All living beings have an average lifespan, and certain factors can lengthen or shorten that lifespan. The Labrador retriever lifespan is typically 10 – 14 years, but for some, this may not be the average. Depending on lifestyle, diet, and hereditary composition, a Labrador may live shorter or longer than the average 10 – 14 years.
How to Maximize the Lifespan of a Labrador
While Labradors are predisposed to a shorter lifespan than smaller dogs, there are ways you can maximize your Labrador’s duration and quality of life. Incorporating a healthy diet with routine healthcare will help provide your Labrador with the highest and best quality of life.
Bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to a larger dog’s lifespan. Large dogs typically have a shorter lifespan than small dogs. Large dogs reach their full size at an accelerated rate, making them at risk for various musculoskeletal disorders.
As Labradors are large dogs, they are susceptible to hip, elbow, and joint issues, such as arthritis. Arthritis does not have to be a lethal disorder, but the pain and discomfort from arthritis can contribute to the Labrador’s decline in life.
Health, Exercise & Supplements
There are a small number of health conditions that can be detrimental to a Labrador’s overall lifespan. These conditions can be inherited from one or both of the Lab’s parents. Other health conditions may develop simply because they are common among Labradors.
While not all of the conditions are proven to be fatal, they can contribute to the decline of the Labrador’s health and condition of life.
Because of their size, Labradors are prone to developing joint issues, such as the elbow or hip dysplasia. This condition is not fatal, but it can contribute to your dog’s pain and discomfort, making simple tasks like walking or playing nearly impossible. While elbow or hip dysplasia may be unavoidable in your dog’s life, there are ways of prolonging the inevitable.
Labradors need routine exercise to fulfill their energetic personalities. Unfortunately, some of the most common games played with Labradors are fetching a ball or catching a Frisbee. These activities can have a lasting impact on the Lab’s hips and elbows by eroding the cartilage within the joints. To keep your dog active, alternate low-impact activities without sacrificing the games that your Lab enjoys.
One of the best low-impact activities for your Lab is swimming. Incorporating days of low-impact activities like swimming will give your Lab the exercise he needs without excessively overusing the joints.
Labs do a number on their joints through running and jumping. To keep your Lab’s joints healthy and lubricated, there are a variety of supplements to choose from to incorporate with your Lab’s active, healthy lifestyle.
Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength Plus MSM are chewable tablets for your adult Lab to ingest daily to help protect their cartilage within the joints from breaking down. Between the joints of the elbow and hip is cartilage. Cartilage is a soft tissue that cushions the joints to keep them from rubbing against each other when moving. Dogs that have damaged or limited cartilage will experience pain in the joints when walking, running, or jumping. Protecting this cartilage from erosion will help keep your Lab comfortably running and playing!
Labradors can easily overeat if there is food in front of them! Overeating can lead to several health issues, such as obesity, bloating, diabetes, joint stiffness, and respiratory issues. An overweight dog can have any combination of these issues, and any of these issues can lessen your Labrador’s lifespan. To keep your Lab from facing these health issues and shortening his life, feed your dog the correct daily portion of healthy food.
Iams ProActive Health mini chunks for Labrador Retrievers offers your Labrador health benefits in five specific areas: digestion, weight, skin and coat, bones and joints, and muscles. This healthy blend of fibers, vitamins, and minerals in every serving promotes healthy digestion, optimal weight, strong bones and joints, healthy skin and coat, and strong muscles. Feeding your Labrador the best food for proactive health will help keep your companion healthy and strong.
It’s in the Genes
Like people, Labradors may face hereditary conditions that have been passed on from parent to pup. Some hereditary conditions may play a part in shortening the Lab’s overall life expectancy. While the youngest age of a Lab’s average lifespan is ten years, hereditary conditions can lessen the age even more.
The best way to know if your puppy is inclined to hereditary health conditions later in life is to have the puppy’s parents tested. The most common hereditary health issues are retinal, hip, and elbow dysplasia.
For elbow and hip dysplasia, the pup’s parents will have a clear bill of health and certificate indicating the hip and elbow screening has been performed and passed. A clear screening means that the pup should not develop hip or elbow dysplasia due to a preexisting gene passed down from the parent.
Progressive retinal atrophy is an inherited vision condition that deteriorates the eye over time, eventually leading to blindness. Commonly referred to as retinal dysplasia, both parents would have to be diagnosed with retinal dysplasia for the pup to inherit the condition. To know if your Lab pup has inherited the disease, ask your seller or breeder to present you with the pup’s parents’ eye screening certificates.
Elbow, hip, and retinal dysplasia can play a large part in your Lab’s health and overall lifespan. If your Labrador is predisposed to these conditions, his length and quality of life have the possibility of being lessened. Dogs with retinal dysplasia typically go blind within 1 – 2 years after diagnosis.
While dogs rely on their other senses more than humans, blindness in dogs is not as devastating as blindness in humans; however, a Lab with blindness will be unable to participate in many physical activities that play a part in the dog’s health and wellbeing.
You can expect your healthy Labrador to accompany you for at least 10 years. If you have a pup with a preexisting condition, his life may run the risk of being shortened. A preexisting condition does not have to be a death warrant. The best way to combat a known health issue is to be vigilant.
Annual routine veterinary checkups to ensure your Lab is receiving the proper treatment necessary for the condition. Routine veterinary checkups also help verify your Lab is maintaining a healthy weight with strong bones. A healthy, strong Lab with proper diet, exercise, and healthcare has a possibility to exceed the average 10 – 14 years of life expectancy.