Giving appropriate care is the most crucial aspect of having a dog. Owners need to understand their pet’s basic needs and supply them. Are you planning to own, or have you already got an Australian Shepherd? You should know what their specific demands are.
Australian Shepherds’ basic needs are pretty similar to other dogs’ ones. If you are already used to them, taking care of an Australian Shepherd won’t be hard. The main differences are that you need to train and play with him a bit more than other breeds. Australian Shepherds are really active dogs.
Gathering all the information you need for your dog can be tough. Due to that, in this article, I will show you all the considerations you need about Australian Shepherds.
Your First Weeks as an Australian Shepherd Owner
Supposing that you just got your first Aussie, one of the first things you should do is to acclimatize him. In his first weeks with you, he needs to get used to your lifestyle and identify his new family.
After he knows you better and identifies you as his owner, he will become loyal. Aussies are famous for this characteristic. Even in your worst moments and failures, he will be on your side. He expects you to be mutual and return him the same care he gives you.
Never forget that he is your newest family member. Seeing him like that is the first step to giving him appropriate care. Like any human, he also has feelings. Never put him aside or leave him alone for a long time. Otherwise, he will get very sad.
If your Aussie is a puppy, in the first few days, confine him in a small area of your home. Since he is too young, he doesn’t have much control over his body.
Allowing him to run around your entire house will be a mess. Not only can he destroy items and chew on your furniture, but he may also defecate and urinate anywhere. At around 3 months of age, you should start potty training him.
How to Bathe Your Australian Shepherd?
You definitely don’t want your furry friend to have a bad smell, do you? However, some owners still have several troubles taking their Aussies for a bath.
Bathing your friend is hugely beneficial for him. This practice brings hygiene and also helps to treat fleas, bumps, and scratches. And not to mention the refreshing feeling!
Australian Shepherds aren’t obnoxious and don’t tend to reject baths. Nevertheless, some dogs are still problematic for their owners. There are some ways you can prevent him from dismissing a bath:
- Use warm water to reduce the chances of panic
- Don’t use running water, it can make your pet more nervous; the perfect choice is a washcloth
- Use a pet shower sprayer, if you need to clean more difficult areas
- Increase the bath time gradually; start with one or two minutes and evolve as he gets used to the procedure
How Long It Takes to Bathe Your Australian Shepherd?
A common question about bathing your dog is how often you should do this and how long it needs to be. The answer is not straightforward and varies a lot.
There are some factors to determine your Australian Shepherd’s bath schedule:
Hair length: The longer the hair, the more it needs to be cleaned. The average Australian Shepherd has a coat a bit hard to deal with. Their hair is a bit longer than other dog breeds. In addition to it, mats are typical, and generally appear close to their ears.
Level of activity: The second factor to consider when determining how often to bathe your pet is his activity. As you may have imagined, more active and outdoorsy Australian Shepherds will get dirty faster than the ones who spend more time at home. Therefore, they need to be bathed more often.
Skin properties: Allergies and other skin characteristics require the dog to be more or less bathed. It all depends on your Aussie. Some conditions can be worsened if his skin frequently enters in contact with water. On the other hand, others can be better treated if washed thoroughly.
Generally speaking, Aussies don’t need too much bath sessions a year. If you take care of him correctly, bathe him only when you think he is dirty enough. This should be a quantity around 4 or 5 baths a year, depending on your dog.
To maintain this frequency, you need to brush him a lot. Do this at least once a week. Grooming sessions are also crucial to keep your furry friend in good appearance and health conditions.
When bathing him, never forget to use adequate dog shampoo. They are essential to prevent his skin and coat from drying. Before starting, however, make sure they are compatible with your Australian Shepherd and won’t bring any allergy to him.
Going Out With Your Australian Shepherd
Okay, that’s one of the most important things you should master if you own an Australian Shepherd. These dogs are incredibly active and outdoorsy. This can be explained by their origins. Australian Shepherds were originally bred to work at farms, herding livestock.
Until this day and age, these characteristics remain. So make sure you can provide your Aussie with a lot of time of exercise to see him happy.
This should be a daily practice. The length may vary, but a reasonable amount of time is anything ranging from 30 to 60 minutes every day. You should prioritize tasks that require a lot of energy, such as frisbee.
Take him for a walk in the street and then head over a park. There, both of you will have plenty of space to play. If your Aussie is mature enough, you can even let him play with other dogs and make new friendships in the process!
One thing you should note is that he will always want more time. It doesn’t matter if you have been playing for hours and you are tired, he will never be satisfied. You don’t need to worry about that. One hour per day is sufficient to comply with his needs.
