If you’re wondering how long Westies live, then here’s what you need to know. West Highland White Terriers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United States. They are known for being friendly, outgoing, and playful.
But how long do Westies live? How long do they have left to enjoy their time with their families? In this blog post, we will look at the average lifespan of a Westie and what you can do to make sure your furry friend enjoys a long and healthy life.
What is a Westie?
Westies are small, white dogs with short legs and long hair. They have a distinctive black nose flat on top and rounded at the bottom. Their ears stand up straight when they are alert or excited.
Westies weigh between 15 to 20 pounds (about seven kilograms) and stand about 10 inches tall from head to tail tip. A Westie’s life expectancy is typically considered to be between 12-16 years.
Westies are extremely friendly and affectionate towards humans, although they can be wary of strangers at first or when startled by loud noises such as fireworks (which often frightens them).
Because Westies are so people-oriented, they may not do well with small children or other pets if these animals are not properly socialized.
How Long Do Westies Live?
So, how long can Westies live up to? The average Westie lifespan is between 12 to 16 years. Sixteen years is on end and very rare. Most Westies live 12 to 13 years on average.
However, there are many things you can do as a pet owner to help your furry friend live an even longer and healthier life. These tips include regular vet check-ups, feeding them a nutritious diet, and exercising them regularly.
What Do Westies Usually Die From?
West Highland White Terriers are a generally healthy breed of dog, but they can still succumb to various health problems as they age. Some common causes of death in Westies include cancer, lower respiratory tract disease, and spinal cord disorders.
Other illnesses that Westies get include dental disease, infection, obesity, heart disease, and liver problems. Regular vet check-ups can help catch any potential health problems early on and give your Westie the best chance at fighting off illness or disease. So let’s take a look at these diseases.
West Highland White Terriers have a higher-than-average risk of developing cancer. The most common cancers that Westies are prone to include mammary gland tumors, lymphoma, and skin tumors.
If your dog starts showing any signs or symptoms of cancer, such as weight loss, lethargy, lameness, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior, it is essential to take them to the vet right away for treatment.
2. Lower Respiratory Tract Disease
West Highland White Terriers are also at an increased risk of developing lower respiratory tract disease. This general term refers to any number of conditions that affect the lungs and airways.
Some common symptoms of lower respiratory tract disease include dry coughs and exercise intolerance. Take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
3. Spinal Cord Disorders
Spinal cord disorders in Westies can cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on the severity of the illness. However, some common signs that your Westie may have a spinal cord disorder include weakness in the hind limbs, difficulty walking, incontinence, and personality changes.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is vital to take them in for an appointment with their veterinarian to get proper treatment before things worsen.
4. Dental Disease
Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of dogs by age two. Unfortunately, your West Highland White Terrier may be at risk for developing dental issues due to their unique tooth shapes and sizes and because they’re more likely than other breeds to visit vets regularly (a condition called “basen pap“).
It starts with tartar build-up on teeth, which can turn into infection around gums or even near root surfaces if left untreated. This can cause pain while eating.
West Highland White Terriers are the most susceptible dogs to bacterial and viral infections. You can prevent infections by vaccinating your dog, which we will recommend based on lesions seen in our area and her age/size factors that may come into play. For example, distemper or parvovirus isn’t just dangerous but also incurable, so you must get your puppy vaccinated early.
West Highland White Terriers are also prone to obesity, a general term that refers to an excessive accumulation of body fat. Obesity can lead to a wide variety of health problems in dogs, including heart disease, liver problems, and diabetes.
So if you notice your Westie has started putting on weight recently, it is vital to take them in for an appointment with their veterinarian to get proper treatment before things get worse.
7. Heart Disease
Heart disease is any number of diseases that affect the heart. Some common signs of heart disease include coughing, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the abdomen. West Highland White Terriers are especially susceptible to heart failure.
This breed has a higher mortality rate for this condition than any other, with most cases occurring in their golden years – between ages 5 and 15.
8. Ear Infections
Ear infections in dogs can be an ongoing problem, with about 10% of Westies susceptible to the infection. Westies’ ears are erectile; this helps them avoid getting ear infections quickly.
