Friday, November 28, 2008

Why would you want a chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy?

What color Labrador Retriever should I buy? Do you think the yellow Labrador Retriever is better than the black Labrador? These are just a couple different questions I receive from readers of this blog.

I came across an interesting article into why someone would want to own a chocolate Labrador Retriever as opposed to the yellow or black Labrador Retriever.

I feel the author, Stewart Richardson makes some valid points, such as higher prices being charged just for the color, and the gene pool for the chocolate Labrador being smaller than those of the yellow and black Labrador Retrievers, contributing to more inbreeding.

He also goes into medical conditions which I feel can be just as common in all the Labrador Retriever colors, as well as other opinions that can be argued back and forth in regards to the yellow and black Labrador Retriever.

I have posted this article as another information tool for us Labrador Retriever owners and to provide another opinion for some of the questions that I do receive from the readers of this blog.

Why would you want a chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy?


Why would you want a chocolate Labrador Retriever?

That's a question that I often ask myself, as I receive various requests for information about them.

Having been involved with Labrador Retrievers for many years now, and having also observed numerous Labrador Retrievers, including chocolate, I find it difficult to justify the additional price often charged for chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

The yellow and black Labrador Retrievers have been bred now for many, many, years. And they seem to be a very different (and nicer) dog to me than the chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

This opinion is also shared with various other Labrador Breeders to whom I have spoken.

Some Labrador Breeders have felt that the 'gene pool' for the chocolate Labradors is much smaller than those of the yellow and black Labradors. And this smaller gene pool, could contribute to more inbreeding and/or maximum inbreeding depression (which is the opposite to hybrid vigor).

This certainly seems to make sense to me, and I can't see why this wouldn't be the case?

From my personal experience, the vast majority of the chocolate Labrador Retrievers seem to me to be different to the yellow and black Labrador Retrievers, not only physically (obviously their color, but other elements also), but also in respect of their temperament, etc.

Some of the chocolate Labrador Retrievers that I have observed have had temperaments more like kelpies than Labradors. And some of the chocolate Labrador Retrievers I have observed have had temperaments with a combination of being very shy, fearful, etc combined with aggression (seemingly through a heightened sense of fear).

Also, I have seen chocolate Labradors with hereditary diseases, such as ectropion, which is a defect with their eyes which involves their eyelid being lose or turning outwards, which increases risks of foreign bodies (such as grass seeds, etc) being able to get under their eyelid/s. This in turn can then cause other health problems, which may need Veterinary attention.

Another eye condition, which is also accepted as being hereditary, is entropion, which is the opposite to ectropion. With entropion, the eyelid turns inwards, and can irritate the eye by (for example) the eye-lashed rubbing against the eye.

Some Veterinarians will operate on the eyelid/s to remove the defective part, in order to try and reduce the associated risks or health problems. But, of course, dogs with these problems should not be used for breeding, in my opinion (and that of some Vets) as they may produce offspring with the same or similar eye problems.

However, there are some Labrador breeders of chocolate Labradors who knowingly continue to breed from Labradors that have hereditary eye problem, and produce offspring with problems.

I know of cases that have even been reported to the appropriate controlling body (eg Royal NSW Canine Council, now trading as Dogs NSW), and to the best of my knowledge, nothing has been done to prevent the reported Labrador breeders from continuing to breed from defective breeding animals, and producing defective offspring, which they sell to the unsuspecting public!

There have also been cases of the President (at the time) of the NSW Labrador Retriever Club 'endorsing' a Labrador Breeder that was using defective breeding Labradors and producing defective puppies.

Please don't assume that ALL chocolate Labradors are defective etc, as I am certainly NOT suggesting this. But I certainly believe that generally, I would prefer a yellow or black Labrador over a chocolate Labrador, and that if I had to have a chocolate Labrador, then I would do a LOT of research about the parents, their health and temperament, before accepting it.

About the Author:

The Author has been involved with dogs for most of his life, including breeding various breeds of dogs, including the Labrador Retriever. Grant feels that there are many Labrador puppy breeders with sites on the internet, and which offer a wealth of information. Such as www.labrador-retrievers.com.au which has numerous pictures, a Labrador Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, plus more.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from All About Labradors

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers of All About Labradors. Enjoy your time with family, friends and your Labrador Retrievers!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Preparing Your Pup For Winter

With the cold weather upon us in many parts of the country (I'm jealous if your are in a warmer place), we receive many questions in regards to our dogs being outside in the cold.

