Important Things to Remember So That You and Your Puppy are Happy
The following material assumes you have purchased a new puppy from a breeder between the age 8 and 10 weeks old. Your new puppy is so cute and cuddly to play with, but keep in mind he/she is just a baby. Its legs and joints are very fragile and can be easily damaged if dropped even from as little as 2 feet off the ground; or if its legs are pulled too roughly or too abruptly. A puppy has a soft skull just like a human baby during the first few months and can be hurt or injured if something heavy falls on the puppy such as a lamp, a ceramic pot or bowl, a can out of your pantry, and other things around your house. Your puppy is extremely curious and will get into everything if left unattended. That's why if you intend on keeping the puppy in your home, you need to make your home, "puppy safe" and/or consider using crate training.
When you first get your puppy, please be aware that the puppy may be feeling stressed for the first few days. Why? Because it is the first time he/she has spent so much time travelling, this is the first extended amount of time spent in a travel crate; it is the first time truly on its own and not around its siblings or momma; and it is the first time with his/her new family and new home. Your puppy is not sure what to expect, and therefore is naturally stressed and possibly tensed up, and its stomach may be upset as well. This means you can expect the puppy to be timid and shy, maybe not eating much, possibly having diarrhea or throwing up, and cries when you leave him/her alone. This is to be expected, but this condition will improve over the next few days and weeks. As you and your new puppy become more acquainted, and the puppy becomes more accustomed to its new surroundings, your puppy will be fine. You may want to condiser mixing the puppy food you received from your breeder with an equal part of warm water and let it sit for a few minutes so that the dry kibbles will become slightly moist before feeding to your puppy. Continue this with any dry dog food you use for the first few days to help the puppy adapt to its new environment. Also, keep in mind that the food you choose to feed your puppy may be different from what we have been feeding it and this can upset the puppy's stomach and cause a temporary case of diarrhea. If you do choose a different food than what we have been feeding, please mix it with the food we gave you by starting with a very small amount of the new food and then gradually increasing the amount of new food over the next four to five days. This will help the puppy adjust to its new food. In addition, please read on about our suggestions below while making your considerations for the dog food you decide to purchase. The following are a list of other things to keep in mind when you begin this new experience with your new furry family member:
Vet Check: Don’t forget to schedule your Vet Check as soon as you receive your puppy or even ahead of that time taking into consideration your veterinary clinic may not be able to get you in right away. Your licensed veterinarian’s advice will generally be better than we can advise you on medical matters as long as your veterinarian stays in their lane. But please keep in mind that some Vets have a tendency to over vaccinate and medicate a puppy, and claim to be nutritional experts (which they are not), especially if it means they can generate more revenue from your visit. All of the deworming and vaccine treatments will be up to date when you buy a puppy from us (dated on the Dog Health Record Form, which is in the package we give you when you purchase a puppy from us). Be sure to minimize the amount of time you stay at the Vet; don’t let your puppy play with other dogs and animals while at the clinic waiting room or lobby area (hold your puppy or keep it in a travel crate). Your puppy’s immune system and resistance to viral germs and bacteria will take two to three months to build up to a safe level, so please keep this in mind before exposing your puppy to other dogs and cats that do not live in your home, as well as groomers, doggie parks, pet stores, dog schools or training forums, dog shows, etc. Also keep in mind that if you have an inside/outside cat that is allowed to go outside on its own, you should keep your puppy isolated from the cat until your puppy has had all of its vaccination boosters and rabies shot. If the cat is strictly indoors 100% of the time, isolation is not necessary. Your puppy will probably need the following as a suggested regimen of treatments when you schedule your veterinary appointments (please look over and use our suggested schedule that we provided on the enclosed “Dog Health Record” for your puppy). You should take our Health Record and our Breeder’s Veterinary Report to the Vet with you so that the Vet won’t suggest starting all the vaccinations over from the beginning:
- Your puppy will need deworming treatments at about 9-10 weeks of age, 13 weeks, 5 months, and then every 6 months thereafter (we use Panacur or Safe-Guard in a 10% liquid suspension which is very safe and very effective for almost all worm types except heartworms and a type of tape worm transmitted by fleas). Please refer to the Dog Health Record that we include with your puppy purchase for a schedule of recommended treatments for your puppy.
