Meet the toy Australian Shepherd, an excitable little dog ready to learn its next trick or command. Standing under 14 inches in height and weighing between 12 to 17 pounds, the toy Australian Shepherd is a smaller variety of the more common miniature Australian Shepherd. Through select breeding of small miniature Australian Shepherds (officially known as the Miniature American Shepherd) which stands between 14 to 18 inches, the toy variety of the breed was created.
Although smaller in height and weight, the toy Australian Shepherd is still the same breed as the larger Australian and miniature Australian Shepherd. The toy variety has just the same amount of energy, intelligence, and drive as its larger forbearers.
Family And Social Life
If you’re looking for a smaller family dog that is loyal and easy to train, the toy Australian Shepherd might be the perfect fit. Be prepared for the high energy of this breed, for its remarkable intelligence requires one on one training and activities to keep it busy. With the instinct to herd and stay close by, the toy Australian Shepherd would make an ideal companion for hiking, running, and any sort of outdoor adventure. Another benefit of its small size, as well is its impressive adaptability and ability to travel and go on long road trips.
Being a companion dog, the toy Australian Shepherd is affectionate with family and is great with young children. This breed is likely to be more reserved with strangers, but not aggressive or shy. With an introduction and patience, the toy Australian Shepherd will soon warm up to newcomers, though they might not be as affectionate as they are with their family.
Having other animals in the house won’t be a problem for this breed, as they are likely to get along well with other furry companions. Monitoring new interactions is important because even though they have an easy-going temperament, sociability depends on the individual personality of the dog. The toy Australian Shepherd also does great with horses and cattle, though it might want to herd them and bite at their heels. If this is not desired, they can be easily trained not to do this, and will comfortably adapt to running alongside you as you head out on the horse trail.
Grooming and Appearance
The toy Australian Shepherd will require moderate to frequent grooming. With a double coat and medium-length hair, this breed will shed, but frequent grooming should help excess shedding. A double coat means the toy Australian Shepherd has a woolly undercoat and a longer outercoat. This intelligent growth pattern helps regulate their body temperature, making them a hardy breed for the outdoors. With this unique coat, they will go through periods of more shedding, usually in the summer when the weather is warm and they don’t need as thick of an undercoat. However, toy Australian Shepherds can go through high shedding periods no matter the season. Grooming more regularly during those times will help keep extra hair from floating about.
A truly eye-catching breed, the toy Australian Shepherd comes in a variety of colors and markings, including, red, black, blue-merle, and red-merle. The toy Australian Shepherd can be a solid color or can have white and tan markings. The term ‘merle’ means a coat that has darker patches, blotches, or spots against a lighter undercoat.
Training and Exercise
Because of their high energy and intelligence, toy Australian Shepherds thrive with activities, exercise, and playtime. Although this breed is more often found as a companion dog, they are still highly revered as ranch working dogs as well as top competitors in dog shows and sports.
While training a toy Australian Shepherd is quite easy due to their intelligence, they are also known to be stubborn and grow bored easily. If you are able, start training your toy Australian Shepherd as a puppy. Training dogs when they are still young leads to the greatest chance of success and obedience. Because toy Australian Shepherds can quickly grow bored, keep training sessions short and include positive reinforcements such as treats and joyful acknowledgment. Though training sessions should be short, keep them consistent, as toy Australian Shepherds thrive with activities and tasks.
Toy Australian Shepherds need frequent, daily exercise. This can be achieved through playtime and going on walks; they love to chase and play fetch. The desire to have a job and stay active is due to the instincts of this breed, which originated with the common Australian Shepherd, a herding cattle dog.
History of the Toy Australian Shepherd
Since the toy Australian Shepherd is a much smaller variety of the larger, original Australian Shepherd, their lineage starts with the history of Australian Shepherds. Interestingly, the Australian Shepherd is not actually from Australia, but was first recognized as a breed of its own in the Western United States in the 19th century. The history of how Australian Shepherds came to be is a bit unclear, and there are many different speculations on their ancestry.
Australian Shepherds are believed to be derived from English and Spanish herding dogs that were brought to the US along with their sheep herds. At one point, a large amount of Australian sheepherders came to the Western US, and the name ‘Australian Shepherd’ is speculated to derive from the dogs that the Australians brought with them. It is unknown what specific breed was brought over to the US with them, but it is thought to also be English shepherd dogs, as most of the Australians at that time were also originally from England and surrounding European countries.
Even though their direct heritage is unknown, as well as only speculation as to why they are called ‘Australian Shepherds,’ we do know they were used as sheep and cattle herding dogs throughout the Western United States. They became the loyal cowboy’s companions, and their drive, intelligence, and ability to traverse hard terrain made them highly popular among ranchers.
Their popularity grew when they were recognized in the U.S. rodeo circuit, where they were found performing and doing tricks for the audience with the famous rodeo performer Jay Lister.
Smaller sizes of the breed were then selected to be bred together to create miniature Australian Shepherds in the 1960s. The miniature Australian Shepherd was soon a favorite companion dog. One of the people recognized for developing this smaller breed is a Californian woman named Doris Cordova. She, along with other dog breeders in the area, including Bill and Sally Kennedy, are known as the creators of this now highly popular dog breed. Equestrians were especially recognized as loving this small breed for their ability to travel well and be around horses.
The miniature Australian Shepherd, or as it’s officially called – miniature American Shepherd, was recognized as a dog breed of its own by the American Kennel Club in 2015.
The toy Australian Shepherd is not officially recognized as its own breed, rather it is a smaller variety of the recognized miniature Australian Shepherd. The breeding of small miniature Australian Shepherds together to create an even smaller variety is an occurrence that has only begun in recent years. With how popular toy Australian Shepherds are now becoming, it is only a matter of time before they are recognized as a breed of their own.
The Incredible Intelligence of the Toy Australian Shepherd
The intelligence of the toy Australian Shepherd is undeniably remarkable. From their heritage of herding livestock to their ability to be top competitors at dog sports, their intelligence is found in their awareness and their ability to complete complicated tasks.
