Although Silver Labradors have their fair share of controversies…
You’re thinking of getting one.
And this got you concerned about things like:
“Does their dilute coat color affect their health?
And what specific health issues could they have?”
Well, I’ve got all the answers you’ll need and more.
Continue reading to find out:
- 7 common Silver Lab health issues.
- 5 vital care tips for Silver Labradors (#3 is my favorite).
- If a Silver Lab’s coat color will affect their general health.
- And much, much, more…
Table of contents
- 7 common Silver Lab health issues
- 5 vital care tips for Silver Labs
7 common Silver Lab health issues
#1: Color dilution alopecia (CDA)
This is a recessively inherited condition.
It’s called color dilution alopecia (CDA), and it mainly affects dilute dogs.
Fun fact: Silver Labradors are dilute versions of Chocolate Labradors. The former carries the recessive gene dd. Which waters down the chocolate color into a silver shade.
And according to vets, this condition causes abnormalities in a Silver Lab’s hair follicles. Which drives them to self-destruct.
Moreover, these signs of CDA will appear at 6 months of age. Those are:
- Hair loss.
- Flaky skin.
- Thinning of hair.
Unfortunately, since their hair follicles self-destruct…
There’s no way hair could grow again.
Continue reading: Silver Lab Hair Loss: XX Reasons + XX Vital Tips
#2: Ear infections
As I mentioned, Silver Labradors are a shade of Chocolate.
That’s why they’re included in this study’s findings:
Among all the Chocolate Labradors in the research, 23.4% have ear infections.
Trivia: Their data also shows Chocolate Labradors have the shortest average lifespan. Which is 10.7 years, or 1.4 years shorter than Yellow and Black Labradors.
Back to ear infections…
The MSDVM also refers to them as otitis externa…
And they’re a disorder of the ear canal that causes inflammation.
“What causes ear infections in dogs?”
- Bacteria buildup.
- Foreign objects stuck in the ear/s.
And they can affect 1 or both ears.
That lead to symptoms like:
- Scaly skin.
- Increased discharge.
- Foul odor coming out of their ear.
- Redness of the skin around their ear area.
Warning: The infection is extremely uncomfortable for the dog. That’s why they’ll constantly scratch their ears. Which can lead to hot spots or inflamed skin lesions around the ear.
For some, Silver Labradors are one of the worst dogs ever.
That’s because they eat so much.
But coming in defense of the metallic Labs…
Research reveals that they have a genetic mutation linked to overeating.
Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) is a gene associated with body weight.
And the majority of all Labradors got most, or all, of their POMC deleted in their genes.
Which causes them to be more food motivated.
Now, overeating alone is a health issue…
But it also exposes Labradors to secondary health problems like:
Labradors must only weigh between 50 lbs (23 kg) to 80 lbs (36 kg).
But vets report they care for many Labs weighing 90 lbs (40 kg) and above.
That said, Labradors have a high obesity rate.
And AKC says this puts them at risk of:
- Heart failure.
- Liver disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Bladder/urinary tract disease.
This is a concerning result of overeating and obesity.
It causes an imbalance in the Labrador’s glucose-insulin levels.
Which are crucial in giving them energy and converting nutrients.
That’s why a diabetic canine is less energetic, and their body is weaker.
Moreover, their organs get gradually destroyed as well.
#4: Hereditary myopathy
This is also called centronuclear myopathy (CNM).
It’s an inherited muscle disorder among Labrador Retrievers.
According to vets, this causes muscular weakness. Which leads to:
- Arched back.
- Stunted growth.
- Abnormal stance.
- Shrunken muscles.
- Low head carriage.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Decreased exercise tolerance.
Now, those signs could show as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age.
But severe symptoms only appear when the puppy turns 3 to 5 months.
And unfortunately, most puppies with extreme CNM get euthanized.
That’s because of the expected poor quality of life.
#5: Gastric dilatation-volvulus
As a dog with a deep and narrow chest…
A Silver Labrador is prone to gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).
Or more commonly known as bloat.
“What happens in this condition?”
Gastric means it occurs in the stomach.
And when air gathers in there, it’s called dilatation.
As for volvulus, it’s the term used to refer to a stomach twist.
With that, GDV happens when dilatation and volvulus occur simultaneously.
And this leads to pressure buildup in the stomach.
This causes blood from their hind limbs and abdomen to return to their heart.
Warning: AKC says that more than 30% of dogs are killed by bloat. That’s why this is a medical and surgical emergency.
That said, watch out for symptoms like:
- Enlargement of the abdomen.
- Pain, which will make the dog whine.
#6: Elbow and hip dysplasia
These are inherited disorders of the bone.
They both cause joints not to develop normally.
