Getting a new puppy is a wonderful, joyful experience, and getting a golden retriever puppy is even more amazing. With their soft eyes, golden fur, floppy ears, and ungainly waddles, golden retriever puppies will steal your heart in an instant. But once you get the puppy home, you’ll be faced with the task of raising a golden retriever.
Raising your dog well is the key to making sure you have a healthy, happy companion. But how do you make sure your golden retriever is getting the best life possible? Read on to discover some tips on how to raise a golden retriever.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
The first step to raising a healthy golden retriever is to puppy-proof your home. This is a good idea even if you’re bringing home a grown dog; the excitement and confusion of being in a new space can cause some problems with even the best dogs. You don’t want to lose a precious family heirloom because your new dog is still adjusting.
Take everything in your home that can’t be replaced – family heirlooms, sentimental items, treasured gifts – and put them away in a closet with a closed door, and preferably up high. Move breakable items off of low shelves and tables where your dog might knock them off. And put away any cords or dangerous materials they might get into or chew on.
Feed Them Well
Food is as important for dogs as it is for us, and believe it or not, there is a difference in the quality of the little brown balls that are dog kibble. If you want a healthy golden retriever, you need to make sure it’s eating high-quality food. Bad food can shorten a dog’s lifespan as much as it shortens human lifespans.
You also need to be sure you aren’t overfeeding your dog. Obesity is bad for dogs, and especially large dogs like golden retrievers, who are prone to hip dysplasia, gastric dilation volvulus, and some other weight-related health issues. Check with your vet about how much your dog should be eating every day, and stick to that amount.
Golden retrievers are large dogs, and while they make great pets, if they’re not trained, they can become unmanageable. Your dog needs to know some basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “go lay down.” This will make it easier to manage them and keep them from becoming a nuisance to you and your house guests.
If you aren’t an experienced dog owner (and even if you are) it’s a good idea to take your dog to an obedience class. These courses are designed to teach you how to communicate with your dog, and they can make a world of difference in your relationship with your dog. Check your local pet supply store, animal shelter, and vet’s office for information about obedience classes in your area.
Give Them Baths
Bathing your golden retriever is an important part of maintaining their beautiful coat. But unlike humans, dogs don’t need baths every day or even every week. Instead, bathe your dog only when they need it – when they get into something dirty or start smelling noticeably “doggy.”
Golden retrievers were bred to be water dogs, so their thick double coat repels water. Make sure when you’re wetting your dog down and when you’re rinsing out the shampoo that you are thorough and get all the way down through the undercoat. Brush your dog out while they’re still damp to avoid any tangling in their fur.
Check Their Health
Unlike humans, dogs can’t tell us when they feel bad, so you’ll need to be sure to keep a close eye on your dog’s health. If you notice their behavior change suddenly, take them to a vet. And when you’re interacting with your dog on an everyday basis, keep an eye out for danger signs.
When you’re petting your dog, look for any new lumps or bumps and areas that they flinch when you touch. Check their ears regularly to make sure they look clean and don’t smell bad; golden retrievers are prone to ear infections. And be sure to take your dog for regular checkups at the vet and get them routine flea and heartworm meds.
Give Them Exercise
Dogs that aren’t getting enough exercise can become unruly, unhealthy, and destructive. Golden retrievers are not the highest energy breed, but they do still need some exercise to keep them happy and healthy. You should aim to get them about an hour of vigorous activity every day to keep them healthy.
Take your dog for a walk every morning and/or evening; not only will this keep them healthy, it’ll have great benefits for you. You can also throw a ball or Frisbee with your dog in the back yard. If you have a dog park nearby, take your dog there for some great socialization and playtime.
Golden retrievers have thick, gorgeous coats, but those coats do require some maintenance. Make sure to brush them every day to prevent tangling and reduce shedding some. Look for a high-quality brush that will remove extra hair without tugging or scratching your dog’s skin.
You also need to be sure to keep their nails cut to an appropriate length. Long nails can break, which is painful and can lead to a risk of infection. If you aren’t comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, you can take them to a vet or groomer and have them do it for you.
Learn More About Raising a Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are amazing pets who can bring joy and companionship to your home. Knowing the right method of raising a golden retriever will ensure that your best friend is happy, healthy, and well-trained.
If you’d like to learn more about raising pets, check out the rest of our site. We have information about dogs and cats on every topic from food to training. Check out our articles about pet health care today to make sure your best friend is as healthy as possible.