The intelligence of other dogs’ breeds may show itself in different areas, such as their protectiveness or their skill at following a scent trail. In herding breeds, such as the toy Australian Shepherd, their intelligence shines with their ability to follow cues and be highly aware of what is happening around them. This is necessary for them to be able to move and organize a large number of animals – they must be quick, agile, and one step ahead of the animals they’re moving.
With owning a dog of a highly intelligent nature, one must be prepared for the responsibility and commitment it takes to train them. As mentioned above, starting young leads to the greatest results as well as creating a deeper bond between owner and pet. Through training and interacting with your toy Australian Shepherd, you will deepen your bond, and they will become incredibly loyal and obedient to their human.
Because of their strong desire to have a ‘job,’ so to speak, teaching your toy Australian Shepherd to do tricks will be highly rewarding. Being a family dog, this would be a great activity for the kids to participate in. Performing mentally stimulating tasks will hone in their intelligence and they will be eager to please with whatever task you set before them. In a dog breed such as this, mentally stimulating activities will keep your dog from participating in undesirable behaviors, as mentioned above.
Health Conditions That Can Affect Your Toy Australian Shepherd
One of the best ways to equip yourself as a dog owner is to know the health problems that might affect them. Understanding the signs and symptoms that can lead to further disease, as well as preventative actions, can greatly enhance and protect the lifespan of your toy Australian Shepherd. As with all things in life, we can’t always be prepared or prevent what’s in store for us or our animals. However, having the knowledge of what we can prevent and be aware of will lead to greater confidence in caring for our four-legged companions.
The toy Australian Shepherd is no exception, and in this section, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the health of this special dog. We’ll cover topics from psychological health to physical health, so you can have a full understanding of how the toy Australian Shepherd functions and what you can do to make their life as enjoyable as it can be.
Psychological Health: Separation Anxiety and Mental Stimulation
It’s clear that toy Australian Shepherds are intelligent, high-energy, and excel at the tasks given to them. But what happens when a toy Aussie doesn’t have a job to do? As mentioned above, toy Australian Shepherds can grow bored if they don’t have anything mentally stimulating to do or play with. When this occurs, they will often find something to occupy their time, and it might result in destructive behaviors.
If the toy Australian Shepherd doesn’t have a place to expel its energy, it will resort to behaving in activities such as chewing and destroying furniture and household items, excess barking, going to the bathroom indoors, and even chewing on its legs. These behaviors can be made worse if the toy Australian Shepherd suffers from separation anxiety on top of their restless energy.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety occurs when a dog is unable to cope with being left alone or unattended for a time. This is a common condition in toy Australian Shepherds, who thrive on interaction, activities, and being with their family. What are some symptoms to look for in dog anxiety? The most common symptoms to be aware of in toy Australian Shepherds are the destructive behaviors mentioned above, especially restlessness and excessive barking. They might also start showing compulsive behaviors such as chewing on their leg when feeling stressed or anxious.
What You Can Do To Help Your Toy Australian Shepherd With Anxiety
Luckily, there are many ways you can help your toy Australian Shepherd deal with its anxiety. One way to combat social anxiety is to leave mentally stimulating activities and toys with them right before you leave. This way, they start to associate you leaving with something positive, such as a tasty bone to gnaw on or a puzzle toy that will keep them engaged for a bit. Also, start leaving them for only short periods, increasing the time apart as they become more accustomed to being separate.
A product that you can try to help your toy Australian Shepherd’s anxiety is an anxiety vest – a tight-fitting dog coat that helps your dog feel safe and secure. You can also try calming treats that contain natural ingredients that promote a relaxed nervous system.
These products are best used in combination with behavioral training, such as counterconditioning and desensitization. An example of desensitization is mentioned above by slowly incrementing your time apart so that your toy Australian Shepherd essentially becomes ‘desensitized’ to you leaving. Counterconditioning is a training technique where you address your dog’s anxious behavior by having them do a more desired behavior. An example of this would be if you noticed your dog excessively barking or pacing, you grab their attention by having them perform a trick for you, then reward them with a treat.
Social anxiety can be difficult and frustrating to manage and can result from many different factors. If you’re unsure how to move forward with your dog’s anxiety, it’s wise to speak with your vet about what steps you can take that will make it easier for both you and your toy Australian Shepherd. Some steps they might recommend are to start using medication or participate in a dog training class to combat their anxious behaviors.
Staying Active and Mentally Stimulated
Engaging in frequent playtime and exercise is a valuable way to keep your toy Australian Shepherd from growing bored and restless. Participating in these activities before you leave can also be helpful for separation anxiety so your dog can expel some of its excess energy.
It’s important to take your toy Australian Shepherd on walks daily – at least once a day, but twice is preferred. Taking them to new environments where they can engage with other animals and people will help keep them mentally stimulated and from growing restless. Being a herding dog, toy Australian Shepherds enjoy playing games such as fetch and chase as well as running with you along a trail. Try taking your pup to a large open field and throwing a frisbee for a while. This is a task they will be sure to love and is a great way for them to run, catch, and retrieve.
The Bottom Line
Social anxiety and destructive behaviors can be a sign that you’re not meeting the needs of this high-energy breed. These are serious factors that should be considered before taking on the responsibility of owning a toy Australian Shepherd. Because they require a considerable amount of mental stimulation and activities, including your toy Australian Shepherd in family adventures is going to be one of the best ways to keep them engaged and stimulated.
When a dog has MDR1, they are unable to process and transport certain drugs in the bloodstream out of their brain, resulting in serious neurological issues such as seizures and death.
So, how are you to know if your toy Australian Shepherd has the mutation or not? Luckily, there is an incredibly accurate DNA test available that will tell you if your dog has MDR1. You don’t even have to go to the vet; you can test them yourself right at home!
A dog with the mutation can have one copy or two copies of the mutation. Your test results will be able to provide you with this information. If your toy Australian Shepherd does not have the mutation, it will read Normal/Normal. If your dog has one copy of the mutation, it will read Normal/Mutant, and if it has two copies it will read Mutant/Mutant. The genetic mutation is the dominant gene, so even dogs with only one copy of the mutation will be sensitive and have a reaction to certain drugs, though to a lesser degree. Because it is a DNA test and is accurate, you will only need to have your toy Australian Shepherd tested once.
