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Rottweiler grooming isn’t all about keeping your dog looking his best. It’s a great way to get a pup used to be handled and touched, and it helps you to keep an eye on his overall condition. But more importantly, proper grooming is essential to keeping your Rottweiler healthy. But how much do you need to groom a Rottweiler and what does it take to groom a Rottweiler properly?
Thankfully as short-coated dogs, Rottweiler grooming isn’t nearly as time-consuming or complicated as grooming long (or curly) haired breeds… and there’s no need for ribbons or bows!
But grooming your Rottweiler is still essential because Rotties shed – a lot! And pet parents must learn to cope with that. Plus, it’s not just your Rottweiler’s coat you need to take care of regularly. Regular tasks include cleaning your dog’s teeth, ears, and eyes and cutting their nails. So let’s look at how to groom a Rottweiler properly.
Grooming Rottweilers in a nutshell
Rottweilers need a bath every 6 weeks to 2 months with a hypoallergenic dog shampoo. They should be brushed 2 – 3 times a week and may need a seasonal “blow-out” for heavy shedding periods. They need their nails clipped monthly (or weekly if they are overgrown). Teeth should be brushed daily. Ears should be monitored for a build-up of wax and cleaned regularly.
The basic principles of grooming your Rottweiler
When grooming your Rottweiler, ‘little and often’ is the key phrase!
Under normal conditions, a Rottweiler is pretty low maintenance in this department, even compared with some other large breed dogs. The following routine will only take ten minutes or so once you’ve had a little bit of practice.
But, try not to be tempted to rush through it. Use the time to enjoy being with your dog – to stroke him, talk to him and generally show him some loving.
If you’re grooming a Rottie puppy, make the sessions shorter at first because puppies have very short attention spans. You want them to see this as a pleasant experience.
1. Give your Rottweiler The ‘Once Over’ First
Before you start with the brushing and cleaning, run your hands over your puppy or dog.When giving your dog a once over, look for:
- lumps, bumps, skin tags, or growths
- foreign objects like splinters or burrs
- cuts, scrapes, or any open wound
- heat and signs of pain, such as if your dog does not want you to touch an area
- parasites such as ticks or fleas
- redness or inflammation, particularly under the arms, on the belly, between the toes, or in the ears
- elbow calluses or other calluses on pressure points
- dark red or brown, yellow, or green discharge from the eyes and ears.
- Excessive ear wax
- broken, damaged, brittle, or overgrown nails,
- Redness, ingrown hairs, or anything unusual between the toes and paw pads
- Pimples or blackheads.
Rottweilers are a breed that tends to suffer from canine allergies. An allergic reaction to something (even if it’s ‘internal’ such as an allergy to a food ingredient) usually shows up on their skin! The most common skin infection in Rottweiler’s is the hot spot.
Hotspots are smelly, round open sores. They usually happen if the skin is damaged, such as when your dog scratches themselves too hard. So the itchiness caused by allergies can cause hot spots.
Also, look inside the ears to make sure they’re clean and not red or irritated. Check all four paws for any cuts, thorns, torn nails etc. and make sure his nails are short.
Open their mouth and look at their teeth and gums. Anything lodged between his teeth, any red or inflamed areas, tartar build-up or tooth decay will need treatment and may be a sign of gum disease.
2. Understand your Rottweiler’s coat and hair growth cycle
Rottweilers have a double coat, which means a coarse outer coat and a softer, denser undercoat. A Rottweiler’s undercoat provides insulation against hot and cold weather, and the outer coat, called the guard hairs, helps repel water and dirt.
Shaving the coat can damage it, as the undercoat grows faster than the outer guard hairs. So when the coat regrows, it may not leave enough space for the guard hairs. This creates a patchy, damaged coat.
A Rotties coat grows in a seasonal hair-growth cycle. And the hair grows in four phases:
- The anagen stage: The hair follicle is growing new hair
- The catagen stage: The hair stops growing
- The telogen phase: The hair follicle rests.
- The exogen phase: the old hair is shed.
From this, you can see why your Rottweiler sheds seasonally. This whole hair growth cycle lasts about four months before the hair follicles start to shed the old hair in the undercoat. The guard hairs take a little longer. So a Rottweiler is programmed to shed roughly every four months, and usually, the hair growth cycle is a little longer in the winter.
The hair follicle is the pore that produces both the keratin for new hair and the sebum that moisturizes and nourishes the hair and skin. Just like with humans, it can get clogged, causing pimples, ingrown hairs, blackheads and more. Brushing your Rottweiler regularly helps spread this sebum over the coat and skin to nourish it while encouraging blood flow to the skin to help circulation.
Can you Shave a Rottweiler?
