1. Care for Your English Cream Golden Retrievers
We developed a list of interview question to help you locate the best veterinary practice that is near to you. Questions included: What is your process for isolating contagious animals? How do you clean the floors and exam tables and how often? Is there availability for after hour emergencies? How many vets are in your practice? Do you offer PennHIP or OFA testing? OFA heart? OFA eyes? What is the price for rabies shots, c-sections, health certificates, artificial inseminations, etc.? Do you give a breeder discount? We would like to introduce you to our primary veterinarian, Dr. Christopher L. Persing. We also highly appreciate the other veterinarians on the team who serve our family, Dr. Martin C. Langhofer, Dr. Christopher A. Payton, and Dr. Bethanne Eddy. The office staff and vet techs are also exceptional! We consider them our partners in providing you with a healthy pet.
Feel free to visit their web site: www.westernvet.com and fill out the email form requesting a reference or give them a call at 574-234-3098 (they will refer us by name…Tom & Mara Evans…rather than by “Lake Country Goldens”).
There are many aspects of dog health maintenance that responsible pet owners can take care of themselves. The relationship with a veterinarian works best as a partnership. They become a resource for those areas where greater expertise is needed. We like to identify with one vet who becomes familiar with us and our English Cream Golden Retrievers. At the same time, we like a practice with a few veterinarians on staff so that availability doesn’t become an issue.
Disclaimer: What follows are recommendations based on years of raising English Cream Golden Retrievers. This is what works for us. You may have other approaches that work even better for you (which we are happy to hear about). We are all about learning and growing. The suggestions outlined below are in no way guaranteed by us and are not meant to replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.
Safe-guard (fenbendazole). Keep refrigerated. We buy the 1000 ml bottle for approximately $119.85 shipped.
Application: We use this de-wormer for our adult dogs. We have found this wormer to be quite safe and very comprehensive in its effectiveness.
Where to buy: Countryside Vet Supply, 1-800-313-5737, www.countrysidepet.com.
Dosage: 1 ml for every 5 pounds. For most effective results, worm 3 days in a row. Some recommend doing a three day treatment for prevention every other month.
Pyrantel Pamoate Suspension by Columbia Laboratories (Lexington, Kentucky). Keep at room temperature. We buy the 32 oz. bottle for approximately $40.00 shipped.
Application: We use this de-wormer for our puppies. The taste is pleasant to the puppies. We get a clean bill of health from our vet every time. We worm at 2 weeks, 4 week, 6 weeks, and 8 weeks.
Where to buy: Countryside Vet Supply, 1-800-313-5737, www.countrysidepet.com.
Dosage: 1 ml for every 5 pounds.
We administer our own puppy shots. Due to the essential nature of the puppy receiving the full dosage (properly administered), we recommend being trained in this simple procedure. Cost is approximately $4.99 – $8.99 per shot.
First puppy shot: Canine Spectra 5. Administered at 6 weeks of age. Subsequent shots: Canine Spectra 9. Administered at 9 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks of age, and annually.
Where to buy: www.tractorsupply.com. Be sure to check the expiration date on the package.
Rabies: Administered by a veterinarian at 16 weeks of age, AND annually OR you can request a 3 year booster (available one year after an annual booster).
Fleas and ticks:
There is a lot of garbage on the market that simply does not work. This is not an area you will want to cut corners. Fleas can make you and your dog miserable. Ticks carry life-altering and life-threatening diseases. Your dog is a MAGNET for these pests. What works?
We recommend: Frontline Combo. Frontline Combo in the UK version of the USA Frontline Plus (but less expensive).
Where to buy: www.ebay.com. Visit seller store: Pharma Group.
We buy a 12 month supply and the cost is less than $90.00 shipped from the United Kingdom.
We also recommend: Capstar. If you need to get rid of fleas in a hurry, a one-time dose of Capstar begins working within 30 minutes.
Where to buy: www.ebay.com. Visit seller store: piccardmeds4pets. Cost is approximately $25.00 for 6 tablets.
Lyme Disease Vaccination
One in 15 dogs in the United States test positive for Lyme’s disease. Take a look at the map to see the risk in your region of the country. Our vet vaccinates our dogs annually to prevent Lyme’s disease.
Don’t waste any time getting your puppy started on heartworm preventative. If you purchase your product within the United States, you will need an initial prescription from the vet. There are many excellent products, including a shot that acts as a 6 month preventative (administered by your vet).
We recommend: Heartgard Plus. Our dogs really enjoy this chewable and tasty nugget. We made a cost-saving switch to our second recommendation.
