Thursday, March 29, 2007

Can an older Labrador Retriever make a good pet?

Readers E-mail - Paul Writes:

Hi, Good morning! Just want to ask if a 6 year-old labrador can still be a good pet? 2 labs were given to us as a family gift yesterday (1 black 4 yr old and 1 brown 6 year old).

Please advise -- Paul


Hi Paul, Thank you for writing.

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

When people ask me about getting a new Labrador retriever, I always talk to them about adopting or rescuing one. Why? Because of the over population of Labradors in these shelters and rescues.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the puppies as much as anyone. There are the benefits of being the owner of a new Labrador retriever puppy, but there are also many benefits to taking on an older Labrador also.

First off, you’re getting two older Labrador retrievers. What does that mean?

It means your skipping that whole puppy stage, the extra time, energy and patience it takes to properly train a new Labrador. Training a puppy means starting from the beginning. Sure you will still put in time with the older Labradors (walking, playing, etc) but they are most likely housebroken, and they probably have received some previous training. You will not have to take them out as much as puppies, they are more independent and unlike puppies, your older Labrador retrievers have grown into their personalities and size.

Older dogs have usually learned what "no" means, passing the “chew everything left in reach stage” and are usually calmer than younger counterparts.

They can be trained just as a puppy could, possibly even easier. Remember the older Labrador is calmer and quieter than a puppy, so he will focus better on what you are trying to teach him. As an older dog, he is not trying to prove his dominance over humans, and is ready to fit himself into his human family.

With plenty of love, some time, patience and effort on you and your family’s part, the older Labrador retrievers can be an excellent companion and great pet.

What I do recommend, is that you (and your family) set aside some extra time to spend with your new (older) Labradors, establishing good communication with them, and creating a bond that will ensure a good future together.

Oh, one last thing Paul, I really don’t classify old as four and six, especially with the Labrador retriever. I’ve seen 9-10 year old Labradors with as much energy as younger ones.

I applaud you for taking in your new family members. Good luck and don’t hesitate to email me with any other questions.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More Freebies for your Labrador Retriever

Free Sample of Pork Chomps - a digestible pork skin providing a safe alternative to the rawhide.

While your at the above site read Moochie Poochies by Dr. Elizabeth Clyde D.V.M, an article on monitoring your dogs diet.

Natural Way dog food - get a coupon for a free 5 lb bag of Lassie endorsed Natural Way. None of their Natural Way dog foods were affected by the dog food recall. Can be redeemed at your local grocery store.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Labrador Retriever trainer needed - Nevada

Good evening to all. I would appreciated some help in locating a Labrador Retriever trainer for one of the readers of this blog.

I need anyone in, or around the area of Carson City, Nevada, that knows of a Labrador Retriever trainer to please send me an e-mail with a name, address and phone number of said trainer.

The new client will be a 12 week old chocolate Labrador Retriever.

I have some possible trainers, but would greatly appreciated others. Thanks to everyone with your help on this matter.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Free Dog Food Sample

For those of you Labrador Retriever owners that are not happy with their current dog food or for those getting a new Labrador, is offering a free sample of Azmira Holistic Dog.

A quote from their website states: "These products are free of by-products, salt, yeast or sugar or animal fats. Azmira foods are more digestible and more bio-available, making them more cost effective and healthier for your dog. " "Azmira uses the finest Grade A meats and Grade 1 whole grains."

Just to advise all of you, I have never used the above foods for my Labs, nor am I an affiliate for them, so I don't know much about their products. If interested visit their site to obtain further information. If anyone does use their foods, please drop me an e-mail ( good or bad) and let us know. One last thing, Azmira dog food is not a listed brand on the dog food recall.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Recalled Dog Food

Hello everyone. For those of you that haven't been made aware, there has been a recall on dog and cat food from Menu Foods Income Fund.

This recall is for a portion of the dog and cat food it manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007, and is limited to "cuts and gravy" style pet food in cans and pouches manufactured at two of its United States facilities.

Menu Foods is a major manufacturer of dog and cat food sold under Safeway, Wal-Mart, Kroger and other store brands.

"An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, the company said in announcing the North American recall."

