Labradors are very intelligent dogs. They have a natural curiosity and love to explore new things. Labradors can be trained to do almost anything they set their mind to. They are loyal companions who will always give unconditional loyalty. However, there are certain behaviors which some dog owners may not want their pets doing or prefer not to see them perform because it might affect the owner’s image of themselves or how others perceive them. Some of these behaviors include:
Lying down when not asked to do so.
Trying to steal food from other animals or humans.
Biting or attacking without provocation.
Showing signs of aggression towards people, other animals, or even strangers.
Being overly friendly with strangers and exhibiting inappropriate behavior such as tail wagging, licking faces, jumping up on laps, playing fetch etc..
Some of these behaviors are considered normal and expected in dogs but others are not. If your pet exhibits any one of these behaviors, it is time to take him or her to a veterinarian for further evaluation.
There are many different types of canine diseases and each disease has its own symptoms, signs, prognosis and treatment options. A vet will be able to tell you what type of test is needed for your particular dog’s medical condition.
Diseases which can affect canine behavior, for better or worse, are numerous. Some of the most common include:
Allergies, which cause itchy skin, rashes, redness and constant scratching. There are a number of potential allergens which can trigger an allergy attack such as dust mites, pollens, grasses, trees, molds, mildews etc…
Parasites such as ticks, fleas, worms and other creepy crawlies.
Ear infections or ear problems which cause pain and irritation and can lead to head tilting and shaking of the head.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder which causes seizures which in turn causes loss of consciousness, falling, biting, frothing from the mouth and other abnormal behavior.
Dental disease which causes bad breath, bleeding gums, chewing problems and tooth loss. It can also lead to painful infections of the gums, tongue and other areas.
Cancer, a mass of abnormal cells which divide and grow uncontrolled. Cancer can spread to many parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems and can cause a variety of symptoms depending on where it starts.
Seizures, when the electrical signals in the brain function abnormally it can cause seizures. Seizures cause the muscles in the body to contract uncontrollably and can result in the pet’s collapse, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness and other strange behaviors.
Kidney failure, the gradual loss of function of the kidneys which can lead to a number of symptoms and problems with many different organs in the body.
Liver disease, a condition which causes the liver to become enlarged, lose function and ultimately lead to death of the organ.
Heart disease, a condition which causes the heart to become enlarged, lose function and ultimately lead to death of the organ.
Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland which affects the metabolism, causes a loss of energy and a “sluggish” feeling and general ill health.
Diabetes, a condition which causes the pancreas to lose function and therefore the body is unable to process sugars. It can cause excessive thirst, hunger, urination, weight loss and tiredness.
There are many other diseases which can cause abnormal behavior in dogs. Most diseases do not have visible symptoms and can be silent killers.
The only way to know if your dog has a health problem is to take him or her to the veterinarian on a regular basis for check-ups and yearly vaccinations. A veterinarian will be able to tell you if your dog is at risk of developing any of these diseases based on his age, breed and family history.
A veterinarian will be able to give you advice on how to help your dog live a longer and healthier life. This could be as simple as changing his food, buying pet insurance or giving him supplements.
Long-haired breeds will require grooming, not only to keep them looking good and feeling comfortable but to check for skin problems, sores, parasites and pain. Grooming should be done every week or at least every other week depending on the coat.
Long-haired dogs will also need their ears and teeth checking on a regular basis.
You should try to keep on top of any problems your dog has as the sooner they are treated, the easier they are to treat and the less damage is done to the organ systems.
If your dog is a puppy, then you have the chance to avoid many health problems in later life. Talk to your veterinarian about the best food and vaccinations for your breed.
Your veterinarian will also be able to help you with dental care, feeding schedules, exercise requirements and health problems to watch out for.
Sadly, some dogs will have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases no matter what you do. For this reason, pet insurance is worth considering as it can cover the cost of treatments for conditions which are expensive such as cancer.
If you are getting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, ask the staff to tell you if there are any known health issues with that breed.
If you follow these tips, your dog will be able to live a longer and healthier life. You will also have a happier companion who is enjoying their time on earth.
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