- You will definitely want to give your puppy a monthly heartworm preventative such as HeartGard Plus or generic (containing Ivermectin and Pyrantel Pamoate). You will also need to treat your puppy with a flea and tick preventative such as Fronline Plus or generic (containing Fipronil and S-Methoprene). HeartGard Plus and Frontline Plus have been around for over 40 years, have been tried and tested thoroughly by the public, and have a very low percentage of adverse side-effects. Both of these preventatives are very important to keep track of and be consistent with so that they will be effective treatments for your dog throughout the year. We do not recommend the following preventative medications due to their well-known adverse side effects: Bravecto (oral), Interceptor (oral), NexGard (oral), Trifexis (oral), Simparica (oral), Sentinel Flavor Tabs (oral), Credelio (oral), Revolution (topical), Senergy (topical), and Revolt (topical). Don’t let your Vet convince you otherwise because their motivation is often connected to their pocketbook. For more information on heartworm and flea and tick preventatives for your Golden, there is a specific discussion of this contained in our blog article entitled, "Vetting your Veterinarian"; scroll down to the Heartworm, Flea and Tick... heading
- If you are taking your puppy home from us between 8 and 10 weeks of age, it will need two more rounds of a 5-way combination vaccination boosters (the initial round of vaccinations and treatments for your puppy are shown on the Dog Health Record form that we provide). If you are getting a puppy older than 10 weeks, the second round of vaccinations and treatments will already have been administerd to the puppy (if purchased from us). Please refer to your dog's Health Record form for the recommended follow-up vaccination and treatment schedule.
- Your puppy will need a rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age, then another one a year later, then every three years after that. Rabies shots must be administered by your Vet. However, if your puppy is being shipped to you by airlines and is 12 weeks of age or older, the first rabies vaccination will already be administered and recorded on the your dog's Health Record form.
House Potty Training: This is not as hard as you may think, but it does take your devotion and persistence for the first 7 to 10 days after receiving your puppy. The key points to remember are: (1) ALWAYS take your puppy outside to potty immediately after the following: after waking up from sleeping; after every feeding; after bathing; and after playing fun and games with you inside your house. (2) ALWAYS take your puppy out the same door of your house and to the same pee/potty area in your yard; this will teach your puppy to communicate with you when it wants to be taken out to potty; it will go and stand in front of that same door. If you are crate training, you may want to keep the crate somewhat near the door where it will go out to potty. (3) If you start to see your puppy with its nose down and seems to be looking for something in various directions, or moving in small circles, grab your puppy immediately and take it outside fast. When you take it out, remember you are training, so stay focused. Tell your puppy, "Go potty!" Don't let the outside episode turn into a play session. This is your puppy's potty training and you don't want to confuse it. Do not scold your puppy if it pees/potties in front of the door where you take it out to potty. That means you failed at your job, not the puppy. If it pees/potties somewhere else in your house and you catch it either in the act or immediately after, tell it, "NO!" with a sharp, stern voice and then immediately take it out the designated door and over to the pee/potty area of your yard. After a few days of consistently following this pattern, your puppy will begin telling you when it needs to go out. After a few months when the puppy's bowels and bladder grow in size, it will be able to hold itself and then you can take your puppy out on your schedule rather than his or her urges. As an adult dog, outdoor potty times will usually be only twice a day (occasionally a third). All this will occur sooner than you think if you put forth a little effort.
Diarrhea: If your puppy has runny stools after you bring him home, this is most likely due to stress, which causes their stomach to produce higher levels of digestive acids. The stress is due to the new surroundings, being apart from its litter mates, momma, and the breeder family; different water, maybe different food, and a new set of faces and family members to adjust to. If the stress is not relieved and the diarrhea properly addressed, this can lead to bloody stools caused by protozoans in the intestines. These protozoans are always there in all dogs and puppies, but they are in a dormant state. Once they become active by increased acid in the runny fecal matter, the protozoans attach themselves to the intestinal walls and begin to reproduce. As this process begins to happen you will see bloody and/or mucousy stools. If this occurs, you will need to see a Vet to get oral medications such as Albon and Metronidazole. So, you don't want to allow the diarrhea to progress to the bloody stool stage. Pure canned pumpkin (100% pure; no spices) makes an excellent additive to the puppy's food to help bind up the stools. Puppies love the taste; you mix in a dollop the size of a lime per each feeding and refrigerate the rest until the next feeding (continue for at least 3 to 4 days and repeat if necessary).
Fragileness: The puppy should always be held by an adult when on a couch, bed, or chair. Be prepared for the puppy to try to make a lunging leap out of your grasp or off the furniture if you let it. This can injure a young puppy. Hold on to the puppy at all times, and put it on the floor when you're ready to focus on something else.
Children: If a child wants to hold the puppy while it is still young, please have the child sit on the floor and tell them how fragile the baby puppy is; then let the puppy be in the child's lap while sitting on the floor. Letting the child walk around carrying the puppy is not recommended for the puppy's safety.
Dog Food: Please note that the better the quality of the food you feed your puppy, the healthier it will be in its elder years. Below is what we feed the puppies starting about 4 weeks of age. These dog foods are super premium quality and we have had very excellent results after many years of usage with all of our puppies and adult dogs. Both of these can be used throughout the life of your puppy. However, if you want to change dog foods once a year for variety, please do a careful research on the dog food quality so that you can make a good choice. We have written articles that will teach you how to select a good quality dog food, what to look for, and what you should avoid. The articles can be found here: our dog food recommendations and, our thoughts on grain-free dog food. If you are changing from one dog food to another, please remember to keep some of your previous dog food so you can transition slowly to the new dog food. This will avoid diarrhea during the change.
||Victor Super Premium Dog Food
Professional Formula (in the purple bag)
Mfd. by Mid America Pet Food
Professional Formula (website)
- If you decide to use our recommended choice of Victor Professional Formula dog food for your puppy, the estimated feeding amount per day is shown below. The amounts shown below should be divided up into three feedings per day up until about 4 months old (due to the small size of the puppy's stomach). Then from about 4 months to 12 months, divide the daily amount into two feedings. After 12 months, one feeding per day of the quantities shown below is usually adequate.
- Feeding Guidelines (standard 8 oz. measuring cups/day) – for multiple feedings in a single day, divide the values in the table below by the number of feedings per day; example: if your puppy weighs 15 pounds at 10 weeks of age, you want to feed the puppy approximately 2 1/4 cups per day (estimated from the table below). Divide this by 3 if feeding 3 times a day, so each feeding will be 3/4 of a cup at the morning, noon, and evening feedings. If you are only going to feed twice a day, each feeding will be a little more than 1 cup in the morning and evening.
|FEEDING GUIDELINES (8 oz. cups per day):
|Age of Puppy
||6 – 16 weeks
||4 – 8 months
||8 – 12 months
||12 – 24 months
|5 – 10
||1 1/4 – 2
||1 – 1 2/3
||3/4 – 1 1/3
||2/3 – 1
|10 – 20
||2 – 2 1/2
||1 1/2 – 2
||1 1/4 – 1 1/2
||1 – 1 1/4
|20 – 30
||2 1/2 – 3 1/2
||2 – 2 3/4
||1 1/2 – 2 1/4
||1 1/4 – 1 3/4
|30 – 40
||3 1/2 – 5
||2 3/4 – 4
||2 1/4 – 3 1/4
||1 3/4 - 2 1/2
|40 – 60
||5 – 6 3/4
||4 – 5
||3 1/4 – 4
||2 1/2 – 3 1/4
|60 – 80
||6 3/4 – 7 1/4
||5 – 5 3/4
||4 – 4 2/3
||3 1/4 – 3 3/4
|80 – 100
||5 3/4 – 7
||4 2/3 – 5 3/4
||3 3/4 – 4 1/2
|100 – 120
||5 3/4 – 6 1/4
||4 1/2 – 5
The above feeding guide is for the caloric content of the Victor Professional dog food (shown above in the purple bag). If you choose another dog food, please refer to the feeding guidelines on the package labeling of what you buy. And remember, the guidelines are only a starting point to estimate how much to feed your dog. You will need to adjust the actual amounts based on the activity level and metabolism of your particular dog, bearing in mind that you want to keep a Golden Retriever puppy on the lean side for its first 18 to 24 months (see the discussion below under the heading, "Dog Weight").
Typically, the pet food you buy at the supermarket is not good for your puppy. You may say, "Well that is all we can afford!" Ask yourself this, "Would you pay hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars to save your pet in the event that it got very sick and your vet said it needed an emergency treatment or surgery?" A better grade of dog food can be considered preventative maintenance and will add years to your puppy's life; so you either pay gradually with a premium quality dog food, or you may find yourself paying one big payment to the Vet later on. Pet foods that have a lot of grains and starches in the ingredients are not good for dogs. Dogs are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. Their digestive tract is not as refined as a human's; therefore please don't feed your puppy table food scraps. A lot of you will say, "We have always done this and our pet is just fine; if it's good enough for our family, it's good enough for the dog!" Actually, that's not really true. A human's digestive tract ranges from about 20 to 30 feet long; your dog's is about 3 to 5 feet long, depending on age. The dog's intestines cannot process foods as efficiently as humans can due to the differences in stomach acids and enzymes. There are a lot of varied opinions on which dog food is best, and there is no perfect answer. We recommended you keep the following points in mind when choosing your dog food:
- Read the guaranteed nutrient analysis on the packaging: Protein content should be 23-32% (min); Crude Fat content should be 12-18% (min); Crude Fiber should be less than 3-5% (max); Moisture content should be less than 10-11% (max). For Golden Retriever puppies up to about 18 months old, you want the calorie content to be between 300 and 380 calories per cup. If the calories are too high, your puppy will gain weight too fast, which will be hard on its bone structure and may lead to hip dysplasia.