Going out is also a fantastic opportunity to train him. The outside world has a lot of temptations. Your Aussie may want to bark at strangers or run around without your permission. These moments are great to practice obedience training with him.
Never forget to be cautious when bringing your friend for a walk. Although Aussies are extremely dog-friendly and also don’t behave too aggressively against strangers, stressful moments can occur.
If your pet identifies someone as a threat, he may want to run towards them. If desperation sets in, many adverse consequences can happen. Not only he might harm other people or dogs, but also you may lose control over him, and he will run away.
Ensure you will always have control over him. My recommendation is to use a harness. They are less likely to cause pain to your furry friend. If you don’t have this option, use a lead anyway. You should only walk with your Australian Shepherd without anything to control him only if he is already trained to walk alone.
How to Feed Your Australian Shepherd?
To maintain your Aussie healthy, you need to know how to feed him properly. There are different types of dog food. Each type has its own characteristics. There isn’t a bad one and a good one. It all depends on your dog’s needs.
Here are the four major kinds of food to give to your furry friend:
- Kibble/dry food
- Wet food
- Raw food
- Human food
Australian Shepherds, in general, don’t have a specific food that preferred by them. To know what your dog likes, test the different options with him. In addition to it, visit a veterinarian. He will give you all the nutritional benefits of each food for him.
Kibble/dry food: The most economical and easy to store option is kibble. Due to these characteristics, they are perfect for you as an owner. On the other hand, dry food may also contain preservatives and artificial flavors, which can harm your Australian Shepherd.
Wet food: Wet food is the one dogs tend to love the most. That’s because they are super tasty. In addition to it, they can provide your Aussie with better nutrients. The downside is that they are more expensive than kibble. Surely you won’t appreciate the food as much as him.
Raw food: Raw food is very controversial. As the name suggests, you give raw meat and some veggies to your pet.
People who defend giving raw food to dogs say that’s the most natural choice. Think about the times when dogs weren’t domesticated by humans: they used to eat raw food! On the other side, non-cooked meals may contain some bacteria and fungus.
If you buy from a reliable seller, then it’s safe to use raw food. Avoid suspiciously low prices and sketchy products, and you will be fine.
Human food: If you want to give to your Aussie something tastier than what he is used to, be careful. While some human foods are extremely beneficial for your friend, some are harmful.
There is not a general rule. You need to investigate every food in detail before giving it to your Aussie. For example, some human foods like chocolate are dangerous for your furry friend. Still, peanut butter is delicious and healthy for your dog!
The same way, never feed avocados to your Aussie. Even though they are fruits, they have toxins, which can kill him. Don’t judge food by its appearance. Do in-depth research before anything.
How to Watch for Your Australian Shepherd’s Health?
I know no one wants to see their pet in the doctor’s room. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to understand what are their common diseases and how to treat them.
If your furry friend is still a puppy, you ought to know their vaccination schedule. Depending on his age, these procedures still might not have been done by his breeders. Your puppy needs to receive these vaccines in the following order:
|Age (weeks)||Vaccination against|
|16||DHP-P and Rabies|
|20||DHP-P and Bordetella|
Vaccines keep your dog away from contagious diseases. Some of them can even be fatal. In addition to it, they can also spread to humans in bites. Rabies, for example, is a well-known, dangerous disease to people.
Leaving vaccination aside, you should also pay attention to other illnesses your Aussie may have.
Conditions such as Elbow Dysplasia, Cataract or Collie Eye Anomaly aren’t rare among this breed. If you believe your dog is ill, hurry up to a veterinarian. If you don’t treat them straight away, they can evolve and be harder to cure in the future.
Never forget to submit your dog to regular checkups. There are some threats that only vets can identify. Therefore, he must undergo examinations to see if he is in good health conditions.
My Final Thoughts
If you follow the instructions of this article, chances are you and your Australian Shepherd are going to live an extremely happy life.
Taking care of Aussies is not complicated. They are pretty much like any other breed. The main point you need to pay more attention to is their activity requirements. If you can cope with them, relax and enjoy the time with your friends!
Always look after your dog’s health. An energetic Aussie is mainly determined by a proper diet and happy moments. Even though he is not a human, he continues to be an important member of your family.
How often should I bring my Australian Shepherd to the vet? It varies according to your dog’s age. In general, puppies should see the doctor once every month. Aussies up to 9 years old should undergo a yearly checkup, and elderly dogs, bi-yearly.
Is it important to trim my Australian Shepherd’s nails? Yes, it is! Keeping his nails short prevents them from cracking and maintain good paw health. If you find it hard to do it alone, get his nails cut at the veterinarian.