Last Updated on August 26, 2021
The determined Labrador is a popular dog breed best known for its use as a working dog. Not only are they excellent hunting dogs, but they can be career dogs as well. Not to mention incredible family pets. But how long do Labradors usually live?
The Labrador Retriever has a lifespan of 10-12 years. But, it’s not unusual for them to reach 14 or even 20. It all depends on what the individual dog’s health looks like. Veterinary care, exercise, nutrition, genetics, and so many more factors help determine how long your Lab will live.
What Affects A Lab’s Lifespan?
A super healthy Lab will be active throughout their life, even into their late teens. But, this lifespan can be affected by health issues like chronic disease or illness. If your dog is overweight or has any other type of illness, the chances of your dog living longer start to slip.
Common Labrador Health Issues
There are a few variables that can affect your Labrador Retriever’s lifespan, most importantly, they’re general health, meaning that exercise and nutritive needs are being met. The lifespan of your Labrador could be on the shorter end of the scale if your dog gets sick or develops a life-threatening health issue.
Both breeding and lifestyle play a role in the deterioration rate of any dog, so Labs are prone to some musculoskeletal issues and disease. Here are some of the most common issues that can shorten a Labrador’s lifespan:
Muscular or Skeletal Issues:
Like us, our dogs will slow down in their old age, which means that their muscles and bones get weaker. Labs are prone to bone issues like dysplasia and arthritis. Even extremely active Labs may deteriorate quickly, if not given the proper diet and supplements.
Here are some breed-specific issues that your Lab may be prone to develop:
- Elbow & Hip Dysplasia: When the bones of the legs or elbow joint doesn’t fit properly in the socket. This can lead to a serious disability and may end in euthanizing your beloved Labrador.
- Laryngeal Paralysis: Muscles around the larynx are paralyzed. This will mean a serious loss of oxygen and is most often fatal.
- Arthritis: While Arthritis isn’t exactly fatal, the pain that a critically arthritic dog feels may become too unbearable. This also leads to weight gain, which causes another set of issues.
There are many diseases that dogs can carry that we’ve already beaten with vaccines, like Parvovirus, Rabies, and others. But, others can pop up later in life that will affect the quality of your Lab’s life, which in turn may shorten their lifespan.
- Cancer: Labs aren’t necessarily more prone to cancer, as this is the biggest cause of natural deaths in pets. But, Labs are prone to certain cancers, including bone cancer and lymphoma.
- Hyperthyroidism: A disorder of the endocrine system, where the thyroid produces fewer hormones, which can lead to kidney issues, if not treated with an artificial hormone.
- Seizures: Epilepsy is usually genetic, but there are cases where seizures are caused by metabolism or brain issues. Diagnosis will require multiple tests, which will also prompt you to the right type of medication.
Ensuring A Long Lifespan In Your Labrador:
To help your lab live the longest he can, you’ll need to keep him healthy. This includes giving him the right nutrition and amount of exercise, and of course, going to see the vet.
If your Labrador has allergies to food or sensitive skin, you will have to take special precautions to ensure the best quality of life. Even if the worst symptom is digestive issues, it will have effects that will show up later on.
Diet & Exercise
Labs are prone to easy weight gain and skin issues, which almost always correlates closely with the kind of food they’re getting. A lab needs a lot of protein for their body to keep up with the amount of energy they have.
Your Labrador will also need plenty of exercise to keep them in shape. Even older Labs will need this to avoid weight gain or any other issues. It may not be as much, but if you let them just “retire”, their bones and muscles will weaken, and their weight will increase.
It’s just like humans – the more weight we carry, the more stress we put on our joints and bones.
Regular Vet Checks
Since dogs can’t tell us what’s wrong, having regular vet visits is essential. It may seem unnecessary, but all the tests and vaccines really are important and could save your dog’s life.
When you take your dog to the vet often, instead of just when something’s wrong, your vet will have a much better record of what your dog is like and their medical history, which will help in determining issues later on. It’s always better to run the tests just to be safe, especially if your Lab is prone to certain issues.
Conclusion – How Long Do Labradors Usually Live?
Of all the lifespans of dogs, Labrador Retrievers are somewhere in the middle. Their average lifespan is from 10-12 years old. However, many Labs have lived on to their late teens.
When it comes to what affects how long Labs usually live, cancer is usually to blame. But, other genetic conditions and diseases can cut their life short as well.
To increase their lifespan, you must make sure that you’re giving your lab the best of the best. This means the right food, tons of exercise, and keeping in touch with your vet.
For more info on Labs: