There are so many things to think about when you are considering adopting a dog. Some will naturally come right to mind; others will take a little more thought. That’s why it’s a good idea to do plenty of research before taking on such a massive responsibility. One thing you might not be ready or eager to think about is how long your pet will be around. And, planning for your pet’s demise is never fun, but it’s always good to know what to expect. In addition to knowing the Cavapoo lifespan, it’s good to have an idea of their various life stages and the things you can do to help them enjoy a long and happy life. Helping you with all that, and more besides, is the purpose of this article.
The Cavapoo, that superb cross between the oh-so-cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and the fun and feisty Poodle make excellent pets indeed. They are known for their pleasant and loving natures, as well as their teddy-bearesque good looks. Cavas fit so well into just about every living situation and will quickly take up residence in your heart too.
These lucky hounds (being on the smaller side, as they are) can live up to 15 years. In fact, the oldest known Cavapoo reached the grand old age of 20! Pretty impressive given that the average lifespan for many larger pedigree breeds is a far less remarkable 8 to 10 years. In fact, chances are your Doodle will outlive many pedigree pups due to something known as hybrid vigor.
Basically, dogs with a wider variety of genes (from two or more breeds) stand less chance of contracting hereditary diseases. This is because they tend to inherit the condition from only one rather than both their parents. This risk is reduced even further by responsible breeders who carefully screen their breeding animals for any signs of genetic problems and, in this way, are breeding out the conditions that still often plague purebred canines.
That being said, there are still variations in lifespan expectancy to be found within Cavapoos themselves. Much of this is to do with their size. There are two distinct types of Cavapoo: Toy and Mini, with the former weighing up to 13 pounds and standing up to 12 inches to the shoulder and the latter reaching 25 pounds and 16 inches to the shoulder.
What you may or may not know about dogs is that the smaller ones tend to outlive the larger ones. This difference can be quite significant (8 years compared to 16 years). It isn’t clear why this is the case, given that in nature, larger animals typically have much longer lifespans than smaller ones. Experts suggest that older dogs simply age faster.
This means that if your Cavapoo is on the littler side, then you can expect them to reach an older age than if they are on the larger size. However, given that the differences between the Toy and Mini aren’t so great, the difference shouldn’t be all that significant. Environmental factors such as diet and exercise will likely play a more prominent role.
Alongside size, gender also seems to play a role here, with females living, on average, a year longer than males. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that the same is true of most animals. Neutered dogs also tend to last around a year and a half longer than intact ones. In fact, these dogs usually enjoy much happier lives in general.
Life Stages of a Cavapoo
You’ll likely be aware of the old idea that every year of our lives is the equivalent of seven dog years. This is definitely not the case. As we touched on above, bigger dogs age more rapidly than smaller ones. In fact, while there are similarities between pups of a similar size, every breed is unique in the way they experience life.
Cavapoos are considered to be absolute puppies until the age of 3 months. This is known, in canine terms, as the socialization period. They will learn many crucial lessons from their mother and littermates during this time but are susceptible to fear. Hopefully, the breeder has done an effective job in avoiding this in those first couple of months. Still, you should continue your puppy’s socialization training at home. Your pup will be between a third and a half of their adult size at this age.
Around 6 months, your Cava will be going through their challenging adolescent stage of life. Just like human teenagers, they will spend much of this time testing the boundaries you have set. That’s what makes this period vital for training. Be firm and consistent about the rules you have established for your dog. Any bad behaviors learned at this time will be very difficult to break later down the line. Your pal will also be teething, which is definitely something to be aware of. Provide them with chew toys to help with this.
After this, somewhere between 7.5 and 13 months – depending on whether you have a Toy or Mini, your Cava will be a young adult. They will also reach their mature size within this time period and gain their adult coat too. Your pup will, in many ways, still act like a puppy, and you might even see some regression in their behavior. Don’t be too concerned. This is perfectly normal. Keep on with positive reinforcement training, and you’ll get there in the end. Somewhere in this stage, you will need to switch to adult food.
Adulthood happens for Cavapoos at about 2 years of age. This is when you should see them start to calm down a little – although Cavas are always likely to be fairly active dogs. However, your pup should be much less excitable now and more in charge of their behavior. They will also be at their adult weight and shouldn’t be growing anymore at this stage. You will need to keep an eye on their diet, and you may even have to ramp up the exercise to prevent them from piling on the pounds.
