Health and Nutrition
Australian Cobberdogs are a robust breed known for their excellent health. Responsible breeders prioritise the well-being of these dogs by utilising advanced technology for thorough screening of inheritable diseases. This proactive approach helps ensure that the breed remains healthy and free from known genetic issues.
Just like humans, Cobberdogs benefit from a diverse, nutritious and balanced diet. Feeding high quality foods is essential to maintain their overall health and well-being. A balanced diet not only supports their physical health but also contributes to their vitality and longevity.
The easiest feeding option is probably a high quality kibble (such as Royal Canin) or air dried meat/bone/offal (such as Ziwi Peak) . It’s important to understand that kibble is a highly processed, unregulated product in Australia, and supermarket kibble has very low nutritional value.
At the other end of the range, are raw diets/BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). Some companies even make pre-packaged patties that contain all of the nutrients your pooch requires. If you're feeling creative, you can even do it yourself! It does take time, education and a bit of trial and error. The in between options include cooked foods such as Lyka and roll foods, like Prime 100.
When your new puppy comes home, they will be use to enjoying high-quality diet that the breeder has introduced. New puppy owners are encouraged to continue providing wholesome, nutritious meals. It is up to owners to decide what they feed their puppy (with guidance form their vet), but there is a lot of research that suggests raw is best. Raw foods include meat (mince, gravy beef, lamb, kangaroo, boar, etc), chicken wings and necks, fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of (non-weight bearing) bones to help keep puppy’s oral hygiene in check. There is a lot of debate in the doggy world about whether kibble or raw is best. Please take the time to research your options, discuss with your vet and breeder, and make an informed decision about what suits your lifestyle and the needs of your dog best.
The infographic below illustrates some of the nutritious food you may choose to feed your dog. There are some excellent pre-made raw and fresh meal options available from pet stores, Costco and some supermarkets.
Given the unregulated dog food industry in Australia, it can be difficult to know which dry kibble may be suitable for your dog. Please discuss options with your veterinarian. When feeding any kind of animal products (particularly bones), it is important to actively supervise your dog.
Being a modern breed, we are able to utilise DNA technology to screen breeding stock for known inheritable diseases. Responsible Cobberdog breeders have a comprehensive knowledge of known diseases and will ensure that breeding pairs compliment or improve the breed with each litter they produce.
From time to time, your Australian Cobberdog may encounter some minor ailments that require veterinarian treatment.
Due to their long fleecy coats and adorable floppy ears, some Cobberdogs will encounter an ear infection at some point during their lifetime. Some dogs may never experience an infection, others may have a few every year. Staying on top of ear cleaning using products such as Kleo or EpiOtic regularly can help prevent infections. Signs of infection include a red, warm, smelly and, or gunky ear canal. You may also notice your dog scratching at their ear or pawing at their head while they roll around on the ground. Sometimes antibiotics are needed to treat the infection. Infections can be due to yeast or bacteria, so ensuring your dog’s ears are dried after a bath or swim is a good habit to get into to help eliminate the likelihood of an infection. To reduce the incidence of ear infections, ensure you keep your dogs ear free from excess hair which grows in the ear canal, you can do this by plucking or carefully trimming, don't forget the hair grows back, so keep checking the ears, the goal is to keep them dry and clean. Asking your groomer to shave under your dog's ears can also help to promote airflow.
When a dog passes faeces, the glands on either side of their anus are usually expressed. Some dogs are more prone to needing some human help to express these glands. To express them, it’s a bit like squeezing a big pimple but the liquid that comes out has a strong smell. Often a groomer can express them for you when the dog is groomed. A vet or vet nurse can also express them or often show you how to do it.
Just like people dogs need dental care to maintain their teeth and keep them nice and healthy. It's important to check your dog's teeth and gums regularly for signs of dental disease, because although dental disease can be very painful, most dogs will continue to eat their food as normal and show no outward signs that something is wrong. Over time, dental disease results in chronic inflammation that can have serious health consequences for your pet including damage to the heart, kidneys and liver. Feeding a wholesome balanced diet of whole foods including raw non-weight bearing bones to chew on assist with keeping teeth healthy and reduces the incidence of dental disease, You can also include hard toy chews (KONG) or edible dental sticks into their weekly enrichment and care plan to help keep that plaque at bay.
More serious ailments that require veterinary care, if your Australian Cobberdog is diagnosed with any of the below conditions please reach out to your breeder and the registry society (Master Dog Breeders & Associates) and provide details. As a new breed in development Cobberdog owners and breeders need to work together to ensure the overall health and longevity of the breed.
It has been well published the Australian Cobberdog has several different pure breeds infused at various times over the years. Some of these background breeds have a known predisposition to Addisons and as such it is recognised that Addisons may be present in Australian Cobberdogs. Scientists don’t yet know exactly what causes Addison’s disease, but any dog, regardless of age or gender, whether they are purebred or a mixed-breed dog, can develop this disease.
Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder seen in dogs yet has been estimated to affect less than 1% of canine population (Heske et al, 2014). The most common sign of epilepsy in canines is seizures. Seizures can look like a small twitch to more significant convulsions. It is important to note what your dog is doing when it has a seizure as this can assist diagnosis. Not all seizures are caused by epilepsy as it is a reported side effect from toxins such as common tick treatments, If your dog experiences a seizure be it small twitch to more serious convulsion and loss of bladder control you should seek veterinary treatment and notify your breeder.
Hip & elbow Dysplasia
Canine Hip Dysplasia, often abbreviated to CHD, is a condition that affects dogs of all sizes. The hip joint is what’s known as a ball and socket joint. In a dog with healthy hips, the top of the thigh bone sits tight inside of the hip joint. When the ball and socket are misaligned or loose, it can cause pain, limping and arthritis as the dog grows. CHD is actioned by both genetic and environment factors, dogs with loose hip joints and shallow sockets are most at risk, as there will be movement in the joint, this movement overtime causes wear and tear and leads to osteoarthritic changes. That same pup if leading a more sedentary life may not show any signs of wear and tear until much later in life. Breed clubs have been working for many years on ways to manage and improve outcomes to reduce CHD within breeds however as a multifaceted modality disease it takes both the breeder and the dog owner to take all precautionary steps to reduce the chance of early onset CHD.
What we do know
dogs with tight hips and deep sockets have the best chance of not developing early onset CHD.
pups from parents with "good" hips can still develop early onset CHD, and this is often attributed to poor care of an active puppy in the first 12 months of life (ie over excercised, incorrect nutrition (especially too high in protein in large breeds growing puppies).
To minimise the likelihood of a puppy developing hip dysplasia, it is important that puppies are not overexercised in their first year of life and fed optimally for their growth rate and development. Jumping off high furniture, going for long walks and rough play with other dogs can all contribute to CHD.