Aging Golden Retriever Health Problems [What To Expect In Your Senior Dog]

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[UPDATED March 2023]

It’s no secret that dogs age faster than we do, and large breeds like the Golden Retriever age even faster than small breeds. So, what can you expect as your beloved Golden Retriever gets older?

You can pretty much expect the same things as you would in humans. Slowing down, sleeping more, gray hair, and becoming a bit grumpy!

Along with subtle signs of aging, there are more serious health issues that arise.

Read on as we discuss aging Golden Retriever health problems, as well as offer tips on how to care for your Golden Retriever as he enters his golden years.

At What Age Is A Golden Retriever Considered A Senior?

Aging Golden Retriever Health Problems - An older Golden Retriever standing and looking up to the side.

Golden Retrievers are larger dogs so that automatically shortens their lifespan.

Larger dogs age faster than smaller dogs, the reason why is still a mystery but scientists believe that it’s simply because large dogs grow faster.

Growing faster can lead to an earlier incidence of tumours and other abnormal tissue developments including cancer.

The lifespan of a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years on average.

Decades ago Golden Retrievers lived to be 16-17 years old.

The reason for their reduced lifespan now is believed to be that this breed is more prone to certain types of cancer than any other breed.

A Golden Retriever is considered a senior at the age of 7.5-10 years old.

Many people believe that 1 human year is equivalent to 7 dog years, but this is not the case and it all depends on the size of the dog.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that for every 4.4 pounds of body mass a dog has, their life expectancy is reduced by one month.

To find out how old your dog is in human years you can check out this chart.

Aging Golden Retriever Health Problems

Getting old is unavoidable, and as much as we hate to see our loyal and loving goldens slow down and show signs of aging, it is something that we must face.

You may own a golden who is considered a senior because of his age but in no way shows any signs of being old.

When a dog is considered a senior they are likely still healthy, and just starting to show signs of aging.

Below are some of the signs you may notice in your Golden Retriever as he gets older:

Slowing Down

A happy Golden Retriever laying in a field of grass and wild flowers.

This is usually the first sign of aging.

You may notice that your once excitable dog which used to run to greet you and eagerly chase a tennis ball, is no longer that enthusiastic or no longer has the energy.

Your dog is slowing down, the changes may be subtle, but you need to pay attention to how your dog gets up or lays down and uses the stairs.

If your dog shows hesitation or has stiffness, or if a change in weather makes it worse, it could be a sign of early arthritis.

Increased Fatigue

Older dogs tend to sleep more and have less energy.

As your dog ages, you need to lower your expectations of him.

Your dog may not have the energy or desire to do the things that he once did when he was younger.

Your older dog will need longer periods of uninterrupted rest, so it’s important to avoid disturbing your dog while he is getting some much-needed rest.

Graying Around The Face And Muzzle

Senior Golden Retriever getting petted on the head.

Some goldens will start to show gray around the face and muzzle earlier than others, but most will start to show gray during middle age around 5-6 years old.

Premature whitening of the face can be due to genetics. However, there are other reasons that you should be concerned about.

Reduced Hearing

Some dogs will experience hearing loss as they get older.

It is hard to determine if your dog has slight hearing loss, and usually, when you discover hearing loss in your dog it is already pretty severe.

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Your dog ignores or doesn’t obey your commands, because he can’t hear you.
  • When you approach your dog or touch him, he gets startled, because he didn’t hear you coming.
  • Having a hard time waking your dog up while he is sleeping, because he can’t hear you.

Cloudy Eyes

It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s eyes, while some cloudiness (nuclear sclerosis) is a normal sign of aging in some dogs, it can also be a sign of cataracts.

Dogs who develop nuclear sclerosis will still be able to see just fine, but if your dog has cataracts his vision will be affected.

It is best to visit your vet at the first sign of any cloudiness.

Change In Nutritional Needs And Weight Gain

An overweight Golden Retriever sitting on a field of grass looking at you.

As your dog gets older you may notice weight changes.

Your dog’s metabolism slows down as he ages, and if you are feeding your dog the same amount of food as when he was younger, you may notice him gaining weight.

If your dog is losing weight, it could be related to certain diseases that come along with aging.

Any changes in your dog’s weight should be closely monitored by your vet.

Coat And Skin Changes

The once lustrous coat of your Golden Retriever may become dull and thin, and the skin may become dry as your dog ages.

Older dogs will need to be groomed more often because they might have trouble grooming themselves.

Be sure to brush gently because the skin is more sensitive and fragile.

Grooming your golden is a great way for you to check for any skin conditions like lumps and bumps that shouldn’t be there.

You may notice skin tags on your Golden Retriever.

Skin tags are common growths that appear on middle-aged to senior Golden Retrievers.

Although they are benign (non-cancerous), you still want to keep an eye on them and have them checked by your vet.

Many owners opt to have skin tags removed by their vet.

Any significant changes in your golden’s skin and coat should be discussed with your vet.

A thin and dull coat could be a sign of nutritional deficiency or disease.

Dental Disease

It is extremely common to see some form of dental disease in dogs by the age of 3.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, 80% of dogs that are over the age of 3, have active dental disease.

If your golden has not received proper dental care during his lifetime, he is at greater risk of developing dental disease as he ages.

Dogs are five times more likely to get gum disease than humans because their mouths are more alkaline which promotes the formation of plaque.

Dogs usually don’t get their teeth brushed daily unlike humans.

Look for signs such as bad breath, red or bleeding gums, loose or broken teeth, and any lumps and bumps in or around your dog’s mouth.

It is important to practice good oral hygiene by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly (daily preferred), and providing appropriate chew toys and treats.

A great all-natural toothpaste to use is coconut oil. Its antibacterial properties reduce plaque bacteria, and dogs love the taste.

While brushing your dog’s teeth may be a difficult task, you could also look for hard rubber chew toys. KONG’s for seniors are ideal, as they are specially formulated for aging teeth and gums.

Loss Of Bladder Control

Urinary incontinence occurs when a dog that is house-trained loses control of its bladder.

As a dog ages, the muscles controlling the bladder weaken and cause the dog to have accidents.

Urinary incontinence can happen to both male and female dogs as they age, but it is far more common in middle-aged to older spayed females.

The reason is believed to be the lack of estrogen in spayed females.

Your dog could also have canine senility or dementia and he simply forgot to signal you that he needs out.

It is important to remember that your dog can’t help it and you shouldn’t scold him for it.

You’ll want to take your dog outside more frequently for potty breaks, and you could also try pee pads for accidents in the house as well as dog diapers.

Involuntary loss of urine can also be a sign of other issues such as bladder infections, bladder stones, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and kidney disease.

It is important to monitor your dog and speak with your vet.

The More Serious Signs Of Aging In Your Golden Retriever

A woman and a Golden Retriever sitting and looking at each other.

The terms senior and geriatric are often used to describe older dogs. Many people think of these terms as meaning the same, however, they are not the same thing!

Golden Retrievers are considered seniors at the age of 7.5 to 10 years old, right around the time when age-related issues start to become noticeable.

Geriatric dogs are at the older age of the spectrum and they experience more health issues. A Golden Retriever is considered geriatric at the age of 10 and up.

Some more serious health problems that can affect your golden include:


Golden Retrievers are more likely to develop certain types of cancer than any other breed.

Unfortunately, cancer is the number one cause of death in goldens. According to the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, 60% of Golden Retrievers are impacted by cancer.

Males have a higher rate of 66% and females slightly lower at 57%.

The 2 most common cancers found in goldens are hemangiosarcoma and lymphosarcoma.

We’ll briefly discuss them below as well as other cancers goldens may get.

  • Hemangiosarcoma: An aggressive malignant tumour of the blood cells that typically form in the spleen, liver, heart, and lungs. This tumour most commonly affects middle-aged to older dogs of any breed, but more frequently affects Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.
  • Lymphosarcoma: Also known as lymphoma. This cancer arises predominantly in the lymph glands. This tumour can affect any breed of dog at any age, but Golden Retrievers are more likely to be affected.
  • Melanoma: A type of skin cancer that can be found in the nail beds, footpads, and eyes, but the majority start in the mouth or around the lips.
  • Osteosarcoma: Cancer of the bone. This type of cancer is more common in large breeds like goldens, and mostly affects the limbs.
  • Mast Cell Tumours: Most common skin tumours seen in dogs. MCTs vary from almost benign, slow-growing, low-grade tumours to very aggressive, high-grade cancers. MCTs at the least aggressive end of the scale are potentially curable, but the aggressive ones are frequently fatal.

