessary for bathing the German Shepherd. It is better to do this in advance, rather than trying to find the missing items when the pet shakes off the water and wants to jump out of the bath.

To wash a German Shepherd, buy such products:

  • Shampoo for German Shepherds (helps to get rid of dead skin cells and remove dirt).
  • Comb, slicker brush (helps to get rid of dead skin cells), which correspond to the breed and type of pet’s coat. If you don’t know which one to buy, consult with people who work with your or a similar breed, natural oils (natural oils they help to make the wool softer, as well as natural oils give a pleasant smell, protect outer coat).A hair dryer for German Shepherd puppies is usually needed to wash a loose hair and long–haired German Shepherd. It is better not to use human.
  • Several terry towels that absorb water well.

The larger the animal, the more towels you need to take. One needs to be laid on the floor, the second – on the bottom of the bath, so that the pet does not slide along the bottom. Alternatively, the fabric can be replaced with a rubber mat.

Another towel will be needed to cover the wet German Shepherd bathing, between washing and rinsing. The fourth will dry the German Shepherd.

Is It Possible to Wash a German Shepherd with Shampoo

The German Shepherd puppy should be washed with shampoo, which is designed specifically for dogs.

A quality tool:

  • Gives instructions on how to properly wash with shampoo.
  • Takes into account the acidity of dog’s coat.
  • Contains ingredients that gently affect the wool and sensitive skin, do not dry out.
  • Easily washed off.

Neutral, odorless. Buy such a tool, even if there is a question of how to wash the German Shepherd puppy so that it does not stink of a dogs. When the coat dries, there will be no smell of the dogs.

They contain moisturizing ingredients that help the skin and coat to maintain a healthy appearance and shine.

Does not cause tears if accidentally gets into the eyes.

How often can I wash my dogs with shampoo? This should be done every time you bathe a pet.

A German Shepherd puppy gets used to washing

Is it possible to wash a dog with human shampoo

A simple best shampoo can not be used, because skin healthy problems are possible. The fact is that the acidity of human skin is pH 5.5, while the dog’s varies between 6.2 – 7.5.

Therefore, human soap removes too much fat from the German Shepherd puppy skin, unnecessarily drying it. It can cause itching, dandruff, peeling, especially with frequent washing. It also makes the dogs more vulnerable to fleas, ticks, infections.

Washing with human soap is undesirable because of the smell. The owner may like the aroma of strawberries, but the dogs will not be thrilled, and will do everything to get rid of it. For example, he will go outside and roll out in a rotten mess. For this reason, the dogs should be washed with a neutral, odorless product.

Do not forget about the composition of human shampoos. Even if you wash off the water very carefully, the particles on the wool will remain. It can be licked by a most German Shepherds during daily hygiene procedures, which can provoke allergies and other problems.

Is it possible to wash a dog with soap

If you do not know how to wash your dog at home, never take soap, including household and tar. Like a soap, the product washes out too much fat from the dog’s skin, making it vulnerable to environmental influences. In addition, the soap is poorly washed off, the remains dry up and turn into dandruff. If it gets into the eyes, it causes tearing.

Can I bathe my GSD every week?

We do not recommend that you wash your dog more than twice a month. Once a month will be too many baths if the dog has no skin issues or not too thick coat. Also, if there are no special cases in the form of exhibitions or the dog is not dirty in the mud.

Top German Shepherd Hygiene Issues

How to Prepare a Dog for Bathing

If the pet has a long German Shepherd’s coat, comb it before bathing, otherwise it will get tangled and tangles will appear.

Place cotton swabs in the dog’s ears so that water does not get inside during washing. This is especially important for animals with straight ears. After bathing, do not forget to take out the tampons.

Put more oil and towels near the bathtub so that you don’t have to run to the other end of the apartment after the start of washing. Put one towel on the bottom of the tub, otherwise the slippery surface will alert the other breeds and he will try to jump out.

Praise your dog’s good behavior

Close the drain with a bath sieve so that the wool does not go into the sewer and does not clog the drain during washing. Remove anything that makes your GSD nervous beforehand. Have toys and treats ready to encourage him.

