Concidering a Labrador
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Thread: Concidering a Labrador

  1. #1
    asanderd's Avatar
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    DefaultConcidering a Labrador

    I am currently researching Labradors for a possible future dog for me. I'm not taking owning my first dog lightly and am trying to compile a mountain of info! lol
    One of my first questions is how much does the average Lab eat a day and about on average how much do you pay for food? How much do you buy in pounds a month. I know corn is a no no so I looked at Petsmart's website on food they carry. I'm looking at so far
    Castor & Pollux
    Science Diet Natures Best
    Wellness
    AvoDerm
    Blue Buffalo
    By Nature
    Natures Recipe
    Taste of the Wild



    Also, how much for an average Vet bill? I'm talking everyday run of the mill stuff. shots and what not.
    Ooooh and Grooming, nails and bath. I know I ask way too many questions! lol Thanks!

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    Dani's Avatar
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    Where are you in Michigan? That will determine vet bills.

    First and foremost...what is your lifestyle like? If you are active and have the time to train a smart dog, then a lab may be for you. If rainy days or snow makes you want to sleep in or stay inside, then don't get a lab. They need a lot of exercise or they will make your life difficult. If you are a student in college, then don't get a dog until after you are out of school. If your dog is going to be an outdoor dog, don't get a lab. Then you have to ask what TYPE of lab do you want? More of a show type dog or the field type dog? What type of personality/drive do you want?

    As for the expense. First is the cost of the dog itself. Since you are in Michigan, there are many crappy Back Yard Breeders (BYBs). I would not recommend anyone who is not on this list: Huron River Labrador Retriever Club, or i would encourage a rescue or shelter dog. Getting a dog from the newspaper or from an ad in the paper is going to increase your costs in the long run, exponentially. Sure, you may pay $100 at first, but that doesn't count for the long term health issues that many BYBers in Michigan produce. Trust me. I have a BYB dog that has hip displaysia and he will cost me more as I go along and he ages. So, if you go with a good breeder, expect to pay $800. If you go with a shelter dog...it's anywhere from $65 to $175. If you go with rescue it's $150 to $275. Shelter dogs sometimes have vaccinations and are neutered already. Rescue dogs have all vaccinations, are neutered and microchipped, so many of your first year costs are already spent. Puppies/dogs from GOOD breeders come with microchips, first set of shots (or more if you get an older dog). Most BYBers do nothing.

    If you get a dog from a breeder, they will already have food in mind and one that they will ask you to keep the dog on because they know what works for their dogs. Rescues will recommend a brand based on what they are already feeding. Of those foods you listed, I'd only recommend Wellness....I personally don't care for it but others do. I feed Diamond and interchange with Purina Pro Plan. I have two labs, and I buy one 40lb bag of food a month and one 12lb lb back for the interchange a month. Costing a total of $55 a month. They also get green beans (to keep weight off) which costs me about $12 a month, joint supplements which cost about $20 a month, treats $15 month and heartworm meds which is $12 a month. So, for both boys for all of this, it's roughly $120 a month for them. Corn is not necessarily a no-no. Every dog reacts to different food differently.

    Annual vet costs per dog are about $100. Neutering cost $120 per dog. I have multiple collars...and leashes. Toys. The occaisional extra trip to the vet...I just spent $173 for x-rays for one dog and 3 years ago spent $2600 on surgery for the other. Obedience classes range from $60 to $100. Labs don't need grooming. I rarely, if ever, bath my dogs. They get brushed weekly and I do their own nails weekly. They shed all of the time. So if you don't like hair, don't get a lab.
    Last edited by Dani; 12-01-2010 at 11:55 AM.
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    Good for you for doing your research!

    Lots of people are going to tell you to feed whatever your breeder fed the puppy Chances are that's going to contain corn, which could be totally fine for your puppy. Personally, I feed the best of whatever is within my budget and the dog can tolerate. Some dogs don't do well on rich foods like Wellness, some dogs don't do well on foods with corn, wheat, etc. I fed the breeder's food for a month or so when I brought our puppies home. That being said, my breeder also wasn't married to one food. I told her what I was going to feed and she trusted my opinion but we agreed that we'd wait to switch food until the puppy was settled in.

