Sheltie Planet Blog | The Home of Shetland Sheepdogs

Caring for Your Shetland Sheepdog's Health

All about taking care of your Shetland Sheepdog's health, with advice on grooming, dental care, nutrition, vaccinations, parasites, de-sexing, and disease.

Shelties are generally a healthy dog breed, although their genetic history does make them more prone to diseases of the skin, joints, and eyes. Here you'll find articles on the warning signs of genetic diseases, as well as every aspect of maintaining your Sheltie's health. Remember to exercise your dog for at least 30-60 minutes every day.


Common Health Problems in Shelties

With genetic testing available to screen breeding pairs, well-bred Sheltie puppies are no longer as prone to inherited diseases. However, if you bought your Sheltie from a pet store or anonymous online listing, she is likely the victim of a puppy mill, who will have spared themselves the expense of DNA testing. As a result, there's a greater likelihood that your Sheltie carries common disease genes. It's well worth performing a DNA test for around $60. After sending a cheek swab to the lab, you'll receive a report on 200 genetic health conditions, drug sensitivities, and blood disorders. If there are areas of concern, you can share it with your vet to take preventative measures or start early treatment. Read more.

Common Health Problems in Shelties

What is The Best Dog Food?

Dry kibble may look and smell the same to us humans, but looks can be deceiving. In fact, the scale of dog food is broad, and price can be an indicator of what you're really feeding your Sheltie. At the low end of the scale, dirt-cheap supermarket dog food is loaded with grains, artificial preservatives, and poor quality sources of meat. Premium dog foods focus on a single source of meat as the main ingredient, and use natural, non-toxic preservatives. Many also included added vitamins and trace minerals for optimal health. Here's a summary of the ingredients to seek and avoid in dog food, as well as tips on supplements and feeding a raw food diet. Read more.

What is The Best Dog Food?

How to Groom a Shetland Sheepdog

Part of the attraction of Shetland Sheepdogs is their luxurious double coat. But that comes with the responsibility of weekly brushing sessions. In this detailed step-by-step guide, I'll show you how to groom both layers of fur, trim out nasty mats, and safely clip the claws without cutting the blood-lined quick. As a long-haired dog breed, your Sheltie will shed a lot. As well as keeping her skin and coat healthy, frequent brushing will stop most of it ending up on your carpets. Male Shelties have a major molt once a year before summer, while female Shelties molt before summer and after every heat cycle (every 6-8 months) if she's not spayed. Read more.

How to Groom a Shetland Sheepdog

101 Shelties in The Bath

Shelties just love a nice wet bath, right? Ah, how about no! Bathing a Sheltie is like wrestling with a hairy octopus. He'd rather be anywhere else than struggling in your grip under the shower head. Eventually the forlorn Sheltie submits to your watery whims and then you get the look of absolute sorrow. I asked our readers to share their cutest, funniest, and oh-so-sorrowful photos of dripping wet Shelties in the tub, this is what we got. Whether they're shrunk by half, or giving you the side eye for making them smell like coconut, the resulting collection is downright ridiculous.

101 Shelties in The Bath

The Pros and Cons of Neutering a Sheltie

Neutering your dog means to surgically remove the testicles. The procedure completely eliminates the ability to impregnate females, while reducing the risk of developing diseases of the reproductive organs. Neutering is a routine procedure for dogs and is considered the most responsible option for pet owners. Rescue shelters spay and neuter all dogs before they're re-homed—and with good reason. According to The Humane Society, three million unwanted dogs are euthanized in US shelters every year. Often, these animals are the unplanned offspring of cherished family pets. Read more.

The Pros and Cons of Neutering a Sheltie

The Pros and Cons of Spaying a Sheltie

Spaying your dog means to surgically remove the reproductive organs: the ovaries, uterine horns, and body of the uterus. The procedure completely eradicates female heat cycles, prevents pregnancy, and reduces the risk of developing diseases of the reproductive organs. Spaying is a routine procedure for dogs and is considered the most responsible option for pet owners. Rescue shelters spay and neuter all dogs before they're re-homed—and with good reason. According to The Humane Society, three million unwanted dogs are euthanized in US shelters every year. Often, these animals are the unplanned offspring of cherished family pets. Read more.

