Labrador Buyer’s Guide – Everything You Need To Know

Finding a nice, healthy pedigree Labrador puppy requires planning and patience. Buying a Labrador from a bad breeder could leave you with a dog with a whole host of health complications down the line.

But how do you tell a good breeder from a bad breeder, and what are some things to look out for when buying a Labrador puppy?

To help you find your perfect Lab, we have put together this Labrador buyer’s guide that will cover everything you need to know about purchasing one of these fantastic, friendly dogs.

How To Use This Labrador Buyer’s Guide

This buyer’s guide is long and includes lots of information from where to find a good breeder, to what problems you may encounter and the history of the Labrador. Below you can find a handy table of contents, so you can skip to the section you want to read (or just read it all).

The History of the Labrador

To start with let’s look at the history and origins of the Labrador. While many believe that the Labrador breed’s origins started with the Newfoundland dog, it is now believed by many that they originated from smaller fisherman’s dogs.

American Labrador enthusiast and trainer Richard Wolters wrote a detailed history of the Labrador Retriever in 1981. During his research he discovered that there were originally no native dogs on the island of Newfoundland when the first settlers arrived.

The majority of these early settlers to Newfoundland were tough fishermen and hunters from Devon in the South West of England. Wolters believes that when these settlers came to Newfoundland from England, they brought their hunting dogs with them.

These hunting/fishing dogs with their dense oily coats would become known as the St John’s Water Dog, the true ancestor to the Labrador and the Newfoundland.

The St. John’s Water Dog

Last St. John’s Water Dogs in Newfoundland – Photo in Richard Wolters book The Labrador Retriever Dutton, 1992 p. 53

Prior to the arrival of permanent settlers from Europe, Newfoundland was a summer fishing colony. The abundant supply of fish was so prized by the British Authorities that for a long time permanent settlement of the island was discouraged and even prohibited at some points.

Despite this, a number of fishermen and hunters defied the authorities and decided to settle down on the wild, untamed landscape. To survive on the island, they developed a heavy reliance on the dogs they brought with them.

By breeding from the smartest, healthiest and strongest dogs, the settlers created one of the most useful breeds out there, the St. John’s Water Dog. The breed would soon develop a reputation for its abilities on both land and in the water.

St John’s were trained to retrieve nets, lines, ropes and in some cases they even retrieved fish underwater that had slipped from their hooks. The breed worked alongside humans and were vital to life on Newfoundland.

The First Labradors

With such a wide skillset, the St. John’s Water Dog was imported into the United Kingdom by breeders, kennels, and aristocracy. Three such men would become key to the development of the modern Labrador.

James Edward Harris

This man was the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury and when he was not at parliament, he devoted his time to the sport of shooting. He saw the potential of the St. John’s Water Dog for shooting and decided to import them in the early 1800s.

Walter Scott & John Scott

The second key players in the development of the Labrador Retriever were Walter Scott, the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and his brother Lord John Scott. Walter established his kennel in Scotland in around 1835 with St. John’s Water Dogs from Newfoundland. While these early dogs were technically St. John’s dogs, the first documented use of the Labrador name at the kennel occurred in 1839.

Among the dogs that were imported into the UK by the brothers was Jock, Nell and Brandy. Brandy earned his name when he was being transported across the Atlantic ocean. He jumped overboard into rough water to retrieve one of the crew’s caps. It took the crew over two hours to find and pick up the dog, who was so exhausted that they had to revive him with Brandy (hence the name).

The earliest known photograph of the Labrador Retriever breed was of Nell in 1856, when she was around 12 years old. Interestingly, as you can see from the photo above Nell featured a white muzzle and paws, a common trait of Labradors/St. John’s Dogs from the period that is not desirable in modern day Labrador Retrievers.

The Labrador Name

It is not known exactly why the St. John Dog & Labrador names were used interchangeably for some dogs during this time. However, the most likely reason is that the dogs came from Newfoundland, which was often labelled as part of the Labrador region.

The Establishment of the Labrador Breed

While James Edward Harris and the Scott brothers were instrumental in the development of the Labrador, it wasn’t until a chance meeting between the sons of Harris and Walter Scott that the breed would truly become established. According to records of the Buccleuch Estate, William Scott and James Howard Harris met whilst shooting in the late 1800s.

James Howard Harris gave two male retrievers to William Scott as a gift who then proceeded to mate them with the female dogs at his father’s kennel. The puppies created from this meeting would lead to the development and establishment of the modern Labrador breed we know and love today.

More Colours

Up until the late 1800s all Labradors were black, however, in 1892 two ‘liver coloured’ dogs would be born at the Buccleuch Kennel of the Scott family. These two liver coloured Labs would be followed by a yellow dog named Ben of Hyde that was born at the kennel of Major C.J. Radclyffe in 1899.

While the two liver coloured dogs could be seen as the first brown Labradors, it wasn’t until the early 1930s that chocolate Labs would become established in the United Kingdom.

The Labrador’s Popularity Grows

With the mating between William Scott and James Howard Harris’s dogs, the Labrador soon became common in the United Kingdom. As was the case with the St. John’s Water Dog, the Labrador breed proved to be an excellent worker and was incredibly popular with hunters and sports shooters alike.

By 1903 the Labrador Retriever was popular enough to be recognised by the Kennel Club in England. The Labrador Club was then setup in England with the support from Lord Knutsford (Munden Kennel line) and Lady Lorna, Countess Howe (Banchory Labradors).

Labradors in America

While the first Labrador was registered in the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917, it wasn’t until the late 1920s that the breed started to become popular. This was largely down to an article created by the AKC in 1928 called “Meet the Labrador Retriever”.

By 1931 the Labrador Retriever Club was established in the United States and the first American field trials for the breed were held at the Glenmere Court Estate in Chester, NY.

The Labrador Retriever’s popularity in America continued to increase over the coming decades with a massive surge in the 1940s. By 1991, the Labrador was the most popular dog registered with the AKC, a title that the breed still holds today.

Labrador’s Today

Despite the breed’s origins in hunting and fishing, the Labrador is now known more as a family friendly pet that is good with not only children, but other animals as well.

While the Labrador is incredibly popular as a family dog, they are also known as excellent workers. They are used as guide dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs and much more.

Labrador Appearance

With the history out of the way, let’s take a quick look at the appearance of the modern Labrador breed. They are a medium-large breed of dog with males typically weighing in anywhere from 29 to 36 kg (65 to 80 lb), while females are usually 25 to 32 kg (55 – 70 lb).

You will find that the reported height of Labrador Retrievers varies depending on where you get the information from.

  • American Kennel Club (AKC) – 57 to 62 cm (22.5 to 24.5 in) for females and 55 to 60 cm (21.5 to 23.5 in) for females.
  • The Kennel Club (KC) – 56 to 57 cm (22 in) for males and 55 to 56 cm (22 in) for females.
  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) – 56 to 57 cm (22 in) for males and 54 to 56 cm (21 to 22 in) for females.

The Coat

A Labrador Retriever’s coat should be short and dense, but not wiry. The coat is also slightly dry and oily, making it water-resistant, so that the dog does not get cold when in water.

Head, Body & Jaws

Labrador Retrievers should have a broad head with slightly pronounced eyebrows. Their eyes should be brown/hazel in colour and the lining around the eyes should be black. The ears should be slightly above the eyes and they should hang close to the head.

A Labrador’s jaws should be strong and powerful, while the muzzle should be of medium length and not too pointy.

When it comes to the body it should be muscular and powerful. The tail should be very thick towards the base, then tapering off to a point towards the end. Additionally, the tail should be of medium length.

What About Labrador Colours?

Silver Labrador

According to the American Kennel Club there are three main colours that Labradors come in:

  • Black
  • Brown/Chocolate
  • Yellow/Golden

While these are the three main colours, there are also some more colours that are not officially recognised. These colours include the following:

  • Silver
  • Charcoal
  • Champagne

The non-standard colours above are often linked to a skin disease known as Colour Dilution Alopecia. Despite not being recognised by the American Kennel Club, Silver, Charcoal and Champagne coloured dogs are becoming more popular with breeders, however, they are still rare.

If you would like to know more about the colours of a Labrador, make sure you check out our Which Labrador Colour is the Best?” article.

Buying a Labrador Retriever

In the next sections we will be looking at what you need to know about buying a Labrador Retriever and how to get the healthiest one you can.

Budgeting for a Labrador

Before you even consider buying a Labrador it is important to consider your budget. This budget not only includes the cost of buying a Labrador Retriever, but also the ongoing costs of owning a dog. If you can’t afford the ongoing costs of owning a dog do not purchase a Lab.

When it comes to the upfront cost of purchasing a Labrador Retriever it really depends on where you live, which breeder you go to and how much of a demand there is. For instance, we purchased our two thoroughbred Labs for NZ$500 and NZ$800 (we live in New Zealand) from the same breeder.

To get an idea of how much you need to spend on a good Labrador in your location/country, we recommend that you find some good breeders and investigate how much they charge for a Labrador puppy.

The Ongoing Costs of Owning a Labrador

This is where the real cost to owning a dog is. The price of food, tips to the vets, toys and more all adds up quickly. Additionally, if your dog develops any adverse medical conditions you may have to deal with paying for the ongoing costs of treatment (which can be very expensive and may be for the entire life of the dog).

Is Health Insurance for a Labrador Worth it?

This is a tricky question to answer. We did not have health insurance for our first Labrador and it probably worked out better for us (there were some big costs, but in the end the insurance would have worked out to be more expensive).

However, for one of our dogs we own at the moment the health insurance as definitely worth it. He racked up a vets bill for nearly $10,000, which was luckily covered by the insurance.

If you do not plan on getting insurance, we suggest that you start an emergency fund for your Labrador. Put the money that you would have spent on insurance into the fund each week/month and don’t touch it unless an emergency comes up.

Making Sure You Have Enough Time

Owning a Labrador not only costs you money, but also costs you time. Many people struggle to find enough time for their friends and family, let alone a dog as well, so if you are one of those people you should reconsider purchasing a Labrador.

The most time-consuming period will be when your Labrador is a puppy. They need to be trained and cared for, which can take up a lot of time during the day. Young puppies will also need to go to the toilet every 2 or 3 hours, so it is a good idea to have somebody at home at all times who can look after them.

Once your Labrador gets a bit older they will need less time, however, you still need to take them out for walks everyday, feed them, play with them and more.

Getting Help

Another option for those with limited time is to hire somebody who can look after your dog during the day. You can also ask a friend or relative to look after your Labrador, or you could take them to “doggy daycare” when they are a bit older (most places require your dog to be neutered).

Will a Labrador Suit Your Lifestyle?

This sort of ties in with the above. If you like to sleep in on the weekends, travel a lot or spend lots of time away from your home it is probably not a good idea to purchase a Labrador. Additionally, if you don’t like dealing with lots of mess and smell a Labrador isn’t probably for you. While you can clean your Lab regularly, they will always have a particular “doggy” smell about them that some people simply don’t like.

Additionally, if you do not believe you can train your dog you should not get a Labrador as a poorly trained one can be a nightmare. Another thing to consider is your personal fitness. If you can’t see yourself going for walks everyday or are simply not strong enough to deal with a boisterous puppy then you should probably look at another breed.

Does a Labrador Suit Your Family

If you have a young family and are expecting another child, it can be difficult to deal with owning and raising a puppy at the same time. While Labradors are excellent family pets, they are a bit like having a toddler.

A young Labrador puppy can also be easily hurt by an overly excited toddler and vice versa. However, don’t let this put you off completely, just remember that owning a Labrador takes a lot of work and that you need to train both your puppy and your kids on how to interact with each other.

Making Sure You Have Enough Space

While Labradors don’t need as much space as some other breeds, they still need quite a bit of room to move about and play. If you plan to keep your Labrador in a small confined space all day don’t bother as it will probably make them miserable.

The amount of space a Labrador will need can also depend on their personality. One of our Labs likes to run and play all day, while the other just likes to sit in the lounge and watch TV. If you have an active dog they will need more space to move about in.

Having a garden that your dog can run and play in but can’t escape from is important but not completely necessary. For those without a garden or for those who live in apartments it is important to take your Labrador Retriever out for a good sized walk once a day (preferably twice). Additionally, if you do not have a garden you need to remember to take your dog out to go to the toilet regularly.

Picking Between a Male or Female

When it comes to choosing a Labrador you need to decide on whether you want a female or a male. Male Labradors tend to be more muscular and larger in size when compared to females (although our boy is actually smaller than his sister).

Another thing to be aware of is that female Labradors have two heat cycles every which means they will act slightly differently and shed more.

Behavioural differences between male and female dogs is often overblown and is more down to how they are raised and trained. However, non-neutered male dogs are          usually more dominant and high-spirited, but this is not always the case. Additionally, male Labradors tend to roam a bit more if left unsupervised or on a property that is unfenced.

Neutering females is slightly more expensive than neutering a male. Older unneutered females are more prone to a serious and potentially deadly condition called pyometra, so keep that in mind.

Despite the above, picking between a male or female Labrador really comes down to personal preference and availability.

Deciding What Type and Colour You Want

Despite popular opinion, there really isn’t a difference intelligence and personality between the different colours of Labradors. However, from a study conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association it was found that chocolate coloured Labradors experienced a higher risk of health related problems than black or yellow labs. They also found that on average chocolate Labs tend to have shorter lifespans.

For example, they discovered that the lifespan of the other two colours was around 12.7 years, whereas chocolate Labradors only lived until about 10.7 years, a difference of more than 10 percent.

A major contributor to this discrepancy may be down to the fact that a higher percentage of chocolate Labs come from ‘backyard breeders’ who create inbred dogs. This leads to more chocolate Labs developing health problems compared to black and yellow dogs.

If you buy a Chocolate Labrador Retriever from a good breeder, chances are they will be just as healthy as a yellow or black Lab. With this being the case, colour is really down to personal preference.

What About the Non-standard Colours?

As we mentioned earlier, Silver, Charcoal and Champagne coloured Labradors are becoming more popular with breeders across the world. While these colours are fine you may have to go to a less reputable breeder to get one (not recommended). Additionally, these colours are not recognised by most kennel clubs so they can’t be entered in many shows or competitions.

If you can find a good breeder who produces these colours you should be able to get a healthy dog (just do your research about the breeder).

Are There Different Types of Labrador?

While there is officially only one Labrador breed it is broken up into two different types, the English Lab and the American Lab. English Labradors come from English bred stock and they tend to be heavier and bulkier than their American counterparts. American Labradors tend to feature taller and lankier bodies.

The differences between the two types of Labradors don’t stop with the appearance. American Labs are usually more active as they were originally bred for working and field trials. This means that they will normally need more exercise and attention. English Labradors tend to be more laid back.

Which is Healthier, An English or American Labrador?

Whether your purchase an English or American Labrador you can expect them to live anywhere from 10 to 12 years on average (our previous English Lab hit 17 years old!). Despite being slimmer than English Labradors, American ones are just as likely to suffer from obesity as they love food just as much.

Which Labrador Should I Pick?

Once again this really comes down to you and your family. Are you looking for a more active canine companion? Or are you looking for a more laid back family dog?

Despite the differences between American and English Labradors, the biggest factor in how they act is their personality. We have one incredibly active English Lab while the other one is on the opposite end of the spectrum (about as lazy as you can get). There is no guarantee that you will get an active American Lab and vice versa, so pick the best one you like/can find.

Finding a Labrador Breeder

This is one of the most important parts of the process as going through a bad breeder can lead to a dog with a whole host of health problems and the costs associated with that. Finding a good breeder can be difficult, especially if you do not have any contacts or previous experience.

The first place to look is at your local Labrador breeder group or club. Here you should be able to find some experienced breeders who may have some puppies available or know where you can get a good one.

From here you can investigate further to see if they meet the standards you are looking for. Most countries have a kennel club where you can check a list of reputable breeders, so you can see if the breeder you are interested in is on the list. For example, here is a Breeder Finder for American buyers.

Most breeders will also have a Facebook/social media account and many have their own websites as well. If this is the case, try to get a bit more information from these places and see if they have any pictures/videos of their current and previous dogs.

Contact Some Breeders

It is a good idea to contact a few different breeders to get an idea of the process and to compare them. Let the breeder know you are interested in a pedigree Labrador and tell them about your needs/wants (colour, type, male or female, etc.).

You should also ask the breeder a few questions about their dogs and current plans for any future litters:

  • Do you have a litter of puppies available now or are there any planned in the near future?
  • How many dogs do you breed from?
  • What are the parents like?
  • Do you bring fresh Labradors into the breeding mix? (the breeder of our Labrador periodically brings in new Labradors from overseas to ensure there is no inbreeding)
  • What Colour puppies do you have or you think the next litter will be?

It is important to remember that very good breeders who are in demand will usually have all of their puppies booked before they are born, so you may have to wait.

Go through the breeders on your list and make contact with as many of them as you can. You will soon have another list of breeders you like with Labrador puppies available now or in the future.

Using a Stud (Male Breeding Dog) to Find a Good Litter

Another way to find good Labrador puppies is to find a nice stud. If you like the look of a particular stud you can then try to find out which females he has been mated with. Reputable breeders will often send you photos of their stud or they may even let you meet their dog.

If the stud has been mated with lessor known breeder’s female Labradors it is important to do your homework on them. It is just as important to make sure the mother is from good stock as the farther.

What Makes a Good Breeder?

As we wrote just above it is important to ask lots of questions to work out if the breeder you are talking to is reputable. Below we have listed some things that a good breeder will have and/or do:

  • Check the health of their breeding stock regularly
  • Take excellent care of their animals
  • Be picky about who they sell their puppies to (in some cases they may even do full on interviews with potential buyers)
  • Have a great knowledge of dogs and the Labrador breed
  • Open to any questions you may have
  • Happy to provide lifetime support and advice
  • Introduce you to all the puppies in their litter/litters and to the mother and farther (if the farther is there)
  • Diverse breeding stock (parents from different backgrounds)
  • Makes sure their puppies have plenty of human contact

What Makes a Bad Breeder?

Now that we have looked at some things that make a good breeder, here are some things that make a bad breeder:

  • Breeder hasn’t or doesn’t carry out health checks on their breeding stock
  • They don’t ask questions about you and your family
  • The breeder has lots of litters each year (some good breeders will have a couple of litters a year if they have lots of Labs to breed from, but this is generally a big warning sign)
  • The breeder sells their puppies to a store
  • They can’t tell you where they got their breeding stock from
  • Breeding stock is not from a diverse background
  • The breeder won’t let you see the parents, especially the mother
  • They have lots of dogs of different breeds
  • The puppies are unclean or live in a dirty environment
  • The breeder arranges to meet you away from the puppy’s home
  • Puppies are under or overweight
  • The breeder won’t share the details of the vet
  • The breeder asks you to take the puppy home early (earlier than 8 weeks)
  • The breeder tries to sell you multiple puppies when you only want one
  • The breeder says they are registered with the local/national kennel club but can’t back it up with any evidence

Temperament, Health & Ability

Once you have found a few suitable litters of puppies from a selection of good breeders it is important to check the three following credentials:

Temperament/Personality

While Labradors tend to be very friendly dogs it is important to check the temperament or personality of any puppy or litter you are interested in. Labradors are strong powerful dogs and they can easily overwhelm most people.

How Do I Check the Temperament?

As the puppy/puppies you are interested in may not even be born yet you may be wondering how to check their temperament. The best way (and only real way) to do this is to look at the parents.

While you and your family will play a massive role in how your Labrador develops, much of their temperament and personal traits such as friendliness will be inherited from their mother and farther.

You should never buy a Labrador puppy without meeting their mother. Additionally, it is a good idea to meet the farther as well, but this is not always possible. If you can’t meet the farther, you need to find a trustworthy person who can vouch for their good nature.

Purchasing a working dog is slightly different as depending on the nature of the work that the dog will be doing, the personality/temperament may not be important.

Health

Inherited diseases are a big problem in all dog breeds including Labradors, so it is important to check that the parent dogs are in good condition. Physically check all certificates, medical records, etc. that you can get your hands on. If the breeder can’t give you anything do not purchase any puppies from them. Good breeders should give you information on the following:

  • Hip scoring
  • Elbow scoring
  • Eye condition/scan
  • DNA test for Exercise Induced Collapse
  • DNA test for dilute coat gene
  • DNA test for Centronuclear Myopathy and prcd-PRA (optional)
  • Heart exam (optional)

Ability

A Labrador puppy who’s parents and ancestors were successful in some sort of sport or job are more likely to be suited to that particular activity. For example, if you are looking for a Labrador to compete in trails/agility it is a good idea to find a breeder with dogs that were successful in the sport.

Choosing a Labrador Puppy

Once you have chosen a good breeder and litter it is time to choose your Labrador puppy. It is best to get in early when choosing a puppy from a good breeder as the best ones will typically be booked first. However, this is not always the case and a lot of the time a good breeder will produce a litter where all the puppies are in good condition.

When you go to inspect the puppy make sure you check that it is in good physical condition and that it is not overly aggressive or shy. Once you have got hold of your new Labrador puppy it is important to get them checked over by your own vet as well.

How to Keep a Dog Cool While You Are at Work

While it is easy to control your dog’ environment when you are at home, it can be more difficult if you are at work or out and about. If it is hot your dog can quickly overheat and if you are not home, you won’t be able to help them.

That’s why we have created this guide that will give you all the information you need to know about keeping a dog cool while you are at work. If you simply let your dog overheat it can lead to a whole raft of health complications and may possibly even lead to death in extreme circumstances. Before we dive into methods to keep your canine companion cool, let’s look at some factors that can increase their chance of overheating.

Overheating Factors

Their Age & Health Condition

Both older dogs and young puppies are far more likely to feel the effects of heat, so it is important to keep them cool. Additionally, if a dog has any adverse health conditions they can also be more likely to suffer in the heat (many elderly dogs have health complications).

Healthy dogs in the prime of their life are better at regulating their temperature, so they are less likely to overheat. However, it is just as important to keep a healthy dog cool in hot weather.

Breed & Type of Coat

Some breeds are just better at dealing with heat than others. If your dog has a long, thick coat or they originate from a cold area in the world they are much more likely to feel the effects of heat.

Additionally, the colour of your canine companion’s coat can also have an effect on how they deal with heat in the sun. Darker colours tend to absorb more heat than lighter colours, however, this does not mean you can leave a dog with a light coloured coat in the sun all day.

Your Dog’s Tolerance to Heat

While your dog’s breed and coat type have a massive effect on how they deal with heat, their tolerance to hot temperatures also plays a big factor. If your dog has always lived in a country or area where it is hot all the time (or for extended periods of time) they will have a much better tolerance to heat.

Dogs that only experience hot weather once in a while will have a much lower tolerance to heat and will suffer if the mercury rises too much.

Environment They Live In

This is more to do with the house or place that your dog will be in while you are at work. If your house is poorly ventilated and heats up quickly you have a problem and you may want to keep your canine companion outside. Alternatively, if it is hot and humid outside you will probably want to keep your dog inside with the air conditioning on (if you have any).

How Do Dogs Shed Heat?

Dogs and humans are quite different when it comes to getting rid of excess heat. Humans reduce their body temperature via sweating, whereas dogs dissipate heat by panting. Dogs do have some sweat glands in the pads of their paws, but there are very few and they do not help to remove heat that much. If panting is not enough, your dog’s body temperature will rise and they will overheat.

Health Problems for an Overheating Dog

Overheating & Heatstroke

Overheating is a major problem in warm weather, especially if your dog is left alone while you are at work or out somewhere. If your dog overheats while you are out, you will not be able to help them quickly. This is a serious issue as if your dog is not capable of reducing their body temperature quickly enough, they may experience some nasty health complications.

Below we have listed some signs of a dog that is overheating or suffering from heatstroke:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Excessive panting
  • Seizures
  • Dark red tongue or gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Glazed eyes
  • Increased pulse

If you notice any of the above symptoms when you come home from work you should contact your vet immediately, especially if the room or area they are in feels excessively hot. The best way to stop your dog getting serious health complications from overheating is to prevent them from overheating in the first place, so act before these symptoms occur!

Note: heatstroke is associated with a body temperature that is higher than 41 degrees Celsius.

Main Causes of Overheating and Heatstroke in Dogs

We have listed some of the main causes of heatstroke and overheating below.

  • Excessive heat and humidity from either weather conditions or being stuck in an environment with no ventilation.
  • Too much exercise.
  • Diseases that increase the chance of developing hypothermia; such as heart diseases, paralysis of the voice box and other muscular related diseases.
  • Diseases or sickness that limits breathing
  • Poisoning from various different products or compounds such as weed killers and slug and snail bait. If your dog ingests or comes into contact with these chemicals it can lead to seizures which can increase their core body temperature.

Heatstroke Treatment Methods for Dogs

If you come home from work and suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke it is important to deal with the problem in a swift manner. Note down all of the symptoms your dog is experiencing as your vet will want to know them when you get your canine companion checked out.

The first thing to do is to try and immerse your dog’s body in cool water (don’t submerge their head though). If you are finding this difficult, spray your dog with water from either a water bottle or a hose (avoid using a jet spray when using a hose). Additionally, you can wrap your dog in a wet towel or use fans (although, we prefer the first three methods, especially if it is really hot).

You should also move your dog out of the hot environment and into a cool one as soon as possible. If your dog refuses to move or simply can’t, it is a good idea to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible (remember to cool your dog down at the same time).

When you are trying to cool your dog down, do not use ice water as it can reduce their ability to cool themselves down. Ice water can cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict, which can slow down the cooling process. This goes for drinking water as well. Give your dog cool, but not ice cold water to drink. Additionally, only encourage your dog to drink, do not force them to do so.

Once you have cooled your dog down sufficiently you should take them to be examined by a vet as soon as possible. They will be able to confirm that your dog’s standard body temperature has been reached and that there are no long-lasting health complications. If you cannot get your dog to cool down, wrap them in a wet towel and take your dog to the vets immediately.

Methods to Keep Your Dog Cool While You are at Work

Keeping your dog cool while you are out is largely down to controlling the environmental factors that they are in. You should check the expected temperature for the day, so that you can plan ahead. While you can’t change the weather, there are quite a few things you can do to make dog’s day a bit more comfortable.

Make Sure They Have Plenty of Water

This is a pretty obvious one, but it is incredibly important. Your dog should have ample access to fresh drinking water while you are at work. If the weather is hot your dog can quickly become dehydrated if they do not have access to water. Additionally, even if it is not hot your dog can become dehydrated without enough water, especially if they are left alone during a typical working day (8 – 10 hours or so).

Before you leave for work, we recommend that you leave an additional one or two bowels of water with your dog to make sure they stay hydrated. It is also a good idea to drop a few ice cubes in their water bowl or fill their bowels up with cold water from the fridge.

Make Them Some Icy Treats

While icy treats aren’t going to last the whole day while you are at work, they are a great option to cool your dog down at the start of the day. We recommend freezing some food such as peas, carrots or even cooked chicken in some ice cubes and giving it to them before work. Plain ice cubes can also be used and can also be put in your dog’s water.

Note: Do not give your dog ice cubes if they are overheating or suffering from heatstroke as this can impede the cooling process.

Run the Air Con While You Are Out

If your house or apartment has air conditioning it should be kept on while you are at work to help keep your dog cool. If the cool air doesn’t reach the room or area where your dog is in, you should move them to a room where it does (or as close to as possible).

For those without air conditioning, you can place a fan in front of where your dog sits or sleeps to help keep them cool. This is also a good alternative method if the cool air from your air conditioning unit does not reach the area where your dog is in. However, while fans do provide some cooling, they are no substitute for a properly functioning air conditioning system.

Keep Your Dog Downstairs

Anybody that owns a multi-story house or building knows how hot the upper levels can get. If you live in a multi-story building, keep your dog downstairs while you are at work (unless you have a nice air-conditioned area for them upstairs).

Make Sure They Have a Cool Surface to Lie/Sit On

Have you ever noticed that when your dog is hot they find a cool surface to lie on? Floors that are made from tiles or wood are far cooler than those with a layer of carpet on top of them.

If your dog only has access to a flooring area that is carpeted/warm, we recommend that you purchase them a cooling mat. This cooling mat from The Green Pet Shop is an excellent option for those who need a nice cool sleeping area for their canine companion.

Replace Your Dog’s Blanket With a Wet One or Towel

This sort of ties in with the above and is an excellent method to help keep your dog cool while you are at work. While it won’t keep your dog cool forever, it will help them for an hour or so and is great when used in conjunction with other methods. Remember, covering your dog with a wet towel is also an excellent method to cool them down when they are overheating or suffering from heatstroke.

Get a Paddling Pool for your Dog

A plastic paddling/kiddie pool that is filled with water is a great way to keep your dog cool while you are at work. While this method may be out of the question if your dog is kept inside while you are at work, for those who keep their dogs outside this is a great option. If you do keep your dog inside, but have an area for a small paddling pool, you can get your dog to go in it before you head off to work. This will cool them down before you go to work.

Note: If you are going to get a pool for your dog, make sure it is rugged and non-inflatable. Your dog will quickly puncture and destroy and inflatable paddling pool, so keep this in mind.

Make Sure you Regularly Groom Your Dog

Regular brushing/grooming can help to remove any excess or old fur/hair. This old coat material can trap heat close to the body, which can make your dog more susceptible to overheating and heatstroke. If your dog’s coat is on the longer side, consider getting it trimmed so that they can stay cooling and more comfortable while you are at work.

The Five Best Dog Shoes For Border Collies

While your Border Collie’s paws are much tougher than your feet, there are still occasions when they need protecting.

Arguably the best way to keep your Collie’s paws safe is to get them a good set of doggie shoes. In the summer dog boots can help protect your pups paws from hot tarmac and other hot surfaces. While in the winter, dog shoes can help keep your Collie’s paws dry and safe from nasty substances such as rock salt or ice melt.

To help you make a decision on the best dog shoes for your Border Collie we rounded up the top ones from Amazon. Additionally, at the end of this article we have included more information on how to select the best dog shoes for Border Collie, how to find the correct size and much more.

The Best Dog Shoes & Boots for Border Collies

QUMY Waterproof Reflective Dog Boots

One of the highest recommended and reviewed set of canine shoes is from QUMY. Their Waterproof Reflective Dog Boots feature a wide split seam opening that makes it easy to put them on and take them off.

These tough dog boots also feature two reflective Velcro straps that provide finer adjustment and help to stop the shoes from falling off during intense play or exercise. The reflective straps also help you to see your dog when the sun goes down and there is not much light.

QUMY’s dog shoes are manufactured from a tough and water-resistant material that is great for all kinds of conditions. The anti-slip waterproof sole is created from durable and sturdy rubber that will keep your Border Collie’s paws safe from harmful substances and objects.

To join all the materials together, QUMY decided to use stitching rather than glue. This ensures that their dog shoes are tough and durable enough for all your Border Collie’s high energy activities. If your Collie gets the boots dirty or muddy during play they can be easily hand washed to bring them back to new-like condition.

QUMY’s Waterproof Dog Shoes come highly recommended and they have a 4-star rating with over 2,000 reviews. The shoes seem to be incredibly durable, however, some buyers have complained that it is difficult to find the right size for their dog and that the shoes get very heavy when wet.

Key Features:

  • Treaded waterproof soles made from high quality rubber
  • Great for high energy Border Collies who need extra paw protection
  • Reflective Velcro straps that provide finer adjustment
  • Made from durable and tough material that is sewn together

Specifications:

  • Brand: QUMY
  • Weight: 181g (6.4 ounces) shipping weight

Kurgo All Seasons Dog Boots

Another excellent choice for those who need shoes for their Border Collie is Kurgo’s All Seasons Dog Boots. These tough paw protecting dog shoes will be great for both harsh winters and blistering summers.

Kurgo’s dog boots are adjustable so you can get the perfect fit for your Collie and they won’t fall off. They also feature reflective strips for visibility in low light and they are manufactured from lightweight materials. While Kurgo’s dog shoes feature a tight weave mesh design, they are still breathable and provide ample ventilation for your Border Collie’s paws.

Kurgo has created these shoes from a water resistant material so they can be used in light rain, snow and on ice. The top part is made from ripstop leather and the sole is designed to mimic the structure of your Border Collie’s paw.

A total of six different sizes are available from XX-Small to X-Large, so you should be able to find the perfect size for your Collie. To get the right size, Kurgo states that the best way is to get your canine companion to stand on a ruler. You can then measure the widest part of their paw and compare it against the size chart provided by Kurgo.

The All Seasons Dog Boots have great reviews and Kurgo also offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. Some owners have complained about getting the right size, but this is a common complaint for all dog shoes.

Key Features:

  • Made from breathable yet tough mesh material
  • Excellent all seasons dog shoe
  • Wide range of sizes available
  • Water-resistant

Specifications:

  • Brand: Kurgo
  • Weight: 431g (15.5 ounces) shipping weight

Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots

A great option for those with a more senior Border Collie is Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots. They feature a non-slip sole and are manufactured from a flexible nylon material that conforms to your Collie’s paws. This makes them a slightly softer alternative to the two options we have already listed.

Despite being a bit softer than some other dog shoes, Ultra Paws’ Durable dog Boots are still tough and they will be able to handle even the most energetic Border Collie. They are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use in a range of different weather conditions. The strong thermoplastic sole will protect against nasty harmful substances and sharp objects.

These dog boots come in six different sizes from Petite to X-Large and they also feature Velcro straps for further adjustment. They are also designed with a generous amount of foam lining that ensures they are a comfortable, snug fit that will be perfect for your Border Collie.

Key Features:

  • Made from nylon material that conforms to your Collie’s paws
  • Foam lining inner for extra comfort
  • Flexible, tough sole that has great traction
  • Excellent for more senior Border Collies

Specifications:

  • Brand: Ultra Paws
  • Weight: 280g (9.9 ounces)

Ruffwear Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots

Do you like going running or hiking with your Border Collie? If you do, Ruffwear has got you sorted with their Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots. These dog shoes will protect your Collie’s paws from whatever the trail throws at you. They are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, trail running and loads of other outdoor activities.

One of the best features of these dog shoes is the Vibram non-marking outsole with rugged lug design. This high quality sole provides excellent traction and flexibility, so your Border Collie can tackle any terrain.

The upper part of the shoe is manufactured from tightly woven air mesh that keeps dirt and debris out while keeping your Collie’s paws comfortable and ventilated all day long. They also feature a wide opening that makes them easy to put on and take off.

A reliable hook-and-loop cinch closure system provides further adjustment and ensures that the boots stay on your Collie’s paws. Like many other dog shoes, Ruffwear’s product features reflective trim for low-light visibility.

With over 500 reviews and a four-star rating these are some of the highest reviewed dog shoes available today. The biggest complaint about Ruffwear’s Grip Tex shoes is that they lack padding on the inside.

Key Features:

  • Fantastic for those looking for a durable dog shoe for hiking, running and other outdoor activities
  • Vibram sole is higher quality than many other brands
  • Mesh material keeps your Collies’s paws cool and comfortable

Specifications:

  • Brand: Ruffwear
  • Weight: 136g (4.8 ounces)

Zacro Protective Dog Boots

Zacro’s Protective Dog Boots are an excellent option for those looking for a slightly cheaper option for their Border Collie. They are easy to put on and take off with a wide and adjustable “magic” strap that provides extra adjustability.

The upper portion of the boot is made from a breathable and soft fabric material that provides protection from the outside elements. On the inside, Zacro have used velvet that provides extra warmth and will be comfortable for your Collie’s paws.

On the bottom of the shoe there is a tough anti-slip sole that provides traction, stability and protects your Border Collie’s paws from sharp thorns, hot pavement, nasty chemicals and more.

To get the right sizing, place your Border Collie’s paws on a blank piece of paper and mark from the longest toenail to the back of the paw. For the width, measure the widest part of the paw (the width of the paw should be smaller than the size of the boot for a proper fit).

Zacro’s Protective Dog Boots come highly recommended and they are praised for their ability to stay on highly energetic dog’s paws. The main issues people seem to have with them are getting the right size and putting them on.

Key Features:

  • Low price when compared to many of the other options out there
  • Anti-slip sole and breathable material
  • Soft velvet interior material that is easier on your Collie’s paws

Specifications:

  • Brand: Zacro
  • Weight: 222g (7.8 ounces)

Best Dog Shoes for Border Collies Buyers Guide & FAQs

Selecting the right boots for your Border Collie is quite difficult. There are loads of different options out there and you can easily become overwhelmed with the choice. That’s why we have created this guide that should help you pick the right shoes for your Collie.

Picking the right shoes for your Lab is difficult. There are simply so many options to choose from and it is easy to become overwhelmed with the selection both online and at brick and mortar stores. That’s why we have created this guide to help you pick the best boots for your Labrador.

Things to Remember When Purchasing Shoes for a Border Collie

While shoes are not a requirement for a dog, they do have a number of benefits. However, if you are thinking about purchasing some boots for your Border Collie, you need to consider the following things:

Size – It is incredibly important that you get the right size shoe for your Border Collie. If you look at reviews of many dog shoes you will often find owners complaining about the fit or the fact that they fall off their pup’s paws. The problem is that they have usually got the wrong size and if they went one size bigger or smaller, the shoes would fit perfectly. Measure twice, buy once!

Durability – You can buy the best fitting and looking dog shoe in the world, but if it only lasts one play session or walk it is completely useless. While no dog boots will last forever with a Border Collie on top of them, a good pair should last at least a couple of years.

Shoe Type – There is no point in purchasing soft slipper-like dog shoes if you plan to take your Border Collie hiking or trail running. Some dog shoes are better for certain activities than others, so note down your reason for buying dog boots and purchase ones that meet your needs.

What Conditions They Will Be Used in – This is sort of similar to the above, but you need to look at what season and weather conditions you are planning to use the shoes in. If you are looking to protect your Collie’s paws from hot tarmac in the summer, you may want to go with something that is a bit more breathable and lighter. On the other hand, if you only want to use the shoes in winter you may want to purchase something that is a bit warmer. Some dog shoes are good for all seasons, so you could look at getting those as well.

Price – Price is always important, and it depends on how much you are willing to spend. There are loads of cheaper options out there that do a good job, so don’t think you have to buy the most expensive boots for your Border Collie.

Why Does My Border Collie Need Dog Shoes?

Your Border Collie doesn’t necessarily need boots or shoes, but they can be useful for those wanting a bit more protection for their dog. Here are some reasons why Border Collies should wear dog booties:

If your Collie is active – Border Collies tend to be very active dogs and they love to go hiking, running and biking with their human companions. While the pads of a Collie’s paws are pretty tough, they can still be easily damaged by sharp objects or other harmful items. A Border Collie’s paws can also wear out and become cracked if they are constantly running on hard surfaces such as tarmac.

If your Border Collie is more senior – For those with older Border Collies, dog boots can be an excellent option to help them move about a bit more. Elderly Collies tend to develop hip, knee and paw issues and an extra bit of cushioning and support can help make walking a bit easier. Another reason why older Border Collies should wear shoes is that they can help with traction on slipper surfaces.

To protect them in the summer – Hot tarmac or pavements can quickly burn your Collie’s paws. As we wrote in this article, you should avoid taking your Border Collie for walks in hot weather. If you do plan to take your dog out for walks when it is hot, make sure you get some shoes first.

To protect them in the winter – Shoes are not only useful to protect your Border Collie’s paws in the summer, but also the winter as well. Snow and ice can cause slipping hazards and many of the de-icing products used on roads are harmful to a Collie’s paws.

They help to keep your home tidy – Do you get annoyed when your Collie brings mud back into the house after a walk? If you find yourself facing this problem regularly you should invest in some dog shoes (or just clean their paws before you enter the house). Remove the shoes before you enter your house and enjoy a clean, mud free home.

How to Find the Right Size of Shoe for a Border Collie?

Without a doubt finding the right size is the most important thing about purchasing shoes for a dog. A dog shoe that is the wrong size is completely useless, so take note of the manufacturers size guide and read it thoroughly. We also recommend that you check out reviews to see what other owners have to say about the sizing of a particular shoe (might run big or large).

If you are still unsure about what size is correct for your Border Collie, we recommend that you contact the company selling the shoe. Most companies will be more than happy to assist you with sizing requirements.

When to put Dog Shoes On?

Once you have decided to purchase shoes for your Border Collie you must decide when they should wear them. Obviously, you won’t need to put them on all the time, so you need to consider what you may encounter during a walk. If your Border Collie may possibly come into contact with the following harmful items or substances you should put their shoes on.

  • Hot surfaces such as tarmac
  • Snow that is cold enough it squeaks when you walk on it
  • De-iced or salted areas (salt can get stuck between their paws)
  • If your dog is trying to keep their paws off the ground
  • Slippery areas (especially so for older canines)
  • Anywhere that has sharp objects that could puncture your Collie’s paws

How we Chose the Boots in this Guide

We chose the dog shoes in this guide based on the features provided, price, build quality and reviews. All the shoes in this buyers guide are well reviewed and perfect for your Border Collie.

Which Labrador Colour is the Best? Complete Labrador Guide

So, you are thinking of getting a Labrador, but you are wondering what colour is the best? Many prospective Labrador owners wonder what the difference between the colours are and in this article we hope to answer that question.

How Many Labrador Colours are there?

First, let’s take a look at just how many different colours of Labrador there are. According to the American Kennel Club there are three main different colours of Lab:

  • Black
  • Brown/Chocolate
  • Yellow/Golden

However, while these are the three main recognised Labrador colours, there are some other coat colours which we will later in this article.

Labradors in the non-standard colours tend to have a metallic-looking sheen to their coats. The colours are often linked to a skin disease known as Colour Dilution Alopecia.

A Labrador’s coat colour is determined by a set of genes, with the D gene being responsible for the strength of the colour. It is possible for a Labrador to carry two recessive copies of the gene (dd), which will lead to a silver, charcoal or champagne coat colour. This can occur if two Dd genotype Labradors are bred together.

Labrador Colours Explained

Black Labradors

Black Labs have been the most common variation of the breed for centuries. The reason for this is largely down to genetics as they have the dominant “B” gene. Black Labradors are supposed to be solid black in colour, but a small white spot on their chest is okay.

They are descended from the St. John’s dog of Newfoundland. It was originally thought that they were first found working with fishermen in Newfoundland and were taken from there to England in the 19th century where they developed into the Labrador breed we know today.

However, it is now known that the story of the Labrador starts much earlier than that in the 18th century. These early Labradors excelled in working in icy, cold water. They also looked a bit different with longer coats and more upright ears. Many of the dogs also had a white patch on their coats, which is still common in black Labradors today.

Chocolate/Brown Labradors

chocolate or brown Labradors are that colour because they have the recessive gene. If a Labrador does not possess the dominant black gene they can get this colouration. chocolate Labs tend to vary in colour from light brown to deep chocolate. Like with black Labradors, tan markings or brindle striations are not accepted by the American Kennel Club.

The first known recordings of the chocolate colour were in 1892, when two “liver coloured” puppies were produced by the Earl of Buccleuch’s dogs. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that chocolate coloured Labradors become more prominent.

Yellow/Golden Labradors

Interestingly, the genetics of a yellow Labrador are a bit different from those in a black or chocolate Lab. Yellow or Golden Labradors can essentially “switch off” the black and chocolate genes thanks to the presence of the “E” locus gene. A Labrador with the recessive “e” gene will only produce phaeomelanin pigment and will be yellow regardless of the “B” gene.

Yellow Labradors have the greatest variation of the three main coat colours. They are often seen in colours ranging from fox-red to light cream in colour. Yellow Labs can also have shading on their ears, back and belly.

Up until the start of the 20th century there were no yellow Labradors. The first two yellow puppies appeared in a litter bred by Captain (later Major) CE Radcliffe in 1899. One of the puppies was called Ben, while the other was a female. It is generally believed that all yellow Labradors are descended from Ben and his son Neptune.

Silver, Charcoal Champagne Labradors

A Labrador’s coat colour is determined by a set of genes, with the D gene being responsible for the strength of the colour. It is possible for a Labrador to carry two recessive copies of the gene (dd), which will lead to a silver, charcoal or champagne coat colour. This can occur if two Dd genotype Labradors are bred together.

Labradors in these colours tend to have a metallic-looking sheen to their coats. The colours are often linked to a skin disease known as Colour Dilution Alopecia. Silver, charcoal and champagne colours are not officially recognised by the American Kennel Club, however, the are becoming more popular with breeders.

Are Different Coloured Labradors Used for Different Jobs

In a word yes. Black Labradors are the most dominant colour in the world of hunting and trials. According to “The Best of the Best”, a history of the IGL retriever championship it was found that 1,790 black Labradors qualified to run, compared to just 367 yellow ones from a period form 1909 – 2011.

While yellow Labradors aren’t so desirable for hunting, they are without a doubt the most popular colour for guide and service dogs. They are also incredibly popular as show dogs and are often used to advertise charity literature.

Chocolate or brown Labradors aren’t really known for any particular role, but they can sometimes be found in the showring. They are also used for hunting and as service dogs, but not as much as black or yellow Labradors.

Silver, charcoal or champagne coloured Labradors are not commonly used for work as they are a relatively new creation and there are limited numbers of them. Additionally, they are not used as show dogs because they are not recognised by the American Kennel Club and other dog clubs around the world.

Which Colour Labrador is the Healthiest & Longest Living?

For a long time it was believed that the colour of a Labrador’s coat had no effect on its health. Recently however, it has been found that there are some differences between the coat colours.

The American Animal Hospital Association performed a study in October 2018 that compared the veterinary patient records for over 33,000 Labrador Retrievers. They found that chocolate coloured Labradors experienced a higher risk of health related problems than black or yellow Labs. Additionally, they also found that chocolate Labradors on average tend to have shorter lifespans.

For example, they discovered that the lifespan of the other two colours was around 12.7 years, whereas chocolate Labradors only lived until about 10.7 years, a difference of more than 10 percent.

Which Labrador Colour is the most Intelligent?

This is a commonly asked question about Labradors. Many prospective owners want to know what the most intelligent colour is and then base their decision around that. Some people believe that black and yellow Labradors are more intelligent than chocolate ones as they are more commonly used as working dogs.

The truth is that there really isn’t any difference in intelligence between the different colours. A Labrador’s intelligence is based on its breeding, not the colour of its coat.

However, if you have noticed that chocolate Labradors are less intelligent or less well-behaved it may not be your imagination. Many chocolate Labrador breeders are what’s called “backyard” or “irresponsible” breeders. These breeders are often focused on getting the colour at detriment to the dog’s intelligence, temperament and even health (this may explain why they have shorter lifespans).

A well-bred chocolate Labrador that is trained properly will be just as intelligent as a yellow or black Labrador.

Which Colour Labrador has the Best Personality?

Once again, many Labrador owners believe that there is a difference in personality between the different colours. Some say that yellow Labs are the sweetest and kindest, while black Labradors are the calmest and most patient, and chocolate Labs are the most boisterous and wild. Studies have been conducted to see if any of these beliefs are true, but to date there is no scientific evidence to back up any of these claims.

Which Colour Labrador is the Best?

In truth, there is no best colour of Labrador. Yes, chocolate Labradors can sometimes seem like they are less intelligent and more boisterous, but this is largely down to poor breeding. We’ve had yellow and black Labradors and loved them equally, so choose the colour that you want.

If you do want to enter your dog into shows then avoid silver, charcoal or champagne coloured Labradors as they are not usually recognised by kennel clubs around the world.

The most important thing to consider when purchasing a Labradors is the breeder and not the colour. Are they well reviewed and experienced? If they are not try to find someone who is. Don’t go to backyard breeders as they often over-breed or have inbred dogs that have more health problems.

Which Colour Labrador Do You Like the Most?

Let us know in the comments below which Labrador colour you like the most!

Can Dogs Drink Tea?

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world.

It is a cornerstone of civilisation, from East to West.

History has been made over a shared tea (and sometimes humans have even fought over it).

Tea is as inherently human as walking on two legs.

But can dogs drink tea?

Maybe you’ve noticed your dog “sniffing around” when you sit down for your morning cup of tea.

Maybe you’ve even given your dog a few sips.

Is this safe? Or is this harmful for your dog?

Let’s find out if dogs can safely drink tea or not.

Is Tea Safe For Dogs?

The first step is to determine whether or not tea is safe for dogs.

If it isn’t safe, then there is no point in giving your dog any tea to drink!

Long story short, tea isn’t really safe for dogs. The reason for this is that tea contains caffeine, and dogs are at great risk from caffeine toxicity.

While the quantity of caffeine in tea is relatively low for a human, it could be all too high for a dog.

Even a relatively small amount of caffeine could be harmful for your dog, which means a relatively small amount of tea could be problematic!

Remember that your dog has a different metabolic system to a human, and weighs a lot less than you do. While the caffeine in a cup of tea isn’t going to do much to you, it could have serious consequences for your dog.

Therefore, dogs shouldn’t drink tea.

My Dog Has Drunk Tea – What Should I Do?

If your dog has consumed some tea accidentally, then you’ll probably want to know what you should do in this situation.

How you respond will depend largely on how much tea you think your dog has consumed.

For example, if your dog has chewed up and eaten several tea bags, then we would strongly suggest taking your dog to the vet (even if this is just a precaution).

However, if your dog has just had a couple of sips of tea, then this probably isn’t anything to worry about.

To a large extent, this is all about using your judgement. If you notice any changes in behaviour, vomiting etc, then definitely go to the vet.

Conclusion

Can dogs drink tea?

No, they should not. Although a small amount of tea is unlikely to be too harmful, it is never a good idea to get into the habit of providing your dog with any substance that contains caffeine.

If you want a liquid treat for your dog, then it’s much better to invest in some quality pet milk instead.

Make sure you check out our guide to what dogs can and cannot eat/drink for more information on keeping your dog safe and healthy!

Can Dogs Drink Cola?

Cola is one of the most popular drinks in the world for humans. For some, it is an occasional treat. For others, it’s a bit of an addiction (if we’re honest).

But can dogs drink cola?

Maybe you’ve been quietly enjoying a can or two of refreshing cola, and then your beloved pooch has come along to try and get some off you.

Dogs may be attracted to the sweet smell and sugary taste of cola – but is it safe?

In this short article, we look at whether or not dogs can safely drink cola.

Is Cola Safe For Dogs?

For all intents and purposes, no. Cola isn’t safe for dogs, and here’s why:

1. Cola contains caffeine, and caffeine is highly toxic to dogs. As we established in our articles about whether or not dogs can drink coffee and energy drinks, caffeine is harmful to dogs. What would be a relatively modest amount of caffeine for a human could be fatal to your four-legged friend. The caffeine content of your favorite cola has the potential to cause serious illness for your dog.
2. It is terrible for your dog’s teeth. The combination of acidity, sugar, and carbonation work in tandem to wreak havoc on your dog’s teeth. Remember that your dog doesn’t brush twice a day like you (hopefully) do, so the effect is even worse. Tooth decay is a serious problem for dogs.
3. Full-sugar colas are packed with empty calories. Excessive weight gain is a massive problem for many dogs (pun intended). Cola contains nothing but empty calories, which risks causing serious health problems for your dog.
4. Diet colas contain a variety of sweeteners, which may be harmful for your dog. Don’t think that diet colas are a decent alternative – the sweeteners in them may be harmful for your dog, and there are still concerns around tooth decay and the caffeine issue.

Therefore, it is very clear that cola isn’t safe for dogs.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Consumed Some Cola

If your dog has accidentally drunk some cola (e.g. from a bottle or can that was left open and tipped over) then how you respond will depend on the approximate quantity that was consumed.

A small amount won’t likely cause any problems, but it’s still worth monitoring your dog over the coming hours and days to ensure they don’t develop any changes in behaviour, start vomiting etc. If this happens, then go to the vets.

If your dog has consumed a substantial quantity of cola, then this would be an emergency in our opinion and you should go to the vet immediately.

Conclusion – Can Dogs Drink Cola?

Absolutely not. There is no good reason to allow your dog to drink any amount of cola. It has no nutritional value for your dog, and could be seriously harmful.

If your dog has consumed a small amount of cola inadvertently, then you probably don’t need to worry. However, if you are concerned that your dog has somehow consumed a substantial quantity, then it is definitely worth considering a visit to the vet.

We hope you found this article helpful, please consult our ultimate guide to what dogs can and cannot eat for more information.

Can Dogs Drink Energy Drinks?

For many humans across the world, an energy drink (or two) is a bit of a daily ritual.

From office workers to hard labourers, many people love the taste and buzz they get from energy drinks.

But what about dogs?

Can dogs drink energy drinks? Or are they harmful to your precious pooch?

In this short article, we aim to find out!

Can Energy Drinks Kill Dogs?

Long story short, energy drinks are extremely dangerous for dogs.

As we established in our article on whether or not dogs can drink coffee, dogs are sensitive to caffeine.

Even a modest amount of caffeine (for a human) could be fatal for your dog, as it can cause rapid rises in heart rate, and a whole host of other unpleasant side effect.

Therefore, your dog should not be given energy drink under ANY circumstance.

Energy drinks often contain more caffeine than coffee, so are even more dangerous.

Furthermore, energy drinks are generally laden with sugar and sweeteners, which can also be harmful for your dog.

We hope you can see just how bad energy drinks are for your dog!

My Dog Has Accidentally Drunk Some Energy Drink – What Should I Do?

In writing this article, we figured that 99% of the people out there with dogs who might read it are probably already aware that they shouldn’t give any energy drink to their pooch.

But what about if your dog has accidentally drunk some energy drink?

For example, you might have had a half-finished can sitting on your table, and your dog has managed to knock it off and drink it from the floor.

What do you do in this scenario?

Basically, your response will depend on how much of the energy drink your dog has consumed.

For example, if your dog has only consumed a splash of Red Bull, then this is unlikely to cause harm (e.g. a few mLs fell out of the can, and they lapped it up). We would still advise monitoring your dog over the coming hours and days to see if there are any signs of illness or distress, e.g. vomiting. If so, a trip to the vet is on the cards.

However, anything over say 50 mL would probably be concerning in our opinion. Certainly, if your dog has managed to drink say a half can of Red Bull or Monster, then you need to make an emergency trip to the vet.

This could be a life or death situation!!!

To conclude, dogs cannot drink energy drink. It is dangerous due to the caffeine level and risk of caffeine toxicity (you can learn more about this on our article ‘can dogs drink coffee?’).

If your dog has consumed a noticeable quantity of energy drink, then we recommend you pay a visit to the vet – sooner, rather than later.

 

Can Dogs Drink Coffee?

Continuing on with our current theme of the foods and drinks that are (and often aren’t) safe for dogs, today we are looking at whether or not dogs can drink coffee.

Coffee may be essential to the daily functioning of many humans – but what about our four-legged friends?

Can they perk themselves up with a quick hit of Java … or is that going to cause health problems?

Is Coffee Safe For Dogs?

NO

Coffee is not safe for dogs, and dogs cannot drink coffee.

The key reason for this is that coffee is high in caffeine. Dogs have a low tolerance for caffeine, and even relatively small amount of caffeine could be seriously harmful for your dog if ingested.

Compared to humans, dogs simply have a far lower tolerance for caffeine (this makes even more sense when you consider that dogs generally weigh a lot less than their human companions).

A couple of sips of coffee won’t kill your dog, but the ingestion of even a relatively small amount of coffee grounds (or drinking larger quantities of coffee) could be fatal, especially for smaller dogs who are even more prone to the effects of coffee.

What Are The Effects Of Coffee On Your Dog?

If your dog consumes too much coffee, then the following symptoms may occur:

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Death

As you can see, coffee (and its constituent, caffeine) really are not good for dogs at all!

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Consumed Coffee?

This depends largely on the quantity you suspect your dog has consumed.

For example, if your dog has just sipped a couple of sips of coffee out of the bottom of your cup, then you probably have nothing to worry about.

However, if your dog has managed to eat a bag of coffee grounds, then that is a serious emergency and you need to get to the vet immediately.

If you suspect only a relatively small amount of coffee has been consumed, then you are probably fine just to monitor your dog over the coming hours and days to note any change in behaviour, vomiting etc. If you notice this, then once again you need to get down the vet – pronto!

Conclusion – Can Dogs Drink Coffee?

No, absolutely not. Dogs cannot and should not drink coffee, as it could be very toxic to them.

If your dog has consumed a small amount of coffee, then that’s unlikely to be too harmful.

However, consumption of any serious amount of coffee is an emergency, and should be treated as such.

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

Welcome to Dogopedia – the website where we aim to answer your questions about dogs and dog ownership.

In today’s article, we are continuing with our dog food theme, examining the types of food that dogs can (or cannot, in some cases) eat.

Can dogs eat blueberries is what we are looking at today.

Blueberries are a tasty, highly nutritious, often rather expensive fruit for humans to eat. But what about dogs? Is is it safe to give your dog some blueberries as an occasional treat, or could they cause harm, illness, or even death?

Is it safe to feed your dog blueberries? Let’s find out!

Yes, Dogs Can Eat Blueberries

The good news is that dogs can definitely eat blueberries. They are not a harmful/toxic food for your dog to eat.

In fact, blueberries are a superb source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more.

It’s actually rather difficult to think of a fruit that would be healthier for your dog than blueberries!

Not only are blueberries great for humans … they are an excellent choice for their beloved canine companions as well.

Here’s a quick explanation of why that is the case:

Blueberries Are Packed With Health-Giving Nutrients

One of the reasons that dogs can eat blueberries safely is that they are packed with health giving nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The antioxidant power of blueberries is particularly interesting. Antioxidants help to fight against ‘free radicals’ which contribute to the ageing process and molecular/cellular damage.

Combine this with the fact that blueberries are very low in calories, and they make a good treat option for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Frozen Blueberries

We’ve established that blueberries are fine for your dog. But is there any difference when it comes to frozen blueberries?

The good news is that frozen blueberries are also safe for your dog to eat.

In fact, frozen blueberries could be a great idea as a healthy treat for your dog on a hot day!

If you’ve seen our guide on how to keep your dog cool, then you’ll know that feeding frozen food/treats (provided it’s safe) is a good way to lower that temperature.

Conclusion

To sum up – can your dog eat blueberries?

Yes, your precious pooch sure can! In fact, they are probably one of the best healthy fruit snacks that your dog can have.

Low in calories, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they are simply a great choice for your dog.

Just keep in mind the ‘best practices’ around not feeding your dog too many treats (ideally, treats should not constitute more than 10% of your dog’s diet) and you will be fine.

Make sure you check out our full guide to what foods are and aren’t safe for your dog for even more information.

We hope you find this information helpful – thanks for visiting Dogopedia.

When is the Best Time to Start Training a Border Collie?

So, you’ve just got yourself a new Border Collie puppy, but when do you start training it? There is so much conflicting information on when to start training a Border Collie and in this article, we hope to answer the question definitively.

We are going to be talking about why some trainers recommend starting the training process immediately and why some believe it is better to wait a bit longer. We are also going to give you some tips and tricks that will hopefully make the training process simpler and easier.

Why is Training a Border Collie Important?

Lots of new dog owners often make the mistake of spending way too much time looking at what collars they think will suite their dog best and what toys they should purchase for their pup. While there is no doubt that these things are important, getting your dog correctly trained is arguably more vital.

The reason for this is that a poorly trained Border Collie can be a nightmare to deal with, leading to a bad pet/owner relationship. Additionally, a well-trained Collie can be called back in a dangerous situation, which may save their life.

Why Do Some People Recommend Waiting?

Some trainers and owners recommend that you wait until about 6 months before you start training a Border Collie. This idea comes from a more “old school” training method where heavy handed corrections were used. The dog needed to be old enough to withstand wearing a collar and dealing with harsh physical corrections or punishment during training.

These old school trainers also believed that a Border Collie would reach the same skill level in adulthood, whether they started at six months or eight weeks, so they saw no reason to start them early.

What About Training a Border Collie at Eight Weeks?

Generally, eight to twelve weeks is around the time that Border Collies are taken from their mother and sent to a new home.

Before this, Collie puppies should be spending time with their mother, brothers and sisters to learn about being a dog. During this time they learn what it means to be part of the pack, how to communicate, and how to play. This first eight weeks is an incredibly important time for a Border Collie puppy and starting training too early can be detrimental to their development.

The idea that training should start at around eight weeks is based on this fact that most Border Collie puppies go to their new owners at this time. They have learnt most of what they need to know about being a dog and now it is time to learn from their new family.

