Who’s the best companion when you’re all alone with no one to comfort you? You guessed it right: your dog. And what’s the favorite dog breed amongst Americans? The beloved Labrador Retriever, of course, which tops the dogs’ popularity list because of how friendly, polite, intelligent, and lovable this dog is.
When you’re trying to adopt a Lab, many questions can pop in your head. The one that’s crucial is the lifespan of this breed, as it determines how long your new friend will be by your side.
What’s the lifespan of a Labrador Retriever?
It is a no-brainer that a dog’s lifespan is shorter than that of a human. Agnes Sligh Turnbull says “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”, and it’s a sad truth that we haven’t been able to change yet.
Science, please do something about that.
A healthy Labrador retriever can live up to ten to fourteen years on average. That depends on many factors of course, and while some labs can live for several years after the mentioned life expectancy, others don’t even make it to a decade.
What you can do though is giving it proper care to ensure a long and comfortable friendship between the two of you.
On what does that lifespan depend?
The lifespan of a retriever depends on two main factors
- The genetic factor, which you can’t control as it comes from the parents’ genes
- The lifestyle factors, for which you can control the different components
The genetic factor
Besides determining its color and coat type, genetics also control a dog’s structure and physical build, along with how well it adapts to its environment and how it performs some activities like running and barking.
Basically, most of the good and the bad traits of the parents are passed to the offspring, including life expectancy, and humans can not control it.
How does it work? Science didn’t give a definitive answer to that question, not yet at least, but it’s most likely because puppies inherit specific genes that would increase their lifespan indirectly be enhancing their chance of good health, or on the contrary, decrease it through bad genes.
Thankfully, Labradors are among the lucky dogs that have an excellent proportioned physical structure and low chance of developing cancer, which results in a good lifespan compared to other breeds.
The lifestyle factors
When it comes to genetics, the only thing you can do is choosing the parents. Lifestyle, on the other hand, is where you can intervene to ensure your dog has a long lifespan. Here are the aspects you can control to keep your best friend by your side for as long as possible. You can find also Facts That Every Labrador Puppy Owner Needs to Know
Make sure to feed your dog healthy meals only. Meat and cooked home food are good, but you’re better off consulting your vet for the optimum diet for your dog as some pets are allergic to specific nourishment, which can lead to health problems.
On the other hands, you must control how much food your dog devours, as bodyweight is not to be taken lightly in Labradors, and it dramatically affects its longevity. People today strive to feed their dogs all the yummies that they can get their hand on. Don’t be like that. Obesity is a serious problem that you wouldn’t want your dog to suffer from.
You need to either learn the basics to train your lab yourself or hire a dog trainer to take care of that task for you. Practice is an essential aspect of a dog’s life as it determines how it behaves, especially when it’s alone.
Make sure your dog loves physical exercise, and train it to be fearless when it comes to hospital visits as they’re crucial to ensure good health.
Nobody loves injections, including dogs, but you can’t ignore them, no matter what cute-eyes look your lab may give you. That especially applies when you live in a region where many contagious diseases may threaten your dog’s life.
Verdict: Can you control your dog’s longevity?
Yes and no. If your Labrador Retriever has inherited bad genes, it’s most likely to have a short life, no matter how hard you try to keep it healthy and sound. On the other hand, if your dog has good genes, you’re bound to have a long friendship with it.
No matter what you end up with, try to give your dog the best possible life, as it deserves it.
Do you have any tips for dog owners to increase their pets’ lifespans? Share your knowledge with us in the comments.