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Australian Shepherd: From the Farm to the Family Room

Australian Shepherd: From the Farm to the Family Room 0

Beloved both as a family pet and a working dog, Australian Shepherds (affectionately known as Aussies) are a popular breed. Their merle coats and gorgeous eyes make them stand out at first look. However, the Australian Shepherd Club of America has always focused on the breed's personality and abilities over appearances. Intelligent and loyal, they make great companions and working dogs—as long as you can keep up with them!

Keep reading for all you need to know about aussies, plus some fun facts!

History and Background

Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd hails from the USA, not Australian. According to the lore, this breed descends from herding dogs that traveled from New Zealand to the US with Merino sheep herds. Some believe that the Australian Shepherd's ancestors go even further back to the Basque region of Europe! It's easy to see why others think Aussies came from a collie mix, especially when you're talking about a fluffier dog. 

Regardless of the breed's origins, Australian Shepherds have quickly become a popular breed in the United States—17th according to the AKC—and across the world! That's impressive when you consider Aussies have only been recognized by the AKC relatively recently (1993).

Physical Characteristics

Aussies might be the perfect breed with its medium size and coat. They measure 20 (female) to 22 (male) inches tall and have a weight range between 40 and 65. 

Every Australian Shepherd has a coat as unique as its personality. Aussies come in red merle, red, blue merle, black, red, and blue, each of which may include tan and/or white. Their splotchy coats, which feather out from their legs and frame their faces with a mane, are one of their most identifiable features. 

That distinct coloring also extends to their eyes, which can have any combination of blue, brown, hazel, amber or green. Each eye can have split or swirled colors, too. Aussies are one of the few dog breeds that commonly have two different colored eyes, which is called heterochromia.  Put it together with their naturally floppy ears, and it's hard not to fall in love with Australian Shepherds. 

You may also love the look of Aussies but prefer a smaller option. In that case, you can always consider the Miniature Australian Shepherd, which grows between 13 (female) and 18 (male) inches and weighs 40 pounds maximum. The Toy Australian Shepherd is even smaller—they've got a full size of just 14 inches! But that small stature still fits all the friendliness and intelligence over the larger breed.

Personality and Temperament

Perhaps Australian Shepherds are popular because the breed is a great compromise. These dogs have enough energy to join you and your family on your adventures, become working dogs, or learn commands. Still, their personalities are surprisingly chill despite their independent and bold natures. 

Homeowners love Australian Shepherds because they're not as likely to dig as other breeds, and their social tendencies make them great family dogs. These pups are loyal to their owners, albeit a bit wary of strangers. Still, this makes the breed a good protector, as is often the case with herding breeds.

If you're looking for a dog that will be part of your family, you almost can't go wrong with an Australian Shepherd. They love kids and get along well with other pets. They're playful and not known for being aggressive. Best of all, this breed has a lifespan between 10 and 12 years on average, so you'll have plenty of time to spend with your dog.

Caring For Your Aussie

Not every home is the right for an Australian Shepherd. They're too energetic to be comfortable in an apartment and can become hyperactive or even destructive if they do not receive enough attention or exercise. They do best with a large enclosed yard or space to roam free in the country. 

Nutrition

A diet with moderate fat content ensures the Aussie double coat remains healthy, while a high-protein diet keeps muscles strong. Aussies need more calories than less active breeds.

Exercise

Herding dogs like Aussies need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Working dogs naturally burn off steam, and family pets can join walks/hikes and runs, tussle in the backyard, or play Frisbee. You can also consider agility and obedience activities, which intelligent Aussies love!

Training

If you cannot train your Australian Shepherd and assert dominance, it can become unruly. That's the risk when any intelligent breed becomes bored, and the Aussie is undoubtedly clever. However, if you're dedicated, you can tap into your Aussie's natural intelligence and strengthen your bond through training.

Start by socializing your Aussie pup starting around 8 weeks old. Crate training your Aussie helps with sleep and when you're not home. Start with basic commands such as "Sit" or "Shake" before moving onto more complex commands that are broken up into smaller parts.

Grooming

That medium coat allows Aussies to be equally comfortable in both hot and cold climates, and it requires only a moderate amount of grooming for most of the year. As long as you brush your dog weekly and prepare for seasonal blowouts, you won't need to deal with matted fur. Nevertheless, potential owners who cannot dedicate the time to weekly brushing (and more as the seasons change) may want to look at a different breed.

Health Concerns

Aussies are generally healthy dogs. However, like any breed, they can develop certain health issues. Common problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease, deafness, allergies, epilepsy, osteochondritis dissecans, sensitivity to drugs, and eye problems. The breed can also become infected by Collie nose, a type of immune reaction.

