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Labrador puppies are adorable, energetic and lovable bundles of joy. They are capable of melting even the coldest of hearts and bringing a smile to everyone’s faces.
Even better is the fact that these little puppies grow up to be loyal and gigantic, but equally cute and playful, companions for life!
All that aside, Labrador puppies are also much easier to train than fully grown dogs.
So, if you’re a new owner of a Labrador puppy, or you plan on getting one, congratulations!
Keep reading as FeedFond has gathered all the information you need to know about taking care of your brand new Labrador puppy.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Feeding Your Labrador Puppy
- Grooming Your Labrador Puppy
- Physical Activities for Labrador Puppies
- How to Train Your Labrador Dog
- Health Issues Of Labradors and Prevention
- How to Puppy Proof Your House for the New Labrador
- Puppy Supplies You’ll Need for a New Labrador Dog
- Final Thoughts
Feeding Your Labrador Puppy
Labradors are usually fed two types of food – commercial kibble or raw food. But if you have a puppy, it’s best to stick to kibble.
Now, you shouldn’t be feeding your puppy kibble that is meant for adult dogs. There’s actually special puppy kibble available in the supermarket, that have just the right balance of nutrients your growing puppy needs.
But if feeding your puppy adult dog food is absolutely unavoidable, make sure that it has less than 25% protein content.
Although, it’s always tempting to go for cheaper products, be aware that they’re not always the healthiest option for your puppy.
Low-cost kibble contains a lot of fillers that may give your puppy an upset stomach. Well known brands that are medium to high priced, and have proper feeding guidelines, are the best option.
In general, your puppy’s feeding schedule should look like this:
- Eight- to three-month-old puppies should be fed four times a day.
- Three- to six-month-old puppies should be fed three times a day.
- For puppies six months and up, two meals a day should suffice.
It’s best to have a regularly scheduled time for feeding your Labrador pup.
Important Things To Remember
Even if you’re already awake and your puppy is very clearly asking for breakfast, wait until the set time so that they can get used to the schedule.
It’s also important to have well-spaced intervals between meals, and not give too much food in one sitting.
Another helpful tip is to keep at least a four-hour gap between bedtime and a puppy’s last meal of the day. This will actually do you a huge favor and stop your puppy from needing frequent bathroom visits at night.
How Much is Too Much?
Sure, chubby Labrador puppies may be incredibly cute to look at. But being obese is in no way a fun experience for them, or for their health.
This is why you’ve got to make sure that you’re feeding your puppy just the right amount of food. At the baby stage, your puppy will need the most feeding.
However, at the age of three months, your puppy should have a properly defined waist. If your puppy is more on the rounder side, it’s time to cut back on food. You should definitely stop giving it snacks and fillers and opt for a healthier diet.
If, on the other hand, you’re feeling your puppies ribs a lot more than usual, it’s time to double its food. Basically, it is best to follow the guidelines given by your vet and constantly keep an eye on your puppy’s weight.
- Try giving your puppy more food that contains Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine. This will keep your puppies joints healthy.
- Don’t leave food out in the bowl all day. This will only lead to overeating. Make it a consistent rule to only leave food out for a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
- Although it is our basic instinct to give babies milk, puppies feeding on kibble really don’t need it. Water is the only drink your puppy needs at this point. Milk is only going to give it stomach problems.
- If your puppy isn’t eating a lot for the first few days, don’t panic. This is normal as it is getting used to its new surroundings.
- However, if it has not touched its food at all for more than four hours, it’s best to get advice from your vet.
Grooming Your Labrador Puppy
A well-groomed dog is a happy and healthy dog. And if you own a pup, now’s the perfect age to start the grooming.
1. Bath Time Advice
Puppies don’t really need baths that regularly. But puppies being puppies get into all sorts of dirty shenanigans and in such cases, a bath may be very much required.
Always remember to use safe and gentle shampoos that are specifically designed for puppies. Also, even if there are no muddy accidents, it might be a good idea to introduce your puppy to lukewarm showers at an early age.
If you start training it early on, bathing won’t be such a hassle when it is older. Also, remember to avoid getting water in your puppy’s eyes. If you notice any discharge, use a gentle cloth to wipe it away.
2. Hair Brushing
Brushing once a week with a nylon brush is enough to keep your puppy’s coat clean and well groomed. However, if you have the time, do try and brush daily as it is a really good bonding experience.
Also, daily brushing ensures maximum cleanliness and even stimulates the secretion of natural oils that keep your puppy’s coat looking silky and glamorous.