    I have one dog with renal failure and one dog with food allergies - so my food choices are kind of moot at this point (both eat Rx food). However, when I did choose food I looked for something with specific ingredients ("chicken fat" not "animal fat," and "chicken meal" not "animal digest") from a company that sourced their ingredients from the US and Canada. One dog ate EVO Fish and the other ate Orijen LB Puppy.

    Speaking of LB Puppy - you'll see from searching the archives there's quite a debate on whether or not labs need puppy food. The most important thing, whether you feed puppy food or adult food, is to make sure the Ca:P ratio is low (1.2:1 or less). A calcium level that is too high relative to phosphorus is the only dietary measurement that has been proven to lead to growth problems in dogs (that doesn't mean you won't see sites claiming it's the protein levels, fat levels, etc. that's older research). Overfeeding can also lead to problems and you want slow, steady growth - so feed to body condition. Chances are your breeder will give you guidelines on what works for their lines - those are good to use as a starting point. But if you notice the dog is getting chunky, drop back the food a little. If they look emaciated, bump up the amount.

    The amount you feed also depends on the food. EVO is a very rich food and Jake only needed 3/4 c. twice a day. The Hill's k/d he's on now has a lot of fillers, and so he eats 2 c. twice a day to keep the same body condition. So even though the EVO was more per bag, I end up spending more feeding k/d because I have to feed so much more of it. That being said, $1/day for food is really nothing

    Certain foods you'll see are AAFCO labeled for "all life stages" - this does not necessarily mean they are okay for puppies (as I tell new puppy owners, Old Roy and Wal*Mart foods are also AFFCO certified, so let's not hang our hopes and dreams on AAFCO certification!). Specifically, the representatives at Natura and Wellness will tell you to NOT feed their foods to large breed puppies (they consider labs large breed) until they are at least 12 months old. The Ca:P ratios are too high, the companies know that, and they don't recommend it. Most pet food companies will have a nutritionist working for them, so don't be afraid to give them a call and ask questions. I know for a fact that Wellness, Natura, Purina, Hill's and Royal Canin do, and they're more than happy to answer questions about their food.

    Luckily labs don't need grooming. You can brush them at home and do their nails if you want (it's not hard). Mine get bathed maybe once a year, usually after they get into something stinky. Otherwise they get hosed off and towel-dried. The local place here charges $12 for nail trims. I trim my own nails for free (we use a dremmel to grind them down).

    The best thing you can do to find out about vet bills is to call around in your area and ask. Ask the cost of a first visit, how much subsequent visits are, the cost of spay/neuter, and the hours of the office. Vet prices vary greatly depending on where you live My last suggestion would be this: if money is a big concern you should wait. Put money away in an account each month until you have a hefty "in case of emergency" fund - THEN get your dog (no matter what breed you get). DH and I were both poor college students when we got Jake, but we had a nice little account to draw from when those crazy puppy things happened during his first year.

    Good luck with your search for your perfect dog!

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dani View Post
    They shed all of the time. So if you don't like hair, don't get a lab.
    I forgot the most important part! YES to this! We vacuum all. the. time. and still have tumbleweeds of lab hair floating around.

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    Basically ditto to what Dani said. We also feed Purina Pro Plan, and my dogs do fine on corn, so I don't care about that.

    And just to stress because it's true and never ending, do not under-estimate the shedding.

    Oh yeah, and training...no skimping. An untrained 7 month old is like chaos on drugs. At the risk of sounding mean and getting folks mad, most of the troubles folks experience with young labs is due to the lack of training and consistency on the owners' parts. Dogs are not kids, train them~don't coddle them, and you usually will do fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dani View Post
    Where are you in Michigan? I'm in mid Michigan. 3 miles west of Flint. That will determine vet bills.

    First and foremost...what is your lifestyle like? As of right now, sedintary. I'm going to be starting an 8 month long Billing and Coding program in Flint. I'll be living with my aunt after I finish so I wont have to worry expenses. I can save up for the apartment I want. I'm gonna save up at least 5k for my first months rent,bills and dog needs. I plan on getting which ever dog I decide on, on move in day. I'll be fairly active. Plus Where I'm moving will have a Dog Park by the time I get there! So I'm planning on a 20-30 walk in the mornings and then a nice long romp at the park.
    If you are active and have the time to train a smart dog, then a lab may be for you. If rainy days or snow makes you want to sleep in or stay inside, then don't get a lab. I may frown a bit! lol but I love snow! I'm a big kid at heart.