- Read the ingredients on the packaging: The ingredient order tells you how much of it is in the product; items appearing first have the most, and as you go down the list, their content gets less and less. Therefore, you want to see meat products listed first (meat or meat meals). You do not want to see any type of corn, wheat, or soy listed by themselves or in other forms such as meal form, glutens, or as byproducts of those. Rice and barley are better than corn or wheat; you do not want to see beet pulp, or brewer's rice. Brewer's rice is a very low quality rice byproduct, which has little or no nutritional value. Dry dog food is preferred over canned, wet dog food for the simple reason that the dry kibbles will help keep your dog's teeth cleaner compared to canned, and the protein and fat levels are typically higher in dry food products. If you feel your dog seems to prefer softer food like canned, you can moisten the dry kibbles with a little warm water.
- All dog foods have some kind of food preservative in them. Chemical preservatives such as BHT, BHA, or ethoxyquin are not good. Look for tocopherols (vitamin E) or vitamin C (ascorbates and palmitates) used as preservatives. The shelf life is shorter when preserved with tocopherols and ascorbates, but the nutritional value will be better for your dog. Just don't buy more than what your dog can consume within about 30 days.
- You may want to consider changing your dog food formula about once every four to five months (rotate between chicken, lamb, beef, salmon and other meat sources). A particular dog food may look like it has great ingredients and your dog may love it, but no dog food is going to have every necessary ingredient that your dog requires for good health over the span of its life. Rotating your selection of dog food insures that your dog is getting a broader variety of the needed nutrition. However, don't change the food when you run out. Make sure you are able to transition slowly from one dog food to the other by mixing the two and gradually increasing the amount of the new dog food. This will minimize diarrhea, which occurs often when dog foods are changed too abruptly.
- We recommend dog food brands such as Victor, Solid Gold, Precise Holistic Complete, Fromm Gold Nutritionals, Wellness Super5Mix, Innova EVO, and Wellness CORE. Examine the ingredients on these and you will know why. Expect to pay about $1.50 to $2.00 a pound for these super premium dog foods, but you should also expect that your pet has a far greater chance of living out its maximum lifespan when feeding it good nutritional food products. A very good alternative to the more expensive brands is the Victor brand Professional Formula (in the purple bag), or the Elite Canine Formula (in the lime green bag). These costs between $1.10 and $1.25 a pound (at chewy.com as of Oct 2021) and for the price, you will not find a better quality dog food. We strongly recommend to keep your golden puppy on the lean side by feeding it a high quality dog food and monitoring its weight and shape of its body regularly.
Dog Weight: It is extremely important not to let your puppy gain weight too fast, especially Golden Retriever puppies. It is not uncommon to see hip dysplasia in this breed resulting in premature lameness and/or arthritic conditions. Hip dysplasia: (1) is often caused by early spay or neutering before one year of age, (2) can develop due to over stressing the puppy’s skeletal frame before it has a chance to fully mature until 18 to 24 months of age, (3) can be brought on when a dog carries more weight than its bone structure can handle, (4) can develop from a past injury to the hips, knees, eldows, or shoulders, or (5) can be genetically inherited from the parents and grandparents of a dog. Most veterinarians, professional organizations, and other so called "dog experts" will claim genetics is the most common cause of dysplasia, but that claim is not based on the true patterns, experiences, and findings among Golden Retriever breeders and owners. The most common causes according to the most recent observations and findings of the latter is clearly, early spaying or neutering, followed by cause Nos. (2) and (3) listed above. That means decisions and allowances you make for your puppy at an early age are vitally important to the quality of life you and your puppy will enjoy as it ages. That’s because a Golden Retriever’s bone structure does not mature quickly while in its developmental stage, and its weight gain can occur very quickly compared to other breeds. Therefore, waiting until after 18 to 24 months of age before spaying or neutering, and keeping your puppy on the lean side during this time will help insure that its skeletal frame and joints can develop normally without being stressed by carrying around too much weight. How lean should you keep your puppy? Try to maintain an hourglass shape between the rib cage and hips. If you see a bulge between the ribs and hips in the stomach area, cut back on the amount of food given each day. If on the other hand you can easily see individual ribs and the hips look a little boney, then increase the amount of food given each day. Maintain this physique until your puppy is 18 to 24 months old. In addition, it is very important not to allow your dog carry too much weight as an adult. This too can accelerate the onset of dysplasia in the hips and joints. In order to know the proper weight for your dog as an adult, ask the breeders for the weight of the Sire and Dam of the puppy, and this will be a good starting point to determine a healthy weight for your puppy as an adult dog.
