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Golden Retriever: Everything You Need to Know About This Beloved Breed

Golden Retriever: Everything You Need to Know About This Beloved Breed 0

When you imagine a faithful family dog, does the fluffy face of a Golden Retriever come to mind? These intelligent, active, affectionate dogs make ideal four-legged additions to many families, which is probably why they're one of America's most popular dogs. Read on to discover what goldens are all about!

An Overview of the Breed

The Golden Retriever belongs to the sporting dog group, and is known for their athletic prowess and desire to please. Originally bred to retrieve waterfowl, goldens have taken on many different jobs in the modern era, including service and therapy, search and rescue, and drug and bomb detection. These eager to please pups make them easy to train and the perfect working dog. 

There are three main types of Golden Retrievers, American, English, and Canadian, which look relatively similar to the amatuer eye. While they come in all shades of gold, from light cream to almost red, the American Kennel Club recognizes three different coat color variations: light golden, golden, and dark golden.

History and Background

Golden Retrievers might seem as American as apple pie, but their story actually began  in 19th-Century Scotland. In 1865, Dudley Marjoribanks, Lord Tweedmouth, bought the only yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever in a litter of black puppies. He later bred this dog, named Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel, now extinct, to create the Golden Retriever we know and love. This first true golden went by the name of Crocus.

In developing the breed, Lord Tweedmouth sought to create a superior retriever suited to the Scottish climate, terrain, and available game. The dog needed to be able to retrieve on both land and water and bring the game back unharmed. They were bred to have soft mouths, a powerful gait, a flat coat, and expert swimming abilities.

By the 1870s, Scottish gamekeepers had found work for these new companions as gundogs. In the early 20th Century, they began appearing in dog shows. The Kennel Club of England first recognized the breed as "Retriever - Yellow or Golden" in 1911, then as "Retriever - Golden" a few years later. In 1925, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed, paving the way for it to become one of the most popular dog breeds in the United states.

Physical Characteristics

Golden Retrievers stand 21 to 24 inches tall and weigh 55 to 75 pounds. They sport a double coat of straight, medium-length hair with floppy ears and straight, broad head. Let’s be real, is there anything cuter than golden retriever puppies?

Their dense, waterproof coat is perfect for retrieving on land or in water. The breed comes in three basic color ranges: Light Golden, Golden, and Dark Golden.

As a sporting dog, they are known for their athletic build, boundless energy, and strong desire to perform a task and please their handler. Their soft mouths make them ideal for retriever waterfowl, or gentle play with family members. 

Personality

If you want a "Velcro dog," you want a Golden Retriever. They'll follow you everywhere because they love spending time with humans. They show great affection and a stable temperament that makes them good around children. They even have enough energy to keep up with the average kid!

What’s bad about golden retrievers? Don't expect them to be the world's greatest security dog. While they do bark , their love for human connection may result in them greeting strangers with a big kiss and request for a belly rub or back scratch.

Along with their seemingly endless energy and happy demeanor, goldens are known for their native intelligence and loyalty. These qualities make them eager to please their handler and relatively easy to train with a little work.

Caring for the Breed

Golden Retrievers need 30 minutes of exercise twice a day, not just to keep them in good shape but also to help burn off the excess energy that might make them too rambunctious. As a retriever, goldens will literally play fetch as long as allowed. If you love to jog, run, or walk as part of your daily routine, you'll have a new exercise partner! 

Golden Retrievers need training to become happy, well-behaved family members. But you're in luck there, too, because these super-smart dogs learn fast. You might want to start with leash training, though. They will chase after birds, squirrels, and other creatures if they don't know how to behave on a leash.

Nutrition can make a big difference in your Golden Retriever's health. Like any dog, this breed will get chubby unless you feed it sensible meals. A "couch potato" needs to stay between 989 and 1,272 calories per day. If the pup lives an active life, it should get 1,353 to 1,740 calories. Ask your vet whether your pet can also benefit from nutritional supplements.

Grooming your dog every six weeks, along with weekly brushing sessions, can help you manage that thick coat. Check the toenails every couple of weeks to see if they need trimming.