John Grimes, from All Terrain Co. provides some helpful information when it comes to the cold season with your dog.

Preparing Your Pup For Winter


Would you wear shorts and a tank top during the winter months? In most parts of the country, the answer would clearly be no. Why? The weather would be too cold, so you would wear your warm things. Well, what about your pup?

We are a bit hypocritical when it comes to our pets. We treat them as though they are a part of our family, but then expect them to be able to handle certain aspects of life as though they are a wild animal. This often manifests during the winter when we don’t prepare our pup for the season.

Dogs have fur for a reason, right? Yes, but the fur is not armor. Dogs can freeze to death. This is true even for huskies and bigger dogs with thick fur. This means you need to make sure you have a dog house for your pup. A good dog house is well insulated and just big enough for your pup to stand up, turn around and lie down in. The dog house opening should also be turned away from the wind. Your goal is to create an environment that shelters your pup from the wind while being small enough to retain some of the heat from your pup.

To make things really cozy, you should do two other things. The first is lifting the dog house up off the ground a few inches. You can put a 2x4 frame around the bottom. This will keep water from building up and flowing in the front. Second, you should put a blanket or two down to create a buffer between a cold floor and your pup. He or she will thank you for it.

Winter is a time for hibernation, right? No! Exercise is a key for your pup year around. It keeps them in shape and the activity generates heat as well. Get out and throw the ball around and take them for walks.

Finally, water is a necessary element of life for humans and animals alike. Your pup can dehydrate just as easily as you and I. To avoid this, you need to provide them with water. In winter, the water can freeze over. Take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen. Frozen water is no use to your pup.

You treat your pup as part of the family most of the year. Don’t let that change during the winter months. Your dog gets cold just like you do, so take steps to make things more comfortable for your furry friend.

John Grimes writes for http://www.allterrainco.com - providing safe, natural products for dogs, pets and humans alike.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Cold Weather and your Labrador Retriever

Is it to cold for my 2 year old Labrador

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

FlushEze Pet Waste Bags Sample

We have found another free sample for those of you that are interested. This one is for a sample of FlushEze pet waste biodegradable bags from PetHabitats.com.

Information from PetHabitats.com: "FlushEze is so biodegradable, you can actually watch it dissolve in water. But you don’t have to! You can flush it immediately and you never have to worry about clogging your toilet or pipes.

FlushEze is king among biodegradable bags!

Our FlushEze sample packs are provided free of charge so that you can find out for yourself how convenient it is for your pet to be as environmentally friendly as you are."

This is an interesting subject as to where your dog's waste is discarded. I myself am still guilty of throwing my Labrador Retriever's waste in the trash. If anyone has used biodegradable bags to flush their dogs waste down the toilet please let us know. Thanks!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Free Sample of Whites Premium Dog Food

I would like to thank Sara for letting me know about this offer. Whites Premium is offering a free 100grm (3.5 oz) sample of their dog food.

Information from the Whites Premium website: "Whites Premium - premium quality food for dogs at work and play. Providing high quality nutrition for all dogs from Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Collies through to German Shepherds, Springer Spaniels, Pointers and Jack Russells to name a few of the breeds who enjoy Whites Premium.

Our Premium dog food is gluten free and hypoallergenic. We only use human grade fresh meat and fish and does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives. Whites premium is a complete ‘super premium’ food, made from natural ingredients, offering convenience without compromise and providing all the goodness your dog requires."

Visit the Whites Premium website to learn more about this product and to make your request for a free sample of Whites Premium Dog Food

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part II

Subject: Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part II

From: Jeremiah (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Hailey

Reader's E-mail - Jeremiah's Reply:

Fay, thanks for your response...

She has had the bald spot for about 8 months. The vet said allergies in general, he did not say what kind (I don't think they knew!). She is beginning to lose hair on the corner of her ears. Her coat was greasy and had an odor to it before we changed her food, now it's fine.

The bald spot is itchy, she rubs it on the carpet when it irritates her and when I put cream on it. Her paws are sometimes red and she licks them often. Her skin is not dry or flaky and has had no ear infections. No nasal discharges and hasn't had any other conditions you listed.

