How long do Labrador retrievers live? Owning a dog is a fantastic experience, and it’s normal to consider questions like this when you form a deep connection with them. Labrador retrievers are considered as breeds that have a high average lifespan.
Don’t let this worry take away from enjoying your time with them. Besides basic lifespan information, this article highlights things you may want to look out for and tips to keep your dog happy and healthy for a long time.
What is the average lifespan of a Labrador?
Let’s jump straight into it. Labradors have an average lifespan of around 10 – 14 years. Most of them reach about 12 years, depending on their overall health.
The longest-living Labrador was said to have lived until 27 years old.
This average may seem extremely small compared to a human’s median lifespan of 60 – 80 years, but it is considered pretty long in dog years.
But as the intro stated, Labradors are some of the longest-living dogs out there and the healthiest. To further help your Labrador live their best life, let’s discuss some things to watch out for.
What diseases are Labradors prone to getting?
Just like any other dog, Labradors also have a predisposition to some diseases. Here are the most common ones and symptoms you may want to look out for.
This disease targets a dog’s joint, causing pain, swollen joints, and stiffness. This disease is quite common for dogs like Labradors that love running around. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, immediately seek veterinarian help to lessen your dog’s pain.
Hip and elbow dysplasia
Labradors are incredibly susceptible to musculoskeletal diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia. Symptoms include difficulty standing or pain in the hind legs. This can manifest in younger dogs but usually affect older Labradors with weaker joints.
This disease is the phenomenon of the uncontrollable growth of cells. This forms a mass of tissue made of cells that should not be multiplying as fast or should be dead. They can be benign or cancerous. Labradors are known to have the third-highest predisposition to specific neoplasm lipoma.
If you feel a soft but pronounced lump or mass just under your dog’s skin, immediately have it checked by a vet.
Kennel cough is an umbrella term for any infectious disease that ends up in a dog’s lungs and produces a symptom of coughing. Your dog should be vaccinated from this. It mostly strikes if you miss the vaccination or when they are incredibly young and have vulnerable immune systems.
You will only be able to identify this disease if they are being checked for it, as vets must listen to their chest during a checkup. Essentially, it implies an abnormality in your dog’s blood flow to and from the heart.
A study shows that a few pounds over the healthy weight limit could take about two years off their lifespan. Since most Labradors are family pets, they are highly prone to obesity and can cause or worsen the issues mentioned earlier.
You should be able to see your dog’s rib shape and a waist that is thinner than its ribs. Obesity can start with just a few extra pounds but quickly spiral out of control if food intake and proper exercise are not given.
Does gender matter when it comes to the lifespan of Labradors?
Absolutely not. If we view them genetically, they have the same lifespan. Many might mention that the female Labrador lifespan is shorter, but this is due to other situations like offspring birth. So no, you won’t have to worry about your sweet female Labrador too much.
Do chocolate Labradors have a shorter lifespan?
Unfortunately, this one is actually true. Chocolate Labradors have been studied to live at most around 10-11 years. This is because their coat color is due to a recessive gene.
While it isn’t the color that makes them more susceptible to actual diseases, the chocolate color is a recessive gene that both parents will have to have to produce a litter of puppies with chocolate coats.
They have been in high demand due to their rarity.
The issue lies in unethical breeding practices. As we have learned with human DNA, the closer the two genes are in code, the higher the possibility of recessive genes being coded, and that goes beyond just the coat color.
How can I make sure my Labrador is healthy for a long time?
This average lifespan is just a simple calculation from different records and can’t be the best basis for your own Labrador’s lifespan.
For example, the Labrador Adjutant lived to be about 27 years old. While we can’t ensure your wonderful dog will live to 27, here are a few tips to keep them healthy for a long time.
A dog’s diet is one of the keys to their health. Ensuring your Labrador gets the nutrients their body needs is crucial to preventing diseases. Some excellent dog food is especially made for Labradors, house dogs, or working dogs.
Starting them with vitamins and supplements young is a great way to keep their bones strong as long as you run them by the vets first. It’s 70% quality and 30% consistency. To keep your dog’s gut healthy, you must constantly feed it the same dog food. This means no sudden changes.
There are other diets out there, like raw diets, which many say are great for dogs.
If you decide to give your dog this diet, ensure that you understand their dangers.
Dog food is especially formulated for a dog’s nutritional needs. If you want to introduce them to new diets, make sure to run them by your vet to check for any intolerances or suggestions they may have.
Plenty of exercises
Obesity is a serious issue for any dog, especially large breeds like Labradors. They are also exceptionally high-energy and require at least 45 minutes to an hour of exercise daily. This could mean a walk in the morning and afternoon, a jog, and even swimming.
Keeping your dog moving will ensure that their bones and muscles are strong.
The time you give to your Labrador to exercise should vary on your own dog’s stamina.
For older dogs, try sticking with low-impact activities like walking or swimming to minimize the pressure on their joints.
Semi-Annual Vet Visits
Vet visits may be one of the essential tips for keeping your dog healthy.
Always ensure that your Labrador has updated vaccinations and get a medical checkup at least twice a year or even more as they age.
Just in case, keep a contact number or know the location of the nearest 24-hour veterinarian clinics for unexpected emergencies.
When in doubt of their health, take them to a vet clinic.
Always ask questions like whether they are a healthy weight or if they need any supplements. Be comfortable consulting your vet about dietary advice, as they usually have better recommendations than any website can give you.
You may be shocked by how much dental health can affect a dog’s overall health. Brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a day can help prevent periodontal disease and ensure that they can use their teeth well even when they are old.
Infection of the teeth is also extremely dangerous and you can extend their life by at least three to five years just by maintaining their oral health.
If you are considering getting a wonderful Labrador for yourself, ensure that the breeder follows an ethical breeding practice, especially if you want a chocolate-coated lab. This will lessen the possibility of inbreeding and supporting puppy mills.
It would also be even more amazing if you could adopt one from the local shelter. Many people tend to overlook mixed dogs but having two different DNA actually ensures that they haven’t been inbred and can offer the best genes, making them live longer.
Lots of love and care
The ultimate key to your dog’s health is, of course, their happiness. Make sure you understand that getting a dog means being responsible for their life, and part of that is keeping them happy.
Studies show that happiness can extend their lives by keeping their minds healthy. So give your Labrador puppy lots of love and the attention they deserve.
Labradors are lovely life companions and will make a great addition to your family. Their average lifespan may be around 10-14 years but be prepared to experience the absolute best decade of your life with them. They are one of the longest-living dogs, so don’t worry too much about aspects like lifespan and just enjoy the moment with them.