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Best Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers (2022)

Best Shampoo for Golden Retrievers

We have put together our top veterinarian recommendations for best shampoo for Labrador retrievers. With so many options for dog shampoos available, it can be hard to decide what type to purchase for your dog. Knowing the needs and sensitivities of your dog and its coat, you can use our detailed list of shampoos below to help you identify the best shampoo for your Labrador.

Our Top Pick

TropiClean Luxury Shampoo & Conditioner

TropiClean Papaya and Coconut Luxury 2-in-1 Pet Shampoo and Conditioner is our top pick for a few reasons.

  • Cleans, conditions, and deodorizes very well
  • Relaxes fur for easier brushing and removal of undercoat
  • Great for dry, itchy, and sensitive skinned dogs

Not only does it do all of the above very well, but it comes in a 1 gallon container that is economical. This option combines most of the other options selling points into one product. However, if TropiClean is not for you, then read on for the rest of the best dog shampoos for Labrador Retrievers.

Best Dog Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers

There are different variations of dog shampoos you could use when bathing a Labrador Retriever. They include standard, hypoallergenic, organic, odor control, healing, waterless, and anti-itch. Below are our top picks of each type and the best options on the market for dog shampoo for Labrador retrievers .

Overall Best Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: TropiClean Luxury Shampoo & Conditioner

TropiClean Papaya and Coconut Luxury 2-in-1 Pet Shampoo and Conditioner is the best overall option for bathing your Labrador. As stated above, it offers many of the options that other shampoos on the list offer, all in one package.

It is made in the U.S.A. from naturally derived ingredients. So it is safe and great for any dog.

*As a bonus, it also comes in a one gallon container that is diluted to make 16 gallons of shampoo… and has a GREAT price!


Best All-In-One Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: Pet’s Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner

Best All in One

Pet’s Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner

The Pet’s Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner has almost every benefit of a dog shampoo that you can think of, which makes it a great staple to have on hand during bath time. This shampoo contains premium ingredients that clean, detangle, moisturize, condition, relieve itching, and reduce odor to leave your dog smelling fresh.

This veterinarian-recommended shampoo contains not only medicated ingredients but essential oils that will enhance your dog’s coat. Oatmeal, one of the critical ingredients, is known to relieve allergy symptoms, reduce hot spots, help with dry skin, and soften a dog’s coat.

This shampoo is also tear-free, which protects your dog from eye, nose, or paw irritation and provides a more joyful bath time experience.

You can get all these great benefits in a 17 oz. bottle for a very low price. It also smells really nice. If you are unsure of what shampoo to try for your Lab, this is a great one to start with. Your dog will be clean, feel soft, and smell great!


Best Organic & Hypoallergenic Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: Pro Pet Works All Natural & Organic Oatmeal Shampoo

Best Organic

Pro Pet Works All Natural & Organic Oatmeal Shampoo

Labradors are among one of the more common breeds of dogs to develop skin allergies. Because of their increased risk based on genetic disposition, environmental reactions, or the possibility of developing food allergies, having a hypoallergenic, natural, and organic shampoo like Pro Pet Works for your Labrador Retriever is a good idea.

Veterinarians have created this shampoo formula specifically for pets with allergies to flea bites, grass, and food. The shampoo contains all-natural and organic ingredients with no sulfates, parabens, alcohol, coloring, fragrance, or other harsh chemicals. They have also added aloe, almond oil, and vitamins A, D, and E to make bath time more soothing for your dog. At the end of the bath, your dog will have a soft, fresh, and clean coat.

Since it is designed to help dog allergies and has organic ingredients, this shampoo is a little more costly than others on our list. Its price range is about $17 to $18 for a 17 oz. bottle. If you are not sure if you want to spend the money on this type of shampoo for your Labrador, relax and know that you can give it a try and they say that you can get all your money back if you are not satisfied.


Best Budget Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: Burt’s Bees for Dogs

Best Budget

Burt’s Bees for Dogs Oatmeal Shampoo

If you want to be consistent and use only one type of shampoo for your Labrador that won’t break the bank but will get the job done, then Burt’s Bees All Natural Oatmeal Shampoo is the one to use. This shampoo cleans, moisturizes, soothes, and softens your dog’s skin and coat with sulfate and paraben-free ingredients.

This shampoo is made with gentle ingredients that can be used on sensitive skin, which also makes it safe for puppies as well. It is designed to be tear-free, but do your best to avoid getting it into your dog’s eyes when scrubbing and washing. 

If you want your Lab’s coat to feel clean and soft, then this shampoo is a great one to have. It costs around $5 to $7 for a 16 oz. bottle, which is a great price compared to some of the other well-rated dog shampoo brands we will discuss next.


Best Odor Control Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Shampoo

Best Odor Control

Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Shampoo

Labrador Retrievers, like many other dogs, have water-resistant coats and oil on their hairs that can cause them to smell. If you are in search of a shampoo for Labradors that will significantly minimize these unpleasant odors, then Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control is the shampoo for you.

This Nature’s Miracle shampoo is made with ingredients that provide long-lasting odor control. This shampoo has four benefits in one bottle, which include deodorizing, neutralizing odors, cleaning your dog’s skin and fur, and conditioning. Like many of the other shampoos for Labradors listed, there are no dyes, soaps, or parabens in the formula.

A great addition to this shampoo is the honey sage scent that contains oatmeal to soothe and hydrate your dog’s skin. Listed right on the back of the bottle are these benefits of its natural cocoa surfactant:

  • Cleans and conditions thoroughly
  • Softens hair
  • Hair stays cleaner longer
  • Reduces static electricity
  • Works to maintain the essential oils on your dog’s skin

This shampoo is also budget-friendly. It comes in a large bottle, size 32 oz. that ranges from $12 to $16.


Best Healing Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Dog Shampoo

Best Antifungal

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Medicated Dog Shampoo

Labrador Retrievers have a dense undercoat of hair hidden beneath their outer coat, which makes them more susceptible to the development of skin diseases. Bacteria, mold, fleas, parasites, fungus, and more can get trapped and hidden within a Labrador’s coat.

A great way to treat your Labrador Retriever’s inflamed skin is by using a medicated cleansing shampoo such as Veterinary Formula Clinical Care’s Medicated Shampoo. This shampoo contains ingredients that treat skin scaling, hydrate the skin, promote healing, relieve parasite infections, and remove fungus and bacteria. This shampoo is known for its fast-acting formula that also helps to heal rashes, bald spots, and dry, itchy skin.

This medical shampoo is very budget-friendly, costing between $8 to $12 for a 16 oz. bottle. Veterinary Formula works to provide quality medical ingredients at an affordable price for pet owners. You will want to use the shampoo only a couple times a week initially and then reduce the amount as symptoms get better, allowing your dog’s skin to stay hydrated and healthy.


Best Waterless, No Rinse Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers: Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo

Best Waterless

Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo

When you don’t have the convenience of being able to wash your dog with water, having Wahl’s Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo is essential. This shampoo leaves your dog clean and smelling fresh without having to use any water. Simply scrub the shampoo into your Labrador Retriever’s coat, dry your dog off with a towel, then brush its coat thoroughly.

This shampoo will moisturize your dog’s skin and detangle its hair. Ingredients found in this shampoo are paraben-free, alcohol-free, and plant-based with no harsh chemicals. If your Labrador Retriever likes to avoid bath time at all costs, do not hesitate to try this waterless, no-rinse shampoo. A 7 oz. bottle ranges from $4 to $6 and is backed with a money-back guarantee offer.


Best Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers to Reduce Shedding: FURminator deShedding Ultra-Premium Dog Shampoo

Best for Shedding

FURminator deShedding Ultra-Premium Dog Shampoo

Labrador Retrievers are known for continually shedding. If your Labrador sheds excessively, then give the FURminator deShedding Ultra-Premium Dog Shampoo a try. This shampoo is specifically targeted to reduce the amount of shedding in dogs like Labrador Retrievers.

While this shampoo works to reduce shedding, it also moisturizes your dog’s skin and fur. It contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that will get your dog clean and smelling fresh.

There are no parabens or dyes in the ingredients that would harm your dog.  To get the best results from this shampoo, you will want to let it sit on your dog’s hair and skin for 5 to 10 minutes after lathering and before rinsing. You can purchase a 16 oz. bottle for about $8 and be off bathing your dog in no time.

