Border Collies

The border collie is a highly intelligent breed that just happens to be a favorite of Robin, here at Gwinnett Pet Watchers.  They are definitely not for the lazy owner, and require considerable daily exercise and mental stimulation.  They are a working breed used for herding livestock and to be a house pet, definitely require entertainment.  They can become neurotic in households that do not provide them with enough exercise.  They are infamous for chewing on furniture, digging holes, and their herding behavior with other animals or children in the household may be unsuitable for an inactive household.  With plenty of activities and a creative owner, they are wonderful and loyal dogs.  There are many rescues for the breed and can be a wonderful rescue pet.  They have beautiful coats that come in many different colors.  They do shed, and regular brushing is recommended.  Border collies have an average lifespan of twelve years.  Some of the common health problems that affect the breed are epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye problems, and hearing loss.  Robin loves to take her pack hiking in the woods, to the lake, and plays various activities with them.  They love to play ball, do treat puzzles, and love the companionship of each other as well.

Another reason I love my dogs!

Miss Jennifer is back from vacation this morning and has taken over her accounts. That means I only have one kitty cat sit today and one meeting with a new client.
The house is a wreck as you can imagine after a week of 14 and 16 hour days. My office looks like a hurricane has gone through, with files stacked here and there, and the inbox, well we won’t even talk about that. But as I look around trying to come up with a game plan to dig out, I see five beautiful faces, saying “Mom, please we have missed spending time with you, we have missed our nice long walks, and when was the last time we went to the dog park together. The dirt will be here when we get back and really we don’t care, we just care about being with you and having some fun!”
Just another reason I love my dogs, they help keep me grounded, they remind me of what is really important and today that is spending time with my pets and visiting my mother, everything else is just noise. So with that said we are off to the park …

Domino’s DNA Testing

Back then the DNA Kits were a little bit expensive back around $90.00.  But if you watch you can catch them on sale for under $60.00.

The hardest part about getting the sample was isolating the dog.  In my house we have dogs, a cat, and even a bunny rabbit. So we had to put Domino in a room by himself, no toys (not that he would care) that another animal may have had in their mouth, clean water bowl … After two hours we went in and got our swap, put it in the envelop that came with the kit, and put it in the mail box. Then waited for the answer, Border Collie or imposter!

It did not take long  to get a package in the mail from BioPet.  With anticipation we all made our last bets then opened it … Imposter!  I knew it!  It turns out that Domino is German Shepherd Dog, Chow Chow and Labrador Retriever …. Not a drop of Border collie not even a little bit!

Most of you would think the fun would end their but no now instead of saying, “He doesn’t act anything like a Border Collie,” we say, “That’s the chow in him!” Even his groomer says, “See, that’s the German Shepherd in him.”  Goodness we love our Domino no matter what his ancestry is.

On that same Christmas I gave a DNA kit to my kids for their new pup Bella… great minds think a like! But as they say, that is another story for another day.

Be safe and have fun.

Keep Your Dog’s Feet Healthy

When I first saw my older dog Suzie lose her footing on the hardwood floors and fall, it not only broke my heart, it also scared me. I knew I was going to have to make some changes around the house to both keep her safe and keep her interacting with the family. After taking a close look at Suzie I noticed that her nails were very long.

When Suzie was young and active she wore down her nails with everyday activity and nail trimming was a monthly chore. Now that she’s not as active I have to do it weekly. Because Suzie has always been a very high strung Border Collie (you might even call her a little unstable) I always muzzle her before I trim her nails. Suzie is one of those dogs that when you put a muzzle on her she just relaxes. She knows that she has to submit to whatever I’m going to do. I have also found that using a Dremel makes fast work of nail trimming.

Dr. Debra Primvic writes in her article How to Trim Your Dogs Nails with a Nail Grinder or Dremel Tool:

“Dog’s nails continue to grow and trimming them can be a challenge for some dog owners. This depends on the dog, his personality and the dog owner’s ability to trim the nails.”

While taking care of Suzie’s nails I also keep the hair that grows between the pads of her feet trimmed. This helps keep her footing more stable when walking on the hardwood floors in my house.

If you have an older dog and you see that they are frightened of walking or very cautious of walking on slick surfaces, take a look at their feet to see if their nails are too long or if they have long hair in between the pads of their feet.  Both of these can be easily maintained and will help keep your dog safe. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this maintenance on your own, just have your groomer do it. It is well worth the time and effort.

Have fun and be safe!

Keep Your Older Dog Safe on Slick Floors

One of the things that most fascinates me about working with dogs is learning about their nutrition and health needs. Many of the ideas I grew up with are no longer valid. You must be diligent in your reading to keep up on what is new in the animal world.

In my household I have five dogs:

  • Suzie, a 15 year old female Border Collie
  • Domino, a 12 year old male German Shepherd mix
  • George, a 4 year old male Beagle/Border Collie mix
  • Jake, a 3 year old male Australian
  • Lucy, a 1 year old female Australian Shepherd mix

With the age spans I have to pay close attention so that I am meeting everyone’s needs with the right amounts and types of exercise and nutrition. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming.

When I bought this house 6 years ago I had all of the carpet replaced with hardwood floors for easy cleanup. At that point I only had two dogs and that worked out very well for a long time. But now my oldest dog, Suzie, is having trouble with her back legs. She can sometimes lose her footing when excited or when she gets jostled by the younger dogs. Now I am putting throw rugs down in strategic areas. It is amazing how fast she is came to realize that these are safe spots and if she feels a need for more security she gets on one of those throw rugs.

In an article titled “Tips for Helping Dogs Walk on Slick or Uneven Surfaces”, Patricia Hill writes:

“Elderly pets are a higher risk for falls and accidents, especially when walking on smooth surfaces and steps, but injuries often occur in younger pest, including puppies. Here are some tips that will help keep you dog safe on slick surfaces and steps.
Stairs are one of the most common places injuries occur. Elderly pets with decreased or limited mobility suffer from falls either going up and down steps or at the landing of the staircase. Younger dogs, especially puppies tend to receive injuries going up and down steps the same as elderly dogs do; however, their falls are a result of playfulness or lack of coordination.”

When choosing where to put down the rugs, watch how your dog moves around your home. Pay attention to where she needs to make turns. Make sure there are no long spans of open floor; break it up by placing small throw rugs every few feet. Be careful when buying your rugs and choose ones that will not catch on her nails since this can cause a tripping hazard.

If you follow these suggestions your older pet will feel safe and secure moving around the house and you just might find your dog interacting with the family more making everyone happier.

Have fun and be safe!