You don’t want to find out if your dog has the MDR1 through a reaction, so it is extremely important to have them tested BEFORE they are prescribed any medication. Once the test results are received, and your toy Australian Shepherd does indeed have the mutation, it is essential to provide the results to your veterinarian. You can also put the phrase, “medic alert” on their dog tag.
What medications cause your dog to react? Some common drugs that are often prescribed include ivermectin, acepromazine, and Imodium. The reaction can also depend on the dosage, as is the case with Ivermectin. If given in a low dose, it will not cause a reaction. Washington State University offers a list of the drugs to avoid that can be found here.
Just as it is important to provide your toy Australian Shepherd’s test results to your vet, it’s also important to show your vet a copy of the drugs to avoid. Keep a copy of this list and the test result on hand if someone else is caring for your dog. That way if they have to take them to another veterinarian (in case of an emergency) they can provide this important information as well. If you’re worried that your toy Australian Shepherd might not be able to receive treatment because of MDR1, know that there are many alternative medications that they can be safely given.
The only way to be certain your toy Australian Shepherd doesn’t have MDR1 is through a DNA test. But, there is an exception to this. If both parents of your toy Australian Shepherd have been tested and both of their results read Normal/Normal, then you can be certain your dog does not have MDR1. This is because neither of the parents has the gene, so it cannot be passed on. If the parentage of your toy Australian Shepherd is unknown, or if your dog is a mixed breed, they must be tested for MDR1. It’s for their safety and prevents a heartbreaking event from occurring.
To hone in on the seriousness of this genetic mutation, dogs who have MDR1 can be affected by simply eating the feces of an animal that ingested medication. If you live around livestock who are being dewormed, keep your pup away from them for at least a week to ensure their safety.
Another common ailment toy Australian Shepherds can inherit is epilepsy, which we will discuss further below. Because one of the reactions to medication can be a seizure, there can be confusion as to whether a dog has epilepsy or if they’re reacting to a drug. Another question that arises is if MDR1 causes epilepsy. In short, the answer to the second question is no, MDR1 does not cause epilepsy. The answer to the first question is that seizures due to medication will always be immediately after administration. If your toy Australian Shepherd is experiencing seizures and they were not given any medication, it is very likely they could have epilepsy.
Epilepsy and Seizures in Toy Australian Shepherds
One of the most heartbreaking events to experience as a dog owner is to witness your dog having a seizure. Canine Epilepsy is a disease that can occur in toy Australian Shepherds, affecting an estimated 4% of the breed. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder centered in the brain that causes dogs to experience multiple seizures throughout their lifetime. Seizures are caused by neurons firing uncontrollably, causing excessive electrical activity in the brain.
Seizures can occur for a variety of reasons. They can be caused by injuries such as brain damage, an infection or disease, or toxic exposure. They can also occur if they are inherited, which is called primary epilepsy. A veterinarian will be able to do a thorough workup of your toy Australian Shepherd to determine the cause of the seizures. This will usually include DNA and blood tests, history of behavior, and possible injury, as well as imaging such as an X-ray or MRI to evaluate for brain damage. If the cause of the seizures is determined (and it’s not hereditary), there is usually a treatment that can be given, and the seizures can be cured.
The only way for a veterinarian to determine if your toy Australian Shepherd has primary epilepsy is by ruling out all other causes through the methods listed above. Primary epilepsy usually only occurs in toy Australian Shepherds who are six months of age or older and under the age of seven. There is currently no testing available to see if your dog has inherited epilepsy.
Unfortunately, if your toy Australian Shepherd is diagnosed with primary epilepsy, there is no cure, and it will continue throughout their lifetime. Treatment is difficult for this disease and can affect their lifespan. In some severe cases, epilepsy can be fatal.
Many different seizure medications are available that can be given to reduce the intensity and frequency of the seizures. However, some of these have been shown to become ineffective over the long term and may result in adverse side effects. Nonetheless, medication should be considered, and you can work closely with your veterinarian to determine what medication will work best for your toy Australian Shepherd.
Other treatment options are available, though studies are still being conducted to determine their effectiveness. These treatments include CBD oil, acupuncture, dietary changes, and homeopathic remedies. A study on CBD oil suggests that it may be successful at reducing the frequency of seizures in dogs.
What To Do If Your Toy Australian Shepherd Has Epilepsy
Because primary epilepsy is hard to track genetically, and there is still so much unknown about the disease, one way you can help understand your toy Australian Shepherd’s seizures is to keep a seizure log. Seizures that are caused by primary epilepsy will often form a pattern, both in frequency and triggers. By keeping a seizure log, you will become more informed about your toy Australian Shepherd’s seizures, as well as be more prepared for when they come.
Seizure logs can be a journal that marks the date, time, duration of the seizure, severity, and your toy Australian Shepherd’s behavior. Describe the events happening before the seizure and how your dog was behaving. Record and even video (so you can show your vet) what your toy Australian Shepherd does during the seizure (are they foaming at the mouth/are they nipping) and their behavior afterward. While this might be emotionally difficult to recall and describe, it will be for the benefit of not only your dog but for other dogs and owners experiencing the same heartbreaking disease.
What To Do When Your Toy Australian Shepherd Is Having A Seizure
If your toy Australian Shepherd starts to have a seizure, the best thing you can do is remain calm and focused on caring for your dog as best as you can. Do not shout at or touch your dog, and only speak in low soothing tones. Have all other animals and children be removed from the area. If able, remove any nearby objects that they might strike against. Seizing dogs can accidentally snap at you if touched, as they do not have control of their physical behavior.
If the seizure was severe, you might want to contact your vet. If more than one seizure occurs within 24 to 48 hours, your toy Australian Shepherd should be taken to the veterinarian for evaluation.
Your toy Australian Shepherd will act weak and disoriented after having a seizure. Make sure there is a safe place for them to rest where they will not be disturbed. Monitor them closely afterward and track how long it takes for them to return to normal. It may be only a few hours, but it could be as long as a few days.
Owning a toy Australian Shepherd with primary epilepsy is not an easy thing, but loving them and caring for them as best as you can is what it truly comes down to.
