21 Signs Your Golden Retriever Is Dying And What You Should Do

Do you have a Golden Retriever that means the world to you? As a fellow pet owner, I know how much we love our furry friends. They are more than just animals; they are beloved family members that bring us endless joy and companionship. That’s why it’s heartbreaking to see them in pain or suffering. Unfortunately, our pets can’t always tell us what’s wrong, and it’s up to us to be vigilant and recognize the signs when they are unwell.

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the top 21 signs your Golden Retriever might be dying and what you should do if you notice any of these symptoms. From loss of appetite, excessive thirst, lethargy, and weakness, to more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, seizures, and even losing consciousness- we’ve got you covered.

So, sit tight, grab a cup of tea and let’s dive into the signs of a sick Golden Retriever. Don’t worry; we’ll help you understand what steps you need to take to get your furry friend the support they need to feel better. Let’s get started!

Signs of DyingWhat You Should Do
Loss of AppetiteOffer palatable and high-energy food and consult a vet
Lethargy and WeaknessProvide comfort and minimize stress
Difficulty BreathingSeek emergency veterinary care
Frequent Vomiting and DiarrheaKeep your dog hydrated and consult a vet
IncontinenceHelp your dog stay clean and consult a vet
Loss of Control Over Bodily FunctionsHelp your dog remain comfortable and speak with a vet
Extreme TirednessProvide comfort and love to your dog
Abnormal Heart RateSeek emergency veterinary care
Extreme ThirstProvide clean water to your dog
Bloody Stool or VomitCall the vet and bring your dog in
Difficulty Standing or WalkingProvide support, keep your dog comfortable, and consult a vet
Swollen AbdomenSpeak with a vet about possible treatment options
Bruising or Pale GumsSeek emergency veterinary care
SeizuresSeek emergency veterinary care
Confusion or DisorientationHelp your dog remain calm and comfortable and speak with a vet
Pain or DiscomfortProvide pain relief and speak with a vet
Loss of Hearing or VisionProvide comfort and speak with a vet
Loss of Weight and Muscle MassProvide high-energy food and consult a vet
Hunched PostureKeep your dog comfortable and speak with a vet
Cold ExtremitiesProvide warmth and speak with a vet
Withdrawal From Family MembersProvide love and comfort for your dog

Loss of Appetite

If your Golden Retriever is refusing to eat or losing interest in their food, it could be a sign of a serious health issue. Loss of appetite is often a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as cancer, kidney disease, liver problems, or gastrointestinal issues. If this persists for more than a day, it’s time to seek veterinary attention.

Your vet will perform a physical examination to determine the cause of the loss of appetite. They may also order some tests such as bloodwork or X-rays to identify any underlying causes. In some cases, the loss of appetite may be related to dental issues or the type of food that you are feeding.

As a pet owner, you should monitor your Golden Retriever’s eating habits and behavior. You should also keep track of their weight and body condition score regularly. If you notice any changes in their appetite or weight, it’s important to contact your vet immediately. Early detection and treatment of any underlying condition can help prolong your dog’s life.

Excessive Thirst

Excessive thirst is a common sign of a serious health issue in dogs and can be an indication that your Golden Retriever is dying. If your dog is drinking more water than usual or appears to be always thirsty, it is crucial to take him to the vet immediately.

There are many reasons why your Golden Retriever may be excessively thirsty including dehydration, kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, and cancer. The increase in water intake can be due to the body’s attempt to compensate for the lack of fluids, or it could be a sign of an underlying condition.

If you notice your dog is drinking excessively, it’s recommended to keep a record of how much water they are consuming and to take them to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will perform a physical examination and diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the problem.

In some cases, excessive thirst can be managed through changes in diet and lifestyle. However, it can also be a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment. Therefore, it’s crucial not to ignore the signs and to take your Golden Retriever to the vet if you notice any excessive thirst.

Lethargy and Weakness

One of the most common signs that your golden retriever may be dying is lethargy and weakness. If you notice that your pup is showing signs of tiredness, isn’t as active as usual, or finds it hard to move around, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Lethargy and weakness can be caused by a variety of factors, including underlying diseases, infections, or even extreme weather conditions. As a concerned pet owner, it is essential to monitor your dog’s behavior regularly, especially with age.

If your doggie is constantly feeling tired, it is crucial to take them to the veterinarian for a thorough check-up. Your vet may recommend running a few tests to determine the underlying cause of the lethargy, and they may prescribe medication or recommend dietary changes to help your pup regain their vitality.

Ignoring lethargy and weakness in your golden retriever can escalate into more severe complications and even be fatal in some cases. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior, seek veterinary attention right away to ensure they are healthy and happy.

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Difficulty in Breathing

If you notice your golden retriever having difficulty breathing, it could indicate a serious health problem. Breathing difficulties can arise from various issues such as heart or lung diseases, allergic reactions, or obstructions in the airway.