Smaller dogs are generally considered to be seniors from around 10 years of age. However, depending on how well you care for your pooch, you might not spot any signs of them slowing down any for years after this. You will, however, likely need to keep a more careful eye on them, and veterinary checks should become a little more regular from now. You might also consider switching their food out for a senior formula that contains the right kind of nutrients to support them at this time.
Common Cavapoo Health Problems
While hybrid vigor is a great thing, especially when coupled with the kind of breeder that is committed to protecting and enhancing Doodle blood lines, you might still run into a few issues with your pet’s health from time to time. Some of these problems are entirely avoidable, while others are just a plain fact of life. Taking your pup to the vet for checkups can help with spotting any debilitating diseases right as they start out.
From the Poodle side of the Cavapoo equation, be on the lookout for:
- Common canine cancers
- The adrenal gland disorder Addison’s disease
- Gastric torsion – also known as bloat
- Thyroid issues
- The degenerative eye disorder progressive retinal atrophy
- Eyelid and skin problems
From the Spaniel side:
- Heart disease
- Luxating patellas – which is where the knee cap moves out of place
- Allergies to food ingredients or products
- Syringomyelia – fluid-filled cavities in the spinal cord
Alongside these, hip dysplasia is common in both these breeds and in dogs in general. While more worrisome to large-pup parents, this painful condition can occur in dogs of all sizes. Basically, it’s an issue that’s to do with how the ball and socket mechanics of the hip are moving together. Rather than gliding, they rub, which results in deterioration of the joint and eventual complete loss of function.
There are quite a few treatment options for this condition if it is caught early enough. So be on the lookout for general pain in these areas, stiffness and limping, difficulty jumping and climbing stairs, and lameness in the hind end, especially in your pup’s more senior years.
Cavapoo Signs of Aging
With the best will in the world, sadly, your Cavapoo is not going to live forever. Even when you take the best possible care of them, you will eventually start to see signs that they are beginning to get a little long in the tooth. Don’t worry, though; your pet likely still has years ahead of them yet. You just might need to tailor your care (and their food) to better suit their differing needs in the winter of their lives.
One of the clearest indicators that your pup is approaching their twilight years is that they will start to slow down a bit – sleep a little more, and pester you for walks and games a little less. This could also indicate that they are beginning to have a little joint pain, which is also something to be aware of as your pet advances in years.
Aside from this, you may also notice changes in your doggos weight either due to muscle loss or the fact that they are eating the same amount but not exercising the way they used to. You might start to see white hairs on their muzzle and around their face and increased opacity of their eyes due to the thickening of the lenses. This is all pretty normal, and so no cause for concern.
Other more worrying signs that could indicate that there is a problem include difficulty sleeping, stinky breath, accidents around the house, limping, lumps under the skin, a loss of hearing, or significant changes in behavior. This last one could be a real issue if your pup becomes suddenly confused, anxious, fearful, or aggressive. These are all possible symptoms of doggy dementia, and you should chat to your vet ASAP if you notice them in your aging pet.
Extending the Lifespan of a Cavapoo
So now you know what to look out for when it comes to the various stages of your dog’s life; let’s talk about all the ways you can properly take care of your dog and allow them to live a long and very happy one.
Feed them a suitable diet for their life stage
As is the case with us, food can make all the difference between good and poor health. That’s why you are going to want to feed your pet the very best type of kibble for their life stage – puppy, adult, or senior. This is so vital because formulas tailored towards particular ages of dog contain just the right balance of nutrients they need and some special supplements that could alleviate any issues they might be dealing with at this stage. For instance, senior blends have omega oils for easing stiff, older joints.
However, not every kind of dog food is created equal, so aside from picking out the perfect life stage formula, you will also want to pay close attention to the ingredients. Experts tend to agree that dogs are omnivores and need a mix of carbs, fats, and vegetables thrown in, but protein is still the most vital component of their diet. As such, any food you pick should have this as the top ingredient. Avoid foods with too many other ingredients, especially if you can’t pronounce them – more basic is generally better here.
These are our top food picks for Cavapoos of all ages.
Make sure they get plenty of exercise
If food is one half of the health equation, then exercise is very definitely the other. Plenty of walks, games, and any form of exercise is all vital for keeping your pup in tip-top shape. Cavapoos, as littler dogs, may not quite have the energy levels of, say, Goldendoodles, but they still need to be kept active. Aim for at least 45 minutes a day of dedicated walking time (smaller amounts twice or three times a day is also acceptable), and provide some toys for them to play with the rest of the time.
