How to Find a Reputable Retriever Breeder

Last Updated: May 9, 2016

retriever-puppyIt’s official, you have made your final decision to welcome a Retriever into your family and your home. The moment has arrived that you are beginning your journey of finding a reputable breeder. Finding a responsible breeder that has healthy dogs available can be a long task. The tips below will help you find a healthy, happy Retriever pup from a reputable Retriever breeder.

  • Ask Friends and Family – Begin your search by asking those closest to you if they can recommend a reputable breeder that is trustworthy. Ask family members, close friends, co-workers and local veterinarian office staff. There’s a possibility that someone may have an excellent referral for you.
  • Search Your Community – Search within your community by going online to your local community website. You can also broaden your search to surrounding communities. You will be searching for dog breeders that have Retrievers available.
  • Contact the Breeder – Speak to the breeder of the telephone to see if they have Retriever pups available. If they do, set up a day and time to meet with them. If you have a variety of Retriever breeders in your area to choose from you can set an appointment with each one.
  • Keep Your Appointment – When you arrive you will want to focus and observe the area where the pups live. Responsible breeders provide a clean environment and easy access to fresh water and food. They also exhibit caring emotions towards the pups. If you meet a breeder that has more than two litters available at one time, chances are it is a puppy mill. If this is the case remove yourself from the facility immediately.
  • Interview the Breeder – When you meet the breeder ask for references from previous customers. Also take the time to get to know the breeder, ask why they enjoy breeding Retrievers, their interest in the breed, if they can provide medical documents from a veterinarian for the pup. Also discuss if there are any known health issues with the parents of the litter.

Remember that reputable breeders do not hand over a pup to the first person that gives them money. Responsible breeders take their time interviewing you and getting to know more about where you live and the type of lifestyle you are going to provide for the pup. They will ask questions that will help them get a clear picture if you will be a responsible Retriever dog owner. They also have the right to deny you a pup if they feel you are not suitable for a Retriever.

While the process may seem lengthy and even bothersome, especially since you are eager to hold your Retriever pup in your arms and take him or her home, it is essential to endure when dealing with a reputable Retriever breeder. To make things easier you may want educate yourself on the breed, learn the requirements they need to live a happy, healthy life and express your desire to become a pet parent to a Retriever. This will help the breeder understand you are responsible as a pet owner. Find a reputable Retriever breeder today and bring your pup home!

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Is a Retriever the Right Dog for You?

Last Updated: April 8, 2016

Is a Retriever the Right Dog for YouYou may have just looked into the soulful brown eyes of a Retriever and immediately known he or she is the dog for you. While this instinct is most-likely right, you still should consider if a Retriever is the right dog for you. This will help you feel confident in your choice as well as assure you that you can provide a safe, healthy environment and lifestyle for a Retriever.

  • Veterinary Care – Providing regular veterinarian care for your Retriever includes costs for office visits, vaccinations, necessary tests, emergency care, medicine and other costs throughout his or her lifetime. There is the opportunity to purchase pet health insurance and some veterinarian offices offer payment plans, but either way you still have to be capable of affording yearly veterinarian bills throughout the entire lifetime of your Retriever.
  • Food – Retrievers might be soft, furry pups when you first get him or her home, but within three years they are a medium-sized adult dog that requires a good amount of food on a daily basis. Feeding one Retriever per year can cost up to $400 depending on the type of brand and food you choose.
  • Necessities – Your Retriever will need dishes, toys, bedding, crates, collars, leashes, brushes and much more throughout their lifetime. These essentials for living a good life will become costly over the years.
  • Regular Grooming – Retrievers have beautiful coats that need attention on a regular basis. You will need to brush your Retriever at least every other day. In addition, you may have to visit a groomer every six to eight weeks for nail trimming, ear cleaning and more.
  • Exercise – Retrievers are energetic and have enthusiasm for life. To keep your dog healthy you will need to dedicate at least one hour a day to exercising your dog. This can be broken into 20 to 30 minute increments too. You will also need to have the energy to exercise and walk this amount of time on a daily basis. If you are not physically able to keep up with the exercise demands, you will want to at least have a fenced in yard for your Retriever to run around in to keep him or her healthy.
  • Shedding – If you are a person that is more comfortable with a well kept home than a lived-in look, you may want to reconsider getting a Retriever. First, as Retrievers grow up they go through stages of chewing on objects. While every pet parent hopes it is their toys they desire the most, it is common for Retrievers to chew on furniture, shoes and other objects. Also, Retrievers shed hair all year long. There are times of the year when the shedding increases as they lose their winter coat. This means you will have hair sporadically located throughout your home on a regular basis, no matter how much you vacuum and clean.

Now that you have learned more about Retrievers, you can make a good decision if the breed is the right one for you. Remember to take into consideration all of the needs that are required to be a pet parent. If you spend most of your time away from home and at work, you may not be ready to be a pet parent. However, if you always have family members at home that enjoy caring for a Retriever and are seeking a rewarding bond with a dog, a Retriever might be the best choice for you.

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Healthy Treats for Retrievers

Last Updated: January 6, 2016

Healthy Treats for RetrieversPet parents know that their dog will do almost anything to receive a delicious treat. While most dog treats are meaty, chewy delicious and in high demand, some dog owners are looking to add some healthy snacks to their pups diet too. There are a variety of healthy treats that you can give to your retriever that he or she will enjoy just as much as the others. Below is a list of excellent healthy treat choices that you can introduce into your dog’s diet today.

  • Bananas – This healthy option is good for dogs of all ages. It is packed with vitamin B6 and C, amino acids, potassium, fiber, minerals, manganese and electrolytes. The sweet flavor and smooth texture will capture your dog’s attention right away and keep your Retriever filled with energy all day.
  • Carrots – These crunchy treats are an excellent source of potassium, fiber and vitamins. They are also great for your dog’s teeth since it helps remove plaque and freshens breath. These delicious sweet treats will surely become one of your Retriever’s favorites.
  • Yogurt – This treat is great to add to dry dog food or serve in a small bowl. Your Retriever will surely gobble it up quickly. Yogurt is packed with protein, vitamins, probiotics, potassium, calcium, zinc and riboflavin. All-natural yogurt is recommended. Always avoid yogurt that has high sugar content.
  • Blueberries – This healthy treat provides plenty of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals. Fresh blueberries are recommended, you can even keep a bunch frozen in a zip lock bag in the freezer. You will want to toss a few to your pup on occasion, since an over indulgence of blueberries can cause an upset stomach. But don’t be too shy, because these tasty treats are extremely healthy.
  • Watermelon – This refreshing and healthy treat is popular during the spring and summer months. The hot weather causes dog owners and dogs alike to seek out refreshing treats. Watermelon has vitamin A and C, plus it is loaded with magnesium and potassium. It is also a great way to stay hydrated due to the high water content. When serving your Retriever watermelon be sure to remove the seeds and the rind.
  • Zucchini – This healthy treat adds folate, potassium and vitamins to your dog’s diet. This tasty treat is great when chopped into pieces that will be easy for your dog to chew. The crispy flavor and crunch with each bite will encourage your Retriever to eat more of this healthy treat.

Retrievers love to exercise and play with their owners and family. Keep your Retriever’s energy level balanced so that he or she can enjoy a variety of activities throughout the day. The healthy treats for Retrievers listed above are easy to store in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer. They are also convenient to take along with you in a plastic bag when taking your dog for a walk, going to the dog bark and doing other outdoor activities. They are also a great option to use during training sessions since they are low in calories and provide your Retriever with plenty of energy.

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Essentials for Traveling with Your Retriever

Last Updated: December 2, 2015

Essentials for Traveling with Your RetrieverTraveling with your Retriever can be stressful and sap their mental and physical energy. Retrievers enjoy living a routine life and when a trip comes along, even if it is to their favorite camp ground, it can cause anxiety. To make your travel experience more enjoyable and lessen stress, you will want to be prepared with essentials that will keep your Retriever safe and happy.

