The brow newfoundland dog need to sleeping

10 Newfoundland Dog Health Conditions to Watch For: Signs & What to Do

The Newfoundland dog has a gentle nature and impressive strength. Their webbed paws and remarkable lung capacity enable them to swim for long distances with little effort. They are also generally healthy, but if you want to learn more about possible health problems with this breed, keep reading as we list several issues that you will want to look out for to help keep your pet healthy.


The 10 Newfoundland Dog Health Conditions

1. Hip Dysplasia

  • Signs: Decreased activity, decreased range of motion, lameness in the hind end, pain

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that causes the hip to form incorrectly, which causes it to wear down quickly. It can lead to pain, swelling, arthritis, and lameness. Treatment usually involves weight management, medication, and surgery.

brown newfoundland laying down
Image Credit: JNix, Shutterstock

2. Elbow Dysplasia

  • Signs: Limping, stiff elbow, cracking sound when the joint moves

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia, but it results from the elbow joint not forming correctly. It will cause many of the same problems, including pain, swelling, and difficulty getting up from a resting position. Medication, weight management, and surgery can help slow the progression of the disease.

3. Cardiac Disease

  • Signs: Persistent cough even when sleeping, increased respiratory rate, tiring easily

Congestive heart failure is a term that means the heart can’t pump enough blood for various reasons. It can progress slowly, so paying attention to any signs and seeking veterinary help is important. Treatment usually includes weight management, medication, and in some cases, surgery.

Newfoundland dog on a summer day in the garden
Image Credit: Marsan, Shutterstock

4. Cystinuria

  • Signs: Straining to urinate, frequent urination, blood in the urine

Cystinuria is a genetic disorder that affects the kidneys and leads to the formation of cystine bladder stones. It can cause urinary tract issues and blockages. Dogs with cystinuria may require a special diet and medications to manage the condition.

5. Ear Infections

  • Signs: Head shaking, dark discharge, odor, pain, itchiness

Dogs are more prone to ear infections than humans because of the shape of their ear canals, and the floppy ears of Newfoundlands can hold in dirt and moisture, which creates a good environment for bacteria to grow. Regularly checking and cleaning their ears with a pet-safe ear cleaner can help reduce the risk of infection. If a problem occurs, your vet will likely prescribe medication.

Newfoundland dog on the side Close Up
Image Credit: Beatrice Foord-St-Laurent, Shutterstock

6. Bloat

  • Signs: Dry heaves, swollen stomach, anxiety, pacing, guarding their belly

Bloat is a condition in which air in the stomach causes it to expand and press on other organs, cutting off circulation. It’s more common in large breeds and requires immediate veterinary attention, as it can be life threatening.

7. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurrent seizures. The cause is unknown but many suspect a genetic connection. Seizures can vary in appearance but usually include stiffening the neck and legs, stumbling and falling over, and drooling uncontrollably. They typically last 30–90 seconds, and your pet may seem confused or disoriented afterward.

Newfoundland dog sleep on floor
Image Credit: Todja, Shutterstock

8. Progressive Retinal Atrophy

  • Signs: Night blindness, reluctance to go into dark rooms, bumping into things

Progressive retinal atrophy is a condition that causes progressive vision loss, ultimately resulting in blindness. It causes the cells in the cones and rods responsible for collecting light to disintegrate. Unfortunately, there is no cure, and the dog usually loses vision in 1–2 years.

9. Osteosarcoma

  • Signs: Palpable mass, decreased appetite, dehydration

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer especially prevalent in large dogs like Newfoundlands, and they will usually develop tumors on their legs. Small dogs can get them on their spine, pelvis, skull, and ribs. It is aggressive and frequently already spreading when diagnosed. Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, and medication.

Newfoundland dog sleeping on grass
Image Credit: John Butcher, Shutterstock

10. Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are rock-like formations that appear in the bladder. The stones can block the flow of urine and are painful. If not relieved, the bladder can rupture and is a potentially life-threatening emergency, so schedule an appointment with the vet immediately.


Tips for Keeping Your Newfoundland Healthy

  • Provide a high-quality, balanced diet that meets the nutritional needs of your Newfoundland. Choose a brand that lists real meat as the first ingredient and is appropriate for your pet’s age.
  • Engage your Newfoundland in regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. These dogs are naturally strong swimmers and enjoy water activities. Long walks, hikes, and interactive play sessions are also beneficial, but when they are young, be cautious with intense exercise to protect their developing joints.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your Newfoundland’s overall health and catch any potential issues early.
  • Stay current with vaccinations, flea-and-tick prevention, and heartworm medication.
  • Provide joint supplements recommended by your veterinarian to promote joint health, and consider low-impact exercises like swimming to reduce stress on their joints. Be mindful of slippery surfaces that can increase the risk of injury.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for the overall well-being of a Newfoundland. Monitor their food intake, provide portion control, and avoid excessive numbers of treats. If you’re concerned about your Newfoundland’s weight, consult your veterinarian.
  • While Newfoundlands are active dogs, they require plenty of rest and sleep. Provide a comfortable and quiet resting area for your dog to recharge and recover.

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While most Newfoundland dogs are healthy and live 8–10 years on average, they might live longer with proper care and a bit of luck. Hip and elbow dysplasia are the most common health conditions that this breed can have, as these large dogs love to run around and play. Ear infections are also common, as their floppy ears can hold in moisture, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. While the other issues are potential problems, they are much less common. Talk to your vet whenever you’re concerned with your Newfoundland’s health, and get their advice on preventive care.

Featured Image Credit: Rhythmatique, Shutterstock

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