Grooming an Australian shepherd

Grooming an Australian shepherd

Australian shepherds make wonderful companion dogs. They were originally bred to be herding dogs. But are nowadays widely used as family dogs Australian shepherds require regular grooming and care. All three sizes of the breed have almost the same grooming procedures and requirements.

Coat care

Australian shepherds have striking luxurious coats. Which is the defining feature of the breed. They have a moderate shedding level and shed all year like any other double-coated dog breed. They blow their coats twice a year Aussies have medium-length coats. Which has two layers the outer layer Is water and weather-resistant. It’s coarse and works as a protective layer. The undercoat is thick and soft it works as an insulating layer shielding them from both hot and cold temperatures.

 Benefits of brushing 

Regular brushing is more important than bathing. When it comes to the care of a coat.  Brushing helps you get rid of debris and loose hairs and minimize shedding. And is an excellent way for removing knots and matted hairs. It also stimulates their skin to produce more oils. This in turn makes the fur healthier and shinier. Brushing also gives you a chance to examine your dog’s skin for lumps infections and external parasites.

Brushing puppies

Start brushing early when the puppy is around 8 weeks old. Early exposure to brushing is essential to make them use the process. At such a young age they are not familiar with the grooming tools. And may resist the process but you can overcome this with praise and treats. Make every session Enjoyable and rewarding for your puppy. Puppies are born with a single fluffy coat that works to regulate their body temperature. Around 46 months of age, they shed their puppy coat and develop a more resilient adult coat. You will notice a change in the color length and texture of the coat. Aussie puppies don’t need a lot of brushing or coat care. It’s just to make them used to the process. Brush them daily for a short time and use gentle growing tools for puppies that do not pull their fur.

The process of brushing 

Grooming an Australian shepherd

Choose a quiet and comfortable place where your dogs will not be disturbed or distracted. Aussies  Should be brushed outside, especially during their shedding seasons. When they shed heavily first you need to detangle his hair. You can use some detailing spray to soften the tangles. If there are any matted balls of fur that cannot be cleared with a brush. Use grooming scissors to trim them off. Start brushing with a slicker brush. Start from the neck and work your way down towards the tail. Give short smooth strokes in the direction of hair growth do not brush against.

The grain of hair gives special attention to the areas where they have thicker fur. Such as the belly neck and legs. Avoid pulling off their fur. Next use an undercoat rake or a long tooth comb to take out any trapped hairs in the undercoat. And make sure not to injure the skin with the undercoat. Finally use a bristle brush to take out any remaining loose hairs from the coat. And distribute national oils give long strokes in the direction of hair growth. After the brushing, the session praises your dog and gives them treats. This way he associates the process with a positive experience. 

How often to do brushing

Australian shepherds are athletic dogs and they love outdoor activities. They love to play in the water. Which means their coats will be filled with dirt and debris. Brush your dog at least once or twice a week. This helps to remove dead loose hairs and prevent mats from forming. If not brushed regularly their coats can become dull and unhealthy. And will also develop mattes and tangles. However, they need more brushing. During their shedding seasons, Australian shepherds shed their coats twice a year. During Spring and fall and need more frequent brushing during those seasons.

Blowing of coat

Aussie shed their coats twice a year in the Spring and fall. It’s a completely natural process for dogs with double-layered coats. In which old stands of hair are replaced by new hairs. Generally called blowing of coat. It’s the seasonal shedding of the coat. In Spring they shed their thicker winter coats to make room for thinner summer coats. The reverse happens in the fall the heaviest blow is in the Spring.

When they are shedding their winter coats. Aussies do shed but not as much as German shepherd dogs. This blowing of the coat results in a lot of shedding. You’ll see clumps of hair strands falling out of their undercoat. There will be fur all around the house. This lasts for about two to four weeks during their shedding seasons. They need to be brushed daily it will be a very bad idea to shave your Australian Shepherd.

