Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
11. Pooch Selfie: The Original Dog Selfie Stick ($10+): If there’s one thing your BFF struggles with daily, it’s how to get that perfect pic of their pooch for the ‘gram. This phone attachment makes taking photos a snap, since it taps into the pup’s number one philosophy: Keep your eye on the ball. Your friend simply puts it on their phone, and their canine kid is guaranteed to follow the camera wherever it goes.
Monthly, curated boxes of goods delivered directly to your door are all the rage for humans. Whether it’s kitchen ingredients, clothes, or personal care products, having experts put together a killer package of the best in any product category is a proven business model in the new economy. The problem is, dogs have been feeling left out, and nobody even realized it. Except dog people (did we mention they’re a little different?). Every Bark Box includes toys, snacks, and chewables that will have dogs and their owners rolling with joy for weeks at a time.
Networking can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. Most people who love Labradors love all Labradors. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The Labrador Club of America’s rescue network can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Labrador rescues in your area.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
- Exclusions: Hill's Pet Nutrition food and treats (Hill's Prescription Diet, Hill's Science Diet, Hill's Ideal Balance and Hill's Bioactive Recipe); select Pro Purina brands (Pro Plan, Muse and Beyond); Petsafe Brands (PetSafe, SportDOG, ScoopFree, Pup-Pee Solutions, Piddle Place, Radio Systems, Gentle Leader, Premier Pet, Solvit' and Simpsons Adventure); Educator E-Collars; PetcoOne and WholeHearted Memberships, Repeat Delivery orders and subscriptions; out-of-stock items, prior purchases, Donations, Petco Gift Cards and eGift Cards.
Pet hair? Don’t care!? But guests just might. Well, you know what doesn’t suck is a vacuum that is specialized to suck up pet hair and debris. This is just the thing your pet loving friend needs in their life (but probably would never buy for themselves). We reviewed several vacuums for pet hair, but the Bissell PowerEdge 81L2A is a great pick for the price. It has a swivel head, easy to empty dirt cup, 20-foot cord and comes with a 1-year warranty. While not the most glamorous gift, your friends will thank you for helping them later. And, next time you visit, you might be thankful too!
Labs are smart and highly trainable, but they don’t just magically turn into great dogs. Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging, countersurfing and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with during adolescence. In the case of the Lab, the “teen” years can start at six months and continue until the dog is about three years old.
This is the smallest, lightest and brightest collar light I've tried. It's also the one light that stays on when turned on, and manages to stay on during the dog's romping and running on the trail. The light activates by a small button one pushes down on, and turns off by pushing it back up. The light fastens to the collar by a tight-fitting claw clasp. When I hike with three dogs and they have these lights on around their collars, I don't have to worry about carrying my own light.
"Molly Girl at 2 months—Molly is every bit chocolate Lab, but with none of the horror stories I was warned of! She is not super high energy, probably due in part to the daily exercise I make sure she gets. She is eager to please and extremely loyal. She greets everyone with a wag of the tail and loves to be loved on! As with any dog, consistency is important when training, and thanks to that, and dog parks, Molly is the perfect dog:)"
In the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Labrador's breed club have set the breed standard to accommodate the field-bred Labrador somewhat. For instance, the AKC withers-height standards allow conformation dogs to be slightly taller than the equivalent British standard. However, dual champions, or dogs that excel in both the field and the show ring, are becoming more unusual.
4. Dog Threads Havana Palms Matching BBQ Shirts ($68 for Women’s, $36 for Dogs): Some dog moms like to dress their dogs up; others like to dress like their dogs. For those who want to take #twinning to the next level, these stylish shirts come in different sizes and patterns and are made for men, women, kids and, of course, the little furry members of the family.
The Secret Agent Leash by Paww is made with soft webbing that's surprisingly durable and has reflective fabric woven into the length of the leash to improve nighttime visibility. The best part is the quick-tether clip that allows you to securely attach your four-legged friend to fence posts and parking signs without ever having to unleash him. [$20; paww.com]
A dog could sure use a fitness tracker this time of year. All holiday season, ham and turkey has been mysteriously “falling to the floor,” right in front of an all-too-willing doggo. The Whistle 3 Pet Tracker tracks your portly pup’s steps and whereabouts, and it displays it all to you on the Whistle app. It’s an easy way to keep track of Pooh Bear’s fitness—whether or not you’re also tracking your own.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. Here’s a brief rundown on what you should know about some of the medical conditions that can affect the Labrador’s health.
Several early descriptions of the St. John's water dog exist. In 1822, explorer W.E. Cormack crossed the island of Newfoundland by foot. In his journal he wrote "The dogs are admirably trained as retrievers in fowling, and are otherwise useful.....The smooth or short haired dog is preferred because in frosty weather the long haired kind become encumbered with ice on coming out of the water."
Latch on this light-up collar the next time you are letting your pooch out for a late night bathroom break. The LED collar by Illumiseen is USB rechargeable (five hours of light after a one-hour charge) and has three modes of use: steady light mode, rapid flashing, and slow flashing. Colors include red, green, blue, orange, pink and yellow. Sizes range from extra-extra-small to extra-large.
The life expectancy for Labrador Retrievers is generally 10-12 years. They have relatively few health problems, but are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, ear infections and eye disorders. Labs that are fed too much and exercised too little may develop obesity problems. It’s very important that they get daily exercise along with moderate rations of food.
If you’re not totally sure exactly what type of toy or treat to give, Shirley Braha, who’s mom to Instagram-famous Marnie the Dog, recommends giving the gift of replenishing treats. “The first thing that comes to mind is a BarkBox subscription, because I feel like dogs are always running out of treats, and high-quality treats are weirdly expensive.”