  • Favorite Items – Does your Retriever have a favorite toy, blanket or object they enjoy cuddling up with? Bring it along on your trip. This will provide your dog with something familiar and help him to feel more comfortable.
  • Travel Kennel – A travel kennel should be spacious enough for your Retriever to stand up and turn around easily. Place a mat or blanket and some favorite toys in the kennel with your Retriever. The kennel can be secured in the back seat and is a safe way to allow your dog to travel in the car. The kennel will also come in handy at hotels, lodges, plus relatives and friends homes. Since dogs are den animals it also provides a sense of security for your Retriever.
  • Food and Water – Bring your Retrievers current brand of dog food in dry and wet formula. Also bring along your dog’s favorite treats. Make sure you have enough food packed to last the entire trip plus an addition two days in case of delays. Bring along fresh bottled water too. You can choose to bring along your Retrievers regular food and water bowls or purchase travel size and portable dishes.
  • Medication and First-Aid Kit – If your dog takes medication on a regular basis you will want to bring it along on the trip. Remember to have prescriptions refilled and make sure the medication amount is capable of lasting throughout the entire trip and afterwards. Pack a canine first-aid kit and make sure it has hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, scissors, medical tape, gauze wrap and any other item you feel is necessary for your specific dog.
  • Emergency Contact Information – Before leaving your home, program your travel destinations local animal hospital and veterinarian offices phone numbers and addresses in your cell phone. Or, write down the details on a piece of paper and keep it close by during your trip.
  • Collar, Tags and Leash – Most destinations such as campgrounds, hotels, lodges and other locations require dogs to be on a leash in public areas at all times. Bring along a leash and collar that is comfortable for your Retriever. Also link identity tags with your dog’s name, your phone number, address and medical conditions on the color. If your dog gets lost it will help with a safe and quick return.

Always keep in mind that traveling may seem fun, but if your dog is not use to riding in a car for extended periods of time they may become anxious and nervous. When taking a road trip, schedule stops and breaks to allow your Retriever to get out of his travel kennel and walk around to stretch his or her legs. Also provide fresh water at all times to avoid dehydration. Enjoy traveling with your Retriever and remember to bring these important travel essentials along on your trip.

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Preparing to Bring Home Your Retriever Pup

Last Updated: October 28, 2015

Preparing to Bring Home Your Retriever PupCongratulations! You are becoming a pet parent to an adorable Retriever that will depend on you to care for them and provide them with all of their needs. While this may seem overwhelming it is also one of the most rewarding experiences pet owners receive. Before you panic, try your best to take a deep breath and prepare to bring your pup home. The following details will guide you towards successfully preparing for the arrival of your Retriever pup.

  • Choose a Veterinarian – You will most-likely be visiting the veterinarian within the first two weeks of your Retrievers arrival. This is to get a check-up, prepare a vaccination schedule and discuss any health issues your pup may be experiencing. Choose a veterinarian that is in your community that makes it quick and easy to reach in case of emergency situations.
  • Purchase Food and Treats – As a dog owner you will want to choose to provide your Retriever with a healthy diet for his or her size and age. You will also want to have delicious treats handy.
  • Purchase a Crate – All dogs are den animals and your Retriever enjoys feeling safe. A crate acts as a den and will provide your Retriever with much needed feelings of security and safety.
  • Choose a Bed – Purchase a soft bed large enough for your Retriever to fit into comfortably. You can also choose to add a soft blanket for him or her to cuddle up with and sleep.
  • Provide lots of Toys – Toys may not seem like an essential for dogs, but the truth is, they are a necessity. Toys keep your pup’s mind occupied, intrigued, captivated and allows them to be playful. Soft toys can also act as a security blanket and a cuddle object that can ease stress and anxiety in your pup.
  • Purchase a Collar, Identity Tag and Leash – Choose a collar that is comfortable for your Retriever. You have options such as harnesses or standard neck collars. You will also want to have an identity tag created with the name of your pup, your phone number and address. This will be beneficial if your Retriever gets lost and can’t find his or her way back home. Choose a leash that will fit comfortably in your hand and allow your Retriever to walk side-by-side with you.
  • Puppy Proof Your Home – This is an essential step to keeping your Retriever safe and healthy. You will want to remove any objects in your home, yard or car that your pup can choke on or can be toxic. Remove any toxic plants from your living space and yard. You can replace them with dog friendly plants, trees and bushes.

Now that you are all prepared for the arrival of your Retriever pup, keep in mind that you will have to begin training him or her the moment they arrive. This is important because you immediately need to show that you are the pack leader at their new home. Luckily, Retrievers are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world and are obedient. Welcome your Retriever to a safe, healthy, happy home today!

