PUPPY HEALTH, WHELPING & CARE, ETC...
We do physical testing with our parent dogs on eyes, hearts, hips elbows as well as genetic testing for inherited diseases (Paw Prints Genetics...see web site). We do behavior assessments with our puppies (Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test...see web site) and that information is proving to be very appreciated by buyers when choosing their puppies.
In order to raise puppies that are as healthy as can be, our breeding dogs are carefully selected and health tested for up to eleven different health checks. We also strive for a low coefficient of inbreeding (COI). A low COI, complete health testing of parents, delayed spaying and neutering, a lean body, clean teeth, low stress and adequate exercise with a good diet are all things that can improve health and life span. In addition, there are new protocols being suggested for adult vaccination boosters...please consult with your veterinarian for details.
Here's a very good article about dog breeding that explains the importance of genetic diversity...and how to maintain it.
How we raise our happy, well-adjusted puppies...they receive daily care and we are careful that there be no stressors. Puppies are whelped in our home. At about 2 weeks of age they get their first dose of dewormer (all puppies get worms). At about three weeks the puppies begin eating puppy food. From 3 to 4 weeks they learn to walk well and start playing with each other. At about six weeks they get their first vaccination. By the seventh week, their individual personalities begin to blossom and they are ready for their vet check and behavior testing. The dam naturally weans the puppies by playing with them when they try to nurse during the 7 to 8 week period. It is beneficial nutritionally and emotionally for the weaning process to occur gradually and naturally. At close to 8 weeks the puppies are examined by one of our veterinarians and then they are fully ready for their next adventure...selection and going home with you!
We work every day with our puppies to build a rapport of kindness and trust. We give them lots of affection and encourage them to be happy above all else. We do not use crates or cages, except for transporting. We feed quality dog foods (4 - 5 star rating) and probiotics, as per our veterinarian's recommendations..."Any good dog food is fine."
Beginning behavior training...
While they are with us, we start basic training for coming when called and we also teach them to not jump or mouth on people. After trying many other methods of corrections, we discovered that if we communicate to them in their language, then the dog's behavior is changed very quickly and without prolonged stress. All it takes is learning to imitate a very high-pitched "yip" to make even a young jumping, mouthy puppy to feel regret and become remorseful for having "hurt" you. Timed right and not over-used, we have found it to be a very effective method to quickly stop an excited or overly playful friendly dog from mouthing, jumping or playing too rough with a human. It works so well because dogs naturally feel more regret for hurting their masters than they do for hurting another dog while playing. (NOTE: Obviously, this method should not be used with an aggressive or potentially aggressive dog / breed. A dog that lacks respect or trust of humans needs special long-term training.) When a playful dog hears that loud "Yip!" (practice till you get it really high)...almost like a switch (or maybe 2 seconds) they'll stop...think and then turn away or lick kisses at you as if to say, "Sorry I hurt you there, but I like you sooo much!". Sometimes they shake their ears because they are so sensitive to that sound. If you want them to stop licking, then repeat the "yip" response (still keeping your hand near the dog) when they lick. Also, maintain direct eye contact and do not talk to the dog after the "Yip!" and during the time the dog is cogitating what just happened. Only pet and verbally reward the dog once it's behavior has improved and it solidly demonstrates the behavior you want it to be doing. Our veterinarian told us she now uses this method with her "mouthy" patients.
Crate Training...here are some good reasons to do it.
Can make house training easier.
Their own place to rest.
Gives them a safe place be.
If your dog ever has to travel by air.
If your dog has to stay at the vet's office or be on confined rest.
DUE TO THE POTENTIAL TO SPREAD DISEASES OR PARASITES, PLEASE DO NOT BRING YOUR DOGS WHEN YOU VISIT THE FARM.
Visits are encouraged, but because young puppies, like young children, are susceptible to internal infections, we need to keep visits to a minimum until the puppies reach about seven weeks of age which is a week after their first vaccination and also when they begin to behave according to their individual dispositions. Please wear clean clothes and have clean hands when you visit any litter and bring hand wipes for yourselves too. We have heard very sad stories from other breeders who have lost puppies from infections…up to half of a litter, as well as the veterinary expense. We appreciate your understanding.
The Good News...
The good news is that our veterinarian tells us that most Goldens live full and healthy lives these days.
Because Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds, much is known about the health of the breed. Responsible breeders work continuously to maintain and improve the health and soundness of the breed.
Food - When calculating dog food costs...you get what you pay for, but paying more does not guarantee better quality. Expect to pay $0.85 to $1.15 per pound for a good quality dog food. To compare the cost * per calorie* of one food to another, look on the bag and find the kcalories per cup and per pound, then calculate the price per calorie using the weight of the bag and the price for the bag. Different dogs foods can vary greatly in calories per cup and amount fed, so to compare cost accurately, go by price per calorie. We feed our dogs 2-3 different brands at the same time for variety. They have excellent vitality, healthy skin and soft, shiny coats. Our veterinarian told us, "any good dog food is fine." However, taurine deficiency heart problems are being connected to grain free dog foods. Read this article:
Hips - Excellent article:
Skin - Ichthyosis (ICH) Information...
