9 Most Common Golden Retriever Health Problems (+expert tips)

In this article, we will discuss the nine most common health problems that affect Golden Retrievers, the warning signs that your Golden might have one of these health issues, and provide tips for preventing & treating them.

We’ll also cover the SINGLE biggest factor that determines how healthy your Golden Retriever will likely be (don’t miss this!)

Key Takeaways About Golden Retriever Health Problems

  • The Golden Retrievers breed is usually healthy, but they can have some health problems, especially as they get older.
  • It’s important to choose a good breeder when getting a Golden Retriever to help them stay healthy and avoid common health issues.
  • Golden Retrievers can get allergies, which can make them itchy, give them skin problems, and tummy troubles.
  • Because Golden Retrievers have floppy ears, they often get ear infections, so it’s important to clean their ears regularly and get treatment if needed.
  • As Golden Retrievers get older, they may have problems like arthritis, joint disease, trouble with their memory, dental issues, and their eyes and ears may not work as well.
  • To keep Golden Retrievers healthy, it’s important to help them keep a good weight, give them good food, take care of their ears, and make sure they get their shots.
  • Golden Retrievers should see the veterinarian at least once a year for a check-up, and older dogs or those with health problems may need to go more often.
  • To help prevent health problems, it’s important to give Golden Retrievers a balanced diet and any supplements recommended by the veterinarian.

9 Most Common Golden Retriever Health Problems

1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: When disco moves and funny bones become a challenge for Golden Retrievers

Hip dysplasia is a common Golden Retriever health issue. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to joint instability and eventual arthritis. 

Symptoms include difficulty in walking, stiffness, and lameness. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper breeding practices can help reduce the risk of hip dysplasia.

Elbow dysplasia is another orthopedic condition that affects Golden Retrievers. 

It occurs when the elbow joint develops abnormally, causing pain, lameness, and limited mobility. Treatment options include medication, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.

2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Lights out for Golden Retrievers with a dimming spotlight

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an inherited eye disease that affects Golden Retrievers. 

It gradually leads to the degeneration of the retina, resulting in progressive vision loss and eventual blindness. Regular eye check-ups and genetic testing can help detect PRA early on.

3. Hypothyroidism: When your Golden Retriever is ‘pawsitively’ sluggish

Hypothyroidism is a hormonal disorder that affects the thyroid gland. It leads to a decrease in thyroid hormone production, causing symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, and skin issues. 

Medication and dietary management can help manage hypothyroidism in Golden Retrievers.

4. Allergies: When life gives them ‘itchy’ situations

Golden Retrievers are prone to allergies, which can be caused by various factors such as food, environmental allergens, or flea bites. Allergy symptoms include itching, skin irritation, ear infections, and digestive issues.

 Identifying and avoiding allergens, along with medication and proper grooming, can ease allergy symptoms.

5. Cancer: The ‘ruff’ reality Golden Retrievers face in the battle against cells gone wild

Cancer is a prevalent health concern in Golden Retrievers. One type is Osteosarcoma. This is a type of bone cancer that tends to affect large and giant breeds, including Golden Retrievers. 

It often develops in the long bones and can cause lameness, swelling, and pain. Treatment options may include amputation, chemotherapy, and palliative care.

6. Ear Infections: When Golden Retrievers can’t help but hear the call of the itch

Golden Retrievers are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears and a tendency to keep moisture. Symptoms of ear infection include itching, redness, odor, and discharge. Regular ear cleaning and drying, along with prompt treatment of infections, can help prevent recurring ear issues.

7. Heart Disease: Matters of the heart, because Golden Retrievers have so much love to give

Heart disease, including conditions like cardiomyopathy and valve disorders, can affect Golden Retrievers. 

Symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and fainting. Regular veterinary exams, a balanced diet, exercise, and medication can help manage heart disease in Golden Retrievers.

8. Obesity: When Golden Retrievers are ‘woofing’ down more than just compliments

Obesity is a common health problem in Golden Retrievers. It can lead to various other health issues, including joint problems, diabetes, and reduced lifespan. 

A balanced diet, portion control, regular exercise, and weight management are crucial for preventing and managing obesity.

9. Epilepsy: Unleashing Golden Retriever’s ‘pawesome’ dance moves at unexpected times

Epilepsy is a significant neurological disorder that can impact your Golden Retriever, leading to recurrent seizures. It is a condition that requires careful attention and understanding. 

These seizures can range in severity and unpredictability, posing challenges for both the affected dogs and their devoted owners. 