Cognitive Decline In Older Toy Australian Shepherds
Just as humans can have Alzheimer’s in their old age and suffer from cognitive dysfunction, older dogs can also experience memory loss and odd behaviors. In dogs, cognitive decline is officially known as Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and is something to be aware of in the long term of owning a toy Australian Shepherd.
This syndrome can affect any dog breed, and the toy Australian Shepherd isn’t necessarily more or less inclined to develop it over other dog breeds. Nonetheless, understanding the symptoms of CDS and how you can address it will greatly assist you in caring for your toy Australian Shepherd in his or her old age.
What To Look For
To determine if your toy Australian Shepherd is developing CDS, there are specific symptoms and signs to look for. A helpful acronym Veterinarians use is DISHAA – disorientation, interaction with people and pets, sleep/wake cycles altered, house soiling and memory and learning, anxiety, and altered activities.
Is your toy Australian Shepherd acting disoriented by going to the wrong side of the door when being let out or acting abnormally confused? Are your interactions changing? Are they unusually needy most of the time? Are they now aloof when they have generally been very social? Is your toy Australian Shepherd waking up more frequently in the night, pacing, and acting agitated? Are they having accidents in the house when they’ve always been good at waiting until they’re outside?
These are all questions to consider if you’re concerned about your toy Australian Shepherd’s cognitive function. Other signs include a change in activity – perhaps they all of a sudden become more energized and act like a puppy in their old age. Maybe they are growing more and more anxious with the passing months. These are the most common symptoms that a dog will show when they are developing CDS.
Though these are common symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean your toy Australian Shepherd has CDS. Currently, there is no official diagnostic testing for CDS. Instead, older dogs are routinely screened by veterinarians at check-ups for signs of cognitive decline. If CDS is suspected, the veterinarian will need more information about past behaviors and will need to rule out other causes. Some other diseases and conditions could be present that also exhibit similar symptoms to CDS. These would need to be considered and would require blood work and diagnostic tests.
Some diseases and conditions that show similar symptoms to CDS include arthritis, endocrine diseases (such as hypothyroidism and diabetes), high blood pressure, loss of hearing or vision, medication side effects, and infections.
What You Can Do
If all other conditions have been successfully ruled out, and your toy Australian Shepherd has been diagnosed with CDS, there are ways you can help them be more comfortable with their aging mind. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for CDS, but there are ways to treat the symptoms such as nutritional support, behavior modifications, and medication.
Your veterinarian may be able to assist you in developing a diet that will improve your toy Australian Shepherd’s cognitive function. It has been shown that a diet supplemented with antioxidants and fatty acids can improve cognitive decline in older dogs. Talk with your vet and together you can develop a nutritional diet that will assist not only CDS but also the other ailments of a senior dog as well.
Another thing you can do that is especially important for toy Australian Shepherds is to engage in mentally stimulating activities. As discussed earlier, this should already be a large part of the toy Australian Shepherd’s life and should be continued throughout their old age. They may not be able to exercise as much, but continuing to go on daily walks and participating in fun activities will help keep their mind engaged. Because they may not be able to walk as much as when they were younger, let your toy Australian Shepherd have a ‘sniff walk’ where they are allowed to sniff at things as much as they want. This provides scent stimulation which is important for mental function.
Another treatment option that can be considered is medication. There are medications available that can alleviate some symptoms associated with CDS. Some of those might be anti-anxiety medications to help with their growing anxiousness or sleep medication to help them have a more regular sleep cycle. Discuss with your vet what medication option might work best for your toy Australian Shepherd’s CDS.
Watching your dog grow old is never easy, but it is up to the owner to do everything they can to make their life comfortable and enjoyable. Being aware of the possibility of CDS is important and can help prepare you for that time in your toy Australian Shepherd’s life.
Allergies And Food Sensitivities In Toy Australian Shepherds
Have you noticed your toy Australian Shepherd constantly itching itself, or is gunk oozing out of their eyes? More than likely it’s probably allergies. Just as humans can struggle with food sensitivities or seasonal allergies, our pups can too. Out of all the health conditions covered in this guide, allergies are likely to occur in toy Australian Shepherds.
Dogs may develop an allergic reaction to something when their immune system overreacts to a substance, such as pollen, grass, or food items. These substances are referred to as allergens and may result in your toy Australian Shepherd being itchy, sneezing, having a runny nose, or having mucus drain from their eyes. More severe symptoms may include a rash, hives, swelling, and an ear or eye infection. If these are seasonal allergies, the symptoms will most likely be mild and pass with time. In more sensitive toy Australian Shepherds, make sure they’re not hurting themselves with excess itching by rubbing their skin raw. This could lead to potential infection, so treatment may be necessary if your dog is itching uncontrollably.
The most common allergic reaction dogs experience is from fleabites and is called flea allergy dermatitis. Specifically, the reaction is caused by a sensitivity to the flea’s saliva. This type of allergy is easy to diagnose and treat with different medications and natural remedies. If you notice your toy Australian Shepherd has fleas, talk to your vet to set up the best treatment option and prevention plan.
Food sensitivities may arise and prevent problems for your toy Australian Shepherd. A negative reaction to food will cause more persistent symptoms and may result in diarrhea, hives, swelling, and vomiting. The best way to find out if your toy Australian Shepherd is suffering from food intolerance is to do an elimination diet.
How To Treat Allergies In Toy Australian Shepherds
Severe allergic reactions should be dealt with by immediately taking your dog to the veterinarian hospital. An acute reaction would be if your toy Australian Shepherd goes into anaphylactic shock due to a bee sting, severe food allergy, or a vaccine. Though rare, these reactions can be fatal. Excess swelling around the face, ears, and throat should also be addressed straightaway, as your toy Australian Shepherd’s breathing could be affected.
Fortunately, most other allergic reactions are not life-threatening and can be easily treated. The first step in treating allergies is preventing them before they start. This can be more difficult with seasonal allergies, but if you know the substance your toy Australian Shepherd is allergic to, limit their exposure as much as possible.
If you know your toy Australian Shepherd’s allergies are due to environmental causes, it’s helpful to give them frequent baths to lessen the pollen, dirt, and other substances in their fur. There are different shampoos available for sensitive dogs that are designed specifically for allergies that you might be able to find.
