One of the most common questions and biggest concerns of new owners is: do Australian Shepherds shed? And, how much?
Yes, they shed a lot. In fact, Australian Shepherds have a coat that shed all year round. In addition, shedding heavily increases during spring time, as they rid their heavy winter coat.
For this reason, if you’re ultra-sensitive to dander (dog equivalent of dandruff), it may be a better idea to opt for a hypoallergenic dog instead. Having trouble picking one? Here’s a list of 55 hypoallergenic dog breeds. You’re bound to find one you like!
RECOMMENDED: Australian Shepherd – The Smart Owner’s Dog Guide
Table of Contents
- Why a Shedding Aussie Matters
- Aussie Owner Survey on Shedding
- 7 Tips for Managing Your Aussie’s Shedding
- A Quick Guide on Australian Shepherd Grooming
Why a Shedding Aussie Matters
When you decide to keep a dog, such as the Australian Shepherd, you’ll likely spend a lot of time around the dog. And more often than not, the dog will be shedding. But why is this important?
Many people, roughly 10% to 20% of the population, are allergic to dogs. However, they’re not really allergic to dogs – but rather to “dander” produced by dogs. Think of dander as dandruff on dogs.
As an Australian Shepherd starts to shed, the dander is also released into the surrounding environment. These allergens can really be troublesome especially in an enclosed environment. And if you have rugs or carpet in your house, expect the dander to build up in the home.
If you are thinking about keeping an Australian Shepherd and you’re allergic to dogs, there are two options you have.
1. You can opt for a hypoallergenic dog, which are dogs that either don’t shed or rarely shed. Sure, this may not 100% solve your allergy problem – but it’s probably the best you can do.
2. You follow some steps to minimize your chances allergies in the home. With a little work, even ultra-sensitive dog owners can manage an Australian Shepherd.
Aussie Owner Survey on Shedding
I Heart Dog conducted a survey with 85 real Australian Shepherd owners. Here’s their thoughts on shedding and their Aussie.
15% said their Australian Shepherd experiences Extreme Shedding.
65% said their Australian Shepherd experiences Moderate Shedding.
20% said their Australian Shepherd experiences Low Shedding.
0% said their Australian Shepherd experiences No Shedding.
It’s not a surprise that all Australian Shepherd owners claim their dog sheds. And while 20% of owners say their dog has low-shedding, they still shed more than your typical hypoallergenic dog.
Real Owners’ Tips on Shedding
Joanne recommends: “Because the Aussie I have now has a long, heavy coat, I do brush often and use a rake to get through any parts of the coat that are ready to shed. I don’t have facilities to bathe her myself, so I take her to the groomer for that – whenever I think she needs it as she is always in the house. I take her to the groomer probably about every 5 weeks or so.”
Janet recommends that you brush your Aussie regularly and groom the dog every 6 weeks or so.
Donna, who voted for extreme shedding, summed up her response with “BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH!”
Carlo mentioned that he’s tried everything but “nothing works.” He added, “you just need to brush them as often as possible.”
According to Becky, brushing your Aussie three times a week is sufficient. On the other hand, Sue suggests you brush your dog every single day.
Although most owners suggest brushing often, Linda has given up, saying “no – just vacuum often” instead.
7 Tips for Managing Your Aussie’s Shedding
Keep in mind, these tips don’t guarantee an allergy-free home with your Australian Shepherd. And even if you’re not allergic to dogs, these tips are great hygiene tips for a cleaner home.
1. Keep Your Australian Shepherd Outside
This is obviously not something you can do in blazing cold weather, as Australian Shepherds aren’t suitable for blizzard-like conditions. However, if you live somewhere like Los Angeles or even Texas, this can be a great way for reducing allergens in the house.
If your Aussie sheds outside, then the dander gets released outside. With a light breeze and those allergens will be long gone!