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Common Health Problems in Retrievers

Last Updated: September 28, 2015

Common Health Problems in RetrieversRetrievers have a naturally sweet nature and a good reputation due to their eagerness to please their owner.  It is difficult for dog owners to learn that there are common health problems in Retrievers that may affect their dog during his or her lifetime. While not every Retriever will experience health issues, it is wise for dog owners to learn of the most common health problems that may occur so they can seek treatment for their pooch immediately.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy – This common health issue is also referred to as PRA. It involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Symptoms of this condition include the loss of sight during the daytime and nighttime. Many Retrievers easily adapt to being blind by using their other senses to make up for the lack of sight. Dog owners will want to discuss the condition with a veterinarian regarding treatment and possible cures.
  • Acute Moist Dermatitis – This bacterial skin infection in dogs is easily noticeable. Symptoms include inflamed red blotchy skin that is located throughout the body. Veterinarians usually treat the condition by prescribing antibiotics and medicated shampoo to help relieve symptoms and cure the condition.
  • Epilepsy – Possible causes of this condition are due to exposure to toxins, tumors, head injuries, metabolic disorders and much more. The veterinarian will conduct tests that will confirm the source that triggers Epilepsy seizures. Retrievers will commonly fall over onto his or her side and twitch the legs and body uncontrollably during a seizure. Epilepsy can be treated with medication and other treatment methods provided by a veterinarian.
  • Hip Dysplasia – This health issue is commonly inherited from the dogs bloodline. Signs that your Retriever is experiencing Hip Dysplasia include whimpering, difficulty standing and slowness to walk and lameness in the rear legs. Depending on the severity of the condition, Veterinarians may recommend surgery.
  • Cold Tail – This painful condition in Retrievers causes the tail to go limp. The muscles between the vertebrae are usually affected. This condition usually goes away within a few days on its own.
  • Cataracts – This eye disease is hereditary and can develop over time. Typically Cataracts are a cloudy spot that gradually grows over time and impairs vision. Retrievers may experience symptoms such as hesitating to jump on furniture, climb steps and they will frequently bump into objects. Veterinarians usually recommend surgery for treatment.
  • Ear Infections – Retrievers are known for their love of water and swimming. Frequent access to water makes Retrievers prone to getting water in their ears. This can easily develop into an ear infection. Symptoms such as odor, discharge, redness, irritation and frequent scratching will alert dog owners that an ear infection may be present. Keeping a Retrievers ears clean and dry after swimming will help prevent frequent ear infections.

The common health issues listed above are possible conditions that a Retriever can experience throughout his or her lifetime. The risk of developing any type of health issue depends on the bloodline and breeding practices of each individual Retriever. Dog owners will want to discuss the bloodline and possible health issues with the breeder during the adoption process.  While these health conditions are common in Retrievers, time will tell if your dog will experience them throughout his or her lifetime.

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Exercise Ideas for Retrievers

Last Updated: August 26, 2015

Exercise Ideas for RetrieversRetrievers have an abundance of energy and they require daily exercise in order to live a well-balanced and healthy life. Dog owners may wonder what types of exercises are best suited for their Retriever. Before you introduce any new activity to your dog, make sure he or she is healthy and able to participate in physical activity. A quick visit to the veterinarian may be necessary if your dog has not received a check up recently. Once you have the veterinarian’s approval to introduce exercise into your dog’s lifestyle, try the ideas listed below.

  • Walking, Running – Walking and running is always the most convenient for of exercise. You can choose to go outdoors to walk around your neighborhood and allow your Retriever to be entertained by all of the other dogs you come in contact with. Or, you can train your dog to walk on a treadmill indoors. This option is helpful for those who live in areas that are affected by harsh winter or summer weather and is unsafe for your dog to be exposed to the elements.
  • Swimming – Retrievers enjoy swimming. While most Retrievers are strong swimmers, others may need a little bit of help from a life vest. This will allow them to float along and swim when they feel like it. Make this activity a family event and invite your dog to join you in the pool, lake or ocean as you all splash around and swim.
  • Play Fetch – Retrievers love to fetch items and return to their owners. Use this natural ability to your advantage and create a fun game out of it. Your Retriever will enjoy spending time with you as well as benefit from the exercise. Choose a favorite toy, Frisbee, stick or ball for your dog to fetch. Once your Retriever looks tired, it is best to stop, otherwise he or she can become over heated.
  • Agility Training – This is an excellent source of exercise and also allows you to bond with your dog. You don’t have to enter your dog into agility course competitions to enjoy this exercise. You can either purchase agility equipment or use safe items that you have around your home and yard. Create your own agility course in your own backyard and train your dog to go through the course. Always reward your Retriever with a healthy treat at the end of the course for a job well done.
  • Play Dates – Set up a play date with another dog owner and allow your dog’s to play together. Meet at a park or fun location so your Retriever can run, jump, play and interact with other dogs. The exercise he or she receives is fun, plus it allows you to relax while both of the dogs play.