Water Bowl: Change your dog's water every day. Just because the bowl has water in it does not mean you can walk past it. Fresh water is a must. Washing both the food bowl and water bowl in the dishwasher on a regular basis will help prevent bacterial and parasitic infections. Also, you'll notice that your dog will appreciate the fresh cold water compared to water that's been sitting out for a day. A polished stainless steel or glass bowl is preferable to plastic or synthetic bowls because the latter are porous and can develop bacterial and parasitic growth more easily; stainless steel and glass bowls are not porous.
Crate Training: We recommend crate training for your puppy, especially if it is going to be an indoor pet. It provides a place of shelter, protection, and comfort where your dog knows he can go to be safe, and not get into trouble. It should also be the place where he/she sleeps; not your bed. A dog that sleeps in your bed will create more problems than you need. An animal will always be an animal and will never be as hygienically clean as humans. Please read our article on, "How to Crate Train Your Puppy" that is included with your paperwork and also on our website.
The Puppy's Chewing Habits: Your puppy will try to chew on and swallow just about anything especially during the stage while it is teething. It will chew on rocks, sticks, bugs, leaves, string, paper, electric appliance cords, small toys, etc. Try to keep your puppy play area free of things that the puppy could choke on or get shocked from. Provide it with its own chew toys selected by you. Good quality rawhides are an OK item and the puppy will love it. Rawhides will be chewed, digested and passed. Always supervise your puppy through observation when giving a rawhide or chew toy of any kind. When your puppy grows to an adult, you will still need to provide it a selection of chew toys. Goldens like to chew, but they will be completely happy with chewing what you give them and not your things, if you make sure you give them a regular supply of things to chew. Discard and replace chew toys that have become ripped and shredded, or foul smelling. They will try to eat the stuffing and other pieces if unsupervised and should be taken away. Between 15 and 20 weeks of age, your Golden Retriever puppy will begin losing its razor-sharp puppy teeth (and loose them very quickly) to make way for its adult canine teeth. No need to panic, this is normal and you may even see a little blood at the gum lines.
Biting (mouthing): The puppy will want to chew on your clothing or "mouth" your hand and fingers. This is not vicious biting; it is the puppy's way to communicate and play with you, while it is teething. However, you do not have to tolerate hard puppy mouthing. Tell the puppy sharply, "NO BITE!", while holding its mouth closed for about 5 seconds. A mild rap on the nose with one finger may also get the point across. Of course, the puppy will do it again so you need to repeat this process several times. You will want to have a puppy chew toy ready to place in its mouth, but make sure you have rubbed the toy on your body quite a bit (your hands, your neck, your feet, etc; or you can take some of your recently worn clothing that you have not washed yet and rub it on the chew toy). This will make the toy have your scent on it and the puppy will like it more. Keep in mind that your puppy loves you and it loves your natural odor. Its mouth is the method it uses to communicate its love for you by licking and lightly closing its teeth against your hand and fingers. The mouthing feels good to the puppy (sort of like baby teething) so you need to have plenty of things for it to chew on that are you are OK with. However, if you give it an old shoe of yours, the puppy may not know how to tell the difference between your good shoes and the old one, so, this is probably not a good idea. One other thing, while the puppy is growing, you don't want to create a "hard palate" in your dog. A "hard palate" (insensitive mouth) is where the dog bites you too hard (in your dog's mind, this is playful; but to you it hurts). A hard palate begins to form in your dog when you offer it things like rope toys and it plays tug-of-war with you or other dogs. He or she will yank and yank and pull and tug away… all the while making his mouth and bite less sensitive. Therefore, you may want to avoid these kinds of toys.