2. No Rugs or Carpets
As mentioned, dander (along with fur) likes to collect on carpets and rugs. And if you don’t do anything about it, you can be experiencing some terrible allergies. The best solution is to remove all rugs and carpets. But unfortunately, removing carpet just isn’t a cost-effective solution for most people.
If you plan to keep your Australian Shepherd in the house, there are other solutions. A house with both carpet and other materials (wood, marble, etc.) would be best. You can keep your dog in the area of the house that does not have carpet. Keep in mind, if this non-carpeted space is small, you’ll need to frequently take them out to exercise.
3. Allergy Medication
Although I wouldn’t recommend constantly being on medication for the sake of dog allergies, there may be times when it’ll help a lot. For example, during spring season when your Australian Shepherd starts to heavily shed. Or if it’s just one of those weeks when your sinuses are experiencing sensory overload, medication makes sense.
Before you go out and buy allergy medication, always consult with your physician or doctor. Let them know this is primarily for dog allergies and they’ll be able to make helpful recommendations. Not all medications may work well, so professional consultation is extremely important.
4. Be Patient With Your Aussie
After speaking with several dog owners who experience allergic reactions to dog dander, i’ve realized one thing. They all claim that the allergies have gotten better over time. After being constantly exposed to the allergens, it’s not a surprise the human body will become desensitized to it. In other words, your body will get used to your Aussie’s dander/allergens.
We are by no means medical professionals. These are just the experiences of real owners with real dogs. With a little patience and time, your allergies can improve – but there is no guarantee.
5. Install HEPA Filters
Install HEPA filters throughout your home, and keep dust-catching furnishings such as curtains and rugs to a minimum. Clean often and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, and wash furniture covers, curtains and other cloth items as often as possible. Buy a HEPA vacuum cleaner with a micro filter bag to catch all of the allergens.
6. Wash Clothes Often
If you’ve ever experienced owning a shedding dog, then you already know fur is everywhere. The moment you cuddle up with your dog, you know your clothes are already plastered with fur. And where there is dog fur, there is dander.
7. Groom Often
The last obvious seems the most obvious but is probably the most effective: groom your Aussie as often as possible. Remove the dander before it gets a chance to circulate in the air.
However, keep in mind that when you’re brushing the fur off the coat, dander will fly. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take your Aussie outside when you’re grooming. Or if you have the time and budget, take them to a groomers. However, we don’t suggest this given how often you have to brush your Aussie.
A Quick Guide on Australian Shepherd Grooming
Aussies, like many dogs, require a decent amount of grooming. If you’re looking for a low maintenance dog breed, the Australian Shepherd is not the way to go. Instead, perhaps a Labrador Retriever?
But if you’re seriously about the Aussie, you need to know grooming is going to be an important regimen in caring for your dog. Even if you’re not allergic to dogs at all, they still need to be groomed. Without grooming, their fur can get tangled and lead to discomfort or pain.
Coat Brushing – You didn’t think we’d start this quick guide with anything else, did you? Depending on the severity of your Aussie’s shedding, twice a week is okay. Some dogs need more and some less.
Tooth brushing – Something that most dog owners don’t do regularly enough is toothbrushing for the dog. This is especially important if your dog gets a lot of treats, specifically human food as treats. Brushing every day is the most ideal, but even twice a week is okay. Note: If you’re feeding your dog “human foods” always check to see if they are safe.
Bathing – Be careful not to bathe your Australian Shepherd too often. Doing so could make them vulnerable to certain skin ailments. Once a month should be sufficient, unless your mischievous Aussie likes to get dirty. I like to tell all new owners, bathe as necessary.
Nail Clipping – If your Aussie is walking around the house and you can hear loud thumps, then it’s time to trim those nails! Long nails can lead to discomfort, especially if they accidentally chip a nail. The best way to prevent this is to trim their nails whenever they grow too long.
Also, be careful as you’re clipping them – you don’t want to draw blood. And if you’re not very confident or comfortable with this, you can ask your vet or professional dog groomer to do this.
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