For a more in-depth look at the most common types of cancers that affect Golden Retrievers, as well as the factors that influence cancer in Golden Retrievers, please check out my article, Why Do Golden Retrievers Get Cancer?


As Golden Retrievers age, they may develop arthritis in their bones.

Walking will become difficult and painful for them, as well as getting up and moving around.

It is best to keep the walks short and more frequent to prevent your golden from getting stiff joints.

Keeping your golden at a healthy weight is ideal to prevent any excess pressure on the joints.

Getting your golden out for a swim is very helpful because swimming is a great form of exercise and it is easier on the joints.

A senior Golden Retriever swimming with a stick in its mouth.


Hypothyroidism can occur in any breed, but it is most common in medium to large-breed dogs like Golden Retrievers.

It usually occurs when a dog is middle-aged between 4-10 years.

It occurs when the thyroid glands are unable to produce enough thyroid hormone, which leads to a decrease in the body’s metabolism.

Common signs of hypothyroidism are:

  • Loss of fur on the chest, back, and tail.
  • Dry skin.
  • Lethargy.
  • Weight gain, without any change in food intake.

The good news is that hypothyroidism is treatable.


As dogs age, their vision starts to deteriorate and vision changes are common.

Glaucoma is a rise in eye pressure.

It can come on quickly and requires immediate treatment. Without treatment, it will eventually result in blindness.

The early signs of glaucoma are often hard to spot, watch out for the following:

  • Different size pupils.
  • Watery and bloodshot eyes.
  • Your dog shows little interest in food or activity.


Diabetes can occur at any age but is most often seen in dogs who are middle-aged to senior.

Diabetes in older dogs is identified as diabetes mellitus and happens when your dog’s pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

It is more common in middle-aged females who are overweight.

Signs that your dog may have diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst.
  • Excessive urination.
  • Lethargy.
  • Weight loss or gain for no reason.
  • A sweet sugary smelling breath.

Diabetes in dogs is a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment and monitoring for life.

With the right care, a dog who has diabetes can continue to live a happy, comfortable, and enjoyable life.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is common in dogs as they get older.

Most heart conditions occur when there is a decrease in the effective pumping of blood. This can lead to a fluid build-up in the chest and abdomen.

There are 2 main types of heart conditions, one affecting the heart valve and the other the heart muscle.

Dogs can be successfully managed through nutrition, exercise, and if needed medication.

Signs that your dog may have heart disease include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fainting.
  • Coughing.

Muscle Atrophy

Common in older dogs, muscle atrophy is when there is a loss of muscle mass.

It is noticeable when parts of your dog’s body appear weaker and thinner than usual. Most often seen in the hind legs, hips, face, or neck.

Senior dogs who suffer from muscle atrophy will need to maintain a healthy exercise program that is designed to help them build muscle.

They should also be given appropriate nutrition that meets their age and energy level.


Senior Golden Retriever laying on the floor.

Senior dementia is a common problem that affects older dogs.

It is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans and often results in mood and behaviour changes, and memory loss in dogs.

Signs of dementia in dogs include:

  • Disorientation, getting lost in the house.
  • Pacing.
  • Anxiety.
  • Barking for no reason.
  • Lack of interaction.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Loss of house training.

Sadly there is no way to reverse the signs of dementia, but there are medications and supplements that may help in some cases.

Caring For Your Aging Golden Retriever

As your beloved golden gets older he will require certain lifestyle changes.

As a loving dog owner, it is up to you to make sure his golden years are just as happy and comfortable as before, and that his good health is maintained.

Veterinary Care

Now that your dog is a senior it is important to visit your vet twice a year for a check-up.

Your vet will be able to discuss with you any changes that you may have noticed, as well as perform a complete thorough exam.

This short video demonstrates the importance of regular vet checkups for senior dogs:


As your dog ages, his metabolism will slow down.

It is important to keep your dog at a healthy weight, and not let him become obese. If your dog is overweight it is important to work at shedding off the excess weight.

Keeping your Golden Retriever at a healthy weight will prolong his life, and be much better for his joints and mobility.

Your older golden requires a balanced diet that is low in calories but has an adequate amount of protein and fat. A high-fiber diet will help keep your golden fuller longer.

Many people add glucosamine to their dog’s diet to help with joint pain.

It is also a good idea to feed your senior dog smaller meals throughout the day, instead of just once or twice. This allows your dog to metabolize the food better.


Hopefully, you are already grooming your dog on a regular/daily basis, but older goldens may have difficulty grooming themselves because of decreased mobility.

It is important to brush your golden, trim his nails, and bathe him regularly. This will allow you to spot any skin conditions or changes in the coat.

Brushing will also act like a massage for your golden and help improve circulation.

Keeping your dog’s fur trimmed on the bottom of the toe pads will prevent any slips and falls on smooth slippery floors.

Do you know what the best brush for a golden is?  Find out here.

Games And Exercise

Just because your dog’s endurance level has decreased doesn’t mean his desire has.

Senior dogs need exercise and stimulation too, it just means going for shorter, slower walks.

Take your dog out for walks daily to meet people and experience new sights, smells, and sounds.

Older dogs will be more susceptible to cold and heat. Be sure to outfit your dog with a coat in the winter, and avoid walking during the hottest parts of the day.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for senior goldens who suffer from joint pain or arthritis.

Play games with your golden to keep his mind sharp. Interactive puzzle toys are great as well as giving your dog food puzzles to make him work for his food.


It is important to keep your aging dog as comfortable as possible. You may need to invest in some supplies to help make your golden’s life easier.


Senior dogs have a hard time climbing stairs, as well as jumping up into the car. Investing in a ramp will make getting into the car easier, as well as climbing stairs.

The Pet Gear Supertrax Ramps for Dogs is an excellent choice as it folds easily for storage, is lightweight, supports up to 150 Lbs, and has great traction.

Dog Stairs

If your dog likes to rest on the couch or even your bed, investing in some dog stairs will help ease the pain of having to jump up.

I love these wooden pet stairs found on Amazon, as they are foldable and portable. They aren’t big and bulky as some pet stairs are. Also, they double as a ramp, so you can use them for vehicles as well.

Elevated Food Bowls

Golden’s who suffer from stiff joints or arthritis may have a hard time leaning forward and down to eat and drink from a regular bowl.

Having raised food and water bowls will make eating and drinking more comfortable.

These best-selling elevated food bowls from Amazon can be adjusted to 3 different heights, and feature two stainless steel 1.5-litre bowls.

Orthopedic Bed

Investing in a quality orthopedic bed is important for the comfort of your dog.

Golden Retrievers are susceptible to hip and joint problems and arthritis, an orthopedic bed will provide soft cushioning and support.

Doggie Socks or Boots

Older dogs are less stable on their feet than younger dogs. If you have hard floors at home your senior dog may slip and fall. There are boots and socks for dogs that help with traction.

Check out these non-slip doggie socks found on Amazon.

Dog Lift Harness

There are many harnesses designed to help your aging dog stand up, get in and out of a vehicle, go up and down stairs, or just provide some assistance while walking.

Some harnesses are a full-body design with either one or two handles on the top, while others are a sling type that conveniently supports your dog as he needs it.

Either way, a dog lift harness is a great way to provide assistance to your senior dog with mobility issues.

I love the LOOBANI Portable Dog Sling, as it’s easy to use, it is sturdy, and has a soft fleece lining that’s comfortable for your dog.


Witnessing your loving furry best friend get older and enter his golden years is difficult for any owner.

Some adjustments and lifestyle changes need to be made to make life easier and more comfortable for your dog.

Your senior Golden Retriever will rely on you now more than ever to ensure his golden years are enhanced. Keeping an eye on any changes in your dog is important as well as routine vet visits.

There are plenty of great years left in your dog’s life. Make sure to treasure every moment, and continue making wonderful memories.

Do you own a senior Golden Retriever? What are some signs of aging that you have noticed? How have you made your aging golden’s life easier or more comfortable?

Share your thoughts and comments below, I would love to hear from you!