Toenail Clipping: The puppy’s toenails get long and sharp and they can scratch you or the flooring in your home. It is best to cut them about once every week or two. When you cut them, do not cut too much off the nail or the puppy will “yelp” and the nail may bleed. If this happens, putting sugar or cornstarch on the tip of the toenail will coagulate the blood faster to stop the bleeding. To know how much to trim off, hold the paw and nail up to a bright light or bright window in your home so you can see the translucent structure inside the nail. The tip will be a milky translucent color and you will be able to see where the pink colored “quick” starts just beneath the translucent tip. Do not cut into the pink colored quick area and leave a small margin of nail beyond the pink quick. For a puppy under 3 months of age, you are only going to be trimming about 1/16 of an inch off the tip at most. Additional trimming of the tip will be needed as the puppy grows. Sharp clippers are essential so as not to crush the nail when cutting. When you hear your puppy’s toenails go, “tap, tap, tap…” as it runs or walks across a hard surface floor in your home, this is a good reminder for you that its ready for a toenail clipping.
Grooming: A Golden Retriever tends to shed hair most of the year in the form of fine hair clumps, and this will be heavier twice a year. During heavy shedding, daily brushing with a wire dog brush will greatly help keep this to a minimum. At other times, weekly brushing will normally suffice. A Golden’s ears need to be cleaned about twice a month, or more often if an odor can be detected in the ear canal. A good ear cleaner for dogs is available in most stores. After 6 months of age, you may begin to see knotting of your puppy’s hair in certain places, especially behind or under the ears, around the neck, and on the hind quarters near the tail where that fine, feathery, and wispy fur is. If you stay on top of this, you can keep it all brushed out with a wire dog grooming brush. But in some cases, you may need to just cut it out with a pair of scissors if it is too ratty and knotted.
Teeth Cleaning: A Golden’s teeth need to be visually inspected for yellow or brown stains about twice a month and brushed or cleaned when these stains begin to appear (usually not before 6 months of age). If you let this go, it can result in more serious problems with the gums, and eventually lead to problems that can affect the heart and other organs. There is a brush that slips over your finger and is made of a rubbery material which may work well for you and you can purchase a toothpaste especially for dogs (do not use human toothpaste). Alternatively, you can buy a 3-way brush that gets the tops and both sides at the same time as it wraps around the dog’s teeth. There is also an all-natural water additive that can reduce tarter build-up; there is also a spray, and a gel that can be used for removing stains and tarter. All of these work well if used regularly. Although a bit more expensive, most Vet clinics offer a teeth cleaning and polishing service which is usually adequate once a year, but sometimes more often and sometimes less often. Inspecting the teeth and the gums yourself can help you decide what is best for your dog. The most important part to professional cleaning is the polishing of the teeth after they are scraped with a dental tool. This is because the dental tool leaves microscopic scratches and crevices on the surface of the teeth which will promote quicker staining and tarter build up if not polished. The one drawback of professional cleaning is the dog most be given anesthesia. Anesthesia should be carefully evaluated for every dog on an individual basis. For more information on this topic, please read our comments about anesthesia under the heading, “Anesthesia”, below. We have also found a wonderful method for cleaning your dog’s teeth yourself that is easy, inexpensive, effective, and tolerable by your dog. In a 50/50 ratio, mix one part fractionated coconut oil with one part hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Then use a cotton ball to firmly rub the front and back sides of the teeth and gums with the mixture. Do this once a week, or more often if you start seeing plaque or tarter buildup of the teeth near the gum lines. Your dog will enjoy the massaging as you use the cotton ball on the teeth and gums.
Bathing: There are mixed opinions about dog bathing (since it can cause dry skin) but we think it is ok to bathe your dog and should be done more often in the summer and less in the winter. In the summer, we use a flea and tick shampoo with aloe that is not harsh and it does not dry out the skin, and when used in combination with other products (like Frontline Plus), this will eliminate fleas and ticks on your dog. You can also use a lavender baby shampoo which is non-drying to your puppy’s skin. Remember that when you bathe the puppy, you do not want to get water in its ears so be very careful to hold its ear flaps tightly over the ear openings while you are cleaning and rinsing the head area. If you begin to smell an odor within the ear canal, use a good ear cleaner for dogs to clean the inside of the ears. Bathing can also be the cause of dry skin if done too frequently. But if you do begin to see signs of dry skin (such as pet dander or white flecks of skin that can be seen when you part the hair), you might want to try the following: wet your hands with water and then place a couple of drops of olive oil on your hands and rub your hands together. Then thoroughly rub this in to your dog’s coat and skin where you see the dander occurring. We have found this works very well and does not make a mess in your house if done sparingly.
