Even though millions of dogs are in shelters and rescues waiting to be adopted, some people still buy dogs from pet stores. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year in the United States.
This means that every time a dog is bought from a breeder or pet store, another dog at a shelter will never find a home. But you can help by adopting one into your family.
Seeking out a Labrador for adoption can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make in your life. These gentle, intelligent dogs are known for their loyalty and friendliness making them great family pets.
Of course, before adopting any big dog, do your research and understand the breed and personality of the dog you’re considering. This will help you make an informed decision about whether or not the dog is right for you and your family.
Before getting a Labrador for adoption, consider these factors:
- The cost of adopting and keeping a Labrador
- Training and grooming needs
- Space for the Labrador
- Your family’s lifestyle
1. The Cost of Adopting and Keeping a Labrador
Picking out a Labrador for adoption may be a cheaper way of owning one, but this breed is high maintenance.
On average, it costs around $50 to $500 to adopt a Labrador from a shelter or rescue, and this price can vary depending on the dog’s age, health, and personality.
In addition, keeping a Labrador can cost you around $1,060 to $10,000 annually. Here are some of the expenses involved in caring for your Labrador:
Labradors are known for their endless appetites, requiring an investment of about $325–$750 annually in high-quality food.
You can choose to buy ready-made dog food or cook for your dog (which is way cheaper and healthier).
If you’re thinking of adopting a young Labrador, then you’ll be spending even more on food as growing dogs need a lot of food and water—they use more energy than elderly dogs.
Also, don’t forget to budget for treats which can cost you around $10 a month.
The average vet bill for Labrador puppies can add up to about $1,395 to $1,541 per annum, while for adults, it ranges between $9,368 to $11,985 per year. It’s worth noting that this cost only covers medical expenses and not major injuries or accidents.
Adopting a puppy will require regular visits to the vet for vaccines and preventative treatments, and matured dogs may require additional treatments after adoption.
You may also want to spay your Labrador (if it was not spayed or neutered before adoption)—which may cost between $50 and $400— to protect your dog from deadly diseases such as mammary gland cancer and keep it less aggressive.
Just like human beings, your Labrador also needs protection against any risk and pet insurance is your escape from unexpected expenses due to accidents or illnesses.
If you’re ever in an accident caused by your dog, pet insurance can help you get financial recompense for damage.
Typically, your pet insurance cost may vary depending on your location, provider, age of your Labrador, and the type of coverage you choose. Here is a table showing how much pet insurance costs in some states in the USA.
|State||Age of Labrador||Insurance Monthly Cost in Dollars ($)|
|Beverly Hills, CA||6 Months Old
5 Years Old
|Thomasville, AL||6 Months Old
5 Years Old
|New York City, NY||6 Months Old
5 Years Old
Other expenses you need to factor in when budgeting for your new friend include:
- Training products
- Dog bowls
- Dog staples
2. Training and Grooming Needs
Are you planning to get a trained or untrained Labrador? If you want to challenge yourself and get an untrained one, you’ll need the time and patience to train your dog.
Luckily, Labradors are sociable and easy to train, so if you don’t have time to train your dog, you can opt for professional training. This can be in the form of group classes, costing anywhere from $50 to $125, or private training, costing anywhere from $240 to $600.
Another factor to consider when going with a Labrador for adoption is grooming, which is a crucial part of a dog’s overall health. You need to plan for their shedding, bathing, dental health, and nails before adopting your Labrador.
Labradors are known for shedding a lot because of their double coat which keeps them clean and insulates them in cold weather. You’ll need to budget for a good quality dog brush, plenty of dog shampoo, and trimming.
In addition, you’ll have to pay special attention to your dog’s paw health by trimming its nails regularly, and establish a schedule for brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week.
3. Space for the Labrador
Labradors are active dogs that require a lot of space to run and play. Without enough exercise, your Labrador may become destructive and hyperactive.
This breed usually weighs between 50 lbs. and 80 lbs, making them quite large for an average household; something to consider if you live in an apartment or small house.
An ideal space for a Labrador will have clear rooms with no objects, plenty of outdoor space, or a decent-sized backyard.
Labradors can sometimes get messy. With their long and thick tails, they can knock any fragile or breakable items around the house. If you happen to have decorations in your house, you’ll need to keep them out of reach.
Another reason for extra space is that Labrador puppies need to be taken to the potty every 15 to 20 minutes. Though, as they get older, they’ll just go once a day.
If you’re living in an apartment, you’ll need to set up an inside toilet for your dog using puppy pads or a newspaper. You can also use a dog crate to confine your Labrador when toilet training or when you’re not home.
To make up for the lack of living space, you’ll have to create enough outdoor time for your dog. This way, you can stay peacefully with your Labrador in a small space.
Extra tip: Labradors are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, so keep them from using the stairs regularly. Moreover, it’s not a good idea to permanently keep them outside because they often suffer separation anxiety when left alone.
4. Your Family’s Lifestyle
Is your family an active type? If so, a Labrador can be a perfect choice for quality family time. But if your family is not used to activities or having a dog that needs a lot of exercise, you may find your Labrador constantly bugging you.
Labradors crave attention and companionship, so If you work long hours and everyone else is away throughout the day, plan to take your lab to doggy daycare or hire a dog sitter.
You also need to think about the size of your family before getting a Labrador for adoption. If you have small children (under age 5), this pet might not be ideal for you because Labradors are so energetic and might cause accidental injuries to children.
If you also live with an older or disabled person, it’s better to go for a more senior Labrador with a quiet temperament. Elderly or disabled people may find it hard to handle a younger, louder dog.
If you are a clean freak, you might not be the best fit for a Labrador. Labs shed a lot and are messy, so if you’re not ready to cope with this issue daily, this isn’t the dog for you.
Labrador Rescue Groups
Labrador rescue groups play an essential role by providing homeless Labradors with a safe place to live, food, and shelter.
Moreover, these groups work to find new homes for the dogs—once they are adopted. This helps to reduce the number of Labs that end up in shelters and ultimately saves taxpayers money.
Examples of groups that specialize in Labrador rescue include:
- Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group: Founded in 2007, this group rescues about 350 dogs every year. The rescue group is located in San Diego, California.
- Third Coast Labrador Retriever Rescue: Located in Michigan, this group is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming labradors throughout Michigan.
- Southern Skies Labrador Rescue & Adoption (SSLR): This non-profit organization specializes in the rescue and adoption of different kinds of Labradors. The group is located in Huntsville, Alabama.
Rehome a Labrador, Save a Life!
It breaks my heart to see these energetic, adorable creatures ending up homeless or at rescues. The dogs are in this predicament because their owners cannot care for them due to tight work schedules, financial difficulties, a lack of adequate space, or family breakups.
Choosing a Labrador for adoption today from a rescue means giving an unsettled soul a second chance to be happy and loved. And of course, bringing new joy to your family too!
If you’ve considered the above factors and still feel like you’re not ready for a long-term commitment, there is still something that you can do. As a pet rescue advocate, I advise you to volunteer at a local rescue or foster at least one Labrador.