Accepting that our beloved pets will not live as long as we do is insanely tough, and the resulting grief from the loss can be deep and long-lasting. Pets aren’t just pets, they’re family members and best friends.
Different dog breeds have different average lifespans. Unfortunately, some are shorter than others. While it is certainly hard to accept the fact that your spunky and loyal goldie dog will someday pass on, knowing what to expect in terms of a golden retriever’s lifespan can help you provide them comfort in later years and perhaps offer you some comfort as well.
The Bigger the Dog, the Shorter the Lifespan
Here’s the thing: The bigger the dog, the shorter the lifespan. While some big pups might outlive their breeds’ average lifespans, others fall right into that average slot. Science hasn’t exactly been able to prove why there are correlations between size and lifespan for dogs.
There is, however, some new research that suggests bigger dogs age more quickly than smaller ones. This is not exactly true for every dog, though, as Border Collies (who weigh about half as much as Golden Retrievers) tend to live for about the same amount of time. Just another one of the universe’s wacky mysteries, right?
The popularized ratio of one dog year per seven human years has been misleading folks for a long time now. Scientists suggest that a weight ratio is a lot more accurate, with every 4.4 pounds a dog weighs reducing its life expectancy by a month. So there really is no hard-and-fast dog: human age ratio to abide by here.
How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live?
The truth is, the Golden Retriever’s lifespan has dropped since the 1970s. Back then, a Golden dog breed could be expected to live to about age 16 or 17. Now, a Golden Retriever might live somewhere between 10 and 12 years.
Goldens had a higher life expectancy rate back when they were first bred as “retriever” hunting dogs in the 1920s. Generations of genetic issues and breeding are likely to blame for this steep drop in life expectancy.
One of the things Goldens are prone to is cancer, especially that caused by toxic materials. They also tend to suffer from an array of health issues, including
- chest conditions
- heart disease
- skin disease
- hypothyroidism (low thyroid functioning)
- gastrointestinal issues
- dog ear infections
- joint dysplasia
- urinary diseases
This is why it is so crucial to keep your dog healthy. Getting the proper nutrition and vet care can extend a golden retriever life expectancy beyond the 10-12 year mark.
Ways to Help Your Golden Retriever Live a Longer Life
Since Golden Retrievers are highly prone to a number of serious health problems, it is up to each one of us owners to keep our pups healthy and happy. We cannot totally defeat genetic design, but we can try to curb the severity of symptoms just as we would for ourselves.
There are a few key actions that you, a wonderful Golden owner, can take in order to give your pooch the longest life possible. Here is what you can do.
Give Them Ample Nutrition
We all know that junk food shaves time off of human lives, and the same can be applied to our pets. Crummy dog food and straight-up malnutrition can dwindle down a dog’s expected lifespan. On the other hand, feeding them the best dog food that are nutrient-rich and supplementing any nutritional deficiencies they have can keep your dog active and healthy for years to come.
Spay and Neuter
Did you know that spaying or neutering your dog can add one to three years to their life? Testicular cancer becomes obsolete for a neutered male dog, and spayed females are significantly less likely to develop cancer in the mammary glands. The reduction of sexual hormone production also means that they are less likely to sneak out of the house to go on unsupervised dates with strange dogs, thereby getting themselves into some dangerous situations.
Give Them Plenty of Exercises
Exercise is crucial for all of us to live long and healthy lives. Bigger dog breeds especially benefit from regular exercise. Golden Retrievers need daily exercise in order to keep to healthy weights, which reduces the pressure placed on their joints and lessens the likelihood of them developing weight-related conditions later in life.
Take Them In For Regular Vet Checks
Going to the vet for regular check-ups can keep your Golden Retriever healthy. Your vet can identify symptoms of disease onset and work with you to prevent progression, thereby extending your average golden retriever lifespan a bit. Medication might be required, and a vet can help you understand how to administer it.
Limit Their Stress Levels
Stress is a killer for all of us. The more stressed out a human or animal is, the more likely they are to die an earlier death than they otherwise would have. This is a sad reality for Goldens. Stress makes them even more prone to developing chronic diseases.
Avoid triggering their stress as much as possible. If your dog gets stressed out by little kids being around, they should not live in a household with small children or be taken into public places where there’s a good chance a ton of kids will surround them. While zero stress is unrealistic, the less worried and agitated your dog feels, the better chance they have of living longer.