Managing epilepsy in Golden Retrievers involves a comprehensive approach, including regular veterinary care, adherence to prescribed medications, and creating a safe and supportive environment. 

Golden Retriever Health Problems Related to Aging 

Golden Retrievers, like all living beings, experience certain health issues related to aging as they grow older. While individual dogs may age differently, some common health problems that can arise in aging Golden Retrievers include:

  • Arthritis: As Golden Retrievers age, they may develop arthritis, which causes joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain. This can affect their mobility and overall quality of life.
  • Degenerative Joint Disease: Along with arthritis, degenerative joint disease can occur in aging Golden Retrievers. This condition involves the progressive deterioration of joint cartilage, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
  • Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome: Like Alzheimer’s disease in humans, aging Golden Retrievers can develop cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Symptoms may include disorientation, confusion, memory loss, changes in sleep patterns, and decreased responsiveness.
  • Dental Issues: Dental problems, such as periodontal disease and tooth decay, become more common in older Golden Retrievers. Regular dental care and professional cleanings are essential to maintain oral health.
  • Vision and Hearing Loss: Golden Retrievers may experience age-related vision and hearing loss as they get older. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help check and address any issues.
  • Cancer: While cancer can occur at any age, the risk of developing cancer increases as Golden Retrievers age. Regular veterinary examinations and early detection are vital for managing and treating cancer effectively.
  • Heart and Kidney Diseases: Age-related heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, and kidney diseases can affect older Golden Retrievers. Monitoring their heart and kidney function through regular check-ups is crucial for early detection and management.
  • Weakening Immune System: As Golden Retrievers age, their immune system may weaken, making them more susceptible to infections and diseases. Ensuring they receive proper nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary care can help support their immune system.

Early detection of health problems and appropriate management can help improve the quality of life for aging Golden Retrievers and ensure their well-being in their senior years.

Are Golden Retrievers Healthy Dogs? 

Are Golden Retrievers Prone to Health Problems Compared to Other Breeds?  

Golden Retrievers, like any other breed, are not exempt from health issues. While they do have some specific health concerns that are more prevalent within the golden retriever breed, it is important to understand their health status in comparison to other dog breeds too.

When considering the dog breeds and broader spectrum of canine health, here are a few other factors to keep in mind about Golden Retrievers:

  • Moderate Prone to Health Problems: Golden Retrievers can be considered moderately prone to certain health problems in comparison to other breeds. 
  • Breed-Specific Conditions: Golden Retrievers have their fair share of breed-specific health concerns, as mentioned in the previous section. These conditions, while more common in Golden Retrievers, may not be as prevalent in other breeds.
  • Overall Health Variability: It is essential to note that individual Golden Retrievers can vary significantly in their overall health. 
    • Factors such as genetics, breeding practices, diet, exercise, and general care play a crucial role in a dog’s well-being. 
    • Responsible breeding and proactive health management can greatly influence the health outcomes for individual dogs.

In summary, while Golden Retrievers have some breed-specific health problems, they can be considered moderately prone to health issues compared to other breeds. 

The Single Biggest Factor That Will Heavily Impact Your Dog’s Health

When looking for a puppy that will grow up to be healthy and live a long life, it’s really important to choose a reputable and quality Golden Retriever breeder.

The breeder you pick has a big impact on how healthy and well-behaved your furry friend will be. 

Ensuring Genetic Health

  • A good Golden Retriever breeder cares a lot about the health and well-being of their dogs.
  • They make sure to check the health of their breeding dogs and do genetic tests to reduce the chances of the puppies getting inherited diseases or health problems.
  • By carefully choosing dogs with clean health records to be parents, they can lower the risk of passing on genetic conditions to the puppies.

Health Guarantees and Support

  • Good breeders often give health guarantees for their puppies, which means they promise that the puppy you get is free from any known genetic defects or health issues.
  • They are also there to help and support you as your puppy grows up. They can give you advice on how to take care of your puppy’s health, what to feed them, and how to train them.
  • When a breeder shows this level of commitment and support, it means they are responsible and want to make sure you and your puppy have a happy and healthy life together.

Proper Socialization and Early Development

  • A responsible breeder understands how important it is for puppies to have positive experiences and learn social skills from a young age.
  • They create a safe and stimulating environment for the puppies, where they can see and hear different things and have new experiences.
  • Good breeders also take good care of the puppies by making sure they get their vaccinations, deworming, and regular check-ups with the vet. This helps the puppies start their lives in the best possible health.

