For an illustrated guide, please visit Sea Level Aussies.
You can also watch this five-part guide from Western Hills Aussies.
Your Aussie’s coat and correct grooming and bathing: Eyes may be bathed with a soothing eyewash made by dissolving one-half teaspoon of salt and tepid, distilled water.
Saturate gauze pads in the mild solution and cleanse the eyelids, wipe the outside corner of the eye. You can drop a bit of olive oil in each eye. EYE WASH products may also be used and can be very effective. Runny, weepy eyes can be a sign of illness. Sometimes Aussies’ eyes appear red, this is normal, and not to worry.
Ears should be examined for wax, mites and other irritations. Healthy ears smell slightly sweet and clean. Wipe away any visible dirt with a gauze pad and olive oil. Ears may be cleaned using an EAR CLEANER and a cotton tipped stick for that purpose. Always clean ears without pointing the cotton stick into the ear canal.
If your Aussie’s nose should become dry or brittle, there are many reasons. I have found that this may be the indication of a cold, of dehydration, and a dry climate. Give your dog fresh water, and a small bit of olive oil should help it from being chapped.
The Aussie’s least favorite, and most neccesary of the grooming procedures, is nail trimming. This should start when your Aussie is at an early age and only with small nipping. At all costs avoid nipping the quick (the nerve and blood supply of the nail). This is excruciating to the dog, and nails tend to bleed a lot. The shorter the nail, the better it is. Many breeders purposely trim the nails of young puppies past the quick because the quick will shrink and make the nail shorter. There are many tools for nail trimming, electric nail grinders are expensive, but are the most accurate way of trimming a nail. Only skilled trimmers should use this. There are two main tools for the average dog owner. The GUILLOTINE and the NAIL CLIPPER. The guillotine has replaceable blades and is more accurate and inexpensive in the long run. When trimming, do the white nails first, as the quick is easier to see. Then try to match the length of the newly trimmed nails to the length you cut the black or liver ones. Always begin by trimming the hook of the nail, as no quick is there at all. Should you nip the quick, use a styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Only do a few nails at a time.
The Aussie coat can vary considerably, from dense, curly, and harsh, to soft, thin, and straight. The typical Aussie coat, however varies from being straight and slightly wavy. An Aussie’s coat can tell a lot about their health. A dry, dull coat may indicate internal illness, infestation of parasites or an inadequate diet. A glossy coat with resilience reflects a healthy dog. Aussies do shed, but it mostly takes place in early summer or late spring. Shedding is based on light, not heat, as once suspected. House dogs or kennel dogs shed all year long because the unnatural light cycles do not make for lengthened and shortened days.
Removal of shedding hair can be done with a weekly all-over brushing with a SLICKER BRUSH and a go-over with a shedding RAKE or BLADE for horses when he really loses a lot of hair. If your Aussie has mats and DEMATTING is necessary, do not shave it, which leaves the dog vulnerable to sunburn (although some people regularly shave their dogs, or the feathers on the back hind legs) and scarring.
Be sure to BRUSH out the long hair, called feathers, on the front and back legs, and behind the ears, which are prime matting spots, with a pin brush. Always BRUSH first with the growth of the hair, and do small parts at a time to be sure to reach the undercoat. When you have finished this, you can brush against the grain, with a PIN BRUSH, to promote circulation. Rework the coat back to the original position it was in, afterward. Brushing should always be done before bathing, as well as any removal of mats.
You may put a rubber mat or towel in the bottom of the tub, as the dog may slip and slide about. Outdoor bathing should only be done on warm spring or summer days. To catch hair in a bathtub, place a wash cloth or gauze over the drain. Always use a dog SHAMPOO, or a baby shampoo, as human shampoo can strip the coat of necessary oils. Bathing should only be done when necessary, as too much bathing can also strip the coat and dry out the skin. Aussies do not need CONDITIONER. Be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly, or the soap residue may cause itching.
If you want to blow dry your dog, there are many fine blow dryers on the market, which you can usually get at dog shows or mail-order catalogs. You can also use your own, providing that the heat is set to cool or warm, not hot. Blow dry with the dryer at least a foot away from the skin. Drying may go faster with a quick go-through of the PIN BRUSH.