Thinking of adopting a sweet little lab? They come highly recommended from us. Ever had someone sit on your feet while you wash dishes? Looking for a furry face to greet you at the bottom of the stairs every morning? (Yeah, yeah, our dog sleeps downstairs, isn’t allowed on the furniture, and doesn’t eat people food. He’s basically a prisoner at Alcatraz.)
We love our little man. He’s added so much to our lives (even if we did lose a lot of sleep that first month.) Life wouldn’t be the same without him. That being said, it’s important to be prepared before you add a new member to your family. Here are our 10 essentials when owning a lab.
1. Car Hammock
This car hammock is certainly an essential but BE WARNED- your pup will never accept only a section of the backseat again. They will think, from then until the end of time, that they deserve the whole backseat, and nothing less. Just don’t forget to wash the thing every so often. It may save your upholstery from muddy paw prints, but it does start to smell after awhile.
Ryan insisted I include Cody’s harness on this list as he recounted taking him into the Whites and hoisting him up the rocks as 40 mile an hour winds raged around them! (In the photos he captured at the top, you can tell Cody’s having a blast.)
A sensible purchase- no complaints here. Glad to not be yanking his neck when he pulls on a walk. I know, I know, we’re working on it.
3. Slow-Feed Bowl
The first time we fed Cody, I thought something was wrong. I had never seen a dog each like that. Ryan’s mom ordered us a slow-feed bowl shortly after. Now it takes him a solid minute to finish his dinner and there’s definitely less chance of him yakking it back up afterwards.
4. KONG and Peanut Butter
Both words are synonymous and triggering in our household. We use them as a backup when someone isn’t listening and won’t come inside. My grandmother found a jar of Skippy in her cupboard (she only makes her own from real peanuts) and brought it in her suitcase from Texas to New Hampshire. Cody was incredibly grateful.
Anyone else read Because of Winn-Dixie? My third graders can tell you- dogs love peanut butter. Having guests? Give your pooch a KONG and hangout in peace for a few hours. It’s that easy.
5. Pond Toy
Note: verify buoyancy prior to throwing in the water.
Labs love the water. They love jumping in the water, swimming in the water, and playing fetch when you throw a toy in the water. Cody’s favorite is an orange KONG floaty. He loves it so much, he ripped the string right off within minutes! His favorite pastime might be jumping off the rocks in Vermont and into the pond, retrieving his pond toy. 10/10 pups recommend.
6. Inflatable Donut
At some point, every lab experiences surgery of some kind. For Cody, his neutering was a sobering experience. Then, he spent a good fourteen days twisting and manipulating his body, trying to get around his inflatable donut to lick his stitches. By the end, both Cody and the donut stank, but it became a part of him. When we took it off, he looked at us as if something was missing. Gone, but never forgotten.
8. Carpet Stain Remover
Cody has desensitized us to pretty much everything and our rugs still look fabulous, which is great because Ryan thought I was crazy for buying new rugs weeks before bringing Cody home. Enough said.
8. Nail Clippers
No matter how much you played with their paws as a pup, your dog will hate getting their nails clipped UNLESS one of you holds them down, feeding them kibbles like their the Queen of Sheba while the other works fast, nail bits flying every which way. Safety goggles suggest.
9. Chicken and Rice
If your lab is like our lab, he will enjoy the outdoors. More specifically, he will enjoy eating every element the outdoors has to offer. Sticks, rocks, poop, houseplants thrown in the compost… and so on. There will be many nights where the specials will include chicken and rice, served with extra water. Just make sure you pay attention to the likelihood that extra bathroom breaks will be required.
10. A Vet on Speed Dial
“Cody ate a glass bauble off the Christmas tree! What do I do?” Love you dad!