Potential Health Issues

Any dog can experience health issues, including Golden Retrievers. This breed has a relatively high cancer rate, with up to 56 percent of female deaths and 66 percent of male deaths caused by the malignant forms of this disease. Golden Retrievers can also be bothered with circulatory, heart, and lung problems.

Similar to other sporting dogs, goldens are prone to joint issues, like arthritis and hip and elbow dysplasia. With proper breeding, weight management, and treatment, severe cases can be avoided. It’s always a good idea to take extra care of a golden’s joint by adding nutritional joint support, like glucosamine for dogs, to their diet.

Their dense double coat makes a great potential home for bacteria, pests, parasites, and debris. These invaders could pose a problem because these dogs can have trouble with allergic reactions to fleas, ticks, mites, mold, and dust. Regular baths with a dog shampoo will help keep their coat free of irritants. It’s also a good idea to provide extra skin and coat support by adding an omega 3 for dogs to their diet.

Goldens can also run into trouble with cataracts, thyroid problems, bloat, and ear infections. It’s vital to schedule regular wellness checks so a vet can catch these issues early.

Fun Facts

Not every breed of dog can swim well, but Golden Retrievers are highly capable swimmers. Why are golden retrievers so good at swimming? Their strong hind legs, water-repellent double coat, webbed paws, and rudder-like tail help them excel at swimming.

Since receiving AKC recognition in 1925, Golden Retrievers have regularly placed near the very top of the rankings as one of the most popular U.S. dog breeds. 

They are considered to be the 4th smartest dog breed behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.

Not just good for waterfowl retrieving, goldens also make great therapy dogs, guide dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs. 

Famous Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have moved in some high-flying circles, including the White House. President Gerald Ford's Golden Retriever, Liberty, made a cute and friendly addition to the First Family in the 1970s.

Bretagne was a famed search-and-rescue dog who aided the rescue efforts of major hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, and Ivan and was deployed to Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. She was the last known surviving dog that responded to Ground Zero.

Pinkie took the Best in Breed title at the Westminster Dog Show, only to grow even more famous for her "adoption" of a trio of tiger cubs.

Buddy achieved fame through his appearances on America's Funniest Home Videos and Late Night With David Letterman. He also starred in the feature film Air Bud.

Golden Retrievers to Follow on Instagram

Tucker currently rules Instagram with an unmatched 2.2 million followers.

Marty and Murphy are a hilarious Canadian duo. Marty is known to sing a tune or two.

Chelsea can be found chillin by the pool, or in it, most of the time. Let’s just say water is her second love behind food.

Maui shares his adventures with Rubi the Corgi.

What to Expect From Golden Retriever Ownership

If you adopt a Golden Retriever, you can expect many happy years with a loving, active, friendly companion. Just do everything you can to keep up with it! Give it lots of personal attention, exercise, and the right portions of nutrients, and you can't go wrong with this golden-haired beauty!

Anti Inflammatory for Dogs: Why Controlling Inflammation is Critical For A Healthy Dog

Anti Inflammatory for Dogs: Why Controlling Inflammation is Critical For A Healthy Dog 0

Inflammation in dogs can both stem from, and contribute to, many health challenges. Dog parents who want to help their pup achieve and maintain an optimal quality of life need to understand what this problem can mean and how the proper nutritional support can help. 

Whether your dog suffers from a known inflammatory disorder or you just want to keep him happy and healthy for life, take a moment to consider the following key points about inflammation in dogs.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation plays a key role in the body's nonspecific immunity against physical threats such as an infection or injury. When the immune system perceives such a threat, it releases large numbers of white blood cells, which then travel rapidly to the area in need of help. Inflammation may look and feel unpleasant, but it can help to wipe out invading germs and speed tissue repair.

Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

While inflammation usually proves helpful under normal circumstances, it can also cause problems if it gets out of control or occurs for the wrong reasons. Acute inflammation may cause redness, pain, and swelling, but these symptoms should go away once the underlying health issue resolves itself. Unfortunately, chronic conditions often lead to chronic inflammation. This state of ongoing, low-level inflammation can cause serious problems such as cell damage, joint trouble, premature aging, major organ disease, and even cancer.