A lot of people ask whether it’s okay to shave a Rottie, and the answer is usually ‘no’. It’s not good for their skin and doesn’t help cool them down in hot weather. In fact, it could make things worse because the double coat provides important protection from both heat and UV rays.
Another problem with shaving a Rottweiler is that the undercoat grows faster than the outer coat. So they can squeeze out the guard hairs, leaving a patchy and uneven coat.
If you have to shave your Rottweiler for any reason (perhaps he’s going into surgery and you’re worried about hair getting into the wound), try not to shave him too close to the skin.
It can take a Rottweiler three to four months to fully regrow their coat after they are shaved, so try to never dog this.
Also, make sure you use a good quality dog shampoo and conditioner afterward to rehydrate his skin and coat.
Best brush for a rottweiler
For a Rottie puppy, use a brush with ‘pins’ on one side and bristles on the other. The Safari Pin & Bristle Brush with Wood Handle is one I would personally recommend. Use the bristle side for the first few sessions, and be very gentle. It’s more to help the pup get used to the feeling of being brushed than actually to remove the shedding hair!
For an older pup or dog familiar with the grooming routine, a regular slicker brush (such as the Miracle Coat Slicker Dog Brush) is a good choice.
There’s also a tool that I absolutely LOVE, and it’s amazingly effective on all my dogs, not just the Rottweilers. It’s called the FURminator. I think it’s the best Rottweiler grooming tool (or dog grooming tool even) around!
Always brush in the same direction that the hair grows, and start at the head and work downwards towards the tail.
Rottweiler Skin Care
Rashes, ‘hot spots’ (red, inflamed, and irritated areas on your dog’s skin), excessive itching, and patchy hair loss may all be signs of skin allergies.
Try this Oatmeal conditioning spray if you notice sore or irritated skin during your Rottweiler grooming sessions. It’s a gentle herbal spray that helps control and treat itchy skin, hot spots, dry skin, and dander.
Very moisturizing but mild enough for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies. It can help your Rottie feel more comfortable and works well on winter-dry skin.
Happy Tails Spa also has a great selection of dog grooming products for just about every occasion (including a range for sensitive skins); they’re all natural and smell delicious.
Ears, Eyes & Teeth Care In Rottweilers
Rottweiler grooming involves more than just running a brush over your dog’s coat…. his ears, eyes, and teeth need regular care too.
Cleaning Rottweiler ears
Just like with human ears, you don’t want to be sticking things into a dog’s ears. But you need to gently lift the ear flap and ensure that the inside looks clean and healthy.
Dark, waxy build-up or red and inflamed membranes mean something wrong. If your pup or dog is showing any of these, then get him to a veterinarian for a check-up. A lot of head shaking means they may have an ear infection, a foreign object or obstruction in the ear canal, or ear mites.
Again, allergies can affect your dogs’ ears, making them sore, itchy, and red, often causing secondary ear infections called otitis. However, allergies are not the only reason a dog may get ear infections. Other causes include:
- Bacterial and fungal infections
- Ear mites
- Autoimmune diseases like Pemphigus or Lupus
- Endocrine disorders like Cushing’s disease, diabetes, or hypothyroidism
- Foreign objects like water after a swim create a moist environment.
So if your dog has a problem with ear infections, be sure to look for underlying causes.
You can gently wipe out the inside of your Rottie’s ears (just what you can see… don’t probe any further!) with a cotton pad moistened in warm water, or try a gentle, soothing Ear Relief Wash.
Cleaning your Rottweiler’s eyes.
Rottweilers usually don’t have eyes that need a lot of cleaning. As they should have close-fitting eyelids (not drooping), and there’s no white coat to get stained by tears. Again, wiping with a cotton ball moistened in warm water is fine.
Take time to check that the inner eyelid is a healthy pink color and clean away any boogers or grime that can lead to infection.
Some Rottweilers may have genetic eye or eyelid abnormalities such as cherry eye or entropion, which is a common fault in Rotties. These dogs may need extra eye care with eye drops or other treatments, and many will need surgery to correct the issue.
Rottweiler dental care
Until a few years ago, most dog owners never really considered brushing their dog’s teeth! Feeding a dry dog food and providing bones and chews were considered enough. However, today things are different.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs have periodontal disease by the time they’re three years old… and this can lead to all sorts of serious health problems, including heart, lung, and kidney disease. You see, the bacteria in a dog’s mouth spread into their blood system, taking root in organs. They also release toxins that cause inflammation in your dog’s body and lead to disease.
Here is a great video for how to brush your Rottweiler’s teeth. But if you struggle with your adult Rottie, you can also try a doggy mouthwash you can add in their water to kill bacteria.