No shaving 

Grooming an Australian shepherd

Shaving may work for single-coat dogs since their hair grows back normally. It’s not recommended for double-coat dogs. Because the double coats may not grow back the same way. Thus disturbing the coat’s ability to insulate them from harsh weather. The anatomy of the double-coat structure actually serves a purpose. It’s a temperature regulator and a natural protection system. It keeps them cool in summer and warm in winter. Shaving would disturb the coat’s ability to protect them from harsh weather conditions. It will also expose his skin to a variety of problems. Like an infection, heat stroke, insect bites, etc. Shaving does not reduce or stop shedding. Shave dogs still shed they just shed smaller hairs. Regular brushing is the best alternative to such a drastic step. However, their coats can be shaved for medical after the recommendations of a vet.

Trimming 

Aussies require only occasional trimming of certain body parts. Such as feet, legs, tail, ears, feathers, and britches. These body parts have some overgrowth of hair that needs to be trimmed. This maintenance training also prevents the fur from becoming matted or tangled. The fur around these areas grows rapidly and becomes very thick. And need to be trimmed regularly. If not trimmed these long hairs can become tangled. And interfere with their body movements. Use some thinning shears or scissors. For this purpose, you can also take them to a professional groomer. Don’t trim too short do as much trimming as required.

Food role 

The health and appearance of a dog’s coat are heavily influenced by its food intake. Aussies need food that is rich in protein and healthy fats. Protein is required for the strength of the hair follicles. And it accounts for more than 75 percent of a dog’s hair. If a dog is a protein deficient his hair will be affected. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids work as anti-inflammatory agents. And also help with dry dull codes. Excessive shedding can sometimes be attributed to a poor diet. A high-quality diet not only keeps their coats healthy but also reduces shedding.

Grooming tools

There are different grooming tools used for Australian shepherd dogs. A slicker brush and an undercoat rake are the basic grooming brushes for an Aussie. It’s a basic and essential coming brush. It helps to remove dirt debris and lose hairs from the outer coat. it Also helps with tangles and mats. A slicker brush can be used interchangeably with a pen brush. 

Undercoat rake

An undercoat rake is specifically designed for a thick undercoat. It has fine blades that reach through the top coat. And removes mats tangled and lose fur from the undercoat. It’s a must-have tool for the double coat of Australian shepherds. Especially during their shedding seasons.

Furminator

A Furminator is a de-shedding tool that is a must for Australian shepherd dogs. It helps to deep and de-shed your dog. It penetrates deep into their coats and removes tangle mats. And any loose undercoat a bristle brush is often used at the end. As a finishing brush to shine a dog’s. It has tightly packed bristles. They are ideal for removing dirty debris or any loose hair. It simulates their skin and spreads natural oils throughout their skin thus giving it a shiny look.

Shears and scissors

Thinning shears and grooming scissors are used. Interchangeably thinning scissors are used to cut out small amounts of hair. Grooming scissors are often used for trimming matted balls of fur. They are also used for trimming excessive hairs around her dog’s ears, feathers, legs, etc. It will help to collect and remove loose hairs around the house. Aussies shed throughout the year and there are going to be plenty of hairs. All around the house invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner.

Bathing

Grooming an Australian shepherd

Occasional baths are necessary for a dog. It’s essential for their coat and underlying skin. It improves their overall appearance by removing dirty debris and bad odor. Batting is also beneficial for their skin as it keeps allergies and parasites at bay. However, Aussies should be bathed in moderation and in accordance with their needs.

Brush before bathing

It’s recommended to brush your dog before bathing. It’s important to remove tangles and knots. That otherwise would be difficult to remove. Once the coat is wet after getting wet. These tangles shrink and become more matted. Brushing also removes any dirt or debris and makes their coat ready for bathing. Collect all the supplies you need for a bath and keep them closed. Such as shampoo, towels, washcloths or sponge, and other bath supplies you can bathe your Aussie in a bathtub.

Process of bathing 

You can give them a bath outdoors. If the weather is nice it’s best to bathe them outdoors. Place a towel or non-slippery mat on the bottom surface. To prevent them from slipping. The water temperature is important. Make sure to use lukewarm water for bathing. Invite your dog to the bathtub using treats and praise. Pour water slowly and make sure to cover his undercoat and whole body except the head.

