How Often Should You Bathe A German Shepherd? 10 Bathing Tips


Every German Shepherd owner will confirm how truly special this dog breed is. These used to be herding dogs; nowadays they are loyal pets and the best guardian dogs for many families.

Most of us are aware of all of the great sides of this dog breed, but what does the proper care of a German Shepherd (GSD) include? How often should you bathe a German Shepherd? Continue reading and find out!

How Often Should You Bathe A German Shepherd?

Big beautiful German shepherd takes a bath

Every dog owner is certainly interested in knowing how often it is necessary to bathe their dog. This depends on a couple of factors. The most important thing here is of course the dog breed, the type of the GSDs coat and skin, and his everyday routine as well.

So, we are looking to answer the question: how often should you bathe the German Shepherd? The most frequent advice is to bathe a German Shepherd once every 2 to 6 months.

However, if you notice that your GSD smells really bad or he has gone too far with his outdoor activities, you should give him a bath regardless of when the last bath was undertaken.

RELATED: Male Vs Female German Shepherds: How To Choose Your Perfect Pet

Can I bathe My German Shepherd Too Often?

Have you ever heard a statement like this: “I bathe my dog at least once a week, he is super clean!”

How often should you bathe a German Shepherd? Is over-bathing of a dog possible and what about over-bathing of German Shepherds?

German Shepherds owners should definitely be careful not to go too far with regular baths for their doggy friends.

You shouldn’t let your German Shepherd smell, of course, but at the same time, you should be careful about frequent baths.

If you bathe your German Shepherd too often, the dog’s fur will become dry, since you will remove the natural oils from his skin.

There are some cases where you should bathe your German Shepherd, like when your pet is struggling with fleas, but in general, to avoid dry skin and itchiness, try not to over-bathe your GSD.

If you ever see any other changes on your dog’s skin, don’t ignore it! If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please contact a vet right away.

10 Things To Know About German Shepherds’ Bathing

Let’s find out the most important things you need to know about German Shepherd dog bathing.

1. Start With The Bathing Of Your GSD At An Early Age

Sweet little puppy in a bath tub with bubbles

All good habits are formed early. If you start bathing and maintaining your German Shepherd puppy, he will learn that bathing is a normal and healthy activity.

Since German Shepherds can be a bit skeptical about bathing, this will be really helpful to you to avoid struggling with a stubborn adult German Shepherd.

2. Make Sure You Have All The Necessary Tools!

Before your German Shepherd is in the bathtub ready to get wet, make sure all the equipment you’re going to need is right next to you. This includes the dog shampoo, a couple of towels, and a sponge if you prefer a sponge bath instead of using your fingers only.

3. What Kind Of Water Will My GSD Prefer?

Not too cold, not too hot; but perfectly warm water. Make this bathing experience pleasant for your German Shepherd and you will have fewer problems with getting him in the bathtub in the future.

4. What To Start With?

You might not want to start with the head, because your German Shepherd could get upset which will significantly slow down your bathing adventure. Instead, start with the neck and proceed your way down.

Lather and rinse, and repeat this several times.

5. You Might Have To Be Creative

german shepherd dog shaking off water

Prepare to get really wet, because German Shepherds adore shaking the water off!

If you are having a hard time getting your GSD to cooperate with you, make sure you have some treats that will keep him interested and enable you to finish up your dog’s bathing successfully.

Although it might seem that keeping a German Shepherd clean is a lot of work, please be aware of all the benefits for your pet. If you give your German Shepherd enough, but not too many baths, his skin will be healthier and his coat will get shinier.

Also, keeping your dog clean will help him get rid of possible infections or diseases.

If you establish a proper bathing routine for your German Shepherd, you will have one extra benefit – you will not have to ask yourself: Is that bad smell coming from my lovely dog friend?

6. German Shepherds Have A Double Coat

You may have noticed how beautiful your German Shepherd’s coat is.. Did you know that German Shepherds have a double coat?

The German Shepherd dog’s coat consists of an undercoat and a topcoat. Because they have so much furs, GSDs shed a lot! Still, be careful if your GSD sheds constantly.

If this is the case, it is best to check with the vet whether you should make some changes regarding the GSD’s dog food.

What is so special about the German Shepherd’s double coat? It serves as an insulator: thanks to their double coats, German Shepherds are safe from the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.

The German Shepherd’s undercoat is the one that is close to the GSD’s skin, while the topcoat, also known as the guard coat, refers to the longer hairs that we notice on German Shepherds at the first glance.

The German Shepherd’s bottom fur layer is soft, while the top layer is usually thick.

7. Before You Bath, Brush First!

Before you bathe your German Shepherd, first make sure he has been properly brushed. Regular brushing is crucial for German Shepherds to remove any loose fur and remove tangles and bits of debris.

You’ve probably realized by now that, although you don’t need to bathe a German Shepherd frequently, you definitely need to brush him very often and you’ll need to find a good quality brush for your German Shepherd !