We also recommend: Nuheart. This is a generic version of Heartgard (and not tasty at all). It comes in a small pill that can be disguised in a piece of meat. Your savings will be about $15 for a 6 month supply.
Where to buy: www.canadavet.com. Because this product is ordered outside the United States, a prescription is not required.
We buy a 12 month supply for under $45.00.
A quality dog food makes a tremendous difference in the longevity and health of your dog. Pet food companies are masters at advertising. Many dog foods are loaded with unproductive “fillers” (corn and wheat being two that are common). We have always selected a dog food that has real meat as the #1 ingredient (not meat by-products).
We enthusiastically endorse Evanger Grain-free Whitefish and Sweet Potato Recipe. Notice the first four ingredients: Whitefish, Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Venison Meal. Check out the ratings here. All of Evanger’s recipes are 5/5 star. They have been in business since 1935 and have never had a recall. This food is for all life ages, meaning that we use it for our puppies as well. We order delivered to our door from Chewy.
In addition to the dry dog food, we also give one tablespoon daily (to our puppies) of Evanger’s Classic Recipes Beef Canned Dog Food. This is also rated 5/5 star and is excellent for producing muscle tone. If you want to consider healthy treats try: Evanger’s Nothing But Natural Pheasant with Fruits & Vegetables Grain-Free Jerky Dog Treats, 4.5-oz bag (available in other excellent recipes as well. We order all these products through chewy.com, tax free, with free shipping to our front door.
We add several tablespoons of Manna Pro Unimilk (milk protein formula). This is available from Tractor Supply (www.tractorsupply.com) at a cost of $19.99 for a 9 pound bag. We mash the puppy food together with the Nurse All and add more water until the mixture is quite soft. We place the food in the front of the puppies and head their noses in the right direction. It doesn’t take long for them to get fully into it! They likely won’t clean the plate the first several times (their mom will be more than happy to do it). As the puppies mature, we make the food less and less moist until they are eating the dry nuggets on their own at around 7 weeks of age. We recommend using “Sure Grow 100” during the growth stage of your puppy. “Sure Grow 100™ is a tasty supplement formulated to help large breed dogs and puppies develop strong tendons, ligaments and bones.” Our vet highly recommends and the average rating online is 4 1/2 stars. www.lambertvetsupply.com has bottles with 100 tablets for sale for $7.25. We also recommend for pregnant and lactating females. In order to maximize joint health, we use Glucosamine DS with Chondroitin by NaturVet. We purchase this on Amazon.com for $18.73 (150 tablets). Dose as recommended between the ages 3 months and 15 months of age.
There are two brushes that we would like to recommend. First is the Kakadu Self- Cleaning Slicker Brush. Large size. Price is $13-$15. Second is a brush especially for times of heavy shedding. The “furminator” is claimed to reduce shedding by 90 percent, see www.furminator.com. This brush is quite pricey. A generic brand can be purchased on E-bay.
Other ongoing care for you English Cream Golden Retriever includes: brushing teeth, cleaning ears, trimming nails, etc.
2. Health Testing for Your English Cream Golden Retriever
Your English Cream Golden Retriever will inherit the genetic make-up of the bloodlines he/she comes from. This is why breeding practices are so important. Responsible breeders will conduct health testing in order to produce optimal health in their puppies. Lake Country Goldens has carefully researched and imported the very best breeding lines in Europe. As a new puppy owner, you can build on an excellent genetic foundation by providing quality nutrition and age appropriate exercise.
Hips and elbows: There are 5 types of hip testing available for dogs. OFA, PennHIP, FCI (European), SV (German), and BVA (UK, Australia). The most common in the United States (the gold standard) is OFA. OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. You can visit their web site at www.offa.org. Grades for hips are as follows: Normal (Excellent, Good, and Fair), Borderline, and Dysplastic (Mild, Moderate, Severe). Between 1974 and 2011, 4.1 percent of golden retrievers evaluated received a score of “Excellent,” while 19.7 percent were categorized at dysplastic. OFA does not give a permanent hip score until your dog turns two. A preliminary result can be given at a younger age, but it is recommended by OFA to test again at age two.
Breeding recommendations: Lake Country Goldens breeds ONLY those golden retrievers that have received a normal OFA score. In fact, with rare exception only scores of Excellent or Good are considered breeding dogs. In the case of a Fair score, if siblings from the same litter received a higher score, breeding would be considered.
Another option: PennHIP is a more recent method of hip testing that is more expensive and detailed than OFA. Rather than just one x-ray view “Hips Extended View” (used by OFA) there are two additional x-rays taken (Compression and Distraction). Precise measurements allow this method of hip testing to be objective in nature. A major advantage of PennHIP is that a permanent score can be given at 6 months of age. You will receive two pieces of information with results: the precise laxity measurement for each hip AND your percentile score when compared to other dogs of your breed. A veterinarian must receive special training to be certified to conduct PennHIP testing. To find a veterinarian near you, visit: www.pennhip.org.