Common Inflammatory Disorders: Symptoms and Complications

Dogs can develop a variety of chronic inflammatory problems, some of which are easier for owners to spot than others. You and your vet will want to watch out for the following common inflammatory conditions.

  • Enteritis: Enteritis occurs when the small intestine becomes inflamed. Many kinds of irritants can trigger this condition, including parasites, allergies, intestinal blockages, and ingested germs such as bacteria or viruses. Dogs suffering from enteritis may experience abnormal stools, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and fever. 
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis commonly affects older dogs (just as it affects older humans), but it can also develop because of premature joint wear and tear. In this inflammatory condition, the cartilage that lines and cushions the bone ends in joints thins out and breaks up. Symptoms include swollen joints and painful stiffness when your dog tries to walk, climb stairs, lie down, or stand up.
  • Hepatitis: Dogs can develop chronic inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) because of infections, reactions to toxic substances, or no identifiable reason. Genetics may also play a role, since the condition appears more often in such popular breeds as Chihuahuas, Springer Spaniels, Standard Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Cocker Spaniels, and Labrador Retrievers. Symptoms include jaundice, an enlarged abdomen, increased thirst/urination, weight loss, diarrhea, and lethargy.
  • Dermatitis: Dogs often suffer from skin inflammation related to canine allergic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as canine atopic dermatitis. This condition can affect any dog, but Bulldogs, Dalmations, Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, and many breeds of terriers seem especially vulnerable to it. Common triggers include specific foods, airborne allergens, irritants that contact the skin, or even normal skin microorganisms. Dogs who lick or bite at the inflamed, itchy lesions caused by this condition may develop skin infections.

Veterinary Treatment Options for Canine Inflammation

Regular wellness exams can help your veterinarian identify a chronic inflammatory condition, even if that condition hasn’t yet displayed obvious external symptoms. Conditions such as osteoarthritis may reveal themselves through X-rays, visual evidence of joint swelling, and observations of your dog’s stance and gait. Allergy testing can help to confirm sources of skin inflammation. Analysis of blood, urine, and fecal samples can pinpoint internal problems related to chronic inflammation.

Veterinarians commonly treat inflammation with a combination of therapies. For example, anti inflammatory for dogs, such as NSAIDs or steroids, may help reduce inflammatory reactions. Histamines can help dogs with allergic inflammation. Dogs with osteoarthritis may also benefit from gentle exercise to keep the joints limber (and prevent unwanted weight gain that might stress the joints further). 

Diet and nutrition also play important roles in the treatment of canine inflammatory disorders. Your dog may need a special diet to help him cope with digestive inflammation, allergies that trigger dermatitis, or organ problems related to chronic inflammatory damage.

Foods and Nutrients That Can Help Your Dog Manage Inflammation

Many foods and seasonings contain nutrients that can help to prevent or control chronic inflammation in dogs. This approach can prove safer and gentler than a heavy reliance on medications (which can produce unwanted side effects or interact with other prescription drugs).

Food allergy-based inflammation may recede after your pet switches to a hypoallergenic diet. For instance, if your dog has allergies to the proteins commonly found in commercial food products, he may do much better with a diet that relies on less common protein combinations such as eggs and rice, duck and peas, or fish and potatoes. Seasonings such as cinnamon and turmeric can also help control chronic inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a major ally in the fight against canine inflammation. These fatty acids — commonly found in salmon, anchovies, sardines, and other fatty fish — also come in fish oil supplement form. Omega-3 supplementation makes it easy to ensure that your dog gets enough of these fatty acids regularly, even if he doesn’t like fish. 

Joint issues can start very small and overtime become serious. With the increase severity comes increased inflammation. Nutrients that help reduce inflammation, like omega fatty acids, are critical for treating the body's response. Additionally, the initial issue should be treated as well. Nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin help improve joint health and mobility. By helping lubricate and cushion the joint, these nutrients help to stop the damage that is causing inflammation.

Give your pet the regular evaluations he needs, work with your vet on any necessary treatment plan, and provide the right dietary and nutritional support to help your dog fight inflammation. Your best friend will appreciate it!