Fun Facts About the Australian Shepherd Dog

  • Some Aussies still happily herd on ranches!
  • Aussies have participated in rodeos in the past.
  • This breed has earned the nickname Bob-Tails because of its naturally short tail.
  • Aussies were once nicknamed "ghost eye" because of its unique eye color combinations.

Famous Aussies

Hyper Hank gained fame in the 1970s for his frisbee skills.

Australian Shepherds to Follow

For those who love the breed but may not have room in their hearts or homes, you can get your doggie fix online. Several Aussies have become "Instagram famous!"

Oliver the Aussie hails from Portland, and his family snaps beautiful photos of him, often surrounded by nature.

Nova Mae loves to swim as much as she loves to pose for photos, which show off her stunning blue and brown eyes!

An Aussie named Secret (and her owner Mary) may have more followers than any other Australian Shepherd on Instagram. With the dog's golden eyes and owner's bold red hair, it's easy to see why they have so many fans!

What to Expect When Owning An Aussie

Whether you want a dog that can herd, keep up with your active lifestyle, or complete your family, Australian Shepherds are a great choice. They'll keep you on your toes, but if you keep them stimulated, they're a great addition to any home! Nevertheless, if you've never owned a dog before, you may want to consider a more relaxed breed. 

Anti Inflammatory for Dogs: Why Controlling Inflammation is Critical For A Healthy Dog

Anti Inflammatory for Dogs: Why Controlling Inflammation is Critical For A Healthy Dog 0

Inflammation in dogs can both stem from, and contribute to, many health challenges. Dog parents who want to help their pup achieve and maintain an optimal quality of life need to understand what this problem can mean and how the proper nutritional support can help. 

Whether your dog suffers from a known inflammatory disorder or you just want to keep him happy and healthy for life, take a moment to consider the following key points about inflammation in dogs.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation plays a key role in the body's nonspecific immunity against physical threats such as an infection or injury. When the immune system perceives such a threat, it releases large numbers of white blood cells, which then travel rapidly to the area in need of help. Inflammation may look and feel unpleasant, but it can help to wipe out invading germs and speed tissue repair.

Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

While inflammation usually proves helpful under normal circumstances, it can also cause problems if it gets out of control or occurs for the wrong reasons. Acute inflammation may cause redness, pain, and swelling, but these symptoms should go away once the underlying health issue resolves itself. Unfortunately, chronic conditions often lead to chronic inflammation. This state of ongoing, low-level inflammation can cause serious problems such as cell damage, joint trouble, premature aging, major organ disease, and even cancer.

Common Inflammatory Disorders: Symptoms and Complications

Dogs can develop a variety of chronic inflammatory problems, some of which are easier for owners to spot than others. You and your vet will want to watch out for the following common inflammatory conditions.

  • Enteritis: Enteritis occurs when the small intestine becomes inflamed. Many kinds of irritants can trigger this condition, including parasites, allergies, intestinal blockages, and ingested germs such as bacteria or viruses. Dogs suffering from enteritis may experience abnormal stools, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and fever. 
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis commonly affects older dogs (just as it affects older humans), but it can also develop because of premature joint wear and tear. In this inflammatory condition, the cartilage that lines and cushions the bone ends in joints thins out and breaks up. Symptoms include swollen joints and painful stiffness when your dog tries to walk, climb stairs, lie down, or stand up.
  • Hepatitis: Dogs can develop chronic inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) because of infections, reactions to toxic substances, or no identifiable reason. Genetics may also play a role, since the condition appears more often in such popular breeds as Chihuahuas, Springer Spaniels, Standard Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Cocker Spaniels, and Labrador Retrievers. Symptoms include jaundice, an enlarged abdomen, increased thirst/urination, weight loss, diarrhea, and lethargy.
  • Dermatitis: Dogs often suffer from skin inflammation related to canine allergic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as canine atopic dermatitis. This condition can affect any dog, but Bulldogs, Dalmations, Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, and many breeds of terriers seem especially vulnerable to it. Common triggers include specific foods, airborne allergens, irritants that contact the skin, or even normal skin microorganisms. Dogs who lick or bite at the inflamed, itchy lesions caused by this condition may develop skin infections.

