Adopting a senior golden retriever is easy. You look into those liquid brown eyes, the paw comes up, the golden tail thumps and you reach for your checkbook. It’s a match. The old gold has adopted you.
Finding an Olden Golden
Adopting an older golden retriever means visiting breed-specific golden retriever rescue groups, contacting local dog clubs and contacting breeders. Your senior dog may be in rescue because its owner no longer can keep the dog. Or a family falls in love with a golden puppy but cannot cope with his adult size. Rescue groups often have quality older dogs from other states or regions that need to be re-homed. Local dog clubs may post courtesy listings for a mature golden that needs a new home. Check with golden retriever breeders. You may find a wonderful older dog, retired from breeding, ready for his own home.
Adopting a senior golden means you have a mature dog. He is 7 years or older, usually house-trained and people-oriented. Living with an experienced golden means less stress than living with a puppy and a young adult golden. When you are away, your old retriever will likely snooze instead of shred cushions and chew shoes. When you come home, he'll welcome you with a mellow dance and wagging tail rather than racing to knock you backward with a greeting or to get out the front door. An older golden sleeps on your schedule, walks when you are ready and settles easily into your home.
Senior Golden Health
Adopting a senior golden means potentially caring for age-related ailments. Your senior golden is prone to arthritis and hip issues, ear problems and fungal infections. If he fattens up and has hair loss, the culprit may be his thyroid, a common issue with older goldens. His aging eyes are vulnerable to cataracts, glaucoma and golden retriever uveitis; each requires veterinary care and medication to prevent discomfort. Your adopted old golden will likely have developed allergies and skin problems over the years. Nevertheless, golden retrievers are resilient and may share many happy, healthy years with you.
Care of Old Golds
Adopting a senior golden means you have a loyal companion. Old golden retrievers do not thrive alone outdoors. They need their owners' touch and kind words. Groom your golden regularly, as his aging skin is more vulnerable to infection due to matted hair and wet weather. He needs dematting, toenail clipping and tidy hair trims -- easy home-grooming tasks – and might need medicated shampoo. And don’t forget the doggie toothbrush and canine toothpaste. Your vet may suggest nutritional aids like fish oil, joint tablets, vitamin E or other supplements to support his needs. Above all, give him your time; from his silver muzzle to his golden heart, he needs your affection and approval to thrive.
Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.