What Do Labs Usually Die From? All Diseases Listed

Labrador puppies, known for their friendly nature and loyalty, are one of America’s most popular dog breeds. Despite being generally healthy dogs, Labs—like any breed—can experience health issues that shorten their lifespan. So what do labs usually die from?

We will explore common causes of death among Labrador Retrievers, such as cancer and musculoskeletal disorders, shedding light on how to preserve your Lab’s well-being.

What Color Labrador Lifespan is the Longest?

While no definitive evidence suggests that any specific coat color in Labrador Retrievers directly impacts their lifespan, some studies show variations based on environmental factors and genetics.

The average labrador retriever lifespan ranges from 10 to 14 years.

Among the three standard colors – chocolate labradors, black labradors, and yellow, anecdotal evidence suggests that black Labs may have slightly longer lifespans than their chocolate or yellow counterparts.

However, this could also be attributed to differences in breeding practices or genetic diversity

yellow labs pedigree dogs.
what do labs usually die from

What Health Problems Does The Average Labrador Retriever Have?

Despite being among the most popular dog breeds, Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to various health issues. Some of the common health problems that most labrador retrievers encounter include:

  • Obesity: Labs have a voracious appetite and are prone to weight gain, leading to several obesity-related health concerns.
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: These musculoskeletal disorders can result in painful joint inflammation and decreased mobility.
  • Ear Infections: Otitis externa is prevalent in Labradors due to their floppy ears, which can trap moisture and promote bacterial growth.
  • Bloat: A life-threatening condition that causes the stomach to twist, cutting off blood supply and requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Lymphoma: This cancer type appears more frequently in Labrador Retrievers than in other breeds.
  • Heart Diseases: Labs may develop tricuspid valve dysplasia or dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Eye Conditions: Labs are prone to inherited eye issues like progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts, leading to vision impairment or even blindness if left untreated.
life espectancy, mast cell tumors
what do labs usually die from

Labrador Death: Causes and Why?

Labradors usually die from cancer, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, hip dysplasia, obesity, and otitis external. Apart from this they are also prone to kidney failure, skin disease and more.


Cancer is the leading cause of death among Labradors, with lymphoma or lymphosarcoma being more prevalent in this breed than others. Various factors contribute to developing dog cancer, including genetic predisposition and environmental influences.

Labrador Retriever owners must diligently check for lumps and bumps on their dog’s bodies as early detection plays a crucial role in successful treatment outcomes.

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure your Labrador stays healthy and that any potential issues can be addressed promptly.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a major concern for Labrador Retriever owners as it is one of the leading causes of death in Labs.

DJD, also known as osteoarthritis, is a chronic and progressive degeneration of cartilage, tissue, and synovial fluid within the joints.

Labradors are especially prone to DJD due to their genetics and structure. Their active lifestyle and weight-bearing joints can contribute to damage over time, possibly leading to this debilitating condition.


Arthritis is a common health problem for Labrador Retrievers, affecting around 20% of the breed. It is a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and pain, leading to limping, stiffness, and difficulty moving.

Fortunately, there are several ways to treat arthritis in Labradors. Proper veterinary care, including medication and physical therapy, can help manage symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life.

Providing your dog with joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may also be beneficial.

labrador lifespan; chocolate labrador; chocolate labradors
what do labs usually die from

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common musculoskeletal disorder found in Labrador Retrievers. It occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit properly, causing friction and discomfort while moving.

This can lead to arthritis and other orthopedic problems later in life.

Obesity can also increase the likelihood of developing hip dysplasia, so keeping your Lab at a healthy weight through regular exercise and proper diet is essential.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping, stiffness, difficulty getting up or lying down, reluctance to move around, loss of muscle mass in the hind legs, and decreased range of motion.


Obesity is a significant health issue for the Labrador retriever breed and can intensify the symptoms of other serious diseases, decreasing their quality of life. This breed is prone to excessive weight gain due to their love for food and lack of exercise.

According to a study focused on Labrador retrievers under primary veterinary care in the UK, Labradors are likelier to be overweight/obese than other breeds.

Obesity stresses joints, increasing the risk of joint problems like degenerative joint disease and hip dysplasia.

It also raises the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions that can shorten a dog’s lifespan. That’s why you must monitor your dog’s weight and provide regular exercises, such as daily walks or low-impact activities like swimming or fetch games in moderation.

Otitis Externa

Otitis externa, or ear infection, is a common health issue in Labrador retrievers. Bacteria, allergies, and parasites can cause this condition.

Prevention is key when it comes to otitis externa. Owners should keep their Labradors’ ears clean and dry after swimming or bathing. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian also help identify any early signs of an ear infection.

dog eats too much; kidney failure.
what do labs usually die from

How Can You Prolong The Life Of This Large Dog Breed?

To prolong the life of your Labrador Retriever, it is essential to talk to your breeder and keep your dog at a healthy weight by providing joint supplements and avoiding early spay/neuter; read on for more tips!

