yourpurebredpuppy logo

Golden Retriever Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Golden Retriever

Start your Golden Retriever off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Golden Retriever Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Golden 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 Golden Retriever lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Golden Retriever are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Golden Retriever will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

NomNomNow homemade dog food service Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but don't have the time to make it? I have a solution for you... [read more]

Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet health insurance. The best pet insurance company I've found is... [read more]

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

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Golden Retriever be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Golden Retriever? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Golden Retriever suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Golden Retriever

Complete list of Golden Retriever health problems

Cancer in Golden Retrievers

Cancer is nearly an epidemic in Golden Retrievers, with about 50% of the breed developing cancer. It's easily the leading cause of death, which often occurs in middle age. Cancer treatment is very expensive.

The Golden Retriever Club conducted a health survey that included nearly 1500 Goldens. From that we can see that 1 of every 2 Golden Retrievers will develop cancer. It's nearly an epidemic in the breed, easily the leading cause of death, which often occurs in middle age.

In the club survey, 65% of the Goldens who died at 3-8 years old died of cancer. 70% of the Goldens who died at 8-13 years old died of cancer.

Hemangiosarcoma is the most common cancer in Goldens, followed by lymphosarcoma, mastocytoma, and osteosarcoma.

Skin problems in Golden Retrievers

Skin diseases are also rampant, with 1 of every 2 Goldens developing some type of skin condition, especially allergies, which cause itchy skin and often lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma).

Other skin diseases in Goldens include seborrhea, sebaceous adenitis, and lick granuloma.

Along with malignant tumors, non-tumorous growths (especially sebaceous cysts and lipomas) are frequently found on Golden Retrievers.

Goldens are prone to losing pigment on their nose in the winter – this is a harmless condition called "snow nose".

Also note that many Goldens turn white around their muzzle at a fairly young age, and this is also normal for the breed.

Joint diseases in Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers suffer from high rates of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.

The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 148,000 Golden Retrievers and found 20% dysplastic. Over 42,000 elbow X-rays were evaluated and 11% were dysplastic. For comparison, Flat-Coated Retrievers have a 4% hip dysplasia rate and less than 1% elbow dysplasia rate.

Other common orthopedic health problems in Goldens include luxating patella (loose knees) and osteochondritis.

Goldens are prone to tearing or rupturing the cruciate ligament in their leg. Repairing it is an expensive surgery with a long recovery time.

Panosteitis (bone inflammation) can occur in young Golden Retrievers.

Heart diseases in Golden Retrievers

Sub-aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy are major problems in Goldens, with up to 15% of the breed affected by some form of heart problem.

Epilepsy in Golden Retrievers

Epilepsy (seizures) is a major concern in Golden Retrievers, with an estimated 7% of the breed affected.

Eye diseases in Golden Retrievers

Cataracts are the most common eye disease in Goldens, with up to 13% of the breed affected. Cataracts can occur in Golden Retriever puppies or in middle-aged dogs and may or may not lead to blindness.

Eyelash abnormalities and an eyelid abnormality called entropion are common in Goldens.

More serious eye diseases such as glaucoma, retinal dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can also occur.

Hormonal/endocrine diseases in Golden Retrievers

Hypothyroidism is the most common. The Michigan State University Thyroid Database reports up to 18% of Golden Retrievers have low thyroid levels that require lifelong medication.

Cushing's disease also occurs in Goldens, and occasionally diabetes.


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

Other very serious health problems in Golden Retrievers include autoimmune hemolytic anemia, megaesophagus, myasthenia gravis, laryngeal paralysis, and liver shunt.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Golden Retriever in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.