The Senior Goldendoodle: Your Ultimate Guide to the Golden Years
Are you the parent of a senior Goldendoodle? Wondering what to expect as your Goldendoodle rounds the corner from adulthood and heads into the golden years? Then cuddle up with your sweet Goldendoodle and discover this ultimate guide to giving your Goldendoodle tender loving care during the senior years.
How to care for your senior Goldendoodle
For anyone who’s celebrated years of loving a Goldendoodle, this quote speaks to the heart…
Grow old with me. The best is yet to be.Robert Browning
Giving your Goldendoodle the best years (and an infinite number of them) is the wish. But how do you ensure “the best is yet to be” for senior Goldendoodles?
As a Goldendoodle enthusiast, mom of a senior Goldendoodle, aunt to two Goldendoodles, and an avid research hound, I’m hopelessly devoted to sharing good news and the latest information about Doodle dogs so that “the best is yet to be” is a truism for our sweet Doods.
By the end of this article, you’ll have the latest on determining your dog’s age, information on senior Goldendoodle health conditions, a list of 10 questions to ask your vet about caring for your senior Goldendoodle, and tips for giving your Doodle dog heaps of tender loving care.
By sharing my ultimate guide to the senior Goldendoodle, I hope it will help you plan and enjoy your Doodle’s “Golden” years.
When is a Goldendoodle a senior?
Let’s get started by determining when a Goldendoodle is considered a senior dog. The old rule of thumb used to be that a dog’s age in human years was calculated by multiplying a dog’s age by seven. So a 7-year-old dog was considered 49 in human years.
A new, more accurate way to determine your Goldendoodle’s age
However, a new research study concludes that determining a dog’s age in human years is more complicated than the old “times seven” rule of thumb.
According the study, which you can learn more about in the Smithsonian’s article , scientists have found a more accurate way to calculate dog years. This excerpt from the Smithsonian article, sums up the new methodology…
“The dog clock ticks much faster with pups speeding through puberty and reaching sexual maturity within their first year. Then, the dog’s epigenetic clock slows down as the dog ages, and begins to match up with humans again in its later years.”
So the older the dog gets, the slower the aging clock. That sounds like good news for our senior puppers!
Secondly, the Smithsonian article includes a calculator for determining your dog’s age in human years. Of course, I immediately tried the dog age calculator to determine Chloe’s age in human years.
According to the dog age calculator, my 7-year-old senior Goldendoodle is 62.1 in human years.
Oh, my Goldendoodle! How could that be? Honestly, I was shocked. At age seven, Chloe still does zoomies like a puppy, counter surfs with ease, and hops up on the grooming table like a gazelle. Besides the white hair that’s sprinkled among her red locks around her brown eyes, she shows few signs of aging.
As my fingers tapped my keyboard while writing this article, I glanced at Chloe who was busy watching for squirrels out the window. She was unfazed by this revelation about dog aging.
That’s when it dawned on me: Our sweet dogs have it figured out. They aren’t busy calculating their age or contemplating whether or not they’re seniors. They are busy loving life—squirrel watching, snuggling beside us, fetching balls, and living in the moment!
So rather than dwell on age in human years or contemplate the Goldendoodle’s average lifespan, I’m focusing on how I can help my Dood enjoy every moment.
Good health…for the love of older Goldendoodles
Squeezing maximum joy out of life for my Goldendoodle means putting healthy practices in place for her now. I want her to chase after squirrels and enjoy doing zoomies like a pupster for…well…forever.
If you’re on a similar quest, you may be interested to learn which health conditions are more prevalent in Goldendoodles. By having them on your your radar, you can include any of them as a topic of discussion with your veterinarian.
Unfortunately, from my research, studies that include Goldendoodles are rare. Studies about Goldendoodles with age-related conditions seem to be even rarer.
However, have no fear! Some pet insurance companies do track canine health conditions by breed. Trupanion Insurance breaks down information by breed and age. Here’s a summary of what I discovered about Goldendoodle health conditions.
Senior Goldendoodle health issues
First, Trupanion pet insurance tracks canine health conditions based on breed and age group within a breed. According to Trupanion’s study, the following health conditions are more common for Goldendoodles aged seven and over:
- Mast cell neoplasm
Next, since Goldendoodles are a hybrid breed (a cross between Golden Retrievers and Poodles), looking at the two parent breeds can give us more context.
According to Trupanion’s claim comparison, Golden Retrievers aged seven and older have a higher than average incidence of arthritis, lameness, lymphoma, and masses.
Poodles aged seven and older have a higher than average incidence of gastric dilation (GDV – bloat), lameness, and masses.
Now, what to do with this information? It’s an important starting point for a conversation with your veterinarian about making an early detection and care plan that is tailored to your Goldendoodle’s specific needs.
Which brings me to the next section of this guide for senior Goldendoodles: The Tender Loving Care Plan.
10 tips for making the senior Goldendoodle years “golden”
What are some common sense measures that we can put into place now for our sweet Doods? I did more research and came up with these 10 tips for making your senior Goldendoodle’s years the best they can be.
1. Learn how to give your dog a weekly at-home wellness check.
One of the most exciting discoveries I’ve found is a new 10-step weekly at-home wellness check. It’s called 10 Touches by Dr. Julie Buzby, a veterinarian with 20+ years of experience focused on geriatric dogs.
