Texas Heeler Breed Maintenance
It isn’t too hard to stay on top of your Texas Heeler’s grooming regime because of the dog’s typically short coat. You may, however, have a Heeler who has inherited the longer hair of its Australian Shepherd parent, in which case you’ll want to brush the coat at least once a week. This grooming is important because one peculiarity of the Texas Heeler is that it can be fairly sensitive to touch. The younger they are when you begin brushing, the more comfortable they ought to be.
As well as brushing the hair, brushing the teeth needs to be a big priority, happening at least a few times a week to stave off cavities and bad breath. Check their ears daily and stay on top of their nail routine by trimming the nails whenever they are beginning to look a bit long. Because the breed is vulnerable to eye conditions, do make sure you’re regularly on the lookout for redness, discharge or any change at all.
You ought to know before getting a Texas Heeler that this is a dog that requires a huge amount of exercise. They should be getting around two miles a day, so this is of course not a pet for someone looking to sit at home with a dog on their lap 24/7.
If the Texas Heeler doesn’t get a regular run around, there’s a great risk that it will become overweight and destructive through boredom. Make sure you get those daily walks in!
Texas Heeler health risksAll being well, you should have 12 to 15 years with your marvelous Texas Heeler but along the way there’s bound to be the odd health complication. We hope you never have anything serious to worry about but with Texas Heelers, the following conditions are a little more likely to occur than others, so keep an eye out for:
Always be on the lookout for your furry friend walking irregularly or being unable to walk at all. If they’re having difficulties, or looking depressed and reluctant to play, then one of the diagnoses could be osteochondritis dissecans.
Shortened as OD or OCD, this condition can affect dogs in various areas of the body: the ankle, the spine, the knee, the elbow, and the shoulder. What happens as the animal’s cartilage grows is that some of the cartilage on the end of a bone can develop abnormally and separate from the bone, causing painful inflammation.
Though medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucosamine can help, surgery tends to be the best course of action for OD. It will always depend on exactly what kind of OD your dog has but two of the common procedures are arthrotomy and arthroscopy. The former involves creating an opening in the joint in question, and the latter involves removing the flap that forms in the joint and letting the cartilage heal through the formation of scar tissue. In the shoulder, a surgeon might use titanium metal or graft polycarbonate urethane.
Though it might not be obvious, dogs do have elbows. Dysplasia of the elbow occurs most often in puppyhood when arthritis affects the elbow joint. Mainly a genetic developmental condition, this is characterized by abnormal development in one or more of the three bones (ulna, radius and humerus) that comprise the elbow.
So, if you notice swollen joints, or your furry pal limping after exercise or being reluctant to go on walks, you might be looking at elbow dysplasia. How can it be treated? Well, in the short term, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed. But for the long term you’re looking at surgery. During surgery your dog would have problematic cartilage or bone fragments removed; have its bones realigned somewhat; have a whole bone within the elbow removed; or have the whole elbow joint replaced.
Collie eye anomaly
Collie eye anomaly — or Collie eye defect — is one of the eye conditions to which the Texas Heeler is a little more prone than other breeds. It’s something with which dogs (most often Collies) are born. Not every dog will be affected identically by the condition, which is graded from 1-5 according to severity. It might cause a variety of issues like a defect in the optic nerve, a thinning of the sclera, or underdeveloped blood vessels in the tissue beneath the retina.
At its worst, Collie eye anomaly can cause your dog to go completely blind. But many dogs may be almost unaffected. In order to support your furry friend through the condition, reattaching the retina with surgery is possible; so is laser surgery; and cryosurgery may destroy the damaged cell tissue completely.
Feeding a Texas Heeler — what’s the best diet?
As with all other dogs, it’s important you give your Texas Heeler plenty of high-quality, nutrient-rich food full of animal proteins to keep it healthy and full of energy. This isn’t a breed that tends to overeat but always be observant about whether you may be overfeeding your dog.
Do your research and avoid harmful ingredients and things like fillers. If you can afford it, favor dog food brands that are transparent about how they source their ingredients and what goes into each packet. Try, if possible, to avoid giving it scraps from your plates — food tailored to dogs will always be preferable.And, if you want comprehensive information about the best dog foods out there, check out our friends at Dog Food Advisor — they have in-depth brand reviews that include ingredient analysis, so you know exactly what you’re feeding your pet.