Veterinary Treatment Options for Canine Inflammation

Regular wellness exams can help your veterinarian identify a chronic inflammatory condition, even if that condition hasn’t yet displayed obvious external symptoms. Conditions such as osteoarthritis may reveal themselves through X-rays, visual evidence of joint swelling, and observations of your dog’s stance and gait. Allergy testing can help to confirm sources of skin inflammation. Analysis of blood, urine, and fecal samples can pinpoint internal problems related to chronic inflammation.

Veterinarians commonly treat inflammation with a combination of therapies. For example, anti inflammatory for dogs, such as NSAIDs or steroids, may help reduce inflammatory reactions. Histamines can help dogs with allergic inflammation. Dogs with osteoarthritis may also benefit from gentle exercise to keep the joints limber (and prevent unwanted weight gain that might stress the joints further). 

Diet and nutrition also play important roles in the treatment of canine inflammatory disorders. Your dog may need a special diet to help him cope with digestive inflammation, allergies that trigger dermatitis, or organ problems related to chronic inflammatory damage.

Foods and Nutrients That Can Help Your Dog Manage Inflammation

Many foods and seasonings contain nutrients that can help to prevent or control chronic inflammation in dogs. This approach can prove safer and gentler than a heavy reliance on medications (which can produce unwanted side effects or interact with other prescription drugs).

Food allergy-based inflammation may recede after your pet switches to a hypoallergenic diet. For instance, if your dog has allergies to the proteins commonly found in commercial food products, he may do much better with a diet that relies on less common protein combinations such as eggs and rice, duck and peas, or fish and potatoes. Seasonings such as cinnamon and turmeric can also help control chronic inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a major ally in the fight against canine inflammation. These fatty acids — commonly found in salmon, anchovies, sardines, and other fatty fish — also come in fish oil supplement form. Omega-3 supplementation makes it easy to ensure that your dog gets enough of these fatty acids regularly, even if he doesn’t like fish. 

Joint issues can start very small and overtime become serious. With the increase severity comes increased inflammation. Nutrients that help reduce inflammation, like omega fatty acids, are critical for treating the body's response. Additionally, the initial issue should be treated as well. Nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin help improve joint health and mobility. By helping lubricate and cushion the joint, these nutrients help to stop the damage that is causing inflammation.

Give your pet the regular evaluations he needs, work with your vet on any necessary treatment plan, and provide the right dietary and nutritional support to help your dog fight inflammation. Your best friend will appreciate it!

7 Tasty Homemade Dog Treats for Spring

7 Tasty Homemade Dog Treats for Spring 1

Spring is a time of renewal, new awakenings, and where your dog can finally enjoy the great outdoors - especially if you live in a colder climate. Pretty flowers, new smells, sunny skies, and frolicking in the fresh grass will certainly put a spring in your dog's step. But what dog doesn’t love new treats? Shower them with some homemade dog treats

We've curated 7 delicious spring-themed homemade dog treats - all organic and full of yummy goodness for your furry friend. These easy to make recipes are sure to have your dog’s tail wagging. Check out these 7 delectable DIY dog treat recipes.

(1) Rainbow-Frosted Dog Biscuits

Rainbow-Frosted Dog Biscuits

With doggo-safe colored icing and yummy ingredients like wheat germ and oats, this DIY biscuit for dogs is not only Instagram-worthy, but it's healthy for your dog, too. The biscuits and icing are separate mixtures but when you see your dog's eyes after showing him these treats - it's all worth it.

Click here for the recipe

(2) Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats

Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats

No matter what time of year it is, dogs love peanut butter. And by adding yogurt to this easy recipe, it's even more healthy for your pet. While these frozen doggie yogurt treats are yummy for summer highs, those in warmer climates know that spring is a time for frozen dog treats as well.

Click here for the recipe

(3) Spinach, Carrot and Zucchini Dog Treats

Spinach, Carrot and Zucchini Dog Treats

Does spring make you think of garden vegetables? Us too. That's why this garden-friendly homemade dog treat recipe is total perfection. It has a combination of fresh ingredients like zucchini, carrots, and spinach for a treat that is healthy, tasty and easy to make for your favorite pooch.

Click here for the recipe

(4) Fun and Fancy Easy Easter Egg Dog Treats

Easy Easter Egg Dog Treats

Speaking of Easter eggs, if you're looking for a fancy treat with no extra ingredients, you'll love these do-it-yourself dog biscuits. This is one of the dog treat recipes that has simple and healthy ingredients. In this dog biscuit recipe, you use your favorite dough and stamps for the decorations. They're pretty to look at and simple to make.

