7 Crazy Facts about Golden Retrievers’ Life Span (And 7 Tips to Increase It)
Dogs are man’s best friends. We even think of them as being part of our family, rather than just mere pets. But do dogs, particularly a golden retriever dog, have an average life span? The answer is yes: the life span of a golden retriever is around 10-12 human years.
Naturally, your dog’s age will determine how long you can spend quality time with him. Of course, you have more of a chance of spending many amazing years with him if you got him as a puppy. Unless accidents or illnesses happen, a pet parent can have a general idea of how long a golden retriever can live.
But do you think you know everything about the life span of a golden retriever? Well, think again! This blog will guide you through the things you need to know about your golden pooch. We also included 7 great tips on how to increase the life span of a golden retriever.
7 Crazy Facts About Golden Retrievers’ Life Span
Fact 1: Large dog breeds live shorter lives than small dog breeds
Golden retrievers belong to a large breed of dogs. Thus, we can assume that they have shorter lives than Chihuahuas (12-20 years) or Shih Tzus (10-16 years).
According to an article published in Smithsonian Magazine, research shows that large dog breeds—like a large labrador retriever, for exampleꟷage faster than their small counterparts. The body size of the dog also has a direct link to the speed of their mortality.
Since a golden retriever is a large breed of dog, its adult life tends to move quickly, resulting in a shorter life span than small breeds. Scientists have also noted that life span is lessened by one month for every 4.4 lbs of weight a dog has.
Fact 2: Golden Retrievers Live for About 10-12 Years
Accidents and illnesses aside, a golden retriever life span has an average expectancy of 10-12 years. This is about the same life expectancy as other large dog breeds, such as an alaskan malamute dog breed (10-12 years) or a greyhound (10-14 years).
However, this life span is just the current average. In the past, a golden retrievers’ life span was much longer, with an average of 16-17 years. Currently, studies are being done to learn the reasons why the life span of a golden retriever has dropped significantly. Several factors that may affect a golden retriever’s life expectancy are genes, environmental factors, and health issues.
Fact 3: You can spend at least $13,000 over a golden retriever’s lifespan
Yes, pets cost this much! But who cares about the amount we spend on them when they can give us priceless joy every day, right?
To properly take care of a golden retriever, you need to allocate funds needed for his necessities. These necessities include food, grooming, and vet bills, among many others. Consider minor to major illness costs that occur if your puppy gets an ear infection or wound, elbow dysplasia, heart disease, dental disease, and so on.
If the dog is healthy, then you only have to pay for regular visits to the vet. But if your dog develops some health issues along the way, you might need to shell out a few extra dollars to cover his medical expenses.
Fact 4: Golden Retrievers Tolerate Pain Better than Other Dog Breeds
Throughout the golden retriever life span, you can expect golden retrievers to carry on with their daily routines even when they are already in pain.
This is one of the reasons why golden retrievers make good professional dogs that help in rescue missions and hunting tasks.
Fact 5: The Oldest Golden Retriever is 20-year-old Augie
While the average life span of golden retrievers is between 10-12 years, there are rare exceptions to the rule. Augie, a Tennessee golden retriever, celebrated her 20th year last April 24, 2020! Her owners, Jennifer and Steve, adopted the dog when she was 14 years old.
Surprisingly, Augie was diagnosed with a kidney problem when she was 14 years old. She has a special diet as well as extra supplements that promote kidney and joint health. Other than that, Augie is still considered healthy by her parents, and she enjoys her daily walks in their yard too!
Fact 6: The Fur will Darken as Golden Retrievers Age
One of the best assets of golden retrievers is their shiny, golden coat. As they age, however, the coloring tends to lose its luster and golden vibe. Just like human hairs, dogs’ coats also turn gray or white. So you can expect to see some gray or white coloration in your golden retriever’s muzzle, chest, and around the eyes.
Most often, you can notice the change in coloration when they are as young as 7 years old. But don’t let the color fool you! Though their fur color can change, their playful traits remain the same throughout the golden retriever life span.
Fact 7: Golden Retrievers are Prone to Health Problems
Sadly, many health issues can arise during the life span of golden retrievers. Several types of cancer may attack these dogs even at an early stage of their lives. Even a 10-month old golden retriever has been diagnosed with uterine carcinoma, a form of cancer.
Other health problems that golden retrievers may suffer from across their life span are hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye problems. The Golden Retriever Club of America, Inc recommends doing several screening tests to ensure your dog’s health.
These tests include hip evaluation, elbow evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, cardiac exam, and the Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 10 (NCL10).
Depression also affects golden retrievers easily, especially when left alone or neglected. Yes, golden retrievers are emotional too! They feel sad whenever they lose someone dear to them. They also feel bad whenever someone new comes along and their parents don’t give them the same attention they used to receive.
So make sure that you check your golden retriever’s emotional status always. A decrease in appetite and energy may mean some underlying conditions that need to be addressed.
7 Tips to Increase Golden Retriever Life Span
The best part of having a dog is the fact that you have a companion. Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. And that is why we want to keep them for a long time as much as we can. Since a golden retriever life span isn’t as long as those of small dog breeds, a dog owner might feel bad about saying goodbye to their beloved canine any earlier than necessary.
However, we won’t let you give up that easily! Just take Augie for example! The amazing 20-year-old dog can serve as an inspiration to many a golden retriever pet owner. Despite Augie’s health condition, she’s still able to live long enough to reach her 20th milestone, thanks to the care and love of her pet parents!
As a parent to your golden pooch, we believe you want to lengthen the time of your dog’s life as well. So here are our 7 tips to help you increase the life span of your golden retriever.
1. Regular Exercise (Physically and Mentally)
Exercise is important even for humans. Hence, there is no question that pets need to exercise too. Dogs benefit from exercise, as it helps them manage their weight, thus decreasing the pressure on joints. It also helps lower the risk for weight and joint-related health conditions.
Regular exercise helps prolong the life span of a golden retriever, since it also promotes a healthy heart, strong muscles, and bones.
Additionally, physical exercise lowers stress levels by increasing endorphins, hormones that trigger positive feelings. So if you want to keep your dog healthy and happy, keeping her busy with regular exercise surely helps a lot.
Mental exercises, on the other hand, help improve cognitive function. This is generally helpful, especially as the dog grows from being a golden retriever puppy to a senior dog. To keep the mind active, you can let them socialize with other dogs or engage them in games and training to learn new skills.
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2. Avoid Stress and Anxiety
As said earlier, golden retrievers are prone to depression. Thus, minimize stressful situations as much as possible. Being bullied by other dogs can cause them anxiety. Socialization may be important, but make sure your dog is in good company.
Various situations may leave your dog feeling stressed and anxious. You must not leave them alone for long periods of time or neglect them. Regardless of how busy you are, make sure that you have enough time for your dog.
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3. Regular Grooming
Hygiene is an important factor when it comes to prolonging a dog’s life span. Coats, nails, ears, teeth, and paws need to be healthy.
Regular grooming doesn’t only focus on cleaning, bathing, and improving the appearance of your dog. When you groom your dog, you get the chance to assess him for any lumps and skin irritations that might be hiding under the thick fur.
Ear infections are also prevalent in golden retrievers, and you can check for them while grooming. Grooming further allows more bonding time with your pooch. You give him love and attention when you do the grooming personally.
Just make sure that you have a good grooming kit. The grooming kit from OMORC is one of our highly recommended tools, since it works well with thick coats. However, if you do not want to do the grooming by yourself, you can still bring your dog to a professional groomer.
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Dental hygiene is also an important routine you need to make a habit of. Dental care is extremely important for canines, as plaque build-up can enter the bloodstream and damage vital organs. Brush your dog’s teeth daily or several times a week with a recommended dog toothbrush and paste.
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4. Healthy Nutrition and Weight Management
Exercise alone does not lead to good health. You need to pair it with proper nutrition to see the desired effect. The life span of a golden retriever increases when you give good and healthy food to your pooch. Give canines a high quality diet and surely, they’ll live better and probably longer.
If you are not sure what the best dog food for your golden retriever is, you can ask a vet for professional advice. Your dog’s diet also needs to coincide with his current medical standing. When medical conditions arise, special diets and supplements may be required.
Vets also recommend spaying and neutering dogs. Not only does it help in unwanted reproduction, but it further saves golden retrievers from some types of cancers, such as testicular cancer for males and mammary cancer for females.
Dogs also have a keen sense to reproduce. This sense often leads them to risky and unsafe situations. Once the dogs are properly spayed and neutered, you do not need to worry about them breaking loose.
6. Listen to the Vet
Some pet parents tend to think they know their dogs better than anyone else. Sure, you all live under the same roof, and you’re with your golden 24/7! But that does not equate to professional knowledge. Dogs need to see their vets for regular check-ups so that underlying medical conditions, if there are any, can be diagnosed early. After all, early detection often leads to better treatment.
Also, vets provide necessary vaccinations for dogs. These vaccinations are extremely essential in order to keep golden retrievers away from certain contagious diseases and infections. Veterinary visits need to be done once a year for younger dogs and twice a year as they enter old age.
7. Keep Close Supervision
We’re happy when our golden retrievers roam around freely. There’s nothing that can beat the freedom of a joyful dog running around carefree. However, keeping your golden retriever close can increase the life span of the golden retriever. Why?
Dogs that run loose often end up in streets where cars come rushing. Predators such as coyotes and birds of prey may lurk around the corner and jump at your dog when you least expect it. Even regular people may harm your dog when you aren’t looking. Ensure that your golden retriever is safe by keeping him under close watch.
It is also recommended to put the golden retriever on a leash whenever you are out of the house. This way, you can control where your pooch is going. Whenever you are in an open area for dogs, do not take your eyes off him. Also, be aware of your surroundings. If you notice predators like coyotes, immediately leave the place, for your dog’s safety and your own.
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Golden retrievers belong to the group of large dog breeds, and they have a shorter life span than smaller breeds. However, there are also several things you can do to help increase the life span of a golden retriever.
Doing the 7 tips we provided can add many more amazing years to your golden retriever’s life. To top it off, you can take inspiration from Augie! She’s still a healthy golden retriever despite her age of 20!
The life of your golden retriever is in your hands. You have the power to provide him the necessities he needs to maintain a happy, healthy, and long life. So be a responsible pet parent, and you’ll surely spend many more years with your canine.