Tag Archives: Collie

Tips for Dealing with Dog Fur


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It’s a known fact that most dogs shed, but this doesn’t keep us from loving them. At the same, it can be a pain to find fur all over your clothes and furniture. Some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, shed more than others. Whatever the breed, we’ve got the tips you need to keep your dog’s shedding under control.

Brush, brush, brush!

Brushing your dog’s fur regularly (for some dogs, this means daily) pulls out the loose hair that will otherwise end up on your carpet. It will also leave Fido’s coat cleaner and softer and will prevent his fur from matting.

Invest in a good vacuum.

Especially if your dog sheds seasonally, you’ll need a good vacuum to pick up after his fur. Spare yourself the headaches that come with a weak-suction vacuum and get yourself a machine that will get the job done the first time.

Use a lint roller.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good lint roller. The simple, inexpensive product can be a lifesaver in a home with a super-shedding dog. Use an extra sticky lint roller such as this one to easily pick up stray fur from yourself and from around the house.

Feed your dog a high-quality diet.
Dog food made from mostly corn or grains can be difficult for your pup to digest, causing dry skin and excess shedding. Food allergies can also contribute to hair loss and skin issues, in which case a veterinarian should be consulted. A diet high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids can improve overall coat texture.

Choose the right brush for your pup.

The type of brush you use for your pup can make a big difference in controlling his shedding. Your veterinarian can advise on what kind of brush to use, but there are generally brushes for two fur types: short and long. For dogs like Beagles and Bulldogs with shorter coats, a natural-bristle brush or hound mitt can be used. For dogs with longer, thicker coats, especially double-coated breeds like Pomeranians and Collies, a slicker brush or rake makes a better tool for getting rid of all that fur. Start by brushing in the opposite direction of your pup’s hair growth, then brush again in the direction of hair growth to fully remove all the loose, dead fur.

Give your dog a bath.

Regularly bathing your pup is not only a staple of good doggy hygiene, but it is also key to a healthy coat. Products like NuVet Conditioning Oatmeal Shampoo help sooth itchy skin and prevent dryness that can ultimately lead to hair loss.

While shedding might be one of the few things we don’t quite love about our dogs, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Instead, grooming your pup can become a daily bonding activity for the two of you. Less fur, more fun!

What Does Your Dog’s Poop Mean?


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It may be a gross topic, but let’s face it – if you’re a responsible dog owner, you’re picking up your dog’s poop multiple times a day. So, you might as well know what to look for to determine whether your dog’s poop is normal or problematic. We’ve broken down the do-do, so you don’t have to. Here’s the “scoop” so you can learn more about your dog’s health and well-being.

First, let’s define what normal dog poop looks like. Although varying from dog to dog and breed to breed, typical dog poop should be basically brown in color, neither too soft (diarrhea) nor too hard to pass (constipation). Use your dog’s healthy poop (color, frequency and consistency) as a baseline to compare when he is not feeling well so you’re aware when there’s an issue.

Diarrhea
Poop of a liquid consistency or that looks like “cow patty” or “soft serve” is typically not a cause for concern. If it improves within 24-48 hours, no action is needed. A wait and see approach is advised, and if the dog is acting normally (eating well, not vomiting and displaying a happy demeanor), there is usually no need to seek medical attention.

Black or Very Dark Poop
This may require an urgent trip to the vet as black or tarry consistency can indicate a gastrointestinal ulcer or bleeding high in the GI tract. A bleeding ulcer can oftentimes be caused by human medications with aspirin, steroids or NSAIDs, so be careful of ever giving to your dog without consulting your vet. Other generalized bleeding can be from rat poison, heat stroke or immune-mediated disease. Blood work and/or an ultrasound are typically recommended to get a full look at the intestinal tract.

Red Poop
The red color could indicate bleeding within the GI tract. Streaks of blood can indicate colitis (inflammation of the colon), rectal injury, anal gland infection or even a tumor. Less worrisome may be slight reddish color in an otherwise normal stool, which is typically indicative of inflammation in the large intestine. Regardless, you’ll want to monitor your dog closely for any further changes in stool and also behavior.

