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Resources: Health & Nutrition

Below are some health and nutrition resources we highly encourage you take a look at, especially those marked "Please Read." Some of the sections include website links to additional information, and some include PDF downloads. We hope you find this information as valuable as we do! 


How Much Exercise Should Your Puppy Have?
Attention All Puppy Owners - Please Read
Excerpt from "Hounds to Horses Physiotherapy"

This radiograph is of a 2 week old puppy.

If you look closely, you will notice how far the bones have to grow before you have a proper joint! This is why you must be incredibly careful and mindful of growth plates. Too much exercise, jumping up etc too soon can cause serious complications later on in the dogs life. 

Remember the basic puppy rule:

Increase by 5 minutes per month!



8 weeks old = 10 minutes exercise per day

6 month old = 30 minutes exercise per day

Exercise includes: walks, training, playing, running! Orthopaedic conditions in young pups are on the rise! Please ensure you bare this in mind while enjoying your new puppy!


Please visit Hounds to Horses Physiotherapy on Facebook:

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Early Neurological Stimulation


We require all who are purchasing pups from us to read this article on Early Neurological Stimulation by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia. This is the stimulation technique we use with our pups.

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

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Early Neurological Stimulation 
For More In-Depth Information Please Watch These Videos


I highly recommend taking the time to watch these videos by Stonnie Dennis on Early Neurological Stimulation.

Puppy Developmental stages episode 1 neonatal puppy (0-12 days)

includes home puppy raising and brief intro to Military bio-sensor program (superdog project). - interesting not heard of that before.  


Puppy Developmental stages episode transitional puppy (12-21 days)

I have not seen some of these ENS techniques before.  


I'm also sharing a video from Icelandic dog Isla - puppy's first 6 months because I thought she did a great job exposing her puppy to a lot of new things. 


Icelandic dog Sara is a different youtube channel that has a lot of games to do - at home with your dog. I think Sara and her owner have a great relationship. 

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Why I Recommend NuJoint and NuJointDS 


Just like humans, pets are susceptible to joint problems that cause stiffness, discomfort and poor mobility.  Due to wear and tear, joint problems are more common in older pets, but younger pets can experience joint problems as well. In fact, joint issues can affect a pet at any age.

NuJoint and NuJoint DS are natural joint supplements that are safe for pets of all ages and breeds. They contain the highest quality, natural human-grade ingredients available. Made in the USA and manufactured in an FDA-registered human pharmaceutical laboratory, NuJoint and NuJoint DS are cold processed to maintain the rich nutrients of their ingredients and ensure superior bioavailability so that your pet’s body can absorb the maximum amount of nutrients available.

NuJoint & NuJoint DS Contain the Highest Quality Human Grade Ingredients 

NuJoint and NuJoint DS contain several ingredients that help improve joint health, including MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), glucosamine, Chondroitin, and vitamin C. The DS in NuJoint DS stands for “double strength,” which means this pet supplement contains more of the active ingredients that help your pet feel better.

The ingredients work synergistically to support optimal hip and joint health in pets by helping 

  • Rebuild cartilage 

  • Improve mobility and flexibility 

  • Strengthen hips

  • Lubricate joints for fluid movement


Cartilage connects bones together to form a joint. Cartilage can break down and cause joint friction, stiffness, and discomfort. Chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate are naturally-occurring substances in the fluid that normally surrounds the joints and supports the cartilage. Supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin support and help rebuild healthy cartilage.   MSM helps reduce the rigidity of cells allowing for fluids to pass through more freely.

NuJoint DS also contains Vitamin C (Ester-C®), essential for the synthesis of collagen, a major component of connective tissue. In a way, collagen is the “glue” that holds the body together. Collagen is present in every joint in your pet’s body; it provides padding and support for movement.

Adding NuJoint or NuJoint DS to your pet’s nutritional regimen will help improve their quality of life. Additional information may be found on the NuVet Labs website  

Curious Dog

Canine Hip Dysplasia 

​Very informative article on Canine Hip Dysplasia by Carol Beuchat PhD. 

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

Cute Dog

Joint Health Statement

​Joint Statement from the American Border Collie Association and The ABCA Health & Education Foundation on the EAOD Test currently offered by projectDOG

Read article contents by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

Image by William Milliot


Educational article about the differences between what we see and what our dogs see. Published by the American Border Collie Association in their December 2020 newsletter.

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Image by Minnie Zhou


Educational article Hearing Loss of a Border Collie, by Jane Meggitt. Published on The Nest.

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

Image by Robin Jonathan Deutsch

Genetically Linked Diseases in Border Collies

Comprehensive list of genetically linked diseases that could be present in Border Collies. Published by the American Border Collie Association's Health & Genetics Committee, August 2015.  

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read information online:


Australian Shepherd Health Issues

Many of our clients live where heart worm is an issue. Many of you also own Aussies in addition to Border Collies. This is an incredible resource for puppy and dog health problems that crop up more frequently in Australian Shepherds.

Link to site:


Canine Reproduction
Should I keep my dog intact or not?
Attention All Puppy Owners - Please Read

Transcript from Dr. Robert Hutchison's Canine Reproductive Seminar

Here is a transcript from a canine reproductive seminar. Everyone with intact animals should read this or watch the video of the seminar to understand the differences in bitch's cycles vs other mammals.

Link to view transcript online:

Link to seminar on YouTube:


Canine Reproduction
Spay and Neuter Effects on Orthopedic Disease, Behavior, and General Health in Dogs
Attention All Puppy Owners - Please Read

​We highly encourage you to read the article published by The IAABC Journal, written by David Lane, DVM.


Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read the article online:

Image by Sophia Kunkel

Breeding Every Heat
Understanding Reproductive Health in Dogs

The key to understanding reproductive health in dogs is knowing that, as far as a bitch’s body knows, there is no difference between being pregnant and not being pregnant, after a heat cycle.


Those of us (humans, cows, horses, etc.) that cycle on a regular basis prepare our uterus to accept a fertilized egg or eggs every month or so. For a couple of weeks after ovulation we have a higher-than-normal progesterone level, which makes the uterus, which has grown a bunch of soft blood vessels and tissue, keep those vessels and tissue thick and strong so a fertilized egg can land on a lovely spot where there’s lots of blood to suck up and start growing its own little blood vessels.


For humans and other repeated cyclers, when there is no fertilized egg, the body gets the signal very quickly and the ovaries stop producing progesterone and the lining of the uterus breaks down and goes back to normal, at least for another few weeks until ovulation occurs again.


Dogs have a completely different system.


It starts out roughly the same, with the uterus preparing for the eggs by growing a good plush lining, and the eggs ripen on the ovaries and hooray, there’s some lutenizing hormone, and the eggs are released. It gets a little weirder from there, because unlike humans that have fertilizable eggs within a few hours of ovulation dogs’ eggs take two or three days. And unlike humans, whose eggs implant and begin to grow into the blood vessels about a week after ovulation, dogs take about three weeks. But the process is basically analogous.


Where dogs are VERY unlike us is that there is never any signal given to the body that there are in fact no fertilized eggs to nourish, that this has been an unsuccessful heat cycle.


Instead, a dog’s progesterone level stays high for the entire 63 days that she would have been pregnant; her uterus develops the incredibly effective and thick system of blood vessels that would be necessary to nourish an entire full-term litter.


You can honestly say that the only difference between a bitch who was bred and a bitch who was not bred is how many calories she’s burning–either she has to support a litter or she doesn’t–because her body honestly doesn’t know any difference. Aside from some relaxin to loosen her joints (which is present in pregnant dogs but not in non-pregnant ones after the heat cycle is over), the hormone levels are the same.


This would all be just a veterinary curiosity were it not for the fact that the body doesn’t like growing things and then not using them. When the uterus grows this tremendous blood supply, the blood supply actually shapes itself as though there are puppies there. The little attachment sites where the placentas would grow into the uterine lining are shaped differently and have different types of blood vessels. When there are no puppies to fill those shapes, the attachment sites form cysts. After multiple empty heat cycles, much of the uterus can be filled with fluid and cysts. In many bitches, that progresses to infection and pyometra.


The upshot of this whole situation is that bitches are not meant to have empty heat cycles. All else being equal, it is better and safer for them to be pregnant at each heat cycle (or spayed) than it is for them to remain unbred. And diet, panties, and other interventions (or lack thereof) are not the answer – the answer is to use the uterus or lose it.


Now of course not all things are equal. We all keep bitches unbred so we can finish them, or special them, or because it’s not a good time for a litter according to our schedule, or because we don’t have the time to screen puppy people, etc. We typically skip at least the first cycle if it came before the bitch was fully grown, so she can put all her calories into growing. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable tradeoff to make, from a veterinary health perspective, though I am not sure it must happen; in production-based species like sheep and goats we know that breeding the young females before they are done growing is actually beneficial to them (when you look at lifelong production and health) and they catch up just fine. But I’m not comfortable looking at a bitch who’s still a puppy with puppies, and I would not want to risk a glitch in growth, so waiting until the bitch is fully adult is something I’d always advise.


I don’t think it’s necessary to wait a full two years, though–that became conventional wisdom because OFA gives you a final number at that age. But if you PennHIP or if you choose to rely on orthopedic opinion, or if you have a breed with virtually no dysplasia, there’s no reason to wait until the full two.

Skipping the first season, or the first couple, is certainly totally normal. Sometimes we have to skip more because of our needs or timing. But after full growth has been attained, she’s finished or shown as much as you plan to show her, health testing is done, and the bitch’s reproductive life is ready to begin, what is not supportable, from a health perspective, is INSISTING that bitches skip seasons; I’ve even heard people say that the “best” breeders skip two seasons between each litter.


This is purely us thinking of dogs like humans–we get tired and worn and unhealthy if we produce babies every nine to twelve months, so shouldn’t we give dogs at least a year But it’s not the same thing. Humans are pregnant for nine months, and we are designed to lactate for another two years (minimum) after birth. If you put a pregnancy in the middle of that lactation you deplete yourself; you want to complete the full lactation (or the time the lactation would have lasted if you choose not to breast-feed) and then get pregnant again. This leads to babies two or three years apart, which is (if you look around at your family and friends) what usually happens anyway and is certainly not viewed as unusual or dangerous.


Bitches are pregnant for nine-ish weeks (though they are actually nourishing puppies for only six of those weeks), they lactate heavily for about four or five weeks after that, and then typically have at least two months before their next heat cycle. Unless her calories were so inadequate that she did not recover her normal body weight during those two months (and if she didn’t, I’d be looking seriously at how she’s being fed and cared for) there’s no reason she cannot have a normal and safe and uneventful pregnancy on the next heat. There is CERTAINLY no reason to rest her for two seasons; in fact, you’re making it a lot more likely that she will have reduced fertility or fecundity (number of healthy puppies) if you do.


Remember that as far as ANY bitch’s body is concerned, she IS having two litters a year. You don’t do her a favor by having one or both of them be invisible.

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Canine Vision
What Dogs See vs. What Humans See
Attention All Puppy Owners - Please Read

Outstanding education on what dogs see vs we humans and how we need to adapt our expectations to their reality in developing their life skills and our relationship with them.


Letter to Suzy from Robin Eschenbruecher:

Some time back I found a Rick Gore (Think Like a Horse) video on limitations with a dog's vision. Here is a link in case you are interested in watching it at any point.  If you do I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Link to watch video on YouTube:

In this video Rick Gore compares a dog's vision to a cat, horse and human vision. I was shocked to learn the limitations with a dog's vision, because I've spent a lot of time learning how dogs communicate but knew nothing about how they see. 


I'd just assumed that dogs have vision comparable to human vision which was ignorant of me. I guess I assumed that a dog sees like humans because of the amazing things they are capable of like running so far out after sheep and herding them back.


Having full senses (sight, hearing, smell) is pretty important for a working dog or trail dog and for their safety. I want to minimize any chance of hearing or vision loss with my future puppy.


Anyhoo, this man's main channel is called Think Like a Horse but this video is on his channel Think Like a Dog.  

Have a great evening and thanks as always for your time.