Talk To Your Breeder

Before purchasing a Labrador Retriever, talking to the breeder about potential health issues affecting the dog’s lifespan is essential. Ask for veterinary records of both parents and any previous litters, including information on genetic testing and predisposed conditions.

A responsible breeder will prioritize their dogs’ welfare over profit and be transparent about possible health risks.

In addition, make sure the puppies have been appropriately socialized from an early age, as this can significantly impact their behavior in adulthood.

Don’t Spay Or Neuter Too Soon

Research has shown that spaying or neutering your Labrador Retriever too early could have negative health consequences in the long run. According to some experts, dogs fixed before one year old might be at a higher risk for specific health problems such as hip dysplasia and musculoskeletal disorders.

By waiting until your Lab is mature enough before getting them fixed, you may decrease their risk of developing joint issues and other related conditions later in life.

death in labradors; labrador deaths
what do labs usually die from

Keep Your Dog At A Healthy Weight

Keeping your Labrador Retriever at a healthy weight is essential for their overall health and can help prolong their lifespan. Obesity can lead to several health problems, such as joint issues, heart disease, and diabetes.

To keep your Lab at a healthy weight, you should pay attention to their diet and exercise routine. Please provide them with high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs but isn’t excessive calories.

Offer low-calorie treats or substitute them with safe fruits or vegetables for dogs. Regular exercise is crucial as it helps burn excess fat and build muscle mass.

Provide Your Dog With Joint Supplements

Joint supplements are crucial to keeping your Labrador Retriever healthy and active.

These supplements, such as Virbac Movoflex or Synovi Chews, can help protect the cartilage in their joints and prevent conditions like arthritis, common in larger breeds like Labradors.

Joint supplements should not replace proper exercise or medical treatment for significant health issues. However, incorporating these supplements into your dog’s daily routine can greatly prolong their lives.

What Is The Average Age For A Lab To Die?

On average, this popular dog breed lives between 10 to 14 years. However, some factors such as genetics, environment, and overall health can impact their lifespan.

  1. The median labrador lifespan is approximately 12 years.
  2. Males typically have slightly shorter lifespans than females.
  3. Dogs with certain diseases or conditions may experience a shorter lifespan.
  4. Traumatic injuries and accidents can also lead to premature death in Labs.
  5. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care can help extend your dog’s life expectancy.

That being said, providing your furry friend with love and attention while maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help ensure they live happy lives before they pass away naturally.

most popular dog breed
what do labs usually die from

How Do You Know When Your Labrador Is Dying?

Some signs that a Labrador is in the end stages of life include weight loss, fatigue, and poor coordination; read on to learn how to care for your aging Lab.

Extreme Weight Loss

One of the most significant signs that a Labrador is nearing the end of its life is extreme weight loss. Several factors, including cancer or gastrointestinal issues, can cause this.

In dogs with cancer, cachexia, a severe reduction in body condition, often occurs, leading to drastic weight loss.

Pet owners must monitor their Labrador’s eating habits and overall condition regularly. Weight loss and other symptoms like fatigue and poor coordination may indicate that your dog is at the end of their life.


Fatigue is a common symptom observed in Labradors approaching the end of their life. This may manifest itself as lethargy, tiredness, or even general weakness. As dogs age, they tend to slow down and become less active than they used to be.

Owners may start noticing that their dog’s energy levels are decreasing over time; it can be an early sign of aging and reduced muscle mass.

Elderly labradors have been known to sleep longer during the day than younger ones, who tend to remain highly energetic throughout the day. With such behavior changes expected of aging pets, pet owners need not worry too much about this issue.

senior dogs; very healthy dogs
what do labs usually die from

Poor Coordination

Poor coordination can be a worrying symptom in Labrador Retrievers and may be linked to a neurological condition called wobbler disease. This genetically inherited disease affects the dog’s neck vertebrae, causing spinal cord compression and poor nerve function and mobility.

Not all cases of poor coordination are related to wobbler disease – other factors like hip dysplasia or arthritis can also cause issues with movement. Dogs may experience decreased mobility as they age due to general body wear and tear.

How Can I Keep My Labrador Live Healthily?

To keep your Labrador healthy, it is vital to monitor their diet and weight, provide low-impact exercises, give them vitamins and supplements, avoid over-hydrating them, and groom them regularly.

Low-Impact Exercises

Labrador Retrievers are a breed that loves to play and be active. Still, high-impact exercise can put a strain on their joints and increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Fortunately, low-impact exercises like swimming and walking can help keep Labradors healthy without putting too much stress on their bodies.

Swimming is an ideal form of exercise for Labs because it strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and helps maintain a healthy weight while being gentle on the joints.

Vitamins And Supplements

In addition to a healthy diet, vitamins, and supplements can play an essential role in keeping your Labrador Retriever healthy.

