Things to Look for in a Shampoo for a German Shepherd
It’s a good idea to keep the following in mind when you’re looking for the best shampoo for German Shepherds:
Choosing a shampoo made from high-quality ingredients ensures it’s safe for your dog’s skin and won’t cause irritation or dryness. Natural ingredients are best where possible.
The shampoo you choose should ideally be soap-free. You might wonder how a shampoo can be soap-free, but it simply means that it’s free of harsh chemicals (known as soaping agents) that can be bad for dogs.
Dog shampoo should also be PH-balanced to ensure it’s the right PH for your dog’s skin. The American Kennel Club explains: “Human skin has a normal pH balance of 5.5-5.6, which is on the acidic side. Dogs, on the other hand, have a normal pH balance of 6.2-7.4, which is more neutral.” A PH-balanced shampoo protects your dog’s skin and coat, keeping it healthy.
Gentle on Skin
German Shepherds can be prone to skin issues, such as dry skin and skin irritation. This is more likely if your dog has had skin issues in the past. Therefore, it’s important that you choose a shampoo that will be gentle on their skin.
Choosing a shampoo with high-quality ingredients will be key for this. It’s also a good idea to look for ingredients that will be moisturising, soothing, and calming. Some shampoos may be hypoallergenic, organic, or contain mostly natural ingredients: all of which are good indicators that they will be gentle for your dog’s skin.
Suitable for Lifestage
If your dog is a puppy, it’s important to choose a shampoo that’s suitable for their lifestage. You can purchase specific puppy shampoos, which are formulated to be safe and gentle for young pups. Some regular shampoos will be gentle enough that they can be used on puppies: always check the label to make sure.
Value isn’t just about the price when you’re choosing a shampoo for your dog. High-quality ingredients add value. If you have a large dog or a multi-dog household, shampoos available in large bottles can be worth the investment and be better value long-term.
Some shampoos may have specific purposes or features. For example, you might be looking for the best deshedding shampoo for German Shepherds, or a shampoo that’s deodorizing, or moisturizing. Keep an eye out for a shampoo that suits your dog’s specific needs.
German Shepherd Coat Basics
German Shepherds have medium to long coats. They’re double coated, which means their coat is thick with 2 layers: a soft undercoat and a dense outer coat. They shed quite frequently throughout the year, and once or twice a year they shed a lot.
Due to their thick coat, they need frequent grooming to keep them healthy, happy, and looking their best (and to keep your home clean and tidy). As we mentioned earlier, German Shepherds can be prone to dry skin and skin issues, so it’s crucial to bear this in mind in their grooming routine.
Grooming provides an opportunity to keep an eye on the health of their skin and coat. With regular grooming you’ll be able to notice rashes, lumps, bumps, hotspots, fleas, ticks, and any other skin irritations quickly and deal with them as soon as possible.
How to Bath Your German Shepherd
German Shepherds don’t need to be bathed often unless they’re very dirty. Typically, once every 4 to 5 months is enough. Bathing your German Shepherd too frequently strips their skin and coat of their natural oils, which makes them more susceptible to skin issues.
It’s always a good idea to get your dog used to baths when they’re young, so they find the process less stressful. Most dogs don’t like baths, but it’s necessary so make it fun by giving them lots of praise and treats.
Here are some basic bathing tips to guide you:
- Always brush your dog before bathing them to ensure they’re free of mats and tangles
- Use warm water during the bath to make sure your pup is comfortable
- Wet them starting from the neck and working your way down towards the tail: don’t be afraid to use lots of water to make sure their thick, dense coat is completely wet
- Lather the shampoo on your hands or a washcloth and rub it into your dog’s coat in firm, circular motions (ensure you reach their undercoat)
- When it’s time to rinse, ensure you’re thorough as left-over shampoo residue can cause skin irritation (if you’re in doubt, rinse twice)
- Let them shake off and then use a towel to dry them (you might need 2)
- You can let them air dry, or you if you have a dog-safe drier you can dry them off to save time
- Brush their coat again when it’s dry to get rid of mats and tangles and ensure they’re looking in tip top condition
Aside from bathing your German Shepherd, they will need to be brushed regularly. Every other day is recommended to keep their coat tangle tree and reduce shedding around your home.
Since the breed has a double coat, it’s important that they’re never shaved or clipped. Instead, a trim now and then can keep their coat tidy. They should also regularly have their nails trimmed, usually once a month.
If you’re not confident at trimming your dog’s coat and nails at home, you can take them to a professional groomer. You should also regularly clean your dog’s eyes and ears. They should have a regular oral hygiene routine to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Shampoo for German Shepherd FAQ
How often should you bathe your German Shepherd?
You should only bathe your German Shepherd once every 4 to 5 months unless they get very dirty.
Should you use conditioner on your German Shepherd?
The use of conditioner isn’t vital, but some people like to use 1 to add extra moisture and shine to their dog’s coat.
Can you use human shampoo on your German Shepherd?
No, as we mentioned earlier, human skin has a different PH than dogs. Therefore, human shampoo can cause skin irritation and discomfort for your dog.
Bath time is not often fun for dogs, but it’s necessary to keep them clean and smelling fresh. The right shampoo can help to keep your dog’s coat healthy and looking great.
Jan Reisen, (2021), “Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?” American Kennel Club.