If you can, try to brush your pet with a de-shedding brush every day. When brushing a German Shepherd’s outer coat, it is best to use a slicker brush.

By brushing him before the bath, you will remove all the dirt and loose fur before you get your GSD wet. You will be very thankful for this tip, believe me!

8. Always, But Always, Use The Proper Dog Shampoo

It is important that you know you should never use human shampoo on dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, even baby shampoos are not safe for German Shepherds – this is because they have very sensitive skin.

Our dog friends have different pH levels to ours. While ours is in the range between 4 and 5.6, theirs is between 6 and 7.2.

So, if you use the wrong shampoo, you might risk causing your dog to lose its natural sebum and natural oils.

Also, don’t forget the possible allergies! I am sure you would not like your German Shepherd to get irritation or skin problems from your using the wrong shampoo while bathing him.

Just check Amazon and you will find a variety of dog shampoos that will help you keep your dog’s skin and fur clean and soft.

9. Don’t Keep Your GSD Wet For Too Long

Make sure your German Shepherd is not left wet for too long after the bath. Why? Because keeping your dog wet for too long can cause certain skin irritations.

Also, if you don’t dry your pet thoroughly after the bath, you might risk him getting that “wet dog smell,” which is really unpleasant.

If you are wondering if you can use a hairdryer on your dog, you can but not the same one that you use for yourself. Hairdryers made for humans are pretty strong, so if you use one on your dog, you might burn its skin.

We have a solution for you. If you really want to establish a proper hygiene routine for your German Shepherd, invest in a dog grooming dryer. This will significantly shorten the bath time for your GSD!

10. Age Is Important

A nice German shepherd dog takes a bath with soap

If your GSD is a senior, you might bathe him a little bit more often than you used to do when he was a puppy.

Disclaimer: This article has not been written by a veterinarian, so, attention to all dog owners: these tips can be very helpful in your German Shepherd’s grooming, however, if you have additional questions related to the health of your dog, please contact a veterinarian or a professional breeder!

Additional Steps Of German Shepherd’s Hygiene

What else should you pay attention to when it comes to your German Shepherd’s hygiene?

Nail Trimming

Nail trimming frequency depends on the kind of surfaces that your German Shepherd usually walks on. For example, if your dog runs on gravel or pavements, you will probably not even have to trim its nails, because they will be worn down naturally.

However, if your doggy doesn’t usually walk on those kinds of surfaces, you should trim its nails at least once a month. Just like you need to introduce them to the bathing routine at an early age, you should also show the nail clipper early to your German Shepherd puppy.

A dog’s nails are very sensitive, so try to be as gentle as possible while cutting them. Also, don’t forget to reward your German Shepherd for good behavior after you’ve finished doing its nails.

Pay Special Attention To Dental Care!

Are you wondering how important dental care for your German Shepherd really is? Well, just like humans can have problems with bad breath, plaque, or tartar, so can dogs!

It is extremely important you brush your German Shepherd’s teeth very often, even on a daily basis, if you are able to. Just like with shampoos, there are special toothpastes for dogs, so you shouldn’t use toothpastes for humans on your pet.

Toothpastes for dogs are made in a way that your pet can swallow them without any harm.

Don’t Forget The Ears!

German shepherd in towel sitting inside

Since German Shepherd’s ears stand upright, they usually have problems with a lot of dirt in their ears. Therefore, you should clean your dog’s ears every week.
You can clean the outside area of the ear with a damp cloth, but be careful not to put anything in the inside of the ear. Dog’s ears are very sensitive so you should consult your veterinarian on the subject of which wax you should use for your German Shepherd’s ears.
Learn more on these dogs’ ears in our article on the German Shepherd ears chart.

Contacting A Professional?

Perhaps all seems a little too much for you, but you want your German Shepherd to have the proper care. Then you should definitely not hesitate to contact a professional dog groomer for the bathing and grooming of your German Shepherd.

Try to find the most reputable dog groomer in your area to be sure your German Shepherd is in good hands!

Additional Tip: There Is A Dry Shampoo For Dogs Too!

You bathed your German Shepherd a few days ago but today he decided to be a little naughty and wallow in the mud? Do you really have to repeat the whole bathing process after just a few days?

Don’t worry because there is one quick and effective solution – dry shampoo for dogs! By using dry shampoo, you will be able to clean areas that are dirty or smelly, without having your German Shepherd all wet again.

This shampoo is great for cases like the one described or if you just want your pet to be fresh in the period between two baths.

Do be aware that this is an additional cost to an already pricy dog, grooming especially.


We hope this has answered your question about how often should you bathe a German Shepherd.

Remember to use the proper dog shampoo, don’t forget your GSD’s ears and teeth. Try to find a perfect balance between infrequent bathing and excessive bathing. Your favorite long-haired friend will be immensely grateful to you!

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