Labrador Care Articles
One of the cutest features of a Labrador retriever is also a common source of chronic problems. Labrador retrievers are more prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears. There are some other risk factors, though, and important preventative measures to keep infection at bay.
Keep Their Ears Dry and Clean
Labs love water, but their ears don’t. When water gets into the ear from baths or swimming, the floppy ears create the perfect breeding ground for germs because it is dark, wet, and warm. You can solve this problem by immediately drying your dog’s ears after a bath, swimming, or any contact with water.
Some veterinarians can also provide ear drops to administer after getting wet as another method of infection prevention. Once a week, clean out their ears with a kit you can purchase at a pet store or from your veterinarian.
Know What a Healthy Ear Looks Like
A healthy ear should be pink in color, odorless and can have some ear wax that is light brown in color. Lab owners need to examine their dog’s ears on a daily basis. If there are any changes, treatment can begin that much sooner.
How Will I Know When There is an Infection?
Signs of infection, whether bacterial or yeast, include redness, flaking, strong odor in ear, an increase of ear wax that is dark brown or black in color. Your lab may also scratch their ears a lot, shake their head, and whimper because the infection is causing pain.
At this point, a veterinarian should be consulted to determine what type of infection is the culprit. Your lab may be given cream, ear drops, or oral antibiotics. These are usually given for 10 days and should clear up the infection. If it does not go away or gets worse, a return visit to the vet is usually necessary.
Could it be Mites?
Mites are a parasite that dogs can get in their ears and, left untreated, can spread to the rest of their body. They can happen to a dog at any time in their lives, but do tend to occur more commonly in puppies because they do not yet have a mature immune system. Symptoms can include black discharge, an increase in ear wax, and itching. If this is the case, a vet can clean out the ears and provide medication.
If you have a lab or are considering becoming a lab owner, it is important to remember that labs are more prone to ear infections. If left untreated, an ear infection can cause damage to the ear drum, hearing loss, secondary infections, and hematomas on the external ear from head shaking and scratching.
By being devoted to keeping your dog’s ears healthy, you can significantly reduce and quite possibly eliminate the occurrence of ear infections for your lab.
Most dogs who get regular road exercise need little attention to their nails, but dogs who get little exercise or who exercise mostly on grass do need them cut about once a month. This cutting should either be done by an expert or at home with proper nail clippers. It should never be attempted with scissors. The nail might break and cause severe pain to the dog.
The length of the nail varies considerably according to the breed and also among dogs of a particular breed. When the nails are white, the quick can be easily seen and the nail can be then cut to about one-sixth of an inch off the quick. If the dog finishes, don’t cut it so short. If a dog should break or split a nail, wrap the nail round with adhesive bandage, and it will soon be all right again.
The cutting of a puppy’s nails is really an expert’s job. The breeder usually cuts them short before selling you the puppy, but if they are long, take him to a dog-groomer or to a vet. Both these people should be able to do it and show you what to do in the future.
Exercising a puppy on the pavement should keep the nails down. Only if the puppy never gets this road work should they need cutting; under those circumstances, I have known them to need cutting every three weeks or so. It is best done with proper nail clippers. Cut only the curved over piece that protrudes beyond the thick part which contains the quick.
If you look at the nail from underneath it you will see that the end is almost transparent. That is part to trim off. Cut the nail to within 1/6 inch of the end of the quick-this allows sufficient protection. The paw should be held firmly and the nail cut straight across. You can then file the roughened tips with an emery board file.
If by any chance you do cut the quick, wrap the whole nail up in a piece of an adhesive bandage, and it will soon grow out again.
Labrador Retrievers (Labs) are wonderful pets. They are very loyal and obedient dogs who are highly intelligent and easily trained. They are loving and gentle and often get along wonderfully with children.
Dogs should be kept inside with their humans as they are pack animals and are much happier with constant human companionship. They need to have a space in your home that is theirs. A crate or cage that is the appropriate size for your dog works wonderfully.
The crate should have a blanket inside for the dog to cuddle with. Doggy beds are another item that will work as your dog’s space. The blankets and beds should be cleaned frequently to keep them from harboring parasites such as fleas.
Dog BowlsQuailty hard food is an important part of your dog’s diet. It helps reduce tartar build-up and helps control weight better than soft foods. Talk to your vet about what type of food is best suited to your particular dog’s needs. Human foods should be avoided as some are toxic to your dog and table scraps often cause weight and digestive problems among others.
Dogs need a clean, constant supply of water. Make sure your dog’s water dish is always full and clean it regularly to avoid build-up.
Labs need twice weekly grooming to keep their coats healthy. Use a stiff brush to remove loose hairs. A flea comb is also useful for flea control. Your dog should, however, be on flea preventative you can get at your vet. Avoid over the counter flea medications as they can be deadly. Fleas, if left untreated, can be deadly, slowly draining the life from your pet.
If brushed regularly, they should rarely require baths. If your Lab does need a bath be sure to use a dog shampoo and not human shampoo. Dogs have sensitive skin so leave the people products for people. There are many kinds of dog shampoos to choose from, flea shampoos to control parasites, odor control for the stinky dog, hypoallergenic for those with allergies, medicated for those with itchy skin, and a host of others.
