Caring For The Older Labrador
Labrador Retrievers are unmatched in loyalty, intelligence and downright cuteness. That’s why many Labrador owners consider them their dream dog. Labs keep their puppy-like energy a lot longer than most breeds. Some Labradors stay puppy-like until about 3-4 years of age! They’ll always be young at heart, but as time passes, your Labrador will get older and less frisky.
Older Labradors still need exercise
If your Lab is starting to show signs of age, it’s important that you know their new care requirements. Taking care of an older dog isn’t the same as taking care of a puppy or middle aged dog. But, even when they’re older, your Lab will still have their puppy-like charm.
Labs of any age require lots of exercise. However, older Labs may not be able to walk or exercise for long periods. In order to keep their exercise routine going, you’ll need to walk them more frequently but for shorter amounts of time. Also, older Labradors can still play. In fact, continuing to play games with your Lab as they get older will help keep their brain and body active.
Monitor your Lab’s health
There are a few common medical conditions that you need to watch out for as your Labrador Retriever gets older. The most prevalent being hip problems. This can make it hard for your Labrador to climb stairs, get into your car and keep a sure footing. For those reasons it’s important that you don’t give your Lab a reason to climb stairs often. Make sure all the things they need are on one floor. If they start to experience pain and trouble moving, we recommend seeing a vet.
Some older Labradors may experience memory lapses. This is commonly referred to as “Old Dog Cognitive Dysfunction”. Another thing to note is that as Labs get older, their stomach gets a bit weaker. That’s why it’s important to carefully monitor their diet. You can talk to your vet about the best foods for older Labradors.
Older Labs are far more relaxed
It’s not uncommon for older Labs to lay around and relax more often. Instead of jumping and running around when you get home they’ll probably just walk up to you and wag their tail. Remember, there’s nothing at all wrong with this. It just means your Lab is starting to show the signs of age that all dogs show at some point in their life. And while it might seem like your Lab is being lazy sometimes, they’re just relaxing. Remember, this kind of behavior is totally normal.
Groom your older Labrador
Believe it or not, grooming is an extremely important part of keeping your Labrador healthy as it gets older. Regularly brushing their coat increases blood circulation which helps prevent joint problems. Also, their weight should be monitored regularly since their activity level is going to be lower.
The bottom line is that as your Lab starts to get older you’ll have to adjust. And while the change in routine might seem a bit difficult when you’re first starting, you’ll get used to it quickly. By no means should you be afraid of your dog getting older. Remember, age may affect them physically, but it can’t touch their love and affection for you.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. – Will Rogers