A Labrador puppy is a beautiful pet to have at home. And although they require a great deal of care, you can be sure that these little guys will make each effort more than worth it. Caring for a Labrador puppy can be an overwhelming experience, as this dog breed requires a level of commitment close to caring for a human child. But the rewards are numerous. For instance, they can function as emotional support or recovery dogs. Because of their naturally adaptive nature, a Labrador puppy quickly grows into a reliable hunting dog or a canine for service support. 

It is little surprise that Labradors are currently the most popular family dog breed in America. Their friendly and warm temperament makes them quickly endearing even to people who may not consider themselves dog lovers. So, are you thinking about getting a Labrador puppy for your home? Excellent choice! However, there is a lot to learn before you visit any breeder. Here are some essential things you need to know to care for a Labrador puppy properly. 

How to buy a Labrador puppy

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First things first; how do you purchase a Labrador? If you don’t know a reliable Labrador dog breeder, the first thing you might have thought about was to do a quick online search. The problem here is that you can quickly buy a sick or unfit puppy raised in deplorable conditions. That said, it’s beneficial to only focus on reputable breeders with a reliable history. How do you know if you’re dealing with a dedicated breeder? First, reputable breeders will be open about health testing and give you all the info you need about the pup’s bloodline. A good breeder will also show concern about your ability to care for the puppy. So, don’t be surprised to hear questions in that regard. 

Furthermore, a good breeder will demonstrate in-depth knowledge about the dog breed and will be willing and able to answer any questions you may have. Reputable breeders also operate from a clean, hygienic, and certified premise. If you’ll have to meet a “breeder” at a street corner to purchase your pup, that’s the first red flag. Finally, a reputable breeder will also have a good reputation. All you need to do is ask others with confirmed purchases about their opinion. You can also read reviews online. Thankfully, no matter where you live, you can find the best Labrador dog breeders online. But to make your work easier for you, you can visit https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-retriever-michigan and get a cute Labrador Retriever puppy. 

If the internet is not your cup of coffee, a reliable alternative is to visit a veterinarian near you and ask for suggestions. Once you’re sure about your preferred breeder, you might need to exercise a tiny amount of patience before you get your puppy, as good breeders will not want to take away a pup too early from its litter. The Kennel Club recommends that puppies are not removed from their breeders before they are eight weeks old. So, while you wait, you can take the time to learn all you need to know about taking care of a Labrador Retriever puppy.

Before you bring your puppy home

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While you wait to receive your tiny four-legged pal, you want to ensure that your home is adequately prepared to receive your new family member. That said, you can set up your home by doing the following: 

  • Purchase a new leash, collar, and tags for your puppy: Before you receive your new pup, be sure to have a new leash, collar, and tags ready to put them on right away. This way, you can start controlling its movement as early as possible and prevent the little fellow from wandering away and getting lost. Also, ensure that the tag bears the name of your puppy, your home address, contact number, and your name. 
  • Prepare a spot for your puppy: you want your puppy to have a sleeping place already prepared for it before you bring it home, so set up a bed and a crate if necessary. Your puppy’s sleeping area should be very comfortable and warm. And if you have plans of crate-training it, then it’s best to set up the pup’s bed in a crate. This way, the little guy will get used to it pretty quickly. The perfect place to set up the bed or crate shouldn’t be much of a problem. You can expect your puppy to get used to whatever spot you choose as its sleeping area permanently. So make sure you select a place you don’t intend to change anytime soon. The last thing you want (or your puppy wants) is you constantly changing its sleeping area.

Also, pick a location that is well out of the way of any human movement, as this will prevent accidentally kicking the little guy when it’s dark. At the same time, you don’t want your puppy to feel isolated from the rest of the family, so pick a location closer to everyone or you. This way, you will also be able to keep a careful eye on your puppy. Any corner in your living room should be a good enough option. 

  • Select some exciting toys for puppies: After working on the puppy’s sleeping area, it’s time to ensure that your new guest isn’t bored. It’s almost impossible to play with your puppy all the time, even if you want to. The good thing is that you don’t even have to. Gather a collection of various puppy toys to keep the little one busy. Choose different toy types, designs, and colors. Also, choose various toys that come in different materials. The most important thing here is to ensure that you don’t purchase a toy that your puppy might choke or cause any other form of harm. Again, you can speak with your local veterinarian for the best options. Some of the types of toys you may want to consider are chew toys, squeaky toys, and puzzle toys, to mention a few.  
  • Food and supplies: An essential part of raising a Labrador Retriever puppy is feeding. You may need many supplies, including food and water dishes, bags for poop and pee, wiping pads, surface cleaners designed for cleaning poop and pee, grooming supplies, etc. 

Your best and safest option is to stick to what the breeder was already feeding the puppy regarding food. So, before you bring the puppy home, find out from the breeder what brand of puppy food they use, what type, the best feeding pattern, etc., and stick to it. ‘If you suddenly change the puppy’s diet, you can risk an imbalance to its gut bacteria. And this can lead to stomach upset and other digestive issues. You can also find out from the breeder where they purchase the puppy’s food supplies. If you rescued the puppy, then speak to your local veterinarian about the right food to buy.

Regarding feeding, be sure to transition your puppy’s food gradually and in small quantities. You might need to mix or combine the new and old food for weeks before completely changing to a new food. That will allow your dog enough time to get used to the new food.

Because different puppies may require other feeding routines, it is best to speak with your veterinarian about their nutritional needs. As a rule of thumb, you should feed your puppy about three or four times a day. The correct quantity will depend on the puppy and its metabolism. 

When feeding, don’t just serve the food and leave it there for your puppy to find. Draw the little guy’s attention to the food and stay to ensure that it starts eating before you go. Also, ensure that your pup has fresh water throughout the day.

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  • Training and socializing: You can start litter training your dog as soon as possible. Also, do your best to start socializing it very early by giving it the chance to interact with other humans. However, it is essential to get your puppy vaccinated before allowing it to interact with other dogs in public. You might also want to do some obedience training so your puppy doesn’t get out of control.
  • Spend enough time with your puppy: Playtime is crucial for puppies, as it helps to sharpen their minds and prevent mental health and weight issues. Lab retrievers are naturally very energetic, so they need a lot of play and exercise time. 
  • Regular visits to the vet: You want your puppy to be as healthy as possible, and this requires frequent visits to the vet for health examinations, vaccinations, and immunizations. Don’t worry; your vet will take you through everything you need to know regarding your dog’s health.
  • Grooming: Grooming is also essential. Ensure that you brush your dog’s coat once a week, trim its nails regularly, and give it a good bath when it gets dirty. But only use grooming products designed for puppies.