Visit to find the latest information and to view all the dog and cat recall product information.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part I

Readers E-mail Question - Le Ann Writes:

We have a chocolate Lab that we have brought into the home due to arthritis in his back right knee, he is 7 years old. We recently noticed that the hair around his eyes has begun to fall out. The skin appears a little red, but not to the point of where it look inflamed. We have been painting and I didn't know if this could be culprit to the instant eye irritation? Please share any thoughts you may have. We don't want him to suffer the arthritis is bad enough.

Also is there anything we can do about the shedding or his very offensive breath?

Le Ann


I do believe the paint is probably the cause here but it will be helpful if you could answer a few more questions for me:

Did the hair loss around eyes begin to fall out before you started painting?

Do you notice any tearing or squinting?
Are the eyes red?

Does your Labrador Retriever rub, scratch at the eyes?

Any scaling, or red bumps where hair loss is, or is it just the redness.

Has there been a change in diet (changed foods, eating anything different)

What is your Labrador Retrievers name :)


To read part II, click: My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part II

To read part II, click: My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part III

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My Labrador Retriever is losing hair aound his eyes - part II

This is part II of a readers e-mail question about her Labrador Retriever losing hair around his eyes, a shedding problem and offensive breath.

Le Ann's answers to my questions:

I personally did not notice any hair loss until it was brought to my attention. Yes we had begun painting at the time of the question. No, I have not noticed any blisters or bumps around the area. Neither has there been any tearing, but his nose has been running quite a bit. Not so much in the house, but as soon as I take him ( Amos Moses) out to potty his nose drips.

Maybe he has developed an allergy since staying in the house. I can say the past week (since the fumes are dying down) the skin doesn't seem to be as red, but still not much hair re-growth.

Yes, I'm desperate for an answer to the shedding problem and the breath, oh the breath is about to kill me!

Thanks for your response and kindness


It sounds as though Amos Moses has some sort of allergy. A common symptom of allergies is itching of the skin, either in one specific area or all over the body. Other symptoms can involve the respiratory system (sneezing, coughing, and/or wheezing). There can also be a runny discharge from eyes and/or the nose.

In your Labrador Retrievers case it could possibly be a contact allergy (even though they are rare). Contact allergies are caused by your Labradors physical contact with an offending substance (paint), and will produce localized skin reactions – swelling, hair loss, redness, and/or itching.

For treatment, usually removing the offending substance from Amos Moses environment will help clear up the problem. Also a good bath will help to get the offending allergens off of him.

Skin or blood tests, by your veterinarian can help determine the allergens causing problems with Amos Moses. Your veterinarian can also recommend appropriate treatment for any skin redness and to help relieve the itching.
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As far as your shedding problem, well, that’s what Labrador Retrievers do. My advice is to invest in a good vacuum.

On a more serious note, your Labrador Retriever needs to be brushed about once a week with a "slicker" brush (you can get one at any pet store) as this will help the shedding in the house. Remember though, this will help reduce the shedding, it will not eliminate it.

Last but not least Le Ann, the bad breath problem. The most common causes of bad breath are dental disorders plaque, tartar, and inflamed gums. Just like us humans, your Labrador will get a build up of plaque surrounding his teeth. This plaque can also cling to the base of his teeth which can cause the gums to recede and become inflamed. Observation of plaque is visible as a brownish to yellowish coating on the sides of the teeth.

What you would like to see when looking in Amos Moses’ mouth are strong, white teeth surrounded by pink gums.

Besides causing bad breath and tooth loss, infections in the mouth can spread to his vital internal organs. The heart, kidneys, and liver are susceptible to intrusion from oral bacteria.

Some other possible causes of bad breath can be gastrointestinal disease, dietary issues, and metabolic diseases.

What I would recommend is an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough cleaning and further examination to diagnose the specific cause of bad breath. Make sure to get dental examines and cleanings as part of Amos Moses’ regular examinations.

Le Ann here is some other things that can help with the bad breath:

Brushing Amos Moses’ teeth - your veterinarian can advise you on doggie toothpaste and toothbrush, along with how to brush the teeth (if you need further help with it, don't hesitate to ask). They also have antibacterial oral rinses which can help slow down the accumulation of dental plaque.

Avoid the use of soft canned foods. A name brand dry commercial food will help to retard the formation of plaque.

