› Grooming Tips For Shelties

Bathing / Grooming Tips For Shelties That Work

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First and foremost, the main tip is frequent grooming, even just the basics will make your job easier in the long run. Shelties’ coats can mat pretty quickly and in my experience this breed is generally wimpy when it comes to tugging and tearing at those clumps of fur.

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So minimize the trauma for both him and you by keeping it all under control.

First Of The Grooming Tips For Shelties: Bathing

When the coat looks or feels dirty, it needs to be washed. You don’t have to worry about frequent bathing if you use a decent dog shampoo. It is pH balanced for the dog’s skin.

Most of you have only one Sheltie so you probably bathe him in your bathroom tub. If you have more than one dog, this can get rather painful for your back. I used to feel like I was standing on my head after a while. Here's the first of several tips...


I broke down and bought this relatively inexpensive dog tub Booster Bath 3039 Blue Medium Pet Dog Grooming/Washing Tub

Depending on the size and configuration of your bathroom, you can stick the back two legs in the bathtub so it drains directly into the tub.

If you like, you can place each of the legs on an overturned bucket to raise the tub even more.

The tub is light and you can dismantle it in between uses if you wish. It’s what I use for my pack and it's been a godsend.


There’s enough out there to make your head spin. There are a few I use regularly. Just click this link to get to shampoos I recommend or check out the widget on the left here to see more choices at Amazon. Another grooming tip for shelties is to always dilute the shampoo used to make it easier to get into the coat and down to the skin. Just use a squeeze bottle for easy application.

For Fleas and Ticks

The DeFlea Ready to Use Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats is a non-toxic shampoo that is an instant kill.

Apply to a dry coat, don’t wet the dog down first as normally is done before a bath. It uses the same stuff that is in oral stool softeners for humans.

It softens the outer shell of the flea and tick.

There is no residual effect, so don’t expect it to keep the fleas away after the shampoo.

For Sheltie Skin Problems

If your dog has some serious skin issues, rather than using the usual oatmeal shampoo, you might want to try the therapeutic shampoos listed here depending on what the problem is.

Tired of Bathing your Dogs Manually?

If you have more than one dog, bathing can get rather tedious. A few years ago, I bought a Power Bather The one I have is a brand that I no longer can find, but the Oster brand I'm mentioning here looks pretty much the same.

And not that I'm bragging or anything (OK, I am)... I made a dog washing system that is better and I am selling it for less. Take your pick. 

It saves in time and amount of shampoo needed. I wouldn't be without one. 

Another way to cut time may be to try this little gizmo call a Sudspro Dual-Action Nozzle Ultimate Dog Washing System. Talk about a mouthful! It's not as expensive but I haven't personally tried it, so can't vouch for it's effectiveness. But it does look kinda neat.

Blow Dryer

I've had the Chris Christensen Kool Dry Dryer for years and love it! It has a variable speed dial so you can adjust the strength from very soft for puppies to blowing the water off your dog in sheets! I've had it for about 6 years now and it works perfectly.

After Bathing

Never brush a dry coat. Always damp. After your Sheltie’s bath begin line brushing. As the coat dries, if you haven't used a conditioner right after the bath, use Chris Christensen Ice on Ice Conditioner with Sunscreen.

It helps de-mat the coat, protects the hairs from dirt longer than if you didn’t use it. Spray a section of coat, brush and move on.

Once you’ve tried it, you may want to get the bottle of concentrate and dilute it yourself.

If you have used a conditioner after the bath, plain water in the spray bottle should work just fine. Just another grooming tip for shelties to save a few pennies.

Trim, Trim, Fuss and Brush

The things we do to make our shelties look their best!

If you want to go past the basics of grooming, there is a great illustrated book specifically for show grooming.

It's a classic:

My Video On Brushing Your Shetland Sheepdog

Next Step in Bathing: Dog Ear Cleaning Solution and Techniques

A grooming tips for shelties page isn't complete without instructions on ears. Get rid of gunky, stinky ears! Here's the dog ear cleaning solution to your problems. Learn how to do it and what to use.

There are a myriad of cleaners and any one could probably do the job, but here is one that is good for routine cleaning:

First take a cotton ball and pour some of the cleaner on it. Gently wipe as much of the inside as possible to get the dirt and grime off. Then take a Q tip wet with the cleaner and gently get in all the crevices to remove the remainder of the dirt.

The next part can make some people a little nervous but it is pretty fail safe. Pouring some cleaner on a clean Q tip, gently put it down the canal. Most Shelties tolerate this rather well, unless they have a raging infection.

You can’t accidently puncture the eardrum if that is what you are thinking. First the canal is rather long and secondly it makes a sharp 90 degree turn that the Q tip can’t follow.

With the Q tip inserted, gently pull the Q tip up and out as you scrap along a side. Do this several times around the canal using as many clean Q tips as necessary.

If you have gobs of debris and are worried you are simply shoving the debris down, you can flush the canal with the dog ear cleaning solution. After squirting cleaner into the canal, massage the base of the ear for a minute or so to loosen the dirt.

Then take a bulb syringe (the baby kind) filled with warm water place it in the canal and gently flush. When you are done, with the syringe still deflated, release the syringe in order to suck out the water left inside. Take the syringe out, empty it of the dirty water and repeat if necessary 2 -3 times. 

Finish with a flush of dog ear cleaning solution.


If you think you are dealing with an ear infection, the skin will probably be red, hot and painful. Certainly going to the vet at that point is reasonable for a diagnosis, cleaning and medication to take home.

However, if you feel comfortable with dealing with the infection yourself there are a few home remedies that you can use.

At this point I have to say, this information is based on what I have read and what I feel prepared to do if necessary. However, it has been literally decades since I had a pup with an infection, so I cannot verify the efficacy from first hand experience.

First Determine What You Are Dealing With


If you have black stuff that seems to keep coming back no matter how much you clean, it may be mites. This is a parasite not an infection per se. The easiest way to determine if it is mites is to take some of the gunk and put it on a paper towel then pour some hydrogen peroxide over it. If there is the telltale red from the mites ingesting blood, you will know what you have.

The easiest ways to handle mites is either with Ear Mite solution from the pet store which is a pesticide or simple Mineral Oil.

Mineral oil will smother the mites if used 2-3 times per week til clear. Just use an eye dropper to fill the canal.

Yes, the pup will shake his head and most of whichever dog ear cleaning solution you used will go flying. So try to keep his head still for a few minutes before letting go.

You can try putting a cotton ball to hold everything in, but that rarely lasts long. 

Yeast or Bacterial Infection?

Again, you could go to your vet and get some antibiotic or antifungal dog ear cleaning solution which is certainly the traditional route.

Whole Dog Journal had an article several years ago where a thick cream called Pellitol was injected in the canal and left until it dried out a week later. Well, of course Pellitol is no longer available but a replacement ointment is available here. I probably will give this a try if I come up with any ear infections, but at present I can't personally vouch for the effectiveness.

Another homemade dog ear cleaning solution I found:

4 oz. Zinc Oxide (non-nano sized particles)

4 oz. Boric Acid

1/2 oz Excel Powder

Mixed together and sprinkled in the ear. (Don't let the pup ingest this).

If you aren't particularly into playing chemist and prefer a commercial ear treatment, this is a good one to try:

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