The Labrador Retriever is in the good midfield when it comes to life expectancy.
The possible Labrador Retriever life span is around 12-14 years.
More than a decade and still far too short for most dog owners.
That is why you should make the most of your time together and give the Labrador a beautiful and comfortable life on earth.
- 1 What Influences Labrador Life Expectancy?
- 2 Labrador Retriever Life Span Compared to Other Dog Breeds
- 3 How do I know my Labrador is getting old?
- 4 Does the Labrador have changed needs with age?
- 5 How can I contribute to a long and healthy Labrador life?
- 6 My Labrador Dies – The Rainbow Bridge
What Influences Labrador Life Expectancy?
Many factors play a role in a dog’s life expectancy. In addition to housing conditions and medical precaution, a healthy and species-appropriate diet is also important, as well as sufficient exercise and good care.
- Both sexes have the same life expectancy within a breed
- Overweight dogs do not live as long as normal four-legged friends
- A castration can possibly extend the life span (but it is very controversial!)
- City dogs have a slightly lower life expectancy
- The relationship between height and weight plays an important role. Large and slender dogs therefore often live longer than conspecifics with a comparable height but more massive physique.
Labrador Retriever Life Span Compared to Other Dog Breeds
Small breeds of dogs
- Chihuahua : 10-18 years
- Yorkshire Terrier: 13-16 years
- Lhasa Apso: 12-14 years
- Pug: 12-15 years
Medium-sized breeds of dogs
- Beagle: 12-15 years
- Tibetan Terrier: 12-15 years
- Mudi: 13-14 years
- German Pinscher: 12-14 years
Large breeds of dogs
- Dalmatians: 10-13 years
- Labrador Retriever: 12-14 years
- Gordon Setter: 10-12 years
- Saint Bernard: 8-10 years
How do I know my Labrador is getting old?
- The dog is no longer as active as it used to be
- Long sleep and rest phases
- Due to the reduced urge to move, some dogs tend to be overweight
- Problems with the musculoskeletal system (hips, joints, back, bones)
- Adaptability declines
- Visual weakness as well as decreased hearing can occur
- Some Labs are no longer house trained in old age
- The coat loses its shine and slowly turns gray (especially on the face)
- Age ailments occur and the Labrador is sometimes more susceptible to disease
Does the Labrador have changed needs with age?
- The daily exercise and training volume should be adjusted to the age of the Labrador in order to prevent exhaustion. Walks can now be a little quieter, but should still take place several times a day. Exercise strengthens the muscles, ensures good blood circulation and keeps your four-legged friend fit.
- The structure of the coat can change and the dog is more sensitive to cool temperatures . In the house he therefore needs a warm place with a cuddly dog pillow that shields him well from the cold of the floor. Since the dog sleeps and dozes longer and more often, the sleeping area should be as well padded and comfortable as possible. This effectively prevents bed calluses. Should the dog still get some, they can be gently creamed.
- Ideal for older dogs: dog ramp for entering the car. Stiff joints, aching bones and the like can be quite a problem for the Labrador. Problems with the hip or elbow are also potential health problems. Anyone who has previously played a brisk sport such as agility with their dog should shift down a gear, as jumps and other stressful movements must be avoided. The Labrador should no longer hop on its own in the car either. To make it easier for him to get into the trunk or the back seat, you can buy a dog ramp. This also protects your back, as the Labrador weighs up to 36 kg. Climbing stairs is also poison for ailing joints and must be avoided.
- In order to avoid obesity, the daily food ration should be reduced if necessary or switched to senior-friendly dog food. This often contains fewer calories and more fiber, which is beneficial for healthy digestion. Even with treats should now be economized.
- If your Labrador should become incontinent, there is no reason to despair. Dog diapers are very useful in this rare case, especially at night. Absorbent puppy pads can also offer a place to loosen them inside the apartment. A cheaper alternative are children’s diapers, in which a hole is cut for the tail.
- During the day, you should take the dog outside for a few minutes more often in addition to normal walks so that he can do his business. If you have a plot of land, you can save yourself these short mini-walks and let him in the garden.
How can I contribute to a long and healthy Labrador life?