    They need a lot of exercise or they will make your life difficult. If you are a student in college, then don't get a dog until after you are out of school. I'm going to wait until I get my apartment.
    If your dog is going to be an outdoor dog, don't get a lab. It will be an apartment dog.
    Then you have to ask what TYPE of lab do you want? More of a show type dog or the field type dog? What type of personality/drive do you want? I would love one that is going to be great around my almost 3 year old niece. An awesome companion. But I would also love for he/she to be protective if someone where to break-in in the middle of the night. Also be protect my Niece if need be.

    As for the expense. First is the cost of the dog itself. Since you are in Michigan, there are many crappy Back Yard Breeders (BYBs). I would not recommend anyone who is not on this list: Huron River Labrador Retriever Club, or a rescue or shelter dog. Getting a dog from the newspaper or from an ad in the paper is going to increase your costs in the long run, exponentially. Sure, you may pay $100 at first, but that doesn't count for the long term health issues that many BYBers in Michigan produce. Trust me. I have a BYB dog that has hip displaysia and he will cost me more as I go along and he ages. So, if you go with a good breeder, expect to pay $800. If you go with a shelter dog...it's anywhere from $65 to $175. If you go with rescue it's $150 to $275. Shelter dogs sometimes have vaccinations and are neutered already. Rescue dogs have all vaccinations, are neutered and microchipped, so many of your first year costs are already spent. Puppies/dogs from GOOD breeders come with microchips, first set of shots (or more if you get an older dog). Most BYBers do nothing.
    I plan on going through Petfinder. I'm going to adopt, through hopefully a rescue.


    If you get a dog from a breeder, they will already have food in mind and one that they will ask you to keep the dog on because they know what works for their dogs. Rescues will recommend a brand based on what they are already feeding. Of those foods you listed, I'd only recommend Wellness....I personally don't care for it but others do. I feed Diamond and interchange with Purina Pro Plan. I have two labs, and I buy one 40lb bag of food a month and one 12lb lb back for the interchange a month. Costing a total of $55 a month. They also get green beans (to keep weight off) which costs me about $12 a month, joint supplements which cost about $20 a month, treats $15 month and heartworm meds which is $12 a month. So, for both boys for all of this, it's roughly $120 a month for them. Corn is not necessarily a no-no. Every dog reacts to different food differently.

    Annual vet costs per dog are about $100. Neutering cost $120 per dog. I have multiple collars...and leashes. Toys. The occaisional extra trip to the vet...I just spent $173 for x-rays for one dog and 3 years ago spent $2600 on surgery for the other. Obedience classes range from $60 to $100. Labs don't need grooming. I rarely, if ever, bath my dogs. They get brushed weekly and I do their own nails weekly. They shed all of the time. So if you don't like hair, don't get a lab.
    SEE ABOVE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dani View Post
    I would not recommend anyone who is not on this list: Huron River Labrador Retriever Club

    Not everyone who is reputable pays to have themselves put on the website, Dani. To say only consider those on the website is misleading. I consider myself a reputable breeder and yet I'm not on that page due to the fact I don't want to pay to be listed.



    Laura





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    And no, this is NOT an exaggeration.



    Laura





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    Quote Originally Posted by labby View Post
    Not everyone who is reputable pays to have themselves put on the website, Dani. To say only consider those on the website is misleading. I consider myself a reputable breeder and yet I'm not on that page due to the fact I don't want to pay to be listed.
    No, but you're a member. So I shall amend my thought to breeders who are active in Labrador or all breed clubs and does more than breed their dogs to make a quick buck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dani View Post
    No, but you're a member. So I shall amend my thought to breeders who are active in Labrador or all breed clubs and does more than breed their dogs to make a quick buck.
    Yes I am, but I'm not listed on the site anywhere even though I'm one of the three founding members. lol Good amend and one that is more accurate. A club website is a good place to start, but it's not the end all. The HRLRC once had the biggest puppy mill breeder in MI as a member, so it's not definitive.



    Laura





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