Generally, Goldendoodles are a healthy breed that enjoys an average lifespan of between ten and 15 years.
However, there are a few health issues that can affect them. For example, did you know that Goldendoodles have a pretty high risk of developing cancer?
Read this guide to learn about 13 common Goldendoodle health issues, how to spot the first signs of trouble, and what you can do to prevent your pet from being affected by these conditions.
Do Goldendoodles Have A Lot Of Health Problems?
Goldendoodles are generally pretty robust characters, but their health depends a lot on their breeding and genetic makeup.
Goldendoodles are a mixed breed dog that’s created by crossing a Golden retriever with a Poodle. F1 Goldendoodles are 50% purebred Golden Retriever and 50% purebred Poodle. So, F1 puppies inherit an even split of each parent’s genes. Multigenerational Goldendoodles also carry Golden retriever and Poodle genes but in different proportions.
Golden retrievers and Poodles both have several common health conditions that their offspring can inherit. Although crossbreed dogs are generally healthier than purebreds, Goldendoodle puppies can inherit congenital health conditions from their parents.
That’s why you should always buy a Doodle puppy from a breeder that has their breeding dogs health-screened and carries out genetic testing for all the common diseases that can affect Golden retrievers and Poodle. In theory, if the parent dogs are clear of any genetic abnormalities or health conditions, their offspring should also be healthy.
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What Diseases Can Affect Goldendoodles?
Here are 13 common health issues that can affect Goldendoodles, together with the signs of these conditions that you need to watch out for and what treatments can be effective.
Health Issues Common To Golden Retrievers
If you choose a Goldendoodle puppy that has a large proportion of Golden retriever genes, your pet might be more prone to developing a breed-related health problem in later life. Here are some common purebred Golden retriever health issues to be aware of:
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that commonly affects large, heavy dogs, causing problems with the action of the hip joint. The condition can affect one or both hips.
In hip dysplasia, the femoral head and acetabulum (ball and socket joint of the hip) are poorly aligned, and, basically, they don’t fit properly. That abnormality prevents the joint from moving smoothly, resulting in inflammation and, ultimately, painful, crippling arthritis.
Interestingly, many Goldendoodles with hip dysplasia don’t show any signs of problems until they are older.
However, common symptoms of hip dysplasia include any or all of the following:
- Running with both hind legs together
- Stepping short with the hind legs
- Inability to jump up
- Hind leg atrophy (muscle wasting)
- Slow to rise, especially after exercise
- Sensitive and very protective of the hindquarters
Although hip dysplasia can be treated medically and surgically, that’s very expensive, ranging from $1,500 to over $12,000.
- Ask to see documentary proof that the breeder has hip certifications for both parent dogs from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
- Feed your pet a correct, balanced diet that’s low in carbs and doesn’t contain excessive calcium.
- Don’t allow your Goldendoodle to become overweight.
- Although Goldendoodles are an active breed and they do need plenty of exercises, it’s important that you don’t go overboard, especially with very young dogs.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
The skin’s sebaceous glands produce a substance called sebum that moisturizes the skin and helps in basic immune functions.
SA causes inflammation of the sebaceous glands in the skin, ultimately destroying the gland. The cause is unknown, although SA is thought to be hereditary.
There are two forms of SA:
- Granulomatous SA – affects mostly longer-coated Goldendoodles
- Short-coated breed form
Common symptoms of SA include:
- Scaly skin
- Musty, unpleasant odor
- Clusters of lesions on the body or head
- Hot spots, sores, red areas on the skin
- Matted, waxy hair
- Sparse, dull fur
- Alopecia (hair loss)
- Itching as the disease progresses
- Keratolytic shampoo and emollient rinses
- Oil sprays and oil baths
- Vitamin A, E, and C supplements
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplements
If a skin infection develops, corticosteroids or antibiotics may be required.
Keep an eye on your dog’s skin for signs of problems, and consult your vet if you notice any of the signs mentioned above.
Unfortunately, Goldendoodles can be prone to cancer, largely thanks to the Golden retriever parent genes.
There are many different cancers that can affect dogs, some of which are curable through surgery and drug therapy.
The symptoms presented in cases of canine cancer are varied, depending on whereabouts the tumor is located.
Generally, a lump on the dog’s body is a sign of a tumor that might or might not be malignant. Internal tumors often don’t make themselves known until the dog shows signs of being unwell, such as loss of appetite, general malaise, and a disinterest in its surroundings.
