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A How to Guide on Crate Training a Lab Puppy

Crate Training a Lab Puppy

Crate training is a breeze, said no one! Crate training a Lab puppy is not for the faint of heart. It’s a job that requires lots of patience and most importantly persistence. Labrador retrievers hold their own special challenges when it comes to crate training. They have very high energy levels with a 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. Prep the crate ahead of time
  2. Take it slow when introducing your puppy to the crate
  3. Consistently use a verbal command
  4. Slowly extend the amount of time puppy spends in the crate
  5. Puppy needs to stay in the crate overnight
  6. Always correct unwanted behavior

When your crate training your Lab it’s very important that you empathize and extend lots of compassion as a dog-owner. You need to recognize that this is an uncomfortable and new experience for your dog, giving them the time they need to adapt to your new process.

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. Prep the Crate Ahead of Time

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 medium-large sized crate is best for Labrador Retrievers. I would not recommend anything smaller. Your pup should have all the room needed to do the following without running into the sides of the crate cramping 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.

We don’t want to go too small but we also don’t want to go too big. If your puppy has too much extra space in the crate it can encourage them to use one side as a rest area and the other as a potty spot. If they aren’t very far in housetraining, this can work against your training efforts, so you need to get a crate that can go through the “growing” process with your pup.

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. Consistently Use a Verbal Command

Once your dog is comfortable with being near and inside the crate, you need to start making this process more intentional. It’s time to start using simple command like “crate” or “place” when it’s time to go inside. Combining this with some of the methods in Step 2 will be a help. Make sure they are comfortable with going in and out of the crate themselves before you step in with commands. To start the command process:

  1. While your dog is getting into the crate, call out the command you’ve chosen. When they get fully inside reward them with a treat.
  2. After they’ve sat, or laid down inside the crate repeat the command while giving them another treat. This reinforces the command and teaches your dog that, when they are in their crate, it’s good to sit or lay.
  3. Repeat this a few times in a row (but 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 feel you need more training info, check out our Guide to Training a Labrador Retriever.

Crate Training a Lab Puppy Step 4. Slowly Extend the Time Puppy Spends in the Crate

It’s time to take things to the next level. Your Lab puppy needs to be used graduate to spending more than a few seconds in the crate. At this point, you should have acclimated them to the crate being closed for short periods of time. Now, you need to start extending those periods to more realistically train them for your absence.

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

  • Take a slow and start with just a few minutes.
  • Create a positive atmosphere in the crate by giving them their toys, blankets and beds. You want to surround them with things they are comfortable with.
  • Maybe you’ve noticed but some dogs like to watch television. If that’s your dog, try leaving the TV on at a low volume. This can comfort them making them feel like they aren’t by themselves. The idea is to make them as comfortable as possible, and the experience of being left alone in the crate normal.
  • When you start your dog in the crate, stay in the room with them while paying little to no attention to them for several minutes. If they stay quiet and keep to themselves, be sure to give them lots of treats and praise.
  • Once they’ve reached this step, move them up by leaving them alone in a room for several minutes. Make sure you don’t take off too quickly on this step, take it slow! Even if your dog did well in the crate with you in the room, this is a big adjustment and may take some time.

The purpose at this stage is to let them know that you will always return, no matter how long you leave them. A great place to start is my leaving the room for just a minute. Don’t to this excessively or multiple times in a row, otherwise your dog may miss the point. Try this out just twice a day so that your pup gets 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. Puppy Needs to Stay in the Crate Overnight

This step can be done either before or after Step 4, that is up to you! The order you do this really just depends on how your dog responds to being in the crate. If they did well while you were away, you may be able to jump right to overnight crating.

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, you may want to 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. Always Correct Unwanted Behavior

Last, but definitely not least, it’s very important for you to differentiate with your pup what is acceptable crate behavior and what is bad. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • 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 usually goes hand in hand 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 be a challenge. 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 bottom line when getting a crate is to make sure you get one big enough for them to roam around in. But remember you don’t want to get one that is oversized, as they may use sections of it as a potty area. Getting a crate with a removable divider is helpful 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.)