His head and face should be cleaned at the end. As pouring water on his head could scare him. And he may try to jump out of the tub. His double coat needs more water to become fully wet. Use a dog-specific shampoo and rub it gently on its coat. Avoiding the face using your fingers or a washing cloth to massage the shampoo to the whole body. Start from the neck and work your way down to the belly. Feet and other parts of the body of his coat may need more shampoo and massage.

Facial wash

Face should be cleaned at the end and take special care to their eyes, ears, and nose. And protect them from shampoo. Use a damp cloth to clean their face and eyes. Cover their ears with cotton balls. If the moisture gets inside of the ear. It can cause irritation or infection it’s very important to thoroughly rinse your dog. Any soap residue can cause irritation and itching on their skin. Pay special attention to the areas that are thicker and can easily trap soap. Such as the neck, legs, and tails. You will have to double-check to ensure no traces of shampoo are left on the coat. Use a clean towel to completely dry your dog. If not dried completely. Your dog can easily catch up with dirt and debris by playing in the mud or grass.

Use hair dryer

They are double coats and excessive fur may take a long time to dry naturally. So you can use a high-velocity dryer to dry your dog thoroughly. However, use it with care and keep it at a distance. And blow in the direction of the hair. Don’t run it back and forth as this could damage their fur. If the weather is nice you can take your dog outside in the warm sunlight. And brush your Aussie after it.

Brush after bathing

The coat has been completely dried this helps to bring out the shine in the coat and straighten out hairs.

Shampoo to use

Never use human shampoo on dogs. They have different skin and PH balance than humans. Human shampoo is too acidic for dogs. And could cause irritation on their skin. Always use a dog-specific shampoo. Buy a gentle high quality and ph balance shampoo. If your dog has allergies or fleas you can use a vet-recommended shampoo. A low-quality shampoo contains harsh chemicals artificial additives or colors. Which strips away natural oils from their skin. Shampoo filled with nutrients and protein is best for dogs. Don’t buy 2-in-1 shampoos instead buy shampoo and conditioners separately.

How often to give baths

The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every 3 months. Australian shepherds have thicker water-repellent coats and don’t need frequent baths. In normal conditions, you should bathe your Aussie once a month or so. You can postpone bathing for a  while if their coat is brushed on a regular basis. And it appears clean and tangles-free. However, their batting frequency also depends upon their outdoor activity level. And coat condition if your dog plays in muddy areas swims a lot and has a dirty coat. Then he needs more bathing excessive baths are not good for their skin. And coat it dries out their skin by stripping away natural oils.

Ears care

According to the official breed standards of the American kennel cub and the kennel club of the UK. The ears of an Australian shepherd are triangular. Moderate-sized, and sitting high on the head around 20 dogs who have some form of ear disease. Examine their ears weekly for any kind of infection. Ear, mites, or wax accumulation. Aussies love to play in the grass fields and water so they need frequent ear inspection and protection.

Trim hairs around ears 

Aussies have some excessive hairs around their ears. Which need to be trimmed carefully using a small trimmer or shears. Do not pluck the inside hairs as that could cause wounds.

Ear infection 

Ear infections are more common in dogs. Because of the specific structure of their ear canals. Dogs have I-shaped ear canals. This means they can easily trap dirt and debris. Australian shepherds have warm moist and vertically bent ear canals. This could prove to be an ideal place for bacterial growth. Dog ear infections are mostly caused by yeast or bacteria. However, it can also be caused by allergies excessive wax build-up, or other parasites. Moisture is the main cause of bacteria or yeast growth inside the ears. Dogs who are most exposed to water through bathing or swimming have a high chance of ear infections. There are certain signs of ear infection.

