Oakwood Flat Coated Retrievers
Flat Coats generally require 3-4 cups of good quality food a day. I find it best
to split this into two meals-one in the morning and one in the evening. If your
dog leads an active lifestyle, he may be better off with a food developed for
let your dog get fat--if you cannot see his 'waist' nor feel ribs it is time to
change to a lower-calorie food designed for weight loss--usually will have the
word 'lite' in the name of the food. Also switch to some low-calorie treats such
as baby carrots--or mix some green beans or pumpkin in his food while cutting
back about by about 1/4 the amount of kibbles he has been getting. The beans or
pumpkin will add fiber and bulk and make the dog feel fuller. Like overweight
humans, overweight dogs are subject to more health problems.
people also like to feed a raw food diet. While I do not use it myself, there
are many that swear by it. You can find more information about this diet at http://www.barfworld.com/
do well on a large-breed puppy food, and when a bit older (say-4-6 months) you
can switch to a high quality adult food. I feed my pups 3 times a day, usually
in the morning, in the late afternoon, then about 2-3 hours before bedtime. As
the pup gets older, I decrease the bedtime meal gradually until he is getting
of course always keep available a fresh water supply for your dog
Flat Coats should be kept in their natural coat-that is there should be no severe cutting of feathering, shaving the neck, or trimming of whiskers.
Coated Retrievers should be brushed about once a week with a good bristle dog
brush. This helps get out loose hairs and dirt. During shedding season (about
two times a year) you may want to brush a bit more frequently to get out the shedding
As the dog matures and ages, the feathering on tail and legs tends to get longer. If it gets too too scraggly you may want to LIGHTLY trim to neaten things up.
If your dog is out in the field, he may get into some seeds and brambles. If you cannot comb them out, you can try putting some cooking oil on the area to loosen things up, if that is unsuccessful, you may have to cut the matting/tangle out.
dog's nails will also have to be trimmed and cut periodically. It is best to get
your dog used to this as a pup as they notoriously do not like their nails cut.
Some people will put some peanut butter on a wall or refrigerator to distract
the dog while you trim the nails. Use a good-quality sharp nail trimmer and cut
to just before the quick. It is hard to tell with black nails, but if you look
closely to the underside of the nail, you can see where the quick begins.
forget your dog's teeth! You can accustom the dog to having his teeth brushed--there
are doggy toothbrushes and toothpaste on the market. There are also various chew
toys and treats that help cut down on plaque buildup.
As a breed overall, the Flat Coated Retriever is a fairly healthy breed. The breeders screen their health stock for such things as hip dysplasia, patella luxation, retinal atrophy, and gonioscopy These problems are not *that* common in the breed, and by careful screening the breeders help keep them to a minimum. The registries for hip, elbow, patellas can be found on line through OFA at http://www.offa.org/. The registries for the eyes can be found at http://www.vet.purdue.edu/~yshen/cerf.html .
As with any living thing, there are other health issues that can appear unexpectedly. Breeding is not an exact science, and problems can pop up very unexpectedly. And not all health issues have a genetic basis-even health issues present at birth. Should your dog should develop any health issue please contact your breeder! S/he may have heard of others with the same or similar problem, and if nothing else, s/he would want to know about the health of her pups--no matter what age they are!
Cancer is the primary cause of death in this breed--and in many breeds. The FCRSA in conjunction with universities have on-going studies. For more info go here .http://www.vet.purdue.edu/~yshen/cerf.html
The Flat Coated Retriever Society of America also has a wonderful site devoted to the health of this breed-you may want to check it out for additional and more in-depth information at http://fcrsainc.org/health.html
As far as day-to-day maintenance,
please be sure your dog is tested for heartworm and on a heartworm medication
schedule recommended by your vet.
your dog, but at the same time check for any changes in behavior, eating habits,
routines. When you are petting or grooming your dog, check his ears and eyes for
any redness, oozing or inflammation. If you feel any lumps, growths, or tender
spots let your vet know. If your dog is limping for unknown causes please get
this checked out too--it could be 'just' a strained muscle, but could also be
something more serious from an infection, a torn ligament, or cancer.
Flat Coats do best with moderate exercise and interactions with their people. I take mine for walks 2-3 times a day. We are very fortunate to have fenced acreage property on which to walk them and where our dogs can run freely. But they will do wonderfully with leash walks 2-3 times a day. Another method we use is to get a tennis racket and lob a tennis ball for ourFlat Coats. They love nothing better than to retrieve, and a tennis ball is a good size ball for them-not so small that they could inadvertently swallow one. Your dog can enjoy running and the chase, and retrieving the ball back to you. This is great if you do not have time for a walk, if you are unable to get out due to weather or other reasons, and will also let your dog get some aerobic exercise!
also a favorite pastime for Flat Coats--if you can find a lake or pond that you
can allow your dog! PLEASE be careful that this is a natural pond--that is one
that ISN'T treated with various chemicals (either intentionally or through pollution).
Throw a bumper or a floating toy for your dog to retrieve.
****IMPORTANT**** When exercising your dog in warm or hot weather PLEASE be extra careful not to let your dog get overheated! They may develope heat stroke-which can kill or cause permanent damage. Flat Coats will continue to run/play/retrieve even if too hot. When temperatures are high, please keep their exercise times short, and have them well-watered and in a cool, shady area.
If YOU do not provide an outlet for your dog's energies, they will be more likely
to find their own-such as digging and other potentially destructive behaviors--
a well exercised Flat Coat is a happy Flat Coat-and one less likely to get into
You may also want to enroll you dog into an obedience or agility class -this is an active, intelligent breed and the mental challenges of obedience and other sports is very rewarding for dog AND owner!