Vitamin D is crucial for bone growth, including Labradors, prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis. Potassium and B vitamins may also be recommended for dogs with liver disease.

labrador retriever lifespan; labrador lifepspan.
what do labs usually die from

Monitor Eating Habits

Overeating can lead to obesity, a common problem in Labradors that can contribute to hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease, and other health issues.

Feed your dog twice daily to prevent overeating, and avoid leaving food out all day. Labradors are notorious for their love of food, so indulging them with treats frequently can be tempting. However, limit your dog’s treats because excess calories add up quickly.

Instead, opt for low-calorie snacks such as baby carrots or green beans that satisfy their cravings without adding unnecessary pounds.

Avoid Over Hydrating

Over-hydration can impact electrolyte levels in the dog’s body, leading to health complications such as bloating and even death in severe cases.

Pet dehydration can also lead to health issues within 24 hours of inadequate water intake. As a Labrador owner, you must monitor your pet’s water consumption and avoid providing excessive water during or after exercise.

Invest in a high-quality automatic dog fountain with adjustable flow settings or multiple bowls distributed throughout the house to promote healthy hydration habits for your dog.

This helps prevent your pet from consuming too much water from one location while promoting increased daily activity.

Groom Your Lab Well

Regular bathing, brushing, and trimming can prevent skin infections, matting, and other issues that may compromise their well-being.

You should brush your Lab’s coat at least once a week to remove any loose fur or debris that may cause irritation or discomfort.

Keeping your Lab’s ears clean is also crucial, as they are prone to ear infections due to the shape of their external ear canal. Cleaning the ears with a veterinarian-approved solution regularly prevents the build-up of wax and bacteria.

what do labs usually die from
what do labs usually die from

Different Health Tests & Programs For Labrador Retrievers:

Various health tests and programs can help keep your Labrador Retriever healthy, including:

  • Eye exams: Labradors are prone to vision problems, such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular eye exams can detect these issues early on.
  • Hip and elbow evaluations: Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common musculoskeletal disorders in Labs. These evaluations can identify any signs of these conditions.
  • DNA testing: Genetic mutations can lead to inherited diseases like exercise-induced collapse and centronuclear myopathy. DNA testing can detect these mutations so that you can take steps to manage or prevent them.
  • Blood chemistry panels: Routine blood work can help detect organ dysfunction or other health issues before they become serious.
  • Heart exams: Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to heart disease, particularly cardiomyopathy. Heart exams can help monitor your dog’s heart function and catch any issues early on.
  • Dental cleanings: Labs are prone to dental disease, leading to infections and tooth loss. Regular dental cleanings are essential for their overall health.
  • Weight management plans: Obesity is a significant issue in Labs and can contribute to numerous health problems. Working with your vet to develop a weight management plan tailored to your dog’s needs is essential.
  • Vaccinations: Immunizations protect against serious illnesses like distemper, parvovirus, rabies, and more.
  • Parasite prevention: Fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other parasites pose significant risks to Labradors’ health. Parasite prevention measures include monthly flea/tick preventatives and regular heartworm medication.

Regular checkups with your veterinarian and the recommended tests and programs above will help ensure your furry companion stays healthy for years!

Labrador lifespan compare to other dogs

Dog BreedAverage Lifespan
Labrador Retriever10-12 years
German Shepherd9-13 years
Golden Retriever10-12 years
Bulldog8-10 years
Beagle12-15 years
Poodle10-18 years
Boxer10-12 years
Dachshund12-16 years
Yorkshire Terrier13-16 years
Chihuahua12-20 years
Shih Tzu10-18 years
Rottweiler8-10 years
French Bulldog10-12 years
Siberian Husky12-14 years
Great Dane7-10 years
Cocker Spaniel10-14 years

FAQs: Labrador Retriever Breed Death

What is the average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever?

The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is around 10 to 12 years.

What health conditions do Labradors commonly suffer from?

Labradors commonly suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, obesity, ear infections, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, exercise-induced collapse (EIC), and certain types of cancer.

What is the longest recorded lifespan of a Labrador Retriever?

The longest recorded lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is 29 years.

Which breed of dog generally lives the longest?

The Chihuahua breed generally has the longest lifespan, an average of 12 to 20 years or more.

What percentage of Labradors live to 15 years?

No specific data is available regarding the percentage of Labradors that live to 15 years.

Is 13 years a good age for a Labrador?

Yes, 13 years is considered a good age for a Labrador.

Author Profile

Samta Pandey
Samta PandeyIn House Labrador Trainer
Samta is an experienced Labrador trainer and enthusiast with over 5 years of hands-on experience, contributing invaluable insights and advice to Labradorandyou.com. Her deep understanding of Labrador temperament and intelligence underpins her effective training techniques and product recommendations. Through firsthand experience of the joys and challenges of raising Labradors, Samta's articles provide expert advice for both seasoned and new Labrador owners, covering training, care, and innovative product selection. Her commitment to enhancing the well-being of Labradors and their owners permeates her work, making it an indispensable resource for Labrador enthusiasts