Getting a Labrador Retriever is a major life decision. Although many people consider it as one of the best choices they’ve made, there are a lot of Labrador needs that you will need to consider.
This article will talk more about what these Labrador needs are so you can properly prepare yourself.
Think of it as something like a primer to what life as a Lab parent is like.
A quick overview
To understand what it will be like to have a Labrador Retriever as a dog, you need to understand their behaviors and tendencies.
The first thing you should know is that Labs are incredibly energetic dogs. That’s probably something you need to prepare yourself for before anything else.
Of course, each Labrador Retriever is different, and you may get one that is more mellowed down.
Still, it doesn’t erase the fact that Labradors have very high energy levels that you’ll need to keep up with.
Next, Labs are quite a sizable breed, which you probably already know.
Lastly, Labrador Retrievers can be quite affectionate dogs. That’s actually a huge part of what makes them such lovable canines.
What a Labrador needs
If you are here because you are still planning to get a Lab, that’s already an excellent sign that you are going to be a good pet owner.
Doing your research beforehand can save you a lot of trouble in the future.
This list will be specifically for what a Labrador needs.
Just like with humans, you may already know that a Labrador needs a home, food, water, toys, vaccines, and all the other commonly recognized needs.
However, there are other things that you might not know about yet if you are a first-time Labrador Retriever owner.
We’ll try to touch on those things as much as possible with this list.
Labradors are very popular for their energetic personalities. From this alone, many people recognize Labs as fun-loving dogs.
As part of their overall well-being, a Labrador needs a lot of exercise to spend their energy.
Although how much exercise a Labrador needs depend on certain factors, the general consensus is that Lab require about 2 walks per day or a session of playtime.
Of course, we should also acknowledge that Labs also have individual preferences.
After all, your Labrador Retriever might not have the same energy level and exercise needs as your friend’s dog.
Nonetheless, knowing how much exercise your Lab needs is a good thing to consider.
When Labrador puppies get too much exercise, it can cause a lot of stress on their joints and could cause skeletal problems later on.
As a large breed, Labrador Retrievers are prone to certain issues like canine dysplasia or arthritis.
These problems worsen if a Labrador’s bones and joints are not properly developed.
Consequently, an appropriate amount of exercise is necessary. We suggest that you consult with your vet about what the appropriate amount is for your Lab just to make sure.
On the other side of the coin, Labs that don’t get enough exercise will turn to ‘bad’ behaviors, such as chewing on your shoes, furniture, and other belongings.
They could even start digging around relentlessly in your yard.
To avoid this, exercise is the answer.
Labrador nutritional needs are also an important thing to consider.
Fortunately, many types of dog food are equipped with the right nutrients to satisfy your Labrador Retriever calorie needs.
Being a relatively large breed, there are some specific types of dog food for Lab puppies.
The proper food will allow them to grow properly during their puppy days.
Another thing you should know is that Labradors have a tendency to eat a lot of food. In fact, they are well-known in some circles as bottomless pits due to their eating habits.
According to this study, nearly 25% of Labradors have a specific gene mutation that impairs their ability to feel full.
As you can imagine, this results in a lot of eating and a lot of weight gained, especially if your Lab doesn’t get enough exercise.
Consequently, as a Lab owner, you need to watch their food intake properly to make sure that their Labrador Retriever dietary needs are met.
It can be easy to overlook those treats that you give them, but they do add up.
To make matters with nutrition much more important, obesity is one of the top three health conditions that afflict Labs.
Their increased food intake without proper intervention actually creates a domino effect in some cases.
Obesity can also give additional strain on your Lab’s joints and may cause joint issues, which may further impair their mobility. As active dogs, they need to be able to move around freely.
Naturally, their exercise and nutrition needs will become much different when they are older, and this is something you have to adjust to as well.
3) Mental stimulation
Since we are still on the topic of overall well-being, we need to include mental stimulation on this list.
Much like with humans, Labrador Retrievers also get bored, and this could negatively affect their quality of life.
Labs lash out when they don’t get enough mental stimulation or when they are bored, which is something you definitely don’t want.
Your Labrador needs to be mentally stimulated just as much as you have to fulfill their physical exercise needs.
Mental stimulation is any activity that makes your Lab’s brain work itself. This could be a couple of minutes of training each day.
If you don’t have the time to spare for training, then you can also opt for toys that are specifically made for stimulating dogs.
There are tons of these mentally stimulating toys all ranging from beginner capacities to those that are for more advanced canines.
Mental stimulation is a need that is often overlooked, but it is necessary for your Lab’s overall wellness.
4) Affection and time
Just because dogs can’t talk to humans in a way you are used to doesn’t mean they don’t try to communicate.
As a matter of fact, understanding your Lab takes more than just giving them their daily food and water.
It entails creating a relationship with them. After all, dogs are not man’s best friend for no reason at all.
To do this, you need to spend a significant amount of time with your dog. Some Labs might open up more quickly than others, but you really need to put in some work regarding gaining their trust and giving them affection.
This is especially true during your Lab’s first few days or weeks in your home. You will need to watch them and form a bond with them in that timeframe.
Plus, Labradors are an affectionate breed. You need to give them that affection right back.
Interaction with you is a very real need that you cannot discard. Pets do take some work, but they give one of the best payoffs you could ever have.
This is only a vague look into what life with a Lab will be like for you based on their needs. In reality, things may be a little different for you.
After all, each Lab has different needs. Some Labs may be born with medical issues that show up later in life and drastically change their needs.
However, for the most part, this article covers the major bases that you should watch out for.
Nevertheless, we advise that you make sure to consult with your vet for any additional medical needs.
As previously mentioned, it could be different for every Lab. Hence, you must ensure that your Lab puppy gets all their vaccinations on time.
It may seem a lot to take in, and that’s perfectly okay. Supporting another life in your home is a huge responsibility and should not be treated any less.