While it originally comes from Canada, the Labrador retriever is undoubtedly the best-loved dog breed in the U.S. Among many other things, it is known for its voracious appetite and tendency to be overweight, as well as its gentleness, intelligence and industriousness. And like any other dogs, Labrador retrievers also have special requirements when it comes to key aspects of care.
Labs should eat high-quality dog food, whether commercial or home-prepared, so that their need for strong bones can be addressed, especially considering that they are often weighty. These dogs food should also have enough lean protein and L-carnitine to build lean muscle mass, plus certain minerals and sugars like phosphorous and chondroitin that help them grow sturdy skeletons. To maintain a lush, shiny coat, Lab food should come with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, biotin and vitamins A and B.
With a balanced feeding schedule, a Lab’s hunger and blood glucose levels can be kept in check. A puppy who is younger than four months will do well with being fed four times a day, while those between 4 and 12 months should eat thrice daily. Upon reaching the age of 1 year, it should have only two balanced meals a day.
At three months, a Lab puppy is usually ready to be taught basic commands like “come” or “stay.” As it grows older, it will become a bigger and more powerful dog, so it’s important to train it while it’s young.
It is important to brush a Lab’s coat twice weekly using a special grooming brush designed to remove loose hairs. The Lab sheds its undercoat twice yearly, to be replaced with a whole new layer of soft fur. This process can be sped up by giving the dog some extra grooming, if only to minimize the amount of loose hair lying around. A monthly bath is usually good enough for a Lab, but this can be more frequent if there’s a body of water nearby, such as a river or lake – Labs are enthusiastic swimmers! Very importantly, the pet should be toweled dry after each swim so that coat won’t keep water. Very importantly, because a Lab’s ears are floppy and vulnerable to issues, the inside must be cleaned from time to time using an ear-cleaning solution. Inflammation, odor or discharge is usually a sign of infection.
Finally, considering Labrador retrievers’ tendency to be overweight, as we have mentioned, it is crucial for them to be physically active at least two hours everyday. Chasing and fetching a ball can be a healthy routine that is not only physically stimulating but mentally as well (while the dog learns commands).