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Thinking of adopting a 5 year old retriever bitch - advice please

(16 Posts)
naffedoff Fri 16-Aug-13 19:52:36

A colleague has to re-home her dogs due to housing problems.

My daughter has always wanted a dog and one of the dogs that needs re-homing is a 5 year old retriever bitch with full pedigree.

The dog's friendly and well-trained but not spayed and would need vaccinations and micro-chipping. The current owner will give me all the dog's equipment as she won't need it.

I think the dog will need spaying and obviously vaccinating. I will take out pet insurance. The current owner says that the dog's father had no eye issues and the hips are good as well.

Is there anything else that I need to consider with a 5 year old retriever? I've never owned a dog before (but we do already have a grumpy 11 year old cat.)

MuminPinny Fri 16-Aug-13 20:17:44

Retrievers are lovely but are usually quite chewy dogs - furniture and plants generally get chewed to some extent as puppies. A 5 month old will be at a chewy stage. They are great dogs (which is why I got a second one). Does this one have a cage to sleep in? It is great if it does as you will know that it is safe (as is your house) when you go to bed at night or go out in the day. I wouldn't leave my dogs for more than 3 hours at a time and they would have been walked before being left. Would this fit into your schedule? I think you and your family need to meet the dog and see if it's nice and friendly and you all want it. Pups are great but hard work so you need to be sure that it's what you want. As for insurance, make sure you get cover for life so that in the unlikely event that it develops a condition such as a thyroid problem, epilepsy or diabetes that the insurance pays for its whole life not just until you've reached a set limit, eg £20000. Good luck!

MuminPinny Fri 16-Aug-13 20:20:34

Sorry! Just re-read your post that dog is 5 years old and not 5 months. Sorry. Goodies are lovely dogs.

Nigglenaggle Fri 16-Aug-13 20:26:00

If she is pedigree then the hip and eye scores of both the parents will be on her papers. The closer to 0, the better. She will definitely need spaying, microchipping and vaccinating, as you say.

Take out insurance at the first opportunity, any pre-existing conditions will not be covered (although you should not be expected to be psychic, but anything previously picked up by a vet is out). The kennel club have an expensive but usually trouble free insurance. Pet Plan are OK most of the time, the others vary wildly. I would avoid most supermarket insurance.

Is she a golden retriever? Retrievers in general tend towards the larger size so you need to be careful with food intake - they can be bottomless pits, so be ready to be firm on no extras. They need a reasonable amount of exercise - an hour to an hour and a half daily ideally.

They are generally good tempered and good with other animals although each dog is an individual. If you already have a cat I would arrange to take the dog on a trial basis as if the cat can't cope its alot to inflict on her/him.

naffedoff Fri 16-Aug-13 20:51:37

Thanks for the responses. The dog is good with cats, kids and other dogs; comes to heel and doesn't roam off. The current owner was going to breed from her, but didn't, hence no spaying. She makes her sound like the ideal dog tbh.

The dog is happy to be in during the day as currently happens. Our car may be the stumbling block - but she keeps herself to herself usually.
I'm a bit scared off by the possibility of huge vet bills though, but that's what insurance is for.

I'm going to see the dog on Sunday, but unless something major is wrong, then I think we'll be having her.

pootlepootle Sat 17-Aug-13 09:05:27

what type of dog is she? you say a retriever but there's lots of breeds from labradors to flatcoats, golden retrievers, curly coated ones etc.

the information about her parents health tests all sounds a bit woolly. she should have papers - ask to look at them.

if i were you i'd take her out for a walk without the current owner. keep her at heel, probably on lead for safety in case she's not as well trained as you've been told and see what happens. you'll get more of an idea of her that way.

hope things go well. i've got two labs and i love them to pieces even if they smell and make my house messy

naffedoff Sat 17-Aug-13 09:47:21

The owner has certificates for hip and eye scores which are zero and says the dog has no health problems. I've seen one photo - it's a golden retriever.

I'm going to visit and take it for a walk tomorrow but there's no opportunity for a home trial as she's moving house on 31 August when she needs the dogs to be out, and we're away on holiday until then.

I would hope that - as the owner works in the same building as me - that she would be honest about any problems. She does also have to re-home her other two dogs, one of whom has a dodgy knee which she readily told me about.

The owner's upset about having to do this but she has no alternative.

Canidae Sun 18-Aug-13 16:45:49

I have a 5 year old golden and she is a delight. Out of the mad puppy stage enough to focus more but still has plenty of energy and fun.

