Hot Spots and Skin Issues
Skin problems are unfortunately very common in Golden Retrievers, and some dogs are much more prone to them than others. These problems can begin with an allergic reaction to a flea bite. This causes the dog to bite and scratch at the spot until it is raw and bloody. Depending upon your region, this may be a seasonal problem or a problem that constantly plagues your Golden. If flea season lasts year-round where you live, you probably need some sort of insecticide to keep these pests from feasting upon your Golden. If you live in an area where fleas are seasonal, you might be able to get away with frequent vacuuming of rugs and furniture, with plenty of dog baths and brushing.
Topical flea preparations are not to be taken lightly — these chemicals can be quite powerful. Though they will kill or repel fleas, you want to make sure that they don't also harm your Golden. There are numerous flea and tick products on the market today, and each proclaims its superiority at repelling and killing these pesky pests. This is another subject that you have to research so you can find the best product for your dog. You'll want to find out about the chemicals in the flea repellents as well as the methods of administration.
There are powders, spray, topicals, and flea collars. Each of these may be useful, depending on your situation and your dog's overall health. Be wary of waterproof flea and tick products, as these have a longer staying power on your pet. This might be desirable if you want the product to withstand frequent swimming escapades, but it's not so great if your dog has a sudden allergic reaction and you need to wash it off right away. Remember that insecticides are poisons that we are putting on our dogs to keep pests at bay. Use them sparingly, follow package instructions, and bathe your dog before reapplying them.
You may take a wait-and-see approach and apply a product only if fleas or ticks become a problem for your Golden that year. Or you might choose to apply the product every eight weeks instead of every four weeks. Minimize the chemicals you expose your dog to, and you will benefit his health in the long run.
Be a smart consumer, and read up on the latest products. This is a good way to avoid getting talked into using something that is more toxic and powerful than you need. Your dog is depending upon you to make the right decisions for his health and long life, so do your homework!