32 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Lab

A Lab can be an emotionally high maintenance dog, and while you may love the breed, are you sure you have the time and the resources to devote to its well being? Consider the following list of questions before you make any decisions:

  1. A Labrador Retriever can live 10 to 15 years or longer. To get an idea how long a Lab’s lifetime may be, consider how old you will be 15 years from now. Are you willing to make this long of a commitment?

  2. Is there a chance that you might move at least once in the next 15 years? If yes, are you willing to take your Lab with you wherever you go, and restrict your choice of housing to places where pets are allowed, even if this is overseas?

  3. If you’re getting a pet primarily for your children, how old will they be in 15 years? Once they grow up and leave, are you willing to continue caring for the Lab as your responsibility?

  4. Are you willing to take your Lab on daily walks or provide it with daily exercise?

  5. Think about what major changes might happen in your life in the next 15 years, such as a marriage, children, divorce, care for an elderly person, etc. Are you willing to continue spending the time, energy, and money to care for your Lab when taking on new responsibilities like these?

  6. What will you do if your spouse, children, or other adults in your household don’t get along with the Lab?

  7. Are you willing to teach young or inexperienced children how to respect and properly handle a large breed dog?

  8. Are you willing to accept that the Lab may not like all your children’s friends?

  9. Contrary to popular belief, Labs shed. Are you willing to live with the fact that your home will have dog hair?

  10. Labs are very active dogs. Are you willing to accept the fact that your house will not be “squeaky clean” because of the dog?

  11. Labrador Retriever Rescue recommends crate training your Labrador Retriever. Have you considered where you might put a dog crate in your home? Are you willing to live with a large dog crate in your main living areas (i.e., kitchen or living room)?

  12. Many Labs drool and have gastrointestinal problems. Are you willing to accept this into your life?

  13. Young Labs are voracious chewers. Are you willing to provide adequate chew toys for the Lab? Do you understand that the Lab may chew things in your house that you do not want them to, such as furniture, shoes, etc.?

  14. Are you willing to supervise your young children at all times around the Lab?

  15. Have you previously owned a pet that didn’t live with you for 10 years or more? What will you do differently with this pet to prevent it from going the way your previous pet did?

  16. Does every member of your family want a Lab?

  17. Would any of your neighbors object to your getting a Lab?

  18. Does your yard already have a secure fence where your dog can play and go to the bathroom under your supervision? If no, have you factored in the cost of building a fence in your decision making process?

  19. Does anyone in the household have any known allergies to animals?

  20. Have you considered the regular maintenance that a Labrador Retriever requires? Are you willing to brush your Labrador on a regular basis? Are you willing to bathe your Labrador on an occasional basis? Are you willing to clip your Labrador’s toenails and clean its ears regularly? Are you willing to brush your Lab’s teeth on a weekly basis?

  21. Have you considered the annual cost of caring for a Labrador Retriever, including at a minimum: Annual veterinary check-ups, annual vaccinations, rabies vaccinations every three years, monthly Heartworm and Flea/Tick prevention medication, average of four cups of dog food daily (Labs eat a lot!!), dog crate, dog beds, chew toys, secure dog collar and leashes, ear cleaner, canine toothpaste, toenail clippers, dog treats, and much more!

  22. Are you prepared to deal with the cost of both routine veterinarian care (worming, annual shots) and non routine/emergency veterinary care, especially as the Lab gets older?

  23. Labs are people-oriented dogs and need human companionship. How much time each day do you plan to spend with your Lab?

  24. Who will have primary responsibility for the care of your Lab?

  25. Approximately how many hours per day will your new Labrador be alone? If it is more than 6 to 8 hours, are you willing to hire a pet sitter or dog walker to check on your pet?

  26. Where will your Lab spend the day? Where will the Lab sleep at night? Are you willing to keep your Lab inside the house the majority of the time and supervise its activities whenever it is outside?

  27. Do you travel frequently? If yes, can you provide care for the Lab while you are away?

  28. Have you asked yourself whether your lifestyle is so busy you might not have the time or energy to properly care for a Lab?

  29. To facilitate the bonding process we recommend every Lab owner attend some introductory obedience training. Would a formal obedience training program be something in which you would be willing to participate?

  30. What amount of time and effort do you want to devote to training him?

  31. Are you willing to provide training to resolve behavior problems rather than surrender the Lab to a shelter or rescue group at the first sign of trouble?

  32. What kind of behavior do you expect of this Lab? Is this reasonable? Are you willing to accept that dogs make mistakes and aren’t obedient all the time?

These are but a few questions you and your family need to think about and answer truthfully before bringing a dog into your home. The more you educate yourselves on dog ownership, the more rewarding the experience will be.

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