Another important thing, when your pup is in the crate, you need to mind their needs. Their bodies can only handle so much confinement so be sure you don’t leave them for overextended times.

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 have been fed before they go into the crate, otherwise they will guranteed 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

All dogs are different which means training will be different for everyone. 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.

How to Bathe a Labrador Retriever in 10 Steps

How to Bathe a Labrador

Just like us, maybe not as frequently as us, all dogs require regular bathing and grooming. In this article we give you step by step instructions on the basic of Labrador Retriever bathing including how frquently you should bathe your Lab. These steps are vet recommended to help your Labrador stay healthy and super duper clean.

How to Bathe a Labrador

How to Bathe a Labrador

Bathing a Labrador Retriever take multiple steps, and unfortunately means you will probably end up just as wet, if not more wet, than your Lab. Make sure you wear something you don’t mind getting set and soapy. Typically Labs love water and will work with you through the process. When done with a positive vibe, bath time can actually be a great bonding time for you and your dog.

If you want a suggestion for vet recommended 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 easy steps on how to bathe a Labrador and get your Lab shiny and clean:

10 Steps To Bathe a Labrador

1. Get Your Supplies Ready

Preparation is key when bathing your Lab. Have everything you will need ready and close by the bathtub before you even put your dog in the tub will be a lifesaver. 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

Using a hair dryer on your Labrador’s coat while it’s wet help to loosen dirt, debris, and dead hair from the skin. Next, to remove tangles from the fur you can use a scrub brush. Then, use the slicker brush on the undercoat to remove additional loose hair. This whole process will be easier if ou get rid of as much 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

Whether you are bathing your Labrador Retriever inside or outside, it’s very important to keep the water lukewarm for their comfort.


5. Secure Your Dog

For outdoor baths, clip a leash to your dog’s collar and either hold on to it or secure it to something sturdy. For indoor baths, you can lure your dog into the tub using a treat or toy. Hopefully, your Lab will love the water experience and jump in on their own after the first encounter.


6. Lather Up Your Dog

We your Labrador’s coat throughly and all the way down to the skin, as well as the under coat. Using either your hands or the scrub brush, use a mild dog shampoo working it into the coat from front to back, or head to tail. Make sure you keep all water and soap away from the dog’s face; instead use a soft washcloth on the face area.


7. Rinse The Coat

Using the hand-held sprayer or hose, rinse the shampoo out of your dog’s fur. Remember your Lab has a double coat which means you have to do double the rinsing to make sure you got all of the soap from the skin and hair. Do not stop rinsing until the water is running completely clear with absolutely no signs of bubbles or streaks. This is so important; leftover soap will dry up and cause skin irritation 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

It’s not uncommon for dogs to dislike noisy dryers, but if your Lab is tolerant of the noice, use oto speed up the drying process. Make sure the dryer is on the cool or lowest setting keeping it a hand’s length from your Lab’s coat. You could burn your dog’s fur and skin if you get the heat too close. Use a brush to gently dry the in its natural direction. If using a blower isn’t working for you, you can do an air-dry method, it just takes a lot more time.

Using these easy steps, bathing a Labrador can become a very routine and pleasant experience for both you and 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

Cleaning a Labrador Retrievers ears is crucial to the bathing process. 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 Lab’s have floppy ears, dampness and debris are easily trapped leaving the ears no way 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 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

Labradors need to be as dry as possible after their bath to prevent skin irritations, hot spots and flaky skin. So the final step in our How to Bath a Labrador step by step instructions is drying. It may seem self explanatory but it’s important to make sure the dog is completely dry after getting a bath. Here is how we recommend drying:

Towel Drying After a Bath

You’ll need three or four towels to use this process. Instead of rubbing the towel all over your Labrador, it’s more effective to use squeezing or patting motion which soaks up the excess moisture. With this approach, you limit the number of mats and tangles that may develop in your dog’s coat. Start with the top of the head and back first, then dry off the belly, legs, and tail.