To protect your Rottweiler’s teeth, add toothbrushing to your grooming routine for proper dental hygiene. But, don’t use human toothpaste – it’s not safe when ingested, and dogs don’t spit! Instead, try this veterinary dental care kit for dogs.
Giving Your Rottweiler A Bath
Unless your Rottie is playing in the mud daily or rolling in stinky stuff, they only need an occasional bath.
Also, his sensitive skin is prone to becoming over-dry. Regarding Rottweiler grooming, it’s essential to use only very gentle and moisturizing shampoo. They are more gentle and won’t strip his natural oils.
While your Rottweiler is a puppy, you can bathe them in the tub quite effectively. Once they weigh closer to 80lbs than 8lbs, it won’t be quite so straightforward.
Because of that, if you have a walk-in shower, it may be a good idea to get them used to be showered rather than bathed (I speak from experience!).
AquaPaw has an excellent dog shower head to help groom your dog – check it out.”
Either way, just make sure the bottom of the tub or shower stall has a non-slip mat. This will make him feel more secure, prevent injuries, and use warm but not hot water.
Keep shampoo away from his eyes and excess water out of his ears. Also, ensure you rinse and dry him before leaving the nice warm bathroom.
See this video for how a professional groomer washes and de-sheds a Rottweiler:
Recommended Shampoos for Rottweilers
Here are a few shampoos that you might want to try for your Rottie. They’re all safe and gentle, and keep your Rottie fresh smelling!
1 Burts’s Bees Natural Shampoo
Natural and soothing shampoo that won’t dry out your Rottie’s skin.
So gentle that it doesn’t remove topical flea/tick treatments – and can be used on human skin too! Made in the USA.
Totally free of unnecessary stuff such as parabens, phthalates, and artificial colors/dyes or fragrances.
2. Organic Oscar Aloe Vera Shampoo
Another wonderful all-natural shampoo made with soothing aloe vera and chamomile.
Totally organic ingredients, no artificial fragrances, dyes, sulfates, or other nasties. Biodegradeable.
USA-made and perfect for sensitive skin and ideal for puppies.
Gentle oatmeal-based shampoo and conditioner containing aloe vera for a shiny coat and healthy skin. Natural essential oils leave your dog’s coat smelling amazing too!
Cutting Your Rottweilers Nails
When grooming, there is one more task to take care of regularly, and that’s cutting your dog’s nails.
If your puppy or dog has nails that are too long, it will interfere with how he walks and cause discomfort. They are also more at risk of ripping or tearing when they’re long, which can be very painful for your Rottie. Overgrown nails also strain a dog’s bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons by pushing the toes into unnatural angles. This can cause arthritis and even ligament tears.
Because they are basically black dogs, a Rottweiler’s nails are black too. This means that it’s a bit trickier to cut them than it would be if the nails were light-colored as they are on dogs with lighter coats.
Here’s a video with tips and tricks for trimming a Rottweiler’s dark nails:
For a tiny puppy, less than four weeks, you can use human nail clippers. They’re actually a good choice at first, as they don’t look scary or make much noise when cutting. But, as your pup gets older, you’ll need something a bit more heavy-duty. I’d recommend getting some proper canine nail clippers, such as Hawatour Dog Nail clippers.
It’s also a good idea to have some styptic powder on hand. If you cut a little too close to the ‘quick’ (a blood vessel that runs through the nail), it can bleed quite a bit. Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder applied to the cut end of the nail will stop the bleeding immediately.
When nail clipping, your best bet is just to cut the very tip of the nail at first. Don’t go higher than where the nail starts to curve. That way, you should be fine.
Alternatively, you can try a nail grinder or dremel to file down your dog’s nails rather than actually cutting them. These are popular with some dog owners, and you can go very slowly and carefully so that there’s less chance of cutting the quick. These grinders can be a bit noisy.
If you plan to use one of these, just grind for a few seconds at a time. Build up gradually so your dog can get used to the strange noise and ‘feel’ of it on his paws.
Look at the Oster 78129-600 Gentle Paws Cordless Nail Trimmer to see if you’d like to add one of these handy tools to your Rottweiler grooming arsenal.
Professional Rottweiler grooming
If you’re unsure about tackling the grooming yourself or don’t have the time, then take your Rottweiler to a professional grooming appointment.
Most dog groomers have experience in dealing with all different types and sizes of dogs and will know how to handle even the most uncooperative of customers!
A professional grooming session will usually last around an hour. Your Rottie will have a thorough brush-out, shampoo and condition (if required), clock his nails, and any other areas that need attention.
Your groomer may also be able to give you some tips on how to care for your dog’s coat at home and what type of products to use.
If you do decide to use a professional groomer, it’s a good idea to find one that is qualified and experienced and who uses only the best products available.
You may even want to take a look at some online reviews before making your decision.