The First 8 Weeks of a Labs Life
Similar to a newborn baby, a Labrador Retriever puppy is sensitive, delicate, and in need of a tremendous amount of care during its first few weeks of life. Newborn puppies are born blind and deaf until they are about two weeks old. It would be difficult for the puppy to come to a family home during this time because it is not quite developed. Their motor and social skills are barely acquired. Due to such reasons, many breeders do not sell their puppies until they reach a certain age. This is because the puppy needs to be near its mother, properly socialized, and many times trained in its first few weeks or months of life. Therefore, the puppies do not go into their new home until they are mature enough. Many breeders have a strict policy about not selling their puppies until they are around at least 7-8 weeks old. They need a professional to take care of them until they have reached the appropriate age. It may be risky for the Lab to come home earlier than 8 weeks old because owners are usually not experienced or knowledgeable about certain things as much as breeders are. It will be more beneficial to the owner if they will be patient because the chances of getting a well-socialized, healthy, and strong Labrador puppy will increase if the dog comes home after a couple months of being with its mother and breeder.
On the other hand, if you are someone who is willing to take full responsibility of raising an infant Labrador, there are different procedures that you must follow in order to properly care for it. However, note that it is somewhat cruel and detrimental to your Lab’s nutrition to take it away from its mother because as puppies, they need to drink their mother’s milk. The mother’s milk provides antibodies that protect the puppy during the first 6-10 weeks of its life. After these crucial first few weeks, it is safer to bring the puppy home. This is when you can begin introducing solid foods and start the weaning process. When you do bring an infant Labrador home, it needs to be in a cozy and safe place. An enclosed area such as a box or crate is good. The puppies also need a heating source to keep them warm because they have a hard time regulating their own body temperature when they are infants. It is even more difficult for the puppy to feel warm when its mother and siblings are not present. Furthermore, a puppy needs to be kept clean by putting warm and wet washcloth around the puppy’s anal area in order to stimulate elimination. Usually, the puppy’s mother licks the area in order to cause this reaction. However, if she is not present, you must clean it yourself. Another very important thing is for the puppy to have proper nutrition. After the first few weeks of drinking its mother’s milk, you can feed the puppy soft and mushy food that is created from mixing warm water and quality food. Labrador puppies require being fed many times a day due to being a large breed. About ¾ cup of food three times a day is sufficient. A good way to remember is by feeding them before you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lastly, do not neglect the fact that the puppies must be socialized once they reach a few weeks of age. They like to be around people and play.