Pink or Purple Poop or Large Volume of Diarrhea
Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) can be a common cause of pink or purple poop (often described as looking like raspberry jam), or a cause of a large amount of watery or bloody poop, especially in smaller dogs. While most will recover with treatment, seek veterinary attention immediately as this condition can be fatal if left untreated.

Grey or Greasy Poop
Poop that appears fatty or glistens could indicate a condition called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), which occurs when the pancreas does not produce necessary enzymes to digest fat. Commonly referred to as maldigestion, EPI is treatable. German Shepherds and Rough-Coated Collies are often afflicted with EPI.

Green Poop
Check with your vet immediately, as green poop can indicate a variety of issues from as mild as eating a lot of grass to as serious as swallowing rat bait poison or ingesting a dangerous parasite. Exposure to rodenticides is certainly dangerous, so let your vet know if that may be the case.

Orange or Pasty, Light Poop
Often indicative of a liver issue or biliary disease, orange poop warrants a call to your vet. Hopefully from professional evaluation, it’s determined that the orange color is simply from the poop moving too quickly through the GI tract to pick up bile, which makes poop its normal brown color.

Yellow Poop
If you’ve recently changed your dog’s diet, yellow mucus in poop usually means a food intolerance or allergy, causing an upset stomach. Isolate the suspected ingredient(s) and remove from future diet.

White Flakes or Specks in Poop
Have you noticed grains of white rice in your dog’s poop, only to realize you haven’t fed him any rice? While not serious, this likely means your dog has worms. Roundworms (spaghetti-like shaped) are typically found in puppies. Small, flat worms (found on the outside of stool or around the rectum) may be found in your dog’s sleeping areas as well and typically indicate tapeworm, which take over when a dog has fleas. Worms require a visit to the vet, but don’t panic upon first sight, as they are treatable with parasite medication.

It is worth noting that slight variations in your dog’s poop or infrequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation are often no cause for concern and don’t constitute an emergency situation. For example, if your dog eats something questionable off the ground or out of the trash (commonly referred to as garbage gut), he’ll likely pay for it with an upset stomach and abnormal stool.

However, if your dog’s abnormal stool is accompanied with vomiting, refusal to eat or drink, or other concerning symptoms, a trip to the vet is necessary. Your vet may even ask you to bring a stool sample with specific storage instructions for laboratory testing. Other diagnostics such as blood work or radiographs may also be warranted depending on the symptoms.

The Dark Truth About Smoking Around Your Dog


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We all know smoking around others can be detrimental to even a non-smoker’s health, but what about smoking around your dog? You may have seen the recent anti-smoking campaign by Truth which condemns smoking around pets, warning, “Fact: Dogs and cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes.” Cancer is the last thing we want for precious Fido, so let’s examine the consequences of this common, yet dangerous habit on our furry friends.

According to petMD, dogs living with smoking owners are more likely than dogs with non-smoking owners to develop lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. In addition, the type of snout your dog has will determine how secondhand smoke affects him. Research shows that while the chemicals found in cigarettes can more readily reach the lungs of dogs with shorter noses (such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers), these toxins cause an increased risk of cancer by 250% in long-nosed dogs (such as Dachshunds and Collies) due to the chronic buildup of carcinogens in their nasal passages.

Assistant Professor Heather Wilson-Robles at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science (CVM) describes the symptoms of pets with lung diseases, including: dry hacking, progressive cough, or harder-to-manage asthma symptoms. She also notes that accidental ingestion of tobacco products can result in “gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased salivation and trembling.”

Wilson-Robles recommends that while the best way to avoid smoking-related health issues in pets is to quit smoking altogether, there are other courses of action that smokers can take to lessen the harm on their four-legged friends. First, dog-owning smokers should immediately cease smoking directly around their dog. And, after smoking, owners should wash their hands completely before handling their dog or any item with which the dog may come into contact.

