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From VetChef vets and nutritionists

Golden Retrievers

Intelligent, friendly, fun loving. Three characteristics that describe one of the most popular breeds, the Golden Retriever. They are full of personality.

First bred in the 19th century in Britain, they are the product of crossing Flat and Wavy Coated Retrievers, Tweed Water Spaniels, and a Red Setter. Their purpose was duel, to be companions and to retrieve water birds after shooting parties. They love swimming. The breed's most recognisable characteristic is their rich, golden coat which consists of a dense inner coat and an outer one which repels water. Because of their intelligent and friendly temperament, they make great assistance dogs but very bad guard dogs. They are great with children and love to play 'fetch'. They need regular grooming as they shed copiously, and their average life span is 10 – 12 years.

Like most breeds, Golden Retrievers have specific health issues which every pet parent should be aware of.

Weight Gain

Goldens love to eat so they are prone to being overweight. Check your dog's condition regularly. You should be able to see a visible waist from above and from the side. You can help keep their weight under control by combining a balanced diet with regular exercise. Feed a diet to include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and apples. These make great treats as well. Check with VetChef for fresh food recipes for your Golden Retriever. Click here to get started with the FREE My VetChef recipe app.

Hip and elbow dysplasia

This is a common, congenital condition among Golden Retrievers. Some of the signs to look out for include:

· Bunny hopping gait

· Decreased range of movements

· Grating in joints

· Reluctance to run, jump, climb stairs

· Difficulty standing up

You, as a pet parent can play a huge part in helping your Golden, by taking preventative measures to help manage this condition. Providing a nutritional diet to include fresh food will help reduce pain and discomfort. A mix of vegetables and fruit is ideal, such as broccoli, cauliflower, apples, and kale. Highly coloured fruits and vegetables such as kale, carrots, strawberries, and blueberries will provide antioxidants to help reduce inflammation.

If possible, start feeding a healthy diet while your dog is still a puppy. VetChef can provide well balanced recipes for a growing puppy. If you have an older dog, it's never too late to start. A nutritious diet will help contain symptoms and make your dog's life happier and healthier.

Eye Problems

There are a several different eye problems which your Golden Retriever might develop.

Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older dogs. Check the eyes for any cloudiness. Although dogs often adjust well to loss of vision, surgery may be an option, so take your Golden to your primary veterinarian

Glaucoma can be an emergency situation as pain can be severe. If you notice any of the following symptoms take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible:

· Squinting

· Watery eyes

· Redness in the whites of the eye

· Cornea may become cloudy or bluish in colour

· Lethargy and loss of appetite

Distichiasis is a condition caused by hairs growing inside the eyelid, leading to rubbing on the surface of the eye. This can be very painful and may lead to corneal ulcers. The prognosis is good once the hairs are removed so take your dog to your primary veterinarian for advice.

Skin Conditions

Your Golden's double coat retains a lot of heat and a humid environment next to the skin. Itchy and inflamed patches may develop, and you may see your dog licking and scratching at them. Ensure your dog's skin is thoroughly dried after swimming, bathing or after a walk in the rain. Regular grooming is vital to maintain good skin condition. A nutritious diet including fresh vegetables and fruit which contain omega 3 fatty acids will help to maintain a healthy skin and coat. VetChef has nutritious recipes which can help with this.

If you'd like a range of bespoke recipes specifically tailored to meet your Golden Retriever's nutritional requirements, sign up for a FREE account at My VetChef.

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