Your golden retriever is a member of the family. That is why your golden retriever’s health is so important. This guide is meant to address the basic health issues for this noble breed of dog.
The most common golden retriever health issues tend to be inherited. Since these common health problems are genetically related, they have been made more common by bad breeding. Over-breeding or for profit breeding can also make these problems worse in individual goldens.
Hip or elbow dysplasia is caused by degeneration of the joints. These conditions make it more and more difficult for your golden to move around. They can be detected early in life (4-9 months) when a puppy’s bones are growing by taking x-rays.
If your dog’s x-rays indicate a greater likelihood for hip dysplasia, inquire into preventative measures that can be taken to reduce its effects. Heart and eye problems can also trouble goldens; cataracts being the most common.
Cancer is the number one cause of death of goldens. Appropriate screening of a puppy’s parents prior to breeding, is the best way to avoid these ailments. A good breeder will have documentation verifying the health of his/her dogs: Hip, knee, and heart certification of the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). A breeder may also have CERF eye certification.
An annual checkup with the vet, is the first thing you should do to protect your golden retriever’s health. A golden should be given the right vaccinations to stave off the most prevalent infectious diseases. Also physical checkups should assess your golden for early indications of common health problems. This is a good time to talk with the veterinarian about any questions and concerns you may have.
What should you be feeding your golden retriever? Lately, there has been more and more concern with commercial dog food. Little or poor meat and plenty of preservatives and chemicals, are a concern for many owners. The healthiest diet for goldens is raw meat and bones, such as chicken, beef, and other meats.
Cooked meat can be OK, but don’t overdo it. It can also help to find some veggies and grains your dog will eat for added nutrition. Be careful with overfeeding as goldens can be susceptible to obesity. Obesity causes more stress on the joints which is why it is important to keep your golden at a healthy weight.
Believe it or not, vitamin and mineral supplements can also bolster golden retriever health. Sometimes, common health issues can be prevented, delayed, or improved. Goldens have sensitive senses of taste and smell, and often don’t like taking supplements and pills.
Crushing pills and mixing the grains with peanut butter, or another food might help. Sometimes, pills in the form of flavored chewables work better. Holding your golden’s mouth closed while the pill disintegrates can work when all else fails.
Golden retrievers that socialize with other dogs are typically more likely to be plagued with fleas. Fleas bother most dogs at one time or another. Fleas can infect your golden with diseases and parasites. Regularly ‘deworming’ your golden is a good idea. Fleas harm your golden’s skin especially because of constant scratching. Even after the flea poison does its job, the itching can continue for your dog.
At the first sign of fleas, such as scratching, look over your golden’s coat. Treat as soon as possible if you find a flea. Treating every flea season is something some owners do, and don’t forget to treat all of your animals each time if you have more than one pet. The right dog shampoo can improve your dog’s coat and skin.