Golden retriever as a house pet: A complete guide


Golden retrievers are one of the best-known animals to be kept as a pet. It is because they are known to be ideal family companions. Goldies are smart, loyal, sensitive, intelligent, and very much active. Thanks to these characteristics, they are used as highly capable working dogs, therapy and service dogs for the disabled, and of course! rescue dogs.

This breed was developed in Scotland by Lord Tweedmouth. He is a hobbyist in creating new breeds. He crossbred flat coat retrievers with water spaniels and then he did some other infusions with bloodhound, red setter, and Labrador retriever to get a fine breed of golden retrievers.

There’s a lot you need to know and consider before you buy a golden retriever as a pet.

Key pet facts about golden retrievers

They are sturdy and muscular dogs of medium size. A thick lustrous coat in gold tones is the most eye-catching part of a retriever. They fall under gun dogs, which are a type of hunting dogs that assist hunters. Goldies are also playful and gentle. This is a plus point if you are having kids at home as they get along well with kids. However, retrievers are definitely not watchdogs. They do bark but not so often unless they observe a stranger approaching your house or if anything bad happens.

This breed is active. They will follow you wherever you go; room to room, in the kitchen when you cook, and almost everywhere!. They love to have a lot of attention so they would do anything to get your eyes on them.

The usual life span of a retriever is around 10-12 years. They are quite large dogs; Males are 65 to 75 pounds in weight and 23 to 24 inches tall. The average female is between 55 and 65 pounds and 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall. They reach their full height by the age of one and their mature weight by the age of two.

Connection of golden retrievers with other pets and kids

Goldies are friendly. They prefer the companionship of any other type of pet. But it needs a proper introduction and training. And it will be trustworthy to even leave the other pets home alone for a bit. They very much enjoy being around all types of other animals without harming them.

They are also gentle with children. If your kids are making noises or they are so active around the house, it’s okay! Because the retrievers are never bothered by any of these situations. But don’t forget to teach your child how to pet and interact with dogs. This will prevent any of the bad things that could happen. It is better to always watch out whenever your child is hanging out or playing around with any type of dog.

Caring for your pet retriever

Retrievers own a dense water-repellent outer coat and a thick inner coat of fur. You will have to adapt to having significant amounts of dog hair all over the house and on the clothes as they shed a little around winters and summers and a lot around spring and fall. It is recommended to give them a brush at least once a week. Also, give them a bath; once a month bare minimum to keep it look clean.

If you hear your goldie is clicking the floor, it means that their toenails are too long. So it is better to trim and keep the nails short. But remember that their nails have blood vessels so if you are about to cut them, make sure you don’t cut them too short as it may cause bleeding.

Retrievers have folded ears. This means that it is a good spot for the bacteria to grow and cause infection. Therefore, make it a habit of checking the ear for redness or bad odor. When you give them a bath, wipe under the ears with a dry towel or a cotton ball.

Continue doing these things from its puppy time. So that it will be a usual thing for it and will also keep you away from struggling.

The feeding process of pet retrievers

Feeding Golden retriever with dog food in a bowl

If you are about to bring a goldie home, you might also be aware of their reputation as food lovers. When planning a feeding schedule for your Golden Retriever, you must strike the ideal balance between nutritional value, serving size, and pet food quality.

For younger puppies, milk is the best food most of the time. This will be done by the dog breeder itself as it is recommended that the puppies should be at least 8 weeks old in order to get adopted by families. As soon as you bring a puppy home, you can start feeding milk. A little amount of dry pet food can be added to milk and this mix can be fed 4 times per day. As it grows, you can reduce the amount of milk in the mix and increase the dry food, so that it will gradually get used to solid foods. By the time of 8 weeks old, between ½ – 1, ½ cup of food will be enough. It is always better to take your puppy on regular checkups as they should not gain excess fat even though chubby puppies look cute.

Goldies will grow fast during their first year. It will be around 40kg at 10 months! So it is always a good idea to keep an eye on what they eat. Because the overall health of the first year is important in their life ahead. At 10 months, a male will consume about 4 cups of food a day while a female will have 3 cups a day. What and how they should eat depends on their current weight, sex, and activity levels. So it is better to often visit your vet and get advice on feeding.

Puppies are very active compared to adults. So they need more calories. But they can eat only a little as their stomach is tiny. This means that they get full easily and might probably get overate. It is, therefore, recommended to give intervals between a meal; let it eat a bit and then play a little before having the balance food. Consider having fiber, protein, and fatty acids in their meals as they need a lot of them for energy and development.

No matter how much food you give your dog, it’s best to give your adult Golden Retriever two meals every day, spaced out evenly throughout the day. For building routines and preventing overfeeding, feeding your dog twice: in the morning and in the evening can be helpful. This practice, which can also involve exercise, is beneficial for promoting sensible eating and toilet training habits.

Watch out for your pet: they might get sick at times

Retrievers most of the time, are healthy. But they can also undergo certain health issues. It doesn’t happen to all of them or all the time. But it is better to know and be aware of them. On the first hand, check with the seller for health clearances of both the parents of the puppy. This will prove that your puppy was born healthy.

Apart from this major concern, there are a few other health issues that your goldie can suffer from.

  • Dysplasia

This can be either hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia. Both of them are heritable conditions. Hip dysplasia is a condition where the thigh bone doesn’t fit into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain in both rare legs but you may not notice any signs of it at the younger stage. Elbow dysplasia is thought to be occurred due to different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog’s elbow, causing joint laxity. This somehow can be fixed by surgery and medication.

  • Cataracts

Just like humans, dogs also get cloudy spots that can grow on the eye lens over time. It doesn’t have an exact age for them to appear. These can be removed surgically but some cases can cause severe vision loss.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

It is an eye condition that causes the retina to gradually deteriorate. Early on in the illness, dogs develop night blindness. They also lose their ability to see during the day as the illness worsens.

  • Allergies

Golden retrievers can have allergies to a wide range of things, including pollen and food. If your golden is excessively licking his paws or touching his face, it is better to get it checked.

Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, goldens can also go through heart disease, cancer, and other inherited diseases. It is better to take your dog for regular checkups so that a lot of the above conditions can be treated early or prevented. And also give some extra attention and care to your pet goldie.

A golden retriever is a fantastic choice if you’re seeking a loving family dog. They are among the most beloved dog breeds worldwide. They are well known for having friendly and loyal personalities. The closest thing you can ever come to true love is watching them wag their tails and gaze up at you with those big puppy-dog eyes. So if you are about to get a dog and Goldie is on top of your list, you are the luckiest!

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