Old English Sheepdog Maintenance
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- Clean away any "sand man" deposits
Reason: If the deposits are not cleared away from the skin, the moisture
will attract bacteria. Bacteria will produce an infection, and
a trip to the veterinarian will be in order.
- Check hair around eyes to
see if there is any debris caught in the hair.
Reason: If there is a leaf or small twig, etc. caught in the
hair, the sheepdog cannot, because of the density of the hair,
remove it by pawing at it. If anything is rubbing on the eye,
this can produce lacerations on the eyeball. A trip to a veterinarian
specializing in ophthalmology will have to be made.
- Fresh food and water.
Water at all times!!!! Good dry kibble. The best diet you can give
your dog is a good dry kibble food!!! No human food!!! No changes
from brand to brand!!! Any change in food with a sheepdog usually
means instant diarrhea!!!!
Reason: Your dog deserves it. Diarrhea
will dehydrate your dog and can decrease its immunity to fight
off colds, and diseases. Meanwhile, who needs to clean up the mess,
especially when you've come home from a hard day at the office!
Complete de-matting of the entire dog.
This can be done, within a reasonable
time, by doing the following:
- Comb (with the grain), using a mat splitting comb, until you have
broken up all the mats. Pay particular attention to behind the ears,
the chest, under the stomach, and the rear.
- Then use a medium or small Universal or small Warners slicker to remove
the broken up mats. If the hair is 4 inches or less, you can brush with
the grain. If the hair is longer than 4 inches, you must brush against
the grain. You must be able to see the skin!
- After "a" and "b", you should be able to
pass a medium tooth comb through the hair; if not, start over.
Reason: If anything gets underneath the mat (flea, tick, parasite, etc.),
the density of the coat, does not allow the dog to be able to get
it. In most cases, the dog will try to remove it, but will only inflict
damage to it's own skin. This can cause "hotspots",
and must be treated by a veterinarian. Hotspots that are not treated
promptly can attract flies looking for a warm moist place to lay
eggs - hence maggots which can be fatal.
1. Heartworm prevention pill.
Reason: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Note: You may wish to have all of the items below done
by a groomer. They are listed here so that you will know what must be
done, and can pass this information on to your groomer. Do not assume
that all groomers know how to groom an Old English Sheepdog!
* Pluck the hair from inside the ears. This can be done with ear powder,
and your fingers; a hairmostat might be needed in some cases. Most dogs
do not enjoy this, but there is no pain! * Clean the ears with an ear
cleaning liquid. Hold the dogs head firmly, and tilt to one side. Then
pour solution in ear, massage, and wipe clean with cotton balls and cotton
swabs. Do not go too deep with cotton swabs!
Reason: If the hair is not
removed. The hair within the ear will mat. The mat will prevent the hair
from growing out. If the ear is not cleaned, the ear becomes a breeding
ground for parasites, and yeast infections. Here comes another trip to
- Trim hair between pads of feet. This can be done with a blunt nose
scissors. Groomers will usually do this with a special trimmer blade.
Reason: If the hair between the pads is not removed, it will also mat.
The mat will retain moisture, providing a breeding area for bacteria,
and the inevitable ulcer of the skin. That is actually the least of the
problem. If the hair continues to mat and grow, it can become very painful.
- Trim all nails. A standard dog
nail trimmer can be used. Care must be taken not to trim into the quick
(the pink). This will cause bleeding, and must be stopped by use of
a styptic powder. Some sheepdogs have "due
claws". These must be trimmed! Do not attempt to trim nails
without "quick-stop" or
a similar product within reach!
See YouTube video for trimming OES nails
Reason: Most sheepdogs like to
bat you with their paw to get attention. Once you have been clawed
by a sheepdog with long nails, you will understand why. If the
due claw is not trimmed, along with hair mats, the due claw will
have no other place to grow except into the skin!!! Does this mean
another trip to the veterinarian?? You're catching on!
- Trim hair around feet. The hair around
the feet should be trimmed flush with the ground. The easiest way to
perform this task, is to have your dog standing on a grooming table.
Hold his head up with a leash suspended from the ceiling or grooming
pole. Tell him to "stay".
At this point, you are "in control". Now comes the easy
part. Hold one of the paws in the air, and trim the others. By holding
one foot up, you can usually trim the others with a minimum of effort.
Reason: If the hair is not trimmed around the feet, the dog will
slide on slippery floors, track additional junk into the house, and
in general not look too sharp.
- "Private" areas:
* Males: Trim the hair at the penis, as well as in front of. The
urine must have a clear shot to leave the body, without being absorbed
by the hair!
* Females: Trim the hair at the vulva. Give the urine a place to
Reason: When the hair absorbs the urine, two things happen. Neither
of them any good. First, the odor will knock your socks off!! Second,
we are once again providing an excellent breeding ground for bacteria,
and parasites. I'm getting tired of going to the veterinarian!
- Trim rear:
* Trimming the rear is very easy. The hard part is to describe how
it is done. To start with, the dog must be completely dematted,
and combed out. From this starting point, comb the hair to the
rear and over the rump. After you have the hair laying across the
rear, find the "vent" and
raise the hair with one hand while placing your other flat against
the rear. This will give you an idea, as to where you want to cut.
Cut all the hair hanging over the "vent" so that only
one inch hangs below it. If you have a clipper; clip all the hair
around the "vent". Always clip away from the "vent",
never towards it. Give the feces a place to go!
Reason: The obvious
one; that your dog is going to smell like a barn! There is also
a health reason. If the feces gets caught in the hair, you can
bet that soon there will be fleas, flies, and maggots! Oh, yes
I almost forgot, another trip to the vet.
- Bathe and dry:
The most important part of the bath is the preparation. The worst
thing you can possibly do is to bathe the dog before you de-mat
and comb it! If you bathe it before de-matting; please accept the
fact that you will probably have to shave the dog! The mats will
harden and tighten as if they are concrete!
- De-mat and comb out the dog.
- Place large rubber mat in tub.
- Have plenty of towels ready on floor.
- Have good dog shampoo ready.
- Have good tearless dog shampoo ready.
- Have largest nylon choker collar with double spring
- Have 2 cotton balls ready.
- Have a hand held shower set up.
- Place dog in tub, and secure with choker strung
through soap dish and hooked with double spring hook. This should
keep dog's head in center of tub. Note: Some owners simply take
the dog into the shower with them.
- With hand held shower, soak dog completely, except
for the head.
- Douse with shampoo, and scrub all over with your fingers
or a sponge.
- Place a cotton ball in each ear.
- Wet head with hand held shower.
- Apply tearless shampoo to head, and scrub head.
- Rinse with hand held shower until the drain runs clear!
- Rinse again!!!!!!!! Do not leave one speck of shampoo
- After dog is rinsed, squeeze out as much water from
the coat as you can. Remove cotton from ears, then dry with the towels
as much as you can. After this, if you have a dog dryer, you can
dry the dog with the dryer. Otherwise, you will have to wait for "mother nature" to
finish the drying. Do not leave the dog in a cold draft during this
- When the dog is dry, a final touch up with a pin brush
or a slicker will put the finishing touches on the dog.
Reason: Pride - pride - pride! The pride you will have in your beautifully
groomed, clean sheepdog is all the reason necessary! Make sure you
tell your sheepdog how gorgeous he/she looks!
- If desired, shave with a number 4 blade all over. This can be
done in the spring, and fall of the year. Or,
- Puppy cut by hand
to 1 1/2 or 2 inches.
Reason: Maintenance will be much easier! Possible skin problems or
growths can be seen, and treated. On certain Old English Sheepdogs
this can be done more often because of skin problems or ease of maintenance.
Note: Some diehards prefer to keep the hair long
all year. These people don't have to work or they have no time for
any social life at all!
Veterinarian visit: (You finally get to go - again!)
- General physical.
- Heartworm check (occult). c) Internal parasite
check (bring stool sample).
- Distemper-hepatitis-leptos pirosis-parainfluenza-parvo
- Bordetella inoculation.
- Rabies vaccination.
- One year supply of heartworm pills.
Reason: Most health problems
that are caught in the early stages are easily treatable. Many kennels
will not accept a dog unless it has had the bordatella immunization
2 weeks before boarding! (Also, giving heartworm year round may also
appear to be excessive, but if you have to go to Florida with your dog
in the middle of January, do you really want to worry about heartworm?)
Below is a list of some area mail order pet supply stores. You may wish
to call for their catalogue.
As you can see, owning an Old English Sheepdog is very time consuming,
costly, or both. If you have neither the time nor the finances to maintain
this dog, the consequences described above are what you can expect to
happen. First, the dog will become matted. Followed by feces stuck to
the rear end. Followed by smelling like a barn. Followed by removal from
your house. Followed by being tied outside. Followed by your feeling
guilty that it is not fair to the dog. Followed by your giving the dog
up to someone or someplace. Followed by your children crying and not
understanding why doggie must go.
PLEASE THINK TWICE
BEFORE GETTING AN OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG!!!
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