The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is between 12 to 14 years. However, dogs do not live that long if they are not healthy and do not maintain a happy life. Pretty much like you and me, dogs also need to have the right conditions to be able to live up to what are expected of them and to bring out the best in them. Since your Labrador Retriever does not have all the capacities as you do, it will definitely need your help in order to have a long and happy life. As your dog ages, it can face a lot of possibilities and challenges. Some can be easily coped, while there may be health threats that your dogs will meet and he would surely need your attention and corresponding treatment.
Pretty much like humans, heart and kidney diseases are also common in aging dogs. Its immune system and regular body functions will start to deteriorate and will eventually affect their routines as they grow older. However, this does not mean that you will stop enjoying the companionship and friendship that your old Labrador retriever brings. Having a Lab who is enjoying his twilight years is indeed a blessing to you and the rest of the family. For many long years, you and your old Lab have been through a lot and you have survived the ups and downs of your lives together. Your dog already knows you too well that even a movement of your head will mean something to him. He already knows your habits, what you like and dislike. They may no longer be as active and energetic to play with as they were younger, but they are simply great companions.
Disease such as arthritis and joint stiffness are also common in older dogs. These conditions are felt more often during the cold and chilly seasons of the year. This may affect his mood and functioning level and you might need to address his needs appropriately. Bringing your pet to your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment will surely go a long way in alleviating his symptoms and help him have a better life. You can also do your share by giving him a comfortable bed to sleep in where he can be protected from adverse weather conditions. Leaving them out in the cold can worsen joint stiffness which can be quite painful and debilitating while leaving your dog out when temperatures are soaring will surely make them primary candidates for heat stroke.
Digestion may be another problem in aging dogs. As a dog grows older, its digestive system may not function as efficiently compared to when it was younger. It is for this reason that you should watch what your dog eats to help prevent untoward stomach upsets and ailments. Some will also have problems controlling their sphincters thus you may expect some accidents with their bathroom duties.
Common reliefs and treatments for your pet must be learned, too. It is important to ask your veterinarian for supplements that you can give to your dog to support his body and enable him to enjoy your day to day activities. Also remember that as they grow older, they will need proper nutrition coupled with enough exercise to grant them a longer life. Their need for stimulation and exercise can grow even higher even if they start to falter when they walk or run.
As your dog grows older, expect him to slow down and that he will no longer be as active as he once was. As he approaches the rainbow bridge, let him go gracefully and be thankful for the opportunity to have spent a part of your life with a loyal and loving friend.
Death and dying is never an easy topic. However, it is one of the inevitabilities in life that we need to face. Now that your pet is at its prime, take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy life together. Make the most out of it. For when the time comes, you have to learn to let go. When it is time to say goodbye, do not hold on, for he is going to a beautiful place beyond the rainbow bridge where happiness knows no bounds.