Australian Shepherd (Aussie) Characteristics
Care of Australian Shepherd is simple and should be regular that your dog look well-groomed.
Australian Shepherd has a medium length coat with a dense undercoat which molts. Molting is seasonal, abundant. If Aussie is keeping in an apartment with dry warm air, molt will be permanent.
It is well adapted to keeping outdoor or in the aviary (without chain). Its dense undercoat retains heat and prevents from penetrate moisture and cold. Australian Shepherd is resistant to rain, sun, frost and heat. Its body can gradually adapt to different climate changes.
Care for coat of Australian Shepherd.
Bathe: Aussie is recommended to bathe with shampoo for dogs one time in 4 - 6 weeks, or depending on the dirt. If your dog lives outside, in winter it will clean its wool on snow. In the summer, you can bathe your pet in a river or a lake. After a swim in the outside water you should rinse pet's coat with clean water.
In the apartment Aussie is bathed in a bath or a large basin. You need to put on the bottom of the bath a rubber mat to prevent dog`s legs from sliding. After bathing wool is dry with the towel and blow drier. Drying thick wool Aussie is a long process, so do not let the dog sit at a drafts until dry up.
Combing is necessary 2 - 3 times per week with a brush and comb. This procedure removes dead hair and dust, improves blood circulation and provides massage of dog`s skin.
Things for care of Aussies:
- Brushes with metal teeth
- Metal comb
Before combing pet`s hair is sprayed with clean water or diluted conditioner. Do not comb dry hair, it can be damaged.
You need comb the pet every day during the moult. To remove dead undercoat it is used Furminators which:
- removes dead hair and reduces moulting
- does not damage the guard hairs
- gently pulls out the dead undercoat
- prevents the formation of tangles
Shaving of Australian Shepherd is still a controversial topic. Breeders sometimes use this procedure so that dog could withstand heat easier or if they do not want to clean rugs from the wool every day.
Dogs can cool down making some short breathes not through evaporation of moisture from the surface of the body because they do not have sweat glands on the body (except the paws). They open mouth and their breathing becomes more frequent. It helps rapid liquid evaporation at an exhalation from the mucous membranes of the mouth surface.
Aussie`s skin with shaven coat is very vulnerable to the sun and tan. Australian Shepherd of marble color more often than other are exposed to burns and their wool can suffer after such experiments.
Claws are necessary to cut 1 time per month with nail clipper. After walking always check the condition of the paws. Vegetable oil is rubbed in the paw pads and include this product in the diet of dog (1 teaspoon per day) to prevent cracks.
Ears are regularly checked on redness or excess sulfur and are wiped with a cotton pad soaked in warm water, 1 time per week. Healthy ears are pink colour without unpleasant smell. If the dog often shakes his head and the pinna is reddened, it is scratchings the ears on the floor, the ear has unpleasant smell, you must immediately contact veterinarian.
Care for eyes of Australian Shepherd: eyes are regularly checked and cleaned 1 time a week with a soft cloth soaked in chamomile tea. Each eye is necessary cleaned with a separate clean cloth.
Teeth are brushed with toothpaste for dogs with a toothbrush 2 - 3 times a week. Solid food, chew bone or toy - rope with special means against plaque can prevent the appearance of tartar.
Attention! Ticks and Fleas
You must regularly treat Australian Shepherd with means against ectoparasites at least 1 time per month, because fleas and ticks are a great threat to the health and life of the dog. The medicine (for example: drops "Advantix", "Front Line") is dripped on the withers. Do not bath the dog during 10 days.
Fleas are parasitic on the animal's body and provoke itch, redness and irritation of the skin. Flea bite can cause allergies. Flea can cause the appearance worms, if dog ingests it because fleas are carriers of various infectious diseases.
Ixodid tick is carrier of a dangerous disease for dogs -piroplasmosis (babesiosis). It is active in the period April - October (especially dangerous May - September).
Always check pet`s skin after walking: the muzzle, ears, area around the eyes, neck and abdomen. Discovered a tick, do not panic (not all are infectious). You need to wear rubber gloves and pull the parasite with tweezers or Tick Twister with circular motion. The bite is treated with antiseptic.
Next days keep an eye on pet`s health. If the Aussie is active, eats with appetite, it is all right, your dog is healthy.
Symptoms of piroplasmosis (babesiosis):
- refusal to eat and drink
- high body temperature (over 39 degrees)
- yellow whites of the eyes
- reddish brown urine
- dog sinks down on its hind legs
Having noticed these symptoms, immediately consult a veterinarian. Only the timely help can save the life of your dog.
Important information about the Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd and other types of Collie, may have a genetic mutation that makes them susceptible to some medicines. A dog can gets ill neurological diseases or die because of the wrong treatment. But do not worry, today there is an accurate DNA test (swab from the cheek) to check the presence of the MDR1 mutation gene.
MDR1 is the abbreviation of gene Multi-Drug Resistance 1. The mutation of this gene makes the dog's organism especially sensitive to Ivermectin and some other drugs, so the animals which have mutation can have reaction to these drugs.
If the dog has two copies of the mutation, it will always have reaction to medication. If the Aussie has one copy of the mutation, it will sometimes manifest sensitivity to some drugs.
This means the dogs which do not have gene mutation MDR1, can take medications from the list.
The list of drugs banned by Australian Shepherds (and other types of Collie)
Particularly dangerous drugs for Australian Shepherd:
- Ivomec - antiparasitic drug
- Imodium - from diarrhea, and derivatives thereof. Cause the CNS depression and possible death.
The following drugs should be used with caution, because the possible serious side effects:
- Ondansetron – antiemetic
- Ondansetron- antiemetic
- Domperidone – stomach
- Paclitaxel - treats cancer
- Etoposide - treats cancer
- Morphine - all drugs based on opium
- Loperamid (Imodium) - from diarrhea
- Digoxin - a cardiac glycoside
- Vincristin – antibiotic
- Vinblastin – antibiotic
- Doxorubicin – antibiotic
- Rifampicin – antibiotic
- Mitoxantrone – antibiotic
- Moxidectin - against parasites
- Ivermectin - against parasites
- Selamectin - against parasites
- Cyclosporin A - immune means
- Dexamethason – glucocorticoid
- Doramectin - a drug against external parasites for cattle, but some doctors prescribe it for dogs
Experienced breeders recommend to print and always carry a list of prohibited drugs, especially for visiting the vet.
Which breeds are affected by the MDR1 gene mutation?
- Collies (Rough and Smooth) (70%)
- Long-Haired Whippets (65%)
- Australian Shepherds (50%)
- Miniature American (Australian) Shepherds (50%)
- Silken Windhounds (30%)
- McNabbs (30%)
- English Shepherds (15%)
- Shetland Sheepdogs (15%)
- German Shepherd Dogs (10%)
- Mix-breeds (5%)
- Old English Sheepdogs (5%)
- Border Collies (<5%)