Labrador Health

labrador-healthMaking sure that your Labrador stays in great health throughout his  lifetime is one of your top priorities.

Keeping your Labrador healthy

We have gathered lots of information to help you keep your Lab in tip-top condition.   In this section of the Labrador site you can find sections on:

Check out our health category Here you’ll find a collection of all our articles on Labrador health articles displayed one one page.  They cover a wide range of health topics.

You can also find articles on Fears and Phobias,  and on other behavioural problems in our Labrador Behaviour section.

What to do when your Labrador is sick

We get many questions on this website from people whose dogs are sick or injured. We are always so sorry to read about dogs that are unwell.

People send in their dog’s symptoms and most often ask about

  • Vomiting and tummy troubles
  • Limping
  • Hair loss / falling out
  • Failure to grow/thrive
  • Rashes

While we can provide information about different conditions that Labradors may suffer from, it isn’t possible for anyone, no matter how well qualified, to attempt to diagnose health problems over the internet.

Usually, the best course of action is for you to visit or telephone your own veterinary surgeon.  Some problems require more urgent treatment than others so do check out this article: When to call your vet

The diagnosis needs to be made by a qualified professional with access to your dog and his medical records.

My vet isn’t helping

Sometimes people write in because they are not happy with their vet’s diagnosis or prescription.

The answer is almost always to go back to your vet and talk to him about your concerns, or to get a second opinion.

Going back to your vet

Some vets, while brilliant with animals are not the greatest communicators with people. If your vet has not clearly explained his diagnosis (what is wrong with your dog) his prognosis (what he thinks will happen next) or his recommended treatment.  Get him to spell it out for you.  You are entitled to this information!  In plain English.

It is very common to leave a vet’s office or surgery, get home with your dog, and think of a whole load of questions you wish you had asked.  This is normal. We do it when we go to the doctor too.

Many people fail to make use of telephone consultations with their vet.  You don’t need to go to your veterinarian’s office in order to speak to him.   If you have questions to ask, or points that need clarifying, write them down and telephone him.  If he isnt available ask him to phone you back.  Many vets will do this free of charge provded you don’t make a constant habit of it.

Getting a second opinion

Even experts disagree sometimes, they are only human.  And we can’t all get on really well with everyone we meet.

I think it is important that we have a good relationship with out vets, and that we understand what is going on when they treat our pets.

If your vet is a poor communicator, you are concerned about the treatment he has prescribed for your dog, or you simply don’t get along, there is nothing wrong with getting another opinion. In fact, it is the right thing to do.

Many people are not aware, that in the UK it is also illegal for anyone other than a qualified veterinary surgeon to diagnose or even recommend treatment for, anyone else’s animals.

Any health information given on this website should be used in  conjunction with veterinary advice.

We are adding to our library all the time.  Let us know if there are any other topics you would like us to cover.   We love to hear from you!


  1. My Choice Lab is 10 yrs. She has stopped eating and seems sick. I took her to the Vet twice and they have checked her thyroid and basically she’s lost 15 lbs in two months. The tests seemed fine just a little low on red blood cell ct. and a little low on iron. She has a bit of labored breathing and the vet didn’t seem concerned. I’ve noticed some tremoring not like a convulsion but more like a Parkinson. I’m concerned she is dying or has cancer? Under her jaw she has what the Dr. calls acne or elephantitus… She also has been licking her paws like crazy the past year and a few little tumors too. One in her eye and another I think in her throat area. She’s been coughing up some thick saliva too. Please advise me esp now that she’s not eating…

    • Hi Melissa, I’m sorry to hear your Lab has been unwell. If I were you I would take her to another vet for a second opinion, make a list of your concerns and go from there. I do hope she is feeling better soon. Best wishes to you both, Lucy

    • Have your do a chest ex ray to rule out blastomicosis. My black lab died of that at 4 years old. The vet continually missed diagnosed himand put him on steroids which in turn rendered his immune system worthless.

  2. My 14 week old black lab, Jesse, has woken up lethargic today and we noticed, when we took a stone out of her mouth yesterday, a large pink gland ay either side of her tongue, is this normal?

  3. I think my dog may have PANOSTEITIS or wandering lameness because she is only 15 months old and we have rules out lyme disease among other things and xrays don’t show anything out of the ordinary. I have been feeding her Orijen dog food for her health and now wonder if she has been getting too much protein but she is lean and has had a lot of growth in the last number of months. She is taller and leaner than her sisters but does weigh about 3-5 pounds more than they do. Any ideas?

      • We just had xrays yesterday and nothing appeared out of the norm but he forwarded them to a specialist for a second opinion. He thinks it might be growing pains but we are concerned about the food and protein content which I thought was the right thing to use for her.

        • Definitely talk to your vet about feeding. In my view Orijen is one of the best dog foods on the market and provided you are feeding an age appropriate variety it shouldn’t cause a problem in a healthy dog. But if your vet thinks a different food would be more appropriate for your Lab then be guided by him – he has the knowledge and experience of your dog to be able to advise you.

