Ideally, you should bathe your German Shepherd puppy two or three times a year to preserve the coat’s natural oils, which protect his skin and undercoat.
“Young puppies in particular really don’t need to be bathed often,” says American Kennel Club Judge and German Shepherd Dog expert Dr. Carmen Battaglia. “The puppy coat is soft and cottonlike. Little by little, as your German Shepherd puppy grows – between 8 weeks to 6 months old – an adult coat will replace his puppy coat. During that time, there’s no advantage to bathing unless your puppy is really dirty.”
If your German Shepherd puppy happens to get muddy, Battaglia suggests simply rinsing the dog down. Let him shake off the water, then back brush his coat and dry him off with a towel.
When it’s time to bathe your German Shepherd puppy, he will feel comfortable with being handled during bath time if he is used to getting groomed. Bathing your GSD puppy doesn’t have to be a monumental challenge; it’s just a matter of following a few simple steps:
1. Wet your German Shepherd with warm water (always check the temperature first), using a hose or shower attachment. Start at the back of your puppy’s neck, holding the hose close to his coat and dragging it all the way to his tail. Sweep the hose back and forth, letting the water saturate your dog’s undercoat.
2. Using puppy shampoo and a soft cloth or sponge, lather your German Shepherd from the top of his head, down his chest and legs, to his sides and to the end of his tail, making sure to keep soap off his face.
3. Use the hose to thoroughly rinse off the shampoo, starting at the top of your dog’s head and keeping the hose pressed to his coat. As the water gets under the coat, the dirty, soapy water will roll off his sides. Repeat this step two or three times, paying special attention to the areas under your puppy’s neck and in his armpits where soap can become trapped.
4. Rub your hand over your German Shepherd’s coat to make sure there aren’t any soap bubbles or residue. This is an important step. Soap left on your puppy’s skin can cause it to become dry, irritated and itchy.
5. Release your German Shepherd so he can shake out his coat.
6. Back brush his coat using a soft brush.
7. Towel him off.
Excerpt from the Popular Puppies Series magabook German Shepherd Puppies with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc.