Choosing A Healthy Labrador Puppy or Adult

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Hello everyone!

This is Sharda again for another Labrador Retriever newsletter.

Choosing a healthy Labrador puppy or adult is crucial if you want your Labrador pet to spend more years with you!

One of the most expensive aspects of owning a dog is emergency or necessary trips to the vet, to deal with health issues that may be genetic in nature.

Dogs are typically very healthy, and do not get flu, colds and other illnesses that people get, but problematic hereditary conditions are possible in any breed.

Labs are no different, so making sure that you choose the healthiest possible Lab is important for financial reasons plus peace of mind for you and your family.


One of the most important aspects of choosing a healthy Labrador puppy or dog is to only buy from a reputable breeder or rescue shelter. This will ensure that the dog or puppy has been vet checked, vaccinated and that any possible immediate health concerns have been addressed.

There may be health issues that develop in the future, but the breeder or rescue will provide information on their policies regarding any potential future issues.

Since adopting a dog from a shelter usually means an adult Lab, there are some specific issues that prospective Lab owners should look for. These include:

  • Eyes

Labrador Retrievers may be prone to several different eye conditions that are typically more noticeable and prominent in older dogs of the breed. These include PRA or progressive retinal atrophy, a hereditary condition that results in blindness.

Different dogs will have shorter or longer periods before they lose their vision, but they will adjust and lead happy lives with a little additional care. Cataracts are also a common condition in Labs, and these can usually be treated through various drug treatments in the early stages, on through to surgical procedures if necessary.

  • Canine Hip Dysplasia

Almost every larger breed of dog (and most small and medium breeds) can have CHD problems. Hip dysplasia is another genetic disease that occurs when the hip joint is affected and starts to degenerate. Often the disease results in pain, lameness and extreme discomfort for the dog.

CHD may start when the puppy is very young and get progressively worse. New drug therapies and surgical procedures are being used to correct this problem. It is important to note that this is an inherited condition, and is not caused by injury to the hip.

Adult Labs should be within the average weight range which is about 60-80 pounds, with males occasionally being heavier. The dogs should be alert, friendly, and have no bad odor to their breath or any type of discharge from their eyes, nose or genital area.


The breeder should provide the potential owner with a health certificate that indicates the puppy is clear from any current health conditions, and has been checked for PRA and CHD and is clear.

In addition, a prospective owner should look at the overall condition of both the puppy they are planning to buy, as well as the mother and littermates. If the mother looks very unhealthy and is very thin or sick looking, it is unlikely that the puppy will be well nourished and healthy itself, even if it appears so at the time.

A Lab puppy is a very curious and naturally friendly. Watch for Labrador puppies that are energetic, without being overly aggressive. They should be careful about approaching new items or people, but should also be willing to investigate new things in their environment.

The puppy should be well proportioned, although he or she may be a bit clumsy, depending on their age and stage of growth and maturing. They should not appear to be limping or favoring one leg, nor should they appear stiff or uneven or jerky in their movements.

The puppy should look towards sounds in the environment, and should track movement within their area. The puppy should not have a “pot belly”, as this is a fairly good indication that there is a significant worm infestation. Avoid picking an extremely small puppy, as this can be a sign of growth or nutritional problems.

Regardless of the breeders’ information, it is always a good idea to have your own vet check your new puppy or dog as soon as possible once you have it home. Most vets recommend isolating the puppy from your other pets or common areas until this check-up is complete.

I hope you learned a lot from today’s Labrador Retriever Newsletter.

Sharda Baker