Thursday, 23 April 2015

Spring with Border Terriers

Spring is a great time for dogs! And especially Border Terriers who seem to want to sniff out every rabbit down every hole they come across. In and out of hedgerows, bushes and even digging under trees if you let them.

Being inquisitive and fearless by nature they can often pick up ticks, fleas and even minor injuries without you knowing on their mini adventures.

I always get my dogs checked over by our Vet early in the Spring for their annual booster injections and have them innoculated against ticks and fleas at the same time. I recommend you do the same. If your dog's annual vaccination is not in early springtime at least make sure you buy a "one spot type" from your local pet store or supermarket. 

The reason I'm a strong advocate for prevention of ticks is that they often carry Lymes disease and many other debilitating diseases that can be transmitted to humans (read more here ) all of which is bad news for you and your dog. Border Terriers have a predatory instinct for vermin (rats, mice, voles, weasels and stoats) and will seek them out whenever they can (down holes, under hedgerows and across open fields), so they are more prone to pick up ticks. These ticks then remain hidden buried in their double coats. Prevention is cheap and easy to do. I make sure mine are protected all year round. 

When they come back in from a Country walk I check their front underbelly, their hind quarters and inside their ears for ticks and minor grazes. I also check in their paw pads for minor cuts and foreign objects. I have found Wheat ears and other seeds stuck in the cleft of their paws in previous years. By the way if your dog comes back home so muddy they need a bath I recommend just using clean water with no soap or shampoo. I normally only use a shampoo once a year on mine just before Christmas and that's a medicated Tea Tree version of which there are many. It's worth also mentioning that you should not wash your dog for seven days after you've applied a spot on tick / flea prevention remedy.

It is also probable that if your Border Terrier has not been stripped since last Autumn they are looking like a Teddy Bear or even Chewbacca from Star Wars, mine certainly are. I always wait until the first week in May to strip mine; for two reasons. Firstly the hedgerows are still sharp and prickly and the thick coat gives them more protection when they are off exploring, secondly in the UK often April is the wettest month of the year and a fully stripped Border Terrier is not going to enjoy walking out in very wet weather with a very thin coat that is not waterproof. Maybe I'm a softee but I wouldn't like to feel that my dogs were being made uncomfortable just because I wanted them to look a certain way. Besides in May it's starting to warm up and Summer is just around the corner and mine will be looking fine and dandy for that :)

If your Border Terriers are getting on in years like mine, you may want to consider the alternatives to hand-stripping that can be painful to older dogs, whose skin has become thinner. You might be interested in a small, low cost book I have written, in it I explain how to hand-strip and groom your Border Terrier. For older dogs I have developed a method using electric clippers and scissors that saves your elderly dog the trauma of a full hand stripping session. There is an advertisement for my Border Terrier Grooming book on the side of this blog. Or you can get to it from this link

Enjoy your springtime walks.