Robin Eschenbruecher

Canine Heart Health

Canine Heart Health
Heart Disease in Dogs
Attention All Dog Owners - Please Read

Click on the image to view larger. Learn more at


Health & Genetics
Genetic Heterogeneity and Its Importance in Dog Breeding
Great Article! 

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Excerpt from article:

Pet Owner vs Breeder

The accuracy and specificity of an inherited disease diagnosis are particularly important in the world of dog breeding where every potential health issue must be considered prior to breeding. Unlike general pet owners who may not need to know the specific underlying molecular mechanisms of a disease (especially when there is no routine clinical treatment), the world of dog breeding has grown increasing savvy about the potential of genetic testing technologies and their use in preventing production of diseased puppies.


Health & Behavior
Dogs Watch Us Carefully and Read Our
Faces Very Well

Great Article! 

Research shows dogs pay close attention to different human facial expressions.

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

​Link to read article online:


Health & Behavior
Balancing K9 Mental and Physical Health
Great Article! 

How your dog’s brain health and gut health could be causing their “reactivity.” How to rebalance their bodies and behaviour to make them a crazily enjoyable, healthy and stress-free companion!

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Man's BF

Health & Nutrition
Understanding Pet Digestion
Great Article! 

Very informative article by Barbara Royal, DVM, CVA published on the Innovative Veterinary Care website.

Providing optimal nutrition to your four-legged patients includes understanding how digestion works in dogs and cats, from one end of the body to the other.

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:


Health & Nutrition
Chart of Foods From Good to Never for Dogs
All Dog Owners Please Read! 

We encourage you to visit for great health, nutrition, and other valuable information regarding your beloved pet!

View or download PDF of food chart by clicking HERE.


Health & Nutrition
10 Best Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs
All Dog Owners Please Read! 

Fruits and vegetables for dogs can rev up important nutrients in their diet. Plus they make a tasty dog treat! Of course, certain fruits and vegetables will be better for your dog than others. Take a look at the ten best, and consider adding them to your dog’s meal routine.

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

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Health & Nutrition
Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats 

Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs and Cats Over 500,000 copies of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats have been sold since its original publication 34 years ago. This is the fourth edition shown. Writing with the warmth and compassion that have won them a national following, veterinarian Richard H. Pitcairn and his wife Susan Hubble Pitcairn, noted specialists in chemical-free nutrition and natural healing for pets, show dog and cat owners how to provide the very best in companionship and lifelong care.

This edition has had much revision as the changes in agriculture and factory farming of animals has necessitated a reconsideration of the quality of food available for our use. The increased use of herbicides, pesticides, genetic modification of foods, antibiotics and hormones since the last edition was published has greatly altered, and made more complex, the process of choosing food sources for our animal friends. There are three areas of focus in this regard — health, earth resources, and our relationship to the non-companion animals used for food. The recipes have been extensively updated to reflect these three concerns and to provide the most healthy food possible for those animals close to us.

Included is an extensive (“Quick Reference”) section on  handling emergencies and also suggestions for treatment of commonly encountered health conditions. Besides the emphasis on good nutrition, the treatments emphasize the use of homeopathy and herbs.

The chief topics are:

  • How this direction of health care developed in Dr. Pitcairn’s experience.

  • What’s really in commercial pet foods.

  • The more recent changes in food quality, and its effect on health.

  • The larger context — the need for a cultural change in agriculture.

  • Alternative fresh food recipes to make at home.

  • Special diets for special health situations (young or pregnant animals, vegetarian diets).

  • Non-toxic grooming and flea control.

  • Benefits or exercise.

  • How to responsibly live with our companion animals.

  • Saying goodbye to our friends — coping with loss.

  • Natural care for common ailments.

  • Alternative treatments with homeopathy, herbs, and wholesome foods.

  • First aid tips, treatment of emergencies.

  • And more…

Link for additional information:

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Health & Nutrition
What's Better - Chicken or Chicken Meal?
Great article from The Balanced Canine

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

Border Collie

Health & Nutrition
FDA Investigating Potential Link Between Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs
All Dog Owners Please Read! 

