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Health Requirements

Contains

Vaccinations

Parasite Prevention

Grooming

Dental

Exercise

Nutrition

Golden Retriever Puppy

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are required so your puppy is protected against some nasty diseases that they can pick up in the outside world.

 

Puppies should get their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks with their breeder, their second at 10-12 weeks and then one last booster at 14-16 weeks.

This is the vaccination schedule that most vets still follow. However, some vets are only doing the first 2 vaccinations as part of an early socialisation vaccination schedule. This is to get your puppy out and about as soon as possible as part of their socialisation journey.

When you get your puppy home at 8 weeks old, it is still very important that you get them out in safe, low dog traffic environments to start socialising them. Please read our page on socialisation for more information on this.

 

After the initial puppy vaccinations, most vets offer a yearly vaccination. If you’re worried about over vaccination you can ask your vet for a titre test to check if your dog is still covered from the last vaccination.

Parasite Prevention

Internal

(Roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm, whipworm & heartworm)

 

Puppies should be wormed at 2,4,6,8,10, and 12 weeks of age. After that they should be wormed monthly until 6 months old.

 

After 6 months old they should be wormed every 3 months.

 

We use Milbemax for worming

 

External

(Fleas, ticks, mites, lice)

External parasite treatments are used monthly as prevention.

 

Usually, I only treat for these parasites if my dogs have them, which is very rare for me and I consistently do body checks.

 

If you live in a common tick area (such as along the coast or in the bush) I suggest using a preventative treatment. Same goes for if you have a camping trip or visit a parasite prone area.

 

If your dog gets fleas, it’s very important to treat every animal you own, wash all bedding and vacuum daily. Fleas can be very hard to get rid of once you have them.

 

If you have fleas and ticks in your area, it will be easier to use an all-in-one treatment such as Nexguard Spectra which is a monthly treatment that covers everything, internal and external parasites.

Grooming

Grooming is important for a number of reasons.

  • Keep the coat free of tangles Brushing out loose hair and undercoat

  • Checking for lumps, scratches and external parasites

  • Maintaining skin and coat health

Golden Retrievers do shed a lot and require a fair amount of grooming maintenance.

 

Sometimes puppies can get puppy pimples that you’ll notice when you bring them home, puppies will usually grow out of this. They may also have the “puppy itches” while they get used to their new environment and the changes of season. This isn’t a worry unless they have red skin, hot spots, scabs etc.

 

Brushing

Brushing daily will reduce the amount of hair that you have around the house. I like to use a pin brush, boar bristle brush, comb and an undercoat rake for heavy shedding (don’t use a furminator or anything similar as they cut the coat out) I always use coat conditioning spray before I brush my dogs. The best method to brush your dog is “line brushing."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bathing

When bathing ensure that you use a good “puppy” shampoo. Puppies have different PH levels in their skin and coat which makes them very sensitive. Try to “clog” the ear hole by putting the ear over the top and a finger over the ear hole. Getting water in the ears can create ear infections.

 

Using a good conditioner is also important. Conditioning helps restore natural oils and brushing will be easier as the hair will just slide out.

 

I use plush puppy with my dogs at home which works well.

Drying

At drying time make sure that the coat is completely dry, this will prevent the coat from matting and forming infections. Pay extra attention between the toes and underfoot as dogs can get fungal infections from wet paws. Also make sure that you dry the tail, I like to dry it first, this prevents frozen tail (a condition where the dogs tail is limp because the muscles are cold) It’s great to get puppy used to the blow dryer at an early age, starting by turning it on very low and away from the body, then slowly bringing it closer and turning it up higher.

 

Clipping

The only part of a golden retriever that should be shaved are their paw pads. Keeping the paw pads nice and short will prevent grass seeds getting stuck and also helps your dog get some grip on slippery surfaces.

 

Golden retrievers are a double coated breed and there are a few reasons as to why we don’t shave their coats:

  • It doesn’t reduce shedding.

  • It won’t cool them down; shaving will actually make them hotter. The texture of the softer undercoat attracts the sun, and the guard hairs are removed which protect our dogs from the heat and insect bites.

  • This really ruins the coat, and it won’t grow back the same.

 

If your golden is a companion and not a show dog, the main thing you need to worry about with trimming is the feet.

 

Goldens who show get a “show groom” which means we trim the ears, paws, chest and tails​.

Below is "Sam" BISS. Aust Ch. Fernfall Street Talk
Owned by Jane Fall - Fernfall Golden Retrievers

 

 

 

Nails

Nail clipping should be done regularly to prevent the blood supply called the “quick” from growing too long, in turn meaning you cannot cut your dog’s nails short.

 

Dogs shouldn’t be heard tip tapping across the floorboards. When dogs have long nails, it changes the shape of the foot and the way they walk, this can create long term health and joint issues. Usually having your dog walk on concrete is not enough to keep nails short.

 

The more often you trim your dog's nails the shorter the quick will get as it recedes when you cut near it. Try not to cut the quick as it will bleed and it’s not pleasant for the dog, you can put flour or styptic powder on the nail if this happens to stop the bleeding.

 

Try to trim nails once a week to prevent them from getting long. If you don’t feel comfortable or the dog has black nails (this makes the quick hard to see) you can get your vet or groomer to cut them.

Electric nail files for dogs are also very useful, or an appropriate dremel, which is what I prefer to use.

 

Eyes & Ears

Your dog’s eyes should always be clean and not red.

