Leonberger Health Care & Feeding
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick list of Leonberger health problems
Cancer, especially bone cancer, kills about one-third of Leonbergers, often in middle age.
A major concern in the breed is a disease of the endocrine system called Addison's disease, which can be tricky to manage.
Orthopedic diseases in Leonbergers are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. A bone disorder called panosteitis causes lameness and pain in young Leonbergers but (usually) goes away with maturity.
More concerns.... heart disease that can cut your Leonberger's life short. An emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat, which can kill a dog within hours. Eyelid diseases and cataracts that can lead to blindness. Autoimmune and neurological/neuromuscular diseases like polyneuropathy and laryngeal paralysis.
(See more health problems below.)
Preventing health problems
Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Leonberger have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, hip and elbow dysplasia, and polyneuropathy, your Leonberger has less risk of developing those conditions.
Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Leonberger, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Leonberger puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Leonberger puppy or adult dog:
Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Leonberger lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Leonberger
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Leonberger puppy really need? Does your adult Leonberger need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.
Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Complete list of Leonberger health problems
The Leonberger Club conducted a health survey that included over 800 dogs. They report that the average lifespan is only 6.5 years for male Leonbergers, 7.5 years for females – depressingly short for a companion dog.
Of the Leonbergers who were deceased (In the club survey), cancer killed 37% of them. Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is especially problematic in the breed.
The two most common orthopedic diseases are hip dysplasia and panosteitis. Elbow dysplasia and osteochondritis also occur in Leos. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 2100 Leonbergers and found 14% dysplastic. That's high, and the true rate is higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. Of 1800 elbow X-rays, 4% were dysplastic. So elbows are much better!
A number of serious health issues have become concerns in Leonbergers:
- An endocrine system disease called Addison's disease
- Heart disease (especially cardiomyopathy)
- Perianal fistula
- Laryngeal paralysis
According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 15% of Leonbergers have hypothyroidism.
Cataracts affect nearly 3% of the breed, according to the club survey. Eyelid abnormalities (entropion and ectropion) also occur regularly in Leos.
Allergies cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma).
Blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's) occurs in Leonbergers. Chronic diarrhea can be caused by food intolerances or colitis.
As with all deep-chested breeds, Leonbergers are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.