The Border Collie’s coat is usually easy to care for. Many people are unaware that the breed can be either rough-coated or smooth-coated. The rough-coated dogs have a longer coat that needs a little more care and brushing, but it is not difficult to keep looking nice. Both dogs are seasonal shedders and regular brushing will help prevent the hair from piling up in your house.
Both the rough-coated and smooth-coated dogs have a close-fitting, dense, weather-resistant undercoat and it is this undercoat that will shed. Brushing your dog at least weekly will remove the dead undercoat. You can use a good bristle brush for this purpose. You may also want to use a rubber curry comb or hound glove on the smooth-coated dogs to help loosen the dead hair.
Rough-coated dogs have a thicker coat and it is medium in length. It requires more brushing. You can run a wide-tooth comb through the coat when you are finished.
You can also use scissors to keep your dog’s paws, hocks, and pasterns tidy. This is usually done for the show ring but it will also keep your dog from tracking so much mud into the house, too. Just use the scissors to remove any stray or excess hair in these places.
You can bathe your Border Collie as needed. This can be once a month or less. Or when the dog gets dirty. Use a gentle shampoo and some conditioner. You can keep your dog free of fleas and other parasites by talking to your vet about the products that are recommended in your area. Most owners today use topical flea control such as Frontline, Advantage II, or something along those lines. You should also talk to your vet about heartworm prevention starting when your dog is a puppy. Heartworms are found in all 50 states now.
Check your Border Collie’s ears regularly to make sure they are clean. A dog with an ear infection or other problems will tilt his head to the side. He may have inflamed ears or whine. And his ears may have a bad odor. You can clean your dog’s ears very easily with ear cleaner from your vet or from the pet store. Never put your finger, q-tip, or any other object down inside your dog’s ear. You could cause permanent damage. Instead, just put a couple of drops of the ear cleaner in your dog’s ear and gently massage the base of the ear. Use a tissue to gently remove any ear wax or debris that is loosened as it reaches the ear flap. Repeat until the ear seems clean.
You should also keep your Border Collie’s teeth clean. You can buy a doggy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste at the pet store or online. Do not use human toothpaste since it contains ingredients which can be harmful to dogs. Doggy toothpaste is usually flavored to be appealing to dogs and they think it’s a treat. Just put some on your dog’s toothbrush and gently brush his teeth – including the back molars. There is no need to rinse. Do this several times per week.
Be sure to trim your dog’s nails regularly, too. You can use a nail clipper for this purpose or a small sanding tool. If you use positive reinforcement, you can train your dog to stand still for nail trimming and it won’t be a problem. If you hate to trim your dog’s nails, most vets will do it for you for a small charge. Or you can go to a pet groomer.