Labrador Retriever Information and Facts
The Labrador Retriever is a breed esteemed for its dedication and loyalty as a family pet. It is commonly considered to be one of the most friendly, outgoing, and athletic breeds. Living an average lifespan of 12 years, the Lab ranges from small to medium in terms of size, with some capping off between 21 to 24.5 inches tall and weighing between 50 to 80 pounds. Coming in the colors of yellow, chocolate, and black, this breed is known for its durable, short, shiny coat. The Lab is undoubtedly a breed renowned for being both a working and playing dog. Although the Lab is physically built to hunt, run, and swim, the Lab also has the capacity for spirited play and laid-back family time. The Lab is a breed for all to enjoy.
A Labrador Retriever’s feeding chart is an essential aspect of their health and well being. Lab owners should ensure it is consuming food high in protein (25% of their diet) and complex carbohydrates to match the Lab’s active lifestyle. Once the Lab reaches adulthood at around nine months old, their food should be adjusted according to their level of activity and their current weight, with 260 to 400 grams recommended for low activity and 350 to 450 grams recommended for Labs maintaining the highest activity. Labs weighing more will naturally require more food.
Due to their tendency as a breed to become obese, it is recommended they be fed the proper amount for their age and refrain from long periods of little to no exercise. Premium food, fresh water, and minimal treats are recommended for a Lab’s nutritious, balanced diet.
In spite of the breed’s strength and athletic activity early in life, one should be aware of the possible Labrador health issues as they age. Around 60% of all Labs are diagnosed with one or more health condition during their lifetime. A strong correlation between the color of a Lab’s coat and their life expectancy has been consistently found, with yellow and black Labs having a significantly longer life than chocolate Labs. The most common health issues are ear and skin related.
Labrador health problems can range from musculoskeletal disorders, to tumors, to degenerative disorders. Some of the more widespread Labrador Retriever health problems include heart disorders, muscular dystrophy, otitis externa (swimmer’s ear), canine hip dysplasia, and bloating and obesity. Some young Labs may experience exercise-induced collapse (EIC), which can be detected in carriers if needed. The National Breed Club recommends Labrador Retrievers receive evaluations of their hip, eyes, and elbows, as well as the EIC DNA Test to determine if they are a carrier.
Labrador dog vomiting can range in its severity, from simply coughing up a foreign object to an undetected health problem. Vomiting, which is forcibly retching up undigested or semi-digested food in a physically straining manner, differs from regurgitation, which is the passive manner in which the dog brings up a mixture of saliva, bile, and undigested food. Regurgitation usually occurs without prior warning, with common causes of it being anxiety and overeating. On the other hand, vomiting requires effort, which is observed as the muscles tense up and the dog becomes visibly agitated.
Recurrent vomiting that is accompanied by out-of-the-ordinary behavior or blood mixed with the bile should be addressed immediately by a veterinarian. However, some causes of Labrador vomiting of the lesser nature include:
- Motion sickness
- Poison ingestion
- Ingestion of inedible objects or irritating foods
- Cancer, diseases, or diabetes
- Various infections
- Overexcitement and stress
Finding a professional and trusted vet to run various tests in order to determine the cause of your pet’s vomiting should be done without delay.
Labrador hip dysplasia is a condition which occurs most frequently in medium to large dogs but has been seen to occur in dogs of any size. Hip dysplasia is a condition whereby the ball and socket of the hip joint are unaligned, which causes rubbing and friction. The ball of the hip joint may have been improperly developed over the Lab’s life due to hereditary predispositions, poor nutrition, or insufficient exercise.
It is a condition which is usually quite obvious in your furry, energetic friend. Labrador information and facts on hip dysplasia are sought out when pet owners notice things such as:
- Reduction in activity
- Hobbled walking or limping
- Difficulty in what are usually easy physical activities like running, climbing, or jumping
- Noticeable pain
- Limb lameness
Surgeries, braces, medication, and physical therapy are some of the more common remedies for hip dysplasia.
Labrador eye problems are common enough with the breed that veterinarians often suggest that, beginning at six weeks old, Lab puppies be tested to determine if they are predisposed to certain conditions of the vision. One of the conditions tested for is Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, which is the deterioration of the retina. The blood vessels leading to the retina and supplying it with necessary nutrients fails. This deterioration often leads to tunnel vision or blindness. Membrane separation occurring in the retina may also lead to sudden blindness. Cataracts are also a common condition, characterized by an opaque, bluish covering of the lens of the eye which is thought to be due to calcium build-up. These luckily can be removed by a vet.
Labrador Retriever Anxiety Disorders
While many dogs experience anxiety-inducing fears of lightening and loud noises, not many people realize Labrador anxiety disorders are a real and prevalent occurrence. Labradors are loyal, social dogs that easily form life-long attachments with their owners. While this is a great attribute of Labs, it often can contribute to severe separation anxiety if their owners are absent for a long period of time. Various other anxiety-provoking situations or acquired phobias also contribute to ongoing anxiety disorders. Some common symptoms of anxiety disorders in Lab are:
- Whining, crying, or barking
- Pacing back and forth
- Trembling, panting, or cowering
- Loss of bowel control
- Destructive behavior such as chewing holes or destroying objects.
These anxiety disorders can be combated with methods like desensitization (refraining from being overly reactive when leaving or greeting pet), crate training, or counterconditioning (replacing the negative, anxiety-inducing situations with positive, rewarding experiences for your pet).
Hot Spot Treatment
Amid the myriad of Labrador information and facts available online, some of the most relevant ones deal with Labrador hot spot treatment. Hot spots, otherwise known as acute moist dermatitis, is a common condition in which red, seeping spots of bacterial infection spread and become inflamed. They are often caused by incessant gnawing, licking, or scratching of the area by the dog. This agitation to the area induces more itching, which further worsens the area.
The clawing and scratching of the area leading to the development of hot spots is frequently caused by:
- Pests and parasites
- Infections or diseases
Labs are more likely to experience hot spots due to their thick fur. Moisture that has accumulated under the coat can also trigger irritation leading to hot spots. Because of this, humid weather and frequent time spent in water can begin the process of hot spot development.
Due to the rapidly worsening situation hot spots can cause, prompt treatment of them is needed. A visit to your vet would be the best option to determine to appropriate course of treatment depending upon what is causing the hot spots. Some common forms of treatment are:
- Prescribing medications to treat and/or control the itching, inflammation, and infections.
- Keeping the coat clean and short to avoid potential knotting.
- Keeping the area free of bacteria and sanitary with antiseptic solution or wipes.
These treatments as well as preventative treatments (keeping its coat always clean and untangled, watching its behavior, etc.) are necessary to keep hot spots from developing.
If you keep a close eye on your pup’s behavior, it will tell you all you need to know about keeping it healthy and happy. The Labrador Retriever is one of the most beloved breeds, and for good reason. If you care for it in all the ways needed, your furry friend will surely care for you in ways you did not realize were possible.