Are you looking for a spunky, active small dog that is downright adorable? There are lots of choices, but few are as distinctive as the beloved Pomeranian.
This small-breed dog is named for Pomerania, a region in northeastern Europe that is now western Germany and part of Poland. The Pom is the smallest of the spitz breeds, and they gained popularity after England’s Queen Victoria fell in love with these tiny pups. Now, they’re popular all over the world.
If you’re thinking of adopting a Pomeranian dog, there are various considerations to make. One is the Pomeranian lifespan. So, how long do Pomeranians live?
Let’s learn more about the average lifespan of the Pom, what common health problems this breed often faces, and how to make sure your small pet enjoys as many happy, healthy years with you as possible.
What Is the Average Pomeranian Lifespan?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average lifespan of the Pomeranian is 12-16 years. This is a fairly typical life expectancy for a pooch of this size, similar to other small dog breeds like the Maltese and toy poodle. Be aware that small and toy breeds tend to live longer than larger dogs on average.
Of course, there are several things that can affect the Pomeranian life expectancy and cause them to live longer or shorter lives. This breed, like any type of dog, often faces some health issues that prospective owners should know about.
Common Pomeranian Health Issues
The average Pomeranian lifespan is between 12 and 16 years, but various health issues common to this breed can shorten those numbers. Some leading Pomeranian health problems include:
According to data reported by The New York Times, trauma is the leading cause of death for many toy breeds, the Pom included. This is, unfortunately, due to to their small size. It’s easy for these little dogs to be stepped on, dropped, or hit by vehicles, and the resulting damage can be even worse for a Pomeranian puppy. Owners need to be diligent about their Pom’s physical safety in order to make sure they live a healthy, long life.
Pomeranians seem to suffer more from gastrointestinal problems than other breeds, perhaps because of genetics. Possible issues include inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Pom owners will want to have their dog frequently examined at the vet so they can detect these issues early, before they become life-threatening.
Tracheal collapse doesn’t typically affect the Pomeranian lifespan, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. A collapsed trachea occurs when the cartilage that supports your Pom’s windpipe weakens, causing the trachea to close up. Your dog will usually generate a honking or hacking noise as they struggle to breathe.
In most cases, the trachea opens back up by itself, and the problem resolves itself within a few moments. In rare cases, surgery is required to keep the dog’s windpipe open and stop the problem from recurring. Tracheal collapse can be exacerbated by a collar pulling on the windpipe during walks, so many Pomeranian owners walk their dogs on a harness instead.
Toy dog breeds like the Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, and — you guessed it — the Pomeranian are more prone to patellar luxation than other types of dogs, although the condition can affect medium and large dogs, too.
Patellar luxation is when a dog’s hind kneecap shifts out of normal alignment. This can happen in one hind limb or both at the same time. Symptoms include hind limb “skipping,” lameness, and the dog holding the limb at an odd angle. Often, the kneecap will realign itself in a few moments and the dog will resume moving normally. If luxation happens frequently and causes your dog pain or discomfort, surgery might be recommended. Some dogs respond well to physical therapy and medication, too.
Pomeranians also seem to be predisposed to hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid gland. This causes your dog’s metabolism to slow down, resulting in symptoms like weight gain without excess eating, lethargy, excessive shedding, skin and ear infections, and more.
While this disorder is not curable, it shouldn’t affect the Pomeranian lifespan if you take the proper steps. You’ll need to give your Pom a prescribed thyroid hormone replacement to keep their metabolism level if they’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and you should have your dog see their vet regularly to monitor their condition.
How to Take Good Care of Your Pomeranian
It can be a little scary reading the above list. But don’t worry — you only need to follow a few simple steps to ensure a long, healthy Pomeranian lifespan. We’ve already learned about some of them: Keep a close eye on your dog to avoid any physical trauma, walk them with a harness instead of a leash and collar to avoid tracheal collapse, and see your vet if you suspect issues like patellar luxation or hypothyroidism.
Here are some other Pomeranian care tips that can help your dog live a long, happy life:
Choose a Reputable Breeder
Since many of the above health issues — gastrointestinal problems, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism — seem to have a genetic link, adopting your dog from a responsible breeder is one of the best ways to avoid problems. A reputable breeder will be familiar with the Pomeranian breed’s predispositions and will take care not to breed dogs from bloodlines that carry these traits.
Feed Your Pom Well
Every dog needs proper nutrition to stay healthy, your Pomeranian included. In fact, feeding your dog well is one of the best ways to ensure a longer Pomeranian lifespan. Choose a well-balanced dog food with the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that your dog needs. Ask your vet to recommend a great choice if you’re not sure what to pick.
Supplement your dog’s diet to add even more great nutrition and health benefits. Native Pet’s probiotic powder is packed with protein and is great for the gut, so it may help soothe common Pomeranian gastrointestinal problems.
Exercise Your Pet
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that toy breeds like the Pomeranian don’t need regular exercise. They do. Exercise is important for keeping your dog’s joints and muscles limber, and staving off dangerous obesity. Take your Pom on at least a walk a day, or get them moving with a favorite toy in the backyard or in your living room.
Practice Preventative Care
Preventative care allows you to avoid many health problems ahead of time, before they can impact your Pomeranian’s lifespan.
- Vaccinations: Keep your pet up to date with vaccines to prevent disease.
- Pest preventatives: Fend off flea, tick, and worm infestations with monthly medications.
- Dental care: Brush your dog’s teeth and regularly examine the gums to maintain proper dental health.
- Veterinary visits: Take your dogs for regular vet appointments so their health can be monitored over time and any issues can be spotted early.
Help Your Pom Lead a Happy Life
The Pomeranian is an adorable toy dog breed that is sure to be a fun addition to your household, and the typical Pomeranian lifespan is between 12 and 16 years old.
There are a few health issues common among Pomeranians, including trauma, gastrointestinal problems, patellar luxation, tracheal collapse, and hypothyroidism, that could shorten that lifespan. But you can take plenty of steps to help your pet live a long, happy, healthy life.
Adopt your dog from a reputable breeder to lessen the likelihood of inherited genetic disorders. Feed them well, and exercise them every day. Practice preventative care, which includes keeping your dog updated with vaccines and pest preventatives, taking care of their dental health, and taking them to the veterinarian regularly. These simple steps allow you to enjoy many wonderful years to come with your beloved Pom.
For more insights into your dog’s health and wellness needs, visit the Native Pet blog.
Further Reading on Pomeranians: