English Mastiffs are a large breed known to be great guard dogs and excellent canine warriors if put up against enormous other wild animals such as lions and bears. Despite their history for blood sports and behind their tough looks, English Mastiffs are docile dogs who are affectionate and loyal to their owners.
Like other dog breeds of his size, his life span ranges from 6 to 10 years. Although he lives quite shortly, he can surpass the set age.
There are age-influencing factors that can be overturned so your English Mastiff gets to live more years with you. In this article, we’ll find out what makes an English Mastiff age quickly and how you can help in adding up more years for this gentle giant to live.
Why Size Affects an English Mastiff’s Lifespan
As observed, smaller dogs seem to have a longer lifespan compared to larger canines such as the English Mastiff. This observation attracted many research groups to conduct a study to discover the link between lifespan and size in dogs.
What they have unraveled is that larger dog breeds tend to grow quicker. Because of this, their immune system gets affected and higher amounts of free radicals are produced in the body. When these free radicals damage the substances that the cells need to properly function, mutations occur and thus churning out more free radicals which in turn, causes more damage to the cells. Because of that, aging accelerates faster in time.
Moreover, to see the distinction clearly between two dog breeds with stark size differences, a 2-year-old Chihuahua may reach his adult size and weight of about 9 pounds. In the same amount of time, the English Mastiff may already reach over 160 pounds.
This extremely rapid growth affects the thymus which is responsible for the well-being of the dog’s immune system. The bottom line is, the larger the dog is, the quicker he ages.
Health Problems of an English Mastiff
All dog breeds that have been the result of ethical breeding are generally healthy. For the English Mastiff, his size can cause him several problems. As an owner, you have to know that the larger the canine, the more care you should give him.
English Mastiffs can weigh up to 230 pounds. Without the right food and diet, exercise, and health care, these massive dogs automatically become prone to several health problems like dysplasia. Here’s an overview of what common conditions may strike your dog:
Hip dysplasia is a common health condition that affects most dog breeds. This is when the hind legs’ hips and ball sockets do not fit well. Usually, hip dysplasia can be detected for as early as 5 months but English Mastiffs can experience this at any stage of their lives.
Some of the symptoms include pain in the hip, unequal leg lengths, and limping. Other signs of discomfort may be exhibited by your dog. Bringing him to the vet to look for treatment options is ideal. Depending on the seriousness of the condition, the doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements or suggest surgery when necessary.
English Mastiffs who suffer from hip dysplasia are not good candidates for breeding. Hence why checking on an English Mastiff puppy’s parents if they are free from this state is worth checking.
Hypothyroidism seems to be very common in dogs as well but not in other species. This underactive thyroid condition causes the bodily functions to process at a slower pace which may cause lethargy, weight gain, and skin and coat changes.
If left untreated, your already gigantic dog might get larger and therefore worsen or put him in a vulnerable state of having hip dysplasia. Fortunately, synthetic thyroid hormones are available which can help improve your doggy’s life. These are considered lifelong medications that are safe and effective.
One of the most common causes of death for English Mastiffs is Osteosarcoma or bone cancer. If your dog has this on the limb, lameness or swelling may be noticed. He may also experience lethargy, loss of appetite, and being unmotivated to walk due to the pain caused by the tumor in the bone.
Usually, the limbs are amputated so the dog could still function well without discomfort. Unfortunately, English Mastiffs who undergo amputation procedures averagely last for at least 4 months only. In rare cases, they may still reach a 2-year survival period.
This illness can also be present in the jaw, ribs, and skull which can be felt by the hand or by other indicators such as limping.
A neurological disability such as the wobbler syndrome can cause your English Mastiff to appear as if he’s wobbling as he walks. This happens when the neck region of the spine wears down due to the excessive pressure caused by the dog’s weight.
You have to let your dog undergo x-rays or CT scan to see the intensity of the complication. Owners are often given the option to either schedule their dog for steroids or surgery. However, most of them opt for medical management services like acupuncture.
Seizure is another name for epilepsy. This is the result of an uncontrolled outburst of activity in the brain which largely affects the way your English Mastiff looks or behaves. Twitching or shaking only usually lasts for a minute or so, but even if it subsides, proper medical treatment is still required.
This neurological disorder gets triggered by several other problems which include:
- Liver or kidney disease
- High or low blood sugar
- Electrolyte issues
- Head injury
- Brain cancer
3 Factors That Would Make Your English Mastiff Age Quickly
The set life span for the English Mastiff is only an average calculation on how long this specific breed will live. In reality, there are a plethora of contributing factors that could either reduce or add up the total living years of this dog.