A Golden's Affectionate Needs: You will find your golden puppy to be very affectionate. He/she loves to be held and cuddled. A Golden wants to be around you as much as it can; even to just lay at your feet. If your puppy is going to be a house dog, you will learn that after it is potty trained and is growing and maturing, a Golden does not seem to like closed doors in your home. He/she wants to be able to go wherever you go throughout the day if you are home. Keeping your dog in a room with the door closed while you are elsewhere in the home will usually make him/her cry, be very unhappy, and cause anxiety and misbehavior. A Golden can also seem very nosey, will purposely get in your way (for attention) and will want to be in your business. Receive your dog’s affection; a Golden has lots to give; and you know what they say, “best friends stick like glue.” But also keep this important aspect in mind: When you first bring your puppy home, its personality, disposition, and obedience as an adult dog will be molded by you while it’s a puppy, depending on the amount of attention and quality bonding time you give it each day. The more you interact with your Golden puppy while it’s a puppy, the more well-balanced and obedient it will be as an adult.
Exercise Needs: A Golden Retriever needs exercise daily. This should include brisk walks, allowing them to run for short periods. If you do not allow your Golden to walk and run on a daily basis, he/she may become frustrated with too much unexpended energy and begin to show destructive behavior. Goldens are not typically destructive unless they are frustrated, or do not have a supply of chew toys to exercise their teeth and gums. However, you should not start a vigorous or lengthy exercise program for daily routines while your puppy is under 12 months of age. The reason for this is to allow the healthy and normal development of their skeletal frame. Please read the Supplemental Terms and Conditions of our Purchase Agreement for more information on the types of activity you should allow your puppy to do while it is in its developmental stage.
Spaying/Neutering: When or if you decide to have your puppy spayed or neutered, our recommendation is to wait until your dog is two-years of age if possible, or a minimum of at least one year of age for both males and females. In addition for females, if they have not had at least one or more complete, 21-day heat cycle by the time they are one year of age, wait until they complete their first heat cycle before spaying, but not before one year of age. This may come as late as 14-16 months of age for a female Golden, but usually occurs between 8 to 12 months. Before you decide to have your puppy spayed or neutered, please read our blog articles on this topic which can be found on our website. You will find these very eye opening. Many have asked us what affect spaying/neutering will have on the puppy. Our experience is that having this done to your dog can sometimes slow the dog’s metabolism down a bit which means that you will probably need to feed them less to prevent unhealthy wait gain (see our discussion above about feeding your puppy the right amount of food under “Dog Weight”). Some have said that their dog became a “couch potato” after having it spayed or neutered, but we have not seen this drastic of an affect at all in any of our Goldens. For more compelling information on spaying and neutering, please read our blog articles on this topic by clicking the following links: Vetting Your Veterinarian, and Our Second Article on Spaying and Neutering, and Our First Article on Spaying and Neutering.
Anesthesia: Anytime your puppy is required to have an operation of any kind, a teeth cleaning, certain types of x-rays, or an elective procedure such as spaying or neutering, anesthesia will be performed by the Veterinarian. Please do not take this lightly. Ask the right questions and make the right decision for your puppy's well-being and health safety. With humans, the anesthesia field is highly specialized and the protocols are highly regulated by the medical profession. With humans, a highly trained and highly educated anesthesiologist is required in addition to your surgeon. With dogs, there are little to no regulations, and the person holding the scalpel is also administering the anesthesia to your dog. But, it is still a rather complicated and delicate area of veterinary medicine. There are a number of different kinds of anesthesia that can be administered, various methods and procedures of administering the anesthesia, preliminary testing that can be performed, and additional monitoring of vital signs that the Veterinarian can do in order to avoid accidents. Because yes, there are accidents that can greatly compromise the health of your dog, some of which can be permanent, or result in loss of life due to the anesthesia. Just like humans, dogs respond differently to the anesthetics and may have sensitivities and/or reactions to the type of anesthesia. Some dogs may not be able to metabolize (break down) the anesthesia as quickly as other dogs which can be related to the fat content in your dog. This doesn't necessarily mean the anesthesia/procedure cannot be performed on your dog, it just means stronger precautions must be taken. For example, it is good practice to exercise extra caution with (a) elderly dogs, or (b) dogs that have never been under any type of anesthesia, or (c) dogs which have known sensitivities or have had reactions to anesthesia in the past. Extra cautionary measures that should be taken are as follows:
- Prior to the anesthesia/procedure, request a full panel, comprehensive blood analysis (i.e., BUN, ALT, AP, creatinine, bilirubin, cholesterol, glucose, total blood proteins, hematocrit, a differential, and a total white blood cell count). This may reveal issues such as anemia, infection, low blood sugar, inadequate blood clotting ability, or conditions with the kidney or liver that may not be conducive to certain types of anesthesia. You might also want to have the doctor perform an EKG/ECG to detect heart problems prior to the anesthesia. If all these tests come back normal, there is a decreased risk with general anesthesia, but still some risk. A urine analysis may also prove useful to reveal other issues which may need to be resolved prior to surgery, especially in dogs who have no prior experience with anesthesia or anesthetic agents.