 

Eyes shouldn’t be red or have any yellow or green discharge, if they do it’s important that you see a vet ASAP, anything to do with the eye should be treated as an emergency

 

Ears shouldn’t have a yucky smell, they should be pale pink and clear of any discharge. If this isn’t the case or you see your dog shaking their head/pawing at their ear, it could be an ear infection and you need to see a vet.

 

If you find any rashes, scabs, cuts, parasites on your dog it’s important that you have a vet checkup to prevent any further issues.

Grooming Brushes
Show Golden Retriever
Dog Nail Clipping

Dental

80 percent of dogs get some form of dental disease over the age of 3.

Puppy teeth

We need to start good habits at a young age. You can start giving your puppy age-appropriate dental sticks, brushing their teeth with water and a baby toothbrush or appropriate RAW bones (wings, necks, ribs, tails, brisket and soup bones.) Make sure that when your puppy/dog has a long-lasting treat that they are supervised and when the entire thing can fit in their mouth, take it away.

 

Adult Teeth

When puppies have all of their adult teeth you can start using dog toothpaste to brush their teeth, feed dental sticks daily or appropriate raw bones a few times a week. Prevention is better than cure and dental cleans can be very expensive.

 

Avoid

Until your puppy gets all of their adult teeth around 6-7 months old, it’s important that you don’t give them anything too hard that can break baby teeth or rip them out. Some things to avoid are; dental treats, unless they specifically say that they’re for puppy, they have a warning on them that they’re not for puppies under 6 months old. This is because they can pull baby teeth out prematurely.

 

Treats that are too hard like goat horns, antlers, cow hooves and large weight bearing bones.

Exercise

There are two types of exercise that are important for our puppies, Physical and Mental. It’s important that we meet both of these exercise needs, a bored and under exercised dog can develop behaviour problems such as becoming destructive and loud.

 

Physical

We want to make sure that our dogs get enough physical exercise, so they stay fit and healthy, but at the same time you don’t want to over exercise them. A dog who is walked for hours every day will expect to be walked for hours every single day, sometimes we just want to spend a day at home, and we don’t want our dogs to be bouncing off the walls when they miss one walk.

 

For puppies, it’s important that we don’t over exercise them as their growth plates haven’t closed yet and they have very fragile bones, making it easy to injure themselves. The general rule of thumb for walks is 5 minutes per month of age. An 8 week old puppy can go for a 5 minute walk at the MOST. Each month you can add an extra 5 minutes onto that walk. Walking twice a day is fine. Make sure you let them do lots of sniffing, this is mentally tiring and remember, the walk is not just for you, it’s for your dog to also enjoy.

 

The best way to exercise your puppy is to let them self-exercise. This means letting them out in the backyard to run, sniff and explore. This way they’re not being pushed beyond their limit.

 

Swimming is also a non-weight bearing exercise and is a great physical and mental workout.

 

Avoid

There are a few things that you should avoid with your puppy until their growth plates are closed and they’re fully developed (usually around 18 months for Goldens.)

  • Jogging or running with them

  • Jumping on and off couches/beds

  • High impact sports (agility, flyball etc)

  • Sliding around on floorboards/tiles

  • Excessive ball throwing

  • Long walks

 

Mental

Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise and is very important to prevent behavioural problems caused by a boredom. Mental stimulation is about finding ways for our puppies to use their brain power.

Some kinds of mental exercise include:

  • Training sessions

  • Puzzle toys

  • Scent games

Mental stimulation is much more tiring for our dogs than physical exercise. It’s especially good when you can’t go out for a walk, it’s rainy day or you need to leave your puppy home alone.

 

If you want a well-behaved puppy you need to put an effort in to doing a training session or two every day. Even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes (puppies have a very short attention span so sessions need to be short and FUN!)

 

I also use a lot of puzzle toys in our house, some that I recommend are:

  • Kongs

  • Toppls

  • Licki Mats

  • DIY puzzle games

  • Nina Ottoson puzzle toys

Nutrition

Food

From the day you bring puppy home it’s imperative that your puppy is fed a balanced diet so they grow up strong and healthy. They need the correct nutrient levels to do so. Hopefully your breeder is feeding a high quality diet, it’s important that for the first few days you feed what the breeder is feeding. Puppies have very sensitive tummies and can get the runs easily. If you want to change their diet it should be done gradually over a week. We feed our puppies and dogs a mix of Royal Canin and Lyka.

 

 

 

I also like to add toppers such as; sardines in spring water, puréed vegetables and raw egg a couple of times a week.

 

Supplements

It’s also important to add a good probiotic, omega oil and vitamin C for our Goldens as they’re a large breed dog that needs extra support for their joints.

I use inside out probiotics, natural animal solutions omega oil and rose hip vital for vitamin C.

 

Feeding guidelines

It’s very important that you follow the feeding guidelines for your dog food. If you feed too little or too much your dog can suffer from serious health issues in the long run.

 

Your dog should have a visible waistline and you should be able to feel their ribs without pushing in too far.

 

 

Puppies should be fed 3 times a day until 6 months old, then you can drop it down to 2 times a day.

As your puppy grows, feeding guidelines change.

Sometimes our puppies go through fussy stages and it’s important for you not to give in and change your dog's food. Remember you chose a balanced, healthy food and you want them to eat it.

 

When you feed your puppy, keep the bowl down for 10 minutes, if they don’t eat it within 10 minutes it comes back up and they get the exact same thing next mealtime. No treats in between or extra toppers.

 

Make sure puppy has clean water available to them all throughout the day.

Dog Body Condition Chart
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