Tips for Keeping Your Golden Retriever Healthy
Celebrating your Golden Retriever’s birthday with a trip to the veterinarian may not sound like a great birthday present, but think of the annual visit as the gift of health. Along with good nutrition and proper exercise, wellness visits are your best bet for disease prevention and early diagnosis. Here are some additional health tips from David Haworth, DVM, PhD, president/CEO of Morris Animal Foundation.
Dr. Haworth recommends puppies visit the veterinarian as often as they can. Vaccines are usually needed once a month when your dog is young, but popping into the clinic when your pup isn’t getting injections is a great socialization opportunity. These frequent visits set up you and your dog up for success when he needs future visits. Annual visits are a minimum after that, and more frequent visits may be needed as your Golden reaches its “golden” years.
Do your part at home, too. Weekly grooming sessions familiarize you with your dog’s body. When something seems out of the ordinary, you’ll notice it. Dr. Haworth also recommends a more extensive monthly check that includes running your hands along every part of your dog to look for new or changed lumps and bumps. Also examine your Golden Retriever’s mouth, including lifting the lips, to look for tartar, broken teeth, infections or masses. Oral tumors are common in Golden Retrievers.
Nutrition matters. Dr. Haworth says a high-quality commercial food will keep most dogs healthy and can be supplemented with bonus foods. Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower, may help prevent canine cancer, while glucosamine and chondroitins are good for long-term joint health.
An exception to a general diet is when your dog has a health problem, such as kidney disease or allergies. Golden Retrievers are highly susceptible to allergies, so work with your veterinarian you need to eliminate allergens from your dog’s food.
Obesity is also a big factor in poor health. Research has shown that slim dogs live longer. Since Golden Retrievers have a tendency to pack on the pounds, keep the extra food and treats to a minimum/
Golden Retrievers should also get a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise in the morning and in the evening. Dogs older than age 7 may not exercise with the same intensity as young dogs, but they benefit significantly from a leisurely twice-daily or more workout.
Following these tips can help you keep your dog in great health. Morris Animal Foundation is doing its part as well. Its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is working to identify nutritional, environmental and genetic factors that lead to cancer and other canine diseases. To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation and our other programs please visit morrisanimalfoundation.org.