Lastly, if a dog accidentally eats a disposed tobacco product, the owner should call an emergency clinic immediately as they will medically induce vomiting in the case the dog does not vomit up the product on his own. Some signs of nicotine poisoning in dogs include tremors, twitching, or seizures; drooling; constricted pupils; auditory and visual hallucinations; excitement, racing heart; and vomiting and diarrhea.

As with nicotine, marijuana can also affect dogs differently than it affects humans. Dogs can get high from second-hand marijuana smoke, ingesting edibles or by eating parts of the marijuana plant. According to caninejournal.com,  the effects of marijuana on dogs include lethargy, breathing problems, lower blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, loss of balance and incontinence. While recreational marijuana continues to gain legality in some states, marijuana is not yet approved for canine use and should not be given to your dog.

Just as important it is to look out for one’s own pet’s health, it is likewise necessary to be mindful of one’s behavior around other animals. Smokers should abide by proper smoking etiquette while in public; if you wouldn’t smoke near a child or your own dog, don’t smoke right next to someone else’s pet. Similarly, non-smoking dog-owners should take the proper precautions to avoid coming into contact with smokers and their byproducts, as well as to keep a watchful eye on what their dog digs its nose into outside of the house.

Everyone is well-aware of the dangers of smoking, but your canine’s health and well-being may just be one more reason to quit the habit. At the very least, dog-owners should be aware of the effects and take measures to keep smoking limited to a private space, away from their beloved animals.

Getting to Know Guide Dogs


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Guide dogs, also known as seeing eye dogs, are special pooches that help the blind navigate their world. Guide Dogs of America provides blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs free of charge in North America. Now that deserves a “round of a-paws.” Let’s get to know more about these paw-some pups and how they perform heroic acts every day.

History
The first school for training service animals, including seeing eye dogs, was established in Germany during World War I to assist veterans blinded in war. Outside of Germany, interest in service dogs did not become widespread until the mid-1900’s. The first guide dogs were German Shepherds, appropriately coming from the service dog school’s country of origin. In 1929, Nashville resident Morris Frank succeeded in convincing Americans to grant people with service animals access to public transportation, hotels and other open public areas. By Federal law, blind people with service dogs are now allowed to go anywhere the general public is allowed, including restaurants, hospitals, stores, airplanes and taxis.

Breeds
The dog breeds used in guide dog service are chosen for their easy trainability and sound temperaments. The most common breeds selected as guide dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, but other breeds have also been known to be good choices, such as Labradoodles, Standard Poodles, Collies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Havanese and Vizslas.

Training
Many guide dogs are trained from birth for the special task of aiding the visually impaired. Dogs who start training at birth take about 18 months to complete their program (DGP for Pets). Just like all domesticated dogs, guide dogs must first learn housetraining and basic obedience before receiving additional guide dog training. After about one year, the guide dog meets her partner and they train together for two weeks.

The guide dog recipient is just as responsible in training as the dog. It is the responsibility of the visually impaired person to use his or her senses to judge whether or not it is safe to cross the street, for example, but the guide dog may refute the action if she deems it hazardous. The dog’s intentional refusal of a command is called “intelligent disobedience.”

Meeting a Working Guide Dog Team

If you encounter a visually impaired person with a guide dog, you should treat this person as you would any other stranger on the street and respect boundaries. Do not pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking for the owner’s permission first. While they may be irresistibly cute, guide dogs are at work and should not be distracted. After all, the owner depends on his or her guide dog to be vigilant of dangers.

Guide dogs are special service dogs that have helped aid the blind for decades. Their ability to learn techniques above and beyond basic training techniques in order to devotedly assist their partner is truly remarkable. We never cease to be amazed at what dogs can do in our everyday lives.

Epilepsy in Dogs: Is My Dog at Risk for Seizures?


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Seizures don’t just affect those of us who walk on two legs. Our four-legged friends can also suffer from seizures, and if the fits of uncontrollable twitching turn into a pattern, your dog may have epilepsy.

