Goldendoodle Breed Maintenance
The fact that many Goldendoodles have a hypoallergenic coat is one of the big perks for many prospective parents, but that’s not to say grooming isn’t necessary — in fact, the opposite is true.
As the coats are usually long and dense, it’s highly prone to trapping dirt or getting matted. Parents will need to use a slicker brush on their fur a few times a week to keep it manageable and looking respectable.
A professional trim every 8-12 weeks is also recommended, but fur around the eyes, ears, footpads and hind end might need to be snipped at home in the meantime to keep it from irritating your pet. This generous coat means Goldendoodles are more suited to living in cool and temperate environments, lest they overheat.
Don’t mistake the Goldendoodle for a diva, though — they love running, swimming and playing games in the great outdoors. They need to be active for around an hour a day, so they might not be a suitable companion if you can’t guarantee this time.
In addition, a bit of mental stimulation is needed to keep their big brains occupied — this could be through frequent training sessions or even trying agility courses.
Goldendoodle Health Risks
As a relatively new trend in the dog world, there’s a lot of talk about crossbreeding. Proponents of the practice defend it by pointing to the concept of heterosis, also known as hybrid vigor.
This scientific theory states that cross-bred organisms tend to display improved outcomes than equivalents bred from the same gene pool. When applied to dogs, this could mean a reduced likelihood of developing certain diseases or living to a longer age.
While there are many breeders that swear by this natural effect, there are others who have found reason to cast doubt on crossbred puppies being healthier than purebred relations.
One thing that can be said for sure is that crossbred puppies can still inherit genetic conditions — if both parents carry the necessary genes, the condition can still develop even if there are two different breeds involved.
Parents interested in getting a Goldendoodle or another hybrid dog should take the same precautions as those seeking a purebred pup — only deal with reputable breeders who carry out health screenings and are totally transparent when it comes to your enquiries.
In the USA, the AKC doesn’t recognize the Goldendoodle as a breed due to its mixed lineage. However, the Goldendoodle Association of North America carries out a similar role in its place and offers a list of trusted breeders, as well as the opportunity to register your own dog to help further the pedigree of Goldendoodles.
If you do decide to bring a responsibly-bred Goldendoodle into your life, it’s important to be aware of some of the health conditions that are more likely to affect Golden Retrievers or Poodles, which might flare up in your dog — here are a few of the main examples.
Hip Dysplasia is a common issue for larger dogs, including Golden Retrievers and bigger Poodles. It starts early on in puppyhood and sees one or both of the hip joints develop abnormally, often leading to pain, limited mobility and even Arthritis in later life.
It’s thought to be hereditary and a responsible breeder will be carrying out screening on their dogs to prevent puppies from being born with the condition — ask for OFA or PennHIP test results. It’s not a failsafe method, but it certainly lowers the odds.
If your Goldendoodle is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia, it can be treated with a combination of anti-inflammatory medication, joint supplements, weight management or surgical interventions.
As well as this, Elbow Dysplasia is sometimes observed in Goldendoodles and is similar when it comes to symptoms and treatment.
If your Goldendoodle is smaller in size, Patellar Luxation is something to keep in mind, too. This is something often spotted in Toy or Miniature breeds and happens when the kneecap dislocates regularly. The most obvious signs are short bouts of limping or stiffness.
It’s important to diagnose this condition as early as possible, as it can lead to continual pain or Arthritis if left untreated. Depending on the severity, your vet might recommend physiotherapy or surgery, as well as pain relief to help with the worst instances of discomfort.
Many dog breeds are susceptible to eye issues and the Goldendoodle isn’t an exception, sadly.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a particularly serious one. This comes from the deterioration of the retina (or lens) either during the early or late stages of a dog’s life and can lead to blindness — sometimes just at night but also at all points of the day in more serious cases.
PRA can’t be treated once it develops, so, again, the chances of it occurring can be reduced by responsible breeding. Ask to hear about your breeder’s screening measures and also to look at the puppy’s parents, as well — if a breeder doesn’t let you look at a dog’s relatives, ask yourself why that might be.
Other nasty eye conditions sometimes spotted in Goldendoodles are Glaucoma and Cataracts. Fortunately, there are more treatment options your vet can pursue if these problems are spotted in their early stage and more often than not, blindness can be avoided. Ask your vet about regular eye exams for your Goldendoodle.
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) - AKA: Bloat
More commonly known as bloat, this condition tends to affect larger Goldendoodles as their chests are deeper. However, it’s something that all dog parents should be aware of due to the potential risk of fatality if left untreated.
GDV happens when a dog’s stomach fills with air and starts to twist, which can end up cutting off the blood flow to different parts of the body — if no blood is allowed to reach the pancreas, this can result in some toxic hormones traveling around the body.
The symptoms to look out for are a swollen tummy, retching, salivation and restlessness. If caught early enough, a vet can carry out surgery to relieve the twist and tack the stomach to hopefully prevent it from reoccurring at a later date.
Although it’s a dangerous condition, there’s no clear veterinary consensus on why it happens. The usual advice offered to parents is to spread mealtimes out over the day to prevent overeating and to not exercise dogs during the half-hour after they’ve eaten to allow for digestion.
Given there are health conditions from which Goldendoodles are prone to developing, it’s good practice for a parent to cover their pet under a wellness plan that will come to the rescue in times of need — you can compare some of the best options with WAG!
Feeding a Goldendoodle — what’s the best diet?
Goldendoodles come in a massive range of sizes — if you were to line up a Mini Goldendoodle next to a standard one, you would see what we mean.
As a result, there’s no hard-and-fast rule as to how much you should feed a Goldendoodle. A parent needs to bear in mind both their dog’s weight and the amount of activity they undertake when deciding how much to put into their bowl.
Golden Retrievers have an infamous reputation for being greedy creatures, so don’t be surprised if your Goldendoodle has inherited this trait — if this is the case, special care needs to be taken to ensure they don’t become overweight. You can always ask your vet for advice when it comes to your dog’s weight management.
As well as the quantity, the quality of the food you choose will have a large bearing on the health of your Goldendoodle. Our partner, Dog Food Advisor, has compiled a list of the very best meals for a Goldendoodle, which you can check out here.