How To Ensure Your Golden Retriever Will Live A Longer, Happier Life

Taking care of our families is one of the most important tasks that society has bestowed upon us, and it is not a small responsibility. We believe that, with the start of a new year, the time may have come for you to welcome a new intelligent companion into your family, whose loyalty and gentleness will make him a loyal guardian of you, your spouse, and your children`.

We are talking, of course, about Golden Retrievers. In this blog, we will spend some time in the world of this amazing dog breed, learning more about how to create the perfect setting for a long and happy Golden Retriever life.

The Golden Retriever breed originates from the mid-19th century Scottish landscape. At first, it was bred for retrieving shot waterfowl during hunting and shooting parties due to its soft mouth. Later on, the breed was brought across the ocean to the US, where it now enjoys the status of the third-most-popular breed in the country. This should not surprise us since the Golden Retriever’s loyalty, luxurious fur, and playful puppy attitude make for the perfect family breed.

Golden Retrievers can grow up to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere between 55 to 75 pounds. With lots of exercise and care, these golden puppies can bring anywhere between 10 to 13 years of loyalty and joy into your household, with some Golden Retrievers living even longer than that, depending on health issues and eating regimen.

Golden Retrievers, akin to other dog breeds, are predisposed to a series of health issues and conditions. However, it is our strong belief that providing the basic necessities for our dog, together with care, exercise, and a healthy eating plan, will keep a series of health issues away from your puppy, leaving it with more time and energy to enjoy its life in the bosom of your family. Let’s discuss how to ensure your Golden Retriever will live a longer, fuller life!

Main Golden Retriever Health Issues

Whether genetic or related to other factors, Golden Retrievers show a predisposition towards certain diseases and conditions, which, if left untreated, can affect your puppy’s health and wellbeing or even lead to more severe conditions. Preventing these unwanted diseases requires research and keeping a lookout for any symptoms that might show a developing condition inside your Golden Retriever’s body. We are now ready to explore both health issues and the right course to prevent them from taking a hold on your puppy:

Hip dysplasia 

For a healthy dog, the superior portion of the thigh bone fits perfectly into the socket of the hipbone, resulting in smooth rotation as the dog walks, runs, or lays down. A strong ligament and auxiliary connective tissue keep the thigh bone and the hipbone together, providing superior stability. Hip dysplasia occurs when one of the bones or ligaments becomes deformed, impeding the Golden Retriever from properly walking or running. If left untreated, hip dysplasia can cause hip osteoarthritis, leading to difficulties related to walking and sleeping as well as limping.

Best practice: If your puppy’s condition is not advanced, weight reduction, physical therapy, and joint supplements can be suitable forms of treatment. If, however, hip dysplasia has developed into a more serious condition, you should consider surgical treatment in the shape of double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO), femoral head ostectomy (FHO), or total hip replacement (THR).

Gastrointestinal (GI) tract issues 

several health ailments can affect your Golden Retriever’s digestive system, affecting the nutrient absorption rate, as well as causing other health issues such as diarrhea or constipation. The most common GI tract issues experienced by Golden Retrievers are acute gastroenteritis (inflammation or infection of the gastrointestinal tract), colitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the colon), and pancreatitis (inflammation or infection of the pancreas). A Golden Retriever suffering from GI tract issues will experience the following symptoms: vomiting, weakness, flatulence, and diarrhea/constipation.

Best practice: Very often, GI tract issues are caused by an unhealthy eating regimen based on canned food or dry kibble products. Improve your puppy’s diet by switching to anatural diet filled with all the nutrients needed for a healthy digestive system. The Volhard diet also includessupplements whose rich composition (dehydrated, cold-pressed amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids) keep the GI tract functioning through healthy microbiome diversity.

Bloat (Gastric Dilatation) & GDV  

This condition affects most barrel-chested dogs, such as the Golden Retrievers. Gastric dilatation occurs when the dog’s stomach expands due to gas, food, or fluid. The dilated stomach damages the surrounding organs by pressuring them. In more severe instances, the stomach will rotate to 360 degrees, a condition called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). If left untreated, GDV can disrupt normal blood flow to vital organs and even be fatal. Unsuccessful vomiting attempts, fatigue, and heavy breathing are some of the obvious symptoms.

