How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live? (5 Tips for a Longer Life)

If a Golden Retriever is a member of your family, you’ll want to keep him happy and healthy for as long as possible. You can make this happen by first knowing the average lifespan of Golden Retrievers and then by taking several steps to help prolong his life.

Golden Retrievers have an average lifespan of 10 – 12 years. With excellent care, however, these athletic dogs can often live up to 13 years or even longer. But for that to happen, you will need to be proactive when it comes to providing proper exercise, dietary requirements, and healthcare.  

If you’re a concerned Golden Retriever parent (or prospective pet parent), read on to learn more about the special needs of the Golden Retriever breed and how you can prolong their lives.

How old can a golden retriever live?

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Lifespan of a Golden Retriever

As previously mentioned, a Golden Retriever’s average lifespan is between 10 and 12 years. Having said that, it’s been known for a Golden retriever to live up to 20 years of age in extraordinary circumstances.

In fact, as recently as the 1970s, Golden retrievers regularly had an average lifespan closer to 16 or 17 years old. What happened!? There is a long-term study being undertaken by the Morris Animal Foundation that hopes to be able to answer that question in the next few years.

In the meantime, we’ll have to use some common sense and anecdotal evidence that indicates there are several factors that contribute to increasing the longevity of our Golden retrievers. These include diet, exercise, social interaction, and healthcare.

Feed Your Golden Retriever a Healthy Diet

In my opinion, feeding your dog a high quality dog food and providing plenty of fresh, clean drinking water are the two number one things you can do to increase the longevity of your Golden Retriever.


While it might be tempting to buy cheap dog food to cut down on costs, your Golden Retriever will almost certainly struggle on a poor diet. Remember, these dogs are highly active, which means they need a properly balanced diet to maintain their active, all-over-the-place lifestyle.

The trick when buying dog food for your Golden retriever is to check the listed ingredients. High-quality dog food shouldn’t contain additives, preservatives, or animal by-products

Moreover, buying grain-free recipes is also advised to prevent your Golden retriever from becoming obese or developing digestive problems.

You should always consult with the vet when confused about the best dog food to get your four-legged family member. Ideally, you want to buy food that’s designed for your Golden Retriever’s age. That is, buy dog food meant for puppies if your Golden Retriever is a pup. When he matures, get him adult dog food and the same when he becomes a senior.

Everyone knows that dogs age much faster than humans but it’s hard to truly comprehend how much faster dogs age until you see it. Here’s a table comparing the age of a Golden Retriever to their age in human years.

Golden Retriever
Age in Human
6 months6 years old
1 year12 years old
5 years40 years old
10 years75 years old
12 years89 years old
15 years110 years old

As such, it’s important that you feed your Golden a diet that corresponds with his age. A Golden Retriever is considered a puppy until he’s 12 – 18 months old and he’s considered an adult until he reaches his senior years around the age of 8.

Recommended Food For a Golden Retrievers Various Stages of Life

(Check out our article regarding how much to feed your Golden based on his current stage of life).


You should also check on the quality of water you give your Golden Retriever. For instance, where we live our tap water is very high in calcium, so we give our dogs the same filtered water that we drink. Our view is that if it’s not good enough for us then it’s not good enough for our pups.

So be sure to give your Golden Retriever plenty of clean water. Change out the water daily since dirty water can lead to digestion problems. In addition, make sure to wash your dogs food and water dishes with soap and hot water on a regular basis to eliminate the growth of bacteria.

Due to their ability to harbor fewer bacteria, stainless steel water (and food) bowls are preferred to ceramic or plastic bowls. Try these inexpensive stainless steel bowls from Amazon.

This cannot be overstated, the quality of food and water you provide for your Golden retriever over his lifetime will play a big role in how long he lives and how healthy he is overall.

Groom and Observe Your Golden Retriever Frequently

Besides diet, regular (and proper) grooming is key to prolonging a Golden Retriever’s life. As a long-haired dog, Goldens require regular brushing to reducing shedding and matting.

You should make brushing a fun activity for your Golden Retriever. And to ensure he gets used to daily brushing, it’s best advised to start brushing him daily as a puppy. Brush all surfaces, from the back to the sides, stomach, chest, ears, tail and daily. Daily brushing is a wonderful opportunity to inspect for ticks and fleas in the fur.

(Find out how to properly take care of your Golden Retriever’s coat in our article here).

The main benefit of daily brushing from a longevity perspective is that it gives you the ability to examine your dog’s entire body on a regular basis. Be on the lookout for cysts, bumps, redness, scratches, scabs, or lumps as they tend to signal an underlying problem. In case you identify a problem that warrants professional attention, don’t hesitate to call your vet and schedule an appointment.

Note: Don’t ever shave your Golden retrievers fur in an effort to keep him cool during the summer. Golden’s have a unique double coat to protect them from extreme weather, be it the scorching sun or inches of snow. Without a coat to protect them, a Golden retriever’s skin is just as susceptible to permanent sun damage as human skin is.

You should also make a habit of cleaning and inspecting your Golden Retriever’s floppy ears. An ear infection is common in Golden Retrievers, so it’s best to clean them regularly, especially after a swim or hike.

Ears, Teeth and Nails

Also, be sure to trim his nails and brush his teeth regularly. These grooming tips might not appear important initially; however, they help a lot as the dog matures and ages. Starting these grooming habits as early as possible will help your Golden live longer.

Therefore, try your best to brush his teeth at least once a week as brushing reduces oral bacteria and this reduction in bacteria is good for his heart. In addition, you can also use toys like the Erichome Dog Toothbrush Chew Toy (Amazon) and the Wodifer Dog Chew Toy (Amazon) to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

Ensure Your Golden Retriever Exercises Enough

Besides their angelic fur, Golden Retrievers are also known for their high energy levels. With a Golden Retriever, you don’t have to worry much about overexerting him with exercise. These dogs love their playtime, meaning you should dedicate enough time to keep him physically active.

Golden Retriever swimming.

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Set aside an hour for evening or morning walks with your Golden Retriever. But if you can’t manage to take him for walks, allow him to play around the backyard for an hour or two until he’s tired.

You’ll also need to get creative and incorporate different physical activities to keep your Golden Retriever in tip-top shape. Tennis balls or frisbees are perfect for playing fetch. And since this breed loves swimming, it’s only fair that you take him swimming at least once or twice a month or even more often if you can.

Keeping a Golden Retriever active will almost certainly eliminate the risk of obesity. Please note that as puppies, Golden Retrievers should be kept highly active to boost their development and strengthen their core muscles and bones.

Never Isolate Your Golden Retriever (Social Needs)

Golden Retrievers are naturally friendly and social. These dogs love being around their loved ones and, therefore, won’t pass the chance to sit next to you during game night. As such, try your best to include your Golden Retriever in family routines.

Isolating a Golden Retriever might leave him stressed out and anxious, which shouldn’t be the case if you want him to live a long healthy life. This means that his sleeping area should be inside the house and not somewhere in the backyard. Although Golden retrievers love spending time in the outdoors, they should be considered an inside dog for their overall mental health and well-being.

It’s been well proven that having regular healthy social interactions are key to longevity in humans and I think it’s safe to say the same would be the case when it comes to our incredibly social Golden retrievers.

Take Your Golden Retriever to the Vet for Regular Checkups

Although Golden Retrievers are usually healthy, they can easily develop ear infections among a host of other medical conditions. Hip dysplasia, cancer, skin infections, and respiratory problems are some common health conditions that Golden Retrievers are predisposed to.

Therefore, to ensure your Golden Retriever remains healthy, make a habit of taking him to the vet for regular checkups. Regular vet visits help unearth underlying conditions at an early stage, thus increasing the chances of successful treatment.

Therefore, once you bring your puppy home, be sure to slate a date with a trusted vet and have a file created. From there, the veterinarian will advise you on when you’ll need to pencil the next visit. 

Although regular vet visits might seem costly, the move will come in handy and may even save money in the long run, especially as your Golden Retriever starts to age.

10 Mistakes that can shorten your pets life.

Final Takeaway

Most Golden Retrievers live between 10 – 12 years. A Golden Retriever, however, can live much longer. By following the practices above, you will ensure that he lives as long and healthy a life as possible.

The key to improving the quality of your Golden Retriever’s life is to make sure that you’re providing well for his basic needs. Golden Retrievers require balanced diets due to their high energy levels. They also need regular grooming and ear cleaning.

To prevent obesity, it’s crucial to keep your Golden retriever active. Try to spice up the play, mixing walks with swims, jogs, backyard (or park) fetch, among other games. Regular play is important to maintaining a healthy Golden Retriever.

Finally, don’t only take your Golden Retriever to the vet when he’s ill. Visit your veterinarian for wellness checks annually as it’ll ensure you unearth any underlying conditions early enough to treat your best friend successfully.

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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