We love the Kong Classic Dog Toy for games about the house (or better yet, the yard, as these things are b-o-u-n-c-y). It comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and thicknesses, so you should be able to find the perfect one for your pooch. If they seem disinterested at first, simply fill the center part with something delicious. They’ll soon be chasing it all over the shop in absolutely no time while you put your feet up and enjoy yourself a lovely cup of coffee.
Keep them safe at all times
Another essential element of pet ownership is making sure your little darling remains as far away from harm as possible. There are a few more obvious things you can do to ensure that this is the case. These include checking your backyard for any gaps in the fence where they could escape and keeping your pup on the leash when you are outside of the home or a fenced-in dog park. However, one of the most significant risks to your little guy or gal could be inside your own home…
As smaller dogs, one of the biggest issues for Cavas is injury. This could occur if they are dropped, crushed, stepped on, or find themselves tangled up in something. Before you bring a new little fur baby into your home, you need to make sure that it is fully puppy-proofed. Equally as important, if you have children, you need to ensure they know how to behave around their new sibling. In all their excitement at greeting this new little toy-like cutie, they could end up accidentally hurting them.
Quickly take care of any health problems
In the early days, you may find yourself visiting the vet a little more than you thought as you get your puppy vaccinated against such conditions as leptospirosis, parvovirus, distemper, and parasites. Your vet will let you know precisely which ones are needed and when they should be done. You will likely also be eager to ask about getting your pet neutered. Alongside protecting against pregnancy, neutered dogs are less likely to have behavioral issues or suffer from some common conditions.
Then again, as your pup starts their inevitable decline, regular vet visits can ease your mind that they are doing okay. You can also pick up some excellent advice for keeping them sharp, healthy, and moving about as well as before. The great thing about frequent contact with your vet is that they will come to know your dog well and will be more quickly able to spot signs that something could be wrong with them. As is the case with most health conditions, the quicker you start the treatment, the better the outcome.
Brush, wash, and trim them regularly
Frequent brushing is essential for pretty much all Doodles – but especially for those with thicker, denser, or curlier coats. The reason for this is dead hair gets caught up in healthy coat, causing tangles and mats that can cause irritation to the skin beneath. Plus, regular hands-on time with your pet gives you a great opportunity to check them over for signs of injuries, lumps, bumps, rashes, and evidence that they might be playing host to some unwanted little critters.
Grooming your dog is not all about brushing, though. Regular washes and trims will help keep their skin soft, clean, and scratch-free. While you are doing this, you need to pay special attention to your dog’s paw pads (which could get injured), their anal glands (which could need expressing), their teeth and gums (which also need frequent brushing), and especially those Poodle/Spaniel ears which is the perfect environment for yeast, bacteria, and fungus to flourish.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Lifespan of a Cavapoo
What is the average life span of a Cavapoo?
Cavapoos, those lucky pups, can expect to enjoy lovely long lives of somewhere between 10 to 15 years. This is in part because of their more varied genes, because of all the hard work breeders are doing in creating the healthiest puppies, and also because they are smaller dogs; smaller dogs tend to outlive their larger cousins.
Which health issues do Cavapoos have?
Cavapoos can inherit the possibility of a range of health issues – everything from cancer to heart disease. However, the most likely culprits for cutting one of these cute canine’s life short are obesity – which lends itself to a whole host of conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, and injury – which can so easily happen by accident to smaller pets.
Are Cavapoos generally healthy?
Cavapoos are usually incredibly healthy dogs when purchased from a reputable breeder, fed the right food, exercised plenty, and maintained in all the right ways. We’ve included plenty of tips and tricks above for keeping them that way, as well as lots of links to other areas of our site where you can find out more information on how to look after your little love.
Cavapoo Lifespan: Conclusion
If you have adopted a Cavapoo puppy, already enjoy the company of a Cavapoo, or even if these dogs are simply on your radar, you may have all kinds of questions about them. One vital bit of the puzzle is their health and wellbeing, including how to keep them living their best lives. That’s why we have covered everything from life stages to signs of aging in this article to help you help your Cavapoo live their very best life.
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The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified animal health provider with any questions you may have.