Your dog may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, panting, or coughing. They may struggle to inhale and exhale, and their breathing may become rapid and labored.

This symptom requires immediate attention from a veterinarian. If left untreated, breathing difficulties can cause severe health complications, and in some cases, even lead to death.

Therefore, if your beloved golden retriever shows signs of difficulty in breathing, don’t hesitate to seek medical help.

Coughing and Gagging

Coughing and gagging are common symptoms of respiratory illnesses in dogs, especially in Golden Retrievers. These symptoms can be alarming and may indicate severe health problems. If your dog is coughing persistently or gagging without any apparent reason, it is essential to seek the help of a veterinarian. Coughing can be caused by different conditions, including allergies, infections, and heart diseases. Gagging, on the other hand, may be a sign of an obstruction in the respiratory tract or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Coughing can be dry or productive, meaning that there may or may not be mucus discharged. A productive cough can indicate an infection or inflammation in the lungs or airways, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. The cough can be strong, loud, or hacking, and may worsen when the dog is lying down or exerting energy. On the other hand, a dry cough can be a sign of kennel cough, which is highly contagious among dogs. It can also be associated with heart disease or other respiratory disorders.

Gagging often occurs along with coughing or may occur on its own. It is a reflex action that dogs use to clear their throat or expel an object. However, if the gagging persists, it may indicate a problem with the larynx or esophagus. Dogs with GERD may also gag or retch due to stomach acid reflux.

In conclusion, if your Golden Retriever is coughing or gagging, it is essential to get to the root of the problem. Some of these symptoms may be a sign of severe health issues. It is essential to pay attention to any other signs, such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, or loss of appetite, that may accompany coughing and gagging. Your veterinarian can diagnose the underlying cause and suggest appropriate treatment.

Diarrhea or Vomiting

If your Golden Retriever experiences diarrhea or vomiting, there could be a few possible reasons behind it.

Firstly, it may be due to an infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that your dog may have contracted. Secondly, if your dog has eaten something that doesn’t agree with them, it may cause them to experience diarrhea or vomiting. Thirdly, diarrhea or vomiting can be symptoms of underlying medical conditions like liver or kidney disease.

It is essential to keep an eye on your dog’s bowel movement and keep them hydrated if they are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. If the symptoms persist or become severe, do not hesitate to consult with your veterinarian.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are common in dogs and can be a sign of an underlying health issue. UTIs occur when bacteria infects the urinary tract and can cause frequent urination, difficulty urinating, or blood in the urine. It’s essential to seek veterinary care if you suspect your Golden Retriever has a UTI, as it can lead to more severe complications if left untreated. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics, and in severe cases, additional tests may be necessary to identify any underlying conditions.

Golden retriever lying in bed looking sad.

Seizures and Tremors

Seizures and tremors are common signs that your golden retriever may be experiencing health issues. Seizures are usually characterized by a loss of consciousness, shaking, and convulsions, while tremors may cause your dog’s muscles to twitch involuntarily.

There are several causes of seizures and tremors in golden retrievers, including genetics, metabolic disorders, infections, and brain tumors. It is essential to take your dog to the vet immediately if they experience seizures or tremors as they may indicate a significant underlying health issue.

The veterinarian will perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the seizures or tremors. Treatment will depend on the underlying health issue. In some cases, medication may be necessary to control seizures and tremors.

Be sure to monitor your dog closely and take note of any changes in their behavior. Also, avoid panic or anxiety as this can make matters worse for your golden retriever. Remember, early detection and intervention can significantly improve your dog’s chances of recovery.


Jaundice is a common symptom of liver disease in dogs, including Golden Retrievers. It is a condition where the eyes, gums, and skin appear yellow due to an accumulation of bile pigment in the bloodstream. Jaundice may be caused by a variety of factors including infections, liver disorders, and certain medications. In some cases, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as cancer.

If you notice your Golden Retriever’s eyes, gums, or skin turning yellow, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately. Your vet will perform diagnostic tests such as blood work and ultrasound to determine the underlying cause of the jaundice. Treatment for jaundice will depend on the cause and may involve medication, dietary changes, or even surgery.

Some possible causes of jaundice in Golden Retrievers include hepatitis, liver tumors, and infections such as leptospirosis. Early detection and treatment are crucial to preventing serious complications, so be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of jaundice in your furry friend and seek veterinary care as soon as possible if you suspect something is wrong.

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Unexplained Weight Loss

If your Golden Retriever is losing weight suddenly without any apparent cause, it could be a red flag that something is wrong. Unexplained weight loss is one of the signs that your dog might be suffering from an underlying condition and it’s essential to pay attention.