Best Puppy Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers

Best Shampoo for Labrador Retriever Puppies

While many of the above shampoos would work great for your Labrador puppy, below are a couple options that we recommend if you are looking for something specifically for a puppy.

Overall Best Shampoo for Labrador Retriever Puppies: Pet’s Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner

Best for Puppies

Pet’s Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner

The benefits of using Pet’s Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner for your puppy seem endless. This shampoo contains all-natural ingredients that are safe for dogs of all ages. It provides relief for allergies with an added hypoallergenic lotion, which contains antifungal and antibacterial ingredients that work to reduce flea yeast.  This shampoo is gentle on a dog’s sensitive skin and hair and provides instant itch relief and moisturizes dry, irritated skin.

Not only do the ingredients in this shampoo smell great, but they also keep odors away for extended periods. These plant-based ingredients are also safe to come in contact with your puppy’s nose and paws. Do not hesitate to get a 17 oz. bottle, which costs around $17, for your puppy today.


Best Sensitive Shampoo for Labrador Retriever Puppies: Burt’s Bees for Puppies Natural Tearless 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Best for Sensitive Pups

Burt’s Bees for Puppies Natural Tearless 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Burt’s Bees for Puppies is a 2 in 1 Shampoo that will soften, soothe, clean, and condition your puppy’s fur and skin with its natural ingredients like buttermilk and linseed oil. The mild and natural ingredients in this puppy shampoo make it safe for dogs of all ages and help prevent irritation to the eyes, nose, and paws.

There are no harsh chemicals, colorants, or fragrances, which make it completely safe and well recommended by veterinarians. This fantastic all-purpose shampoo for puppies comes in a 16 oz. bottle and costs between $5 and $12.

How Often Should You Bathe A Labrador Retriever?

As mentioned before, Labrador Retrievers have a double coat that will easily trap unwanted dirt, smells, pests, sweat, and more. To keep your dog clean and smelling fresh, you will want to bathe and groom it frequently. A Labrador Retriever can be bathed as often as once a week, but shouldn’t go longer than six weeks without a bath.

The number of baths you give your dog should be based on its activity level, skin sensitivity, allergies, and hair length. For example, if your Labrador Retriever has more sensitive skin, bathing your dog too frequently can lead to skin dryness and irritation. So if you find your dog has these symptoms, try reducing the frequency of baths and introducing a moisturized shampoo.

Having the right shampoo for your dog will allow it to stay cleaner and smell fresh longer. Keep in mind that grooming your dog’s coat goes hand-in-hand with baths.

Tips for Bathing a Labrador Retriever

Best Shampoo for Labrador, Tips for Bathing a Labrador Retriever

When bathing a Labrador Retriever, you want the experience to be both enjoyable for you and your dog. Below are some brief tips to help the process go smoothly. For a more in-depth look, read our article How to Bathe a Labrador Retriever.

  • Have the right type of shampoo for your dog’s skin and fur.
    • Picking the right type of shampoo will keep your dog’s skin healthy and allow you to avoid allergic reactions. Sample a few different types at first until you find the one best for your dog.
  • Brush your dog before the bath.
    • You will want to prep your dog before each bath by brushing away excess fur and removing tangles.
  • Be consistent.
    • Just like children, dogs will feel more comfortable in a familiar place with an established routine. Use the same bathtub or area of the yard each time you bathe your dog.
  • Have everything with you.
    • The last thing you want to do is get your dog watered down and then realize you are missing an essential bath time item. Make sure you have everything you need before you start, so you never have to leave your dog unattended.
  • Be sure to have a comfortable water temperature.
    • Select a water temperature that is comfortable for your dog. It may be tempting to use cold water, but treat your dog like a child and provide it with the right water temperature. Warmer water will also do a better job at cleaning than cold water.
  • Follow the directions on the shampoo bottle.
    • Each type of shampoo is different. Some are tear-free and safe for eyes, paws, and nose; others are not. The shampoo bottle will tell you how to lather, scrub, and rinse your dog to get the best results possible.
  • Dry your dog.
    • After each bath, you should dry your dog with a towel or blow dryer rather than letting it air dry. This will keep it warmer and reduce the amount of water that drips or is shaken off.

Do Labrador Retrievers Need a Conditioner?

Best Shampoo for Labrador, Conditioner

The question of whether to use a conditioner on a Labrador Retriever is a common one. Lots of great shampoo products include some conditioning elements in their formula, so if you are unsure if you want to use a pure conditioner, this might be an excellent way to go. Also, if you are using a high-quality shampoo for your dog, then using a conditioner might not even be necessary.

If you decide to use one, there are several benefits to using a dog conditioner. Conditioners can moisturize your dog’s skin and produce a shiny, detangled coat. You do not always need to apply conditioner right after shampooing your dog. You can use it in between bath time to help maintain your dog’s coat and reduce its smell.

There can be some adverse effects when using a conditioner on your dog. If you see any of these symptoms, then stop using the conditioner and just wash with shampoo. Some symptoms might include skin irritation, weakened hair shafts, or trapped dirt after applying the conditioner.

Do not attempt to use a human conditioner on your dog. A dog has different pH levels than a human does, so using a human conditioner with added fragrances could irritate your dog’s skin. When it comes to washing your dog, always try to use dog-specific products.

Tips on Reducing Odor?

Having a good dog shampoo will make a tremendous impact on the health of your dog’s coat. It will also help significantly in reducing its unpleasant odors; however, a good shampoo is not the only thing needed to keep a dog smelling fresh with a healthy coat.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce a dog’s odor:

  1. Try to figure out what is causing the smell and do what you can to solve that problem.
  2. Test out different shampoos for your dog until you find one that keeps it smelling fresh longer.
  3. Increase grooming.
  4. Brush your dog’s teeth frequently.
  5. Wash its bedding weekly.
  6. Try changing your dog’s food to a new variety to see if that helps with its smell.

For more information on solving your dogs odor problems, see our article Do Labrador Retrievers Smell.

Conclusion

Bath time can be a fun or frustrating experience depending on your Labrador Retriever, but either way, it is necessary to keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy and smelling fresh. Because there are so many different dog shampoos on the market, try out a few different ones recommended in this article that you think will meet the needs of your dog.

Once you find the one you like, stick with that shampoo to provide your dog with a healthy coat of fur. Remember always to avoid using human products. Use a dog conditioner if you feel it is necessary or select a shampoo that has conditioner added. 

To learn more about caring for your Labrador Retrievers coat you can read our article Labrador Retriever Coat Care. Or if you are more interested in different options for dog brushes, check out our article Best Dog Brushes for Labrador Retrievers.

How to Bathe a Labrador Retriever

How to Bathe a Labrador

All dogs require baths as part of their regular grooming care. Here our veterinarians give step by step instructions on how to bathe a Labrador and how often a Labrador should be bathed. Here are step by step instructions on how to bathe a Labrador so they stay healthy and squeaky clean.

How to Bathe a Labrador

How to Bathe a Labrador

Bathing a Labrador Retriever is a multi-step process, and you should prepare to be equally as wet, if not more so, than your dog by the end of the bath. Wear some old clothes that you don’t mind getting soapy and wet. Most Labs love water and will cooperate reasonable well for the process and it can be good bonding time.

If you want a suggestion for shampoo, my go to shampoo for Labradors is Pro Pet Works All Natural Organic Oatmeal Pet Shampoo Plus Conditioner. It works great and has helped reduce dog dandruff as well.

Follow these steps on how to bathe a Labrador and get your Lab shiny and clean:

10 Steps To Bathe a Labrador

1. Gather Your Supplies

Have all your bathing materials ready before you put your dog in the bathtub or start the hose outside. You will need a mild shampoo and conditioner, petroleum jelly, a scrub brush, a slicker brush, and a hand-held sprayer (a pitcher will work here, too). Do not forget to have plenty of towels within reach.


2. Brush and Blow Out

Use a dryer over your Labrador’s coat for a few moments to loosen and dirt, debris, and dead hair from the skin. Take the scrub brush and remove tangles from the fur. Then, use the slicker brush on the undercoat to remove additional loose hair. Bathing your Labrador Retriever will be an easier process if you remove loose hair and dirt before starting the bath.


3. Protect the Dog’s Eyes and Ears

Use a dab of petroleum jelly at the corner of your dog’s eyes to repel any shampoo and water that may get in them. A cotton ball in the ears helps keep the water out.