Warm the water to the desired temperature, it should not burn. For long haired German Shepherd of large breeds, the cooler the better, otherwise they may overheat. It is not necessary to regulate the temperature during washing, when the pet will already be in the bathroom. A sudden jet of boiling water will turn him away from the procedure.

How to Properly Wash a Dog at Home

When you wash your pet, talk to him in a calm, soothing voice. Constantly praise the dog, in the end – give a treat. If the pet does not want to swim, you can put a leash on him, but it is better to lead him to the bath, encouraging and treating him with sweets.

How to properly bathe a dog

  1. The dog should be bathed under running warm water, there is no need to take a bath.
  2. Put your pet in the bath on a towel or rubberized mat.
  3. Completely wet the animal, right down to the skin healthy.
  4. Squeeze shampoo onto your hand.
  5. Start washing from the neck, gradually moving to the tail and toes. The shampoo barrier at the base of the skull will not allow fleas, ticks to escape into the ears (at this stage, it is important to rub the shampoo well so that it reaches the double coat, the double coat may also contain dead cells).
  6. Do not rub the dog too actively, otherwise tangles may appear.
  7. The head should be washed last. Proceed carefully, make sure that the foam does not get into dog’s eyes and ears.
  8. When every inch of the dog has been treated, rinse off the shampoo. If it dries on the skin and coat, it can cause dermatitis, itching, dandruff.
  9. After that, rinse the dog with water several more times. This will allow the dog to stay clean for a long time.
How to properly bathe a German Shepherd

Brushing German Shepherds

Ideally, a German Shepherd with a “normal” length of wool is combed twice a week, first using a massage metal brush, then a comb. Long-haired Germans are combed out three times a week with a comb, a comb with frequent teeth and a fluff brush.

It is necessary to comb the shepherd dog carefully so that the hygienic procedure does not cause discomfort and even more painful unpleasant sensations. If the pet turns, breaks out and in every way interferes with the procedure, do not yell at the dog.

How to brush a German Shepherd

Calm the animal with a gentle tone, give the command “Stand” or “Sit” in a strict tone. After carrying out the manipulations, be sure to praise the pet, treat it with an encouraging treat. The coat is combed in the direction of the growth of the coat, not forgetting to comb the combs and tail well.

Systematic combing of wool has a beneficial effect on the dog’s skin of the animal, stimulates the growth and renewal of the coat, and is also an excellent way to examine a pet for dangerous ticks lurking in thick wool, to identify signs of disease (wounds, injuries, allergic manifestations).

How to make your dog smell clean between bathing?

To make you GSD smell nicer, use vinegar and water. It can be just a 50/50 solution of organic apple cider vinegar and water. If your dog doesn’t mind the spray gun, spray it with the mixture and wipe off the excess with a cotton rag. If he doesn’t like being sprayed, use a natural sponge to apply the solution.

Sometimes ear hygiene is needed to eliminate bad odor. This is a procedure that you should train your German Shepherd from a very young age. See our recent post on how to do this. Preventive cleaning of the German Shepherd’s ears can be done every week, and proper cleaning can be done on bath day.

Finally, check yourself out with this video by Little Paws Training:

FAQ: Top German Shepherd Hygiene Issues

Can I wash my German Shepherd once a month?

Yes, in general, washing once a month is normal for an adult dog with no health problems, no skin diseases, no mental disorders. Since German Shepherds usually have short hair, it does not get remove dirt too often and too much.

How often do German Shepherds need brushing?

Normal-length German Shepherds are usually brushed twice a week, first with a massage metal brush, then with a comb. Long-haired Germans are combed three times a week with a comb, a fine-toothed comb and a down brush.

How do I keep my German Shepherd smelling good?

To keep your dog smelling good, use dry shampoos that do not require rinsing. Scented oils will make the coat smell nicer and make brushing it easier. Also, you should also monitor your GSD’s oral hygiene, as the odor may come from more than just his coat. Brush your dog’s teeth at least once every two weeks or more often as needed.


I hope we were able to answer the question how often should you bathe a German Shepherd.

Remember that German Shepherds love warm water because it does not burn thick double coats.

Malena Parker

I run this blog and I want to share with you useful information about the life, health, and care of a German Shepherd

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