This is why getting an English Mastiff should mean being prepared to give all that this dog needs. This sizable companion needs delicate attention when it comes to his health for him to enjoy his dog life.
For every English Mastiff owner, here are the things that make your dog age quickly:
In purchasing the great English Mastiff, it is always advised that you do a tedious background check on whether the puppy’s parents are free from any disorders or not. Reputable breeders should be able to provide health certificates as proof that the pooch you are getting is healthy.
Also, more papers about the parents as well as the grandparents must be presented to you. These documents will give you an insight into how long your pup may last including whatever genetic conditions he may get based on the family history.
The way you treat your English Mastiff also impacts his well-being. Pouring him love and attention will boost his emotional and psychological state which will gradually positively affect his behaviors and feelings. When a dog gets a sufficient amount of affection, he is more likely capable of dealing with life’s challenges.
Also, this dog has his physical requirements that need to be met. Even though he is not a great buddy for walks due to his size, he would still need a secured area where he can walk and move around at his own pace.
Owning this enormous dog would mean being sensitive and meticulous about whatever might happen to your dog. Being knowledgeable about what’s good and bad for him can save the canine from a potentially painful experience.
- Aging Rate
Large dog breeds share the same genetic behavior which makes them age faster than their smaller counterparts. Generally, the English Mastiffs become senior dogs by the time they reach 5 or 6 years of age. There are subtle to more obvious physical indicators that would tell you that your dog needs extra care as he reaches his geriatric stage which may include:
- Vision problems
- Greying on the muzzle, head, or chest
- Muscle wasting
- Jutting hip bones
The list above is the result of aging. However, we also need to know what causes these quick changes in your dog’s physical structure and functions. Here’s what you should know:
- Weight gain. A research study shows that if your dog becomes overweight, he can live 1.8 years less than those whose masses are in the normal range. Try to maintain a healthy BMI for your English Mastiff dog to avoid rapid aging.
- Debility. English Mastiffs that are becoming frail no longer enjoy walking. Laying on their dog beds is much better than exerting more effort to stroll in the garden. If ever they need to walk, their manner of treading becomes unusual and slow.
- Coat issues. Incomplete and unbalanced nutrition can make your dog’s coat lose its vibrancy. Other health problems can contribute to the worsening condition especially if no action is taken immediately. If you notice that your English Mastiff’s hair is dry or bad in quality, bring him to a vet so it can be treated immediately and delay his signs of aging.
Keep Your English Mastiff in Superb Health Condition
Most problems can be treated with the help of an amazing vet to secure that your dog gets to fully maximize its lifespan. However, it is much better that your English Mastiff is in the prevention stage rather than be at the treatment phase already.
There are preventive measures you can take which are not that overwhelming! Doing these simple steps can help a lot to improve the lifespan of your pet.
Most health issues your English Mastiff might experience may exhibit clear physical signs which can immediately tell you that something is off about your dog’s health. Some owners who are not aware that these are life-threatening signs and symptoms would usually ignore them and think that those will go away after some time.
For English Mastiff owners, discovering unusual behaviors or odd physical changes starts a war against time. Responsibly, take your dog for a check-up straight away to guarantee that your companion will not suffer more in the long run.
Socialize Your Dog
Getting a second dog or bringing your English Mastiff to doggy parks can aid in keeping his pent-up energy released. This is of great advantage so he will not show destructive behaviors. Moreover, playing with other dogs makes him steam off excess fat and lowers his chance of becoming obese.
Provide Healthy Meals
English Mastiff puppies need the right amount of food and nutrition early on. Avoid feeding them irregularly that might cause bloating or opt by purchasing cheaper, low-quality dog food. What they eat during puppyhood largely becomes the foundation of their health as they mature.
Exercise Your Dog
The right type and amount of exercise can stimulate your English Mastiff’s body. His leg muscles develop to become stronger and prevent joint or bone conditions in his later years. Jumping and running is detrimental for him so go for drills that are appropriate. On the other hand, no exercise can lead to obesity.
English Mastiffs are colossally intimidating ancient war dogs that are soft-hearted and trainable. If everything goes well and proper care is provided, these dogs can surely make a huge difference compared to the expected lifespan set by the American Kennel Club.
Just think about Kush who was a Mastiff hailing from Australia and lived for up to 15 years. Who knows, your English Mastiff might be the next record-breaking canine in terms of age!