About Canine Seizures
Seizures are uncontrollable outbursts of twitching or shaking which result from surges of electrical activity in your dog’s brain, according to WebMD. They can last anywhere from less than a minute to several minutes. Some causes of seizures in dogs include eating poison, liver disease, a sudden rise or drop in blood sugar, anemia, head injury, stroke and brain cancer.

Signs of an Epileptic Fit

You can usually tell when a dog is having a seizure because of the strange behaviors exhibited. Your dog will likely feel the seizure coming on, and seek out her owner for comfort. After a period of restlessness, whining or hiding, a dog having a seizure will show symptoms like muscle twitching, collapsing, vomiting or foaming at the mouth. Afterward, the dog will experience a period of disorientation ranging from a few minutes to days. She may even be temporarily blind during the recovery period.

Types of Seizures

There are a few different types of seizures. A generalized, or grand mal seizure, is the most common type, in which abnormal electric activity throughout the brain causes the dog to lose consciousness and shake erratically. Conversely, in a focal seizure, the abnormal electrical activity only occurs in one part of the brain, and will likewise cause movements in only one side or part of the body. Sometimes seizures start as focal and then become generalized. A psychomotor seizure takes the form of an odd behavior, such as interacting with an imaginary object or some other apparent hallucination. Whatever the behavior is, the same one will repeat in future seizures. Finally, seizures with no known cause fall under idiopathic epilepsy. They usually occur in dogs six months to six years old, and are most common in Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, Beagles, Belgian Tervurens and Collies.

What to Do
If you notice your dog having a seizure, remain calm. Avoid contact with her until she has calmed down, but if there is something nearby that may hurt her, be sure to move the object or gently slide her away, taking care to stay away from her mouth. If the seizure lasts more than two minutes, your dog is at risk of overheating. Any longer than five minutes, time to take her to the vet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Be sure to record observations of your dog’s seizures. If a pattern develops, your vet should be able to identify the type of seizures and administer the appropriate medications. For example, valium may be given intravenously to control prolonged convulsions. And, to regulate future seizures, vets commonly prescribe phenobarbital and potassium bromide. It’s very important to adhere to the dosage recommended by your vet. It’s also recommended to check liver function before giving your dog anti-epileptic medications. While there is no cure for epilepsy, appropriate treatment can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of these frightful fits.

Dog Breeds by Fur: Low to High Maintenance Pooches


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When deciding on the best dog for your family, grooming responsibilities probably don’t top of the list of criteria during breed selection. However, depending on your financial situation and time constraints, hair may be a factor worth considering. Depending on the type of dog and their grooming needs, you could be visiting a professional groomer as much as every two-four weeks, or at a minimum, intensively brushing at home on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of the lowest to highest maintenance pups when it comes to hair, which should help with setting expectations, planning and budgeting.

Short-haired, smaller dogs are going to require the least amount of grooming. An important caveat however is that even though these breeds are short-haired, they will still shed somewhat as all dogs shed some fur. Check out these breeds with low grooming needs if you’d rather not trade in your day job for a styling gig.

Italian Greyhound
Boston Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
• Harrier
Dalmation
• Whippet
• German Pinscher
• Basenji
• Australian Kelpie
Weimaraner
Vizsla
• English Foxhound
Boxer
Rottweiler
• Black & Tan Coonhound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Mastiff
Great Dane
Bloodhound
• Neapolitan Mastiff

talk-ab-fur-thumbnailConversely, if you can’t resist a fluffy, long-haired pup, target this list of styling breeds, who require more hands-on attention to their coats to avoid matting, shedding and hygiene issues.

Akita
Alaskan Malamute
• Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
• Border Terrier (or most terriers, for that matter)
Bulldog
Chow Chow
Cockapoo
Cocker Spaniel (and most other Spaniels)
Collie
• English or Irish Setter
• Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers
Havanese
Lhasa Apso
Maltipoo
Old English Sheepdog (and other sheep dogs)
• Pekingese
Pomeranian
Poodle
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky