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20 Ways to Celebrate A Golden Retriever 20 Year Old Birthday

golden retriever 20 year old

20 Ways to Celebrate A Golden Retriever 20 Year Old Birthday


Lisa updated this post on March 19th, 2024

Your golden retriever just turned 20, wow! That’s so many years with your best friend, and now’s the time to celebrate. Though, your buddy is 20 years old now, so instead of throwing a big dog birthday bash here are some fun ideas to celebrate and reflect on your journey together so far. The time you have had together and will continue having is so special; honoring your bond is important. This post is all about 20 ways to celebrate a golden retriever 20 year old who has a birthday.

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How To Celebrate Your Golden Retriever Dog’s 20th Birthday 

1.Take him on a car ride!

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I bet your best friend loves car rides. What dog doesn’t? If your best friend does like traveling with you, now is the perfect time to plan a car ride together that takes you two on a journey to all your favorite places you have visited together over the past 20 years. Don’t forget to plan a stop for our next suggestion!

2.Take him to get ice cream!

This is a total YOLO idea!

How many times will your golden retriever turn 20 years old? ONCE! YOLO the heck out of this one. Get him some ice cream!

What better way to celebrate a dog’s birthday than by getting some ice cream! And this could be ideal for a 20 year old golden retriever. It is a nice mellow way to get out and about, socialize a little, and have a soothing treat.

This is a perfect addition to taking your buddy on a car ride. If your golden retriever best friend isn’t totally in love with car rides like we are, you can still treat him with some frozen dessert. Make a stop on the way home from work at your favorite ice cream shop. Remember to get your pooch his own bowl, he deserves it! And while you’re at it, why not top it off with some dog bones!

Please remember, ice cream for dogs on a regular basis is a big no no.

But a special treat on his special day for a senior dog sure is sweet! (no pun intended). And it is totally okay.

Most dogs seem to like a little bit of vanilla or perhaps some sorbet. Ideally, you can stop at the ice cream shop for you and the dog bakery for him!

3. Choose the perfect present!

Picking the perfect present is always one of the most fun things to do when someone you love is having a birthday, and this is no exception. If your buddy still loves to play, now is the time to get him the best toy you could ever think of.

Maybe try and a copy of the first toy you ever picked out before to reminisce on your time together. If you’re following our suggestion of a car ride, maybe take your pooch into the store and let him pick out his own new toy. 

Don’t worry if your dog isn’t a fan of playing anymore, there are still plenty of gift ideas for you to consider. Since your dog is getting up there in age, maybe think about getting a new orthopedic bed to help with any aching joints he may have. 

Another birthday gift idea for golden retriever 20 year old is a stuffed animal toy that he can snuggle with.

4. Don’t forget the cake!

What’s a birthday without cake? Now I know what you’re thinking. “Dogs can’t have cake!” And while that’s true for most cakes, there are plenty of homemade dog cake recipes on the internet that are a perfect way to celebrate your furry friend. Make it a fun day together by playing in the kitchen while you put the finishing touches on it. Don’t forget to take some fantastic photos to always remember this day!

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There are lots of great cake pans that are shaped like dog bones too. I have included a few below that you can get right on Amazon, delivered within 48 hours.

The best thing about making a dog cake for your senior dog will be the photos you can take during his feast. Be sure to put them on Facebook and IG. Seriously, we all love pets!

RELEVANT: How Do I Make A Dog-Friendly Room?

It may sound silly, but probably won’t if you are insanely smitten with your pup, talk to him while you are baking. Let him know how important he is to you.

If you do not have time or energy to get special ingredients for a dog cake, here are a few cake mixes that are dog friendly. Kind of like making a birthday cake for a child. You can make it homemade from scratch or get a cake mix!

I use cake mixes for people cakes because they seem to taste better than my homemade.

5. Make him a marvelous meal!

Don’t lie, even though your dog is now 20 years old and wonderfully behaved, he has always had an eye on your food. I can’t think of a better way to honor your furry best friend on his doggy birthday than to make him a homemade meal that all the dogs on the street will be drooling over.

Always cook your hamburger meat or any meat you serve your canine.

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Here is a great list of food you can make for your dog that is probably in your fridge now!

If your pooch has been eyeing your hamburgers over the years, make him a hamburger! If he’s been eyeing your steak, make him a steak! Make everything as plan as possible though (no seasonings) and be sure to make sure your dog can eat everything you plan on giving him with no problem.

6. Watch your favorite movie!

 At 20 years old, your doggie best friend might just want to relax. Pick out a movie that you both can enjoy and crowd the couch with plenty of pillows and blankets before snuggling down. Don’t feel bad if you fall asleep, that’s part of the fun!

7. Have a fantastic photoshoot!

It’s exciting when your dog has a birthday, but the older they get the more you get sad. And that’s okay, it’s normal. At 20 years old, you know you need to cherish all the time that you have with your best friend. What better way to create memories while having a ton of puppy fun than by having a fabulous photoshoot? Grab some costumes and bows, because the camera is ready!

Just because you do not have a party with guests doesn’t mean you cannot decorate.

A low key family friendly celebration complete with banners would be super special.

Or if it is just you and your BFF, consider decorating the kitchen table (or wherever he will be eating his homemade feast).

8. Spa day!

Not all dogs like baths, so this may not be the suggestion for you. But if your pooch loves to get squeaky clean then what better way to celebrate their dog birthday than by throwing them a spa day!

Throw some bubbles in the bath and grab the brush, and don’t the manicure!

9. New Accessories!

You may be wondering, why would I get my old dog some new accessories? Because he wants to look handsome of course! Take a trip to your local pet store and pick up a new collar and maybe even some flowers or bow ties to attach.

10.⛱️ Beach Day!

If your dog is up to it and there’s a beach nearby take him to the beach for his birthday! Dogs love water, even if your friend doesn’t jump right in anymore it’s still a nice way to celebrate their life together. 

11. Toy Overload!

Your furry friend has been around for quite some time, so it’s no surprise that they might have a favorite toy. One way to honor your dog on their birthday is to go to the store and buy a ton of their favorite dog toy.


Investing in a value pack of chew toys for your canine companion is a win-win situation. Not only does it provide mental stimulation and promote dental health, but it also saves you money in the long term. Treat your pup to a variety of durable toys and watch their tail wag with joy! 🐶💕

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Pick a room in your house to fill with their favorite toy and once everything’s all ready, let him in! I’m sure your dog will be overjoyed to see how much you love them when they see their favorite toy multiplied. 

12. Paw Prints!

You’re going to want your dog to be around forever, but sadly nothing can last that long. I can’t think of a more heartwarming way to celebrate your dog’s 20th birthday than by getting some clay or ink pads and getting their paw print saved forever. If you’re the kind of person to get tattoos, maybe even take the ink pad to your artist to permanently have your dog be a part of your life.

13. Ball Pit!

If your dog is a ball lover like most, see if you can set up a ball pit in your backyard! The joy that your dog will have on his birthday when he runs out to the backyard and sees hundreds of balls in a pit that he can jump into will be sure to bring a smile to your face!

14. Scavenger Hunt!

 Speaking of setting things up in the backyard, have you ever heard of a doggy scavenger hunt? Pick up a fresh bag of your dog’s favorite dog treats and start hiding them away in the backyard. Make sure that you’re not hiding them too hard, remember, your pooch is 20 years old now! Once you’re finished let your furry friend loose and watch as they hunt for their treats with their nose in the air and their tongue hanging out!

If you do not have a backyard, or your senior dog is a little too old to hunt, try a Snuffle Mat! He can literally sniff his way to a treat or new scented toy. These mats are super fun for dogs of all ages!

15. Give your dog a massage!

Yes, puppy massages are real! And let’s face it, your 20-year-old dog needs nothing more than a good relaxing massage. There are videos all over the internet showing the proper way to give your pooch a massage, just be sure not to use too much pressure on those old bones! What could be better for a dog birthday than being pampered?

16. Throw a virtual party!

Your golden retriever 20 year old may be getting to the age that having an in-person party with all their puppy friends might not be the best idea. But do you know what is? Having a virtual party! Doing this lets your furry friend know that he is loved without having the stress of everyone coming together.

17. Take a break!

Sometimes the best thing to do in life is to just sit and listen. If you and your 20-year-old pooch are wanting a low-key day with not a lot to do, this idea is for you.

Take a break outside in the backyard and watch the birds, listen to the cars go by, and you might even hear some animals that you didn’t even know lived by!

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18. Stargazing!

Just like our previous idea, sometimes sitting and doing a little bit of nothing is the best thing to do when you’re a 20-year-old dog. For your dog’s birthday, taking some time at night to curl up together under the stars sounds like a wonderful thing to do. You will always remember and cherish the time when you saw the silly shapes the stars made with your best friend laying by your side. 

19. GOPRO time!

Have you always wondered what your dog does all day? Have you always wondered what it would be like to switch places with your dog? Have you wanted to know how your dog sees the world? Do you have a GoPro? For your dog’s birthday, you should do just that! Strap a camera to your pup’s collar or around his head (safely) and let him go about his day! You’ll be amazed at what you see!

This can also be a real eye-opener. If you have it on him while you are sleeping, you might find out things he does you had no idea he was up to! What does a a golden retriever 20 year old do at night any ways?

20.🤳🦮 Create Memories!

No matter what you decide to do for your dog’s birthday, creating memories is the most important thing. Whether you bake him a cake, take him for a car ride, or just take pictures, remember to make the most of the time you share with him. 

Concluding Thoughts About Birthday Celebrations For Golden Retriever 20 Year Olds

There are lots of ways to celebrate your senior dog’s birthday and if you made it this far with each other; it will be a good time for you to reflect too. Your dog ownership has been a blessing to him. Don’t be shy about knowing this and enjoying the time together.

If you would like more information about dog birthday parties, check out my blog post Tips for Planning a Dog’s Birthday Party.

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Lisa Illman

Lisa Illman


Lisa is the owner of Kritter Kommunity and the inventor of the @KritterKondo cat enclosure. She is owned by her mischievous and adorable kitty cat, Finnegan. He has his own Facebook too.

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