People that love their animals want their pets as a part of their life and family for as long as possible. How a pet is chosen and cared for has a lot to do with its health and happiness.
Here are some tips to help improve the odds of selecting and raising a healthy Labrador puppy.
1. Choose a reputable breeder
The search for the best breeder begins with references. Talk to local veterinarians, contact Labrador enthusiast groups, and meet other Labrador owners in the area for their recommendations. Visit recommended facilities first.
Visit the breeder to view the animals they have on-site, and not just the puppies available. Learn what food they give to the dogs, what type of vet care each animal receives, and check out the kennel for cleanliness and safety.
2. Check their health credentials
Contact the veterinarian used by the breeder to confirm any health certificates given on the parents of the litter. Ask the clinic for any information about diseases or other complaints that may have been made against the kennel.
Discuss the puppy wellness checks to make certain the dogs have been looked over and treated as described by the breeder and recommended by the veterinarian.
The most important questions to ask are about the conditions Labrador Retrievers are prone to inheriting. Hip and elbow dysplasia and an eye condition known as retinal atrophy are common concerns.
Parents and grandparents of the puppy should be proven free of these conditions.
3. Talk to prior clients that have adopted from the breeder
Get contact information from the breeder for other people that have adopted from their kennel. Contact each and ask how old their pets are and the general health of the animal.
It is important to make sure some of the pet parents have dogs that are several years old because some issues only reveal themselves in mature dogs.
Dysplasia, for example, is most often diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 18 months and sometimes much later after the dog develops symptoms of the condition.
Dogs are usually at least two years old before late-onset retinal atrophy symptoms begin.
4. Pick out a promising puppy
There are certain traits to look for in a puppy, and the traits are not necessarily breed-specific. Look at all the puppies together and how they interact.
Boldness, shyness and a tendency to take charge are often natural behaviors that reveal the personality more than their health.
Look for indications of health while enjoying the playtime of the litter. The skin, ears, and eyes should all look healthy without any signs of infection, rashes or other problems.
According to VCA Hospitals, Know what to avoid while looking at the pups by understanding what is normal for their eyes, ears and other vital concerns.
5. Stay on schedule with medical appointment
Consistent medical care helps puppies to grow into active, healthy and happy pets. The appointments have several crucial functions. The care protects and diagnoses the pet and it offers options to the owner.
Wellness checks ensure that pets stay on a vaccination schedule that protects them against certain deadly diseases.
The diagnostics performed during their exams detect problems early so treatments are more effective and a cure more likely.
Consider investing in a journal to record each visit to prevent any missed trips and to keep all their medical information updated and accurate.
6. Feed the dog a nutritious diet throughout its life
According to PetMD, Good nutrition is one of the most important factors in the health of any dog.
The right diet promotes good skin health, builds up the immune system and protects the teeth, eyes, and bones. Veterinarians can offer some brand recommendations and feeding amounts.
Good pet food is one that offers a complete diet with all the nutrients the pet needs for their current stage of life.
The food should be as natural as possible without additives and overly processed ingredients. Feed the pup nutritious treats too like bits of chicken, raw carrots or watermelon.
Avoid table scraps because people add a lot of things to their plate that pets do not need like salt, butter, and other sugary or sodium-laden condiments.
If scraps are given in addition to their meals, the pet could become obese. If the scraps are used to replace a regular meal it could deprive them of vital nutrients.
Include some breed or size-specific supplements to their diet. Supplements can keep their overall health better as well as target some common problems like skin conditions or joint pain.
A dog with a genetic condition will often fare better and respond to treatments easier when it is otherwise healthy.
7. Consider the options if the worst happens
Sometimes, even the most careful pet parent adopts a dog with a genetic condition, or a healthy line of Labradors produces one with a problem.
Most reliable breeders offer a health guarantee and will refund the money on a pet that does not meet expectations.
However, pet adoption is often a love-at-first-sight relationship and relinquishing the puppy is not always a desirable choice.
A genetic condition or a sudden illness is not a lifelong predictor of ill health or shorter life. Pets can still live normal, enjoyable lives with carefully managed medical conditions and good veterinary supervision.
The only consideration for the care of a lab with special needs is the potential expense, so pet owners should always have an emergency plan for pet health care.
Another thing for all pet owners to remember is what this video proves – that even when things seem tragic, it is important to keep hope.
Dogs are resilient creatures and veterinary medicine offers a lot of advanced treatments for conditions that were once considered unmanageable.
It is an unfortunate reality that there is no way to 100 percent guarantee any pet will stay healthy.
However, thorough pet adopters that take the time to research breeders and are attentive to the needs of their pet will have the best chance of having a healthy Labrador in their lives for 10-14 years.
Maybe it could even outdo Bella from England, who holds the world record for oldest Labrador by living to the age of 29.