  4. My yellow lab in the past 6 months has gained about 10 pounds and has hair loss only on her tail (not red or irritated though). She is a very active lab getting heart rate up every day playing fetch and going on long walks (off leash) minimum once per day, but it is noticeable she has gained weight. Any tips?

  5. Hi I have a 8 yr old choc lab, when we first got her she’s a rescue dog. Every now and then she would have a few sicki
    days, very unsettled &unit eating. But after a couple of days she’d be fine, can I give her anything!!

  6. Hi
    My black lab started shredding lot of hair (not patchy loss) last few weeks..he s 8 months old. Please advice what to do.

    • It’s very normal for Labs to shed an awful lot of hair when they molt. However, if you think it’s excessive and are worried then there is no harm in taking him to the vet for a check up for your peace of mind.

  7. Hello!
    My 3 year old healthy black lab mix was hit by a car in January and after braking his leg now has a metal plate in it. The break has healed but he continues to worry the injury by licking it and my surgeon has suggested the plate should be removed.
    I have spent over $10,000 on the surgery, medicine and aftercare and am not wealthy and can not afford to go further into debt on his necessary care.
    I am looking for any resources for agencies or individuals who have the financial means to adopt labs that require medical assistance.
    He is a young, wonderful dog and it is terrible to begin having to entertain the idea of putting him to sleep.
    Thanks so much-

  8. Hello,

    I have a black lab that is 13 yrs old. He has always been healthy but the last few months he is panting more than usual and wheezing when he walks. When he gets to over stimulated from running he vomits. Any thoughts.

  9. Very concerned lab owner had my black lab back and forth to the vets due to her suddenly starting to lose hair we’ve had skin scrapes she’s on specialised hypoallergenic food steroids and now oxycare antibiotics along with baths every other day but is still scratching and balding further I’m at my wits end please someone help me or shed some light as to what to do. Going out with her is now embarrassing as people pull their dogs away and look in disgust at me.

  10. hi there, my 6 year old female black lab got into the trash yesterday while i was at work, (there wasn’t anything really bad in the trash just left over food and some papers) and when i took her out to go potty when i got home she had some very stinky loose stool. She had trouble telling if she was done pooping or not so she strained pushing for a few minutes. I felt her tummy afterwards and it was hard and slightly distended. I wanted to see if it was mostly from pushing so hard while pooping so i just had her relax and checked again later in the night. It did go down some. her stomach was softer and not distended so i figured she just contracted those muscles to much. But this morning she didn’t want to poop (she hasn’t sense the loose stool) and her stomach is sill slightly hard…. Does anyone have any ideas? or should i take her to the vet asap? She is acting mellow and not as hyper but she doesn’t act as if it hurts when i feel around her stomach. She has been whining when her neck is messed with so i had already had an apt set next week for that…. But now with her tummy too…. please help!!! she is my baby!

  11. I have an 11 year old Labrador who for the last week has been passing pale chalky hard poo. His food has not changed and there is always access to water. Why?

  12. hi have lab nearly 2yrs old but last few months keeps bringup food etc but is fit as fiddle help please any advise be helpfull

    • Hi Barbara, Sorry to hear your Lab is being sick. What does your vet say the cause might be? They are the best person to give you advice on potential causes and solutions.

    • the vet thinks just how we feed him but its not that if he gets upset or we lightly tell him offf up his din comes cannot think what causes it but eat garden plants dirt excetra

  13. Hello, I have a 5 month old male. One day we noticed he was limping and not wanting to eat, after a few hours he was not able to walk at all. We called the vet, since it was the weekend she just gave us advise what to do. After 2 days he was back up walking again. One week later the same thing happened so we took him into the vet. We were told it was swelling in his joints and were given medication. It is now a problem for him everyday if he doesn’t get his medicine. Has anyone else had this problem?

    • Our 10month old lab had similar symptoms and it was osteochondritis dessicans, where cartilege is overproduced in a joint and can chip off. Our neighor’s lab of the same age had si,ilar symptoms but her puppy had panosteitis. I suggest getting your vet to take an xray. Or find a new vet… orthopedic/growing conditions are common in lab puppies and if there is an issue you don’t want it to go unaddressed.

  14. Hi, We have a black bitch 13 weeks old on Friday and she has turned grey apart from her face, she is KC registered with papers, mum black dad golden. Vets say she is happy and in good health. Why would this be any idea?

  15. Hi I have a chocolate lab that I adopted about 4 yrs ago. In the last 2 years She wants to lick her legs a lot. Last yr. She had to have a place removed from where she was licking. In Oct this year she had to have surgery again on another leg. Her dr thinks it her soothing method but I am not so sure… Do you have any ideas. She is very well taken care of so there are no signs of skin problems

    • Hi we have a 14 month old golden lab who licked and chewed his paws all the time took him to the vet and found out that he has severe allergies hope this help

  16. hi
    my lab is 9 month old . she had her first season and its still going on. she is not eating her food i.e. royal canin and any other food.
    she is happy to eat treats and chicken , eggs. bt sm times too moddy. there is also a foul smell in her urine and hair loss. pls guide as its my first time to have a dog.