Golden Retrievers are one of the most desirable breeds for many reasons. Common Golden Retriever health problems and issues are important to be aware of.
Over generations, characteristics that are inherent in certain breeds of dogs become ingrained and predictable. Among breeds, Golden Retrievers are one of the friendliest and most easily-trained. They are well-known for their amiable character and excellent skills in hunting, retrieving and tracking.
Golden Retrievers have predictable predispositions to certain health problems and issues. Interestingly enough, mental illness in dogs occurs similarly as it does in humans. And you may be surprised to know that Golden Retrievers are more prone to mental illness than are other breeds. This is the case due to their biological and genetic makeup and how they are socially.
Golden Retriever mental illness
The sweet disposition of a Golden Retriever makes them great companions for children and exceptional service dogs for those with emotional disorders like depression or anxiety. They are one of the most loyal breeds. The depth of their bond with people combined with their exceptional sweetness render Golden Retrievers highly susceptible to emotional disorders themselves. While most dogs on some level hate to see you walk out of the house without them, for a Golden Retriever this simple act can be devastating.
Most commonly, Golden Retrievers suffer from depression and anxiety. This can be evidenced by sulking to outright aggression. Physically, they may engage in nervous behaviors like chewing furniture or constantly scratching at the door. They may even sit for hours in the exact position they were in when you left the house, just waiting in anticipation for you to return.
Noticing such a condition in your dog can be heartbreaking and affect you as an owner in more ways than you may realize. Oftentimes dog owners experience guilt leaving the home as they think and worry about their beloved companion spending their day steeped in anxiety.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate anxiety and/or depression in your Golden Retriever. Here are some tips.
What you can do
- Under no circumstances should your Golden Retriever be punished, yelled at or treated harshly in any way for behavior resembling anxiety or depression. Coming home to a chewed-up couch can be frustrating, but punishing your dog is not the solution. In fact, even exhibiting emotions like anger or frustration can have negative effects on your dog and will only make matters worse.
- Make your departures and returns home mundane. While it can be tempting to make a big deal out of leaving the house--such as by showing extra affection before you leave--will likely make matters worse. This is also true for when returning home. While this technique may seem counterintuitive, the more humdrum you can make your entrances and exits, the better for Golden Retriever anxiety and depression.
- Distraction is a great method for alleviating separation anxiety. If your Golden Retriever has a favorite toy, try playing with it with them prior to your leaving. This has been shown to lessen the impact of your goodbye.
- Rewards are also effective. So try making your departure something to be celebrated. Offering a treat before leaving makes leaving more palatable (literally). Good treats can be considered a healthy distraction, especially if it’s a bone or something that requires much time to consume. Your dog will graciously accept your gift and wander off to consume in bliss, therefore making your departure a non-issue.
- Get another dog! Ok, while it may seem out-of-the-question to add another furry friend to your house, think of it like kids or siblings. Dogs keep each other company and are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression when they have a companion.
- Consider CBD dog treats. CBD acts on the nervous system and has been shown to alleviate symptoms related to nervous disorders.
Golden Retrievers are a unique and highly sought-after breed. And their health problems and needs are unique, as well. Given their loving nature, it’s important to understand how to make that trait the blessing it is and not a curse.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained or made available through the ColoradoDog website is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice or veterinary advice.