WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A GOLDEN RETRIEVER?
Although the Golden Retriever is a relatively strong and robust dog breed, they are still susceptible to some fairly common health problems that can shorten their lifespan. But what exactly are they?
The Average Lifespan of a Golden Retriever
The average life expectancy of a Golden Retriever is similar to that of most large dogs: between 10 and 12 years. This is higher than giant dog breeds, who generally live much shorter - 7 years on average for the Bernese Mountain Dog, 9 years for the Great Dane, for example - but it is also lower than smaller dogs or primitive dogs, who are largely unaffected by crossbreeding.
Bear in mind that the average life expectancy of any dog breed is only an indication. Your dog could exceed it or, unfortunately, their life could be cut short by an accident or a serious health problem.
How Can I Increase My Golden Retriever's Life Expectancy?
Preventive Care and Maintenance
Adhere to your dog's vaccination schedule and make sure to visit your vet every year for a little check-up, especially when your Golden Retriever begins to age. Keep your dog's deworming and antiparasitic treatments up to date; parasites like fleas and ticks can sneak into their coat and transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme disease and leishmaniasis.
Choose a High-Quality Diet
Don't neglect your Golden Retriever’s diet; their health also depends on their stomach. Low-quality dog food will have a direct impact on your Golden Retriever's health, and vice versa. Choose dog food rich in high-quality animal protein. Try to avoid buying supermarket dog food, as this tends to be very poor in quality and thus incapable of meeting your Golden Retriever's nutritional needs. This doesn't mean you have to break the bank; it's quite possible to find good-quality dog food at affordable prices. The good health of your Golden Retriever should be your main priority when considering their diet.
Prioritise Dog Training
Why would training your Golden Retriever extend their life expectancy? Quite simply because, with proper dog training, your Golden Retriever will be able to learn how to navigate the world around them safely and without fear. A dog who responds when they're called, is obedient, and understands exactly what is expected of them, is much more capable of following their master's orders. This is integral in helping you avoid accidents.
What Diseases are Common in Golden Retrievers?
When it comes to health problems, all dogs are not created equal. Golden Retrievers are unfortunately prone to certain diseases, which it's important to be aware of before proceeding with an adoption:
Hip Dysplasia: This is a joint disorder that affects many large dogs. It involves abnormal formation of the hip socket, wherein the ball and socket do not fit or develop properly, and they rub and grind against each other, causing lameness and, in more severe cases, paralysis. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct this health problem. Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease, usually inherited from the parents. Serious breeders will have the parents screened to prevent puppies from being predisposed to the disease. Crossbreeding between two individuals affected by dysplasia is banned.
von Willebrand Disease: This is a genetic bleeding disorder that prevents the blood from clotting properly. Dogs affected by von Willebrand disease suffer from a deficiency of the coagulation factor: von Willebrand factor (vWF). The disease exists in 3 forms: Type 1 to Type 3, from least serious to most serious. Type 1 is the most common form found in Golden Retrievers and is easily treated. The other 2 types respond badly or not at all to treatment, and the consequences after a physical trauma can be severe.
Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis: This is an abnormal, congenital heart murmur characterised by a narrowing of the anterior part of the aorta, which obstructs the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. This forces the heart to work harder than normal. This heart problem can be fatal.
Diabetes: Golden Retrievers are quite often affected by diabetes. This disease, which is characterised by an inability to regulate the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, requires lifelong treatment. Without treatment, diabetes can be life-threatening. If your dog suffers from this disease, it's essential to be extra careful when choosing their dog food and adhere strictly to the recommended portion sizes. Limit treats, especially shop-bought treats. Exercise is also an excellent way to fight diabetes. Golden Retrievers need to exert a lot of energy anyway.
Skin Conditions: These are common for Golden Retrievers, who are regularly affected by allergies, as well as eczema and dermatitis. The Golden Retriever's long coat can make the appearance of skin conditions more difficult to spot and diagnose.
Primary Epilepsy: Also known as Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE), this type of epilepsy is defined as recurrent seizures with no identifiable cause. Seizures manifest as a loss of consciousness and convulsions that can last for several minutes. Treatment can be prescribed to help limit seizures and improve the animal's quality of life.
Ear Infections: The Golden Retriever's floppy ears are a breeding ground for ear infections. Take care to check your dog's ears for parasites after every walk and make sure no water gets inside when bathing your dog.
Consider taking out pet insurance for your Golden Retriever to cover yourself in the event of unexpected vet fees, and ensure that your pooch gets the care they deserve throughout their life.
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