Ask what vet she is registered with. Will you use the same one? Maybe ask the vet about previous visits.

Are the certificates for this dog or just the parents? If this bitch was going to be used for breeding then she should have her own hip/elbow scores and eye checks.

Good luck.

Nigglenaggle Sun 18-Aug-13 20:07:25

The vet would need the (previous)owners permission to give you those details so its probably as easy to ask the owner for a print out of the medical history if you want to go down this route.

topbannana Mon 19-Aug-13 14:17:06

TBH if she has not got any long running health issues that the vets would need to refer back to, I would wing it with the insurance as having rescued her from a dubious source with no medical history available.
This way she will get full cover. Presently if she had for example, licked a sore patch on her leg which had required veterinary treatment, the insurance could well refuse to pay for any skin related claims in the future as they could be seen to be a pre-existing condition.
Anyone who adopts a dog from a rescue is normally in the same boat and insurance companies accept this with no quibble.

TotallyBursar Mon 19-Aug-13 15:21:59

There is no way on God's green Earth a retriever has a hip score of zero.
Now that doesn't mean she is fibbing but you will need to check for yourself.
You do want a low hip score (look at the provided breed mean average, lower than that is a nice bonus) but you also want an even score - a total of 14 will affect a dog differently if both hips score 7 than if one is 10 and one 4 for example.
Eyes and elbows too.

But, apart from obviously avoidable risks (poor health tests or worrying behaviour out on a trial walk in town and country) I think accepting dogs can break in exciting, costly ways that you can't prevent or the current owner will necessarily know about (sub clinical heart, eye -if no genetic test- or other health issues) and deciding if you are happy with the chance that in a year or two you could have a dog with OA etc and getting comprehensive insurance cover is the thing to weigh up.
The chances are she's a sweet bitch that will give you years of love and will just have the normal old dog frailties, but you will have fewer of her 'good' years and will be taking her on just at the threshold of age related illnesses and costs. If you know you can reconcile that, do right by her and enjoy her then great.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst - hasn't failed me so far smile
And you do never know, I've a 14 year old fit as a flea and recently lost our 7 yo boy sad although usually they're somewhere in between those two hmm grin

Canidae Mon 19-Aug-13 16:24:38

There is no way on God's green Earth a retriever has a hip score of zero

My GSD's breeder has a bitch with a hip score of 1/0. If it is possible for GSD's then surely it is possible for a golden?

Floralnomad Mon 19-Aug-13 16:39:37

The golden retriever breeders council says it is very rare for a dog to have 0-0 hips and eyes which is what the OP has been told this dog has ,so t is worth treating such information with caution .

Whoknowswhocares Mon 19-Aug-13 17:05:18

I read that as eye scores at zero (although i thought you just got a positive or negative outcome for eyes?) and no data specified for hips. Maybe I'm wrong though?

TotallyBursar Mon 19-Aug-13 17:40:04

Well done to that breeder, that's a significant amount of work and obviously should be applauded. It's not a 0-0 though.
Is it possible? Yes, it's possible, lots of things are possible. Although I haven't got my breed record supp to hand so can't look, I can't remember seeing a score as low as that and certainly have not seen one professionally. I haven't got time to look now but the KC database will be the place to find that score...I would be surprised if it's there. Pleasantly surprised though. And will happily be proved wrong if only for the increase in general health. Currently though I maintain my previous position.

Here op can check all records held for the dog so can be assured before anyone has to dig their certs from the back of a filing cabinet : Using the dog's kennel name hips, eyes and elbows should be listed.

Eyes, if it is either the annual or once test will be unaffected or affected. Genetic testing will give an ABC result with A being clear, B being a carrier and C being affected.

BaggioTX Fri 18-Oct-13 08:38:02

- CHD (Hip Displasia)...that's the thing you have to look for in Goldens.

- Large food intake (our Lucky is amazingly receptive to have something REMOTELY close to edible, he comes and sit...the most obedient dog around when there's something edible...the most distracted dog around otherwise) - a site on making home made dog food instead of commercial dog food which is also more economic here if interested:, this is what we do

- Medical expenses (skin irritation, heartworms and all that stuff - need regular maintenance)

- Large activity needs (Goldens are really active dogs - they need a huge amount of exercise on a daily basis)

That's our experience with Lucky. ;)

Hope that helps some!!


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