Given how lovely golden retrievers are and what great companions they can be to families, it is understandable for owners to want to have them in their lives forever. Sadly, your retriever friend cannot live as long as humans do and will eventually die.
Yet, you may want to do all you can to keep him alive for as long as you can. To do this, you have to know your retriever’s average lifespan and what factors affect their lifespan, so you can be informed on what you can do to keep your dog alive just a little longer.
How Long Does A Golden Retriever Live?
Today, the average lifespan of a golden retriever is between 10 to 12 years. However, with proper care, including regular exercises, good, balanced nutrition and regular visit to your vet, you can have your golden friend with you for an extra year.
Golden retrievers used to live for longer years than this, averaging between 16 and 17 years, only decades ago. Scientific surveys state that certain factors including health risks, genes and some environmental factors account for this decline in golden retrievers’ lifespan.
The most common factor that can shorten your retriever friend’s life is the health factor. Golden retrievers are usually affected by cancer, with older goldens particularly suffering from hip and bone issues such as arthritis.
How Cancer Can Affect Your Golden’s Life Expectancy
Blood cancer, bone cancer and lymphoma are some of the health risks that can take your golden retriever from you. These have been associated mostly with aged retrievers and yet, even as young as 9 to 10 months old, your golden puppy can contract deadly cancer. For instance, uterine cancer.
There was an instance of a 10-month-old puppy affected with this cancer, and this is the youngest ever reported incident.
Scientists have found early neutering to be one of the reasons for this. You should thus consult your vet before you neuter or spay your young retriever. Note, though, that research on these factors remains largely inconclusive.
How Hip And Bone Disease Can Affect Your Golden’s Life Expectancy
Ageing golden are known to commonly suffer from arthritis, that is pains in their hips and bones, reducing their quality of life, if not completely killing them.
Because hip and bone issues are not fatal, checking your retriever’s weight and making sure they maintain a healthy weight can reduce or even prevent arthritis and also decrease their risk of contracting cancer too.
You should be particular about what diet you give your retriever and the quantity as well. Be careful not to overfeed your dog. A balanced diet is very important.
You should always get your dog from a trusted breeder and most importantly, check for the dog’s pedigree to ensure he does not come from a family that is prone to deadly health risks.
How Environmental Conditions Can Affect Your Retriever’s Lifespan
Although there hasn’t been any conclusive research on how living conditions may affect a dog’s lifespan, there have been some connections.
The lifestyle of the dog’s owner can affect his dog, as dogs become a fused part of your life once you bring them home.
Also, if your environment experiences environmental toxins, radiation or even hot sunny weather conditions, it is likely to affect your dog’s lifespan.
If you are the type that gives your dog less and less attention, you’re likely to lose him to chronic stress. Dogs that feel neglected tend to suffer from chronic stress and may die earlier than their original lifespan.
Dog owners who smoke are also likely to cause premature death for their dogs.
How Your Dog’s Breeding History Can Affect His Lifespan
Golden retrievers are pure-bred dogs, and pure-bred dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan than mixed-breed dogs. Mixed-breed dogs live about 1.2 years longer than pure-breed dogs like golden retrievers.
The breeding and genetic conditions of golden retrievers play a major role in this. As the size of a golden retriever increases, genetics play a role in reducing its lifespan. Nonetheless, different golden retrievers can have different lifespans due to their breeding backgrounds.
For instance, retrievers from reputable breeders can live longer lives than those from puppy mills, given that retrievers from the latter are usually overbred and in poor living conditions. This is why it is important to check the pedigree and medical records of a retriever before buying.
What Can You Do To Help Your Golden Retriever Live Longer?
Although health conditions are quite natural and there is little you can do, there are a few things that remain within reach and these can substantially help your retriever live healthy and longer. What are these?
- One of the most important aspects of a dog’s life is what food you’re feeding it. A well-balanced diet is highly recommended. Blending homemade food with quality commercial foods can go a long way in ensuring your dog is always healthy.
While you should avoid additives, preservatives and animal by-products, we encourage you to give your dog grain-free foods to prevent obesity and digestive problems.
In the same way, persons that eat fast foods are expected to encounter various health issues, feeding your retriever off of commercial food only will reduce his lifespan significantly.
Indeed, research has found that dogs that feed on only commercial food live an average life of about 10 years only, while dogs that eat homemade foods can live up to 13 years. Diets that contain meat-based proteins come highly recommended.
You can mix this with some plant-based ingredients as well, although they should not be that much.
In all, make sure you do not overfeed your dog, else you may defeat the purpose of balanced-diet feeding and cause your dog to become obese, leading to uncomfortable health risks for your retriever.
- Grooming is a vital part of keeping a dog healthy. As with humans, untrimmed hair and nails can contract several bacteria, leading to infections. If you want to have your retriever with you long enough, regular and thorough grooming should be a priority.
This prevents shedding and matting. Like humans, you need to start grooming your dog right from infancy, just to get him used to it. Effective grooming includes brushing (body and teeth) and trimming. Brushing from back to sides, chest, stomach, ears and tail. Brush your dog’s teeth and trim his nails.
Regular practice and you are assured that your dog will be healthy and live longer. Also, daily brushing helps you check for ticks and fleas.
- Spaying or neutering your golden retriever is another effective way of adding about 1 to 3 more years to your dog’s life.
When you neuter your male retriever, it prevents health risks like testicular cancer and also removes hormones that will push it to try to run away looking to mate.
Spaying your female retriever also prevents her from contracting mammary cancer and, like in males, removes hormones that make them want to escape your yard trying to find a mating partner in her heat period when she is fertile.
- Regular visits to your vet are very vital in ensuring that your retriever lives longer. Golden retrievers are known to be prone to cancers, and hip diseases, among a host of other health risks.
Thus, taking your dog to the vet regularly for diagnosis, ensures that any health problems are detected early and treated to avoid greater danger to him.
Aside from fatal health risks, ticks and fleas could be detected early, and your dog can be assisted, so he doesn’t have to suffer from these stubborn little guys, who can cause great discomfort to your lovely retriever.
Ensure that your dog is up-to-date on vaccines to avoid rabies and parvo.
The average lifespan of a golden retriever is between 10 to 12 years, yet with good care, your retriever can live for 1 more year.
It is important to pay attention to the needs of your retriever if you want to have him with you for a longer time. Provide your dog with a balanced diet and ensure regular grooming.
Walking and exercising with your dog are recommended as well. Finally, visit your vet regularly for early detection and prevention of any health risks.
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