With elbow dysplasia, the complex elbow joints don’t mature enough to hold these bones:
As for hip dysplasia, the femur head doesn’t fit well in the hip socket.
That said, they both lead to arthritic pain.
And here are the symptoms of both disorders:
- A froggy sit.
- Refusal to get up.
- Showing stiffness.
- Trouble getting up.
- A bunny-hopping gait.
- Loose and slow walking.
- Unwillingness to exercise.
#7: Exercise-induced collapse
Do you want to know how much a Silver Labrador loves to exercise?
On a scale of 1 to 10, they’d say 11.
Now, why are Labs too excited about it?
To start, AKC says that Labradors have high energy levels.
However, PetMD reveals that while some dogs stop when they’re tired…
A Labrador would go on with their exercise.
Most of them will only stop when they start to feel weak. Which shows through the following:
- Shaky back legs.
- Not walking or running normally.
- Dragging their back legs to move.
- Standing with their feet too far apart.
- High body temperature, which they’ll show through panting and drooling.
When these signs are set aside, and the Lab is still (trying to be) active…
Within 5 to 15 minutes, they might fall and pass out.
And that’s called exercise-induced collapse (EIC).
5 vital care tips for Silver Labs
#1: Provide a proper diet
Since Silver Labs tend to eat a lot…
You must stick to giving them enough nutritious food that they need per day.
For that, AKC recommends getting the highest-quality dog food you can give Fido.
“And how much should I feed my Silver Labrador?”
As I said, Labs weigh between 50 lbs (23 kg) to 80 lbs (36 kg).
So according to that range, here’s how much food they need:
|Weight||Cups of food||Calorie requirement|
|50 lbs (23 kg)||2 ⅔ cups||1,145 calories|
|80 lbs (36 kg)||3 ¾ cups||1,629 calories|
And to be more on-point…
I recommend this vet calorie calculator.
All you need to do is put the information about your Silver Lab.
Then, you’ll know how many daily calories they need.
Note: Split the amount you’ll get into 2. Then, feed your Labrador twice daily using half of the total calories required.
#2: Keep exercise sessions consistent
You need to keep your Silver Labrador active.
However, remain consistent and make sure that they don’t overdo it.
First, they need no more than 1 hour of exercise daily.
And since dogs don’t know the concept of time…
I suggest involving yourself in the activity.
If not, your Lab might run free until they can’t walk anymore.
So for example, you can play fetch with them.
And if it’s been an hour, you can stop the game and head home.
Because even going over 5 minutes more than the requirement can be crucial.
According to vets, that’s when a Lab can start feeling weak. Which could lead to EIC.
#3: Use coconut oil for their coat
When maintaining a healthy coat in canines…
Many dog parents use coconut oil.
According to a study, coconut oil can reduce itchiness by lessening dry skin.
And although researchers studied it on humans…
Vets believe it has the same effect on dogs as well.
Another research reveals that coconut oil has lauric acid.
Which is a fatty acid that penetrates the hair shafts.
Then, it keeps the hair healthy, full, and shiny.
So, to nourish your Silver Lab’s majestic coat…
You can apply coconut oil to their skin once a week.
Let it absorb for 5 minutes, then rinse it off your dog.
Or you can feed it to them.
Note: A Silver Lab can only eat ½ tablespoon of coconut oil per 10 lbs (4.5kg) of their weight daily.
And here’s a more detailed video about how to give coconut oil to your dog:
Disclaimer: You must not substitute coconut oil for medications. I recommend consulting a vet first, especially if your Lab has an existing skin condition.
You might also want to know: Does Coconut Oil Really Help With Dog Shedding? The Truth
#4: Give them joint supplements
This isn’t just for Labs with hip or elbow dysplasia…
Joint supplements can also help with overweight Labradors.
They aid in weight management.
Plus, they reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.
Here’s what I recommend:
Nutramax Laboratories COSEQUIN joint supplements.
It has glucosamine. Which AKC says does the following to your Lab’s joints:
- Stop cartilage degradation.
- Boost the repair of damaged joint cartilage.
#5: Regularly take them to the vet
Since there’s little you can do to prevent any progressive or genetic diseases…
You can instead try to make it easier for your pup to deal with.
That said, regularly take your Silver Lab to the vet.
The doctor can prescribe the right medications for your Lab’s exact health issue.
Moreover, most of the conditions I mentioned here are critical.
For example, bloat is a medical emergency that needs immediate vet attention.
Vets from AKC say there’s only a 50% chance of survival when a Lab has bloat.
But that’s only if they can still walk when they enter the clinic.
If not, the survival rate from bloat decreases.
Then, even exercise-induced collapse is deadly.
And it’s not something that a simple rest can fix.
Because vets report that Labradors die even after recovering from EIC.
With that, always seek veterinary help when it comes to health issues.