The treatment options for canine cancers depend on the location of the tumor, its size, and the age of the dog.
- Feed your Goldendoodle correctly
- Buying your puppy from a reputable breeder
von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)
von Willebrand’s disease is a condition that affects the dog’s blood clotting function. In dogs with this condition, a clotting factor is absent. So, if the dog is injured, the blood loss can be severe.
- Bleeding from the gums
- Bleeding from the bladder and vagina
- Prolonged bleeding following routine surgery or accidental trauma
- Blood transfusions
- Drug therapy
Buy your puppy from a reputable breeder whose breeding dogs have been screened for vWD and cleared.
Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis is a heart disease that can affect large-breed dogs. The dog is born with a heart defect that causes narrowing of the aorta in the left side of the heart. That deformity makes the heart work harder to circulate oxygenated blood around the dog’s body.
Symptoms of Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis include:
- Exercise intolerance
- Failure to thrive
Sometimes, the dog’s overworked heart grows considerably in size. An enlarged heart takes up too much space in the dog’s chest, causing breathing difficulties, coughing, and abnormalities in the heart rhythm.
Sudden death sometimes occurs in extreme cases.
- Exercise restriction
In severe cases, the dog’s life expectancy is considerably shortened.
Since this condition is hereditary, buy your puppy from a breeder who has their breeding dogs screened as per the Goldendoodle Association Of North America (GANA) requirements.
Goldendoodles are somewhat prone to getting ear infections. Although the condition is not necessarily hereditary, the dog’s floppy ears can provide a warm, moist environment where mites and bacteria proliferate.
- Scratching at the ears
- Holding the head to one side
- Unpleasant odor from the ears
Your vet will give your Goldendoodle’s ears a thorough clean using a special medicated cleanser. You might be prescribed an ear cleansing product, and topical ear drops for home use. If the problem is severe, you might also be given a course of oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication.
Goldendoodles love to swim, and that can cause ear problems. You can prevent water from getting into the dog’s ears by gently inserting a cotton ball into the ear before the dog is permitted to go into the water.
Also, you can gently clean debris from the outer ear using a cotton ball and some ear cleaning solution. Never clean your Doodle’s ears if you suspect he has an infection. Always consult your vet for advice.
Health Conditions Affecting Poodles
There are a few health conditions that affect Poodles, which could be inherited by your Goldendoodle puppy.
Patella luxation is similar to hip dysplasia. In patella luxation, the patella (knee cap) is insecure in the joint groove. The patella dislocates, preventing the knee from extending correctly.
This genetic condition typically affects miniature and toy breeds, including Poodles. Patella luxation can affect one or both legs.
- Dragging the legs
- Stiff, awkward movement
Over time, the dog might develop painful arthritis.
Depending on the severity of the condition, surgery is usually the preferred option, especially if the deformity is severe.
Again, this is a hereditary condition. So, make sure that your Goldendoodle puppy’s Poodle parent was screened for patella luxation and cleared before breeding.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that generally manifests as seizures or “fits.” Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical in the dog’s brain and consequent loss of muscle control.
Seizures can last seconds or several minutes, and the frequency of the fits varies.
- Trembling or jerking
- Glazed eyes
- Clamped jaw
- Involuntary urination or defecation
- Non-responsive to external stimuli
Goldendoodles with epilepsy can be treated with medication to control and minimize the frequency of the seizures.
Sometimes, stress or a change of environment can trigger an epileptic seizure, so preventing those triggers can help to prevent the fits from happening.
Bloat (Gastric Dilation Volvulus)
Bloat is classified as a medical emergency and is always regarded as a potentially life-threatening condition.
Gastric Dilation Volvulus, as it’s more correctly known, is a digestive disorder where the dog’s stomach fills with gas. The stomach often twists, cutting off the blood supply and trapping food and gas. In severe cases, the spleen also twists, and the circulation is compromised, affecting the veins that take the blood back to the heart.
Bloat is not only incredibly painful for your dog, but it can kill incredibly quickly.
- A swollen belly that’s hard to the touch
- Retching but unable to vomit
- Abdomen painful and sensitive to the touch
- Panting, restlessness, and general signs of distress
Your emergency vet will attempt to relieve the pressure on the dog’s stomach by passing a tube or using a stomach pump. However, sometimes surgery is necessary.
