Your Labrador should have his nails clipped about every 1-2 months. Nail growth rate depends on the types of surfaces the dog has been walking and playing on, or if he likes to dig. You can learn to clip his nails yourself, or alternatively a vet or groomer can do this.
Get him used to having his paws handled very young. Touch, rub and lightly pinch his paws and toes often.
Though it’s not painful (unless you cut too much off), it’s not a pleasant sensation having nails clipped and some dogs freak out at this, so it’s important to let a professional do it right or show you how to do it right. Don’t clip until you know for sure you have the right angle and depth.
To start out, each clip of the nail gets an immediate food treat and praise until he thinks, ‘Oh this isn’t so bad!’ I usually like to clip, then lightly file the nails to take off any sharp edges.
Do not let the nails become overgrown. Overgrown nails can be painful, change his walking gait, change the shape of the nail and paw, and become more difficult to trim.
Nails have their own blood supply – the ‘quick’ of the nail. If you cut his nails too short the ‘quick’ will bleed. Apply pressure with a cold wet cloth and always keep some Styptic powder handy for application to stop the bleeding. With puppies, you can use a human fingernail clipper. Once his nails no longer fit in these clippers, get some dog clippers.
I have below a tried and true recipe for an ear cleaning solution... it was originally developed for Cocker Spaniels as they have long ears that tend to trap gunk, and moisture leading to ear infections... Of course if you have an issue with your dogs ear, please check with your veterinarian before doing any home treatment! Also, if you have lots of recurring infections please look at your pets diet... as many health issues start there...
Ingredients: White vinegar Powdered boric acid (if you can't find this locally, order it from Amazon.com) Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) Betadine antiseptic (or the generic version, known as Povidone-Iodine Solution) Please note: do not use "Betadine Scrub", use "Betadine Solution" Directions for mixing the solution together: Pour six ounces of isopropyl alcohol in to a plastic applicator bottle. Add one and a half teaspoons of boric acid powder. Be careful not to get any boric acid on your skin or clothes. If you do, wash it off immediately. Shake the solution extremely well, until the boric acid powder is dissolved, or for five minutes, whichever comes first. Add two ounces of white vinegar. Shake the solution some more, until the boric acid powder is dissolved, or for another five minutes, whichever comes first. Add one teaspoon of the Betadine antiseptic, and shake it up some more. Be careful not to get any Betadine on your skin or clothes. If you do, wash it off immediately.
The ear cleaning solution is now ready to use. To use the ear cleaning solution: It is recommended that you use the ear cleaning solution in your garage or outdoors, as the dog will shake it out of his ears and it will fly in to the air and stain things. Squirt the solution inside your dog's ear until the ear canal is completely full. Massage the outside of the ear to help slosh the cleaning solution around inside. Release the dog and let him shake out the ear cleaning solution from his ears. If you get any of the ear cleaning solution on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible. Be sure to shake the solution up really well before each and every time you use it. The boric acid has a tendency to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Store at room temperature. Use the cleaning solution daily until you start to see some improvement.
Gradually cut back to once per week when you are happy with the condition of the ear. When the ear seems completely free of infection, you can go two weeks between treatments. Warning: Do not use this ear cleaning solution on dogs with ruptured ear drums, or on dogs with open sores or wounds in the ear area.
An ear exam by a veterinarian is recommended prior to beginning treatment with this ear cleaning solution. This recipe came to you from Jim Zimmerlin - www.zimfamilycockers.com
Why do people recommend choosing a breeder who shows their dogs to folks who are just looking for a pet and have no interest in showing? Why should breeding to breed standard be important to a pet home? Does it seem excessive, or “snobby”?
It’s not, and here’s why.
Dog shows are a means of evaluating dogs against the breed standard, to evaluate soundness, movement/gait, type, and temperament.
Soundness: The state of physical and mental health when all organs and faculties are functioning properly, each in its rightful relation to each other.
Type: Breed type encompasses appearance, character, condition, bone structure, temperament, and movement; "breed type is all these things." Breed type also includes a character specific to each breed, a combination of behavior, temperament and carriage that demonstrate an essence of the breed.
Gait: The gait of a dog is its quality of movement. You want to see ease of movement, unimpaired by illness or poor structure.
Temperament: The general attitude a dog has towards other animals and people. From the Labrador Breed Standard "True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the “otter” tail. The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Aggressiveness towards humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness in an adult should be severely penalized."
So. That’s a very basic intro to what goes on at a show... why does this matter? You want a pet, a companion, not a show dog, right? Well, you chose a Labrador for a reason. You’ve done your research, and have read that they’re great with kids and other animals, they’re gentle, not aggressive, they make excellent companions and love spending time with their people. That their good and kind nature predisposes many Labradors to be excellent therapy dogs. Good, responsible breeders seek to preserve those definitive and positive characteristics.
What about type and structure? How the dog is put together, able to move freely and comfortably? Would you rather buy from someone who has proven publicly, over time, that the dog they’re breeding can move well, free of limp, or a structural problem? Or just trust someone who has no interest in proving their dogs? It’s your puppy’s quality of life and comfort (as well as your wallet) that’s at stake.
Not every dog in a well-bred litter is going to be show quality- there will ALWAYS be pet-quality puppies. Well-bred, but maybe with a slight imperfection, and those are the puppies placed in pet homes. You don’t have to want a show-quality puppy to get a well-bred puppy!
This is not about being snobby, being elitist, thinking that one dog is “better” than another, it’s about ensuring you get a puppy that acts and looks like the breed you fell in love with. It’s about ensuring that all puppies have the best start in life, and will grow into a loving family member. It’s about loving our breed enough to want to see everything that’s good about them preserved for future generations to enjoy. If you want a healthy dog, with a properly sweet temperament, choose your breeder wisely!