A healthy diet with high-quality ingredients and additional supplements can improve your toy Australian Shepherd’s immune system and overall health. The most common foods that cause sensitivity in dogs are soy, corn, wheat, and grains. Check the ingredients on the food you feed your toy Australian Shepherd and start eliminating these ingredients to see if their allergy symptoms improve. Working with your veterinarian in setting up a diet with fresh/raw foods and how to start eliminating ingredients can be helpful if you’re unsure where to start. Supplementing your toy Australian Shepherd’s diet with Omega 3 essential fatty acids, fish oils, and vitamins will improve their immune system, which then lowers their sensitivity levels to allergens. These supplements, especially Omega-3 fatty acids, also help to ease itching and inflammation caused by allergens as well.
A common treatment for allergies in dogs is the use of antihistamine medications. These can be given over the counter, but it is advised to talk to your vet first, as some ingredients in over-the-counter allergy relief medications can cause adverse reactions.
Something to be aware of is that the use of allergy medication will only temporarily treat the symptoms your toy Australian Shepherd is experiencing. To find true relief for your pup would be to try and identify the root cause of their allergies. Again, this is more difficult to do with environmental allergies, but ensuring your toy Australian Shepherd’s diet is complete in nutrients and supplements is a great place to start in boosting their immune system.
Allergies in toy Australian Shepherds can be difficult to treat, but with the amazing resources available in this modern age, it’s never been easier to find solutions that work for both you and your beloved companion.
Supports Normal Histamine Response for Dogs with Seasonal Allergies - PetHonesty's AllergySupport chews combine natural ingredients to support a healthy immune system, a normal histamine response for...
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 01:28 am GMT
Gut Health: Diarrhea And Treatment For Toy Australian Shepherds
Every toy Australian Shepherd will experience gastric upset, diarrhea, and constipation at some point in their life. This is completely normal, and diarrhea isn’t necessarily a bad thing, which we will discuss in more detail below. But, consistent diarrhea or constipation could be a sign your toy Australian Shepherd may have Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), or something more serious, such as parasites or an indigestible object stuck in their stomach.
Diarrhea occurs more often in dogs than constipation and can occur for a variety of reasons. Some common mild causes include a change in diet, food intolerance, the use of antibiotics or other medications, stress and anxiety, and allergies. Other causes that could require treatment include parasites, bacterial infections, and illnesses (such as irritable bowel syndrome).
If your toy Australian Shepherd is experiencing chronic diarrhea, they should be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out any potentially serious causes. Pay attention to the color and consistency of their feces. Though unpleasant, these details will help your vet determine why your toy Australian Shepherd has diarrhea. A wide array of treatments are available to treat mild and acute causes of diarrhea, as well as home remedies for mild bouts of diarrhea.
As stated earlier, diarrhea is an intelligent bodily response to free the body of toxins and pathogens that it needs to be rid of. For example, this is beneficial when your toy Australian Shepherd eats bad food or garbage. You can assist in this process through the use of home remedies. Make sure there is plenty of water available, as diarrhea is expelling fluids from the body, which could cause your toy Australian Shepherd to be dehydrated.
Home remedies to give your toy Australian Shepherd for diarrhea include plain white rice, rice water, 100% pure pumpkin puree (which is also helpful for constipation), plain yogurt (helpful for their gut), and medicinal herbs such as fennel and marshmallow root.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Optimizing Gut Health
While it isn’t a common occurrence for toy Australian Shepherds to develop IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), they can still develop the illness, and often it has to do with their overall gut health. The most common symptom in IBS is chronic diarrhea, and this illness can be painful for your toy Australian Shepherd- not to mention the unfortunate mess left behind if your pup isn’t able to make it outside in time.
While the direct cause of IBS is unknown, holistic veterinarians say it is most likely caused by exposure to toxins. These toxins can be found in their diet, excessive use of flea/tick and antibiotic medication, and vaccines.
While there are medications available that you can speak with your vet about, such as prednisone, they may have long-term side effects.
The best way you can treat, and prevent IBS from developing is to optimize your toy Australian Shepherd’s gut health. A dog’s gut biome (as well as ours) is full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help to break down food and assimilate nutrients. If the environment in the gut is not hospitable to these beneficial bacteria, there can be a host of bad bacteria leading to inflammation, lower immunity, and the indigestion of food and nutrients- all of which contribute to chronic diarrhea.
Providing a healthy, high-quality diet that is easy on the GI tract helps sustain a healthy gut biome. You can also provide supplements that aid in digestion and reduce inflammation, as mentioned above under treatment for allergies.
Vitally important supplements to add to your toy Australian Shepherd’s diet, especially if they have IBS, is prebiotics and probiotics (humans greatly benefit from these too). Prebiotics help create a hospitable gut environment and provide nutrients to the bacteria in the gut biome (essentially ‘food’ for the gut bacteria). Probiotics, on the other hand, deliver beneficial bacteria to the gut. Probiotics that you can give to your toy Australian Shepherd can be found in high-quality yogurt, specialty treats, and dog food. You can provide prebiotics by providing inulin-rich herbs to your toy Australian Shepherd’s diet, such as burdock root. This can be done by steaming burdock root until it is soft and then mashing it up until smooth to add to your dog’s food. You may want to mix it with tasty, wet dog food so they are encouraged to eat it all up.
Because diarrhea and IBS are complex and can be the result of many different causes, they can be difficult to treat and prevent. But, through the above methods and treatments, you have a place to start if your toy Australian Shepherd struggles with diarrhea or an unhealthy gut.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 02:13 am GMT
Eye Problems in Toy Australian Shepherds
All collie breeds are highly susceptible to developing eye problems at some point in their life, the most common being cataracts, distichiasis, progressive retinal atrophy, and merle eye defects.
Cataracts in toy Australian Shepherds most often are hereditary and will affect both eyes, though not always at the same time. They start small and will slowly grow, sometimes advancing to where the whole lens is clouded. Because of their slow progression, toy Australian Shepherds with hereditary cataracts will adjust to their loss of vision. Luckily, cataracts are not painful for your toy Australian Shepherd but can lead to blindness over time. This defect should not affect the overall lifespan of your dog, but it may affect their routine over time as their vision worsens.