Retrievers are generally ready to participate in any activity. Remember to keep the exercise routine fun, exciting and interesting. This will not only benefit your Retriever, but you also since you have to be the one to provide the exercise opportunities. Enjoy these exercise ideas with your Retriever today and encourage a healthy lifestyle for your dog.

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10 Cool Facts about Retrievers

Last Updated: July 14, 2015

Retrievers are sweet, kind, loving family dogs and companions that bring joy every day to the lives of dog owners. If a Retriever is already part of your family or you are thinking of welcoming one into your life soon, there are some cool facts that everyone should know about Retrievers. Enjoy learning more about Retrievers and welcome one into your life today.

1- There are a Variety of Retrievers – Retrievers are in the gundog grouping and have a keen ability to work alongside game hunters. They have a lively manner, highly enthusiastic, high aptitude for training and extremely obedient. There are a variety of Retrievers including the Chesapeake Bay, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling, Flat Coated, Curly Coated, Golden and Labrador Retriever.

2- Their Lifespan has a Long Range – A good healthy diet, plenty of exercise and a loving dog owner helps Retrievers live a lifespan that reaches between 10 to 12 years of age. There have been times that they have lived a few years more and reaching 14 years.

3- They are Working Dogs – While they make excellent game hunting companions they are more commonly known for their compassion and intelligence that makes them excellent guide, search and rescue and therapy workers.

4- They Love Children – When socialized early Retrievers have the ability to become best friends with children. They will happily and energetically play alongside kids and later nap beside them. They are gentle and caring towards children.

5- They are One of the Smartest Dog Breeds – Retrievers are highly intelligent and easy to train. Dog owners can teach obedience and agility training with ease. Since Retrievers have superior intelligence they are also known to be creative when escaping a fenced in yard.

6- They have an Excellent Sense of Smell – They have an extremely powerful sense of smell that is commonly used to seek out game in the field during hunting season. Due to their keen sense of smell police departments and the military often assign them to work side-by-side with personnel as search-and-rescue dogs and bomb sniffers.

7- They are Paid Actors – Due to their high intelligence they are easily trainable as actors. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Retrievers appeared in popular television sitcoms as well as movies. Their kind, gentle appearance and well behaved manners caused them to be in high demand for television and movie studios.

8- They Love to Swim – Since Retrievers were bred to work as game hunting dogs, they naturally enjoy swimming in water. Often times game will fall into water and the Retriever has to swim to reach the object. As a family dog, owners can enjoy swimming alongside their Retriever in the pool, lake or ocean.

9- They Can Become Watchdogs – Although Retrievers are known today as a family dog, they are also very loyal to their owner and can be trained to be a guard dog.

10- They Shed All Year – Retrievers have a beautiful coat that sheds all year long. This means owners will need to brush and groom their dog on a regular basis to remove excess hair.

Now that you have learned these cool facts about Retrievers, you most-likely have fallen in love with the breed even more than you did before. These sweet, kind, gentle dogs have an energetic personality and enjoy being part of a family. They are loyal, obedient and wonderful companions. If you don’t already own a Retriever, make today the day you welcome one into your life and family.

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Socializing Your Retriever

Last Updated: June 22, 2015

You just brought your Retriever pup home and now you want to make him or her as comfortable as possible. You will begin obedience training right away, plus you will want to introduce socialization too. Socializing your Retriever is important for him or her to live a positive and healthy lifestyle. You don’t want your pup being afraid of their surroundings or people throughout their entire lifetime. Begin socializing your Retriever as soon as they arrive at your home.

