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This article will act as your complete Australian Shepherd shedding guide, covering all the questions we receive on a daily basis about Aussie shedding.
Australian Shepherds shed consistently year-round with a noticeable increase in spring as the temperature rises. How much your Aussie sheds also depends on the climate where you live, diet, and overall health. Daily brushing is required to control shedding.
Fortunately, shedding doesn’t have to be an on-going nightmare… With the right tips and advice, you’ll be able to control your Aussie’s shedding with ease. Let’s get into it.
Australian Shepherds, Shedding, And Their Coats
Australian Shepherds have gorgeous coats, some longer than others, and some with beautiful colored markings.
But with all of this goodness, comes one drawback. Shedding.
Australian Shepherds are a double-coated breed that typically sheds all year round, with one or two bigger “blowouts” whenever the weather changes significantly.
What does double-coated actually mean? That’s a great question, lets explain that before moving on.
Aussies like all other “double-coated” breeds have two layers of fur. The “topcoat” and the “undercoat”.
The Topcoat ⭐
This is the outermost layer of fur that we can see, and this is the layer that never sheds. This layer protects your Aussie’s skin from dirt, insects, harsh UV rays, and direct heat.
The topcoat is more coarse and has some water-resistant properties to it to help in the winter months.
The Undercoat ⭐
This is the soft layer of fur that we can’t see. It’s right next to the skin and acts as insulation. It does an incredible job of keeping him warm in the winter, but it’s also the layer that sheds.
As the weather becomes warmer it’s normal for the undercoat to almost completely blow out, leaving just the topcoat. This allows your Aussie to remain cool in the summer by expelling body heat.
As the cold weather approaches, the undercoat sheds less in order to insulate the skin and retain body heat.
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What Does Shedding Mean For You
Let’s run through what all this shedding may mean for you, your family, and your household.
1) Pet allergies ⭐
If you or anyone in your household has a pet allergy, shedding must be considered.
The fallen hair itself doesn’t cause the issue, it’s the “dander” that produces the allergic responses. Dander is essentially just dandruff, and when your Australian Shepherd sheds, the dander gets released into the air and can lay on all surfaces.
As Australian Shepherds do shed “moderately to a lot”, this may not be the most appropriate breed for people with pet allergies.
2) Sweeping and vacuuming ⭐
You must be ready to accept an increased level of sweeping up and vacuuming.
No matter how well you groom your Aussie, you won’t be able to stop all the hair falling onto your floors.
It will happen…
3) Grooming requirements ⭐
Getting a breed that has a thick double coat will require a good amount of grooming.
Learning how to effectively brush your Aussie will be necessary to maintain the shedding. Thankfully, this article will explain which brushes are the best, how to introduce the brush, and how frequently you should brush. All to come below!
Fortunately, when it comes to bathing, the fewer the baths the better. This may come as a surprise to you but its actually the case for a lot of double-coated breeds. The natural oils do a great job of keeping your Aussie’s skin and coat clean. Not to mention, Aussies are a naturally hygienic breed, to begin with.
When & How Long Do Australian Shepherds Shed For?
Your Aussie will typically shed all year round with a major “blowout” around springtime. This is to shed off their winter undercoat, to make way for the upcoming warmer weather.
The big blow-out generally lasts 2-4 weeks, depending on how you manage it. Your brushing routine should certainly pick up on the lead up to the blowout, and throughout it.
Where you live in the world will also play a role in shedding. If you live in a warmer climate, your Aussie will shed considerably more than an Aussie that lives in a cold country.
Other than that, Aussies typically have some level of year-round shedding.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag | www.thepuppymag.com
How To Deal With Australian Shepherd Shedding
Let’s run through several ways you can deal with your Australian Shepherd’s shedding. All the tips are equally as important!
1. Use The Correct Brushes ⭐
There are many different brushes on the market and it can be difficult to know which one you should be using.
Many people think that de-shedders are the best, especially for shedding breeds, right? Well, the big issue with these brushes is that they can be sharp, and if not used properly, will remove bits of the topcoat along with the undercoat. This is not what you want! Deshedders do work, but they are not beginner-friendly.
⭐ So what’s the best brush? There are two you will need. A simple undercoat rake, and a slicker brush
● An undercoat rake is a simple brush that has no bells or whistles. It has a single row of long blunt prongs which pull out the dead undercoat hair.
● A slicker brush is for finishing off the topcoat. This brush is comprised of shallow thin wires that only reach through the topcoat. They do an excellent job of pulling out any remaining fur as well as dirt and debris from the outermost layer.
These are not fancy brushes, they are simple to use and cheaper than de-shedders! They just work.
2. Stick To a Brushing Routine ⭐
Little and often… little and often… little and often…
Many owners make the mistake of forgetting to brush their Aussie or avoid it on purpose, and then try to compensate with a grueling 1-2 hour brush in a single session.
This isn’t very effective, it will irritative your Aussie, and it’s just not good practice.
⭐ The most effective brushing routine: short, 20-minute sessions, carried out 3 to 4 times per week. Start with the undercoat rake for 10-15 minutes, then finish off with the slicker brush for the remaining 5 or 10 minutes.
This is by far the most effective routine I’ve tried in a long time.
3. Keep Your Aussie Moving (Exercise) ⭐
Exercise is a crucial part of an Australian Shepherd’s life, with or without shedding. And your Aussie should be receiving around 1-2 hours of intensive exercise per day.
