To be a 10-year-old dog is a blessed accomplishment, and the breed has an expected life span of 10-12 years. Reaching this mature age brings the beauty of many years of fun memories behind them.
What do I need to know about my 10-year-old Lab?
Since Labradors are only expected to live for 10-12 years, a 10-year-old Labrador will likely be slowing down. They might sleep more, eat less, and be a bit slower to engage in playtime. It’s worth giving your 10-year-old Labrador some extra love and some slack for new, problematic behaviors, as they likely won’t be around much longer.
As parents, it can be hard to think about this time, as worries about health and longevity come to mind. Hopefully, up until this point, every aspect of a Labrador Retrievers’ life has been enriching, enjoyable, and filled with love and care.
Now is a time for continued care to promote as long a life as possible while offering more loving moments for them to enjoy. Read on to find out what comes next in a Labrador Retrievers’ life once they have reached this age.
10-Year-Old Labrador Retriever – What You Need to Know
Exercise and Energy
Up until this point, a Labrador Retrievers day has included lots of fun adventures, work, and play. They’ve experienced many things and hopefully shared a lot of outdoor playtime with their loving family. As a sporting group dog breed, they’ve probably been the pack’s leader on many days.
A Labrador Retriever may need more rest in their day as a senior dog. The amount of time they exercise in their day may be less than it once was, which is okay.
At this stage of life, they should regulate whatever they want to do in their day regarding exercise and physical activity. Each day will likely be different as issues with arthritis, joint problems, and other areas like their eyes may come into play.
Some 10-year-old Labradors will spend their days inside, only venturing out for a quick bathroom break and a short walk. Other Labrador Retrievers will still have that same zest for life and energy they did as puppies.
Embrace whatever they want and need and take every moment as it comes. It can be helpful to keep an eye on how they behave. A veterinary visit might be good if they seem extra sluggish, barely venturing outside for multiple days.
If they seem to be doing too much and never slowing down, removing them, and spending some quality time can be a good idea. Some dogs can’t regulate their behaviors and activities, and we will need help.
As a parent, finding a balance is always best. Of course, if they have existing health issues, those should be respected, and the parent will need to manage their daily activities.
Health issues can crop up at any time in a dog’s life, but by age 10, they are more common for most Labrador Retrievers. For this reason, veterinary care is more important than ever, and annual checkups are vitally important, and at other times, they may also need vet care.
Labrador Retrievers are a fairly healthy dog breed but can have their issues. Each dog is individual, but some can suffer age-related eye, bone, and joint issues. Other dogs might suffer more complex issues of the heart, kidneys, and certain types of cancers.
Other age-related illnesses that are more nuisance than disease include digestive upsets like vomiting and diarrhea, fatigue, dental caries, and weight loss. These issues are common across all senior dogs, with some suffering more than others.
Any issues that seem severe or come on suddenly warrant a trip to their veterinarian. They can also be slower to heal at this age, so cuts, bumps, and wounds will need to be watched for infection.
Arthritis is a common problem for older dogs, particularly larger dogs. Ensuring the home is safe for the senior Labrador Retriever is a good idea. Injuries can easily happen as joints and the whole body suffers wear and tear with time.
Limiting the use of stairs and ensuring that dog areas are skid proof and soft can be a big help. Adjustments might need to be made to ensure that the Labrador Retriever has easy and safe access to their food and water bowls, sleep area, and outside.
A harness versus a collar might be more comfortable, and ramps can come in handy for the Labrador and their parents for trips in the car. Specifically, raised water and food bowls can prevent neck strain, and beds for seniors are designed for comfort and joint health.
Since some dogs have trouble regulating their body temperature as they age, providing a warmer spot to sleep and a cozy sweater during certain seasons would be welcome care.
A 10-year-old Labrador Retriever will be good at napping and gauging sleep habits. Besides the occasional disruption, they will have their favorite spots to sleep and manage how much sleep they need based on activity level and how they feel.
Labrador Retrievers’ needs in this area should be respected; if they want to sleep, let them sleep. If they don’t need so much sleep one day, so be it. All is fine if they sleep and don’t appear to be up all night and day.
Their needs will fluctuate daily, and anywhere from 8-14 hours is what they will need. A Labrador Retriever of this age may take more naps and sleep in shorter intervals.
Health issues and an aging body will change how and when they sleep.
Since a 10-year-old Labrador Retriever is of advanced age, they may require more bathroom breaks in their day. That may not be the case for every Labrador Retriever, but adjustments should be made for those that do need extra trips outside.
The Labrador Retriever may need to be paid attention to a bit more in this area. Hopefully, they have a specific signal that lets a parent know when they HAVE to go outside for a bathroom break. Parents should be responsive and attentive to this need and understand if accidents happen.
Bathroom accidents inside the house can be an issue at this stage of life. If they seem to become more frequent or not just an accident, a trip to the Labradors veterinarian might be best.
Nutrition is of the utmost importance at this stage of life. A senior Labrador Retriever needs the best dog food money can buy, and it should always be protein-rich. Depending on the Labrador’s preferences, specific dog foods designed for seniors would be beneficial.
The diet should be about the maintenance of the Labradors’ weight and good health. They will continue to need two to four cups per day of dog food based on weight, larger dogs will need 3-4 cups, and smaller Labradors will need 2-3 cups.
Health issues should be respected, including tender tummies that can’t tolerate certain foods. Digestion at this point can be an issue for some dogs, where their digestion is slow or unforgiving of certain things. Bland diets like lamb and rice are easy to digest, which promotes the most nutrient absorption.
Changing the feeding schedule is a good idea if it hasn’t already happened. Instead of feeding a Labrador Retriever twice daily, feeding them 3-4 times is best.
This promotes digestion and prevents a beloved Labrador from feeling sick or overly full. Treats should still be healthy and nutrient-dense, but at this stage of life, we all want to share the things we love for however long they have to live.
Sharing a few morsels of table food with their loving family and a trip to the dog bakery or grandmas for a favorite, yogurt-flavored peanut butter ice cream won’t do any harm.
A Labrador Retriever reaching 10 years old is a blessing and celebration of a well-lived life. No matter what happens, Labradors are still a joy to have and hold, and every moment should be treasured for the gift it truly is!