Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Flat-Coated Retriever puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Flat-Coated Retrievers, the best dog food diet for feeding Flat-Coated Retriever puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed

Flat-Coated Retriever Health Problems and Raising a Flat-Coated Retriever Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Flat-Coated Retrievers:

The Flat-Coated Retriever Club conducted a health survey which included nearly 2000 dogs. They report that the most common cause of death in the breed is cancer, at a whopping 69%. Sadly, this lovely breed suffers from malignant tumors of all kinds – most notably deadly histiocytic sarcoma, which occurs in Flat-Coats and Bernese Mountain Dogs FAR more than in any other breed. Also lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, mastocytoma, melanoma, fibrosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, and others. Even more tragic is the young age (around 4 years old) at which cancer appears in so many Flat-Coats.

In addition to malignant tumors, many Flat-Coated Retrievers develop benign tumors – over 14% of the Flat-Coats in the survey had a benign histiocytoma.

NON-tumorous skin growths (sebaceous cysts and lipomas) are also common, affecting about 10% of the breed.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Flat-Coated Retrievers are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat. In the club health survey, about 6% of Flat-Coat deaths were attributed to bloat.

Epilepsy has become a serious concern in the breed, and heart disease is a concern, as well.

Glaucoma is also a potential problem in the Flat-Coated Retriever. Other eye diseases include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, eyelash abnormalities, and eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion).

Hypothyroidism has become more common and diabetes occurs, as well.

If you look at the hip dysplasia statistics of the Orthopedic Foundation of America, hip X-rays of 4000 Flat-Coats were evaluated and only 4% were dysplastic, which would be a good rate for this size dog – except that the true rate is higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. Confirming this, the club health survey reported that over 9% of the Flat-Coated Retrievers in their survey were dysplastic.

Less common orthopedic diseases in Flat-Coats are elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, osteochondritis, and panosteitis.

Allergies cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma).

Other health issues reported in Flat-Coated Retrievers are laryngeal paralysis and megaesophagus.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Flat-Coated Retriever?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Flat-Coated Retrievers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Flat-Coated Retriever puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Flat-Coated Retriever puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Flat-Coated Retriever puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Flat-Coated Retriever lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Flat-Coated Retriever
The best diet for feeding your Flat-Coated Retriever is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


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


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


Information on choosing the best vet for your Flat-Coated Retriever. 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.


Information on spaying your Flat-Coated Retriever. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Flat-Coated Retriever.


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