Additionally, a puppy’s brain is not properly formed to learn much before eight weeks, so they do not have the ability to learn new commands and tricks properly.

When Should You Start Training a Border Collie?

With all the above in mind, when is actually the best time to start training a Border Collie puppy? We believe that the best time to start training a Collie puppy is as soon as you get them home, whether it is at eight or twelve weeks.

While a young Border Collie’s attention span is fairly limited, you can start the training process with short sessions. You should start the training process by teaching your puppy not to bite, how to take food gently and basic commands such as “sit”. Additionally, socialising your Border Collie as early as possible is incredibly important.

You should only use reward-based methods of training such as luring with food or clicker training. Forceable methods can be used at later points, but we are not fans of this training method and believe that reward-based training is always the best.

What to Expect from a Border Collie Puppy?

When you get your new Border Collie home don’t expect too much of them during training. Young puppies tend to be impulsive and have little self-control. Their attention spans are extremely limited, so keep training sessions as short as possible.

Try to think of your Border Collie puppy as a child. They will play with anything that interests them and do anything they want. They don’t understand what is theirs and what is not, so do not punish them for chewing your shoes. Remember, that a Collie puppy at around eight weeks will not listen to every command (in fact, they will probably ignore most of them).

Below we have created a rough training guide for a Border Collie puppy.

Border Collie Training Schedule

The following training schedule will be slightly different for each individual Border Collie, however, it should give you a basic idea of what you should expect from your puppy.

What to teach a Border Collie at 8 – 10 weeks.

The first things you should focus on when you bring your Border Collie puppy home for the first time is getting them socialised, training them to take food properly and getting them toilet trained. Remember, don’t expect too much at this stage. In fact, we would recommend that you don’t create formal training sessions and instead let it happen naturally.

It is also a good idea to reward your new Collie puppy when they follow you or come to you on their own accord. This will get them mentally prepared for future training sessions when more difficult and advanced commands are introduced.

As soon as you get your Collie puppy home you should also be getting them used to you touching their paws, tummy, inside their mouth and around their ears. This will make trips to the vets much easier and your vet will appreciate it.

  • Socialisation – Border Collies need to be socialised as soon as possible and you need to introduce them to a range of different people, dogs and other animals. While you may not be able to take them out for walks straight away (due to vaccinations), you can still introduce them to a friend’s dog who has been vaccinated.
  • Follow – Rewarding your new Collie puppy if they follow you is incredibly important. If your Collie understands that following you is a good thing it makes teaching them commands such as “come” or “heel” much easier.
  • Recall or come – While you are not teaching your Border Collie to come properly, you are teaching them that coming to you is a good thing. Reward your Collie puppy when they come to you naturally
  • Not to bite – Do not allow hard biting, however, mouthing is acceptable at this stage for a Collie puppy.
  • How to take food – Nobody likes a dog that snatches food and if you continue to let your Border Collie do this they may eventually bite somebody by accident. Never let your Border Collie snatch food from your hand and if they do say no and then ignore them.
  • House Training – One of the most important things you can do at this early stage. Get your Collie house trained, but remember it usually takes a few months before accidents stop.

What to teach a Border Collie at 10 – 12 Weeks

This stage of a Border Collie’s training process is pretty much the same as above. Just continue what you have been doing, however, you can introduce some more basic commands/skills.

  • Socialisation – Increase the amount you socialise your Border Collie and make sure they are meeting a wide variety of people and dogs.
  • More recall training – You can start to introduce the ‘come’ command, but only associate it with the action. Only use the word ‘come’ when they are already moving towards you. Continue to reward your Collie when they come to you naturally.
  • Discourage biting – hard biting should not be allowed, but mouthing is still okay at this stage.
  • Fetch or retrieve – Encourage your Collie to chase after toys and pick them up. Don’t try and get them to fully retrieve yet, but reward heavily of they do.
  • Walk by your side – Start to introduce heel training by getting your Collie to walk by your side. You can do this by either using clicker training or food rewards.

What to teach a Border Collie at 3 – 4 Months

At three to four months a Border Collie puppy is much more developed. They should be capable of sleeping through the night and there should be less toilet accidents occurring.

Don’t worry if your Border Collie puppy is even more keen on biting and nipping your hand. Three months is the peak age for biting, so don’t expect the problem to be gone by this time.

Introducing commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’ is a good idea, but don’t expect them to stay in the position. Remember to keep rewarding your Collie when they come to you naturally and start getting them associated with lead walking.

  • Lead walking – Take your Collie puppy for short walks around your garden or house while they are on a lead to get them used to it. Read more about lead training here.
  • Even more socialisation –Your Border Collie should be finished their vaccinations at around 14 to 16 weeks, so you can introduce them to more dogs and take them more places.
  • Come – Once your Collie has associated “come” with the action of moving towards you, you can begin to use it as a command. Try and get your Collie puppy to come to you in a distraction free environment. Remember to reward and praise them heavily if they do so.
  • Biting – No biting should be allowed, but gentle mouthing is ok.
  • Fetch and retrieve – Continue to encourage your Collie to retrieve different items and toys.
  • Introduce some new positions – Start rewarding your Collie when they sit or lie down. We are not training them fully yet, but instead indicating that we like it when they do get into those positions. Read more about teaching your dog to sit here.
  • Basket – Introduce the idea that sitting in their basket when you are doing the washing or when you are eating dinner is good. Reward them for doing so.

What to teach a Border Collie at 4 – 6 Months

At four to six months old you should be getting your Border Collie’s biting problem under control and mouthing should be discouraged. Your puppy should also be toilet trained, but the odd accident here and there is to be expected, especially if they are left alone for an extended period of time.

From around four months a Border Collie puppy will be quite capable, so you can get much more advanced with their training. You can start to introduce more commands and formal commands for the actions you have been rewarding them so far.

Despite their ability for more advanced training, don’t expect your Collie to walk at heel or stay for long periods of time.

  • Come – Introduce distractions into your Collie puppy’s ‘come’ training routine.
  • Sit and lie down – Introduce distractions and get your Collie sitting and lying down at your command
  • Stay – You are not going to ask your Border Collie to stay, but use commands like sit and lie down to get them to so.
  • Heel – Continue getting your Collie to walk by your side and introduce more advanced heel training.
  • Socialisation – Continue to socialise your dog.
  • No more biting – There should be no biting or mouthing allowed.

What to teach a Border Collie at 5 – 6 months

  • Command and obedience training – Continue training for commands such as ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, ‘come’ and ‘heel’. Introduce distractions in their training routine.

After 6 Months

From six months onwards, the basics should be fully ingrained into your Border Collie’s mind. They should be able to carry out simple commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’ and ‘down’. Your Collie puppy should be socialised, toilet trained and there should not be any biting or mouthing.

With that in mind, you can begin to raise your expectations for their training. Train your Collie to sit and stay for longer periods of time and introduce some distractions into their training.

Your puppy should be capable of walking at heel for extended periods of time or close to being able to do so, and they should also come at your command. You can also start to teach your Border Collie some other tricks and commands at this age as well.

Remember that a six-month old Border Collie will be quite strong and powerful. They will be full of energy at this age and you may even find that training them is more difficult. Despite this, if you have set a good basis for their training you should be able to work through the problems.

Are Training Classes Necessary for a Border Collie?

You may be wondering if puppy training school is worth it or even necessary for your Border Collie puppy? Most pet owners can teach their dog everything they need to know. With a bit of patience and consistency, you should be able to train your Collie to respond to commands predictably and reliably.

For those who are struggling with the training process, a puppy school can be really helpful. In puppy training classes the instructor will take you through different training techniques and can answer any of your questions immediately. They will guide you through the training process and can advise you on any problems.

One of the biggest benefits of taking your Border Collie to a puppy training school is that it forces you to train them. So many owners buy a dog and then never train it, so taking them to a puppy school is a good way to motivate yourself.

Another big benefit of a puppy school is that there are usually lots of other dogs there. This means they are great places to socialise your Border Collie, which is incredibly important for their development.

If you have access to other dogs, you may find that a puppy school is less beneficial for socialising. First time dog owners will get the most out of training classes.

Summing Up When to Train a Border Collie

With so many differing opinions out there on when to start training a Border Collie puppy, it can be difficult for new owners. Most modern dog trainers (us as well) believe that training should start as soon as you get your Border Collie home.

If you decide to leave the training process for a bit later it probably won’t make much of a difference, however, we feel that six months is far too late. The only vital things you should do straight away is socialisation, toilet training, and stopping your Collie from biting/mouthing.

Remember to never ask too much of your Collie and that progress can be quite slow. Do not get frustrated and try not to compare your dog’s progress with another.

If you do start training at an early age, you will be surprised by how much your Border Collie can learn. They are an incredibly intelligent breed of dog, so they will soak up anything you teach them.