Hand-held, Deep-Down Drying After a Bath

If the weather is warm and dry, you can let your Labrador 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. Be sure to keep the dryer on a low heat setting constantly moving 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 like to play in the grass or dir, swim, or roll in the mud will likely need a bath every week or two. Parasites, ticks, and fleas are far more common in muddy and swampy areas making baths more frequently required. However, there is a limit to how much water and soap 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!

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.

Best Crates for Labradors (2022)

best dog crates for Labradors

There are many options when it comes to choosing the right crate for your dog. Take time to find a high-quality crate and pick one with characteristics that will fit best with your family and dog.  Read on to learn about each crate and how to identify which one will be best for your Labrador Retriever.

Our Pick

MidWest Homes Dog Crate

The MidWest Homes Dog Crate is our top choice due to the combination of quality, features, and value. The fact you get a divider included allows you to use this for your 8 week old puppy all the way until they are full grown. This can also come in a two door version if you are looking to add more options. It is the perfect crate to use in raising a Labrador Retriever.

Best Dog Crates

When looking for the best dog crates for Labradors, be sure to find one that is sturdy, includes a divider, and is at least 42″ in order to comfortably fit a full size dog.

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

Our PicksBrands
Best Overall Dog CrateMidWest Homes Dog Crate
Best Budget Dog CratePetmate ProValu
Best Heavy Duty Dog CrateHaige Pet Heavy Duty Dog Crate
Best Decorative Dog CrateMerry Products Dog Crate
Best Travel Dog Crate (Hard)Petmate Ruffmaxx Outdoor Crate
Best Travel Dog Crate (Soft)Amazon Basics Premium Portable Crate

Best Overall Dog Crate: MidWest Homes Dog Crate

The MidWest Homes Dog Crate has everything you need to raise your Labrador Retriever. With the removable divider you can start your puppy out crate training and continue using this crate for the life of your dog.

The crate comes with an easy cleaning, durable floor pan that is perfect for any accidents, or to catch all the extra shedding that may fall. You also have the option to get this in the two door version as well.

The main difference in this dog crate and the AmazonBasics is that this one has much thicker and sturdier wire framing. Other than that they are very similar.

Key Features:

  • The bottom of the kennel contains a removable dog tray that bedding can be placed on
  • It breaks down quickly and becomes very compact (folds flat) for travel
  • Comes with dividers to accommodate a puppy
  • No tools required
  • The metal is very durable
  • One-year warranty
  • Moderate in price

Best Budget Crate: Petmate ProValu Dog Crate

Best Budget

Petmate ProValu Dog Crate

If you are on a budget go with the Petmate ProValu Dog Crate. However, as of the writing of this article you would only save about $5 when purchasing this over the MidWest Homes Crate, so be sure to check prices.

As stated above, this crate is almost the same as the MidWest Homes crate, but it uses thinner wire. The wire is still adequate, so going with this crate is still a great option, but if you have the money, an upgrade is worth the small fee.

Key Features:

  • Slide bolt latches for safety
  • Folds Flat
  • Portable
  • Metal Framing
  • Comes with divider panels for a puppy
  • Removable plastic tray
  • Moderate in price
  • One-year warranty

Best Heavy Duty Crate: Haige Pet Heavy Duty Dog Crate

Best Heavy Duty

Haige Pet Heavy Duty Dog Crate

Although the Haige Pet Heavy Duty Dog Crate is pricier than the previous crates mentioned, there are some benefits to getting what you pay for. The Haige crate is made from heavy-duty stainless-steel with a non-toxic finish.