Breeding recommendations: We recommend breeding English Cream Golden Retrievers who have a percentage of 60 or better. Our two first English Cream Goldens (Wyatt and Chloe) scored 80 and 90 percent respectively with PennHIP!
FCI Hip Scores: We occasionally import an adult English Cream Golden Retriever from Europe who already has their permanent hip score with FCI (Fédération Internationale Cynologique). We only breed our English Cream Goldens who score FCI A or FCI B.
The following article, Locating the genes for hip dysplasia in dogs, verifies what we have found to be reality with hip scores…the weight of you developing puppy and young adult is critical to excellent hip scores. The above study verifies that 50% of the hip score is dependent on the proper weight! Vets will rank the weight of your dog on a scale of 1 to 9. We like to see weights rated at 4 to 5 (no higher than 5!). We take additional measures by providing age appropriate exercise…they play with us in the yard at their own pace and rest when they are tired. We also give the vitamins we have listed on this page.
Elbows: In our breeding experience, we have never encountered a problem with elbows.
Heart: At age one a heart exam should be done by a veterinarian with extensive training in cardiac diagnosis. The veterinarian should be certified to give an OFA grade for the heart. No number is assigned if the heart is clear of problems. In our breeding program, we have ONLY received OFA clear results. To learn more visit: www.offa.org/cardiac_grades.htm.
Recommendation: Only those English Cream Golden Retrievers that have a clear score with their heart should be used for breeding.
Eyes: An eye evaluation can be completed just as soon as your puppies eyes open. We typically do this at a later date. You will need to locate a canine ophthalmologist. To locate a eye specialist in your area, visit www.offa.org.
Additionally, we test our goldens for eye genetic diseases: PRA-1 and PRA-2. If both parents are clear genetically, the puppies do not need to be tested as they are “clear by parentage”.
Recommendation: Only those English Cream Golden Retrievers who receive clear or “breeder option” score with OFA should be used for breeding. Ideally, only those goldens PRA-1 and PRA-2 clear should be bred.
Brucellosis: Another type of testing we do at The Golden Acres is for brucellosis. This is a serious disease that should not be taken lightly. This article provides excellent details on how brucellosis is transmitted and some of the effects of the disease: www.cfsph.iastate.edu.
Recommendation: Any local vet can test your dog for brucellosis. Your male should be tested before breeding any female. The Golden Acres does not allow any dog on our property that has not been tested for brucellosis. Females who are bred to our male are required to have a current test with a negative result.
3. Lake Country Goldens Birthing Center
We don’t want to be caught by surprise if a pregnant female decides to whelp earlier than expected. Our calendar is marked 58 days from the first mating. We consider this the earliest possible delivery date (63 days is more typical). We are on duty 24 hours a day beginning on day 58, until the puppies are born. Grocery shopping is done and we are hunkered down awaiting the big moment. It is ideal to know exactly how many puppies to expect so that you know when all have arrived. This can be accomplished by an x-ray at the veterinarians office ahead of time.
On day 58, the freshly bathed, expectant mommy is moved into our birthing center (attach photo). This one was located right off our master bedroom. A baby monitor is positioned in a central area of the house to catch any sound that might indicate labor has begun. There are a number of signs we begin to notice as labor approaches. The nesting instinct (moving her bedding around and pawing on the floor) and heavy panting are two obvious indicators. Another indicator, not visibly noticed, is a sudden drop in temperature. The average normal temperature for a dog is 101F (range of 99F-102.5F). When the female is within 24 hours of labor, the temperature will drop to 98-99F.
Keeping the mommy clean when she needs to relieve herself (especially if the weather is bad) has all been prepared for. A climate controlled deluxe doggy “outhouse” has been built just a few steps from the back door, with extra room to get some wiggles out as well (my mom wondered if we were building a special room for her when she saw how nice it was).
There are a few birthing necessities standing by for the big moment:
- Oversized towels (to trade out underneath the mommy).
- Large washcloths (one for each puppy, with some extras).
- Dental floss (to tie off the umbilical cord).
- Scissors (to cut the floss and umbilical cord).
- Rubbing alcohol (to keep the scissors clean).
- Leash for taking mommy dog out on a walk in between puppies being born.
