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Australian Shepherd Shedding: The Only 5 Tips You Need

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This article will act as your complete Australian Shepherd shedding guide, covering all the questions I receive on a daily basis about Aussie shedding.

Australian Shepherds are no doubt heavy shedders. Aussies shed year-round with a noticeable increase as the weather gets warmer. Some Aussies will also shed leading up to winter in order to regain a new undercoat.

Not all hope is lost!… Despite their love for dropping hair, shedding can be easily managed if you follow just a few simple yet effective tips. All of which I’ll share with you below!

do-australian-shepherds-shed

When Do Australian Shepherds Shed?

Australian shepherds typically shed for the entire year with an increase in springtime and just before winter.

Increases in shedding are known as “blowing” the coat. This often happens before warm weather, or whenever the weather seasons change significantly.

How Much Do Australian Shepherds Shed?

Australian shepherds are without a doubt heavy shedders. All Aussies have thick double coats that will be continuously shedding on a daily basis.

Shedding volume will depend on a few things including the climate where you live, their diet, exercise, and overall health.

How Long Do Aussies Shed For?

Australian shepherds will shed continuously year-round, so you should expect daily maintenance shedding.

In terms of the big “blowouts” that Aussies often have in springtime and perhaps before winter, they usually last 2-4 weeks. This can change depending on how well you manage it and brush them.

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5 Ways To Deal With Australian Shepherd Shedding

Let’s run through the BEST five ways to deal with the shedding. All the tips are equally as important and are the only tips you need to keep the dead hair off your floors and clothes!

  1. Use the correct kind of brushes
  2. Brush at the correct frequency
  3. Keep your Aussie moving
  4. Keep bathing infrequent
  5. Stay on top of their diet

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? Not so fast…

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

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 crucial not to overdo bath times.

I know some people love keeping their dogs 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.

Related: Complete bathing guide for Australian Shepherds

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.

Additional resources: AKC Shedding, RSPCA Shedding

The Australian Shepherd Double Coat

Australian shepherds boast a thick double-coat comprised of a topcoat and an undercoat. Let’s explain each of these briefly below.

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.

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Can Australian Shepherds Be Shaved?

Australian shepherds should never be shaved unless for medical reasons.

For those with very long coats, a light trim can help with hygiene and general coat maintenance. This would be done with scissors around the paws, tail, underbelly, and ears.

Why Shouldn’t Aussies Be Shaved?

Shaving is not advised due to the fact it can ruin the coat. The issue with shaving is that it cuts both the topcoat and undercoat back together to a short level. Shortly after, the undercoat will outgrow the topcoat, causing a matted mess.

This affects the balance and texture of the coat which can be very hard to fix. Not to mention this disrupts the natural shedding process and can lead to an array of skin issues and inability to regulate body temperature

Of course, shaving doesn’t ALWAYS end in dramatic issues like this, but this is why it is not recommended.

Getting Your Aussie To Enjoy Being Brushed

So far it seems too easy to be true, right? Well, 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.

Interesting: What are Australian Shepherd ears supposed to look like?

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.

Can Australian Shepherds Be Shaved?

No, Australian shepherds should not be shaved. Shaving can ruin their double-coat by cutting the hairs back too much. The undercoat is likely to regrow and tangle within the topcoat creating a matted mess.

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 it much easier for when he’s an adult and actually needs to be brushed!

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.

Last Thoughts

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!

View more Australian Shepherd articles >>




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