The Chow Chow is a large, calm dog breed with a strong will. While the breed is relatively unaffected by health issues, it is prone to a few common diseases which it's important to know about. So how long can a Chow Chow live for? Find out more below.

The Average Lifespan of a Chow Chow

The average life expectancy of a Chow Chow is between 9 and 12 years. This is about average for large breed dogs, which unfortunately tend to live shorter lives than small and medium-sized dogs. As for giant breeds, like the Great Dane, their life expectancy is even shorter. Keep in mind that this is only an indication; it is quite possible that your pooch will live longer. And, while no dog is immune to accident or illness, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that your dog lives a long and happy life.

How Can I Increase My Chow Chow's Life Expectancy?

Here are some great tips for prolonging the life expectancy of your Chow Chow:

Choose a High-Quality Diet for your Chow

The food in your dog's bowl has a direct effect on their health. So it’s important to choose a high-quality diet that meets your Chow’s nutritional needs. Opt for dry or wet dog food containing at least 25-28% animal protein: this will be able to meet the physiological requirements of your pooch much better than vegetable protein, for example. Learn to read product labels to be sure the composition of the dog food you choose is healthy and nutrient-rich, and avoid foodstuffs with added preservatives or sweeteners. Don’t hesitate to use food supplements for your dog to meet targeted needs after seeking advice from a vet or animal nutrition specialist. Also, keep in mind that your Chow Chow's dietary needs will change over time, depending on their age, weight, and overall health. 

Get Serious about Vet Check-Ups

Regularly veterinary check-ups are essential for keeping your Chow in good health. Remember to take your pooch for their annual vaccination booster shots, as well as deworming treatments, to prevent the proliferation of intestinal worms, and antiparasitic treatments against parasites like fleas and ticks. This is very important because parasites can be vectors of serious diseases, such as leishmaniasis. When your dog enters the senior dog age range, don't hesitate to ask your vet for an annual health screening to keep everything in check.

Prioritise Dog Training

Proper dog training can indirectly influence your Chow’s life expectancy. This is because a well-behaved dog will come back when you call, which helps to prevent accidents. Prioritise teaching your dog to respond to you and to walk to heel. Don't neglect socialising your pooch either. The Chow Chow isn’t naturally a sociable dog breed, so it’s important to get your pup used to other dogs, animals, and people early on to avoid fights or aggressive behaviour. Additionally, since this is a dog breed that reaches an impressive size in adulthood, training your Chow Chow allows them to grow up comfortably and safely in their environment and helps you to keep them in control at all times.

Don't Neglect Physical Activity

All dogs need to be able to exercise regularly. And even though Chow Chows aren’t great athletes, they still need to stretch their legs daily, preferably during a long walk. This also helps prevent weight gain, which is especially vital as the Chow Chow is prone to obesity. Be sure to play with your pooch regularly to make exercising fun!


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What are the Most Common Diseases for a Chow Chow?

Although the Chow Chow is less affected than other breeds by disease, it is still subject to certain pathologies:

  • Primary Glaucoma: This is characterised by a deformation of the eyeball caused by increased pressure in the eye. It causes serious and irreversible damage to the optic nerve, which leads to degeneration of the retinal cells and, eventually, blindness. Unfortunately, treatment is not possible.

  • Entropion: This is a condition in which the eyelid turns inward. It is usually possible to correct through surgery.

  • Pulmonic Stenosis: This is a common congenital heart defect, characterised by a narrowing of the pulmonic valve. It causes an obstruction to the flow of blood from the heart into the lungs and, consequently, the right side of the heart begins to tire. Symptoms included loss of consciousness (fainting) and fluid in the abdomen. An operation is required to correct the problem.

  • Cor Triatriatum Dexter: This is a rare, congenital heart defect in which the right atrium of the heart is separated into two chambers, creating a triatrial heart: a heart that has three atria instead of two. The consequent backup of pressure results in a slowed heart rate, fainting, fluid buildup in the abdomen, and eventually heart failure and even death. Treatment can be drug-based or surgical, but the latter is relatively risky.

  • Canine Atopic Dermatitis (AD): This is an inherited predisposition to develop allergic symptoms to an allergen. It causes severe itching in the Chow Chow. The dog often presents increased sensitivity to both its environment and its diet. Treatment consists of first identifying the allergen, then using suitable shampoos, as well as corticosteroids and cyclosporine from time to time.

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Like many large dogs, Chow Chows are also affected by hip and elbow dysplasia. This fairly common disease is caused by a deformation of the joints during growth. Dysplasia is a genetic disease, which is exacerbated by certain external factors, including canine obesity and intense physical exercise. It usually affects both sides of the body. As a result, your Chow Chow may suffer from lameness or a lack of coordination. They might even have trouble standing up and lying down and, ultimately, dysplasia can lead to paralysis. As this disease is mostly genetic and hereditary, it’s important to ensure that your pup’s parents have been screened before you proceed with an adoption.

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