- Osteo-form tablets (calcium to give the mommy during labor). Note: We DO NOT supplement with calcium a part of our dogs diet (this is not advised). These are given only during labor to help rejuvenate the mommy. Osteo-form can be purchased at www.ebay.com, visit e-bay store: petwishpros. One tablet can be given for every 5 pounds of body weight.
- The veterinarians phone number (just in case).
Nature has a sense of humor. More times than not, labor begins about the time we are ready to go to bed! We know that if something goes wrong, the vet bills will reflect the unusual hour of the delivery.
There are two indicators that start a 60 minute countdown. One is the breaking of the waters and the other is hard, regular contractions. If both of these have taken place and no puppy has been produced, we call the veterinarian and head in for a possible c-section. Simply getting in and out of the car can produce a puppy and start the birthing process. In fact, walking the pregnant mommy can be the most effective way to produce a puppy. When she squats with a contraction, be ready to catch a puppy.
Due to all the changes taking place within the mommy, the birth of the first puppy is usually the most challenging. Unless there is an oversized or misaligned puppy, the others should be born with much more ease. Generally, first time moms will have a harder time giving birth than experienced moms.
When the puppy comes out, sometimes they will be encased in their birth sac. You will want to break this right away. The first goal is to get the puppy to breathe. This is accomplished by clearing the area around his/her mouth and nose with your large clean wash cloth. You then stimulate the puppy by wiping the rest of the body with the cloth. This should produce a whimper and normal breathing should begin. Some puppies will require a little more stimulation.
Once the puppy is stabilized, you will want to tie off the umbilical cord. Take a piece of dental floss and tie it tightly around the umbilical cord approximately 1/3 inch below the tummy. We repeat the knot 2 more times, then cut off the cord and excess dental floss just below the knot. Note: If you cut the cord too short and you didn’t tie it well, it will be difficult to tie again. If you cut it too long, the mommy will bite at it. In between puppies being born, we give a couple tablets of Osteo-Form and/or take the mommy for a walk. It is not unusual for the mommy to squat while on the walk and give birth to a puppy. We always carry a cloth with us just in case!
Once all your newborn puppies have arrived, your job has just begun. We keep the newborns and their mommy in our birthing center for the first 10 days before moving them to the nursery. This allows for constant monitoring to be sure the mother doesn’t lay on a puppy and suffocate it. The constant human interaction in and around the puppies familiarizes them with us.
We cannot say enough positive about English Cream Golden Retrievers. Being able to raise them and bless other lives with a puppy is truly rewarding.
4. The Golden Acres Nursery
It is important to provide the right surface for the puppies as they begin walking. We have found that “hands down” the whelping pad by durawhelp and available at www.breederbase.com is the most effective. The pads are somewhat expensive, but they will last for years. We keep the pad changed regularly (having an additional pad on hand) so that the puppies are never on a damp surface.
Puppy Coach: The age of three to six weeks is perhaps the most crucial in the puppies development. The web site “puppy prodigies” asserts that during this time the fear factor is not in place. Fear is not imprinted until 8 weeks of age. www.puppyprodigies.org. This critical time provides an excellent opportunity to introduce the puppy to various experiences (stimuli) while they are perceived as positive or neutral. Our goal is to provide the new puppy owner with a socially secure and mentally acute English Cream golden retriever puppy.
At around 3 ½ weeks, we begin to introduce wet puppy food (see puppy food segment). By five weeks of age, we have removed the whelping box and opened the entire area for the puppies to move about and explore. Their mommy visits regularly to nurse the puppies still, but they are doing quite well on their puppy food by this time. Some breeders wean their puppies completely at 6 weeks. We still have the mommy visit twice a day during the sixth week, with the puppies total weaned by week 7. By this time, their puppy food is no longer moistened.
Once the puppies have free run of the larger area, the bedding of choice is cedar. There are three main reasons that we like cedar:
- It is highly absorbent
- It has a sweet smell that minimizes odors
- It repels fleas
We are able to refresh the bedding and make it last a bit longer before changing all of it.
At six weeks of age, the puppies receive their first shot (see vaccination section for details).
Our puppies are ready to go to their new homes at 8 weeks of age. Lake Country puppies adjust well to their new homes. Consistently we receive requests for another puppy from an upcoming litter. Happy owners refer us to their friends and relatives. This is the highest compliment we can be paid.
Puppy Selection: Naturally, our new puppy owners are anxious to know which puppy is theirs. At week 6, individual photos will be taken of each puppy for selection purposes. The person with first pick boy will look at all photos of the boys and determine which one they would like (same process for girl picks). After their selection, the photos of the remaining boy puppies will be sent to the person with second pick and so on. If any puppy owner is not happy with their selection, we will gladly refund their deposit. Our goal is completely satisfied/elated puppy owners.
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