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June 2008 Update

Tick borne Lyme Disease has become more prevalent, at least in the Ottawa & surrounding areas (St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada) as of  last yr, and with more suspected cases this yr.  If you are in any wooded type area and not on a heartworm/tick medication, please talk to your vet for suggestions.  If you find one on your dog - means a good under the coat massage to feel for them - and don't know how to safely remove it, seek vet assistance asap. It is usually not until they have attached for 2-3 days and engorged with blood do you feel them.  If you do remove it, save it in a container and take it to your vet so it can be sent to the Health Authorities so they can track & map areas of increased concern.
check on-line here for Public Health Agency of Canada

"Read on for some interesting doggie things to know, and information that could help save your dog's life".


Trimming the hair from the bottom of your sheltie's paws helps prevent snow balls from forming.  Watch for cracked foot pads caused by the cold, as the road salt will burn and your dog will start refusing to go for walks.  Keep them safe away from anti freeze!  It tastes sweet but is deadly!  Keep the tree tinsel high enough that they don't eat it.  If they do, it can get twisted in their intestines and cause serious problems needing emergency surgery.  And no chocolate guys! keep those sweets high and away!  Shelties are not canine friends to be left out in the cold,they want to be by your feet.


Canine Cooling

Do you know where your dog sweats to keep cool?  Read on.

Short & single coated breeds are more likely to suffer from heat stroke.  Our double coated shelties actually have a layer of insulation - it's between their coat and skin. It is important that double-coated breeds not be shaved in the summer, and with occasional bathing and frequent grooming to remove dead hairs and to thin out the coat we allow more heat exchange.  The air trapped in a dog's coat acts like the air in the fiberglass insulation in your walls.

Small dogs are much more susceptible to both extremes in temperature.  It is because they have more surface area relative to their body mass .. thus in summer they have more skin to absorb the heat.

Dogs don't sweat from their skin, it is through their footpads and their mouth.  As the temperature rises they initiate an escalating set of cooling mechanisms - such as reducing activity, panting, stretching out on cool surfaces (digging holes or seeking air cooling vents).  They are able through the muscles in the tongue to enlarge it to further increase evaporative surface area and that is a signal that your dog has just used his last cooling mechanism.

So what can we do to help our sheltie?  Don't shave them down!  You've just turned off their air conditioning unit!  Good grooming practices to remove the dead undercoat when they start to shed is the first step.  The use of a tool called a dematter is a big help, then a warm bath to rid the rest.  If you can't do this yourself, then treat your dog to a good groomer!  Do not wet your dog down (on the main body) on warm/hot days thinking you are helping ... in fact you are only exacerbating the problem.  Provide water at all times, not ice cold; give them a wet towel in a shaded area to lie on.  This helps to cool their belly where there is less hair and with blood circulation it can take the coolness through to the internal organs quickly and easily.  Wetting their foot pads is the only other body area you need to expose to coolness.  If your dog is overheated and hasn't had water recently, an ice cube instead of them standing over a bowl of water and drinking forever, is much better.  The large quantities of water they may drink can cause gastric problems and 'shock' the system. Get them cooled first and then allow them to drink small quantities of water to rehydrate themselves.

Do NOT leave your dog in a car alone!  Even in the shade, with windows and doors open!   Outside temp of 75F, in less than 30 min the car temperature can rise to 120F.

It is not safe to allow your dog to hang its head out the window of a car either.  Think of all the bugs that get splattered on your windshield .. these too can cause damage to your dog's eyes, get logged in their ears, or worse a bee sting in the back of their panting mouth!

Health Tips


This can add to their endurance on hot days, and reduce their life expectancy!

Recent research and statistics are revealing a 40% or greater obesity in our family dogs.  A new 14 yr Life Span Study the first of its kind, conducted by Purina revealed a dog's life expectancy could possible be increased by 2.5 years (or 15%) if you maintained good weight on your dog.  If you haven't given your dog a 'Healthy Hug" recently then go here and find out what you should be looking for ...

Purina Nutrition & Weight Gain

Poison Tips

Anti Freeze - it takes sweet and is highly toxic to dogs.  So keep a check on any leakage from your car.

Composters - keep these well secured and away from access by your dog.  The 'fermentation' if ingested can be harmful - the molds are deadly.

Cocoa Mulch - check the label before you buy.  Many of these products are made from the cocoa bean, which is chocolate! and can be a great treat for your dog just a garden away! but can also be extremely harmful.

Onions - can cause hemolytic anemia, which means that the red blood cells break down leaving the dog short of oxygen.

Grapes/Raisins - can cause kidney damage

NEW in fall of 2008 - Xylitol now in some sugar free gum can be deadly - immediate action is required, with aggressive treatment for the secondary issues of liver failure.  Gums such as Orbit, Trident & Stride are known to contain this.

Mushrooms - keep an eye out for mushrooms that pop up around your home as dogs think they are a nice snack, however if you are not versed in which ones are edible, consider ALL are poisonous.

Pay attention & read the directions on any products you use outside, such as slug/pest control, weed control - especially the direction of the wind! where does the dog walk and sniff!  They can easily inhale these substances while looking for a potty place.  Pay attention to where your dog walks on his daily jont - is it a lawn with no weeds? 'cause that could mean the home owner has applied a weed control substance and your dog just picked it up!

Do you have your VET'S EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER handy in your car/wallet?  You may need it when least expected.  If you are traveling with your pet, be sure you know how to contact a local vet in the area, as a bee sting, hornet or even a spider bite can cause muzzle swelling and you need emergency assistance.  If you are camping in remote areas ask your vet what emergency supplies/doses you should carry with you if you can't get help quickly.  Keep a recent picture of your dog with you, and obtain either a buckle collar or collar tag with your contact info, just in case you loose your dog when away from home. 

Grooming (Services) Consider a Good Grooming with a Reputable Groomer once a year - We do provide these services

Grooming is a must to ensure a healthy coat and skin.  The under coat which shelties shed once a year must be removed to allow the skin to breath.  Weekly line brushing, right down to the skin on every brush stroke assists in not only allowing you to see skin problems, possible mats or debris caught in the coat, but also helps bring the skin oils to the outer hairs thus allowing the skin to breath.  It also helps to remove the hairs that are in a regular follicle shedding time, which is about every 6 weeks. Did you know it's not the temperature that causes the general major shed times, but the length of days/sunlight. Misting while you go with water reduces static, adds moisture to the coat and assists in keeping the dead hairs together as they are removed.  You must remove that dead coat before bathing, or you will 'cement' it together which in turn doesn't allow the skin to dry, thus the possibility of skin infections occurring.  Nails need trimming at least every 3 wks to maintain a tight foot pad, keeping the quick back which all helps prevent breakdown of the foot & pasterns in the long run.  Rule I have is, if I can hear them tick on the floor, it's time to do nails.  Trimming the hair on the pads also eliminates tracking in dirt, allows the dog to perspire better, along with giving them proper traction. Bathing is also key and can be done as frequently as every 4-6 wks as long as the appropriate shampoo is used (this also helps remove those hairs in their growth cycle so less is left behind in the house).  Every 4 months for the average house dog would be my recommendation.  Consider where your dog lives most of its life ?... on the kitchen floor, ground outside? and more than likely on your couch and bed!  They pick up the food grease in the kitchen off your floors, dirt from your yard, lawns, driveways .. and who knows what else.  Housekeeping your sheltie with good grooming practices and bathing will help maintain a proper coat, healthy skin and allow you to pick up any warning signs early. 

February is Canine Dental Month - check with your Vet as many have Specials on during this month.

Don't forget regular brushing of their teeth too, as it will save you many $'s as the dog ages for dental cleaning & extractions.  Dental/gum disease can be recognized by redness of the gums, odour or brown tartar.  Know what the teeth look like too! especially the back ones.  Dogs can get slab fractures of the back molars which opens up the tooth for infection.  If they are so caked with tartar you may not see this.  The obvious end result could be coming home and finding your dog's face swollen, or a pustual that has broken open below the eye.  Dental problems left unattended can create medical problems such as kidney, liver & heart problems and even bladder infections.   Start them young with regular handling of the mouth & tooth brushing.  Use only doggie toothpaste. Want to learn more, search for canine dental problems, canine dental care.

TIP - If you leave a non choke collar with dog tags on all the time, paint the tags with clear nail polish as this will help prevent the grayish metal discoloration that will happen in the front of their coat.  Never leave choke type collars on when you are not around.

A reputable breeder should always be available through the life of your dog to help, no matter how silly you think the question is.

Doing It Yourshelf Tips

make sure your dog is well brushed out, mats removed BEFORE bathing

  • in a spray bottle mix your shampoo with water; (if no dilution is required start with a small mixture till you get an idea of how much shampoo you need to work with) this allows you to spray up under the coat and down to the skin, hard to reach areas, the feet/hocks, under the tail area and prevent that 'glob' of shampoo in one area that you try to smear over areas of the dog.
  • if accessible to the tub, put your big drying towel in the dryer and warm it up prior to needing it.  A warm towel will help do the initial drying better.
  • have dog stand in 1st shampoo water; this not only gives you an idea as the water runs off how dirty/greasy your dog is and whether a 2nd shampooing is necessary, but will also soften his nails which makes cutting them at the end easier
  • if you are using a regular hair dryer to dry your dog, be SO careful it is not too hot on the skin; use a brush to lift the coat as you dry, and your hand to check the heat level as the dog gets drier.
  • having your dog shake once in awhile really helps move the water out of the coat (yes, I know you might get wet and water will go everywhere!); if your dog won't shake gently blow in one of their ears!
  • use a face cloth to wash the face and do it last as this is the point at which your dog will likely shake, even if it's not the right time.

The Vaccine Debate

There is more and more dispute over what vaccines to give, at what age and how frequently.  We here at Shelamo believe less is better.  In general, if your vet doesn't take the time to ask you where to you take your dog, your activities outside your own backyard, where you might plan on spending summer time or a winter vacation, are you going out of Province/Country, will you be boarding your dog & what requirements that facility has, then it is time for you to ask, BEFORE the injections are given.  There are many sites of interest ... if you do a search on Dr. Jean Dodds (Hemopet.com) you will find a wealth of information.  The best news is that as of Dec 1/07 the canine world was notified that the Rabies Challenge Fund would now be able to go forth.  This study will determine the duration of immunity covered by the rabies vaccine with the goal to extend the booster interval from 5 and then to 7 years. As of this update (Jan/11) the 4th year budget has bee met and is underway!

Site Maintained by Maureen Lynch © Shelamo Shelties


This page was updated:
August 5, 2014 1:44 PM