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3. Dental Care
You’ll need to brush your puppy’s teeth every day, with a special canine toothpaste and brush. Make sure that the toothbrush is soft and doesn’t hurt your puppy’s gums.
Dental hygiene is an extremely important part of the grooming process. This is because plaque can actually enter the puppy’s bloodstream and cause severe health problems like heart disease.
If you do notice that there is a lot of plaque buildup, don’t worry. You can always take your puppy to the vet, and get it professionally cleaned.
4. Ear Cleaning
Always check your puppy’s ears, especially after intense outdoor activities. Generally, you should be cleaning the outer part of your puppy’s ear once a week using cotton balls moistened with an ear cleaning solution or baby oil.
Don’t dig too deeply into the puppy ’s ears, but if you see very dark debris, you should have this checked out by your vet.
Related Read: Best Dog Ear Cleaners Review: Natural & Safe Choices
5. Touching the Paws
Now, to cut your dog’s nails, you’ll have to handle the paws which some puppies don’t like. However, you can definitely get them used to the idea if you start slowly.
You can start this by touching its paws like a game, first the left, and then the right. Your puppy might not be okay with this but keep at it.
Once your puppy accepts this after several tries, attempt to keep your hand on one of its paws for more than five seconds.
Reward your puppy with treats whenever it lets you do this. Only after your puppy seems to be okay with paw touching should you introduce nail clippers.
You’ve got to introduce this slowly as well. Keep touching your Labrador’s paws with the nail clipper and soon it will be accustomed to the feeling.
6. Nail maintenance
If you’re hearing clicking noises when your pup is running around your home, it’s time to trim its nails. Normally, Labrador puppies need to get their nails trimmed at least once every two months. If you don’t trim those nails, they’ll grow too long and may be painful, creating problems when they walk.
Nail Trimming Advice
You’ll need someone else to hold your puppy while you trim its nails because it’s crazy wriggling may end up causing you to nip a vein.
Remember, never force your puppy! If it struggles too much, just focuses on trimming one nail each evening. It might take two whole weeks to complete, but it will save your puppy from distress.
Also, if you do nip a vein by mistake, it’s not the end of the world. Immediately stop and apply cornstarch and direct pressure on the spot to stop the bleeding. At the end of this troublesome process, make sure to give your puppy a treat and lots of praises!
Physical Activities for Labrador Puppies
Puppies need to be able to run around freely for their mental and physical well-being. However, puppies can also overexert themselves during walks or physical activity, so it’s best to keep it short.
The most popular guide for how long a puppy should be walked is the Five Minute Rule. This rule states that for every month of its age, a puppy needs only five minutes of walking.
So, for example, if your puppy is four months old, it should be walked for a maximum of 20 minutes. If your puppy is less than three months old, it shouldn’t even be climbing stairs or chasing balls for too long.
Breeders also tend to advise against letting your puppy jump around too much as it might damage its growing elbow and shoulder joints.
How to Train Your Labrador Dog
Labrador puppies are very playful and curious creatures. You can expect your puppy to be quite a handful until it is at least three or four years old.
Despite their high energy, Labradors can be quite well trained, especially if you start at an early age. Praising and positive reinforcement works wonders with puppies of these breeds, as they are people-pleasers.
However, you have to be regular and consistent in the way you train your puppy. No matter who does the training, make sure everybody uses the same indication for commands. Here are some other training tips:
1. How to Get Your Lab Puppy to Stop Biting
Labrador puppies tend to bite more than other dog breeds. However, there is no reason to worry because Labradors are a very gentle dog breed.
The biting and gnawing is only a form of playful behavior. But there are some things that encourage your puppy to bite, such as extreme excitement or emotional meltdowns.
For instance, rough playing with other puppies, chasing games, noisy, crying children and even adults shouting can cause a puppy to start biting.
Another thing that encourages biting is when you give your puppy attention. When you see your puppy starting to bite, don’t fuss. Just say “no” sharply and stop interacting with it.
You could also remove your puppy from the area and keep it in a separate place until it calms down. Repeatedly doing this will teach your puppy that biting is bad.
2. How to Potty Train Your Labrador
I’m sure you want your puppy to learn that the house is not a bathroom. The earlier you start this training, the better.
Start by creating a specific area for your dog to relieve itself, be it in your backyard or a litter box. Then, observe your puppy’s potty schedules and set alarms accordingly.
Remember, puppies need to pee and poop a lot more frequently than older dogs!
Steps to Follow
Take your puppy to the potty area at a scheduled time, consistently, for example after meals, after playtime, and before naptime.
