Labrador Retriever Preventative Care - Everything You Need To Know!
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most treasured dog breeds out there. They are known for being one of the best family dogs around, and they have won the hearts of dog lovers around the world because of this!
While many know and love the Labrador Retriever, not everyone is aware of the unique care they require. We want to make sure you have all the tools needed to keep your Lab healthy and happy, so let’s discuss the health risks these pups are prone to, as well as our tips on how to best prevent them!
Before we dive into the details of Labrador Retriever care, we suggest downloading the Vetted app so you can have access to our pet parent guidance center! This is our chat platform that allows you to speak with veterinary professionals 24/7, so you can reach out to us with any further questions about your Labrador’s health needs!
General Care Plan For Labrador Retrievers
While there is individualized care you should offer your Labrador Retriever, they still need the general healthcare that we recommend for all little ones. Before we dive into the specific health risks that you should always be aware of in Labs, let’s list the general care plan that we recommend for all beloved dogs, unless instructed otherwise by your vet.
- A series of 3 sets of core vaccines when they are puppies, typically starting at around 8 weeks of age
- Annual wellness exams
- Monthly heartworm prevention, and this often includes deworming agents as well
- Yearly core vaccines
- Yearly bloodwork from the time they reach 5-7 years of age
If you struggle to keep track of your little one's ongoing care, be sure to download the Vetted app and use the reminders feature! Just plug in the dates of your Lab’s upcoming treatments and appointments, and we’ll send reminders to help you stay on top of it all!
Labrador Retriever Health Risks To Be Aware Of
The Labrador Retriever may be special, but it does not make them immune to complications that threaten their health. Being aware of these potential health threats can help you spot these issues as they develop, and even prevent them in some cases!
Obesity: Labrador Retrievers are known for being food-crazed, and this can lead to obesity in many cases! Not only can excess weight make it more challenging for them to get around each day, but it can also increase their risk of dangerous complications like heart disease and diabetes.
Joint disease: Labrador Retrievers are prone to developing joint conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis.These joint complications are often passed down from dog to dog, but other lifestyle factors can exacerbate these issues and make them much more prominent. Signs of these joint complications include joint stiffness, intermittent limping, difficulty getting up and down, change in their normal gait, muscle wasting in the back end, joint swelling, and sensitivity when certain limbs are touched..
Skin allergies: Labs are particularly prone to developing irritating canine allergies. These pups can be allergic to anything in the world around them, and this includes the plant pollen in your backyard to the fragrances in your home. If your Lab does suffer from itchy skin allergies, you may notice skin redness, dry skin, increased shedding, skin odor, chronic ear infections, paw chewing, wounds on the skin, and even skin infections.
Ear infections: Due to the Labrador’s increased risk of skin allergies, these little ones are more prone to developing chronic ear infections. Due to the skin inflammation that canine allergies cause, this makes the ears a desirable environment for infections to brew. The most common ear infection symptoms in dogs to be on the lookout for include ear redness, head shaking, pawing at the ears, ear odor, moisture in the ears, wounds around the ears, and sensitivity when the ears are touched..
Heart disease: Unfortunately, Labrador Retrievers are prone to developing heart disease. These complications can make it challenging for the heart to pump effectively, and this ultimately leads to life threatening complications. While the increased risk of cardiac disease in dogs can be hereditary, it can also be exacerbated by obesity and insufficient diets. Some of the signs of heart disease in dogs include frequent coughing, decreased stamina, labored breathing, lethargy, decreased appetite, and abdominal swelling.
Not all Labrador Retrievers will develop the complications we discussed above, but it’s always best to be aware of them!
Preventative Care For Your Labrador Retriever
Now that you are aware of the health threats that can impact your little one, it’s time to discuss the ways to spot these issues as they develop, or even prevent them altogether!
Annual wellness exams: Annual wellness exams are one of the best ways to not only stay on top of your Lab’s health over the years, but to potentially spot health complications you cannot detect on your own at home. Your veterinary team will know exactly what to look for during their physical exam, and they can also recommend breed specific testing when necessary.
Maintaining a healthy weight: Helping your Labrador maintain a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to promote their health in the future. Obesity can increase the risk of everything from heart disease to painful joint disease, so it’s something you always want to keep in mind as the years go by. You can help to promote your little one’s health by offering them at least 20-30 minutes of low impact exercise each day, as well as offering them a vet approved diet.
Joint supplements: Joint supplements are a wonderful way to promote optimal joint health in your Lab as they age. You cannot always prevent hereditary joint complications in your little one, but joint supplements can offer them additional support and protection over time. Joint supplements for Labs are a great way to improve joint recovery, prevent joint inflammation, and offer additional lubrication to the joints.
Regular grooming: Basic grooming habits such as daily brushing and monthly ear cleaning can be a great way to promote skin and coat health in your Labrador Retriever. Just be sure to only use an approved veterinary ear cleanser, as well as only using cotton balls or gauze pads.
Your Labrador Retriever may have additional care needs as well, but these are some of our favorite ways to keep your beloved Lab healthy and happy! As always, our Vet Pros are here to answer any additional questions you have about your little one’s needs. Feel free to download the Vetted app and send us a message!