Once a dog has suffered from an attack of bloat, it’s likely that the condition will occur again. So, your vet will often perform a gastropexy operation to prevent that from happening.
Although the cause of bloat is not completely understood, there are a few things you can do to keep your dog safe:
- Feed your dog little and often
- Feed low-fat food
- Avoid exercising your dog immediately after he’s eaten
- Use a slow feeding bowl to prevent your from dog bolting his meal
- Keep your Goldendoodle at a healthy weight
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is one of a number of degenerative eye conditions affecting the photoreceptor cells in the dog’s eye. PRA causes the cells to gradually deteriorate until the dog eventually goes blind.
There are two forms of this eye disease. Retinal dysplasia is an inherited, early-onset condition that typically appears in young puppies of around two to three months old. PRA is the term that’s commonly used to describe the late-onset form of the disease that’s usually found in dogs aged three to nine years.
- The dog is nervous at night or in dark or dim places
- The dog’s eyes become very reflective when you shine a light on them
- Pupils are over-dilated
- Clumsiness in unfamiliar surroundings
PRA progresses very quickly, generally leaving the dog completely blind within a couple of years.
There is no current effective treatment for Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Since PRA is an inherited disease, make sure that you buy a puppy whose parents have both been screened for the condition and found to be clear of the disease.
General Health Conditions
There are a couple of conditions that can affect Goldendoodles that aren’t hereditary.
Goldendoodles have a very friendly, outgoing temperament, especially multi-gen dogs that have inherited a lot of Golden retriever genes. That’s what makes these dogs such excellent family pets; they just love to be around their human owners.
Unfortunately, that loving, loyal nature can cause problems if you have to leave your Goldendoodle home alone for long periods.
Separation anxiety manifests in several ways:
- Destructive behavior
- Urinating and defecating in the house
Treatment and Prevention
With a little thought and patience, you can help your dog to cope when you have to leave him alone for a while.
- Give your dog a special toy that you reserve for times when you can’t be with him.
- Exercise your dog before you leave. Once he’s settled, give him a small feed to help him settle down.
- Put your dog somewhere that he won’t be disturbed by people passing by outside.
- Employ a dog sitter or a dog walker.
- Ask a professional to help you.
If you have to leave your Goldendoodle home alone, begin by leaving him for a short time and then returning. Gradually make your absences longer. Once your dog understands that you will be coming back, he should begin to relax and cope better.
Dental disease or Canine Periodontal Disease is just about the most common medical condition seen by vets. It’s thought that over 80 percent of dogs over three years of age have some form of dental or gum disease. Before dental disease develops, the dog gets gum disease or gingivitis.
The dog’s mouth is swarming with bacteria. The bacteria form a thin layer of biofilm or plaque on the surface of the dog’s teeth. Some of the plaque is removed when the dog eats or chews on a toy. However, the plaque that’s left behind hardens to form tartar. More bacteria and plaque attach themselves to the tartar, gradually accumulating in rough layers.
Plaque that comes into contact with the dog’s gums causes inflammation and bleeding. Gum disease is the precursor to more serious dental health conditions.
- Stinky “doggy breath”
- Chattering teeth
- Bleeding from the gums
- Difficulty eating or poor appetite
- Reluctance to play with toys
- General depression due to pain
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Missing or loose teeth
- Hard, brownish-yellow deposits on the teeth
The vet will remove accumulations of tartar from the dog’s teeth. Any teeth that are broken or cracked are removed, and the remaining teeth are given a thorough clean.
Canine dentistry is generally carried out under a general anesthetic.
The good news is that you can easily prevent Goldendoodle dental disease.
- Feed dry kibble (hard biscuits) rather than soft food
- Provide your dog with chews and chew toys
- Use a special doggy toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth every day
- Ask your vet to check your dog’s teeth regularly for early signs of problems
The idea of all these preventative treatments is to remove accumulations of bacteria from the dog’s teeth and gums before it hardens to form tartar.
I hope you found our guide to Goldendoodle health issues helpful and informative. If you did, please take a moment to share.
Goldendoodles are generally healthy dogs, provided you give them a balanced, healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and have your pet vaccinated and vet-checked every year. However, there are a few health issues that can be inherited from your puppy’s parents. So, always buy your Doodle from a reputable breeder who has their breeding dogs screened for common genetic health problems.