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26 thoughts on “Aging Golden Retriever Health Problems [What To Expect In Your Senior Dog]”

  1. My Jeanie just turned 11 last week. She has always been a fun-loving and friendly dog and I cannot imagine our life without her. That being said, we noticed some changes in the last month or so.

    She is having problems with her eyes and I will be taking her to the vet next week (I wish it could be sooner).

    She also has a lot of little lumps and bumps on her skin. Thank you for the information about skin tags, I just noticed a couple and wasn’t sure if they were the beginning of something more serious.

    She is wary about stairs so we have changed her routine a bit to avoid the stairs if possible – especially in slippery weather.

    Hopefully, the eye issues can be resolved but we are aware that there may be a time when she will need to be put down. We want to make her days comfortable and fun and full of love. Thank you so much for the informative article.

    • Hi Darryl,

      I want to wish Jeanie a very happy belated Birthday!! I know exactly how you feel, as I cannot imagine my life without my sweet Ellie who is turning 8 very soon.

      I know from fellow Golden owners that this breed has many eye issues, and I hope that it is nothing serious for Jeanie. A vet appointment that was sooner would put your mind at ease ( I totally get it).

      Skin tags are super common with age, and appear out of nowhere. My Ellie has a couple on her as well that we are looking to have removed. I figure it is best to have them removed before they get too big. It is always best to have them checked out by your vet, just to be sure they are nothing to worry about.

      All we can do is make every day the best it can be for our loving dogs! It’s hard to watch them slow down and get older.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I wish you all the best, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a good outcome with Jeanie regarding her eyes.


  2. Although I cannot say about Golden Retrievers specifically, since I never had such a breed, a lot of these symptoms that you refer to apply to most dogs and in general we should pay attention to their health and well-being in order to give them the maximum life expectancy possible. They deserve it.

    • Hi Stratos,

      Yes, absolutely, many of these health issues affect all dog breeds as they get older.  Being aware of these issues will allow any owner to look out for any noticeable changes in their dog, and hopefully, give their aging dog the best life possible!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  3. Cogan is our second golden retriever. We brought her home at eight weeks and she is 15 years old and will be 16 in October 2021. She is beautiful, loving and the best companion ever to me and my husband. She is no longer so stable on her feet, so no going up to the second story anymore. We have stairs to help her get in and out of our SUV. She sometimes experiences some evening dementia, which has her pacing and circling for a short period of time. We find that being patient with her, brushing her, giving her commands rewarded with treats can help her settle and relax. She still enjoys walks, though they are now shorter so as not to overdo them. And she continues to look forward to her food. So pleased to see she still has quality to her life. We are focused on providing her with the love and care she has proven she deserves. I dread knowing that our time left is growing shorter, but how fortunate to have had my beautiful girl for so long.

    • Hi Kim,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. You certainly are fortunate to have your loving golden Cogan in your life for 15+ years, it is so nice to hear stories of goldens living past 10-12 years. Many owners are not so fortunate. It sounds like she is still doing amazingly well given her age, and you are certainly doing everything you can to give her the best life possible.

      It is hard to witness your Golden Retriever slowing down with age, but the love that they give us seems to grow stronger.

      I wish you and Cogan all the best.


  4. My golden retriever is a very intelligent boy, very loyal, very loving and very handsome. He loves everyone and he is known as the dog father. Since the virus, he gets lots of visitors and has met new willing dog walkers. But sad to say he is 12yrs 4months old has cancer and ear and eye probs. But that is old age, comes to us all. Love him so much, good luck to all owners.

    • Hi Evelyn,
      Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear of your golden having cancer, unfortunately, this breed has a very high rate of cancer. It is their biggest downfall. It is sad for us dog owners to have to witness our loving dogs go through the ageing process, but yes it happens to us all. One thing is certain, no matter how sick or old a golden retriever gets, they will never stop loving you, being loyal to you, or stop giving you affection. I say it over and over again, this breed is the best!

      I wish you and your golden many more happy memories together.

      All the best,

  5. This is a very informative article, and every bit you’ve mentioned is true. I have a golden retriever who is ultra playful and loves the outdoors. I would really be disheartened to see her slow down as she ages, but I guess that’s part of life. At the end of the day, I think it’s all about the quality of time we spend with our dogs now knowing that they live really short lives.

