Buying Labrador puppies can be fun and exciting but do you know how to make sure your new pup is healthy? Buying puppies from a registered breeder rather than a pet store will generally deliver healthier dogs but even so, you should know how to make sure your dog is in tip-top shape.
Labrador puppies should appear healthy. The eyes should be clear, shiny and there shouldn't be any discharge from the tear ducts. Examine the coat - it should be glossy and the skin shouldn't be too flaky or dry. What about the pup's behavior? The puppy should be alert and ready to play with you. It should never show signs of skittishness or depression.
When you select your Labrador puppies
, you should ask to see the rest of the litter and the puppy's parents if possible. They should all look well and adequately fed. Examine the sleeping quarters for signs of fecal matter that may not have been removed yet. The living area of the puppy should be scrupulously clean. If any doggie poop is in evidence, is it firm or sloppy?
Labrador puppies inherit many of their personality traits from their parents so try to determine the nature and temperament of its mother. The male and female who gave rise to the letter is an excellent guide to the disposition of their offspring.
What about the things you can't see? Labrador retrievers are susceptible to hip and elbow displaysia.
Displaysias are potentially crippling disorders of the joints
. When you choose your Labrador puppies, find out from the breeder whether your dog may have inherited the potential to develop joint problems from his parents. Where possible good breeders should x-ray the hips and elbows of all breeding dogs and be able to tell you if this trait might have been passed on to their offspring.
Labrador retrievers are also likely to inherit potential eye problems from their parents. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is common in Labradors and it causes the vision to gradually fail, resulting in complete blindness. Labrador puppies can be examined to see if he might be susceptible in the future.
A disease called Retinal Dysplasia causes variable loss of vision in Labrador retrievers but it's non-progressive. Labrador puppies also have the potential to develop juvenile cataracts. However, juvenile cataracts usually don't cause any loss of vision.
What about vaccinations? Reputable breeders should be able to produce a certificate of vaccination for their Labrador puppies. This record should state which vaccines the dog has been given, when and from whom. Puppies need several vaccinations, including those for rabies and distemper.
Have your Labrador puppies been dewormed and with what drug? Many breeders routinely deworm their animals. Ask the breeder if the dog has been treated for parasites. If he hasn't, ask whether a fecal exam has been done to rule out the possibility that your dog is infected with worms via his parents or other dogs.
Heartworm is spread from dog to dog by mosquitoes. All Labrador puppies should be given heartworm preventative medicine and it should be used each year during mosquito season. Reputable breeders should have all their dogs on preventative medicine for heartworm.
Health concerns that are both visible and invisible can adversely affect the health of Labrador puppies and you should be as cautious as possible when choosing one. Taking the time to make sure your dog is healthy will save a lot of heartbreak in the future. Good luck finding a happy, healthy Labrador retriever!