Some possible reasons your Golden Retriever might be losing weight are cancer, diabetes, or intestinal parasites. However, there could be other reasons too, such as kidney or liver disease, thyroid problems, or even stress and anxiety.

If you notice your dog has lost weight without a significant change in their diet or exercise routine, consult with your veterinarian immediately. Not only will they help diagnose the underlying issue, but they can also suggest a proper treatment plan to get your pup back on track to a healthy weight.

So, if your Golden Retriever is experiencing unexplained weight loss, don’t take it lightly. Take appropriate action and get your furry friend the help they need.

Abnormal Swelling or Lumps

If you notice any abnormal swelling or lumps on your golden retriever, it’s important to take them seriously. Swelling or lumps can be a sign of cancer, infection, or inflammation.

Make sure to regularly check your dog for any irregularities in their body, especially in places like the neck, underarms, or behind the legs. If you do feel a lump or bump, consult with your veterinarian immediately. Early detection and treatment can make a huge difference in the outcome.

In some cases, the lump may not be cancerous, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Your vet will be able to perform an examination and run necessary tests to determine the best course of action for your furry friend. Never try to diagnose the lump on your own, as it could have serious consequences for your dog’s health.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to your golden retriever’s health. Regular checkups, a healthy diet, and staying in tune with your dog’s behavior can help ensure a long, happy life with your furry companion.

Pale Gums and Nose

One sign that your Golden Retriever may be dying is pale gums and nose. When a dog’s gums and nose are healthy, they should be pink in color. Pale gums or a pale nose could indicate that your dog is experiencing blood loss or low blood pressure, which can be a serious condition. If you notice that your Golden Retriever’s gums or nose are pale, it’s essential to seek medical attention from your vet immediately. It’s better to catch any underlying issues before it’s too late, so always monitor your dog’s health and overall well-being.

Golden Retriever, Dying Alarm.

Irregular Heart Rate

If you observe that your Golden Retriever has an irregular heart rate, it could be a sign of a severe health issue. A regular heartbeat keeps the circulation of oxygen throughout the body running, so when it is in an irregular pattern, it can cause less blood and oxygen distribution. This could lead to serious problems, like collapse and even heart failure. If you notice any such symptoms, it is best to take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. A vet can examine your dog’s heart rate, monitor rhythm, and conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) to determine if there is a severe issue or not. Don’t ignore these signs, and always make sure to get your furry friend checked out by a vet if you suspect there is a concern with their heart rate.

Disorientation or Confusion

As your Golden Retriever nears the end of their life, they may experience disorientation and confusion. These symptoms may be related to neurological conditions, severe infections, or other serious health issues. You may observe your furry friend walking aimlessly, getting lost in familiar places, or seeming disoriented.

Confusion and disorientation can greatly impact your dog’s quality of life and well-being. You may notice your dog becoming more withdrawn, anxious, or even fearful. They may start to avoid social interactions and retreat to quiet, dark places.

If your Golden Retriever is showing signs of confusion or disorientation, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet can diagnose the underlying cause of these symptoms and recommend the best treatment options.

In some cases, confusion and disorientation may be an indication that your beloved pet is nearing the end of their life. If this is the case, you’ll need to take special care to make sure they are comfortable and pain-free in their final days. Your vet can provide guidance on how to manage their symptoms and offer compassionate end-of-life care.

Unusual Discharge

If you notice an unusual discharge in your Golden Retriever, it’s a sign that something may be wrong. Discharge can come from the eyes, nose, ears, or genitals, and can range from clear to bloody and foul-smelling.

Discharge from the eyes or nose could indicate an infection or allergy, while discharge from the ears could be a sign of an ear infection or injury. Discharge from the genital area can be a sign of infection or disease, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like difficulty urinating or pain.

It’s important to take note of the color, consistency, and odor of the discharge, as these can give clues about the possible cause. If you notice unusual discharge in your Golden Retriever, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the underlying issue and proper treatment plan.

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Difficulty in Standing or Walking

If your golden retriever is having difficulty standing or walking, it could be a sign that something is wrong. This may indicate that there is a problem with their muscles or joints, or it could be a symptom of a larger issue such as a neurological problem.

If you notice these symptoms in your dog, it’s essential to get them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. This will allow your vet to assess your dog’s overall health and diagnose any issues.

Some possible causes of difficulty standing or walking in golden retrievers include hip dysplasia, arthritis, or a spinal cord injury. Your vet may suggest diagnostic testing such as X-rays or an MRI to determine the underlying condition.

If your golden retriever is indeed experiencing difficulty standing or walking, they may need medication, supplements, or therapy to manage their condition and reduce their pain. It’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s guidance and advice to keep your dog as comfortable as possible and give them the best chance of recovery.