There are also specially treated dental chews that help reduce plaque and tartar accumulation, I personally use the Nylabone Plaque Attacker Dental.

Make sure Amos Moses gets fresh water daily as bacteria can build up inside bowls containing water more than a couple of days old.

To read part I click: My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part I

To read part III click: My Labrador Retriever is losing his hair around his eyes - part III

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My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part III

This is part III of a readers e-mail in regards to her Labrador Retriever losing his hair around his eyes, a shedding problem and offensive breath.

Le Ann Writes:

Thank you so much, I feel the paint has been the culprit. The redness does seem to be diminishing somewhat. He sees the vet 3 to 4 times a year and each time he looks at his teeth he says they look good. We feed him a hard dog food that is the top of the line at a fed store (Exclusive) we go too. I also purchased some doggy treats that are by Nutri Vet for health and tartar, they also contain parsley and mint, this is what they suggested at PetSmart.

I brush him every other day but not with what you suggested I'll go get one. The vet said to bathe him 2 x's a month because of his skin needing the oil, so this is what I've been doing. It's funny after he gets a bath his breath is not as offensive.

You've been so helpful and my family thanks you!
Le Ann

To read part I, click: My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part I

To read part II, click: My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part II

To see Amos Moses photo click Amos Moses 3/01/07

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Free Dog Food from Natural Choice®

I would like to thank Abby for e-mailing this to me :) It seems Natural Choice® is offering a free coupon for a 5 lb. bag of any Natural Choice® Dog Food. Sounds like a great deal with the price of dog food nowadays.

Website states "One coupon per household. Residents of USA only. Offer expires March 31, 2008. Allow 3 to 6 weeks to receive coupon."

For my lovable Labrador Retrievers that also have cats as companions, they are offering a coupon for a free 4 lb. bag of any Natural Choice® Complete Care® Cat Food.

Make sure everyone hurries with this as we only have until the end of March. Lab kisses to you Abby.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Freebie - The Goodlife Recipe dog food

Hi everyone, hope all is well. I found a freebie for a new dog food called The Goodlife Recipe™. They will send you a free coupon for a bag of their dog food.

I myself don't like to change foods for my Labrador Retrievers, but for those of you that haven't settle on a dog food or have just adopted a Labrador Retriever (God Bless You) this might be of some help for you.

If you know of other Labrador owners, or any dogs owners in general you can always pass it along to them.

You must hurry with this though, as only the first 10,000 requests will receive a free coupon.

You will know if you made it in time if you get the message: "Your coupon for a Free bag of The Goodlife Recipe ™ will arrive soon. We can't wait to treat your four-legged friend to a free bag of the Goodlife Recipe™. Watch for it to arrive soon!"

Take care of yourselves and your Labrador Retrievers!

** This offer has since changed and now you can get a coupon to save $1.00 off. Coupon **

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nips Occasionally - part I

Readers E-mail: Josephine writes


I have a chocolate Lab who will be a year old on February 23rd. We love him dearly. I have a few questions that maybe you can answer for me.

He still nips on occasion. Usually when playing. Will this eventually stop.

I believe he thinks he is my boss. My husband, on the other hand is the "Alfa Dog" and he listens to him more than me. I work all day and my husband is retired, so he is with him constantly. I am a little jealous, as I wish I could get all the attention that my husband gets. But, of course, when I am home I spoil him terribly. So I think this is why he thinks he is my boss.

Would love to hear what you think.


Hello Josephine,

Thank you for writing.

First off, my black Labrador retriever - Dakota turned three on Feb 13.

Love your e-mail, especially with your knowledge with the whole "Alpha Dog", leader concept.

I will tell you what I think and try to help you, but need a couple of answers from you first.

Who does he nip/mouth (just you, your husband, everyone)?

When does he nip? I know you said usually when playing, but any other time?

Is there any aggressive behavior?

Is your Labrador Retriever trained, and if he is, who did the training?

Now I know he is with your husband all the time, but please let me know who handles the following chores: (you / your husband / or both of you)

Play Time

What is his name :)

To read Part II of this click: Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nips Occasionally - part II

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Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nips Ocassionally - part II

This is part II of a readers e-mail question regarding her chocolate Labrador Retriever that nips occasionally. To read part one click: Labrador Retriever Nips Occasionally - part I

Josephine Responds:

Hi Fay,

Thanks for writing back to me so quickly. My Labs name is Jake. He was not trained and not aggressive at all. We got him when he was 3-1/2 months old from a pet store. The nipping is usually when playing and he does it to both of us. My husband walks him, we both feed him and playtime is usually done by my husband mostly. But, there are times when I play with him as well. He has a groomer ... my neighbor and he loves her. He loves people and other dogs. He just loves to be outside and hates to come in.

I will try and download a picture of him, but I never have any luck with yahoo. But, to be sure that you receive it, I will send it through my company email. Just let me know if you receive it.

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.


Hi Josephine,

Thanks for the quick response, and yes I received the beautiful photo of Jake. Thank you.

For your problem with nipping / mouthing:

Yes, Jake's nipping / mouthing will stop, but your going to have to train him that this nipping / mouthing is wrong. By ignoring this problem and believing your Labrador will grow out of it, you are risking the chance that a serious injury could occur as your Lab puppy reaches adulthood.
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I have written an article on this subject that you can find on the All About Labradors blog. Labrador Retriever – Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping.

Follow some of the procedures in this article, making sure you're CONSISTENT with the training (this goes for everyone in your household).

For chew toys for Jake, I recommend the Kong toys, as they provide plenty of physical as well as mental exercise for him.

Alpha Dog:

Your right with your assessment of Jake seeing your husband as the "Alpha Dog". A dog's social system is a "pack" and with it a well-defined pecking order. The leader of this pack is the alpha, the boss, the "Top Dog". Your husband is with Jake all the time, feeds him, walks him and spends most of the time playing with him, so Jake looks at him as the number one, sort of favoring him. He may see you as his equal or below him.

You stated Jake listens to your husband more than you, which should not be. Remember Jake is a subordinate, not an equal. What you need to do is to show Jake his place is the lower level of the pack. Remember there is a leadership here; you and everyone else in your home are above Jake, not the reverse.

Here's what you may try with Jake (this goes for everyone in your household that Jake considers his equal or lower).

First off, whenever you want Jake to do something TELL him, don't ask him. You are the boss; you make the rules and give the orders. Stand straight up and in a firm voice TELL him what to do. Always remember this!

I want you to teach Jake the sit command (if you need help with this, let me know). Reward him with praise and a treat when he does. You don't have to get crazy with this, just a Good boy, or Good dog in a happy tone and a treat. Now when it comes time to feed him, walk him, play with him, your going to TELL him to sit. When he does, praise him with the Good boy, or Good dog, give him permission with an Okay and then give him his reward (his food, playtime, etc..).

What if Jake won't sit?

If Jake doesn't sit, you have to walk away from him and ignore him. Yes, I know this is difficult or you may even think it is cruel, but believe me Josephine, it isn't. Remember No Sit, No Reward. State your sit command in a good firm voice and if he doesn't obey, walk away and ignore, trying again a little later.

You want Jake to learn that he has to respect and obey you. His place is at the bottom of the pack, nowhere else.

He wants you to feed him... SIT, OKAY then feed him. He wants to go out...SIT, OKAY and out you go (you go out door first, not other way around). You’re the boss!

You should also be training Jake his other basic commands (I'm assuming he is housebroken). I'm a firm believer in crate training, as they have 100's of uses. A great place for him to sleep at night, and better place for him when he needs a little time out or cooling period.

Try the above for a while and see how it goes. You'll establish a better relationship (you don't have to feel jealous) and Jake will seek you out more and treat you with the respect and attention you want.

Here is another website with some good tips on getting you dog to see you as the Alpha. It's for the Husky but applies to all dogs, and have some good tips.

I hope I have been of some help to you Josephine. If you don't understand anything, if you have more questions or new questions, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail, even if you have to send hundreds of them. Please keep me updated on how it's going.

Joesphine Responds:

Thanks you so much for your advice....I will certainly give it a try. He really is a good boy, but frisky and loves to play all the time. I am also glad that you received his photo and I will look forward to seeing on your website.

I love your website and visit it frequently and I look forward to all of your wonderful tips and ideas.

To see a photo of beautiful Jake visit: Jake 3/04/07

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