As for nighttime bathroom visits, you should probably set an alarm every day around two or three in the morning. However, when letting your dog do its business, you shouldn’t engage with it or you’ll never be able to go back to sleep.
Continue this routine strictly for a few weeks and then let your puppy carry out the routine by itself. Every time it goes to the proper place, reward it with treats and praises. At this stage, there might be accidents but do not scold your puppy.
It is important to note that the best way to help potty train your puppy is by cleaning up any previous accidents extremely thoroughly. This is because puppies tend to potty where they have already done so before.
3. How to Teach Socializing Skills to Your Labrador Puppy
Labradors are naturally very friendly and gentle dogs. However, if they are not socialized from a young age, they can get very shy and fearful.
Your puppy has a very short socialization period from eight to sixteen weeks. This is the easiest time to get them used to new surroundings. During this phase, they’re the most social and will accept any newcomers.
However, you need to make sure that your puppy is vaccinated before exposing it the outside world and other dogs.
Your puppy has to get used to meeting different kinds of people of all ages and in all types of clothes. It should also be exposed to cars, bicycles, and all sorts of noises.
If you don’t take this period seriously, it will be very difficult to take your dog outside and make it accept new surroundings.
Health Issues Of Labradors and Prevention
A healthy Labrador puppy can live for up to 10 to 12 years. However, there are some common health issues you should look out for in Labrador puppies.
1. Hereditary Myopathy
Labrador puppies may have an inherited disease called Myopathy, where the skeletal muscles collapse.
Signs are visible when puppies are six weeks to seven months old. Puppies with Myopathy won’t be able to exercise and will have a lot of difficulties holding their head up.
When your puppy is feeling cold, the symptoms get worse.
However, with treatment, your puppy will improve by the time it is six to 12 months old. Medical treatment includes giving your puppy Diazepam and keeping it warm.
Epilepsy is when your puppy or dog has seizures. This problem is more likely to occur in Labradors aged between six months and five years.
The scary part of this condition is that the reason is unknown.
However, there is treatment in the form of drugs such as Phenobarbital, which greatly reduces the frequency and intensity of these seizures.
3. Hip Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia is when your dog’s hip joints aren’t properly developed. This is a common condition in large breed dogs.
It often starts when your dog is a puppy, as young as four months old. Hip Dysplasia makes moving very painful for your dog and might also result in Osteoarthritis later on in life.
Your puppy is more likely to suffer from this if it is overweight or not getting the nutrition it needs. Therefore treatment includes reducing your dog’s body weight to take the stress off of its joints, as well as physical therapy.
As for medical treatment, puppies suffering from this problem may be given anti-inflammatory drugs or joint fluid modifiers.
How to Puppy Proof Your House for the New Labrador
Before you get a new Labrador puppy, you’ll need to make sure that your house is safe and secure for it to run around.
- Be careful with small objects around your house. Puppies are just like babies and will swallow anything they can find, which may cause problems with digestion.
- Be wary of electrical cords and try to move them away from your puppy’s sight. You don’t want your puppy chewing on them.
- A trick to prevent your puppy from chewing electrical wires or other dangerous objects is to rub some soap or ‘no chew spray’ on them to make them taste bad.
- Whenever you aren’t home, make sure your puppy stays in its crate or a safe room.
- Installing baby gates is a good way of ensuring that your puppy doesn’t climb stairs.
Puppy Supplies You’ll Need for a New Labrador Dog
Apart from the things mentioned above, you’ll need quite a lot of other supplies before bringing a puppy home. As we’ve said before, it’s almost like welcoming home a new baby.
- Get a stainless steel bowl to keep your puppy’s water and food. Since puppies can get a little crazy during meal times, make sure the bowls can’t easily be tipped over.
- Your puppy should have a kennel or crate to sleep in at night. It should also have comfortable bedding that can be easily washed.
- Buy your puppy lots of toys so it is always entertained. However, make sure these toys are sturdy as soft toys won’t last very long.
- Don’t forget to get your Labrador puppy a collar and leash. The collar shouldn’t be fitted too tightly. At least two of your fingers should fit in the space between the collar and your puppy’s neck
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Labrador puppies get attached to people and constantly seek approval from and playtime with their owners. Despite being a little boisterous and energetic, Labrador pups can still grow up to be the most well behaved, skilled and loyal companions.
They bring immense joy to everybody around them and fill the environment with positive energy. So, go on and use all the knowledge you have gained, and give your new Labrador puppy the healthy, loving life it deserves!
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