4. Use Lukewarm Water

Regardless of if you are attempting to bathe a Labrador outside or inside, keep the water at a lukewarm temperature for their comfort.


5. Secure Your Dog

For outdoor baths, make sure you clip a leash to your dog’s collar and either hold on to it or secure it to something sturdy. For indoor baths, encourage your dog to hop into the tub using a treat or toy as a lure. If you are lucky, your Labrador will love water so much that they will jump in without any prompting.


6. Lather Up Your Dog

Get your Labrador’s coat thoroughly wet down to the skin, including the under coat. With the scrub brush or your hands, use a mild dog shampoo and work it into the dog’s coat from front to back, or head to tail. Do not pour any water or soap on your dog’s face; use a soft washcloth to clean that area.


7. Rinse The Coat

Using the hand-held sprayer or hose, rinse the shampoo out of your dog’s fur. Keep in mind that the Labrador’s double coat means double the rinsing effort to ensure the removal of all soap from the skin and hair. Do not stop rinsing until the water runs completely clear and there are no more soap bubbles or streaks. This step is critical as leftover soap will dry and cause skin irritations and itchiness.


8. Apply the Conditioner

If you are using a liquid conditioner, apply it to your dog’s fur, let it stand for a few moments, then rinse thoroughly. Spray-on conditioners can be applied at this time, leaving a few minutes for them to penetrate the coat.


9. Towel Dry Your Dog

Using clean towels, gently dry your dog’s coat as much as possible. Your dog will probably shake a few times to help with this step of the process.


10. Blow Dry Your Dog

Some dogs are not fond of noisy dryers, but if your dog tolerates them, use one to speed up the drying process. Place the dryer on the cool or low setting and keep it a hand’s length distance from your dog’s coat. If the dryer is too close, it can burn your dog’s fur and skin. Use the brush to gently dry the hair in its natural direction as you dry it. Alternately, you can allow your Labrador to air-dry as well although that will take more time.

With these steps, you can make bathing a Labrador a common and enjoyable experience for your dog. You can also check out our picks for the Best Dog Shampoos to see what is the best option for your dog.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

An essential part of bathing a Labrador Retriever is cleaning her ears. This breed is highly prone to developing ear infections which are often caused by bacterial growth in the ear canal due to moisture, wax, dirt, or parasites.

Because Labradors have floppy ears, dampness and debris become trapped with no way for the ears to dry out. When you bathe your Labrador, that is a perfect opportunity to clean their ears as well.

My recommendation for ear cleaner is Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner.

To clean your Labrador Retriever’s ears, follow these directions:

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

1. Gather Your Supplies

You will want a gentle canine ear cleaner (available at pet stores or through your veterinarian’s office), cotton balls, a soft towel, and treats.


2. Clean the Ear Using a Cotton Ball

Pour a few drops from the cleaner on a cotton ball and gently swab around the dog’s ear. Start with the inside of the ear and work your way to the outside to remove any debris.


3. Clean and Massage the Ear

Squeeze a few drops of the cleaning solution into the dog’s ear. Gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. Allow the cleanser to get into the folds of the ear and loosen dirt. Then, let your dog shake their head to remove any excess cleaner from their ears.


4. Dry the Ears

Using a cotton ball or soft towel, wipe out the ear canal. Only use the towel or cotton ball on the visible areas of the ear.


5. Praise and Treat Your Dog

After cleaning the ears, praise your dog for a job well done and give them a treat. Let them associate this experience with a positive reward.

Regular ear cleaning is a must for Labrador Retrievers. Because of the pain of infection, and potential hearing loss, cleaning your Labrador’s ears is a part of the grooming process you should not neglect.

How to Bathe a Labrador Retriever, Final Step: Drying After a Bath

How to Bathe a Labrador, drying

To prevent skin irritations, hot spots, or flaky skin, your Labrador Retriever must be as dry as possible after their bath. So the final step in our How to Bath a Labrador step by step instructions is drying. Here are some methods to use to make sure your dog is completely dry after their trip to the tub:

Towel Drying After a Bath

Have three or four towels on hand to wipe off remaining water from your Labrador. Rather than rubbing the cloth over your dog, use squeezing or patting motions to soak up the excess moisture. By this approach, you limit the number of mats and tangles that may develop in your dog’s coat. Dry the top of the head and back first, then work your way to their belly, legs, and tail.

Hand-held, Deep-Down Drying After a Bath

In warmer dry weather, you can allow your Labrador to air dry outside. However, if the weather is cool or very humid, a hand-held dryer is one of the fastest ways to get your dog warm and dry. Keep the dryer on a low heat setting and continuously move it over your dog’s body. Be aware of how hot the dryer is on your dog’s coat by placing your hand nearby so you can always check the temperature.

When Should You Give Your Labrador Puppy Its First Bath?

How to Bathe a Labrador, First Bath

When should a Labrador puppy have its first bath? The earliest you should give a full bath to a Labrador Retriever puppy is about 8 weeks of age. Prior to 8 weeks spot cleanings can be done as needed. The ability of the puppy to regulate its own body temperature is the primary reason for waiting.

After 8 weeks old, you can bathe your puppy with lukewarm water. Remember to use a gentle or mild dog shampoo; never use human shampoo on a dog. Also, avoid using flea shampoo on any puppy younger than 12 weeks of age.

How Often Should a Labrador be Bathed?

How often should a labrador be bathed

A Labrador Retriever should have a bath once every 6 weeks, but that time frame is flexible depending on the dog’s lifestyle and environment. Labradors who regularly swim, play in grass or dirt, or roll in the mud will need baths every week or two as needed. Environments that are muddy, swampy, or are breeding grounds for parasites like ticks and fleas mean even more baths for your dog. However, there is a limit to how much bathing your Labrador’s coat can take.

Washing your Labrador Retriever too much strips those natural oils from the fur, leaving your dog’s coat dull and her skin unprotected. Skin infections and dandruff may result. Using mild and gentle shampoos can still cause these medical issues; therefore, it’s best not to bathe a Labrador too often.

Of course, Labradors will be Labradors, and there are occasions where unscheduled baths will be a necessity. If your dog stops, drops, and rolls in feces, a dead animal’s scent or remains, they need a bath immediately. The same goes for Labradors who decide to leap into algae-filled ponds or those who revel in racing through mud pits at the local dog park. In these situations, you will need to bathe a Labrador Retriever as soon as possible.

Conclusion

While bathing your Labrador Retriever is an involved process, it is well worth the love, loyalty, and companionship these wonderful dogs provide to their owners.

Perhaps more importantly, bathing your Labrador Retriever is necessary for their current and future health and well-being. To keep your Lab smelling pleasant you will need to bathe a Labrador on a routine basis. Your Labrador will be much happier if they are clean and dry, and so will you.

If you need tips on cleaning your dogs teeth, be sure to check out our article on Labrador Retriever Teeth: Care and Cleaning.

Best Supplements for Labradors (2022)

Best Supplements for Labradors

Supplements can be an important part of your Labrador’s health. Here we list our favorite supplements for Labradors that may benefit your dog. While not always needed, there are many dogs that depend on them to aid in their quality of life.

Almost all dogs get their essential nutrients from commercial dog diets. However, not every diet is “one size fits all,” and in many cases, supplements may be necessary. Provided below is a list of the best supplements available for your dog.

Our Pick

Purina Pro Plan Calming Care

Purina Pro Plan Calming Care is my choice as the best probiotic available. It comes in a powdered form which is measured out into individual packets. Sprinkle the contents of one packet onto your dog’s food once a day.

For best results, use Calming Care every day for at least three to four weeks. It is safe to use with other recommendations from your veterinarian and works with Labradors of all ages. Read on for the best supplements on the market.

Best Supplements

Joint, fiber, and probiotic supplements are some of the most important supplements for Labradors. These aid in many ailments that are common in Labradors including digestion, allergies, joint issues, and much more.

Here are some of the best options for you depending on your budget and what you are looking for in a supplement.

Our PicksBrand
Best Probiotic Supplement for LabradorsPurina Pro Plan Calming Care
Best Fiber Supplement for LabradorsGlandex Soft Chews
Best Overall Joint Supplement for LabradorsMOVOFLEX Hip & Joint supplement
Best Tablet Joint Supplement for LabradorsDasuquin Advanced
Best Tasting Joint Supplement for LabradorsGlycoflex 3 Hip & Joint
Best Budget Joint Supplement for LabradorsCosequin Maximum Strength

Best Probiotic Supplement: Purina Pro Plan Calming Care

Purina Pro Plan Calming Care is the best choice for probiotic supplements for Labradors. Probiotics have made big waves in both human and veterinary medicine. Both people and animals have a combination of “good” and “bad” bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts. When there is disease or inflammation, harmful or pathogenic bacteria can displace the beneficial type, causing further illness.

Probiotics are live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can displace most types of harmful bacteria and can facilitate faster response times from the immune system.

Product features:

  • An effective probiotic that benefits the digestive tract
  • Has an anti-anxiety effect after three to four weeks of use
  • Comes in powdered form in individual packets

Purina’s Calming Care probiotic is different from others in its class. The active ingredient known as Bifidobacterium longum BL999 works like most other probiotic cultures, but also has a naturally calming effect. In other words, dogs with both gastrointestinal and behavior problems can greatly benefit from it.

The main reason why Calming Care works is because there is a neurological connection between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. Studies in mice show that when gastrointestinal bacteria from anxious mice were transferred to the gastrointestinal tracts of calm mice, the latter group began to demonstrate anxiety. Once the clinical trials were performed for use of B. longum BL999 in Labradors, the results showed significant improvement for day-to-day anxiety for the dogs who received B. longum in the study.   

Purina’s Calming Care probiotic comes in a powdered form which is measured out into individual packets. Sprinkle the contents of one packet onto your dog’s food once a day. For best results, use Calming Care every day for at least three to four weeks. It is safe to use with other recommendations from your veterinarian and works with Labradors of all ages.

Pros:

  • Promotes a healthy GI tract and is beneficial for dogs with diarrhea
  • Helps with anxiety disorders such as fear, aggression, and separation anxiety
  • Safe, easy to use, and won’t interfere with other treatment recommendations

Cons:

  • Dogs with severe anxiety or behavioral disorders may need additional treatments/supplements
  • Dogs with severe gastrointestinal disorders may require additional treatments/supplements

Best Fiber Supplement: Glandex Soft Chews

Best Fiber

Glandex Soft Chews

If your Labrador has problems with his anal glands, he may have problems with allergies or his digestive tract. In either case, fiber supplements can make a big difference in anal gland health, and Glandex Soft Chews are one of the best fiber supplements available.

Product features:

  • Contains ingredients to help improve stool quality and promote GI health
  • Helps natural anal gland expression by improving stool quality
  • Available in a tasty chewable treat or powder form

Anal glands are the small marble-shaped glands within the anus of a dog. They excrete a viscous (and smelly) fluid that helps make the passing of stools easier. However, when dogs have digestive tract problems or issues with allergies, these glands can become inflamed and more difficult to express. Anal glands can also become impacted and form painful abscesses that require immediate medical attention.

Glandex is a soft chew treat that contains high amounts of fiber and pumpkin. These ingredients absorb water which results in bulkier, healthier stools. These bowel movements promote the natural expression of your dog’s anal glands so that they are less likely to become infected. Glandex also contains omega 3 fatty acids that can help prevent inflammation, and it also contains probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus to promote a healthy digestive tract.  

Pros:

  • Ingredients can help improve your Labrador’s digestive tract health
  • Decreases the likelihood for full or impacted anal glands
  • Available in two forms – powder or soft chew treat

Cons:

  • May cause an increase in frequency of bowel movements  
  • May temporarily increase flatulence or gas
  • May take three to five weeks of use for best results

Best Joint Supplement: MOVOFLEX Hip & Joint supplement

Almost every dog will encounter some form of orthopedic disease in their lifetime. Labrador Retrievers have an increased risk of inherited orthopedic issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia, and older Labradors will most certainly develop arthritis over time.

Joint supplements can delay the progression of these issues and help improve joint function, thereby alleviating discomfort and helping quality of life. MOVOFLEX Hip & Joint supplement is one such supplement that combines the elements of many joint supplements into a single chewable treat.

Product features:

  • Eggshell membrane supports joint flexibility. Think of it as glucosamine for dogs.
  • Zanthin protects against joint damaging free radicals.
  • Boswellia Serrata supports structural integrity of joints & connective tissues.
  • Hyaluronic Acid works as a cushion and lubricant in the joints.
  • Vitamin D3 is vital for good bone health.
  • Available in a tasty chewable treat  

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are naturally occurring building blocks for cartilage in your dog’s body, and they also inhibit the production of cartilage-destroying enzymes and inflammatory mediators. Glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), and hyaluronic acid are four of the most common GAGs found in dog joint supplements. MOVOFLEX contains hyaluronic acid but also has eggshell membrane to support joint flexibility.

MOVOFLEX also contains Boswellia Serrata, a plant that has been shown to support the structural integrity of joints & connective tissues and natural astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant meant to protect against free radicals and nitric oxide.

MOVOFLEX combines all five of the above-mentioned ingredients into one chewable treat, it also comes in a tasty treat, so that it is easy to give. All of this makes this one of the more complete supplements for Labrador’s joint health.

Pros:

  • Combines multiple ingredients into one treat
  • Has other health benefits besides helping dogs with arthritis
  • Tasty, easy to give
  • No need for a prescription from your veterinarian

Cons:

  • May take 4-6 weeks of use to achieve full effect
  • Does not contain omega 3 fatty acids
  • One of the more expensive supplements

Best Tablet Joint Supplement: Dasuquin Advanced

Joint Tablet

Dasuquin Advanced

Dasuquin Advanced

*Prescription Required

Supplements in tablet form tend to be a little more shelf-stable compared to chewable treats. Dasuquin Advanced is the best joint supplement tablet available. Not only does it remain effective for over one year after opening the bottle, it provides an effective combination of glycosaminoglycans and herbal ingredients that are proven to help dogs with arthritis.

Product features:

  • Combines three GAGs with herbal ingredients to provide an anti-inflammatory effect
  • Also includes manganese, an effective antioxidant ingredient
  • Comes in 64 or 140 count bottles and is effective for dogs of all sizes   

Dasuquin Advanced is a supplement that is available through your veterinarian prescription only. It contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, all of which have a protective effect on joint cartilage. Dasuquin also contains herbal ingredients such as Boswellia serrata and Curcuma longa, also known as turmeric. These anti-inflammatory ingredients are used in human supplements as well, and there is scientific research that proves their effectiveness for dogs with arthritis pain. Dasuquin also contains manganese, an antioxidant which helps rid the body of harmful free radicals.

Like with most joint supplements, it takes 4-6 weeks of higher doses of Dasuquin before it becomes fully effective. After that time period, you will cut the daily dose in half for your Labrador. Larger sized bottles are more cost effective and have a shelf-life of one year and four months.

Pros:

  • Contains multiple GAG ingredients plus herbal anti-inflammatories and an antioxidant
  • Available in large quantities and is shelf-stable for over one year
  • Larger sized tablets are ideal for large breed dogs like Labrador Retrievers   

Cons:

  • Only available with a prescription from your veterinarian
  • May take 4-6 weeks of use to achieve full effect
  • Difficult to quarter the tablets for smaller dogs

Best Tasting Joint Supplement: Glycoflex 3 Hip & Joint

Tasty For Dogs

Glycoflex 3 Hip & Joint

In the rare case that your Labrador Retriever is a finicky eater, Glycoflex 3 is one of the tastiest chew treats available. It contains highly effective ingredients to help with arthritis pain.

Product features: 

  • Highly palatable supplement chews that are small and easy to administer
  • Combines GAG ingredients with green-lipped mussel
  • Comes in bags of 120 chews

Glucosamine and MSM are the two main glycosaminoglycans contained within Glycoflex 3. It also contains an ingredient known as green-lipped mussel (GLM). GLM is a kind of shellfish that is native to New Zealand and has many uses in human medicine because it is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. It also is a rich source of omega 3s and also some GAGs such as glucosamine and chondroitin. Studies show that GLM can help dogs with pain due to osteoarthritis.

Pros:

  • Has a highly palatable chicken liver flavor
  • Combines GAGs with GLM, which is scientifically proven to help dogs with arthritis  
  • Available online through Amazon.com

Cons:

  • May take 4-6 weeks of use to achieve full effect
  • Multiple chews are needed for large dogs, so the bag may finish quickly
  • Contraindicated for dogs with chicken allergies

Best Budget Joint Supplement: Cosequin Maximum Strength

Best Budget

Cosequin Maximum Strength

Some dogs require supplements for the short term, but orthopedic procedures, arthritis, and chronic illnesses may mean that your Labrador needs to take a joint supplement for the rest of his life.

This can be expensive, especially for large breed dogs! Cosequin Maximum Strength is an effective supplement that won’t break the bank due to how much it cost per serving.

Product features: 

  • Contains three GAG ingredients plus an antioxidant
  • Highly bioavailable ingredients and safe for all dogs
  • Available in 60, 132, 180, and 250 count bottles

Cosequin’s GAG ingredients are glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Each of the three are provided in high doses for maximum joint support. It also contains manganese, which is an antioxidant.

While it does not contain some of the herbal ingredients or omega 3s found in other supplements, Cosequin is still highly bioavailable which means that your Labrador may start to show results a little sooner than the four to six-week mark. Also, fewer ingredients mean a lower overall cost.  

Pros:

  • Contains high amounts of glycosaminoglycan ingredients
  • Available in larger quantities and is very cost effective
  • Can be purchased online through Amazon.com

Cons:

  • May take 4-6 weeks of use to achieve full effect
  • Contains fewer anti-inflammatory ingredients compared to other supplements

What Are Supplements For Labradors

Supplements for Labradors

Supplements are dietary products that are meant to provide extra ingredients for the benefit of your dog. Typically, they are not meant to treat a particular illness, but can help lessen the severity of certain clinical signs.

Because commercial diets provide the right amounts of vitamins and minerals, owners must be cautious giving certain supplements to their dogs. This is because certain vitamins like A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that your dog can develop health problems if he is overdosed.  

Over the past few decades, joint supplements have been very popular for dogs, and fiber supplements and probiotics have recently played an important role in various gastrointestinal ailments. Each of these products contains ingredients that are ancillary to your dog’s diet, and therefore, many of them are safe to give.

Conclusion

From probiotics to fiber and joint supplements, there are simply too many products available to remember them all. Even healthy Labradors can benefit from such supplements, and so it is in your pup’s best interest to be aware of some of the top products.

Be sure to check that you are feeding your Labrador the right amount of food as well. Read our Labrador Retriever Feeding Chart to learn more.

Remember that if you’re unsure about a product or what your Labrador Retriever might need, talk with your veterinarian for more information.

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How to Avoid Obesity in Labradors

Obesity in Labradors

Obesity in Labradors is one of the most common health conditions we see in this breed as veterinarians. They LOVE food but, Labrador Retrievers that are overweight or obese are at risk of many preventable health conditions. It is also much easier for a dog to put on weight than it is to get extra pounds off. That is why in this article we will discuss ways to prevent your Lab from becoming obese in the first place.

Steps to Avoid Obesity in Labradors

How do you avoid obesity in Labradors? In order to avoid obesity in your lab you must:

  1. Feed the Right Amount of Food
  2. Avoid Fatty/High Calorie People Foods
  3. Have a Healthy/Safe Treat Routine
  4. Provide Exercise Time

These four steps, along with regular visits to your veterinarian, will go a long way in avoiding an overweight dog.

Below we go into more details on each of these steps, health issues that come with obesity, and other things to consider.

Feed the Right Amount of Food

Obesity in Labradors, Eating Healthy

It is imperative that you consult with your veterinarian throughout your dog’s life regarding how much food they should be eating. This will change regularly through their life as they experience different life stages. To learn more, see our article Labrador Retriever Feeding Chart.

Your growing puppy and adolescent Labrador Retriever may seem to eat and need more calories per day than your adult and senior-aged Labrador Retrievers. This is because as they age, their activity levels may decrease and their metabolism may also start to slow down.

It is important to note that after a dog is spayed or neutered, their metabolism will be slower than a dog who is not fixed. Once they are full grown they will typically not need to eat as much food portions as is usually recommended on bags of dog food. The recommended amount of food portions on most dog food bags accounts for dogs with high energy needs, such as non-spayed dogs who are also very active.

There is a good chance this recommends way too many calories for your particular dog to eat per day. Your veterinarian can work with you to calculate exactly how many calories your dog should eat per day based on their current weight and activity level. They can then translate this information into how many cups of food you should feed them each day.

Avoid Fatty & High Calorie People Foods

An easy mistake pet owners make is offering table scraps to their pups. They want to show their pup just how much they love them by sharing their food with them. Not only does this have the potential to lead to obesity in Labradors, but it can also cause your dog to develop bad habits, such as begging or grabbing food off of the table.

If your dog learns to do these things, there is the possibility they may eat foods that are toxic to them. This can lead to expensive veterinary bills and even be life-threatening for your dog.

If it is very important to you that you share human food with your canine companion, rest assured- there are safe and healthy foods you can give to them.

Safe, healthy human foods you can share with your dog include:

  • Fresh green beans
  • Peeled bananas
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Cooked rice
  • Cooked pasta
  • Cooked, lean hamburger meat (leave off any spices)
  • Baked or broiled chicken breast (no bones and not fried!)

When you do offer these healthy alternatives to table scraps, put them in your dog’s food bowl. Do not hand it to them, throw it to them, or allow them to eat it off of your plate. Doing this will help decrease the chances your dog will start begging you for your foods and/or steal food off of your plate.

Always make sure to not give any food with bones in it to your dog, even if the bones seem small. Even Labradors can get an intestinal obstruction from bones if the bone gets caught within the intestines. The bones can also irritate the lining of the gut, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

Healthy and Safe Treat Routine

If you give your Lab treats throughout the day, you will need to decrease how much food you give them at mealtime. Even seemingly little treats still contain calories. And these calories can add up, contributing to obesity in Labradors.

Your treat bag should say how many calories are in each treat. You can use this as a guide to know how much you should decrease your dog’s mealtime food portion based off of how many treats you gave them that particular day.  

Additionally, try to get low calorie treats and avoid the ones high in sodium. Treats that are effective at keeping your dog’s teeth clean are good options. Check out our article on the Best Treats for Labrador Retrievers to learn more.

Provide Exercise Time

Obesity in Labradors, Exercise Time

Exercise, exercise, exercise!!! This is probably one of the most important ways to prevent obesity in Labradors. Labradors can have a lot of energy and enjoy playing.

Regular exercise will keep their metabolism up to speed. Exercise will also help strengthen and maintain their muscle mass, which can help decrease the negative effects of arthritis and other joint issues they may start to develop as they get older. Staying active is also great for the health of their heart.

Maintaining a regular exercise routine with your Labrador is good not only for their physical health, but for their mental and emotional health as well. A dog that has been able to release pent up energy is a content dog and less likely to develop anxiety and other behavioral disorders at home.

Exercise can come in all shapes and sizes. For some dogs and their owners this may mean going on daily runs or jogs. For others, this may mean going for regular, good paced walks around the neighborhood. Still, for others this may mean going hiking in the woods, attending agility classes, playing fetch, or making regular visits to the dog park.

Check out our article about Exercise for a Labrador Retrievers to learn more.

Health Problems Associated with Obesity

There are many health problems associated with obesity in Labradors after it develops. Dogs who are overweight and obese are at a higher risk for developing the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart problems
  • Debilitating arthritis
  • Joint & ligament injuries, such as Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Many of these conditions are preventable by maintaining a regular exercise routine and eating healthy. Even though cancer and certain joint conditions can occur in healthy weight Labrador Retrievers, the effects of those conditions may not be as severe as in Labradors who are obese.

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Obesity in Labradors, Medical Conditions to Consider

Even though the majority of obese Labs become obese due to inappropriate feedings and inactivity, there are some medical conditions that can cause dogs to become overweight through no fault of their own (or of their owners).

Hypothyroidism leading to obesity in Labradors

The most common medical condition that can cause this is Hypothyroidism. Dogs can develop hypothyroidism at any point in their life and it causes their metabolism to slow way down.

Dogs with hypothyroidism show the following signs:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Seeking cold places to lay
  • Fur loss, usually near the base of the tail
  • Recurrent skin infections

Hypothyroidism is treatable with a daily medication. If you suspect your dog may have hypothyroidism, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to submit a blood test to determine if this is the cause of your dog’s unexplained weight gain.

Cushing’s disease leading to obesity in Labradors

Another medical condition that can cause dogs to gain weight is Cushing’s Disease. Dogs with Cushing’s Disease have too much steroid production in their body. Sometimes this can be associated with obesity, but other times it can affect dogs that are even at healthy weights.