In brief, Ten Touches is a hands-on, tip-to-tail health scan of your dog’s body that you can do for your dog at home. It’s a way of petting your dog that also helps you detect any changes such as lumps and bumps. And early detection means a better outcome for your senior Goldendoodle. If you’d like to learn the ten tips, check out Dr. Buzby’s article, 10 Lifesaving Touches: Dr. Buzby’s Tip-to-Tail Wellness Scan.
2. Increase vet wellness visits from one time a year to every six months.
Did you know that the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends twice yearly vet visits for senior dogs? By partnering with your vet, you can create an individualized plan that’s perfect for your Goldendoodle.
3. Keep your Goldendoodle’s mind active with interactive canine enrichment games.
Goldendoodles are smart. Their bright minds need stimulation. One of my favorite brain games that’s worth barking about is Nina Otterson’s dog puzzle from Outward Hound. Chloe’s favorite is Outward Hound’s Puppy Hide ‘n Slide level two. In addition to providing her enrichment, I also like that it’s made from food-safe materials and is durable.
5. Take your Goldendoodle for a walk.
Exercise is good for the mind, the body, and the spirit. My Goldendoodle counts on me to play fetch and take her for a daily walk. (Or is it me who counts on her 😊?)
If you’d like to add a fun twist to your daily walks with your Goldendoodle, I highly recommend going on a Sniffari—a sniffing walk. To learn the ins and out of taking a Sniffari adventure with your dog, please check out my how-to which is included in my ultimate list of 29 things to do with your dog.
6. Brush your Goldendoodle’s teeth daily.
According to Ipsos (a data supplier), 95% of pet owners brush their own teeth daily, but very few (8%) brush their dog’s teeth. If you’re part of the majority who haven’t picked up a doggy toothbrush, putting a dental care plan in place is still pawsible!
I joined the ranks of the eight percent after a wake-up call from my veterinarian about the condition of Chloe’s teeth. You can learn to brush your dog’s pearly whites too. For my favorite hacks, check out my article on how to brush your dog’s teeth.
7. Make changes to your at-home grooms or talk with your groomer about “comfort” haircuts.
If you’re the parent of an adult Goldendoodle, you probably already have a grooming plan in place. Goldendoodle grooming is just part of loving and caring for a Doodle. But have you considered how your routine will change as your Goldendoodle ages? If, like me, you groom your Goldendoodle at home, here are some accommodations to consider as your Goldendoodle ages:
- Shorten the length of the grooming session.
- Consider simpler Goldendoodle styles and cuts.
- Make sure the hair around the eyes is trimmed for maximum vision.
- Make certain you’re grooming your Goldendoodle on a comfortable, non-slip surface.
8. Begin thinking about mobility aids like ramps and stairs.
Chloe is seven and hops like a gazelle onto the couch, bed, or pretty much anywhere. She takes the patio steps two at a time on squirrel patrol. However, rather than wait until I observe a change in her mobility, I’m starting to scope out mobility aids like ramps and stairs now. My goal is to help her prevent injury.
In addition to larger equipment like stairs and ramps, there is one other tiny mobility miracle that’s going to be part of my senior Goldendoodle TLC toolkit: ToeGrips non-slip nail grips. These tiny rubber rings fit onto the toenails to help senior dogs who have trouble raising and walking on hardwood floors. I’ve seen them in action and they are the most amazing invention for senior dogs. If your senior Goldendoodle struggles to walk up and down stairs or across your hardwood floor, please check ToeGrips out.
9. Create a list of must-ask questions for your vet visit (or grab mine below).
My Goldendoodle’s vet (and the entire vet team) is a wealth of knowledge and so helpful! But so many times I get home and then remember the one question I wanted to ask and forgot. That’s why I created a list of must-ask questions about senior Goldendoodles.
If you’re preparing for your senior Goldendoodle’s veterinary visit, please feel free to snag my list of questions below. Or you can use them as thought starters for creating your own list of questions for your vet. Also, if it’s easier, just bookmark this page to keep them handy on your phone!
- Are my senior Goldendoodle’s nutritional requirements changing?
- Should I switch my senior Goldendoodle to a senior dog food formula?
- Is my senior Goldendoodle maintaining a healthy weight?
- How much exercise should my senior Goldendoodle be getting?
- Should I start giving my senior Goldendoodle vitamins or supplements?
- When should I switch from yearly vet visits to six-month vet visits?
- Are there at-home care or wellness routines I should put in place now?
- How can I tell if my senior Goldendoodle’s hips and joints are healthy?
- What breed-related conditions have you found are more common to Goldendoodles? What steps can I put in place for early detection or prevention?
- Will my Goldendoodle’s behaviors or interactions with family members change with age?
- How can I tell if my senior Goldendoodle’s vision is changing?
GOLDEN TIP: If you notice your Goldendoodle seems out of sorts, grab your phone. Take a video to share with your veterinarian. It will be so much easier to show the video to your vet rather than try to explain what’s going on.
10. Enjoy spending time with your Goldendoodle!
Of course, the best tip for senior Goldendoodles is the one that our Doodle dogs share with us every day: Simply give heaping amounts of unconditional love. Showing tender loving care to our senior Goldendoodles is happiness. Pure happiness.
Thank you for taking valuable time out of your day to spend a moment with us.
Doodle kisses and tail wags!
What age is your Goldendoodle?
We’d love to hear! Please comment below.