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 🙂