Dogs with Cushing’s Disease will display one or more of the following signs:

  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Muscle wasting
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Fur loss
  • Recurrent skin infections

If you are concerned your dog may have Cushing’s Disease, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They can check bloodwork to help determine if diagnostic tests for Cushing’s should be considered.

Conclusions on Obesity in Labradors

Preventing your Labrador Retriever from becoming overweight or obese is critical to helping them live a good quality life. It can help decrease the risk of them developing expensive, and sometimes life-threatening, medical conditions. It can also help them age with grace as arthritis and other painful joint conditions will be easier for them to manage.

Parting Tips to Avoid Obesity in Labradors:

  • Maintain a regular, consistent exercise routine with your dog.
  • Check in with your veterinarian yearly, making sure you are still feeding them the right amount of food each day.
  • Try to avoid giving them table scraps.

After all, prevention is the best medicine!

If you need help with your medical bills, be sure to check out picks for Best Pet Insurance for Labrador Retrievers, and while you are there you can get your FREE quote!

A How to Guide: Crate Training a Lab Puppy

Crate Training a Lab Puppy

Crate training a Lab Puppy is a challenging job – one that requires patience and persistence above all else. Labrador retrievers are a bit of a special challenge, given their high energy levels and need for human attention and interaction.

If you work outside of the home or have a puppy that is progressing in potty training, you may need to introduce more consistent crate training into your day-to-day routine.

Crate Training a Lab Puppy

How do you crate train a Lab Puppy? For effective crate training, follow the guidelines below:

  1. Prepare the crate
  2. Introduce your puppy to the crate slowly
  3. Use a verbal command
  4. Gradually extend the time that they are in the crate
  5. Keep them crated overnight
  6. Correct unwanted behavior

Crate training a lab puppy requires a great amount of compassion from you as a dog-owner. You must recognize how uncomfortable of an experience this can be for your dog, and adapt the process as needed to achieve the best results.

Although the guidelines below are general, in the sense that they can be applied to any dog, you must ensure that your lab pup is comfortable with the training sessions to ensure a safe and positive experience for you both.

Crate Training a Lab Puppy

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 1. Prepare the Crate

One of the most important elements in crate training a lab puppy and your experience is the crate, of course! You need to ensure that your dog’s crate is not only aesthetically pleasing to you, but comfortable for them!

A Labrador Retriever should have a medium-large sized crate. Your pup should have room to do all of the following without touching the sides of the crate or contorting themselves:

  • Sit up
  • Stand
  • Turn around
  • Lay down

If you have a puppy, you should still invest in a medium-large sized crate. This will save you money in the long-run since purchasing a small crate for your puppy’s current size will only be a temporary solution. You’ll have to purchase a larger (more expensive) crate in only a few months, so you might as well get the appropriate size for their adult body now.

Still, a crate that is too large will only encourage your puppy to use one side of it as a rest area and the other for potty purposes, depending on how far along they are in housebreaking training. This will only work against your crate training efforts, so you will need to purchase a crate that “grows” with your puppy.

Some crates come with dividers to expand the floor space of the crate as your puppy grows. Once your pup is fully grown, you can simply remove the divider. These are highly recommended. For recommendations see our article on Best Crates for Labradors. If you can not find a crate with a divider, you can use a cardboard box to block off a section and make the space appropriate.

Remember, dogs instinctively seek out a small den, so they prefer not to have a larger crate than necessary. A perfectly sized crate helps to relive stress and helps them relax and feel safe.

Make the Crate a Welcoming Space for Your Pup

When setting up a crate:

  • Line the crate with your dog’s favorite bed or blanket
  • Toss in some toys.
  • Place crate near you

Try not to buy new toys and accessories for this purpose – using things that were already played with by your pup or present in your home is better as they will already have yours and your pup’s scent on them.

Placing the crate near you, makes the crate more comfortable and inviting for your dog. This makes it a positive experience. Place the crate in an area of your home where your dog can still see and hear you. (After all, dogs are social creatures – especially Labrador Retrievers! – so you shouldn’t start them off in full isolation or they’ll struggle right away)

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 2. Slowly Introduce Your Dog to the Crate

Introduce your pup to the crate very slowly. This is imperative to the success of your crate training sessions. Never force them into an unfamiliar crate or other enclosed space – this may introduce (or trigger) trauma and harm the entire process of crate training them.

Allow your dog to have a slow introduction to the crate by using treats or toys. For this, you’ll have to know whether your dog is food-motivated or play-motivated. A few things you can do to encourage them into the crate (and keep them there) include:

  • Lots of verbal praise
  • Lots of physical praise (i.e., head pats, belly scratches, etc.)
  • Using treats or toys to lure them inside of the crate
  • Feeding treats through the open crate door to keep them inside

Over time, you must acclimate them to the crate being closed – as you do this, you can feed them treats through the closed door or the wiring of the sides or the top of the crate. This lets them know the crate is a positive area and that there is nothing to fear when inside. You can also feed your dog their regular meals in the crate, to begin to normalize being inside of it.

Continue these slow introduction methods until your dog begins to approach and enter the crate themselves. (Note: Avoid tossing treats into the crate to lure them in. You may accidentally teach them bad habits with this, as it can be difficult to distinguish between a thrown treat and dropped food from your plate, for example.)

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 3. Integrate a Verbal Command

Once your dog is comfortable with being near and inside the crate, you need to start making this process more intentional. Introduce a command such as “crate” or “place” when you want them to go inside. Do this using similar methods used in Step 2. You’ll want to make sure they are comfortable with going in and out of the crate themselves before you step in with commands.

  1. As your dog is walking into the crate, tell them your chosen command, and reward them with a treat once they’re inside.
  2. Once they’ve sat or laid down inside, reinforce the new command with another treat and repeat the word, “crate” or “place.” This will teach your dog that, when they are in their crate, it’s good to sit or lay down.
  3. Do this a few times in a row per day (no more than 10-15 minutes at a time, depending on your dog’s personality – excessive training sessions will burn both you and your dog out and take away from, rather than contribute to their learning).

If you need more information about training your Labrador Retriever, check out our Guide to Training a Labrador Retriever.

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 4. Extend the Time That They Are In the Crate

Now your pup needs to be used to being in the crate for more than just a few seconds at a time. At this point, you’ve already been acclimating them to the crate being closed for brief periods. Now, you need to start extending those periods to more realistically train them for your absence.

Similar to steps 2 and 3, you’ll need to give your dog lots of praise and treats! You’ll need to gently work them up to being in there for several hours at a time:

  • Start with just a few minutes.
  • Give them their toys and the blankets or bed they are most comfortable with to create a positive atmosphere.
  • It may seem silly, but some dogs quite enjoy watching television. If your dog likes hearing or watching TV, leave it on for them on low volume if they will be in a room by themselves. The idea is to make them as comfortable as possible, and the experience of being left alone in the crate normal.
  • Start your dog in the crate and stay in the room with them while paying little to no attention to them for several minutes at a time. If they are quiet or otherwise keep to themselves during this time, reward them with lots of praise and treats.
  • After they have reached this milestone, you can move onto them being alone in a room for several minutes. With this, you’ll want to start slow, though. Your dog may be used to staying in the crate while you’re in the room, but leaving them by their lonesome is a whole other matter!

The purpose at this stage is to let them know that you will always return, no matter how long you leave them. Start by leaving the room for only a minute at a time. You don’t want to do this excessively, as your dog will start missing the point and it will become more of a game that lasts for a short time. Practice this about twice a day over just about a week for your pup to get the point that you will come back no matter what.

Once they are comfortable with just a minute at a time (after about 1-2 days), make it five minutes, then 10, then 15, and so on. During this phase, it is perfectly normal for your dog to cry and throw tantrums. This is ok, as long as they eventually stop with more practice.

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 5. Keep Them in the Crate Overnight

You can choose to do this before or after Step 4. The order you do this in depends on the type of dog you have and whether they will respond better to being in the crate with you present or away. As you’re practicing crating for short periods, you can determine whether your dog would benefit from overnight or extended day periods first.  

If your dog seems more content with you in the room when left in the crate, they may acclimate better if you trained them with overnight crating rather than leaving for work first. If they are calmer with your absence (you can listen in, either by standing quietly at your door or with a pet monitor), then they will do well with you extending their crate time.

