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10 Problems With Your Labrador Retriever

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

Let’s not waste time, here are the top ten problems with your lovable lab. I'm not a veterinarian, merely a writer and researcher who's curated this information from other sources. If you want to locate and read these reference materials, please click on the in-article links to see where I got the information. With that in mind, let's tuck in.

Bacterial and Viral Infections

Labs are somewhat prone to viral and bacterial infections. These include canine parvovirus, distemper, and even rabies. Getting your lab vaccinated is an absolute must, and frequent vet checkups are also recommended with this breed.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Being a larger breed, labs are more susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. Supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin is recommended. Surgeries are also possible, speak to your veterinarian if you are noticing issues with your lab’s movement.


Your lab needs to be kept on a reasonably strict diet. Obesity is quite common, and being overweight will only complicate any other issues your lab has. Honing in on your pup’s calorie needs is an element of lab ownership.

Eye Issues

Labs suffer from some common eyelash issues that, if bad enough, can touch their cornea and damage the retina. Trichiasis, distichiasis, and ectopic cilia are all conditions to keep your eye on, so to speak. You should also keep your peepers open for glaucoma or cataracts. If your lab is having trouble with its vision, early detection by a vet can offer effective treatment.


Bloat is a distended abdomen, usually due to a twisted stomach. Unfortunately, Labradors are somewhat prone to this condition. If you notice a bulging belly on your lab you need to get them to the doc. Controlling whether your pooch overeats and not allowing exercise too soon after a meal are ways to try to prevent this scary problem.

Ear infections

Your lab’s big floppy ears are super cute, but they are also a super cute home for bacteria. Labs are susceptible to ear infections, as are most dogs because canine ear canals are so relatively long. Gently cleaning, as well as dog-specific ear cleaners, can help with this, but it will be a recurring worry throughout your lab ownership.

Osteochondritis Dissicens

This is a long scary word for what happens when your lab’s diseased cartilage separates from its underlying bone structure. It tends to occur in 7-9 month old larger breed dogs. Some dogs respond to limited exercise and doggy passive range of motion movement. There are also surgeries that have shown some limited success.

Dental Disease

Most dogs are susceptible to dental disease, and labs are no different. Tooth cleaning is definitely needed for your lab, so getting it comfortable early with the process is time well spent. Use doggy dental chews often and keep those canines gleaming.

Patellar Luxation

Basically, this means the tendon that goes over the top of your lab’s kneecap has slipped out of alignment. You’ll see your pooch limping, hind leg skipping, and displaying limited mobility or even locking in one joint. Supplementation and a healthy diet and weight can help, but this is often a genetic predisposition.


Yes, it’s what you think it is, and it’s scary, and your lab has a higher predisposition to it than other breeds. Abnormal lymphocytes form around your lab’s white blood cells. Due to the fact that white blood cells travel all over your labrador’s body, tumors can show up at almost any location. Surgeries are possible, but early detection is always good. Talk to your doc immediately if you notice any abnormal swelling.


Unfortunately, the scary hits just keep on coming. This is a tumor that most often forms on your lab’s spleen and can rupture, causing internal bleeding. Veterinarians recommend yearly blood tests and ultrasounds, which can add up quickly.

So what do you think, is a Labrador retriever in your future? They are amazing dogs that have love and licks for days but check that breeder info or it can end in heartache for you and your family. Comment below to help other owners.

We love labs, and we love lab owners. This list is not exhaustive and I hope you click on the in-article links for deep dives if you have noticed these symptoms in your companion. Ain't no veterinarians on this page, make sure you call one if you need professional advice. Until the next time, keep being a different breed.

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