Owning a Golden Retriever

As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Golden Retrievers are considered one of the best family dogs. They do well with children and have been known to play a protective role if needed. Their easy going temperament and joyful playfulness meshes well with children’s high energy level. It is common to be greeted at the door when coming home and then followed around the home as the exhibit why they are considered one of the best companion pets.

One of the most important ways to promote good health for a Golden Retriever is keeping them active and occupied. Training a Golden Retriever is a great way to start. They are thought to be one of the more intelligent breeds and making training less complicated. Their intelligence and need to be occupied lower the amount of times commands must be repeated. Golden Retrievers are considered very obedient and adaptable. They do well on road trips and instances where the maybe introduced to new surroundings. They quickly get along with new people and other animals they meet.

Although they are considered very active dogs and enjoy the company of their owner, Golden Retrievers are also very quiet, calm and realize when their owner may need some alone time. It’s as though the can sense the mood in a situation and immediately change their behavior to match the tone.

Finding activities to entertain and provide exercise for a Golden Retriever is not a difficult task. They enjoy many of the stereotypical “dog activities” including fetch, hiking and tug of war. They love the water, especially diving in and fetching floating toys. It would not be shocking if an internet search revealed a local social group for Gold Retriever owners that get together to take their dogs swimming.

Golden Retrievers also enjoy indoor games as well. This helps keep them active and occupied on days when the weather is not pleasant. Some have been trained to help clean up around the house. If a certain box has been designated to be their toy box they can be trained to put their toys away during clean up time. These dogs are also big fans of hide and seek games. Having them go on a hunt for their special treat or food bowl excites them and allows for them to use there excellent ability to seek out items by scent.

Hunting is another great activity for Golden Retrievers. Even though they are considered more of a family dog today, historically they were considered great hunting dogs. Training a Golden Retriever to hunt maybe a little more difficult, but if a hunting group can be found the activity will provide an excellent opportunity to get out into nature and be active. Their amazing patience and excellent memory make them a great choice for bird hunting where long periods of time may pass without movement and the need to remember where the bird fell after being shot.

When fully grown, Golden Retrievers can be anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds. Taking into account their slower metabolism when compared to other breeds, it's important to ensure your pup's diet corresponds with their activity level; this will help avoid obesity and any related health issues.

For adult Golden Retrievers choose a diet designed for large dogs. Make sure the food is made with natural ingredients and has no artificial additives. It should be rich in proteins that come from chicken, fish and meats. Foods high in calcium and phosphorus will help keep joints healthy.

Larger kibble bites are beneficial for larger deep-chested breeds. Unfortunately, eating smaller bites at a faster pace can lead to the uncomfortable condition known as bloat and should be treated by a veterinarian immediately as it can become a life-threatening emergency. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to combat this altogether. Feeding your pup multiple times throughout the day with smaller portions instead of one large meal will help reduce their food intake and make digestion easier. Furthermore, adding water to the food to soften it and providing fresh water regularly will also aid in digestion and help prevent against bloat.
Keeping an eye out for obesity is important. An overweight Golden Retriever can suffer from diabetes or orthopedic problems, and obesity can exacerbate elbow and hip dysplasia common in the breed. While obesity develops over time, rapid changes to a dog’s weight should signal a need for a veterinary check-up: both a gain in weight with no change to diet or activity, as well as unexplained weight loss, could be signs of underlying issues such as cricopharyngeal dysfunction - a genetic disorder requiring medical attention and potentially surgery.
Food allergies may be present in Golden Retrievers, with corn, wheat and soy being the most common causes. If a dog is gnawing at a certain spot and fleas are ruled out, the culprit could be food-related allergies which appear on the skin as a rash or hair loss. A veterinary professional will suggest a hypoallergenic diet and gradually reintroduce ingredients one at a time to identify any allergens until symptoms no longer present themselves.

All dog breeds have certain health issues that owners must be able to detect and know what to do when a problem arises. Being aware of what is more common in a Golden Retriever will allow for the owner to respond in a timely manner, which will help keep their dog healthy. Scheduling recommended check ups will also assist in maintaining good health. A healthy Golden Retriever will be the obedient, caring, active and lovable dog, which is the reason that most own one specifically choose this breed.

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