Either way, when crate training overnight, you need to:

  • Make sure your dog is comfortable
  • Give your pup a safe chew toy

For young puppies, restrict water consumption before they go into the crate overnight. This will prevent them from becoming uncomfortable in the night and/or waking you up early in the morning for a potty break! (For those pups with weak bladders, make sure to line the bottom of their crate with potty pads, just in case!)

Note: When practicing overnight crating, you must stick to a solid schedule. This will help your dog to acclimate, as their body will adjust to the routine. They won’t have to work as hard to fight their bladder (or a hungry tummy!) when they know when they will be released. They also need to know when it’s bedtime.

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 6. Correct Bad Behavior in the Crate

Lastly, one of the most important things for you to do when crate training a lab puppy is to differentiate bad behavior from acceptable behavior. Things to watch out for are:

  • Chewing on the crate. This behavior can seriously harm your dog and cause injuries that can leave their teeth, gums, and nose raw and bloodied. You can curb this behavior by remaining present with them when they are enclosed in the crate so that you can catch the behavior in real-time and correct it as it occurs.
    • If this is not an option for you, don’t worry – you are not out of options. Instead, you can purchase bitter apple spray or something similar.
  • Pawing at the gate. This behavior is often coupled with chewing, and inevitably turns into your dog pulling at the metal bars. This is also dangerous because their toes can become stuck. Stop this behavior as soon as possible with corrections, and protect your dog’s toes and feet by covering the bottom of the bars – the most likely area for their paws to get stuck. You can make sure this is covered by purchasing a bed with tall sides to block the small gaps between the bottom of the crate and the waste pan.
    • Your dog is also less likely to chew on the wiring if you envelop the crate with a cover. This will darken the space and make them feel cozier and more at home. They won’t be able to see through the wiring, rather, straight to the covering fabric, so they’ll have less reason to try and rip through the bars.
  • Ripping toys apart. Note that this is only a problem if it wasn’t already normal for your dog. Ripping or otherwise destroying toys is a sign of pent-up energy that can potentially translate into aggression. This must be addressed as soon as possible.
  • Possessiveness of the crate/area surrounding the crate. A dog can become overly protective of things that belong to them, including their safe spaces. Although it is a positive thing for your dog to feel comfortable in their crate, it is unacceptable for them to become so possessive that they are aggressive when you or anyone else approaches. No matter how comfortable with their crate your dog becomes, you must be in control of it at all times – the crate does not belong to them, but to you.
  • Loud crying, whining, or barking. It is normal for your dog to panic when in the crate, especially if they are new to it. However, you must draw the line somewhere. Dogs are intelligent – if they figure out that crying just for a few hours will get you to let them out, they will continue to do so. You must set clear expectations for your dog while in the crate. 

Picking Out a Crate

Picking the best crate for your dog can seem tough. If you are not sure of the best crate to use when crate training a lab puppy, be sure to read our article on the Best Dog Crates for Labrador Retrievers. We cover the different types of crates, as well as what to look for in one.

The important thing to remember is to get one that is big enough, but not so big they can roam around in it. Getting a crate with a removable divider is important so you can adjust it as your puppy gets larger.

Before Getting Into the Crate

Crate Training a Lab Puppy, Before

The last thing you want when crate training a Lab puppy is one with too much energy. You want to properly prepare them to go into the crate for both your sake and theirs. Don’t force them into an enclosed space when they’re all worked up! Labrador Retrievers need plenty of exercise.

Be sure to exercise them beforehand by:

  • Taking them to the dog park
  • Going out for a walk or run
  • Playing with them for a few minutes before crating (fetch, chase, etc.)

Additionally, when your pup is in the crate, you need to be attentive to their needs. Their bodily functions don’t just stop because they’re sitting still.

Tend to your dog by:

  • Making sure they get potty breaks before and after being in the crate.
  • Don’t let them go hungry! Make sure they’ve had their breakfast or dinner, or else they’re going to cry, and you won’t know why. It’s not healthy to punish a dog for crying when the reason for their distress is entirely preventable. Make sure you have all your bases covered before crating them.

Conclusion

The difficulty of crate training a lab puppy can vary. Some dogs take to crate training very fast, some take a little longer. Either way you can help make the crate a welcoming safe place for your pup.

Many dogs love going to their crate. Just make sure you do your best at using the crate as a safe spot for your Labrador Retriever, and not as punishment.

If you are just purchasing your dog, be sure to check out our recommended products page to see all of our picks for the items you need to raise a healthy Labrador Retriever.

Best Flea and Tick Medicines for Labrador Retrievers (2022)

Best Flea and Tick Medicines, Black Labrador

No matter where you’re located, year-round flea and tick prevention is extremely important for your Labrador. As a vet I highly recommend flea and tick medicine because it can prevent these parasites from giving your lab diseases that are transmitted through their bites. Also, flea saliva is known to cause allergic reactions in dogs.

These particular parasites can also bite humans, so using flea and tick medicine for your dog decreases the chance of them bringing them home and helps keep you and your family protected.

Flea and tick preventatives come in both over the counter, types you can get at the pet store, and prescription, types you can only get from your veterinarian or with a prescription from your vet. As a veterinarian I have listed my top picks of each right below. Further in the article I go into more detail and also give other top choices for flea and tick medications.


Top Pick: Best Prescription Flea and Tick Medicine

Top Pick

Simparica Trio

Simparica Trio

A step above its predecessor, Simparica Trio is one of the newest products on the market. It recently received FDA approval for use in the United States and is arguably the most all-inclusive preventative product available today. There is a huge advantage to this product, making it very worthwhile to go to your veterinarian’s office to get it. It covers heartworms and intestinal worms as well as being a flea and tick preventative. So only one product is needed. Plus it is a tasty chewable so no greasy residue like the topical (placed on the skin) products. Full details below.

Top Pick: Best Over The Counter Flea and Tick Medicine

Best OTC

Bayer K9 Advantix II

Bayer K9 Advantix II is our choice as the best over the counter flea and tick treatment. While the best option for many might be in the form of a prescription (we list those below), we know many people prefer to go with an over the counter option.

No matter what type of treatment you decide to go with, make sure you continue it to keep your dog happy and healthy. Below we list all the best options to chose and what to look for in a quality flea and tick treatment.


All Categories: Best Flea and Tick Medicines

Best Flea and Tick Medicines, Labrador

There are many different products available on the market, and while some of the best products are available for purchase through your veterinarian, there are a few over-the-counter products that still prove effective.

Every dog is different, and yours may benefit more from one product over another. To help you choose, we’ve compiled a list of the best products available today.

Our PicksBrandType
Best OverallSimparica TrioPrescription
Best TopicalBravectoPrescription
Best TastingNexgardPrescription
Fastest ActingCredelioPrescription
Longest ActingSerestoOTC
Best OTCBayer K9 Advantix IIOTC
Best BudgetFrontline PlusOTC

Best Overall: Simparica Trio

Top Pick

Simparica Trio

Simparica Trio

A step above its predecessor, Simparica Trio is one of the newest products on the market. It recently received FDA approval for use in the United States and is arguably the most all-inclusive preventative product available today.

Product features:

  • Protects dogs from fleas, ticks, heartworm disease, and intestinal parasites
  • Comes in a flavored chewable form
  • Provides protection for 30 days

Prior to Simparica Trio’s availability, there were no preventatives on the market that covered fleas, ticks, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms all in one product. Simparica Trio provides all of this protection in just one chewable treat, and it is effective for a full 30 days. The chewable is liver-flavored and can be given with or without food.

One of the active ingredients in Simparica Trio is sarolaner, a member of the isoxazoline drug class and thus makes it a highly effective flea and tick treatment and preventive. Unlike other preventives in this drug class, Simparica Trio can kill five different species of tick.

Its heartworm prevention ingredient, moxidectin, is still highly effective at preventing heartworm disease, and the pyrantel pamoate ingredient prevents against roundworms and hookworms. This is important because these intestinal parasites can be transmitted to other pets and even to people through fecal matter.

Pros:

  • Starts working within 4 hours of administration
  • Can be given to puppies as young as 8 weeks of age and weighing as little as 2.8 lbs
  • Combines all of the elements of monthly preventives instead of having to use two or more

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription  
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Does not last as long as some of the other products on this list

Best Topical: Bravecto

Best Topical

Bravecto

Bravecto

Bravecto is the longest acting prescription-strength flea and tick preventive available today, and it is available in both oral and topical formulations.

