Lab puppy development

Written by melanie dodson
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Lab puppy development
Labradors are a friendly, loving, intelligent and energetic breed. (Labrador image by JEAN-MARC MEDINA from

A Labrador litter usually contains five to 10 puppies. This breed is exceptionally fast-growing, according to the Dog Owner's Guide, and will near their adult weight of around 34kg. for males or 27.2kg. for females by the sixth or seventh month. Labrador retrievers are also an exceptionally social breed of dog that thrive on attention and training as early as eight weeks of age.

Newborn Labs

Labrador puppies are born blind and deaf. During the first week, the puppies will do little besides sleep. Newborn puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature and require an external source of heat, such as their mother. Room temperatures should be kept between 29.4 and 32.2 degrees C for the first week. Newborn puppies also require stimulation bathing by their mother to begin properly releasing waste products.

One to Two Weeks

The puppy's eyes will open after 10 to 14 days. Their new eyes will be sensitive and developing the ability to focus during the first week open, so avoid bright lights. According to Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, puppies will usually double their weight during the first two weeks. The puppies will also be capable of a shiver reflex near the end of the second week, however a temperature of 29.4 degrees C should be maintained until week four, when the temperature can begin decreasing by five degrees per week until you reach a regular household temperature.

Two to Four Weeks

A Labrador puppy's ear canals will open and allow hearing to begin between day 13 and 17. Basic motor skills will begin during the second week with crawling and continue to develop into playful attempts at walking by week three. According to the Labrador Center website, puppies may need their nails trimmed with baby nail scissors during the third week. Baby teeth should arrive near the end of the third week and the puppies will appreciate moist frozen washcloths and other chewable objects.

Four to Eight Weeks

Dry puppy food will also provide some relief from the teething process, however Labradors should only be fed dog or puppy foods that are specific for large breeds. By four weeks of age the puppy will be relieving itself away from the nest. Puppies should not be removed from their littermates prior to seven or eight weeks of age to allow for the development of basic canine interaction and communication. Once named, the puppy will begin to recognise the name immediately.

Two Months and Beyond

Monitor the diet of a Labrador puppy closely after eight weeks, as obesity and nutrition are primary contributing factors to the hip dysplasia common for the breed later in life. Adult teething in Labradors begins around the fourth month. Labradors require proper exercise and enjoy swimming with their webbed paws and waterproof coats. The breed is also prone to eye problems and should receive an annual eye test. Labradors have a life expectancy of around 10 to 12 years.

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