Most common health problems in Flat-Coated Retrievers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Flat-Coated Retriever

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Flat-Coated Retriever, 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 Flat-Coat 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


Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed

Flat-Coated Retriever Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Flat-Coated Retriever health problems

Sadly, this lovely breed suffers from malignant tumors of all kinds – most notably deadly histiocytic sarcoma, which occurs in Flat-Coated Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs FAR more than in any other breed. Also lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, mastocytoma, melanoma, fibrosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, and other cancers.

Even more tragic is the young age (around 4 years old) at which cancer appears in so many Flat-Coats. As you might expect, the most common cause of death in the breed is cancer, at a whopping 69%.

Epilepsy has become a serious concern in Flat-Coated Retrievers. Heart disease and thyroid diseases are concerns, as well.

Serious eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma can cause blindness.

About 5% of Flat-Coats die from an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

Hip dysplasia and loose knee joints (luxating patella) cause pain and lameness that may require expensive surgery.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Flat-Coated Retriever have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, hip dysplasia, and luxating patella, your Flat-Coat 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 Flat-Coated Retriever, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Flat-Coated Retriever 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 healthy Flat-Coated Retriever 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 Flat-Coated Retriever lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


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 Flat-Coat
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 Flat-Coated Retriever. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Flat-Coat
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 some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Flat-Coated Retriever. 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 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.


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 Flat-Coated Retriever health problems

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.

Cataracts and glaucoma are potential problems in the Flat-Coated Retriever. Other eye diseases include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), 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.


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.