When you choose a Labrador, study his family tree closely; his health, behavior, and constitution largely depend on what line he descends from. Don’t bring home a pup till he is at least seven weeks old. Try to pick him up from a reputed breeder and not a puppy mill. This will ensure that the pup has no genetic defects. A knowledgeable breeder is very careful about breeding healthy pups from two healthy dogs- not from dogs who have been blatantly ill treated and forced to conceive.
Up until the age of four months, a pup can be properly fed with about 1 ½ cups of food during each feeding. Remember- a pup is like an infant. Just like human children, they too need short meals regularly throughout the day. They require at least four feedings in a day, and as they grow up, their diet increases.
People living in cities or in multi-storied apartments find it difficult to exercise their dogs properly. Labradors love to eat, but if they don’t get proper exercise, they will soon grow obese. They will face many health problems such as heart ailments, low muscle tone, lack of stamina, etc as a result of obesity.
We feel compelled to share our food when our dog comes begging, and fail to realize that we are actually harming his health. The excess weight he packs will start taking a toll on his heart and joints. This can also lead to diabetes. Though curable, diabetes, if untreated, can make your dog blind. So don’t let him pile on the excess fat. A fit dog is, after all, a healthy dog.
As they age, Labradors can face other health problems such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, eye and ear infections, etc. A problem called luxating patella deforms their legs. They can also suffer from cataract and retinal atrophy. Myopathy is a disease that decays the dog’s muscles. Your dog will not be able to express his pain, so just imagine what it will be like if he loses his eyesight or his ability to walk.
A serious condition in Labradors may occur due to gastric torsion. This happens when the intestine gets twisted and trap in undigested food, thus giving rise to flatulence. The stomach will soon swell uncomfortably, and your dog will be in terrible pain. This is a very dangerous situation and can easily lead to death.
Get your new pup checked by a vet as soon as possible. Immunization is an important thing. Get him immunized against worms and fleas and give him shots to prevent rabies. Follow the immunization schedule by the book as you would with a child.
When you bring home a Labrador, be prepared for a bundle of energy. It is a very boisterous and energetic breed. Labrador puppies are usually playful. A happy and active dog means it is in good health.
You must be knowledgeable about what problems your dog can face. Be on the lookout for any telltale signs. Be sure to take him to a good vet. Most problems and ailments are curable if treated promptly.