We all who love dogs find that their lives are too short; by far! So it was incredible to read the other day of a Labrador who on April 24th, 2020 turned 20! The story was on the Golden Hearts website and thank goodness there is permission to share this with you.
At 20 years old, Augie is the oldest golden retriever in history!
There are many accounts of 17 or 18-year-old goldens, and even a few stories about 19-year-old goldens, but Augie is the first golden retriever to ever reach the big two-oh.
In this article, we’ll dive into Augie’s story a little bit more, cover how old golden retrievers normally live to be, and talk about how you can help your golden live a long happy life.
On April 24, 2000, August (affectionately known as Augie) was born.
After being rehomed twice (due to no fault of her own), she eventually landed with Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt of Oakland, Tennessee, and it’s still unclear who the lucky ones are here.
Jennifer and Steve, who were active in their local golden retriever rescue organization when they got Augie, adopted her when she was 14 years old.
They figured that most people wouldn’t want such an elderly golden, but they had no idea of the upcoming journey they would be on with Augie.
They’ve taken her on RV trips all around the country, she’s got several canine and feline siblings, and she gets to play fetch in the pool.
On the other hand, Jennifer and Steve have been rewarded with over six years of love and loyalty from this wonderful (and now record-holding) golden.
The 20-Year-Old Golden Retriever
So how does a 20-year-old golden retriever celebrate her record-setting birthday?
With a dog-friendly carrot cake and some quality time with her golden retriever siblings, Sherman, Belle, and Bruce!
Her owner, Jennifer, says she’s surprisingly healthy.
She can still move around well (although she’s a bit shaky when she first gets up) and enjoys daily walks around the yard.
Since she was diagnosed with some kidney issues when she was 14, she now eats a mixture of wet and dry Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d, and takes some supplements for her kidneys and joints.
She also gets SQ fluids twice a week, which has helped her perk up quite a bit.
How Long Do Golden Retrievers Normally Live?
Augie is a very special girl, and she’s definitely not the norm.
Most golden retrievers live to about 10-12 years old.
Of course, many goldens live to 13, 14, or 15 years old, and, unfortunately, many live shorter than the average.
Now let’s talk about how to help your golden retriever live to that upper part of the spectrum.
5 Tips For Helping Your Golden Retriever Live A Long Life
Here are some tips to help your golden retriever live a long life like Augie.
1. Listen to your veterinarian.
This is probably the most important tip.
Your vet will know your dog, and have the best recommendations and action plan to keep them healthy.
This includes flea, tick, and heartworm medicines, food and exercise advice, and much more.
2. Listen to your dog.
When Oliver was a puppy, we spent countless hours researching what the best food for golden retriever puppies was.
Well, guess what?
After a few weeks of us feeding him the “best food for golden retriever puppies”, he stopped eating and became more lethargic.
We listened to what he was trying to tell us, we talked with our vet about it, and we decided to switch foods.
Right away he loved the new food, started eating more, and started getting his normal, crazy energy back.
Just because something is popular for many dogs, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be good for your dog, so pay attention to them and how they’re feeling so you can work with your vet to keep them happy and healthy.
3. Feed your dog a quality dog food.
Yes, Walmart brand food may be cheaper at first, but you’ll probably end up paying more in vet bills down the road.
Not to mention, with a quality dog food, your dog will probably be happier and healthier for it.
Talk to your veterinarian, do your research, and feed your pup a quality food.
4. Groom your golden retriever regularly.
Keeping their nails, paws, coat, teeth, and ears clean will keep them looking their best, while also keeping them healthy.
Grooming them regularly can prevent ear infections, gum or teeth issues, or skin issues, which could all snowball into something worse if not taken care of.
5. Exercise your golden retriever regularly.
Most goldens are inclined to become obese, so regular exercise can prevent that, as well as keep their heart and muscles strong.
Even Augie gets regular exercise, and as Jennifer says, “Motion is lotion!” for those old bones.
How You Can Help Senior Golden Retrievers
One thing that amazes me is that Jennifer adopted Augie when she was 14 years old!
Most people don’t want to adopt an older golden retriever, fearing that their time here is limited, but that doesn’t mean these dogs can’t be wonderful companions for you.
Golden retriever puppies are tough, and there are many sweet senior goldens out there like Augie that need good, loving homes, so consider stepping up to the plate and adopting a golden, fostering goldens, or volunteering or donating to your local golden retriever rescue.
Below is a list of golden retriever rescues in every state, but also don’t forget to look at rescues in states nearby if you’re looking to rescue a golden.
Here’s a list of golden retriever rescues in every State.
Huge congratulations to Augie for being the world’s oldest golden retriever!
At 20 years old, she’s just about doubled the expected lifespan for golden retrievers and she’s still kicking.
She’s lived so long largely because she’s got great genetics, but also her owner, Jennifer, has done a great job of taking care of her and ensuring that they have a good relationship with Augie’s vet.
As Jennifer says, “We care for them as long as we have them, and love them forever.”
Do you have any questions about Augie, or about golden retriever lifespans?
Let us know in the comments below! (Ed: Please go here.)
And please share this with your fellow golden retriever lovers!
P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love our complete guide to golden retrievers.
I can do no more than to repeat the congratulations mentioned above: “Huge congratulations to Augie for being the world’s oldest golden retriever!”
It is a wonderful achievement!