Loss of Balance and Coordination

Loss of Balance and Coordination is a common sign of aging in dogs, but it could also indicate a more serious issue. If you notice your Golden Retriever stumbling, swaying, or falling over, it could be a sign that they are experiencing neurological problems or a loss of muscle control.

This symptom can be caused by a number of underlying health conditions, such as vestibular disease, brain tumors, or arthritis. It can also be a result of medication side effects or a lack of proper nutrition.

If your Golden Retriever is experiencing this symptom, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. The veterinarian will examine your dog to determine the root cause of the balance and coordination issues. Depending on the underlying condition, treatment options may include medication, therapy, or surgery.

Don’t ignore this symptom as it could indicate a more serious issue that could potentially be life-threatening. Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior, and seek veterinary care promptly if you notice any changes in their balance or coordination.

Fever or Hypothermia

Fever or Hypothermia are both serious indicators that your Golden Retriever might be dying.

Fever is characterized by a high body temperature above 103°F. This could be a sign of infection, inflammation, or illness. A feverish dog might display other symptoms such as lethargy, shivering, loss of appetite, and vomiting. It’s essential to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice these signs.

On the other hand, hypothermia happens when your dog’s body temperature drops below its normal range of 100-102°F. This condition typically results from exposure to cold weather or staying in freezing water for an extended period. Hypothermic dogs look weak, have pale gums, slow breathing, and may shiver with cold. It is necessary to warm them up and seek help from a vet.

Both fever and hypothermia are emergency cases. If you notice either of these symptoms, give your dog first aid treatment to manage their body temperature and rush them to a veterinary hospital immediately.

Blue or Purple Gums and Tongue

If you notice that your golden retriever’s gums or tongue are turning blue or purple, it can be a sign that something is seriously wrong. This could indicate a lack of oxygen in their bloodstream, which could lead to respiratory failure or even death.

There are several potential causes for blue or purple gums and tongue, including heart or lung problems, blood disorders, and poisoning. If you notice this symptom, act fast and take your golden retriever to the vet immediately.

Your vet will be able to diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. Time is of the essence, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Remember to stay calm and reassure your furry friend that they are not alone in this battle.

Aggressive or Unusually Quiet Behavior

Aggressive or unusually quiet behavior can be a sign that your Golden Retriever is dying. If your usually friendly and outgoing dog becomes aggressive, it could mean that they are in pain or feeling uncomfortable. On the other hand, if your dog becomes unusually quiet and withdrawn, it could indicate that they are experiencing depression or anxiety.

Pay attention to any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior, such as growling, snapping, or biting. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately. The vet can help diagnose the underlying health issue and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Similarly, if your dog becomes unusually quiet or withdrawn, it could be a sign of serious health problems. Take note if your dog is no longer interested in playing, going for walks, or engaging in their usual activities. Contact your vet to discuss your concerns and schedule an appointment for a checkup.

Remember, your Golden Retriever cannot tell you when they are in pain or not feeling well. So as a responsible pet owner, it is up to you to identify any changes in behavior and seek medical assistance as needed.

Losing Consciousness Frequently

If your golden retriever is losing consciousness frequently, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong. Losing consciousness could be due to several reasons, such as a seizure, heart problem, or low blood sugar.

It’s crucial to consult your veterinarian immediately when you notice this sign. They will examine your dog and conduct the necessary tests to determine the underlying cause.

If your golden retriever is diagnosed with a heart problem, they may prescribe medication to regulate your dog’s heartbeat. If it’s a seizure disorder, anticonvulsant medication will be prescribed.

Losing consciousness frequently can be dangerous, and you need to take action immediately. Don’t wait, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away.


As pet owners, we always want our furry friends to be happy and healthy, but unfortunately, our beloved companions can become ill. After studying the twenty-one signs that your golden retriever may be dying, it’s important to remember to monitor and evaluate any changes or issues that your dog may exhibit. Early identification of symptoms is vital in providing medical treatment and resolving any health concerns.

Loss of appetite, excessive thirst, and lethargy are the first signs that your dog may be experiencing health issues. Other signs, such as difficulty in breathing, coughing, or gagging, require immediate attention from a veterinarian.

We must take a proactive approach toward our dog’s needs and seek veterinary care if we notice any abnormalities. With the proper treatment and care, we can help mitigate any life-threatening conditions that may arise.

In honor of the strong bond between a dog and their families, always remember to be proactive, to monitor changes, and to seek immediate veterinary care if your furry friend is displaying any of the signs mentioned above.

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Hi, I'm Carol, a passionate animal lover and blogger at atractivopets.com. As an experienced pet owner and caregiver, I've gained first-hand knowledge and expertise in the care and well-being of our furry friends. Through my blog, I strive to share my insights and offer valuable tips and advice to fellow pet owners, while prioritizing trustworthiness and accuracy in all of my content.

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