Provide Them With Healthy Supplements
Some dogs will never need supplements to stay healthy, but some do. Golden Retrievers can benefit from the best joint supplement for dogs especially those with glucosamine chondroitin since it can help ease joint pain. Omega-3 fatty acids in the best fish oil for dogs are also helpful for reducing overall inflammation in dogs. Be sure to ask your vet whether they think your dog should take a supplement before starting it.
Apply Sunscreen On Hot, Sunny Days
Dogs that are light in color like a Golden Retriever are more susceptible to skin cancer. That is why it is important to buy and apply some dog-safe sunscreen. You will want to place it on the tips of their nose, around the eyes, and on their tummy and ears. Your vet can recommend a high-quality brand of dog-safe sunscreen.
Keep Up Their Dental Hygiene
Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth at home can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Getting cleanings done enhances oral health even more by clearing out harmful bacteria that like to grow in dogs’ mouths. Plaque allows bacteria to build up, and it can get into your dog’s bloodstream, where it can wreak havoc on their vital organs.
Keep Them Lean (But Not Mean) Canine Machines
A lean build is ideal for Golden Retrievers. Indulging your dog’s every dining whim will end up adding pounds and substracting time off of their lives. Watching your dog’s diet is important, especially with Goldens.
In fact, there is one study, in particular, that shows how important it is for Golden Retrievers and other large dogs to stay lean. In this study, which was conducted on Labradors, dogs who were fed 25% less than the control group lived longer – by an average of 1 year and 8 months. For a dog whose average life expectancy is only 10 to 12 years long, almost two years is a significant amount of extra time . And, just think, that is almost two more years that you could be spending with your fur-ever friend.
Instead of feeding your dog those yummy table scraps, hold off. Feed them a healthier dog treat throughout the day, and you can certainly satiate their hunger with some high-quality dog food at mealtimes.
Avoid Exposure to Toxins
Exposure to toxins is inevitable for all of us. Toxins exist in almost any type of environment that you can think of. They can cause harm to both humans and animals alike, and some toxins are extremely deadly to dogs.
The thing is, it is hard to be aware of everything that is toxic to dogs and when your dog comes into contact with one of these toxins. The big lesson here: Do not let your dog chew on anything that has been treated with chemicals. Even if the product is marked safe for humans, it might be hazardous to animals.
Similarly, if you have just cleaned a surface in your home with a cleaning solution containing any toxins, do not let your dog lick that counters or walk across that floor (because they might soon after lick their contaminated paws).
You are going to need to be mindful of what your dog eats and what you put on their skin. Under no circumstances should you ever feed your dog chocolate or let them sip on an alcoholic drink. Dogs will try to get into these foods and drinks, so keep everything packaged tightly and out of reach of your dog. Other foods that are toxic to dogs include
- blue cheese
- black walnuts
- caffeinated beverages
- any moldy food
- wild mushrooms
- onions, shallots, leeks, and chives
- raw or green potatoes
- green tomatoes
- yeast dough
Can a golden retriever live for 15 years?
While Golden Retrievers generally only live for 10 to 12 years, it is possible that they can live to the ripe old age of 15. Given that they exhibit no serious health problems, are kept on a balanced diet and get plenty of exercises, a Golden could live to see age 15.
What is the longest a golden retriever has lived?
The oldest known Golden Retriever is a lovely lass named Augie. A rescue dog who was adopted at age 14, Augie lived to be 20 years and 11 months old. She crossed the rainbow bridge on March 31, 2021. She is also likely the 19th oldest dog to have lived.
How long do healthy golden retrievers live?
A healthy Golden Retriever can live to be somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. If they suffer from chronic health problems due to genetics or cancer, their time on this earth could be much less. But there is also a chance that a Golden could live to be older than 12.
Can my golden retriever live to 16?
If your Golden Retriever is in good health, they could quite possibly level up to their Sweet 16. Whether or not they get there is based on a number of factors, including genetics, toxin exposures and cancer, regular vet checks, exercise, and proper nutrition.
Final Thoughts: Getting Your Golden Retriever Through Their Glorious Golden Years
A Golden Retriever can live to see some gloriously golden years before they make their trip across the rainbow bridge. Despite having an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, your dog could live longer given a combination of good genetics, avoidance of toxins and other health hazards, and upkeep on your part regarding diet, exercise, and overall well-being.