Long-Term Implications

  • Choosing a quality Golden Retriever breeder doesn’t just affect your puppy’s health right now, but also has long-term effects.
  • When you pick a breeder who cares about health and breeding responsibly, you are helping to improve the overall quality of the breed.
  • Responsible breeders work to keep the good qualities of Golden Retrievers, reduce genetic diseases, and make sure they live long and healthy lives.

In conclusion, it’s really important to choose a quality Golden Retriever breeder when you want a healthy and long-lived puppy.

When you pick a reputable breeder, you can feel confident knowing that your new furry friend comes from a good family, has been taken care of properly, and has a better chance of being healthy.

It’s worth investing in a quality breeder because it means you’ll have a happy and beloved Golden Retriever who will bring you joy for many years to come.

Prevention and Early Detection of Common Health Problems in Golden Retrievers 

Tips For Preventing Health Issues 

Preventing health problems in your Golden Retriever is a top priority. Outlined below are simple steps you can take to minimize the risk. 

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Keep your Golden Retriever at an optimal weight to reduce the strain on their joints and lower the risk of obesity-related conditions. Provide a balanced diet and regular exercise tailored to their needs.
  • Ensure a Safe Diet: Be vigilant about what your dog consumes, ensuring they don’t ingest anything harmful or toxic. Keep hazardous foods, plants, and objects out of their reach to prevent accidents and potential health issues.
  • Ear Care: Clean your dog’s ears regularly to prevent ear infections. Use veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solutions and gently remove dirt or debris. Avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal to prevent injury.
  • Proper Drying: After bathing or water activities, thoroughly rinse and dry your Golden Retriever’s coat. Moisture trapped in their fur can lead to skin irritations and provide a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
  • Vaccination Schedule: Stay up to date with your dog’s vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian. Vaccinations protect against common infectious diseases and ensure your Golden Retriever’s immunity is strong.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of health issues in your Golden Retriever and promote their overall well-being. 

Regular veterinary check-ups, proper grooming, a nutritious diet, and a safe environment will contribute to a long and healthy life for your beloved furry canine companion.

How Often Should You Take Your Golden Retriever To The Veterinarian For Routine Check-ups

Routine check-ups for your Golden Retriever with a veterinarian should occur at least once a year, with more frequent visits for senior dogs or those with existing health conditions. These regular check-ups are essential for preventive care, early detection of potential health issues, and maintaining your dog’s overall well-being. 

Monitoring your dog’s health and promptly scheduling regular vet visits and appointments when necessary, along with open communication with your veterinarian, ensures that your Golden Retriever receives the best possible care throughout their life.

Can Balanced Diet and Supplements Help Prevent Health Issues in Golden Retrievers? 

A balanced diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of Golden Retrievers, and it can contribute to the prevention of certain health issues. 

Providing your Golden Retriever with a nutritionally complete and balanced diet, tailored to their specific needs, can support their immune system, promote healthy weight management, and provide the necessary nutrients for optimal bodily functions.

Additionally, certain supplements may have potential benefits in preventing or managing specific health issues in Golden Retrievers. 

However, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any supplements to your dog’s diet. They can assess your dog’s individual needs and recommend appropriate supplements, if necessary.

While a balanced diet and supplements can support your Golden Retriever’s overall health, it’s important to remember that they are not a guaranteed prevention or cure for all health issues.

Working closely with your veterinarian to develop a holistic approach to your Golden Retriever’s health will help ensure they receive the best possible care.

FAQs About Common Health Problems Of Golden Retrievers 

How do I know if my dog is unhealthy? 

Different illnesses prevent different signs and symptoms, as the above conditions highlight. You’ll already know what your dog’s eye is like when they’re healthy. Any deviation from this could be considered a sign that your dog is unhealthy and needs to visit a vet.

How can I improve my Golden Retriever’s life? 

There are more than a few ways you can do this, with proper care and love being the most notable. Take them for regular walks, give them mental stimulation, and get them checked by a doctor when they show signs of getting sick.

What are the warning signs your dog is crying for help?

There are quite a few warning signs for this, with changes in appetite, differences in breathing, changes in sleeping habits, and a lack of energy being some of the more notable.

What is the lifespan of Golden Retrievers

The average Golden Retriever lifespan is 10–12 years, and they’re typically healthy dogs.

How long can I leave a Golden Retriever alone?

Golden Retrievers are social dogs that thrive on human and dog companionship, and it is generally not recommended to leave them alone for more than 4 to 6 hours at a time. Prolonged periods of solitude can lead to separation anxiety and behavioral issues in Golden Retrievers, so it’s important to ensure they have regular social interaction and mental stimulation throughout the day.

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.