    • Hi AnnieTheGolden,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is a hard thing to watch when our beloved dogs slow down and aren’t quite as playful and energetic as they once were. When our pups go through the puppy stage we can’t wait until it’s over, but then we end up missing that stage. At what seems like the blink of an eye our once playful pup is slowing down. I agree with you that it is all about spending quality time with our dogs and making every moment count because life is just too short.


  6. Thank you so much for this terrific and informative article. I, like your website’s name, am a first-time dog mom, having owned only one dog in my nearly 60 years of life. My beautiful golden boy Spencer, who we brought home at 8 weeks old and is now 12 1/2 years old in what feels like a blink of an eye, is showing signs of both liver and mobility problems. I am very emotional thinking about what the future holds and want to do the best I can to keep him happy for whatever time we have left. Thank you again for helping to remind me, and all of us, to enjoy each and every day with our wonderful golden babies.

    • Hi Sheryl, (fellow First Time Dog Mom),

      I am sorry to hear that your beloved Spencer is having mobility and liver problems. It is a hard thing to watch, the ageing of our dogs. It happens so quickly, and our emotions start to take over. I am sure you will do everything you can to make Spencer feel loved, comfortable and happy. Sometimes the only thing that we can do for our pets is to be there for them and comfort them. Our dogs see us as their one and only, and just being there for them and cherishing every moment with them is truly what makes them happiest.

      I wish you and Spencer all the best, and I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experience.


  7. Sadly my beloved Goldie is near the end of his life. Born with hip dysplasia we have cared for him and he has got to the great age of 13years. Way beyond the vet’s prognosis! He has been an absolute joy to our family and I cannot express the absolute fear of losing him! Golden Retrievers are the most beautiful and loyal dogs. If you have one treasure them. Paddy is my second Goldie they are truly a joy to behold!

    • Hi Lynn,
      Thank you for sharing your experience with your Golden, Paddy. It is hard to bear when you realize that your Golden is near the end, and I totally feel your fear! Losing a beloved pet is the hardest thing!! You must treasure all of the wonderful moments and memories that you have shared together, and you have certainly done a wonderful job of caring and loving your dog, 13 years is impressive for this breed. You have proven the vet’s prognosis wrong.

      You have certainly proven that you are a Golden Retriever lover as this is your second one. They simply are the best breed! Like you said they are the most beautiful and loyal dogs.

      I know you will continue to show your love and care to your Paddy throughout the end.

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment, I wish you all the best.


  8. This is an interesting read. I have a Golden Retriever who is currently if I am correct, midway of his lifetime and I’m prepping him for what’s to come through exercise and the right diet. I’m anticipating he’ll be getting one of these ailments when he ages. Hopefully not, but it’s a reality that cannot be avoided.

    • Hi,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is good to hear that you are taking the right steps in order to keep your Golden Retriever at his healthiest throughout his senior years. Exercise and feeding a well-balanced and high-quality diet are certainly the right things to do. It is good to be aware of what to expect as your Golden ages so that you can be better prepared for what’s to come. The ageing process is certainly something nobody can avoid, but as a dog owner, you can do everything possible to make life better for your Golden. I wish you many years of happiness and memories in the making with your Golden Retriever.

      Thanks for your comment.

  9. Interesting and comprehensive read. My Golden Retriever is now 13yrs and 4 months young. (Our previous Golden lived to 12.5years) He still loves to share his tennis ball, and play with his squeaky toys. But his two walks a day can take us 30-45 mins to go a fraction of the distance we used to. He has arthritis in his hips, many benign lumps and bumps, barks for no reason and his appetite is up and down. But he’s all the more precious to us. Doesn’t seem 5mins ago we brought him home as an 8week old puppy! They are the most loyal, gentle and loving dogs.

    • Hi Jane,
      Thank you for sharing your experience with your beloved Golden Retriever. It is sweet that your dog still enjoys his tennis ball and squeaky toys, goldens really do stay young at heart! Time really does fly by when you own such a wonderful breed. I know the feeling because my Ellie is 4 years old and I still remember the very first day we brought her home. They truly are the most loving, gentle and loyal breed! It sounds like you are loyal to this breed as so many golden owners are. I will continue to own Golden Retrievers because they are simply the best!