  • Introductions – First introduce yourself and your immediate family that lives in your home to your pup. Allow them to sniff your hands and toes and get use to his or her new family. Next, you will want to introduce your pup to their new environment, your home and yard. Allow your pup to roam around exploring your home and yard.
  • Extended Family and Friends – Once your Retriever pup has become familiar with you, your family and your home, introduce him or her to your extended family and friends. Invite your loved ones over to meet your pup and new family member. Allow them to play toys and hold him or her.
  • Environmental Surroundings – Allow your pup to discover his or her new neighborhood. Whether you live in a home or an apartment you will be bringing your pup outdoors for walks and playtime. Your pup will gradually become familiar with the sounds within your neighborhood. You may live in a quiet area that has children playing and other dogs barking. Or, you may live in a busy city that has honking horns, loud buses and busy streets. Either way, you will want your pup to become comfortable with environmental surroundings. You will achieve this by exposing them to the outdoors on a daily basis.
  • Meeting other Dogs and Animals – If you have other pets in your household you will want to introduce your Retriever to them as soon as possible. Always observe the introduction and never leave your pup alone with your other pets until you are sure they get along well together. Your other pets may not be welcoming to an energetic ball of fur so quickly. If you have friends that have dogs you may want to set up play dates for them to meet. This will allow your dog to play with other dogs in his or her home environment. Once you see that your pup is comfortable with other dogs, you can venture out to the dog park. Keep a close eye on your pup at the dog park since other dogs may be highly energetic and play rough with your pup.

Socializing your pup is easy and involves you encouraging exposure to a variety of sights, sounds, places, voices, people, animals and other dogs. It is highly important to bring your dog to certain places on a daily basis that will be a regular part of your life. For example, if you plan to bring your dog with you to an outdoor café a few times a week, you will want to begin this adventure as a young pup. Begin socializing your Retriever today so he or she can live a happy and fulfilled lifestyle.

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Summer Fun for Retrievers

Last Updated: May 20, 2015

The summer has arrived! Clean up the yard, fire up the barbeque pit, invite family and friends over and plan outdoor fun with your dog. Summer is the perfect time of year to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air and invite your sweet companion along for the adventure. There are a variety of fun activities that your Retriever will love to participate in all summer long.

  • Summer Drills – Retrievers are known for their keen duck hunting skills. Allow your dog to practice drills during summer. Even though it is the off season, it will allow your dog to gain experience and enjoy bonding time with you.
  • Swimming – You can either choose to join your dog in the water at the pool, lake and beach or you can allow your dog to cool off and exercise by throwing sticks, toys or balls into the water for your dog to retrieve. Your dog will enjoy cooling off, swimming, running into the water and splashing around on a hot summer day.
  • Hiking – Many dog owners have kept their Retriever cooped up inside during the harsh winter weather. Summer is a perfect time to take your dog hiking. It will allow your dog to get much needed exercise, captivate his or her mind with new surroundings and enjoy bonding time with you.
  • Sprinklers – If you don’t live near a water source that allows swimming, you can turn your yard into a mini water park for your dog. If you already have a sprinkler system set up just turn them on and encourage your dog to run around and play in the water. If you don’t have a sprinkler system, you can purchase a sprinkler that attaches to a water hose. Set the sprinkler in your yard, turn on the hose and watch your dog run, jump, splash around and play in the water. This is also a child-friendly activity that is fun for the entire family.
  • Kiddie Pools – Cooling off during the summer heat is important for dogs. Providing a kiddie pool filled with refreshing water and some waterproof dog toys is a great way for your dog to play and cool off.
  • Camping – Retrievers love being part of the family. Enjoy a weekend camping trip and bring your pooch along. You can play outdoor games such as fetch and Frisbee with your dog to pass the time. It also allows your dog to be closer to nature and breathe fresh air.

Enjoy these fun summer activities and many more with your Retriever this summer. Remember not to overdo it, provide plenty of fresh water, avoid the hottest part of the day and supervise all activities. Retrievers are known to be strong swimmers. However, not all retrievers find it easy during certain times in their life. If your Retriever has difficulty swimming but seems to enjoy the water, provide him or her with a life jacket. This will keep him or her safe during water related activities. Make your dog’s summer the best by allowing him or her to participate in a variety of activities.

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