HOW TO CARE FOR A BORDER COLLIE
All dogs require some form of maintenance and it's important to know just how much when choosing the right dog breed for you; it can help you estimate the time you need to devote to your pooch each day or each week. Fortunately, Border Collies are relatively low-maintenance dogs. This means that they're very easy to care for, you just need to take care of a few key things to ensure their good health.
Border Collie Grooming
The Border Collie has a short or medium-length coat with a fairly dense undercoat. During normal periods, brush your Border Collie's coat two to three times a week, especially if your dog has medium-length hair. They will need brushing more regularly during moulting periods (spring and autumn) to get rid of dead hair and other debris.
Use a dog brush and comb to properly groom your Border Collie. Brush each tuft of hair up against the direction of growth, then down in the direction of the hair. Proceed gently, bit by bit, so as not to hurt or traumatise your dog; you don't want them to associate the brush with pain. If you find a knot in your dog’s coat, use a comb to gently detangle it. If you can't easily detangle the knot, don't keep pulling at it, cut it out to prevent hurting your pooch.
Border Collies only need to be bathed once or twice a year. However, like all good sheepdogs, they do like to spend a lot of time outdoors. If this is the case, your pooch is much more likely to get muddy and need an extra bath. Even still, never wash a Border Collie more than once a month, as you risk damaging their skin. Finally, always use products suitable for dogs to avoid irritation.
The ears are a delicate part of a dog's anatomy that needs to be carefully watched. Keeping them clean is an integral part of grooming your dog. To do this, regularly inspect your dog's ears for any debris or parasites. Use a suitable cleaning product to clean out the wax, and avoid using water. Never use cotton buds, cotton wool, or cotton pads!
If your Border Collie's nails are too long, it may annoy them in the short term and could even injure them in the long term. However, necessary as it may be, some precautions are in order when trimming your dog's nails. You can either use a nail clipper, reserved for smaller dogs, or an electric file, best for larger dogs. For a medium-sized dog like the Border Collie, a nail clipper will usually suffice.
Make sure to carefully locate the quick of the nail before cutting to avoid injuring your pooch. The quick is the live part of the nail which contains blood vessels and nerve endings - it is recognisable by its pink colour. You only want to cut the white part of the nail. If your dog has black claws, it's best not to cut them too short, as a precaution. If you're worried about hurting your dog when cutting their nails, you can always take them to see a professional groomer or your vet instead.
The good health of your Border Collie also depends on their dental hygiene. If neglected, your pooch could develop serious gum problems or even lose teeth. As such, it's important to accustom your dog to a toothbrush and toothpaste from an early age. Regular brushing prevents tartar formation, which, once present, can only be removed by a vet. Luckily, the Border Collie has a relatively docile temperament and should let you brush their teeth without much issue.
To brush your Border Collie's teeth, start by using a finger cot to get them used to the feel of the toothpaste. Always use special dog toothpaste, never human toothpaste! Once your pet is used to the toothpaste, you can start using a toothbrush - any toothbrush will do. Brush gently, being careful not to make any sudden movements, and don't forget to do the back teeth. Aim to brush your dog's teeth at least twice a week. You can also supplement dental care with chew bones, which are excellent for maintaining gum tissue.
You can either take care of grooming your Border Collie yourself or hire a professional if you're worried that you may not be up to the task. The important thing is to keep up your dog's care throughout their life. Good health includes a large number of parameters that need to be taken into account; keeping your dog's coat and body well maintained is one of them.
Preventive Medical Care for a Border Collie
In addition to the daily maintenance that all dogs need, you must also provide your Border Collie with certain preventive medical care. Make sure to take them for regular anti-parasitic and deworming treatments, especially if you live in the countryside, and keep all their vaccines up to date. It's a good idea to schedule at last one veterinary check-up a year, especially when your Border Collie gets older.
Diet also plays a key role in your dog's health. Feeding your Border Collie a high-quality diet is the best way to keep them healthy for as long as possible; food has a direct effect on your dog's coat and teeth, but also on their health in general.
Pay attention to the growth period when your Border Collie is a puppy - this is a critical moment for them. It's essential to avoid putting too much strain on your dog, at the risk of causing lasting damage to their joints. Likewise, choose your dog breeder carefully. Serious breeders will select carefully to exclude potentially problematic individuals from breeding. Be especially careful with merle dogs: a double merle dog is often born deaf and/or blind.
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