 Signs of ear infection

  •  frequent ear scratching
  •  Aggressive head shaking
  •  foul smell coming from ears
  •  A Discharge from the ears
  •  Is red inflamed or abnormal ear canal

If you notice a combination of these signs. Take them to a vet for inspection and ear inspections dogs are easily treated. If they are diagnosed early, however, if left undertreated it could cause permanent damage.

Check ears weekly

Check their ears weekly there might be some dirty debris or wax in the ear canals. Which could lead to blockage or infections. Clean their ears once a month or as needed. If your dog has a history of ear infections. You can clean their ears weekly if they have a mild odor you can clean their ears at home. Using some cotton balls and an ear cleaning solution. Only wipe the visible outside area of the ears and don’t insert anything inside.

Ear cleaning solution

Always use a vet-recommended ear cleaning solution for your dog. Don’t use a homemade ear cleaning solution. Hydrogen peroxide can irritate their ears. Only use a dog-specific ear cleaning solution recommended by a vet. These specifically formulated cleaning solutions help to fight off bacteria and dissolve wax and debris.

Avoid over cleaning 

Over-cleaning is also a cause of ear infections. Clean their ears when you see a combination of obvious symptoms. Like frequent ear scratching, head shaking, and a foul smell coming from the ears. Normally dogs ears are pink odorless and without any buildup of wax or debris.

No Q tips

Do not use q-tips on your dogs because of the I-shaped structure of their ear canals. Q tips will further push the wax or debris inside. Potentially damaging the ear canal moisture is the main cause of ear infections in dogs.

Moisture

Moisture provides a perfect environment for yeast and all bacterial growth. Which multiplies and results in ear infections keeping their ears covered during baths and swimming.

Nails care

Why nail trimming?

Long nails can break easily making the area more susceptible to infections. Long overgrown nails can disturb their balance and walking style. Eventually leading to orthopedic or pastoral problems. If not cared for properly nails can develop an overgrown quick portion which would be difficult to trim.

Wearing down of nails 

Puppies’ nails grow faster than adults. The growth of nails and wearing them down is influenced by the surface. They are moving on if they routinely walk and play on hard surfaces. They will soon wear down their nails. Those who are placed on soft surfaces won’t wear down their nails. And require nail trimming, trim their nails every 2 weeks or when they have grown long enough.

When to trim nails?

An easy way to determine the time of nail trimming is by observing their walk on the floor. If you can hear the sound of nails clicking on the floor they need to be trimmed.

Dewclaw

Grooming an Australian shepherd

Dewclaw is the 5th digit and grows higher on the leg. If not trimmed dewclaw can grow circularly into the leg. Some breeders remove the dewclaw to avoid problems in the long run. If your Aussie has a dewclaw trim it regularly if this is your first time trimming your dog’s nails.

Nail trimming

If you are not comfortable with nail trimming take them to a professional groomer. And watch how they do it. Humans have flat while dogs have round thicker nails. Dogs’ nails are also positioned in a different way than humans. So always use a dog’s nail clipper or grinder. Make sure the nail clipper is sharp. So it does not trap the nail. And gives you a cleaner result. Keep all objects nearby such as nail clippers cotton balls styptic powder and treats. It would be preferable if you could sterilize the tools before using them. Start nail trimming when your dog is comfortable. If he keeps pulling away you may cut deep into his nails. Gave them treats after the successful completion of the process.

Praise and treats

Using treats and praise will help you a lot in carrying out the painful task of nail trimming. Give your dog some treats every time you touch his nails or trim them. This trick is very helpful in the beginning when you are trying to make the puppy comfortable with the process.

Quick portion 

The quick is the living portion of a dog’s nails. It’s the pink-colored area of nails that contains blood vessels and nerves. And Aussie could have white or black-colored nails. The quick portion is clearly visible in the light-colored nails. But it’s not easy to spot in black nails. In the case of black-colored nails cut the nail bit-by-bit until you come across the quick portion. The nails become softer when it comes close to the quick. If you accidentally cut the quick portion and it starts bleeding apply some styptic powder. It stops the bleeding after trimming their nails. Use a nail file to smooth out the rough edges.

you can get all the information about the Australian shepherds here.