Check out the recipe here

(5) DIY Peeps for Dogs

Peeps for Dogs

Some people love Peeps and some hate them. While Peeps for human consumption have too much sugar for your dog (and probably for humans too), these pretty Peeps are perfect for a springtime treat for your pooch. Ingredients like vanilla, honey and coconut give them that sweet flavor without the toxic sugar. This dog treat takes a little more time than some but the outcome will wow your friends and best of all, your dog will love them.

Check out the recipe here

(6) Heart-Shaped Cranberry Cookies

Heart-Shaped Cranberry Cookies

Valentine's Day may have passed, but your dog is forever in your heart. This scrumptious dog cookies recipe is a perfect way to show your doggie some love. With ingredients like cranberries, almond flour and coconut flour, you may even want to try them yourself. Just make sure there are plenty for your pup because we have a feeling that he'll eat these up as fast as you can share them.

Check out the recipe here

(7) Frozen Watermelon Treats

Frozen Watermelon Treats

Spring or summer, watermelon is a staple. It's naturally sweet, cooling in warm temperatures, and totally and temptingly tasty. In this simple dog popsicle recipe, it's as simple as watermelon and coconut milk. The hardest part is the wait time for these homemade pupsicles to freeze before you can share them with your sweet pup.

Check out the recipe here

Dachshunds: Long Body, Short Legs & All You Need To Know About The Breed

Dachshunds: Long Body, Short Legs & All You Need To Know About The Breed 1

Whether you know them as the wiener dog, sausage dog, doxie, or their proper name, the dachshund, these adorable pups are instantly recognizable and have an interesting history. 

With their distinct short legs and long body, dachshunds were famously described by H.L. Mencken as “a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long.” Curious, smart, and spirited, this breed makes a wonderful companion and family dog. 

Keep reading for all you need to know about dachshunds, plus some fun facts!

An Overview of the Dachshund

The dachshund is part of the hound group and comes with three types of coats — longhaired, wirehaired, and smooth. The most common colors are reddish-brown and black with a few tan markings, but many colors and patterns are possible. Two fun color and pattern variations are the dapple dachshund and the piebald dachshund.

Doxies come in two recognizable sizes: standard and miniature. On average, a standard doxie weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, while a miniature weighs 11 pounds and under.

They have a ferocious bark for such a little dog and make excellent watchdogs even for their small stature. In fact, the breed is brave, ferocious, and stubborn. They have a strong will and can be tenacious, but their endearing qualities make them a wonderful pet for many.

History and Background

Often known as a wiener dog because of its district physical appearance and huge personality, the breed is over 600 years old. It was originally bred in Germany to dig for badgers. Their name literally translates to badger dog - “dach” means badger and “hund” means dog. 

As you may have guessed, their unique long, low bodies make them incredible subterranean hunters. They specialized in tracking small animals and digging tunnels to find the prey. You might be surprised to find out that hunters also used them to track larger game, such as deer and wild boar.

In 1885, they were registered as an American Kennel Club recognized breed and became immediately endearing to the people of the United States.

Temperament and Personality of the Dachshund

This breed has a lot to offer families. They're loyal, fun, and lively. And speaking of loyalty, they're quite the alert watchdog. Any strangers may receive a sharp bark till he gets comfortable with them.

They have a comical clownish personality that can charm, yet often are demanding. Don't be surprised if your dachshund feels it's his right to steal your covers.

They're quite good with other household pets, but may become jealous over attention and toys. This is when training comes in handy. And they can be stubborn too, so make sure you reward exemplary behavior with treats and praise.

Caring for Your Dachshund

Just like any canine friend, your dachshund needs proper care so he can be healthy and thrive.

Nutritional Needs

One of the most important things for a healthy dachshund is maintaining a healthy weight. They are naturally prone to develop obesity. Extra weight can strain their long back. An overweight dachshund is more susceptible to spinal issues, like spinal cord compression and herniated discs. 

Proper nutrition is key for a healthy doxie. Only allow the proper amount of food and ignore those puppy dog eyes. He may melt your heart, but his health depends on saying no to too much food or unhealthy food.

Grooming

Dachshunds are generally low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They are moderate shedders, relatively clean, and have little or no body odor. However, the specifics on how you groom your dachshund will depend on which coat he has.  

A long haired dachshund will need to be brushed more often than their smooth coat counterpart. Brushing will help keep their coat clear and knot free, and will also help cut down on shedding. 

A wire haired dachshund needs to have their coat plucked 2 to 3 times a year. Additionally, their eyebrows and beard should be brushed regularly and trimmed occasionally. 

Smooth haired dachshunds are the easiest to keep clean, needing little more than a wipe with a towel or a grooming mitt to look adorable.

