Golden Retriever Health Problems

Chester, who is now a beautiful, glossy, energetic 10 year old Golden Retriever, had a difficult start - he was one of many Golden Retrievers with health problems! Take a look at the problems he faced.

Diarrhoea In Dogs

For the first 6 years of his life, he had diarrhoea. The vets prescribed everything they could think of, the owners tried every different diet they could think of, but still, every morning, Chester's Mum had a lovely brown, creamy mess to clear up.

Canine Pica

Golden Retrievers and Labradors are often called 'dustbin dogs' because they will often eat anything they can find and have been known to scavenge through people's bins for scraps!

Chester was no exception, but he had a particular liking for rubber, especially used condoms, much to the embarrassment of the family.

Fleas And Dog Health

Chester as you know is a Golden Retriever. Health problems were his middle name. Chester had a dull and dry coat. Fleas came back so quickly after chemical flea treatments, it almost wasn't worth apply them.

Parasites always infest the under-dog! Chester's immune system and overall health were so poor that he could not repel the fleas naturally.

Overweight Dogs

Golden Retriever pups are usually so full of beans that they almost knock you over. Poor 'old' Chester came into the consulting room and flopped down on the floor.

He looked like a fat old chap, but he was only six! Apparently, he had always been like this. The family just thought it was his nature.

Mast Cell Tumours In Dogs

The most alarming thing was that over the last 6 months he had suffered from 3 aggressive mast cell tumours in different places, which had been surgically removed and analyzed. The prognosis was poor.

How Did We Turn Chester's Health Around?

Diarrhoea is the body's way of getting rid of something, so the first thing to do is to stop putting anything in; so 24 hours' starvation, with filtered water to drink.

Treatment needs to work with the body, not against it, so we started by giving him Argiletz clay mixed with Aloe Vera 6 times a day to adsorb the toxins that his body was trying to get rid of and calm his intestines down a bit. Probiotics (in Pet Plus) daily recolonised the gut with healthy bacteria, essential to proper function.

After a few days on this and raw eggs mixed with boiled rice, his bowels settled down and he was passing normal poops at last!

A few days later, he was given some minced raw rabbit with minced bone (Prize Choice), mixed with liquidized greens and Pet Plus, a little and often. Over the next few weeks, his meal sizes increased and their frequency decreased until he was on two meals a day.

BARF - The Results

Chester has now been eating raw meat and bone with liquidized raw greens and Pet Plus for four years and has had perfect poohs every day! His fleas have gone, his coat is glossy, he is beautifully slim and absolutely full of energy. And best of all, no more cancer!

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2 comments on “Golden Retriever Health Problems”

  1. Hi Susanna,

    Just read this lovely story about Chester.

    I wonder if you could give me some advise for my 16 month old Golden Retriever, Daisy.

    Daisy was fed on a raw food diet of minced meat and bone with blended vegetables, along with chicken wings by her breeder, and we continued to feed her the same. However, after a few months Daisy started to develop diarrhoea and goopy eyes. I started to give Daisy Petplus in the hope that would help and tried a different brand of food, switching from Prize Choice to Natural Instinct, but still the diarrhoea continued. I was worried as Daisy was losing weight, so took Daisy to see our local vet. He recommended switching to a dried dog food for dogs with sensitive digestion.

    I did some research online and eventually decided to try Orijen 6 Fish dried food. Within 24 hours Daisy's poo was normal for the first time in several weeks and the goopy eyes cleared up.

    Daisy has remained on the Orijen 6 Fish with blended vegetables and Petplus, alternating with Sainsbury's tinned wild alaskan salmon with blended vegetables and Petplus. She regained the weight she had lost and has suffered no further bouts of diarrhoea and no goopy eyes. It seemed that the key to keeping Daisy diarrhoea and goopy eye free, was to feed her only fish, vegetables and Petplus.

    I recently thought I would try Daisy on raw meat again as I wasn't really happy with her being on dry food. I introduced just a teaspoon of raw mince and bone into her regular food, which I then increased slowly to 1 dessertspoon of raw meat and bone. Unfortunately, when I increased to the dessertspoon of raw meat, her diarrhoea returned.

    As soon as I went back to the fish and vegetable diet, Daisy was fine again.

    I wonder if you could give me some advise on what could be going on here, and whether you think I should persevere with trying to get Daisy back on the raw meat, bone and veg diet, or just continue with the fish and veg diet on which she seems to be happy and healthy.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Ali,

      This is not an uncommon story. There are several factors at play here.
      Firstly, taking a puppy from its mother and litter-mates and home environment is very stressful for the puppy. They are then often vaccinated and wormed, adding even more stress to their immature little bodies, which often takes a few months to show up as some symptom or another.
      Golden Retrievers are also very prone to allergies. A shame really as they're such sweet, loving, friendly dogs.
      Amazingly enough, feeding the same food day after day, whether it's raw or processed, often leads to intolerance. Sounds like she had a fair bit of variety in her diet, but there was a theme of chicken in all of them, so maybe that was the final straw for her immune system. It'll be a long time before her immune system stops recognizing raw chicken as an enemy I suspect.

      So, the fish you've chosen is something her body has never seen before, so that's great. Various different fish types too is a good idea. Have you tried her with raw fish? I give mine mackerel / sprats / sardines about once a week. They eat it whole and raw, bones and all. Remember the stomach acid of the carnivore digests raw bones with ease.

      So I'd suggest trying some raw fish and see what happens. Stick with the vegetables and the Pet Plus. Maybe alternate the raw fish (as long as she's OK with the raw fish) with the processed fish for a while, even if she seems fine with the raw fish. Do everything gradually.

      Does she have filtered / bottled water to drink? That's another essential thing for all of us! Make sure she has a clean bowl of chemical-free water every day.

      Hope that's helpful.


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