We had her on IAMS Chicken and Rice before we changed it to Nutro Lamb and Rice, we do not feed her scraps from the table and we give her rawhide bones. Hailey hasn't had any other medical conditions in the past. I have attached a few photos for you! I appreciate your help on this and look forward to your response.

Thank you,
Jeremiah

All About Labradors Answer:

Hi Jeremiah,

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

Continue Reading...
Thanks for the responses to my questions and for the cute pictures of Hailey. She looks so much like my Meeko, they could be sisters.

There are many different reasons for hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers. Some reasons of hair loss include: fleas, allergies, mange, skin infections, Hypothyroidism, Cushings Disease, flank alopecia, poor nutrition, and pattern baldness. These are just a few of the many reasons associated with hair loss.

Based on your answers to the questions I asked, and your veterinarian ruling out other conditions, I also feel allergies are causing problems for Hailey. The oily skin and odor you described is also symptoms for a condition called Seborrhea oleosa, or oily seborrhea. Here is some further help with Seborrhea:

Seborrhea: Introduction

With the itching going on with the head and the paws, allergies can be the cause. When Labrador Retrievers have allergies, they are more likely to scratch, chew and lick in an attempt to suppress the itching sensation.

Labrador Retrievers with allergies may show some of the following symptoms:

Chewing on paws, itching of body, rubbing head/ face on the carpet/couch, recurrent ear infections, infected skin, and hair loss.

Atopy (inhalant allergies) are most common in Labrador Retrievers. Just like you and I, your Labrador can develop allergies to something it inhales, such as tree pollens, weeds, grass pollens, with many of these being seasonal. There is also a possibility to allergens such as house dust, molds, mildew, which can be around all the time.

Some things you might want to do around your home:

Keep Hailey out of rooms several hours when you vacuum.

Wash Hailey's bedding in very hot water

Try to avoid stuffed toys and letting her sleep on stuffed furniture

Keep Hailey out of carpeted rooms

Use dehumidifiers

Keep Hailey out of basement (if you have one)

Other allergy testing can be done by your veterinarian, such as blood tests or intradermal skin testing. The better allergy test is intradermal skin testing, which is usually done by a veterinary dermatologist. You may want to visit a veterinary dermatologist (you can ask for a referral from your vet) if he/she is not one themselves. Veterinary dermatologist are specialists that tend to see chronic and odd cases, and often recognize unusual syndromes a general practitioner may miss.

Food allergies to something eaten (beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn, and soy), can occur at any age (majority of cases between 2 and 6 years of age) and may mimic the signs of an inhalant allergy. These animals tend to have recurrent ear and skin infections unless the allergy is identified and the allergy is addressed. Food allergies can be complicated to recognize and to treat.

The problem is figuring out what the allergen is. As I stated previously, skin and blood test can be done by your veterinarian, as well as setting up a special diet "hypoallergenic diet", for a possible food allergy.

Changing the food, which you have stated you tried, is called a "hypoallergenic diet" - a changing of his food to something he hasn't eaten before, which is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food) can be done to help to determine if this is the cause.

If you do decide to try changing Hailey's food again, remember:

Give the trial at least twelve weeks on the new food

No other treats should be given during the food trial. Only exception is if they are based on the same food sources as the test diet.

You have to be strict with the new food test, offering no other foods and NO table scrapes.

No unnecessary medications are to be given.

No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones) should be given.

Recommendations of foods for Hailey:

Wellness

Eagle Pack (Holistic Select)

These companies also offer treats based on the same food sources as their foods.

Many people believe (and recommend) Lamb and Rice for dog food allergies. Our Labrador Retrievers had never eaten lamb and rice before, thus they never had time to develop an allergy to it. There was nothing special about the lamb and rice except as I said, our Labs had never eaten it before.

The problem is that many of the lamb and rice-based foods also contain many other ingredients, and if your Labrador Retriever has a food allergy to any of those ingredients, the lamb and rice food will do nothing to treat the food allergy.

Additional help for allergies:

Supplementation with omega fatty acids (3V Capsules, DermCaps, etc) can help to improve the health of the skin and coat.

Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoos and cream rinses - these products pull inflammatory toxins out of the skin, along with colloidal oatmeal sprays and lotions, which can be purchased at your local pet stores.

Benadryl has been known to help allergy conditions in many Labrador Retrievers. Be advised that it can also have potential adverse side effect.

