Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.
Labradors do tend to be protective of their families and homes but are usually happy to greet company, too. With the strong retrieving instinct, they can develop into destructive chewers if not given appropriate toys and guidance. Labs may tend to "mouth" people and the solution is often simply to give them a toy to carry around, so their mouths are already full! These are very strong dogs and early training is necessary to have a dog that walks nicely on lead.
Labradors like to eat, and without proper exercise can become obese. Laziness is a contribution to this. Obesity is a serious condition and can be considered the number one nutritional problem with dogs. A study shows that at least 25% of dogs in the United States are overweight. Therefore, Labradors must be properly exercised and stimulated. A healthy Labrador can do swimming wind sprints for two hours, and should keep a very slight hourglass waist and be fit and light, rather than fat or heavy-set. Obesity can exacerbate conditions such as hip dysplasia and joint problems, and can lead to secondary diseases, including diabetes. Osteoarthritis is very common in older, especially overweight, Labradors. A 14-year study covering 48 dogs by food manufacturer Purina showed that Labradors fed to maintain a lean body shape outlived those fed freely by around two years, emphasising the importance of not over-feeding. Labradors should be walked twice a day for at least half an hour.
The Labrador Retriever is generally categorized by lines that are destined for slightly different purposes. The show Labradors are bred for beauty and carriage -- for perfection in appearance, in other words. The hunting dogs follows the more traditional bloodlines, with usefulness being the key to perfection. The hunting Retriever has the physical characteristics that make it impervious to frigid water, an extraordinary sense of smell, and the agility to bag game with speed, along with companionable devotion to its human counterpart. Champion, or field trial Labradors, are bred for speed, energy, and intelligence, with appearance being the last consideration. Their appearance strays somewhat from the traditional Labrador -- they are quite trimmer, with smaller heads, and it is generally agreed that this line may be a bit too enthusiastic for the average dog owner. They require a much higher degree of exercise, and considerably more space to move around. Not least is the most popular category, the family Labrador.
Pet Cams are the purrr-fect gift for someone who loves their pet because it allows them to take their pup with them wherever they go! Just plug in the camera and connect it to WiFi. Depending on the camera, the app may allow them to have two-way communications with their dog (which is especially ideal for dogs with separation anxiety who can be troublemakers while away). There are a number of live video cameras that range in price and features, but our favorite for dogs is the Pawbo because it has a built-in laser dot chasing game, treat dispenser and multiple sound effects (cat, birds, etc.). It’s on the pricey side, so be sure to check out our full PetCams review to learn more about the other camera options, too.
Over time, most dog owners will come to love everything about their companion. With the possible exception of their signature stench. This powerful air purifier, designed specifically for pet owners, is like a magic box that removes that part of the experience, while leaving everything else just the way it is. It also removes the pet-related allergens from the air, so they won’t have to listen to Aunt May whine about her runny nose when she visits.
Filson Dog Gear: “Might as well have the best” has long been a slogan of Filson, a legendary outdoor gear and clothing company that took off during the 1897 gold rush, supplying the highest quality items to the hardest working outdoorsmen. Your dog might as well have the best too, and mine wears the Filson Dog Chest Protector ($75) to keep burrs, ticks and mud off her chest and belly and avoid pointy sticks when running crazy through the woods. There are tons of coats and vests for dog, yet almost none of them protect the underside, and while a dog like mine doesn’t need warmth, I like the protection, and this is water and tear resistant but lined with soft cozy cotton, it’s blaze orange for visibility, has very adjustable straps and buckles, is made in the USA and comes in three sizes. For more traditional topside protection, Filson makes the Shelter Cloth Dog Coat ($95), using its proprietary Shelter Cloth, a heavyweight, oil finished waterproof canvas, lined with virgin wool which remains warm even when wet. The coat is reversible, so you can go solid dark green or red and black check. It is easy to put on and off, secure, adjustable and features a double layer sueded moleskin neck for comfort. Like Filson’s human jackets, it’s a real deal outdoor garment for tough environments. You can get cheaper pet coats but as Clinton Filson said in 1914, “The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them.” Or the dog wearing them.
This is the one toy guaranteed to turn heads at the local dog park. The Cannon shoots tennis balls 30 feet down the field, saving your arm from unwanted wear and tear. Simply pull back the handle to deploy the rubber band inside, load up a tennis ball, and then squeeze the trigger to send your pup sprinting downrange to chase down the ball. [$16.99; amazon.com]
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.”
Alone Time While they may be left alone for up to eight hours during the day, the gregarious Lab needs plenty of human interaction. Labs require at least an hour of exercise per day—more than just a short walk. Loneliness, boredom, and too little activity may be the root of undesirable behaviors such as destructive chewing. Ensure your Lab has enough quality attention throughout the day to prevent this behavior.
The human-to-human reticence of the dog lover can be misinterpreted as anti-social behavior. But it’s usually nothing personal. The truth is, many days they only care to communicate through face licking and belly rubbing. In order to avoid any confusion or negative social consequences, allow them to communicate the critical message in plain English. The world isn’t such a hostile place when you wear your intentions on your sleeve – or even better, on your chest.
"This is our newly adopted black Lab named Dozer. He is one and a half years old in this picture and we adopted him from the pound. Like most Labs he loves the water (as you can see in the picture); in fact, he loves it a little too much. We need to work with him on not obsessing over the water so much, but he is so eager to please that it shouldn't be too hard. We take him on two walks a day with him carrying a doggy backpack, one being a three-mile walk with at least a half hour of swimming. I watch the Dog Whisperer all the time so I know that with following his methods and with Dozer being so eager to please that whatever issues he has we will be able to improve them."
Just like people, as dogs get a little longer in the tooth, climbing and jumping onto things gets less fun and a lot less advisable. Unfortunately, as good as dogs are at doing dog-related things – like fetching and greeting – they tend to struggle with “don’t jump into the car anymore”, and other ideas that make sense to us. A portable dog ramp will save Fido from himself and help him get a lot more miles out of those old bones.
Labrador Retrievers are energetic dogs, delighted to work and play hard. They need to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk, jog or run alongside you when you bicycle. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. They will be in their glory if you give them a job to do. Gain weight easily, do not over feed.
The Labrador breed has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Some of the general health conditions that afflict Labradors are patellar luxation, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), which is canine elbow and shoulder dysplasia. This breed also occasionally suffers from distichiasis, exercise-induced collapse, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and entropion. Minor health concerns include retinal dysplasia, central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA), hypothyroidism, hot spots, and cataract. Knee, hip, eye, and elbow tests should be included in the usual medical check-ups.
Dogs are the best creatures in the universe who put up with all of our Grinch-like qualities all year round. They’re excited by the sight of a leash, never tire of belly rubs, will always listen to our ramblings, and will party the night away with nothing more than a stick. Here are the top 10 gifts for your well-deserving….maybe also a little spoiled, pup.