Golden retrievers are one of the most beautiful dog breeds, inside and out! Their happy and energetic personalities make them loved by their owners. As their owner, you should be doing everything you can to keep your golden retriever healthy. Not only is a healthy retriever a happy retriever, but it is easier to prevent a health problem than to solve one. By regularly checking in on your retriever’s health, you can help prevent major problems with your retriever. So today, we present your complete golden retriever health guide!
The Basics of Golden Retriever Health
While it may seem daunting at first, golden retriever care is actually quite simple. It will, however, require your time and effort. Below are the 5 main pillars of your retrievers health:
- Your Retriever’s mental health
- Grooming + Bathing needs
- High quality dog food
- Regular, intense exercise
- Up-to-date shots + vet visits
By keeping up with these 5 aspects of your retriever’s health, you can be sure that your retriever will be as healthy as possible. So, let’s discuss the specifics of these pillars!
Golden Retriever Mental Health
While most people only think of health as physical, it’s important to look after your retriever’s mental health as well. Not only does your retriever’s mental health affect their personality, it can also take a physical toll. Depressed retrievers often experience a lack of appetite, low-energy, weight gain, and a general disinterest in doing things.
Mental health is particularly important for golden retrievers. Because they are such an intelligent, loving breed, they have a need for love and attention. Retrievers need to feel that they are part of the family. In addition, you’ll want to make sure your retriever does not get too bored. If the two of you are settled into a routine, try mixing things up! Just like you, your retriever will get tired of doing the same routine every single day.
Retriever Bathing / Grooming Needs
Like mental health, bathing and grooming don’t always get brought up when talking about golden retriever health. However, regular bathing and grooming is essential to prevent health problems in your retriever. Skin conditions, such as canine apoctic dermatitis, can develop if your retriever’s coat is not properly cleaned.
Fortunately, golden retriever grooming is fairly straight-forward. Your retriever’s grooming needs include:
- Brushing their coat about 1 – 2 times per week, more often in the summer and less in the winter
- Bathing your retriever 1 time per month, again more-or-less often depending on the season.
- Applying dry shampoo in between baths to prevent dirt build-up
- Regular trimming of their nails to prevent pain and blisters, which can easily become infected
- Brushing your retriever’s teeth regularly
While this list seems like a lot, it is easy to get into a routine that keeps your retriever’s grooming under control. For our full guide, check out our article on golden retriever grooming.
Feeding Your Retriever High-Quality Food
Arguably the most important aspect of care for your golden retriever is the food you feed them. While any dog food brand will have nutrients, others are clearly better than others. Instead of doing research on specific brands, use these tricks to figure out whether a brand is quality or not:
- Some sort of meat is the first listed ingredient. The first ingredient is the main ingredient, and quality dog food uses real meat. If grain or corn is the first ingredient, stay away!
- Look for a “No fillers” label. Even if meat is the first ingredient, the dog food could still have a bunch of corn and rice in it, which does not have any nutrients for your dog. “No fillers” means that the food does not contain these no-nutrient ingredients.
- Find “Protein added” or “Vitamins added”. Quality brands of dog food will already have nutrients from their quality ingredients, but it never hurts to have additional protein or vitamins added. For retrievers, protein is very important. In addition, calcium and phosphorous are important as well for bone and muscle development.
Keep Up with Your Retriever’s Exercise Needs
For golden retrievers in particular, exercise is very important. Because this breed originated as a work dog, retrievers have incredible energy and physical ability. Walking your retriever does count as exercise, but your retriever will also need to run and jump. By the end of a workout, your retriever should be tired and panting.
Fortunately, it is not hard to get your retriever to exercise! Not only do they love to run and play, they’re also easily excited. More often than not, it will be more difficult to get them to stop exercising than to start. As your retriever gets older, they will need more and more exercise to stay healthy. Adult retrievers require 1 – 2 hours of exercise daily, while pups require less. For our full guide, check out our piece on golden retriever exercise.
Keeping up with Vet Visits
Even if you keep a close eye on your retriever’s health, certain conditions and health issues are inevitable. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure your retriever is receiving regular check-ups from the vet. Not only is your vet an expert on golden retriever health, they can also check for issues that are not obvious.
At these visits, your vet will check that your retriever is up-to-date on shots, monitor their weight, blood pressure, and ensure that their skin and coat are healthy. In addition, your vet will be able to recommend an exact fix for any health problems, saving you the trouble of trying to figure it out yourself.
While this guide has given you the basics of how to care for your golden retriever, there are still many points that have not been covered. So, we’ve put together a few of the most popular questions we’ve received regarding golden retriever health.
How Do I Prevent Weight Gain in my Retriever?
Believe it or not, weight gain is a big problem with golden retrievers. While golden retriever do love exercise, they also love naps and will always beg for food. Owners, who mean well, sometimes feed their retriever whenever they ask for food – Which is not the correct approach. Ideally, you should only feed your retriever twice daily, or three times with smaller portion sizes.
The best way to prevent weight gain is to simply guess-and-check how much food your retriever needs for their activity level. To do this, weigh them once a week, and adjust their food amount depending on if they gain or lose weight. Remember, a healthy golden retriever weighs between 60-70lbs for females, and 65-75lbs for males. If your retriever if above this, reduce their food until they hit their healthy weight.
How can I Reduce my Retriever’s Anxiety?
When it comes to anxiety in your dog, it’s usually based on some sort of fear. These fears can be the fear of losing you (Separation anxiety) or an anxiety around a specific type of person or event (Trigger-based anxiety). Regardless of the source, the solution is the same: You’ll need to reassure your retriever.
Most owners find the simply giving their retriever some affection and their favorite toy can usually calm them down. However, if your retriever has regular, intense anxiety, this may not be enough. Many owners like to create a safe space for their retriever – Which can be as simple as a soft blanket in a quiet room in the house. This space is simply to calm your retriever down and let them know there’s nothing to be scared of. For more information on dealing with your dog’s anxiety, check out our article: My dog has anxiety – Answered!
What are the Simplest Ways to Exercise a Retriever?
For many people, it can be hard to keep up with such an active dog. However, it’s important not to over-think exercise. For example, a simple game of fetch is great for your retriever – And I promise, they’ll never get tired of bringing the ball back! Fetch is both great for exercise and for your retriever’s mental health. Because they love to do things for you, bringing the ball back will give them a sense of satisfaction.
Golden retriever’s will also have a great time in nature, while getting their daily exercise. Retrievers love to swim and climb, so going on a nature hike with your retriever is a great way for the two of you to have some fun. At the end of the day, you simply want to focus on getting your retriever moving.
How Do I Find the Best Tools to Care for my Retriever?
If you’ve tried looking for various dog-care products, from brushes to shampoos, you’ll know there’s a huge selection. While most products on the shelf are okay, only a select few are going to provide quality care your your retriever. Because of this, it’s important to buy carefully.
To this end, research is key. Of course, all products are going to advertise themselves as the best. Because of this, you’re going to want to rely on real customer reviews and expert opinions, and NOT what the company says about their own product. Real people, who aren’t selling a product, are the most reliable source of information.
Care For Your Golden Retriever
With this guide, you can get started looking after your retriever’s health. As mentioned earlier, these steps are pretty straightforward, and mostly require your time and effort. It’s easy to put off your retriever’s health needs, especially because you don’t see health problems until they start getting bad.
However, keeping up with your retriever’s health will save you headaches in the long run. In addition, proper care for your retriever’s health will keep them happy and energetic, and ensure that they keep that irresistible golden retriever charm!
Have a question that we did not answer? Please comment below or contact us directly – We’ll be happy to help!