The Australian Shepherd is a very active dog breed whose overall health is relatively robust. But like other breeds, hereditary diseases can not be completely ruled out in the "Aussies". You will find out here which are these and with which nutrition your four-legged friend stays as fit as possible.
Serious dog breeders try to mate only healthy Australian Shepherds, but sometimes hereditary diseases can creep in unnoticed. Otherwise, the pretty four-legged friends have a relatively resilient health and tend - unlike the Beagle or the Labrador - not to overweight. Nevertheless, the diet should be kept in mind.
Possible hereditary diseases in the Australian Shepherd
In the Australian Shepherd, hereditary diseases were primarily the painful joint disease hip dysplasia (HD) and eye disorders such as cataract or so-called iris colobomas. In Iris Coloboma, the dog's eye lacks a piece of the iris - but if the spots are quite small, your dog can still see normal. Only if the colobomas are larger, affected animals are very sensitive to light or vision is impaired. A hereditary cataract develops slowly and creeping, the lens gradually becomes cloudy. Without treatment, the affected Australian Shepherd finally goes blind.
Apart from that, bite defects often occur in this breed of dog. Most of the time, the deformities are not so bad that your "Aussie" has to suffer, but it does not hurt to continue watching your teeth. For the breeding stricter rules apply, there the dogs should have as healthy a dentition as possible, so that the problem does not worsen. Occasionally autoimmune diseases are also inherited, such as lupus. Inheritable is also the primary epilepsy - "primary" in this case means that it is innate and not triggered by another pre-existing disease. A certain predisposition to allergies also seems to be inherited more frequently in Australian Shepherds. Finally, a so-called MDR1 gene defect can be present in this breed of dog. "MDR" stands for "multi-drug resistance" and translates to "multiple drug hypersensitivity". Dogs that have this genetic defect do not tolerate certain drugs, such as the active substance ivermectin. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
Mental Health: Aussies need action
The Australian Shepherd is a smart, active and lovable dog breed with a pronounced "will to please". This refers to a trait that goes hand in hand with a great willingness to learn, a zeal for work and the need to please one's human being. If your quadruped is not sufficiently busy, he suffers from boredom and develops unwanted behaviors. So go with your Australian Shepherd so regularly to dog sports such as agility, dog dancing, obedience or dog frisbee. To promote his intelligence, you can teach him a few tricks, such as tidying up. Frequent hours of play and thrilling gas rounds may also be missing, so that your "Aussie" is happy.
Are there any specifics in the diet?
Unlike the Labrador, who also has a pronounced "will to please" and loves dog sports, the Australian Shepherd does not tend to be a glutton. As a result, he does not usually have to pay much attention to keeping his weight. Through its activity, it usually consumes the energy that it absorbs through the feed, so again, so that excess weight rarely accumulates. There are no special features of the "Aussie" nutrition in the sense that it should simply be given high-quality dog food, but it can also be brewed. As long as Australian Shepherds are still growing, they should get special puppy food. Ask your breeder and the veterinarian which portion sizes are appropriate, so that you do not inadvertently feed too much. Otherwise it can happen that the puppy grows too fast, which may favor later joint problems. If your dog is suffering from food allergy, check with the vet for hypoallergenic dog food.