1. Breeder’s choice
As with any other breed of dog, Labradors can also have genetic diseases. Such hereditary diseases have to be avoided through good selection. That is why stud dogs and bitches that are to be approved for breeding are thoroughly tested for a wide variety of diseases and only the best are used for mating.
So there is a high probability that healthy offspring will be produced and you will get an all-round fit and agile puppy.
Therefore, if you want to buy a Labrador, you should look for a reputable breeder!
2. Balanced diet
A healthy diet can contribute much to a long life of the Labrador Retriever. Those who cater to the various needs of the puppy, young dog, adult and finally senior, ensure an optimal supply of all important nutrients, good growth and optimal support of the body functions.
High quality feed mainly contains meat, followed by vegetables and fruit. Cheap dog food, on the other hand, unfortunately often contains filling fillers like wheat, which, however, hardly contribute to a balanced diet. So it’s worth taking a look at the ingredients.
If you don’t want to rely on the manufacturer, you can also take care of the complete composition of the feed yourself. In the case of raw feeding, only fresh ingredients are used, which are usually raw, sometimes cooked or pureed in the dog bowl.
The most important component here is also the meat. However, not only muscle meat is fed, but also bones, cartilage, intestines and often even fur and blood.
3. Physical and mental fitness
The Labrador Retriever was originally bred for hunting and is also very popular as a therapy dog, guide dog and rescue dog.
This is due to its obedience and high intelligence. In order to use it mentally and physically, exercise and brain work is an absolute must.
The Labrador needs regular exercise and wants to be challenged again and again with new tasks. Dog sport is ideal for those who have a great urge to run and exercise.
One appointment per year (often the intervals are even longer) and the dog is protected from dangerous diseases. You don’t have to vaccinate too much, but you should pay attention to which vaccinations are really necessary and useful!
Many of these infections are very painful and protracted, and some can even be fatal.
Save your dog unnecessary pain and suffering and always keep vaccination appointments.
Bitches seem to benefit most from early spaying (before or after the first heat), as this procedure prevents tumors in the uterus and can also successfully prevent inflammation of the uterus. However, this intervention is very controversial for extending life. Statistically, the success is rather low.
But the males also supposedly benefit from castration. Both sexes are predicted to last up to 2 years longer after this procedure. This statement is also not clearly scientifically proven. It is very likely that this is a false assumption. – Therefore, neutering is very controversial!
6. Wormers and flea treatments
They’re gross, uncomfortable, and cause diarrhea, itching, and worse problems if left untreated: parasites. Every dog will sooner or later be haunted by these pests and must be treated accordingly.
So if you notice an infestation in the Labrador, it is important to visit a veterinarian immediately. Most of the time, fighting these pests is quick and easy. However, regular flea and worming treatments throughout the year can help keep the dog healthy even without any apparent infestation.
7. Prevent tartar
Tartar not only looks unsightly, it also creates significant problems. The stubborn coating often leads to reluctance to eat and causes inflammation of the gums in the mouth.
Germs can get into the bloodstream through these foci of inflammation and thus spread throughout the body. Organ damage is a possible consequence.
The best thing to do is to prevent tartar build-up in puppies with the right food or food additives. Or, as an adult, have the dog regularly examined by the vet and remove the tartar if necessary. By the way, with species-appropriate food, tartar formation is minimized and may never be a problem.
8. Old age check-up at the veterinarian
Eye problems, joint pain, hip dysplasia… The possible diseases in old age are diverse. If you bring your aging Labrador to the veterinary for a preventive check-up at least once a year , you will help diagnose and treat or alleviate infections, diseases and age-related problems in good time.
The sooner a therapy is initiated, the more promising are the chances of recovery. This also applies to cancer, which is more common in old dogs and is one of the main causes of death in four-legged friends. That is why the vet will also carry out appropriate cancer screening at these appointments.
Important: You should go to these preventive appointments even if the dog appears healthy and lively.