While it is unlikely for toy Australian Shepherds to develop cataracts as a puppy, it is important to have an eye examination every six months to check if cataracts are forming. Cataracts can develop at any point from young to old age. Cataracts can be removed surgically, but it is important to have this surgical intervention in their early formation. While hereditary cataracts are very common in toy Australian Shepherds, affecting an estimated 1 in 4 Aussies, they can also be caused by other things such as injury, nutritional imbalance, and disease. These factors need to be ruled out by your veterinarian so your toy Australian Shepherd may receive the best treatment for their cataracts.
Distichiasis in toy Australian Shepherds is somewhat of an odd eye defect that is also hereditary. It is when one or more eyelashes abnormally grow toward the cornea. This defect usually doesn’t cause a problem or affect your toy Australian Shepherd too much as these lashes are often small and fine. However, there can be instances where the lash growing inward is large and stiff. When this occurs it can be very painful and irritating whenever your toy Australian Shepherd blinks. It can even lead to injury and scarring on the cornea. These types of harsh lashes should be surgically removed.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an irreversible condition that slowly causes the retina to deteriorate, eventually causing blindness. PRA can occur in different forms, and the one that commonly affects toy Australian Shepherds is Progressive Rod Cone Degeneration (PRCD). This condition does not cause your dog pain nor will it affect their lifespan. Because it is a slow progression, your toy Australian Shepherd will be able to adjust to its fading vision. PRCD usually develops around middle age, and because it takes a while to develop, it may require multiple exams for proper diagnosis.
Merle Eye Defects
Merle eye defects, also known as merle ocular dysgenesis, is a defect in the eyes and sometimes ears, that occurs when a toy Australian Shepherd inherits two copies of the merle gene. This can be inherited when two merle dogs are bred together, which is why this is now generally avoided.
This defect causes serious eye problems, and toy Australian Shepherds who inherit it are frequently blind. The eyes themselves can be deformed and unusually small (microphthalmia), the iris is commonly deformed, and the pupils may be off-center. The retina and optic nerve may develop improperly and be deformed, as well. Like other common eye defects, toy Australian Shepherds can develop, it does not cause them pain nor will it affect their overall lifespan.
How To Care For Toy Australian Shepherds With Eye Problems
Owning a toy Australian Shepherd means being prepared for any eye problems that might arise. It’s important to have your toy Australian Shepherd undergo routine eye exams from a veterinarian ophthalmologist to check for any developing eye defects.
Because some of the eye problems listed above are inherited and irreversible, it’s worthwhile to consider that owning a toy Australian Shepherd may lead to caring for a blind dog, especially as they age. This doesn’t affect their personality or the great reward of owning such an intelligent and unique dog breed.
Blind dogs can easily live their lives as long as their routine and environment stay consistent. Dogs rely heavily on scent, so even though they may be blind, most can easily find their way around. Don’t change the furniture around too often, and if you do, guide your toy Australian Shepherd around the newly changed area. Leaving a porch light on when they go outside at night can be helpful for your toy Australian Shepherd to know where the door is. They may be prone to anxiety as they become more affected by their fading eyesight, so anxiety treatment may be necessary. Overall, blindness in toy Australian Shepherds shouldn’t affect their joy for life, and it is up to the owner to make their life as easy and comfortable as possible.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 02:18 am GMT
Deafness in Toy Australian Shepherds
As mentioned above, if a toy Australian Shepherd has inherited two merle genes, known as double merles, they may be born blind and deaf. Deafness in toy Australian Shepherds is more likely if they have an overly white coat and white hair around their ears. This is because the white hair in a dog’s coat does not have any pigment, and so the lack of pigment in the inner ear of the dog causes deafness.
You may be wondering why the lack of pigment in a dog’s ear has anything to do with deafness. Lack of pigment affects hearing because pigment cells help translate sound waves into electric impulses. These impulses then travel to the brain – resulting in the toy Australian Shepherd being able to distinguish sounds. Without these pigment cells, there is an obstruction in the pathway of communication from the ear to the brain. If a dog’s ear lacks pigment cells, sound waves are unable to be transferred into electrical impulses.
This trait can be somewhat confusing, as not all dogs who have white ears are deaf, and some dogs with colored ears are. To make it even more difficult to understand, a dog may be deaf in the ear that is colored, while their white ear may be fine.
If a toy Australian Shepherd is deaf in both ears, it won’t be difficult to determine, as they will be unresponsive to your voice. Deafness due to the double merle gene will be present from birth. If a toy Australian Shepherd has only one ear that is deaf, it can be a bit harder to notice. Deafness can also be tricky to diagnose, fortunately; there is a test available to determine if the deafness in your toy Australian Shepherd is due to a lack of pigment in their ear.
The BAER Test
To determine if your toy Australian Shepherd is deaf in one or both ears, you can have a veterinarian perform a BAER (Brainstem Audio Evoked Response) test. This is a non-invasive, non-painful test that measures the auditory nerve response signals traveling to the brain. This means it measures if impulses are being translated from pigment cells and whether communication from the ear to the brain is being disrupted due to a lack of pigment. Not every veterinarian will have the proper equipment to conduct a BAER test, so you might have to do some research on your local vets to see who may be able to provide it. Having this test done is the one way to be 100% sure if your toy Australian Shepherd is deaf due to a lack of pigment cells, and whether they’re deaf in just one ear or both.
Other Causes For Deafness
The lack of pigment in the ear is the most common cause of deafness in toy Australian Shepherds, but there are other causes as well. Deafness that is a result of something other than genetics is called acquired deafness and can arise for many reasons. The most frequent of these is old age as well as an allergic reaction to certain medications. If deafness is due to medication, it will often be permanent, but in some cases hearing may be regained. The BAER test will only be able to determine if the cause of deafness is due to a lack of pigment, so other causes will need to be determined by a veterinarian.
Living With A Deaf Toy Australian Shepherd
While toy Australian Shepherds can be deaf because of the double merle gene, deafness/loss of hearing is also a normal part of aging for dogs. Fortunately, deafness will not affect the lifespan of your toy Australian Shepherd nor will it significantly impact their quality of life. Most deaf toy Australian Shepherds can lead happy, fulfilling lives with the help of their understanding owners.