One thing that I make sure I use with my Labradors is probiotics and digestive enzymes, which I feel should be given to all Labrador Retrievers. Probiotics are live cultures found in yogurt which will help out in maintaining and increasing the good flora (bacteria) of the gut.

You could also supplement Hailey's diet with regular, non-flavored yogurt with live cultures daily. Make sure there are no sugars or sweeteners in it. You could add it to her food, or your can use it in the Kong toys if you use them. One reader of this blog stuffs it into the Kong toys and freezes it.

Some places to get probiotics and digestive enzymes:

Health and pet food stores: Acidophilus for dogs

1-800-PetMeds - NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics

Only Natural Pet Store

Pet Enzymes

Here's a helpful article on probiotics:

The Benefits of Probiotics for Your Pet

Here are some things you can do to help Hailey with her paw itching:

You can soak her paws for five minutes, four times a day, in cool water. Add a sprinkle of Epsom salts to the water as it will also help soothe the paws. A compress applied to the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

A nice cool bath can be helpful, since the water will assist in relieving the itching. You can add a little colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) to the bathwater, which will help soothe the paws or your veterinarian can prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Make sure you rinse Hailey's foot thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

Another method that you can try is Aloe Vera applied to the paw. Make sure its 100% Aloe Vera, like the kind from the plant (you can find in health store) not the mixture. This will also not hurt Hailey if she is to lick it off.

Hope this helps Jeremiah. If you don't understand anything, please don't hesitate to ask. Also please keep me advised with her condition.

Take care of yourself and Hailey,

Fay

References:

The Merck Veterinary Manuel
Pub Med.org

To read the first part of this e-mail visit: Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part I

A big thank you to Jeremiah who shared some wonderful photos of Hailey with us. Visit: Hailey 11/18/08

RELATED ARTICLES:

Labrador Retriever's hair not growing back - part I

Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part I

Labrador sheds lots of hair

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

PetVitamins Flavored Capsules Samples

A free sample of PetVitamins flavored capsules.

"Anyone who has ever tried knows that pilling a pet is NO FUN! Cats and dogs have a very keen sense of smell and taste and will reject anything that does not immediately appeal to their senses.

PetVitamins’ Flavored Capsules are perfect for the difficult task of pilling cats and dogs.

Whether for pharmaceutical, holistic, vitamin, or herbal use, our Flavored Capsules mask unpleasant odors and tastes – making them a readily accepted and flavorful alternative that eliminates the need to force-feed, use pill dispensers, or resort to hiding the remedy in unhealthy foods or treats."

To request your free sample, visit the PetVitamin website, and on the left hand side of their website, you will see a box that states "Register now to win". Inside that box you will find PetVitamin e-mail address to request your free PetVitamins Flavored Capsules samples.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part I

Subject: Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part I

From: Jeremiah (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Hailey

Reader's E-mail - Jeremiah Writes:

Hello,

I have a 3 year old chocolate lab named Hailey. She has a bald spot on the top of her head and I have taken her to the vet 3 separate times. They gave her a cortisone shot, did a blood test on her and I have changed her food twice. Currently she is on Nutro Lamb and Rice formula for six months and has not gotten any better.

The vets said it could be allergies but this has been going on for almost a year and is not getting any better. She doesn't have a thyroid condition and this was found out after the blood test and also they did a skin graph on her and she had no parasites or mites.

We have tried anti-fungal cream and this does not improve her hair loss either. As you can see I'm running out of things to try! She is now beginning to lose her hair on her ears as well, do you have any suggestions, I would really appreciate it. I've attached picture's of her bald spot...





Thank you,
Jeremiah

All About Labradors Response:

Hello Jeremiah,

Thank you for visiting the All About Labradors blog. I am sorry to hear about Hailey's condition. There are a couple of other things I need from you to try to be of assistance.
Please answer the questions listed below.

How long has Hailey had this bald spot?

Did the veterinarian mention what kind of allergies, or just allergies in general?

Any other areas of hair loss (besides what you mentioned) on Hailey?

Is her coat greasy with a unpleasant order?

Is this bald spot itchy to Hailey?

Is she itchy anywhere else? (paws, other parts of body,etc)

Is the skin dry and flaky?

Any chronic infection of her ears?

Any nasal discharges?

