The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the US and around the world because of its friendly personality and calm temperament. These are fairly large dogs, often weighing as much as 75 pounds (34 kg), with a longish coat that requires frequent brushing. Retrievers love to interact with people, physically and vocally, and their natural instincts make them great guide and service dogs. The average lifespan of the Golden Retriever is between 11 and 12 years old.
Should you Buy Pet Insurance for Your Golden Retriever?
Due to hereditary health problems which are passed down from one generation to another, it’s recommended that Golden Retrievers receive annual vet checkups. These dogs are also prone to various kinds of canine cancers and a number of congenital (birth-related) illnesses are also associated with the breed. Ultimately, pet insurance is an individual decision and you should never enroll in coverage until you understand which health problems your dog faces and how much it costs to treat them. Common health problems for Golden Retrievers include:
- Cancer: the leading cause of death in Golden Retrievers is Cancer. It’s responsible for 61.4% of deaths according to a 1998 study by the Golden Retriever Foundation. Common types of Cancer for to watch out for in Golden Retrievers are: hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors and osteosarcoma.
- Hip Dysplasia: Golden Retrievers rank #36 on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animal’s Hip Dysplasia list. 19.4% or about 1/5 of all Golden Retrievers are affected by this condition, which can cost upwards of $12,000 to repair.
- Elbow Dysplasia: This condition is less common than Hip Dysplasia but still affects 11% of Golden Retrievers. Elbow Dysplasia is an inherited genetic condition that can strike at any age and often without warning.
- Cardiomyopathy: this is a heart disease that Golden Retrievers are somewhat prone to and it occurs when a dog’s heart fails to pump properly, causing one side of the heart to become enlarged. If left untreated, the result may be congestive heart failure. Symptoms include lethargy and weakness; diagnosis is confirmed by electro- and echocardiography; treatment involves administration of drugs that control the heart’s rhythm.
- Patellar Luxation: the kneecap (patella) of some dogs may become dislodged, causing pain and restricted movement. In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the affected bone and connective tissue.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): as the name suggests, this disease occurs when the cells of a dog’s retinas degenerate. A single gene mutation is responsible for the problem, though as yet no genetic test has been developed. It is therefore imperative to know the breeding history before acquiring a puppyin order to ensure that none of its ancestors has gone blind. There is no treatment for PRA, though affected dogs can almost always live full lives if kept indoors.
- Sebaceous adenitis (SA): this disease occurs when the immune system attacks the oil-producing glands in a dog’s own skin; it may or may not be inherited. Symptoms include a dingy coat, hair loss and lesions on the skin. SA can be difficult to diagnose, usually requiring multiple biopsies, and may be masked by secondary infections. There is no known cure; treatment involves soothing the skin, treating secondary infections and lifelong administration of immunosuppressive drugs.
Golden Retriever Pet Care Tips
Golden Retrievers are considered by many to be part of the family. Like any family member, they deserve the best medical care available. Since veterinary care requires immediate upfront payment, ask yourself if you have the financial resources to pay for a health emergency or ongoing chronic condition.
If the answer is no, pet insurance may be a better option than accruing credit card debt or skimping elsewhere to care for your dog. To compare coverage, exclusions, benefits, reimbursements and more, refer to our side-by-side comparison chart. Or if you’re interested in learning more about a specific provider’s reputation, visit our company reviews page for updated ratings.