      I hope that you continue to have many more wonderful memories with your golden. Enjoy every moment with him!

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to comment.

  10. WOW. Do animals equally develop grey hair? Never ever noticed that. Interesting finding.

    It can really be heartbreaking to watch your beloved fluffy friend manifesting signs of old age. And I find this article particularly important because it will sensitize many people out there about what to expect from these good friends, and prepare accordingly in order not to expect too much from them anymore.

    It seems the complications at old age are as many for dogs as they are for humans. Even though it’s something we cannot avoid, it will always be a sad transition, but when we prepare for it, the experience is manageable.

    Your article provided just the right information to get ready. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Nsoh Alieh Laurine,

      When dogs age they go through many similar changes as humans, even grey hair.  You may not have noticed the grey hair on some dogs because of their already light coloured fur.  Getting old is a hard transition for both dogs and humans, but being prepared for it does make it a bit easier.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  11. I’ve never had a golden retriever and I’m shocked to learn they age faster than smaller dogs, and in fact, their lifespan is shorter than it was decades ago.  That’s crazy!  Decades ago it wasn’t uncommon to let your dog off a leash and run wild on your farm property and in the woods.  I’m wondering if our obsessive need to keep our pets safe from all harm is causing more harm than good.

    So though I haven’t had a golden retriever, I did have a beagle (who was obese) who ended up with arthritis so badly he couldn’t walk by the end at only 12 years old.  My mother’s long-haired chihuahuas both passed last year at 15 and 17 years respectively.  The 17-year-old was completely senile by that point, and deaf and partially blind.  The younger one had a heart problem as she aged.  

    My mother is devastated still.  We love our dogs.  She had made beds and ramps for them.  I’m happy to see you encouraging others in ways to care for a senior dog, like this post.  Golden retrievers are one of the most loyal and smarter breeds, but they need help at the end, too.

    Thanks for the post.  Caring for a senior dog is hard, but so worth it, after years of love.

    • Hi Selenity Jade,

      It is sad that larger dogs age faster than smaller dogs.  The biggest fear for any Golden Retriever owner is cancer.  Cancer is so prevalent in this breed, more than any other breed.  No one really knows why the lifespan of goldens has shortened over time, but one could speculate that it has to do with environmental factors, bad breeding, and what we are feeding them.  There are current studies going on to determine the causes.  Hopefully, goldens will start living longer.

      It is extremely devastating for any dog owner to lose such a loving family member,  I am not surprised that your mother is still devastated.  It takes a long time to heal from such a loss.  All senior dogs need our love and support during their golden years to make their lives more comfortable.

      I appreciate that you took the time to share your experience, thank you.


  12. What a beautiful article!  I owned a yellow lab and a golden retriever (at the same time).  Such beautiful pets and family members.  You hit it spot on with all the signs of aging.  My retriever got cancer and my lab had organ failure.  With tenderness we need to watch them and love them as they get old and help them through these stages.  My lab would still try to chase a ball until the end.  Thank you for this article.

    • Hi Tammy,

      I am glad you enjoyed my article.  Labs and Goldens are both wonderful, I am sorry about your loss.  It sounds like your lab was still living life to the fullest.  We really need to cherish every moment we have with our dogs and make sure they are comfortable and happy until the end.  It sounds like you did just that!

      Thank you for sharing your experience.


  13. Very detailed information on Golden Retrievers. Coincidentally my first dog was a Golden Retriever. We lost her around the 10-year mark, but she was so playful. 

    I believe Golden Retrievers are one of the more fun dogs. We now own a Jack Russell Terrier he comes with his own issues.

    But all the issues that you’ve listed out here about Golden Retrievers are very true, she started losing her eyesight around the eight-year mark I guess.

    It was sad to watch her health decline. She had ingrained herself into our family so much that when we eventually lost her it was a huge family loss.

    Towards the end of her life, we actually did use dog shoes for her as she would topple over. Thank you for all this information.

    • Hi Jag,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with your Golden Retriever.  

      It is very difficult for any owner to see their dog slow down and get older and suffer from health issues.  It must have been quite the adjustment when your golden lost her eyesight, not only for you but for your dog as well.  Our dogs really become a huge part of our lives, and when we lose them it leaves us feeling so empty.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.



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