The Pros and Cons of Spaying a Sheltie

How to Kills Fleas and Ticks on Your Dog

Fleas can live happily in the Sheltie undercoat, biting the skin to suck blood which causes dreadful itching. Fleas can lay up to 4,000 eggs which perpetuates the havoc, triggering intense discomfort, skin problems, infection, anemia, and in extreme cases they can transmit tapeworms to your dog. Fleas can also spread to humans, causing itchy red spots. These parasites can jump long distances relative to their size. If you're wily enough to catch one with your fingers, you can't simply squash it—you must decapitate it with your fingernails instead. However, catching fleas manually is difficult and you certainly can't eradicate their eggs this way. Read more.

How to Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks on a Sheltie

30 Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

Even common foods like grapes, onions, tomatoes, and avocados can be toxic to dogs, causing anything from stomach upset to death. Here's what you need to know. To avoid scary and expensive trips to the vet, here's a list of 30 foods that are toxic to dogs. Make a note of them and share this list with the whole family. Read more.

30 Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

Caring for Your Sheltie's Teeth

Look after your dog's oral health, especially if you feed dry dog food which can stick in small spaces between the teeth. In doing so, you'll spare him the pain of cavities and surgical tooth extractions down the line.

Here are the best three ways to care for your Sheltie's teeth:

1. Brush the teeth daily.

Use a toothpaste designed for dogs such as Vet's Best Enzymatic Toothpaste which comes with a dog toothbrush.

Vet's Best Enzymatic Toothpaste - brushing is the best way to care for your Sheltie's teeth

"Vet's Best Enzymatic Toothpaste" - brushing is the best way to care for your Sheltie's teeth

2. Offer daily dental chews.

Chewing tough food mechanically loosens tartar while stimulating saliva for better oral health. Virbac Oral Hygiene Chews contain enzymes for antiseptic action and have an abrasive texture for working debris off the teeth.

Virbac Oral Hygiene Chews help clean your Sheltie's teeth

"Virbac Oral Hygiene Chews" - help clean your Sheltie's teeth

3. Add a plaque remover to drinking water.

TropiClean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover contains natural ingredients that help fight plaque, tartar, and bad breath. It stays in the saliva and is safe to drink.

TropiClean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover maintains oral health in Shelties

"TropiClean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover" - add it to your Sheltie's water bowl for better oral health



Getting Your Sheltie Vaccinated

Ethical breeders ensure their puppies have the first vaccinations at 6-8 weeks. Your job is to continue taking your Shetland Sheepdog puppy to the vet on schedule so she doesn't become vulnerable to common infectious diseases.

Here's the current schedule per the AKC:

Puppy's Age Essential Optional
6-8 weeks

Distemper

Parvovirus

Bordetella

10-12 weeks

DHPP

(Distemper

Hepatitis

Parainfluenza

Parvovirus)

Influenza

Leptospirosis

Bordetella

Lyme Disease

16-18 weeks

DHPP

Rabies

Influenza

Leptospirosis

Bordetella

Lyme Disease

12-16 months

DHPP

Rabies

Coronavirus

Leptospirosis

Bordetella

Lyme Disease

Every 1-2 years

DHPP

Rabies

Coronavirus

Influenza

Leptospirosis

Bordetella

Lyme Disease


How to Cope with The Loss of a Sheltie

The loss of a Sheltie is heartbreaking. They were a member of the family, and while they were small in stature, their absence leaves a huge void behind. There is a process to grief, one that eventually frees you of the pain you are in now, and allows you to think fondly of your Sheltie without suffering. If you're seeking support during this time, here are six ways to cope while the grief is at its sharpest. Read more.

How to Cope with The Loss of a Sheltie
Author Bio

Becky Casale is the author of Sheltie Planet and Science Me. She lives in New Zealand with her partner, their two children, and their Sheltie Piper.


The Pet Owner's Guide to Shelties