If you get yourselves a Golden Retriever, be prepared to share at least 10-12 years of your lives with them! For their size, they’re fairly in the middle of the pack when it comes to longevity of dogs of a medium size. Whilst they are generally robust and healthy dogs that will be an active member of the family, there are some health issues that potential owners should be aware of. Now, this isn’t a video that should worry you. The ailments that will be mentioned are just what can affect your Golden Retriever, not what will affect them. Along with love and care, the research and awareness of topics such as common health conditions are what makes a responsible dog owner!
HEALTH (MAJOR, MINOR, PREVENTATIVE MEASURES)
With that being said, let’s dive right in! I will be making you aware of the 3 most common health concerns and sharing a little bit of information about each one. So, to begin, let us explore hip and elbow dysplasia. Goldens and other medium to large breeds commonly suffer from this disorder. It comes from the joints in the hips and elbows not fitting together harmoniously. If left untreated, it can cause arthritis and even lameness. This is a hereditary issue, meaning that preventing it is to ensure that any breeding bitches and studs get full hip and elbow scores before being mated. This will help stop the issue being handed down to their offspring. If you should notice your Golden become stiff, sore, limping ect, it is always best to get them seen by your vet!
Another concern will be cancer. Unfortunately, this glorious breed does have the highest rate of cancer out of all the breeds. Now this doesn’t mean they will get it, but they do have a 1 in 3 chance. The silver lining, if you want to see it, is that they tend to develop this disease at a later age. And whilst there isn’t any cancer-specific preventative measures, making sure they live an active lifestyle, have an appropriate diet and are cared for throughout their lives, it does lessen their chances of developing it, much like with humans!
And lastly, the third major concern I will share with you is GDV, or bloat. If you’re familiar with Marley and Me, you’ll already have some idea as to what this is, Marley was an unfortunate victim of this ailment. The symptoms are that the stomach will flip upside down in the chest due to a build up of gas. Once it does flip, it is a time critical issue. When the stomach flips, it starts to restrict blood flow, which can very quickly cause your dog to go into shock. A way in which you can help prevent this from happening is to slow feed your dog. This will stop them swallowing excess air if they are allowed to quickly wolf down their food! A puzzle feeder if great for a Golden Retriever, it will help prevent bloat and it will also keep their minds active.
There are a few very minor concerns to also be aware of, Goldens are prone to ear infections and skin issues. But this can mainly be down to their coat maintenance. Regular ear cleaning and checks will prevent a build up of bacteria. And regular coat grooming will also prevent bacteria from settling in their dense undercoat! Whilst these are minor, it is important to keep them in mind because if you leave even the smallest issue untreated, it can quickly escalate.
As always, any concerns that you have with your dogs, please do call the vets. A veterinary professional is where you will get the most reliable health advice, at Fenrir, our aim is to make you aware of these issues. Not to diagnose them.
A crucial part to keeping a healthy dog comes down quite heavily on to the diet you provide for them! So, depending on whether you work your Golden or not, will slightly deviate their diet. A working dog will obviously require the extra calories and proteins due their high activity levels, whereas a family pet may have a more sedimentary lifestyle.
A key part of their diet is that it should be quality ingredients, you want to stay away from the processed, colourful kibble that is commonly seen in pet shops. Make sure there is a good balance in their diet as well. A mix of unprocessed, lean animal proteins, complex carbs, nutrients from fruit and veg, omega 3 and 6 and good fiber are a must for a Golden. Extra supplements of fish oils would be a bonus to help the joints issues they’re prone to having.
Just be careful to keep your Golden at a healthy weight, males should be no more than 30kg whereas females should be around 27kg. They can be prone to weight gain. To tackle this, take their treats from their daily allowance, don’t be adding to their calorie intake, especially in the crucial adolescent years.
To bring everything together before the end of this video, no one wants to think about their dog getting a major illness or condition but researching and being prepared for if they do is a part of being a responsible dog owner. Whilst Goldens are prone to some major issues, there are preventative measures that can be done to help avoid them. And the minor issues can simply be prevented by simply grooming and spending quality time observing your dog. Which can be done in the evening on the sofa!
Their diet can be summarised by saying that they need a balanced, unprocessed, omega rich intake to ensure they’re healthy. Also deviate their calorie intake according to their activity levels, theyre prone to weight gain so don’t be feeding an older, more sedimentary golden the same as a young, working, active pup!
And the last reminder, any concerns you have about the health of your dog should be addressed by a vet, the quicker you can get them seen and diagnosed, the better the outcome will be.