All dachshunds need to have their nails trimmed monthly.

Exercise

This cunning breed requires both physical and mental exercise. Like most breeds, a bored, energized dachshund can be very naughty. 

Just because they are small doesn’t mean they are couch potatoes. On average, they need at least 45-60 minutes of exercise each day. This can be split into two or more sessions. Regular exercise helps to keep them at a healthy weight and maintain muscle strength to avoid back issues. 

Additionally, playing games inside and learning new tricks is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated. Incorporate these tricks and games into your daily walks to keep them guessing.

Training

Did we mention they can be very stubborn? This, combined with a high intelligence, means training can be a challenge. The good thing is that these furry friends respond well to praise and treats. Be careful with your words because the dachshund is a sensitive soul. Shouting or punishment upsets them. Instead, keep a consistent training schedule and always reward them for a job well done.

Here are five things to teach a new dachshund puppy.

  1. Teach him his name
  2. Train him not to bite
  3. Show him fresh smells, unfamiliar sights, and different surfaces
  4. Teach him to use a crate
  5. Potty train your dachshund

Health Issues

The main issue with this breed is with their weight. Generally, they're healthy and live between 12 and 16 years. However, dachshunds are prone to overeating and back injuries. Make sure your sausage dog maintains an ideal weight, and doesn't leap off of stairs, furniture, or other high places as he can injure his back or hips.

Dachshunds have the potential for joint and back issues because of a few reasons. One is Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD. This condition causes faster aging in the spinal disc. It is a degenerative disease and causes brittle and dry discs, along with a hard inner layer that doesn't cushion the disc. This may cause a herniated disc.

1 in 5 Dachshunds have a gene that creates mineral deposits within the discs in their spine that increases their risk of herniation and rupture, according to PetMD.

These dogs are also prone to osteoarthritis, which is another degenerative disease affecting joints. It causes pain, inflammation, and inability to use the joint. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of your dachshund's joint health.

While their floppy ears are adorable and help keep dirt out, they are also prone to infections. Be sure to keep your dachshund's ears clean with a soothing ear wash.

Fun Facts

  • Depending on its coat, a dachshund's personality varies. Long-haired ones have the mildest temperament. Wire haireds have the most energy. And smooth coated bonds better with one person.
  • They're fearsome hunters and love to burrow..
  • There are three coat types, six marking types, three sizes, and 15 color combinations.
  • They are the smallest dog type in the hound group.
  • The first official Olympic mascot was a colorful dachshund named Waldi for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. That year’s marathon route was in the shape of a dachshund.
  • Two dachshunds have held the Guinness World Record for the “World’s Oldest Living Dog”. 

Famous Dachshunds

Here are a few famous wiener dogs in history:

Lump

The famous artist Picasso had a friend with a dachshund named Lump. Picasso fell in love with Lump, who shows up in some of the artist's work including an abstract sketch simply entitled “Dog”.

Obie

Obie was the victim of overeating, reaching a weight of 77 pounds! After a healthy diet, Obie slimmed down to a respectable 28 pounds.

Archie

Another dachshund beloved by a famous artist is Archie, who belonged to Andy Warhol. Archie would accompany Warhol to galleries, photo shoots, and especially to interviews to “answer” questions the artist didn’t like. The doxie was also the subject of some of Warhol’s work.

Frankenweenie

While not a real doxie, Frankenweenie by Tim Burton features a sweet weenie dog brought back to life by its owner. A young boy who uses a science experiment to spend time with his beloved dog again.

Dachshunds to Follow on Instagram

What better way to fill your feed with happiness than following a few doxies! Here are a few positively adorable wiener dogs you'll enjoy.

Crusoe is a wiener dog celebrity and a People's Choice Award winner.

Finn, Daisy, and Dixie are three adorable miniature doxie siblings who hail from Alberta, Canada. 

Honeydew is surely a much-followed doxie because of her star-quality looks.

Rowdy is not only an insanely popular wiener dog, she's also a skater!

What The Finn is a curious Canadian who often leaves his parents wondering “what the…?”. 

What to Expect Owning a Dachshund

No matter what you know them as, they are lovable, smart dogs with the antics of a clown. And not the scary kind, either! They're loyal, fierce protectors, and will give you years of the perfect furry companion.

After reading this, you might be eager to google “dachshund puppies for sale”. If you are interested in owning this breed, consider adopting or fostering a doxie. Reputable organizations, such as Dachshund Club of America, All American Dachshund Rescue, and Dachshund Rescue of North America, can help guide you through the process of adoption or  finding a breeder.