From Suzy:

I think the dry food as a fill with the main emphasis being feeding raw and lightly cooked safe veggies, fruit like blueberries, pumpkin (not ready for pies), apple pulp bites, and banana, cottage cheese watch for additives versus pure milk and cream, and plain yogurt is the best bet and what we have been doing for some time now. The last three litters started at 3 ½ weeks on ground elk and moose, ground beef. We always include NuVet for the nutrient boost for their immune systems and joint health.​

Read or download PDF of article by clicking HERE.

Link to read article online:

dog food

Health & Nutrition
Alert on Dog and Puppy Food Issues
All Dog Owners Please Read! 

From Suzy:
In the past six months I have been on a search to find the best possible dog and puppy kibble available after learning about fairly recent new information about what to look for in our dog food.

My sister learned some very interesting things from a vet who is a part of the UC Davis Veterinary Research team looking at dog food  and heart issues. 

She was told that the most important part of the ingredients list is the FIRST FIVE items.  These have the greatest impact to your dog or puppy.  Here are the top five things to concentrate on when looking for the best foods available.  First should be meat and meat meal.  Meat meal is actually the highest source for food value (absolutely no meat by products).  Brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potato are all excellent along with chicken fat or even better fish oil, and barley is okay in the top five.

Avoid at all cost potato’s and any legumes which are now the main ingredients behind meat in the majority of dog foods out there.  Potatoes and legumes and their by products i.e. peas, pea meal, chick peas, any other bean. etc have been found to be links to canine heart disease and we are paying $50-60 a bag for foods harmful to our beloved pets.

In my research I found only two foods that met this criteria.  I’m hoping those reading this might find more and share.  I have literally read the ingredients list on every brand of dog food available in western Montana as well as more brands and versions than I can count online.  It was very disheartening that the industry raced to replace potatoes with another cheap filler like legumes.  Feeding raw, be it 100% or a mix is a good way to ensure good health.

Blue Buffalo Lamb and Brown Rice Puppy is as close to the standard for puppies that I have found.  Chicken seems to trigger allergic reactions like extreme itching.  For adults Costco’s Premium Lamb and Brown Rice meets the standard recommended.  My vet has recommended feeding to puppies a mixture of puppy and adult to lessen the chance of too fast growth.

Always remember to slowly change your food as sudden change is very difficult to the digestive system.

We at Gold Creek Ranch Border Collies feed the kibble mentioned above but also raw bone in chicken, wild game, raw boneless beef other than meaty knuckle bones and large beef bones from upper leg.  Eggs, cottage cheese, pumpkin, appropriate fruits and vegetables also supplement and keep their food tasty and interesting while enhancing the nutritional needs.  We also give every dog and puppy NuVet Plus immune system boost and NuVet Joint to our adults to ensure healthy bone and joint.

I have recently been hearing from clients that their puppies are itching a lot. If you have not changed feeding the Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice puppy I first recommended, I suggest you change to the Blue Buffalo Lamb and Brown Rice, once the switch from their chicken recipe is made the itching is immediately going away.  A fairly fast switch does not seem to cause any negative gut reaction, I think the chicken version is causing an allergy to chicken.  The Lamb version is also closer to the preferred top five ingredients.

You can order the Blue Buffalo via Chewy for home delivery.  Costco’s Premium Lamb and Brown Rice is an excellent adult food and I’ve suggested to clients that they feed ⅔ rd puppy ⅓ rd adult, this all lessens the chance of too much growth too fast.  It can be ordered online at  This should solve your problem.  This issue has just started showing up in the last two weeks as far as me getting asked about it.  I’m notifying Blue Buffalo about this, good company.  These are my recommendations and are not perfect.  Always do your own research.  One thing I’ve learned is that my vets are so overwhelmed by their client load, they simply do not have the time and opportunity to keep abreast of all of the most current diet and even some of the new breeding protocol.  I’m actually sharing my research results with my vets, they check out the material and discuss their feelings about what they read.  I love having doctors in my life who are open to change when there is data and pier reviews to back it up.

This is strictly my recommendations based upon the information available in my research.  I am open to comments and recommendations.

Suzy Foss

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