Take your dog’s condition into consideration when choosing the proper shampoo for him. In cooler months you should use a blow dryer on a low setting to dry your dog in order to keep him from getting too cold and becoming ill.
Labs are a very active dog and need daily exercise. A daily walk is neccessary to keep your Lab in top condition. A few hours of fetch in the yard is also a wonderful way for you and your dog to exercise and bond. Labs are natural retrievers and usually excel at a fetch.
Whether your labrador retriever is out in the field or just in your backyard, there is always the risk of being sprayed by a skunk. Here are some home remedies in case your dog gets sprayed by a skunk.
Home remedies for skunk sprayed dogs:
- Tomato juice (4-8 large cans and soak for 20 min.), then season to taste…oops! I mean rinse off. Groomers warn that lightly furred dogs might turn pink.
- Vanilla extract (2 cups) combined with a gallon of water. Use shampoo after 15 minutes to rinse out.
- Feminine douche (2-4 ounces) and 1 gallon of water. Use shampoo to rinse out of the dog after 15 minutes.
- 1-quart hydrogen peroxide (3% USP), 1/4 cup baking soda, teaspoon dish soap.
Preventing Skunk Encounters:
Don’t draw skunks to your home by providing a food source such as trashcans they can get into or dog or cat food outside.
Some sources estimate that dogs have up to one million times the sense of smell of humans. Man has about 5 million sensory smelling cells. A dachshund has about one hundred twenty-five million, a fox terrier about one hundred forty-seven million and dogs bred for scenting count in at about two hundred twenty million sensory smelling cells. If you think the skunk spray is unbearable, imagine how bad it is for your dog.
There are various cutting tools for use on dogs’ coats. Stripping combs, knives, scissors, and shears can all be useful, whether your dog needs a trim, a thinning out, or just a routine tidy- up.
There are also special nail clippers available for pets. Electric clippers are probably best restricted to professional use unless you’re an expert. Handling them badly can harm a dog’s skin.
An effective tool with one regular and one serrated blade. The aim is to thin the coat without acting. Its appearance too much, so the shares are usually used on the undercoat, the topcoat being combed up out of the way. This preserves the color of the outer Handling coat in dogs which have a different colored undercoat
Using a Stripping Knife
Stripping combs (“dressers”) and knives provide a serrated metal cutting edge for removing dull, dead hair. The stripping comb has a removable guard-plate on one side and comprises a razor blade mounted against a comb. A stripping knife is just a metal blade with a handle, like a butter knife. Stripping is often combined with “plucking” – using the thumb and forefinger to pluck out dead hair.
Brush the coat well ‘ to fully separate all the hairs. For silky-coated dogs, chalk powder dusted into the coat gives you a better grip.
Grasp a section of hair between knife and thumb and pull the knife away with a twisting motion. Dead hair comes out, live hair is trimmed Scissors Barber’s scissors can be used on dogs, but for safety’s sake, they must be the type with round-ended blades.
The most useful size is 12.5 cm. Use scissors for trimming “wispy hair” in delicate areas, especially around the eyes, ears, lips, feet, anal and genital areas. Never cut the sensitive whiskers on a dog’s muzzle. Scissors can also be used in conjunction with a comb to remove mats and snags.
Special care for show-dogs
Scissors and thinning shears are used on show dogs in the same way, although the extra grooming that show animals need actually cuts down on the need for scissors. Both tools can be used to make minor adjustments to the coat or to shape it in order to “balance” the look of the dog. A dog may need last-minute touches such as a thinning over the shoulders or a slight trim on the legs before being presented in the show-ring. Take care not to trim of too much hair.
Careful use of scissors around the eye can prevent the problems suffered by some spaniels and terriers, particularly where hair irritating the eye causes a sticky discharge. Use scissors to improve the vision of non-show. Maltase and Old English Sheepdogs; trim the fringe, then thin it.
The tactile hairs on the ears and the muzzle are too sensitive to be stripped or plucked, but you can trim these areas with scissors if you take care to give any “whiskers” intact. Hair between the pads of the paws can be trimmed on long-haired breeds, to avoid matting or dirt in the house.
Hair around the penis of male dogs may need an occasional trim for hygiene; this can be necessary in the vulval area of bitches too. Similarly, it is sensible to keep hair in the anal region short to avoid matting. Use a comb to lift the mat away from the skin and then cut above the comb. Once a mat is reduced, it can be combed out.
Clipping a Dogs Nails
Most of the nail bed, but it narrows right down at the tip, so make allowances for this. Dogs with black nails tend to have longer nail beds. Err on the side of caution and learn by the first one you cause to bleed. Place the dog on an easily-cleaned surface.
Have a styptic pencil or other caustic to hand to stop any bleeding. You may also need to apply a light dressing. Check the dew claws on the inside of the leg if your dog hasn’t had these removed. They don’t wear down and, if covered with hair, may be forgotten.