Most common health problems in Chow Chows, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Chow Chow

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Chow, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Chow already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Chow Chow dog breed

Chow Chow Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Chow Chow health problems

Lots of pain and lameness and potential surgeries to pay for, as Chows are prone to bad joints (hips, elbows, and knees) and tearing of the too-tight ligaments in their hind legs.

Their deep-set eyes with loose eyelids are prone to many different eye diseases.

Their thick coat and folds of wrinkled skin are prone to skin diseases, chronic itchy allergies, and bacterial infections (hot spots).

Other health issues in Chow Chows are thyroid disease, colitis, and an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

With their thick coat and problematic breathing, Chows suffer in hot climates. To prevent heatstroke, summer exercise should be limited to mornings and evenings.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Chow Chow have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, thyroid disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, and luxating patella, your Chow has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Chow Chow, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Chow Chow puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a Chow Chow puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Chow lives the best life he can.


Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Chow Chow
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Chow Chow. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Chow Chow
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Chow Chow. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Chow Chow puppy really need? Does your adult Chow Chow need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Chow Chow. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Chow Chow. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Chow Chow health problems

This breed is an orthopedic nightmare – and their eyes and skin aren't much better.

  • The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 5700 Chow Chows and found 21% dysplastic. That's very high for a medium-sized dog. Ignore anyone who tells you that a Chow's hips are "normal for the breed". Dysplastic hips are deformed and lead to arthritis later in life.
  • Elbows are even worse – with over 1100 X-rays submitted, the Chow has a 48% rate of elbow dysplasia – the worst rate of all breeds.
  • Chows have an 8% rate of luxating patella (loose knee joints) – the 9th worst rate of all breeds.
  • Cruciate ligament rupture occurs regularly in Chow Chows, because of the tight ligaments in their very straight hind legs. In this breed, sometimes all it takes is an awkward run up the stairs to tear their ligament.

The deep-set eyes with their loose eyelids are prone to eye diseases, especially entropion (rolled-in eyelids), but also ectropion (rolled-OUT eyelids), cataracts, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, persistent pupillary membranes (which can severely impair vision in this breed), retinal dysplasia, eyelash abnormalities, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Their soft palate (the flap of skin across the back of the throat that prevents food and water from entering the windpipe) is often fleshy and elongated and tends to fall loosely into the throat. This causes noisy breathing and chronic snoring and makes it tricky to anesthetize this breed safely.

The thick coat and skin folds are prone to chronic skin diseases: allergies, bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), demodectic mange, follicular dysplasia, pemphigus, and in blue Chows, color dilution alopecia.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Chow Chows are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 14% of Chow Chows have hypothyroidism.

Other health issues that occur regularly in Chow Chows are colitis and hernias.

This is a cold-climate breed. With their thick coat and difficulty breathing, Chows suffer in hot climates. To prevent heatstroke, summer exercise should be limited to morning and evening.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.