Getting a dog to call your own is something that every dog lover would want at one point in their lives. You might be one of these dog lovers who just can’t wait to have a furball running around in your home. You still have to do it right though.
This is one reason why you are looking at different breeds before deciding on which specific one to settle for. You might want to go for something more exotic, or you might choose to stick to something more traditional. This is why you are looking at the Labrador.
The Labrador, or the Lab, is widely described as America’s favorite dog. This is because they are docile in nature and an absolutely fun-loving breed. They are great as family pets, even around toddlers and other children. These traits have seen them invade the homes of a good number of dog owners.
And to your visit to your local shelter or a breeder, you may have noticed one that made your heart melt. As a pet though, how long will it get to love, you, frustrate you and be your companion?
The Lifespan of a Labrador.
Generally, the larger the dog, the shorter lifespan it will have. This trend is apparent when you look at small dogs such as the Russell Terriers or Chihuahuas will comfortably do 16 to 20 years, in comparison to a hulking Bernese Mountain Dog that will struggle to do 10 years.
But perhaps one of the reasons that the Labrador has endeared itself into the hearts of many Americans is the fact that it disregards what the statistics say, and will comfortably be by your side for a respectable 12 to 14 years.
But there is a caveat. You have to take care of the dog in the way that it should be taken care of. Also, there is no guarantee that every individual will get to that age. Some will develop behavioral problems along the way and will have to be put down. Others will face illness or injuries that will have them crossing the rainbow bridge earlier than anticipated.
However, there is something else. The Labrador is available in four different colors; well, three. These are yellow, black, chocolate and silver. The silver though has a lot of controversy around it and is therefore considered a subset of chocolate Labradors.
While it is true that the yellow and black Labradors can live for up to 12 to 14 years, the chocolate Labrador may struggle to live that long. Research conducted by British and Australian scientists has concluded that the average age that the chocolate Labrador will live to is 10.5 years.
Influences that will determine how long your Labrador will live.
While it is expected that your dog will live to a ripe old age, there are many things that can affect how long it will live. Below are various reasons that will determine how long your dog lives.
1. Nutrition and exercise.
Yes, a dog is a wonderful pet. That doesn’t mean it’s meant to be cooped up in the house the whole day. Before settling on a dog of a particular breed, it would be best to look at what exactly it needs in terms of nutrition and exercise before getting one.
A Labrador is a very energetic dog. As such, it requires a lot of exercise for it to burn away all the energy. If you don’t live next to a dog park, then you should consider taking your pup on walks that are at least 90 minutes long.
If you are more of the active type, then you have a companion to accompany you on your jogs or hikes. Jogging for at least 45 minutes will physically tire out your Labrador. If you are not too much into physical activity, that doesn’t mean your dog can’t get the opportunity to tire themselves out. Play a game of fetch with them, they’d be happy to.
Also, what you feed your dog matters. Your lab’s diet should consist of at least 50 percent of animal protein, 30 percent will be made up of carbs and the remaining 20 percent can be taken up by fruits and vegetables.
Ensure that what you feed your dog is of a similar quality to what you would eat. Poor quality feeds are responsible for causing various medical issues with dogs, some which may end up shortening the life of your new found partner.
2. Health Conditions.
While we love them for being absolute goof balls, it would be best to realize they are not just a moving toy, but rather a functioning organism. As such, they may be prone to various illnesses and conditions throughout their lives. These conditions can either be brought on as a result of the genes the dog is carrying, or even just by the sheer size of the dog. For Labradors though, there are specific illnesses and conditions that it may go through in its life. Taking care of your pet’s health might be expensive and health insurance is a possible option. At PolicyScout, you can read more about different types of pet insurance to know what to expect when you decide to take a pet.
2.1. Hip Dysplasia.
This is a condition that is common in dogs that are medium to large in size, so don’t be worried too much about it. However, it is still a serious condition if your dog does develop it.
Hip dysplasia simply means that the socket that is wrapped around the ball of the thigh bone to form a joint is not properly developed. Whereas a healthy one would completely cover the ball, with hip dysplasia, it only covers a portion of it. This can result in the hip coming out of the joint in a dislocation.
This could cause mobility problems for your dog, and even lead to arthritis if the condition is not checked.
2.2. Patellar Luxation.
Here is another condition that is common among medium to large size dogs. Though the term may look complex, what it actually means is that the kneecap will come off its groove on the femur. This can be very painful to your dog, and will even affect mobility.
This condition can be caused either by trauma directly on the knee cap, or as a result of genetic deficiencies. If it is due to the latter, then it will become apparent as soon as the puppy hits four months
3. Neutering and Spaying.
If you are not looking to become a breeder, this is a procedure that you should consider for your dogs. Like a good number of living organisms, your dog is also prone to developing cancer. This is especially true of the reproductive parts of the pup.
Apart from just stopping your pup from reproducing, neutering and spaying have been known to reduce the risk that your pup will develop testicular or uterine cancer. These cancers can easily spread to other parts of the body, making treatment a losing battle.
Also, dogs go wandering in search of sexual partners. When neutering or spaying is done, there will be no urge to reproduce, and thus, no need to go wandering. This also saves your female dog from having to experience the stresses of birth.
In all, the average life of a Labrador can range from 12 to 14 years. However, it doesn’t mean that yours will be the exception to the norm. There once was a beautiful lab by the name of Adjutant. He lived for a good 27 years from 1936 to 1963. There is no reason why your dog shouldn’t do the same.