Do you notice any of the following - lethargy, increased thirst and urination, potbellied appearance, skin infections, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, aggression?

What other food did you try before the lamb?

When you tried changing foods, did you feed Hailey anything else besides the food? (treats, table scrapes, etc)

Any other medical conditions with Hailey in the past?

I'm awaiting your reply Jeremiah.

Talk to you soon,
Fay

To read the second part of this e-mail visit: Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part II

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Free 5 lb Bag of Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food

This is for a coupon for a free bag 5 lb. bag of any NATURAL CHOICE® dog food or 4 lb. bag of any NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® cat food.

TYPE IN code - go4nc and then complete survey and registration information.

Information from the Nutro Products website - "Nutro Natural Choice

* Formulated to Improve Skin & Coat

* Contains High Levels of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid & Zinc for Healthy Skin
and Shiny Coat

* No Chicken Heads, Feet, or Intestines

* Advanced Antioxidants for a Healthy Immune System

* Natural Sources of Glucosamine & Chondroitin to Help Promote Healthy Joints

* Made with High-Quality Fats, Proteins & Whole Grains that Help Provide Natural Vitality & Energy."

For Your Information - "One coupon per household. If your entry is rejected, then your household has already entered. Residents of USA only. Offer expires December 31, 2008. Allow 3 to 6 weeks to receive coupon."

Free 5 lb Bag of Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Free Pedigree Good Bites Samples

I've come across another free sample for those that are interested. This one is for a free sample of Pedigree Good Bites being offered by Walmart.

Information from Walmart.com - "New PEDIGREE® GOOD BITES™ Snacks are tasty, bite-sized treats packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Because they taste so good and are so good for your dog, you can feel good about treating them anytime throughout the day. Available in three good-for-your-dog varieties."

Samples are only available to consumers in the United States.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Labrador Retriever's Paws Changing Colors - part II

Subject: Labrador Retriever's Paws Changing Colors - part II

From: Doug (England)

Labrador Retriever name: Mollie

Reader's E-mail - Doug's Response:

Mollie's mouth area beteen her nose and mouth has also become pink, looks like she is losing pigmentation. Her feeding bowl and water bowl are ceramic. We also have a golden retriever bitch (Shelley) that seems perfectly normal. Mollie has grey or maybe even white hairs between her nose and mouth (seems her pigmentation is fading in that area, but no issues elsewhere in her coat. She's gorgeous.

Thanks for your help and ideas.
Doug

All About Labradors Answer:

Hi Doug,

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

In regards to the color changes, Labrador Retrievers that have spent too much time in the sun may occasionally get a little pink on their faces and the tips of their ears.

Another cause, and the one I believe you are dealing with is a condition called Vitiligo. Vitiligo - is a hereditary lack of pigment in the skin in which the dogs develop somewhat symmetrical depigmentation especially of the nose, lips, muzzle, inside of mouth and footpads. There may be whitening or graying of the hair.

In some cases the pigment returns and in other cases the changes are permanent. It does not appear to have consequences other than cosmetic. There are no medical treatments known for Vetiligo.

You can have your veterinarian perform a biopsy of the affected areas to confirm this is the condition with Mollie.

Hope this helps you Doug. Please keep me updated on Mollie's condition, and if you do take her to your veterinarian, please let me know the outcome.

Take care of yourself and Mollie,

Fay

References:

The Genetic Connection:. A Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs. Lowell Ackerman 1999 Paperback, 244 pages.

To read the first part of this e-mail visit: Labrador Retriever's Paws Changing Colors - part I

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Free Flush Doggy Waste Bag Sample

Information from Flush Doggy - "FlushDoggy, is a fully flushable(water soluble) and biodegradable dog waste bag that is very eco-friendly. Dog poops are best to be flushed down the toilet and degrade naturally , just as our own poops. Stop destroying our earth and start educating the public, one poop at a time. Be a responsible owner and go green for our pets.

You might ask why we need to care about dog poops being thrown into the trash. Dog poops are the major source of fresh water contamination and they pollute our earth. Study has shown that almost 4% of landfills are dog poops. That's hundreds of thousands of tons of dog poops a year. Also people use plastic bags to get rid of poops and you know how plastic bags will stay for up to 400 years WITH the POOPS inside, right?"

Free Flush Doggy Waste Bag Sample



They are on temporary back ordered as of this post but state they will ship it to you as soon as available.

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