However, it’s tough for them to recover without professional help (which may not always work). A sign your puppy might suffer from oral disease would include them scratching their cheeks until the blood spills out onto the sharp incisors.
9. Liver Disease
West Highland White Terriers are also prone to liver disease, a general term that refers to any number of conditions that affect the liver.
Some common signs of liver disease include jaundice (yellowing of the skin), vomiting, and diarrhea. So don’t take chances and make sure to see a vet if your Westie has any of the symptoms above.
What Can I Do to Help My Westie Live Longer?
There are several things you can do to help your Westie live longer, including:
1. Feeding Them a High-Quality Diet
A proper diet is essential for your Westie. It will help keep them healthy and reduce their trips to the veterinarian. A high-quality diet for a Westie consists of meat, such as beef and chicken.
2. Exercising Them Regularly
A Westie needs to get plenty of exercises every day to stay healthy and happy. You should take them on walks at least twice per week (more if possible). They also need toys that they can chew or play with while you’re away.
3. Keeping Them Groomed and Brushed Regularly
Westies need to be groomed and brushed regularly to keep their coat healthy and free of mats. You should also check their ears and teeth regularly for signs of infection or disease.
4. Taking Them to the Veterinarian for Regular Check-ups
West Highland White Terriers should visit the veterinarian at least once a year for a routine check-up. This will help your veterinarian catch any potential health problems early on when they are much easier to treat.
Also, when a Westie gets to 10 years, they are considered old and are more prone to diseases. You should therefore take them to the vet more regularly to get checked.
How To Know if Your Westie is in Pain
If you notice your Westie is in pain, it’s essential to take them in for an appointment with their veterinarian right away. Some common signs of pain include:
- They’re walking stiffly or limping. This could be due to arthritis or other painful conditions affecting joints and bones. However, it’s essential not to ignore any changes in how your Westie walks, as it could be a sign of something more serious.
- They’re not eating or drinking like they usually do. This could signify that your dog is in pain and doesn’t feel like eating or drinking.
- They’re vocalizing more than usual. If your Westie is usually a quiet dog but has suddenly started vocalizing, it could signify that something is wrong. This can also include whining more than usual or barking at nothing in particular.
- They’re panting heavily and sweating profusely (especially if they aren’t hot or haven’t been exercising). If your Westie is doing this for no apparent reason, it could mean something is wrong, and they are in pain.
- Their coat is looking dull, greasy, or has bald patches. This could be a sign that they’re not getting the nutrients they need, which can be another indication of pain.
- They’re having trouble going to the bathroom. If your Westie seems to be struggling to go to the bathroom, it could be a sign that they’re in pain. This could be due to an infection, inflammation, or another condition.
Signs of an Aging Westie
As Westies get older, they will start to experience changes associated with aging. For example, they may have trouble seeing or hearing as well as they once did, and their joints can become stiffer and more painful over time.
Westies can also develop medical conditions like arthritis, which causes inflammation in the joints. This leads to pain when moving around or walking for long periods.
While it’s essential to pay attention to signs that your furry friend may be experiencing pain due to arthritis, there are many other problems you should look out for as well, such as:
- Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss (more than 20% from average body mass)
- Limping/lameness in one or more limbs
If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your vet immediately for treatment options.
Signs That a Westie is Dying
There are also a few signs that a Westie is dying, including:
- They’re no longer interested in playing or being active.
- Their breathing becomes rapid and shallow.
- They stop eating and drinking altogether.
- The whites of their eyes become yellowish or cloudy.
- Their body starts to convulse or shake uncontrollably.
Conclusion For “How Long Do Westies Live”
How long do Westies live? To recap, West Highland White Terriers have an average lifespan of 12-16 years. Many factors can affect a Westie’s life expectancy, including diet, exercise, and health problems. Westies who are well taken care of typically live longer than those who are not.
If you’re interested in owning a Westie, be sure to learn about what you need to do to keep your dog healthy and happy. Also, consider talking with other Westie owners about what has worked best for them.
For more guides with mentions of the Westie dog breed, you can check out:
You can learn more additional information about the Westie by watching “West Highland Terrier Pros and Cons” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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