To care for a deaf toy Australian Shepherd, it’s important to consider some things. For one, you don’t want to touch a deaf toy Australian Shepherd before it knows you’re there as it may frighten them. Scared dogs may instantly react by nipping at the unknown ‘threat’ before even realizing it is someone they know or something they don’t want to harm. For this reason, it’s important to keep small children away and older children informed on how to treat your deaf toy Australian Shepherd. You probably also don’t want to let your dog off-leash in an unknown/unenclosed area, as they won’t respond to you when you call.
Deaf toy Australian Shepherds can still be loved like any other dog. Their training and care might just look a little different, and that’s okay.
Autoimmune Diseases In Toy Australian Shepherds
When looking at the whole breed of toy Australian Shepherds (Mini Aussies and Aussies), they are generally regarded as a healthy breed with normal functioning immune systems. While autoimmune disorders aren’t frequently reported in toy Australian Shepherds and the Australian Shepherd breed as a whole, they can still arise and will need to be treated. These diseases are genetically predisposed. The four most common autoimmune diseases to be reported in toy Australian Shepherds are Autoimmune thyroiditis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), lupus, and pemphigus.
Autoimmune thyroiditis, commonly referred to as hypothyroidism, is a disease that affects the function of the thyroid. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate and support proper metabolism in both dogs and humans. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones, causing your dog’s metabolism to slow down. Autoimmune thyroiditis is when the cause of the underperforming thyroid is due to the immune system attacking the thyroid, disrupting the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones.
Hypothyroidism in toy Australian Shepherds causes symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, decreased cognitive function, hair loss, cold intolerance, and a decreased desire to play and exercise. Autoimmune thyroiditis in toy Australian Shepherds can be tricky to diagnose, as hypothyroidism can occur for several underlying reasons. It is referred to as being one of the most over and improperly diagnosed illnesses in dogs. That being said, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian in determining if your toy Australian Shepherd has hypothyroidism and what exactly may be causing it.
Fortunately, treatment is available for hypothyroidism through veterinarian evaluation and medication. If treated, hypothyroidism shouldn’t affect the vitality or lifespan of your toy Australian Shepherd. If left untreated, it could affect the lifespan of your dog and greatly decrease its ability to function.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is closely related to IBS, but the root cause is different. IBD is an autoimmune disease in toy Australian Shepherds where the immune system attacks the lining of the intestines. It causes the same symptoms mentioned above, such as diarrhea, inflammation, and vomiting.
There are many different types of lupus that toy Australian Shepherds can have, but the two most commonly reported are discoid and erythematosus. The first, discoid lupus, affects the skin of toy Australian Shepherds, causing hair loss and irritated, crusty skin. This disease most often manifests on the head and face. While this form of lupus isn’t as serious, it can progress to the more severe form, erythematosus lupus.
Erythematosus lupus is a disease where the immune system produces antibodies that attack the tissues of the body, such as joints, blood cells, kidneys, nerves, and lungs. Erythematosus lupus is a serious and sometimes fatal disease for toy Australian Shepherds. Early diagnosis and closely monitored treatment with your veterinarian is the greatest defense you can have for lupus.
While this is a rare disease, affecting approximately 6.25% of the Australian Shepherd breed, the prognosis can mean lifelong treatment, and in severe forms of the disease, death. The most likely form to occur in toy Australian Shepherds is Pemphigus Erythematosus. This form also happens to be the least severe, causing minor hair loss, ulcers, and scabs. These skin abrasions are typically found on the face and around the head and ears. This form responds well to treatment and will not affect the overall lifespan of your toy Australian Shepherd.
If you notice hair loss or skin lesions on your toy Australian Shepherd that are not associated with any known injury, take them to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis. Pemphigus is diagnosed by a skin biopsy and is typically treated with immunosuppressant medications, such as prednisone.
As an owner of a toy Australian Shepherd with an autoimmune disease, one thing you can do is make sure your dog’s diet is high in nutrients, prebiotics/probiotics supplements, and soluble fiber. These will assist with predisposed autoimmune diseases symptoms and maintain your dog’s overall vitality.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 05:53 am GMT
Joint Health: What You Need To Know About Dysplasia In Toy Australian Shepherds
Another genetically predisposed condition that can affect toy Australian Shepherds is dysplasia. This skeletal condition affects the hip and elbow joints and is more common in larger dog breeds. While large dogs are more often diagnosed with dysplasia, small breeds like toy Australian Shepherds can still inherit this painful condition.
When dysplasia affects one or both hips of a toy Australian Shepherd, it is specifically affecting the hip joint. The hip consists of a ball and socket joint moving smoothly together. There is no friction or dissonance in their movement or function, as the ball fits perfectly into the socket. With hip dysplasia, however, the ball and socket joint either did not form properly or suffer from degeneration, causing friction with movement. This constant friction is not only extremely uncomfortable for dogs but also leads to further deterioration in the joint, eventually causing lameness if left untreated.
Three bones make up the elbow joint; the radius, the ulna, and the humerus. The ulna has two small bony protrusions at the end of it called coronoid processes. These protrusions sit within the elbow joint, assisting with the function of movement. With FCP, one of the coronoid processes breaks off from the ulna due to it developing a crack or fissure. When this separation occurs, it results in instability in the joint. Most often, the coronoid process develops the crack due to developing improperly, which would point to the condition being hereditary, but it could also be caused by injury.
Other Causes For Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia in toy Australian Shepherds is most often hereditary but can be caused by other factors. If a growing puppy is lacking vital nutrients in its diet that support proper joint health, then it can develop dysplasia. Other factors include the amount and level of exercise a dog gets.
With toy Australian Shepherds, it’s easy for them to overwork themselves, especially if they’re having fun. They simply won’t want to quit, so you can’t depend on them telling you when they’ve had enough – it will be up to you. Signs that it’s time to quit include excessive panting and shaking in the legs.
In the same way that too much exercise can cause dysplasia, a lack of exercise can also cause the joints to weaken and deteriorate. This should be easy to avoid with toy Australian Shepherds as this high-energy breed thrives on frequent exercise. It would simply be irresponsible dog ownership to not give your pup daily exercise.
Symptoms and Treatment For Dysplasia
If your toy Australian Shepherd is limping frequently in its hind or front end, then it should be evaluated for dysplasia. Other symptoms include a decrease in range of motion and activity, difficulty or pain with rising, running, and jumping, and an unsteady gait. Your toy Australian Shepherd will show you it’s in pain if they are constantly licking, staring, and/or whining at their hip or elbow joint.
If you suspect your toy Australian Shepherd has hip or elbow dysplasia, then they should be properly diagnosed by a veterinarian. Evaluation for dysplasia usually includes imaging (X-Ray and/or MRI), a thorough workup of history and past traumas, blood work, and a physical exam.
Once properly diagnosed, there are different treatment options available depending on the severity of the dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia, specifically FCP, is a bit harder to treat and usually requires surgery. Hip dysplasia can be treated with physical and massage therapy, medications, joint supplements, weight reduction, and joint fluid modifiers. In more severe cases, hip dysplasia may also require surgery. There are different surgery options available for hip dysplasia that you can discuss with your vet. From there, you can decide which would be the best for your toy Australian Shepherd.
Because most cases of dysplasia are hereditary, it can’t always be prevented. But, supporting your dog by monitoring exercise, proving a healthy nutritious diet, and using supplements can help with their overall joint health. Some lifestyle adjustments may need to be made as well, such as weight loss and increasing or decreasing exercise.
These steps can also be taken to prevent symptoms from being exaggerated if your dog does have dysplasia. With proper treatment, the function and lifespan of your toy Australian Shepherd shouldn’t be affected. They’re still able to lead happy, pain-free lives as your companion with the help of your support.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 08:38 am GMT
Toy Australian Shepherd Skin And Coat Health
One of the first qualities that capture one’s attention when seeing a toy Australian Shepherd is their truly gorgeous coat. But a coat as beautiful as theirs does require a bit of maintenance. As mentioned above, toy Australian Shepherds shed quite often, so regular grooming will help combat all the loose hairs floating about.
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of grooming is to put it in your schedule. Try to groom your toy Australian Shepherd at least once a week. Another way to help with excess shedding is to routinely bathe your pup. Consistent bathing and grooming is a good way to check your toy Australian Shepherd’s skin for any ticks, fleas, or signs of injury. Because autoimmune diseases such as lupus and pemphigus affect the skin of dogs, this is a good way to check for any signs of developing diseases. Early diagnosis of such conditions gives the best chances for treatment and recovery.
How To Keep Your Toy Australian Shepherd’s Coat And Skin Healthy
Frequent grooming, as mentioned, is an important part of keeping your toy Australian Shepherd’s coat clean. But, a dog’s diet also plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy coat and skin.
The coat is the first sign of a dog’s health and diet. A healthy, well-nourished toy Australian Shepherd will have fur that is shiny and soft to the touch. If a dog is unwell or has a poor diet, its fur will be dull, coarse, and it might shed excessively. A poor diet also results in unhealthy skin that is dry, flaky, itchy, and bumpy. Healthy toy Australian Shepherd skin should appear clear and soft.
To keep your toy Australian Shepherd’s coat and skin healthy, you must provide them with a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. If the ingredients in their diet are of poor quality, they will lack the vital nutrients your dog needs, such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Not only will a poor quality diet lack these nutrients, but it will also affect the health of their liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys will have to work harder to digest and metabolize nutrients and excrete toxins. When these organs become ‘backed up’ with hard-to-digest materials, they are unable to excrete toxins as well, which then get circulated back into the bloodstream. Toxins in the bloodstream result in unhealthy skin as the body pushes these toxins to the surface.
A high-quality, nutritious diet supports the health and function of a dog’s digestive system, which then supports their skin and coat, resulting in shiny, soft, vibrant fur. If you’re unsure how to provide your toy Australian Shepherd with a high-quality diet, you can work with your veterinarian or a dog nutritionist to set up the diet that would be best for your toy Australian Shepherd.
The Irritating Itch
Because allergies are quite common in toy Australian Shepherds, your dog may experience frequent itching. This allergy symptom is the most common to arise and can be rather bothersome for your dog.
The best way to combat allergies is through a high-quality diet, as mentioned, but there are some cases where your dog will still be prone to bouts of itchiness. If your toy Australian Shepherd is suffering from excess itching, there are many things you can try to help ease their misery.
One home remedy is to give your toy Australian Shepherd an oat bath. Rolled oats, or oatmeal, is soothing and softening to the skin and will help ease inflammation and itchiness. To learn how to give your dog an oat bath, visit this article here.
Other methods to combat itchiness include bathing your toy Australian Shepherd with specialty anti-itch shampoo, as well as giving them allergy medication. Before giving any over-the-counter allergy medication to your dog, speak to your veterinarian to make sure it is safe and what size dose to give them. Your veterinarian may also provide you with prescription allergy medication that would be best suited for your dog.
If your toy Australian Shepherd has rubbed an area of their skin raw from too much itching, then you can apply soothing anti-itch ointment to the area. The best ointment would be one that is specifically made for dogs so it’s safe for them to ingest if they happen to lick the ointment off. To prevent this, your toy Australian Shepherd might have to wear the legendary cone of shame.
Another natural remedy would be to apply oil infusions of the medicinal plants Lemon Balm, Calendula, Chamomile, and/or Lavender. An oil infusion is NOT an essential oil, rather, the plant material is infused in a carrier oil that can then be applied to the skin. These herbs will help ease inflammation and promote the healing of irritated skin.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 04:18 am GMT
Owning A Toy Australian Shepherd
After reading all the different health conditions that could arise in your toy Australian Shepherd, you may be feeling overwhelmed or frightened by the possibilities of it all. Remember this: part of being a responsible dog owner is being informed and aware of the health conditions that might affect your dog. The information doesn’t have to frighten you, but can give you confidence that you are prepared for whatever may arise.
What it all comes down to is the truly special gift of owning a toy Australian Shepherd. By adding a toy Australian Shepherd to your family, you will be greatly rewarded by their loyalty, intelligence, and eagerness to please.