Key Features:

  • Anti-rust
  • One door with a locking caster
  • Heavy-duty non-toxic metal
  • 3-5 minutes to assemble, hardware included
  • Removable trays under the crate, easy to clean
  • Comfortable for feet, 1-inch floor spacing
  • Three-year warranty

Best Decorative Crate: Merry Products Dog Crate

Best Decorative

Merry Products Dog Crate

This Merry Products Dog Crate is a beautiful dog crate that would make an excellent feature for your home. It is designed to be comfortable for your Labrador Retriever and look luxurious. This crate is made of wood veneer, but it is reinforced with durable powder coated black steel to make it breathable and sturdy.

Key Features:

  • Durability, built to last
  • Elegant design
  • Easy removable tray
  • Simple assembly
  • Three sizes to choose

Best Hard Travel Crate: Petmate Ruffmaxx Outdoor Crate

Best Hard Travel

Petmate Ruffmaxx Outdoor Crate

When you need to travel, the Petmate Ruffmaxx Outdoor Crate is a great option. It is large, durable, and has plenty of ventilation for your dog. This is also a great option for a second crate to keep around the house as it is so easy to move around. Keeping one in another room in the house allows your dog to have a place of seclusion.

Key Features:

  • Strong and dependable
  • Easy front door latch
  • Eco friendly
  • Made for travel
  • Well ventilated

Best Soft Travel Crate: AmazonBasics Premium Portable Crate

Best Soft Travel

AmazonBasics Premium Portable Crate

The AmazonBasics Premium Portable Crate is a must have for any dog owner. It is perfect for travel, for a spare crate, for camping, or to have in an extra room of the house. It folds down for easy, quick storage…and also includes a plush fleece-covered pet bed. Your dog will love this crate.

Key Features:

  • Includes plush fleece-covered pet bed
  • Easy storage
  • Well-ventilated with multiple screened panels
  • Pockets on the top and sides for storing treats, toys, and more
  • Many colors and sizes

What to Look For in a Crate

As mentioned previously, finding a crate with great reviews is not the only thing you want to base your decision on. A few other things you will want to consider when selecting a crate are the material, quality, cost, and primary use of the crate.

Use the information below to help you know which of these characteristics is essential for you and your dog.

Material

When considering the material of a crate, wire is the best choice for a Labrador Retriever. Here are a few reasons why you might consider a wire crate:

  • Wire crates are durable
  • Easier to clean than other crates
  • Creates a comfortable environment for the dog
  • Allows the dog to see out of the crate easily
  • Breathable
  • For comfort, just place a blanket or pad in the bottom of a wire crate, and your dog will feel right at home.

Wire crates aren’t the only crate options for Labrador Retrievers. Plastic and wooden crates are also very popular.

  • Plastic crates are a good option for traveling and provide a cozy environment for the dog; however, they are not as breathable as a wire crate and can trap in more heat.
  • Wooden crates are breathable like wire crates; however, their durability can vary depending on how big of a chewer your dog is.

Soft, travel crates are another common type of crate. This material is not ideal for a Labrador Retriever as a primary crate. However, they are a great option for a travel crate, or an extra around the house. They also provide a cozier environment for the dog, but can be a challenge to clean.

Quality

When looking for a dog crate, you want to find one that will last the entire lifespan of your dog. The material the crate is made from will play a significant role in its quality.  Wire and metal crates will last longer than wooden, fabric, and plastic ones. If your dog is a big chewer, go with a metal crate for more durability.

Cost

The cost can be a significant factor for some individuals when selecting a dog crate. As you browse through crate options, make sure you find one that is the quality and style you need, but fits within your budget. The price will sometimes, but not always, be a sign of quality. Typically, higher-priced crates are built sturdier and will last longer.

What Size of Crate for a Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers will grow to be just over 20 inches in height and weigh between 60 and 75 pounds as adults. When selecting a crate for your Labrador Retriever, make sure it is large enough to accommodate the dog’s size.

For the average size Labrador Retriever we recommend a 42″ crate. However, use the tips below to adjust for your dog.