Product features:

  • Offers protection against fleas and ticks for 12 weeks
  • Comes in a chewable treat or can be purchased as a topical product
  • Labeled for dogs six months of age and older

Bravecto is an effective flea and tick preventive. Its active ingredient, fluralaner, is a member of the isoxazoline drug class. It protects against four species of tick, but its efficacy against the Lone Star tick lasts for 8 weeks compared to the full 12 weeks against other tick species.

And while it is not listed on the label, oral Bravecto was used in a study of shelter dogs with demodicosis (a type of skin mite) back in 2015. The study showed that Bravecto was an extremely effective treatment and has since been shown to help dogs with Sarcoptes (scabies) mites and Otodectes (ear) mites.

The topical version of Bravecto is ideal for Labradors with a history of food allergies or if your dog simply hates taking pills. Like with most topical products, you should avoid bathing your Labrador for at least 48 hours after you’ve applied a dose. Oral Bravecto is not affected by grooming habits, and it should be given with food to avoid gastrointestinal upset.

Pros:

  • Provides longer protection against fleas and ticks than any other prescription product
  • Has a topical option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies
  • Effective against other ectoparasites not mentioned on the product label

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription
  • Not effective against lone star ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Cannot be given to puppies younger than 6 months  

Best Tasting Product: Nexgard

Best Tasting

Nexgard

Is your Labrador Retriever tricky when it comes to taking pills? Your best bet is to try Nexgard!

Product features:

  • Protects against fleas and ticks for 30 days
  • Can be given to puppies as soon as 8 weeks of age
  • Comes in a soft beef-flavored chewable treat

Nexgard’s active ingredient is afoxolaner which is (you’ve guessed it) another isoxazoline drug that is highly effective against fleas and ticks. It comes in a rectangular chewable treat that is beef-flavored, the same recipe that is used in the making of Heartgard Plus, a popular oral heartworm preventive. Compared to many of the oral preventives on the market, most veterinarians agree that the majority of their patients enjoy this flavor. Nexgard can be given with or without food.

Pros:

  • Tasty beef flavor is ideal for finicky eaters
  • Can be used in very young puppies 
  • Is one of the more cost-effective options and comes in a 6-pack

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Not labeled for use in puppies weighing less than 4 pounds  

Fastest Acting Product: Credelio

Fastest Acting

Credelio

Like the other products in this list, Credelio is highly effective against fleas and ticks, yet it works a little faster than other products in its class.

Product features:

  • Starts killing fleas within 4 hours and kills 99% within 8 hours for 35 days
  • Kills and prevents ticks for up to 30 days
  • Comes in a beef-flavored chewable tablet

Credelio is the last isoxazoline on this list (I promise) with an active ingredient known as lotilaner. It kills and prevents ticks for a full 30 days, but lasts a little longer for flea protection at 35 days. Credelio starts working within 4 hours of administration and can reach peak concentrations in your dog’s body as soon as 6 hours after ingestion! This is important because ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses after just 6 to 8 hours from the time of the initial tick bite.

Pros:

  • Works slightly faster than other products on this list
  • Can be used in puppies as early as 8 weeks of age
  • Has a tasty flavor compared to other preventive products

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Not labeled for use in puppies weighing less than 4 pounds   

Longest Acting Product: Seresto

Longest Acting

Seresto

There are many Labrador Retrievers who cannot take oral chewables or tolerate topical products, and all isoxazoline products carry a warning label that cautions use in dogs with a history of seizures. For these dogs, flea and tick collars are your safest option, and none of them are as effective as Seresto.

Product features:

  • Offers 8 full months of continuous protection against fleas and ticks
  • Repels and kills fleas and ticks, and it can also help with treatment against mange and lice
  • Safe for use in all dogs ages 7 weeks and up  

Seresto’s two active ingredients, imidacloprid and flumethrin, are insect neurotoxins that interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the insect’s nervous system. This results in paralysis and death of the insect, but these ingredients are safe for contact with your dog’s skin and are not toxic if the collar is accidentally chewed, unlike with traditional flea and tick collars.

Seresto is odorless and water-resistant for the Labrador that loves to go swimming. It is also smooth and doesn’t have an oily or greasy residue that can cause mats in your dog’s fur, and it comes with reflector clips to help with visibility during walks at night. Seresto is available over the counter, therefore your dog will not need a prescription from his veterinarian.

Pros:

  • Kills and repels fleas and ticks without having to bite your dog
  • Won’t cause gastrointestinal upset and has no contraindications
  • Offers 8 months-worth of protection against fleas and ticks
  • You do not need a prescription from your veterinarian  

Cons:

  • Needs to be on your dog for a full 24 hours for maximum efficacy  
  • Counterfeit products exist on the market
  • Fleas are becoming increasingly resistant to imidacloprid  

Best Over The Counter: Advantix II

Best OTC

Bayer K9 Advantix II

If you’re looking for a product that will repel and kill a large number of insects and parasites, Bayer K9 Advantix II is the topical product for you!

Product features:  

  • Comes in a topical product that lasts for one month
  • Repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, lice, and biting flies
  • Kills through contact so biting is not required

Advantix II is a topical product that has three active ingredients: imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Imidacloprid and permethrin are insect neurotoxins while pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator. This means that it will stop eggs from hatching and will prevent insect larvae from developing into adults.

Like most topical products, Advantix II is ideal for dogs with a sensitive stomach, allergies, or other medical problems like seizures. It can be used in puppies as young as 7 weeks of age. However, it can be washed away if you bathe your Labrador Retriever with a medicated or soap-containing shampoo. And while it is safe for dogs, the permethrin ingredient in Advantix II is highly toxic for cats, causing tremors, seizures, and death. Therefore, you should allow this product to dry for at least 24 hours before your cat can come into contact with your dog again.

Advantix II is available over the counter, which means that you do not need a prescription from your veterinarian to purchase some. It also costs less than other commercially available flea and tick products.

One thing to watch for is that fleas are possibly becoming resistant to imidacloprid. So if this product stops working, be sure to check out other options listed above.

Pros:

  • Effectively repels and kills many different ectoparasites
  • Easy to use and safe for dogs with a history of seizures
  • Cost effective and is available over the counter

Cons:

  • Frequent bathing and medicated shampoos can make it less effective
  • Fleas are possibly becoming resistant to imidacloprid
  • Can be fatal to cats 

Best Budget: Frontline Plus

Best Budget

Frontline Plus

Some flea and tick products may be outside of your price range, which is extremely frustrating when you want to help your itchy best friend. Frontline Plus may be able to provide some relief for your Labrador and for your wallet.

Product features:  

  • Kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice
  • Topical product that lasts for one month
  • One of only a few products that is safe for pregnant dogs

Frontline Plus contains two active ingredients: fipronil and s-methoprene. The former ingredient kills adult fleas and ticks while the latter ingredient kills flea eggs and larvae, thus effectively breaking the flea lifecycle. Frontline Plus is sold over the counter and so you do not need a prescription from your vet.

Once Frontline Plus is applied, it must dry for 24 hours before you bathe your Labrador. After that, the product is considered waterproof.

It is also safe for use in cats and is labeled safe for use in pregnant and lactating dogs. The only other preventive product that is safe for use in pregnant dogs is a topical flea and heartworm preventive called Revolution, but this particular product is not labeled for tick prevention.

Pros:

  • Kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice for up to one month
  • Costs less than other products on this list
  • Approved for use in pregnant, lactating, and breeding dogs

Cons:

  • Must let product dry for 24 hours before bathing
  • Fleas are possibly becoming resistant to fipronil2
  • Doesn’t repel fleas or ticks

Conclusion

With so many flea and tick products available, it is ideal to have a select few in mind when choosing one for your Labrador Retriever. The isoxazoline products like Simparica Trio, Bravecto, Nexgard, and Credelio are the most effective for killing fleas and ticks while Seresto and Advantix II have the best repellant qualities. Frontline Plus can help break the flea lifecycle, prevent ticks, and is safe for breeding dogs.

If you’re still not sure which product is right for your Labrador, be sure to talk with your veterinarian for more information.

Is your dog also suffering from allergies? If so, be sure to check out our article on Labrador Retriever Allergies to learn how to treat them.