All posts by Gina

Feeding Your Golden Retriever Dog

We all love our dogs, and want to show them how much we care, but giving table scraps is not the best way to do it – especially as that in itself is a major cause of many dogs being overweight. Generally what is bad for people (like being overweight, salt, fatty foods, coffee, chocolate, chemicals etc.) is also not good for your golden retriever – but for your golden the consequences of a bad diet can have a more impactful and instantaneous effect.

The Golden Retriever is an athlete, and should have a lean, muscular body. The ribs should be easily felt through a layer of muscle and there should be no roll of fat over the withers or rump. Obesity predisposes dogs to joint injuries and heart problems and makes many preexisting problems worse. It is in your Golden Retrievers nature to scavenge for food, but many of our ‘human’ foods can be dangerous to your goldens health.

One of the most dangerous foods to give a golden is chocolate .  The reason why it is so dangerous is because it contains chemicals called Methylxanthine alkaloids. In small amounts, it will constrict the arteries and your golden retrievers heart rate will increase. In large quantaties chocolate can be lethal. It only takes a pound of chocolate to kill a 16-pound dog.

Chocolate is one of the better known toxic foods to dogs, but did you know that raisins and grapes can also be dangerous? How about Macadamia nuts? There are many foods which can produce harmful side effects for your golden retriever. Mushrooms, for instance, can cause abdominal pain, liver damage, and kidney damage. Garlic will cause your golden to vomit and have stomach problems like diarrhoea.

Your Golden Retriever should really only eat dog food. When looking at the ingredients of a dog food, a good rule of thumb to follow is that three or four of the first six ingredients should be animal-derived. These tend to be tastier and more highly digestible than plant-based ingredients. Foods that are more digestible generally mean less stool volume and fewer gas problems (no more blaming the dog!).

It’s rarely a good idea to let a golden  retriever self-feed by leaving food available at all times. Food that is wet can spoil, and many Goldens overindulge. By limiting your Golden Retrievers food to dog food, reading the ingredients labels, and sticking to a feeding schedule  you will be able to give your golden retriever the right nutrition to help live a happy and active life 🙂

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Hair Care

One of the Golden’s best assets is its golden coat. The best way to get a good coat is to grow it from the inside, and that means proper nutrition. You can help that coat stay healthy on the outside by brushing and washing.

Brushing a dry coat can result in hair breakage so mist it ever so slightly with water before you start. Your Golden Retriever should be brushed  at least one to three times a week.

Never shave your Golden Retriever. You can use any pair of scissors to trim straggling hairs, but the main rule when trimming a Golden is that less is best.

It is normal for a Golden Retriever to shed their hair. If there seems a lot  putting 1 teaspoon of olive oil in you dogs food per day may help reduce shedding a little. If  you do find your Golden is shedding a lot then try to brush them every now and then and remove the extra hair before it gets on your furniture! If your Golden is not scared of the vacumn you can even vacumn your dog! Many dogs love to be vacumned (use a soft brush attachment).

golden retriever playing on bed

It is usual to have some shedding with goldens all year round (in addition to replacing seasonal coats), but if it is excessive there may be some other underlying cause such as nutritional, stress or some other kind of imbalance so it would probably be best to double check with your vet if you are worried about excessive shedding.

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Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Golden Retriever

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Mushrooms (be particularly careful of the wild mushrooms which may be found growing in your yard or when out walking)
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Products sweetened with xylitol

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golden retriever with pizza

Exercising With Your Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers generally have tons of energy and love to exercise with you, but it should ideally be on soft ground and probably best to limit it to a couple of miles – especially if your golden is less than 18 months old (unless your vet recommends different). There can be some concerns in the breed with joint issues (elbow and hips dysplasia are common hereditary problems) which is why especially at a young age when the bones are not fully developed it is good to be careful with your golden and make sure that he /she is not displaying any signs of joint pain (it is probably something your vet will also keep an eye out for aswell at your checkups anyway).

Golden Retriever Running With Owner

Key points when jogging or cycling with your golden include:

  • In the summer especially, avoid asphalt and concrete; it gets really hot and is hard on the paws.  Instead, choose a grass or dirt-covered route.
  • Keep an eye on your dog and slow down if you see that he is lagging.
  • Always bring enough water for the both of you.
  • Exercise when it’s coolest – either in the morning or at night.  Because dogs don’t have the same cooling mechanisms as humans, avoid situations where your golden can become overheated quickly.
  • When exercising at night, attach reflective or illuminated strips to your golden retrievers collar.

Goldens are not prone to obesity, but as with any dog their weight should be watched closely. This is especially true for elderly or less active dogs.

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Homemade Ear Cleaning Mixture

A homemade mixture of one part alcohol to two parts white vinegar can be used as a simple ear cleaning solution to remove ear debris.*

* Please note: Cleaning solutions will flush out debris, but will not kill mites or cure infections. If your Golden Retriever is showing signs of discomfort or the ear is red, swollen, or painful, please consult your Vet, do not attempt to clean it yourself.

close up of golden retriever nose and face

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Chicken Gravy for Dogs

There may be times when you want to put some gravy on your goldens food (maybe as a treat, or perhaps to disguise some medicine etc.). Gravy intended for human consumption is usually enjoyed by dogs, but is really too salty for them. Here is a recipe that be used as a gravy for dogs :


2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
60 ml (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
120 ml (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
950 ml (4 cups) water
250 ml (1 cup) dry milk
250 ml (1 cup) shredded carrots

Serves : 6

Preparation & Cooking

Melt butter in microwave using large bowl or measuring cup. Stir in whole wheat flour until well combined. Add water and milk and microwave at 50% power for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve cool; store leftovers in fridge or freezer.

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Steak Snaps

3 eggs
710 ml and 44 ml (3 T) whole wheat flour
44 ml (3 T) wheat germ
44 ml (3 T) nonfat dry milk powder
3 beef bouillon cubes
15 ml (1 T) Worcestershire sauce

Preparation & Cooking

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl while dissolving bouillon cubes in 90 ml (6 T) hot water. Add flour, wheat germ, dry milk, bouillon and Worcestershire to eggs and mix until a stiff dough forms. Roll out dough to ½” thickness on lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters or knife to make doggie-themed shapes. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake at 180ºC (350ºF) for 25 minutes, then turn over and bake an additional 25 minutes.

Allow to cool overnight.

Servings: 2 dozen / Cooking Time : 50 minutes

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An Apple a Day Dog Treat

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 apple — chopped or grated
1 egg — beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
3/8 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Blend flours and cornmeal m large mixing bowl. Add apple, egg, oil, brown sugar and water; mix until well blended.

On floured surface, roll dough out to 7/8-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters of desired shape and size. Place treats on prepared sheet.

Bake in preheated oven 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off oven. Leave door closed 1 hour to crisp treats. Remove treats from oven.
Once cooled, store baked treats in airtight container or plastic bag and place in refrigerator or freezer.

MAKES approx. 24 to 30 treats

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Canine Cookies

1  1/2  cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered milk — non-fat
1/3 cup bacon grease — *see Note
1 egg — lightly beaten
1 cup cold water

In a bowl, combine flour and milk powder. Drizzle with melted fat. Add egg and water; mix well. Gather dough into a ball. On floured surface, pat out dough. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Gather up scraps of dough and repeat rolling and cutting. Bake on ungreased baking sheets in 350 degree oven for 50 – 60 minutes or until crispy.

* Note: Beef fat or Chicken fat can be used

Makes about 36 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits. Store in the fridge.

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golden retriever eating cookie