Ichthyosis is an inherited, recessive skin condition that causes a defect in the formation of the outer layer of skin. "Affected" puppies (inherited the gene from both parents) typically have wrinkled and dry looking skin. Adult dogs with ICH have excessive dandruff and some dogs (such as brood females with fluctuating hormones) can develop skin that looks like tiny fish scales caked with dark, greasy residue. ICH can also affect foot pads and sometimes lead to bacterial and fungal skin infections due to the skin not forming a solid layer of protection and therefore not functioning properly. It affects Golden Retrievers usually to a mild degree as well as a couple other breeds of dogs and also humans. Fortunately, there is genetic testing for this condition and because of how it's inherited, it can be completely bred out of the Golden Retriever breed over several generations...IF all breeders worked toward the goal of producing all ICH clear puppies. How awesome is that? (Simple recessive inheritance: A "carrier" can be bred to a "clear" and none of the offspring will have the condition, but some will be carriers. If an "affected" dog is bred to a clear, then all offspring will be carriers, but none will be affected.) Breeding carriers to clears serves to not abruptly bottleneck the gene pool and maintains diversity which in turn promotes overall health of the breed. Testing for this inherited condition is very affordable. We promise to not breed two dogs that can produce puppies with ICH.
Cardiac - Subaortic Stenosis (SAS) and Heart Murmurs...
We would like all Golden Retriever enthusiasts to know about this heart condition. SAS has been described in the past as "rampant" in the GR breed.
Veterinarians today believe that it has a "dominant mode of inheritance with variable expression" which would explain how it became "rampant" in the breed because only one affected parent will pass it on to all of the offspring in a litter.
There are some dogs with SAS who seem healthy because their stenosis (narrowing) is not severe enough to compromise their heart function much. A dog who unfortunately has the stenosis (narrowing) to a greater degree can be more likely to develop heart failure at some time in their lives. SAS causes the aortic heart valve located above the narrowing (stenosis) to not close properly so veterinarians are typically able to hear a murmur in most SAS affected puppies and dogs. A veterinary cardiologist can also help diagnose heart problems with an echocardiogram and ultrasound examination of the heart's structure and rate of blood flow (velocity) through the valve.
Low grade (1-2/6) "innocent murmurs" also occur in puppies and typically resolve by about 11 to 18 weeks of age. Sometimes an athletic, very high-drive Golden can have a low grade murmur which is not expected to contribute to heart failure later in life, according to the vets who say such dogs will probably die of something else...not a low grade murmur.
At this time there is no genetic testing for SAS because there are probably many genes that cause it. Therefore, it is imperative for Golden Retriever parents to have their hearts certified by a veterinary cardiologist and for breeders to have puppies examined by a veterinarian before selling. Even with two heart certified parents, innocent puppy murmurs and very rarely other more serious heart conditions do still sometimes occur.
Cancer - Independent studies done a while back, and on very large numbers of Golden Retrievers, indicated that the incidence of cancer is lower (at 38.8% - 2004) in the European bloodline Golden Retrievers than in the American Goldens (at 61.8% - 1998). These percentages may not still be true today. That said, other health issues in the GR breed, such as SAS, appear to be lower in the American bloodlines.
Eye Health - Progressive Retinal Atrophies (PRA), Cataracts and Golden Retriever Pigmentary Uveitis (GRPU) are found in the breed. PRA affected and PRA carrier dogs can be identified through genetic testing (we use Paw Prints Genetics).
Concerns about population declines in certain breeds and overall animal populations can be found in books written decades ago. AKC registrations overall have declined over 60% in recent years. Today, there is still as much concern about declining animal populations as there is about puppy mills and abuse, but the later things seems to still get more attention. We would like that to change. There is a lot of pressure being applied by a few to make animal breeding and ownership much more challenging now and in the future. Some people actually have the extreme view that no one should own animals or pets. We believe it's our job to care for and perpetuate the species and breeds we have been blessed with and would like to encourage folks to be advocates for animal ownership at every opportunity and...to consider breeding to continue to improve and sustain adequate and healthy populations for the future.
Disclaimer: This is only my opinion and I have no interest nor am I involved in any law suits regarding this class of antibiotics.
Humans and animals, even pet fish are given this class of synthetic, fluoridated antibiotics for infections. The fluoride molecule attached to the drug allows the drug to pass into many cells in the body and cross the blood-brain barrier, not just into the bacteria we want to knock down. The drug works by deforming the twisting of DNA and it also deforms the internal structures inside the cells. There are many known long term, very detrimental side-effects for individuals (including myself). For more information, please do your own research on this topic.