Best practice: Frequently, this condition is caused by poor eating habits and an unsuitable eating regimen. Make sure that your puppy’s food bowl sits on the ground – dogs who crane their necks to eat are less prone to ingesting excess air with their meals. Furthermore, try to increase your dog’s number of meals while reducing ration size. When it comes to the diet itself, be sure to choose ingredients rich in protein and low on carbohydrates.

Taking Care of Your Golden Retriever

After outlying the most common health ailments Golden Retrievers can develop, it is time for us to turn our attention towards prevention methods. Although it is difficult to prevent genetic predispositions from being switched on too early, there is a set of day-to-day activities (anything from dental hygiene to exercise) that, when followed, will both improve your puppy’s quality of life and lend a helping hand in keeping your canine companion healthy.

Choose a Trustworthy Breeder

From the beginning, choosing a reputable breeder can make the difference between a healthy and a sick puppy. Make sure that your future puppy has examinations done by appropriate veterinary specialists and certifications, indicating that the puppy does not suffer from hip dysplasia nor is predisposed to eye or heart diseases.

Numerous breeders pay attention only to financial aspects, and we strongly recommend that you stay clear from them. Although selecting a reputable breeder might imply additional costs, we deem it a sound investment. Make sure that you check out our founder, Wendy Volhard’sVolhard Dog Training for Dummiesbook for a thorough puppy-testing protocol.

Check your Golden Retriever’s Weight

Numerous health ailments stem from weight mismanagement – ten pounds over the recommended weight can lead to joint disorders and hypertension. Keeping your dog’s weight in check, however, should not depend on dog “weight management or diet food”, which is a marketing ploy to get you to buy less nutritious food for more money. It is all about caloric intake! The calories burned must be more than the calories eaten to get your furry friend to drop some of those pounds. Indeed, making smart lifestyle choices for your Golden Retriever is the most effective way of keeping your puppy’s weight in check. First, consult with a veterinarian about the ideal weight for your puppy’s age. (reference VDN blog about weight loss (BOBO’s blog) Afterward, make sure that your dog gets enough exercise – remember that your dog is also a potential athlete who loves running, playing, swimming, and many other activities. Aside from the weight benefits, constant exercise will strengthen your dog’s muscles, as well as its respiratory system.


For a Golden Retriever puppy to become a stable, well-behaved adult, it needs to learn how to behave. The way your puppy becomes an adult heavily depends on socializing levels with your family and friends. Puppies who are gradually introduced to well-behaved children or adults develop functional social skills. Unfortunately, puppies who are not socialized with their surroundings, people and other dogs as appropriate could grow up fearful and distant.

It is imperative to know that the way your puppy grows also depends on the people with whom it interacts. For example, you must teach your children the safe way to interact with a dog which would include lessons on how not to pinch, pull out fur, fall on, chase, or scream at the puppy. Furthermore, your puppy needs a “home base”, a safe place to retreat to when it has had enough playtime. A crate is an ideal space where you and the puppy can take a break but still share space in a room.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Golden Retriever

Finally, your Golden Retriever’s overall wellbeing leads us to the final point of our discussion – the nutrition plan. To ensure healthy, constant growth, your puppy needs an appropriate eating plan focused on wholesome, natural ingredients rich with the following nutrients:

Protein (approx. 30%) derived from high-quality sources, such as meat and fish.

Healthy fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), essential for reduced shedding and added shine to your dog’s fur.

Adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

Healthy levels of carbohydrates to sustain your Golden Retriever’s energy needs.

Aside from the food type, you must make sure that the food itself is sourced from the United States, preferably local farms and that the ingredients have been tested to be sure there is no aflatoxin, e. Coli, mold, fungus, salmonella or listeria. Dog food formulas should at the very least meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles, as well as be manufactured by a trustworthy company that states the sources for its ingredients.

Are you ready to welcome a Golden Retriever puppy into your family? Fantastic! Here at Volhard, our mission is to make sure that your puppy lives a long, healthy life, dedicated to a fruitful relationship with you, the dog owner. Do you have more questions regarding the subject of Golden Retrievers? Feel free to contact us or check out our blog!


  10. Volhard, Jack, and Volhard Wendy, Dog Training for Dummies, Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, 2010.