- There are various kinds of anesthetic agents: some of which are more aggressive and expedient for the Vet, and some that require more effort and may be more costly to administer. There are types that are administered by injection, some intravenously (IV), some that use an inhalant by mask or tube, some that combine IV and an inhalant, some that wear off over several hours, and some that use one injection to go under and a second injection to bring out. Common practice will use an oral sedative prior to the general anesthesia. Talk to your Vet and tell him/her that you want to exercise extreme care because of the reasons a, b, or c that I described above. Tell them you want to use an anesthetic procedure which is less aggressive and more conducive to patients that are potentially sensitive or reactive to anesthesia. Isoflurane gas has become the anesthetic of choice in veterinary medicine, and it is often used in pregnant animals and in animals with heart problems. It is rapidly eliminated from the body with little or no side effects.
- Request your Vet to do additional or extended monitoring of the dog's vital signs. This would include constant monitoring of heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, oxygen intake, and probably most importantly but often neglected is to monitor blood oxygen content using an oximeter. It's one thing to know how much oxygen is being administered, but quite a different thing to know how much of that oxygen is actually making it into the blood. Low oxygen in the blood can result in complications and adverse reactions to the anesthetic agents being used.
- Ideally, your Vet will use only the amount of anesthetic agent that is necessary to perform the surgical procedure, and this must be monitored throughout the procedure. The Vet should give just enough of the anesthetic agent(s) to maintain a pain-free and relaxed patient during the procedure. This amount is different for every dog. A more painful procedure, such as abdominal surgery, spaying, or orthopedic surgery usually requires more anesthetic agents than procedures such as teeth cleaning or the removal of a superficial tumor. Sometimes, a combination or two or more anesthetics, given in different ways, works better for the Vet and effective for the dog than a single agent given alone. However, the more agents used to accomplish the anesthesia may increase the risk in older dogs or dogs with no prior history of general anesthesia. The combination of agents must be carefully selected based on the pre-op analysis results. You should ask your Vet and it is highly recommended that a special assistant be present during the procedure who will be non-distracted, and is generally assigned to watch the doggie patient closely, help monitor the vitals and the amount of anesthetic agents being administered by the DVM.
- Talk to your Vet about the number of years of experience they have in anesthesiology, and whether they only use standard methods, or have fine-tuned and developed their anesthesiology over the years so that they have the least impact on the health of their doggie patients. A younger doctor fresh out of Vet school will not have this experience. An older doctor who has kept themselves up to date with current practices and the latest anesthetic agents is a better choice.
- Also make sure and remember to withhold all food and water from the dog a minimum of 12 hours prior to the surgery. This will prevent the dog from throwing up the contents during surgery and inhaling it into the lungs. It also reduces post-surgery nausea. It is better to pick your pet up near the close of business rather than let them stay in the clinic overnight. They will relax and recover better in the familiar surroundings of home, but should not be bothered by younger children during recovery. Dogs are often chilled and exhibit shaking or shivering when they come out of the anesthesia, but will appreciate and feel comforted by being wrapped or cuddled in a heated towel, fresh from the dryer. Things like this will help lift the "spirit" of your dog in post-op recovery. For a more in-depth discussion on anesthesia for your Golden, please read our blog article on this topic.
One last thing: We want to wish you and your new puppy many years of happiness and rewarding experiences. We hope this guide has provided you with helpful information to equip you to make your own well-informed decisions in caring for and raising your new puppy. Please don't take everything we say as the gospel truth. We've done our own research and have formed our own opinions; we encourage you to do the same. And remember, Golden Retrievers are an amazing breed to consider for your family. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.
Emery-n-Denise's Golden Puppies
(417) 559-3305 (cell)