9. Short daily health checks
Include small check-ups in the daily care of the Labrador. In this way, you too can quickly discover changes in the dog and act in an emergency or go to the veterinary. For example, watch out for the following abnormalities:
- Hair loss
- Scales or crusts on the skin
- Ticks and other parasite infestations
- Wounds, inflammation, redness
- Foreign growths (especially on the paws and in the mouth)
- Secretions from the nose, eyes, ears
- Diarrhea / constipation
- Smelly ears, increased wax
- Cracked and dry paws
- Swelling and bumps under the skin
10. A dog-friendly home
The Labrador is quite large with a vertical height of up to 60 cm and can easily reach many objects in the household. Therefore, remove fragile or poisonous things and other sources of danger from their range of movement accordingly.
Also, keep in mind that the dog can often easily jump over a simple garden fence. Therefore, plan a corresponding height when designing the garden. A balcony railing isn’t a real obstacle for the Labrador either, and dogs often underestimate heights.
11. Avoid risks en route
Many dogs love to drive, but should be secured accordingly. A dog harness with a double connection for the back seat can do a good job, but the Labrador is quite heavy and despite the harness it could injure itself in an accident. A transport crate in the trunk that is aligned across the direction of travel is better. It offers the dog and other inmates the greatest possible protection.
The Labrador should always be kept on a leash on busy streets and in the city. You protect your four-legged friend and other road users. On the other hand, the dog can be leashed in a wide hallway, on a large property or in a dog park.
However, it should be retrievable and it should have learned that it is not allowed to pick up or eat anything on the go (poison bait). Also be careful when coming into contact with unknown other four-legged friends. There could be biting and diseases can also be transmitted through contact with dogs.
Dog accessories should be cleaned regularly so that parasites have no chance of spreading and germs are also effectively combated.
Care, wash or clean the following equipment at certain time intervals:
- Leash, harness, collar
- Poop scooper
- Dog basket / dog bed (wash at least 60 °C)
- Water bowl / food bowl (rinse with hot water)
- Transport crate and blankets in the car
- Care utensils such as combs and brushes (replace if necessary)
My Labrador Dies – The Rainbow Bridge
Should my dog die at home or in the veterinary?
Although we know that the time together with your four-legged friend is limited, it still hits most owners like a blow when they finally have to say goodbye.
And unfortunately this often takes place in a veterinary practice. If it is actually hard enough to let the lived Labrador go, the farewell in a cool and sterile practice or clinic is made even more difficult.
Ask your veterinarian whether he can make house calls and euthanasia at your home.
This eliminates the drive to the practice, you can say goodbye in peace and mourn and the dog also feels safer in his home. His family gives him security and he is usually much more relaxed.
It’s nice if you are there for your Labrador’s last walk and accompany him to the rainbow bridge. It is certainly not a goodbye forever. At the end of the bridge he will be waiting longingly for you and his pack.
Can I bury the Labrador at home?
You have several options for having the dog buried. You can take the process into your own hands and plan, or you can consult a professional from the animal funeral home.
1. Bury the Labrador in the pet cemetery
Animal undertakers and operators of the pet cemetery will help you choose the right type of burial (coffin / urn) and will be happy to respond to your individual wishes for the grave site.
This can be designed as you like and even provided with a tombstone for the beloved four-legged friend.
If the Labrador has been cremated, you can also have the ashes handed over to you.
2. Bury my dead Labrador in the garden
The Labrador is a very large and powerful dog. The burial in the garden can therefore be a bit difficult.
It is easier, however, to have the dog cremated first and then buried in the garden. The space required is considerably smaller and no regulations have to be observed. You can also scatter the ashes or keep them indoors.
3. Biodegradable urn with seeds – my Labrador will become a tree
Urns that decompose in the ground are a special form.
These contain a tree seed that feeds on the ashes and the surrounding soil and creates a wonderful tree from the dog’s former remains.
A beautiful and lasting memory for many years or even decades.
Are there alternatives?
1. Labrador as an animal diamond – diamonds of love
It is possible to make a synthetic diamond from the dog’s ashes. This can be inserted into a piece of jewelry and then worn. A memory for eternity, but also a very expensive undertaking.
The manufacturing process has its price.
2. At the vet
Whoever cannot or does not want to bury the dog may leave his remains in the veterinary practice. From there it is finally picked up by the animal body disposal department and cremated for disease protection reasons.
3. Ash medallion
A small amount of the ashes are placed in a medallion after burning. So you can always carry your beloved four-legged friend close to your heart.