Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Old English Sheepdog puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Old English Sheepdogs, the best dog food diet for feeding Old English Sheepdog puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Old English Sheepdog dog breed

Old English Sheepdog Health Problems and Raising an Old English Sheepdog Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Old English Sheepdogs:

Hip dysplasia is the most serious orthopedic disease in the Old English Sheepdog. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 9600 Old English Sheepdogs and found 19% dysplastic, which is bad, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation.

Elbow dysplasia also occurs in Old English Sheepdogs, and occasionally wobbler's syndrome.

The most serious eye diseases in the Old English Sheepdog are cataracts (appearing any time from birth to 6 years old and often leading to blindness), and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Also reported are entropion and retinal dysplasia.

Allergies cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). A more serious skin disease, sebaceous adenitis, can occur in Old English Sheepdogs. Ear infections are common due to the profuse hair in the ear canals.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, Old English Sheepdogs have the 3rd highest rate of hypothyroidism of 140 breeds (up to 28% affected).

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is a growing concern. A serious neurological disease called cerebellar ataxia can occur in the OES at 2-4 years old.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Old English Sheepdogs are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

Old English Sheepdog puppies with a lot of white on their head are susceptible to inherited deafness.

Chronic diarrhea can be caused by colitis (intestinal malabsorption).Blood-clotting diseases include hemophilia B, von Willebrand's, and thrombocytopenia.

Other health issues in Old English Sheepdogs include heart disease (septal defect and tricuspid valve disease), liver shunt, diabetes, and degenerative spinal myelopathy.

Old English Sheepdogs and other collie-type breeds often react adversely to certain drugs such as ivermectin (in heartworm prevention products such as Heartguard), Imodium A-D, flagyl, and certain anesthetics. If your dog has a mutant gene called mdr1, he cannot pump these drugs out of his brain, which results in neurological toxicity. Don't give any of these drugs to your Old English Sheepdog unless he has been tested for this mutant gene. It's a simple DNA test offered by the Washington State University Veterinary School.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Old English Sheepdog?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Old English Sheepdogs today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find an Old English Sheepdog puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Old English Sheepdog puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Old English Sheepdog puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Old English Sheepdog lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Old English Sheepdog
The best diet for feeding your Old English Sheepdog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Old English Sheepdog. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Old English Sheepdog
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Old English Sheepdog. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Old English Sheepdog puppy really need? Does your adult Old English Sheepdog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Old English Sheepdog. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Old English Sheepdog. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Old English Sheepdog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.