6 Common Golden Retriever Health Problems

February 2, 2021 by The Spot Pack
Golden Retriever on Sofa

It’s no surprise that the friendly, devoted, and charming Golden Retriever is one of America’s most popular dog breeds. These beautiful, sunny dogs are great companions with a wonderful disposition. As purebred dogs, however, they are more susceptible to a variety of health issues.

Today, we’re going to break down some of the most common Golden Retriever health problems so that you, a loving dog parent, can provide the very best care for your Golden Retriever!

Common Golden Retriever Health Problems

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Golden Retrievers are more prone to hip dysplasia, which occurs when the ball and socket part of the hip joint is formed abnormally. Hip dysplasia is widely considered a genetic disease and affects larger dogs at a higher rate due to their large growth spurts during puppyhood, which puts additional stress on their joints.

Your veterinarian may recommend a large-breed growth food for your Golden Retriever puppy to slow their growth rate as a preventative measure. Large-breed growth food does not affect their overall adult size but may decrease the severity of hip dysplasia or help your puppy avoid it altogether. (1)

Similarly, elbow dysplasia is quite common in Golden Retrievers, with the Golden Retriever Club of America estimating that 10% of Golden Retrievers will have elbow dysplasia at some point in their life. (2)

Both hip and elbow dysplasia may be treated with medications, surgery, and dietary supplements by your veterinarian. A healthy weight and appropriate exercise are also highly recommended to minimize the severity of dysplasia.

Aortic Stenosis and Heart Problems

Golden Retrievers are one of the most likely dog breeds to have aortic stenosis, which occurs when the heart’s aortic valve narrows, forcing the body to work harder to pump blood through the valve. Aortic Stenosis can lead to extra stress on the heart and heart failure. (3)

Regular veterinary care, via physical examinations, blood work, and urinalysis, can catch aortic stenosis early on. Aortic stenosis can be treated with medication or, in severe cases, surgery.

Skin Conditions

Golden Retrievers have a plush, dense undercoat and a long coat that creates the perfect environment for bacteria. This factor makes Golden Retrievers more susceptible to different skin conditions, like seborrhea, environmental allergies, or sebaceous cysts. It’s even estimated that as many as one in two Golden Retrievers will suffer from skin problems during their lifetime. (4)

Your veterinarian can treat most skin conditions. If you suspect your Goldie is suffering from one, call your veterinarian today to have them immediately checked out and their discomfort addressed.


Cancer is a scary diagnosis, and, unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are nearly twice as likely to get cancer than the average cancer rate of all other dog breeds combined. About 60% of Golden Retrievers will die from cancer, with the most common types being hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

Male Golden Retrievers are at a slightly higher risk of getting cancer. Still, both female and male Golden Retrievers should be regularly monitored for signs of cancer by a veterinary professional. (5) For more information on one of the most common Golden Retriever health problems, see our blog post on skin cancer in dogs.

SPOT is here to provide a safety net for you and your Golden Retriever. See what’s covered, including cancer treatments, here. Act now and have a backup plan in place for your precious pup!


Cataracts occur when the lens of a dog’s eye becomes partially or fully opaque, which impairs their vision. Cataracts typically give the eye a cloudy, white appearance and can cause full blindness in the affected eye. Dogs with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing one or more cataracts.

Golden Retrievers have a genetic predisposition for developing cataracts, which can’t be helped. However, regular veterinary care can help prevent other risk factors, like diabetes, and allow health problems, like cataracts, to be diagnosed and treated early on.

For more information on cataracts in pets, see our piece on pet cataracts.


Panosteitis is most commonly found in large dog breeds, like Golden Retrievers, and occurs when the shaft of the leg is painfully inflamed. Panosteitis is thought to be a side effect of rapid growth in the legs and can cause lameness. Male dogs are affected at a higher rate, possibly due to their larger size when compared to females of the same dog breed.

Your pup’s veterinarian can monitor for panosteitis and provide pain medications to help your dog feel more comfortable. Other preventative measures, like large-breed growth food, may help slow down your dog’s growth and minimize pressure on their bones.

Pet Insurance for Golden Retrievers

Having your furry friend diagnosed with health issues is heartbreaking, but with appropriate care from your pup’s veterinarian, they can live a healthy and happy life!

Sign up for a pet insurance policy today while your Golden Retriever is still young so that you can be reimbursed later on in life if they do develop a chronic illness or health issue. Your pup’s health is the most important factor in their long-term happiness, so let Spot pet insurance help you with the cost of providing top-notch veterinary care to your Golden Retriever.

(1) Veterinary Centers of America
(2) Golden Retriever Club of America
(3) Veterinary Centers of America
(4) Wapiti Labs
(5) Golden Retriever Club of America (PDF)
(6) Veterinary Centers of America

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