How to Measure Your Dog for a Crate

Getting the right size of crate for your dog is very important. There needs to be enough room in the crate for the dog to be comfortable while standing and lying down, but not too much room that the dog feels unsafe. Do not eyeball the size of the crate when you make your purchase; instead, take the time to measure your dog correctly.

Follow the steps below to figure out what size of crate you need for your Labrador Retriever:

  1. When taking your measurements, make sure the dog is standing.
  2. To measure the length: Measure starting at the tip of the nose extending to the base of the tail.
  3. To measure the height: Measure from the top of the head down to the floor.
    1. Keep in mind these measurement directions are for Labrador Retrievers. If you have other dogs at home, the way you take the height measurement may vary.
  4. Figure out the size of the crate: Using these measurements, add about 4 inches to each measurement to obtain the height and length of an ideal crate.

What Size of Crate for a Labrador Retriever Puppy

Best crates for labrador puppy

Most dog owners will bring home a puppy rather than a full-grown dog. To avoid buying multiple crates, look for ones that come with dividers so you can expand the crate as the dog grows. If you put a puppy in a large crate, there is a possibility that misbehavior, such as peeing or pooping in the crate, will occur because you’ve provided the puppy with the extra room to do their business.

Do your best to figure out how big your puppy will be by getting the measurements of its mother and father. For a female puppy, focus on the size of the mother and for a male, the father. Use the measurements of the parents to purchase an adult crate for your puppy. Again, make sure it has dividers that can temporarily make the crate smaller.

It is best to know the height and length of the puppy’s parents to help you select the size of crate your puppy will need; however, if you only know their weight, that will be okay. Use this table to help you figure out the size of the crate you might need based on the weight of the parent:

Parent’s WeightCrate Size (for length)
40 – 70 lbs.36-inch crate
70 – 90 lbs.42-inch crate
90 – 110 lbs.48-inch crate

How Long Should Your Labrador Retriever Be in the Crate

Crates become a place of safety and security for a Labrador Retriever when they are crate trained properly. However, because it is a small and confined space, you never want to leave your dog locked in a crate for too long. Puppies should only spend a maximum of 3 to 4 hours a day in their crate. This does not include overnight sleeping in the crate.

Use this table as a guideline for how long you should keep your dog in its crate during the day:

Age of Labrador RetrieverLength of Time in Crate
9  to 10 Weeks Old30 Minutes to 1 Hour
11 to 14 Weeks Old1 to 3 Hours
15 to 16 Weeks Old3 to 4 Hours
17+ Weeks Old4+ Hours

It is also essential to make sure your Labrador Retriever feels at home in its crate. Remember to associate the crate with positivity rather than punishment. This will help the crate training process and allow your dog to have a better night of rest.

How to Make a Crate More Comfortable for Your Dog

Best crates for Labradors comfort

To properly crate train your dog and allow it to get a good night of rest, your dog will need to be comfortable. Sometimes buying the best-rated crate isn’t enough.

Follow these suggestions below to help your Labrador Retriever be more comfortable in its crate:

  • First and foremost, make sure the size of the crate is suitable for the size of your dog. If your retriever is still a puppy, use wall inserts to make the crate temporarily smaller.
  • Place bedding in the bottom of the crate for extra padding.
  • Cover the crate to help your dog feel more secure and be less disturbed when trying to sleep or relax. Being able to see and hear everything that is going on around the dog can make it more anxious.
  • Leave water in the crate.
  • Place toys or comfort items in the crate for your dog. When crate training, you can even leave a treat or two in there.
  • Make sure the smells associated with the crate are soothing to the dog.

Conclusion

Using a dog crate is an integral part of house training your Labrador Retriever and providing it with a safe place to rest its head at night. Make a list of what characteristics you want in a dog crate, and then use the recommendations above to find one that will work best for your family.

Be sure to read our article How to Crate Train a Labrador Retriever Puppy to learn more about crates and using them for potty training.