By keeping him outside as much as possible, moving around, running, and jumping, you are helping loose dead hair come out more easily. Plus you can always take a brush out with you on your walks. Every little helps!
The last benefit will come from being internally healthy and fit. Improved internal health will mean a healthier coat, and better skin. This all goes towards less shedding.
4. Keep Bathing Infrequent ⭐
It’s important not to overdo bath times.
I know some people loooove keeping their dogs all shampooed up every few weeks. But this really isn’t good for their coat or skin.
Overbathing can lead to dry skin, brittle hair, greasy coats, bad odor and you guessed it… more shedding.
The natural oils found throughout your Aussie’s coat do an amazing job of keeping their skin and coat strong and healthy.
The problem with Shampoo is that it washes these oils away, and although this ok to do every few months, it’s not ok when done every few weeks.
Reserve bathing to once every three to four months and your Aussies coat will remain healthy, strong, and moisturized.
5. A Healthy Diet Is Critical ⭐
The condition of your Australian Shepherd’s skin and coat will reflect his internal health very accurately.
Ensuring your Aussie is happy with his diet, and it’s of premium quality, will go a long way in keeping his coat strong and healthy.
⭐ Did you know: Shedding can actually be a result of not having a good enough diet, being deficient in certain nutrients, or when suffering from allergies. It’s not always due to seasonal changes and warm weather…
This is why it’s critical to ensure a healthy diet.
⭐ Avoid common allergens: The ideal diet for an Australian Shepherd will be high in protein, moderately high in fat, and low in carbs. Protein should preferably come from salmon, duck, turkey, or other fish. This avoids common allergens like chicken, beef, pork, or lamb, which, despite being so common, cause many digestive issues for dogs.
⭐ Healthy fats: Healthy fatty acids such as Omega 3, Omega 6, and DHA directly contribute to skin and coat health. Kibble that uses Salmon and other types of fish typically has a higher natural content of these essential fatty acids. So that’s worth keeping in mind.
⭐ Supplements: Skin and coat health can also be improved with a range of supplements including fish oil, flaxseed oil, omega’s, and zinc. Despite being common supplements, it’s still best to speak to your veterinarian first for advice.
The Importance of Introducing The Brush!
So far it seems to easy to be true, right?
I know, some dogs hate the brush, and the second you have it in your hands, it’s like trying to catch a chicken.
If this is the case with your Aussie, it’s either because he has had a bad experience, or he’s just unfamiliar with it.
Building Positive Associations With The Brush ⭐
Introducing the brush to your Aussie is an important step and should ideally be done from puppyhood.
The first experiences of the brush don’t even need to involve brushing. It should just be placed in his immediate vicinity for him to inspect it.
⭐ The key to success. Let him sniff it, lick it, but constantly and calmly bring his attention away from it with a toy and of course, treats! After a short while of doing this, he’ll no longer be bothered by the brush. The treats will also build a positive mental link between the brush’s presence and being rewarded.
After he no longer cares about the brush, you’ll be able to pick it up and touch him with it. Again, be generous with treats and you won’t go wrong. Keep the first encounters brief and stress-free.
This is the go-to process whether your Aussie already hates the brush or not. It will just be harder if he’s already spooked by it.
Australian Shepherd Shedding FAQ’s
Let’s run through some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Australian Shepherds and their shedding habits.
This will summarize some points already explained above.
How Much Do Australian Shepherds Shed?
It’s hard to say how much an individual Aussie will shed, but according to Australian Shepherd owners, the typical response is moderate to high. Remember that the climate where you live (hot or cold) and your Aussie’s internal health will affect how much he sheds.
When Should You Start Brushing Your Australian Shepherd?
You should start gently brushing your Australian Shepherd from when he’s a puppy (8 weeks and over). Puppies don’t actually shed but this is the very best time to get him used to the brush. This will make your life so much easier for when he’s an adult and actually needs to be brushed!
Use a pin and bristle brush while he’s a puppy, as this the softest. Remember to go light, it’s not about removing hair, it’s only about getting him comfortable.
What’s The Best Way To Deshed an Australian Shepherd?
The best way to get rid of dead undercoat fur is by using a simple undercoat rake and brushing frequently and consistently. Avoid using de-shedding tools. Although they are great at removing dead fur, they are sharp, and you run the risk of removing his healthy topcoat too, which is really not what you want to do!
What’s The Best Brush For an Australian Shepherd?
There are many great brushes out there, but the most effective ones are simple Undercoat Rakes, and Slicker Brushes. Use both of these brushes together for an unbeatable brushing session.
How Often Should You Brush an Australian Shepherd?
Little and often is key. Brush your Aussie 3 or 4 times per week for the best results. Try your best not to forget, and if you do, don’t try to compensate by giving him a 2-hour long brushing session. This isn’t effective and you may create bad associations with the brush.
Why Does My Australian Shepherd Run Away From The Brush?
Your Aussie will run away from the brush because he’s either unfamiliar with it, he’s not used to being touched all that often, or he has had a previous bad experience with a brush.
You will have to slowly re-introduce the brush to him using positive associations like treats and playtime, while the brush is near him and visible. Forget about any productive brushing sessions until you have successfully re-introduced and established a friendly relationship between him and the brush.
So there you have it. You now know how to properly manage your Australian Shepherd shedding. If you think anything has been missed, feel free to message us and I would love to add it in for the future benefit of other owners out there!
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