Owning a Golden Retriever

February 16, 2020

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.

Golden Retrievers are large dogs and when fully grown can weigh anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds. Their calorie intake will vary on how active they are. Golden Retrievers love to eat, but have a slower metabolism then other breeds. It is important to base the amount of food given on their amount of activity. Less active Golden Retrievers should not be feed as much because it could lead to obesity, which in turn can cause other health problems.

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 also important. Larger deep-chested breeds tend to eat smaller bites at a faster pace. This can lead to bloat and cause great discomfort. It is considered a medical emergency and must treated by a veterinarian immediately. The build up of gas can cause the stomach to inflate and twist cutting off circulation and preventing the gas to escape. If untreated the dog’s life could be at risk. A few steps can be taken to preempt bloat from occurring. Multiple feeding times with smaller portions instead of one large portion at a time will lessen the food in-take and make digestion easier. Watering down the food to soften the bites as well as making sure there is plenty of fresh water will also aid in digestion.

Obesity is another ailment to keep an eye out for. An overweight Golden Retriever can end up suffering from diabetes or orthopedic problems. Golden Retrievers are known to to get elbow and hip dysplasia, which obesity can exasperate. Obesity tends to develop over time, but another concern about weight issues can happen quickly.  Hypothyroidism commonly occurs in Golden Retrievers and if rapid weight gain occurs when there has been no change in diet or activity it is time to go in for a check up. Rapid drop in weight is another reason to be concerned. Unexplainable weight los could be a sign of cricopharyngeal dysfunction which is when the esophagus becomes enlarged and makes swallowing difficult. This is considered to be a genetic disease and will need medical attention and possibly surgery.

Food allergies can also develop in Golden Retrievers. Corn, wheat and soy tend to be more frequent, but allergies to certain meat proteins can also occur. Symptoms normally appear on the skin as a rash and even some hair loss. If the dog is gnawing in a particular spot and fleas are not an issue chances are it is a food related allergy. A veterinarian will suggest a hypoallergenic dog food. After a few months when the allergic reaction has cleared up and not been present for awhile the veterinarian will suggest slowly introducing the ingredients one at time until the allergy resurfaces and the culprit found.

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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