Kind of Food Should I Get?
average lifespan of a Lab right now is 10-12 years. On a grain-free
(rice is not considered a grain) or raw diet, the average lifespan
increases to 15-19 years! Below are lists of the very best dog
foods. Some of the brands you might think are good quality are nothing
more than junk food. It's like feeding your child McDonald's everyday.
They include some pretty high-priced brands that are coasting on old
reputations they no longer deserve.
or "ancestral" diets are even better, but are more expensive,
ubnless you make them up yourself (which can be considerable work).
But if you're willing, it is the best possible diet for your puppy
or dog. Remember, dogs are carnivores! They are meat-eaters.
They are not herbivores or omnivores.
We often use a combination of grain-free and raw food (that would
be great for any dog, anytime). We give them a grain-free bowl of
food in the morning, and raw chicken at night. They can eat the raw
chicken bones and all if it's raw. Chicken bones only become dangerous
to dogs when they are cooked, because they necome brittle and break
off in sharp pieces. When raw, chicken bones are soft, like cartilage.
You can buy a 10-lb. bag of chicken leg quarters for about $7 at WalMart
or Kroger. That's just $.70 per pound, cheaper than most dry dog food.
The dogs absolutely LOVE it, and it's safe. We have been feeding our
Labs raw chicken for many years.
We recommend a dog food that IS GRAIN-FREE.
These are more expensive, but well worth the price.
Dry Dog Foods 5-Star
Raw Dog Foods
At the very least, we recommend you avoid any dog food that
has Corn, Soy or Wheat. These are the grains most commonly associated
with food allergies, cancer, diabetes and tendency toward overweight.
There are many good quality dog foods which have some grains (usually
barley, oatmeal or millet) but avoid these health culprits. Here are
a few we recommend (there are many other good ones, but we have actually
tried these over the years):
Buffalo (any formula)
OUT ANY DOG FOOD BRAND AT DOG
Training & Containment
recommend crate training as the fastest, easiest and most effecient
way to house train your new puppy. There are hundreds of on-line
instructional articles and videos to help in this process. We
recommend starting off with a large crate that has a divider which
allows you to control the inside space of the crate.
TRAINING: This biggest challenge to owning a new puppy is to get
him or her house-trained. We have found that crate training is by
far the fastest method. The crate should NEVER be used as a punishment.
When you first use it, you may have to get up in the middle of the
night with your pup to put him out to do his business. Don't be lazy
about this. The divider should be positioned so that he just barely
has enough room to lie down. He doesn't want to mess his sleeping
area, but he will if you neglect him in the crate, and then you are
working against yourself. If you do this right, your dog will go into
the pen on his own at night, or even when he just wants to take a
Lab puppies need exercise and companionship. They are very social
dogs. If you plan to keep your Lab as a house dog, you'll have to
ensure they get daily exercise in the form of walks, playing fetch,
or trips to the local dog park if you don't have a yard. DO NOT keep
your dog tied out to a stake all day. This is a horrible life for
a dog. If you have a yard, either invest in the money to fence it
in for your friend, or get an Invisible Fence, an underground electrical
fence with a wireless transmitter that fastens to your dog's collar.
An alternative to yard fencing is a kennel pen, but it MUST be large
enough to roam around in, and your dog still must be let out to run
and play. We recommend no smaller than 10x20 (200 square feet) as
a pen size for a Lab. These pens come with an optional heavy-duty
tarp roof, which we also recommend for shade and protection from the
We do not knowingly sell our puppies to anyone who intends to leave
their puppy alone all day without human or canine companionship. If
you are already in that situation, consider getting your friend a
doggy companion. You will find that you come home to a much calmer,
happier, emotionally-balanced friend.
PUPPIES & DOGS: If you have a very high-drive puppy that is
proving very difficult to manage, first, read the paragraphs above.
Labs are very social, and need lots of human and/or canine companionship.
They need an outlet for their energy. A high-drive Lab left alone
will be a miserable wreck, an emotional basket-case, and you will
not enjoy him when you ARE home. Our best suggestion for making life
with your high-drive Lab easier: GET ANOTHER DOG! No, I'm not kidding.
This is one of those times when two dogs are easier to care for than
one! Two dogs will spend their drive and energy on each other, and
will be much easier to manage during their time with you.
YOU CAN ALWAYS CALL OR WRITE TO US FOR ADVICE ON YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION,
WHETHER YOU OWN A COVENANT FARM PUPPY OR NOT!
tick & internal
Covenant Farm Puppies, we love our dogs! And we have a lot of them!
At any given time we have between a dozen and 15 adult or adolescent
dogs to care for each month. Quite honestly, the cost in treating
this number of dogs with the standard products purchased from the
Vet would be astronomical! The following advice we offer was given
to us by our own Vet, and has resulted in hundreds of dollars of savings
per year for us.
dog or puppy should be treated with a flea & tick treatment and
a heartworm preventative every month. That is the Vet recommendation.
However, there is very little risk of ticks and heartworm in the cold
months. Heartworm is carried by mosquitos. Once it is too cold for
the mosquitos and ticks, these treatments can be suspended until early
Spring in most places in the country. Fleas are another story, and
a flea problem left untreated can become a nightmare, no matter what
the outdoor temperatures, because they live and breed on the warm
body of your dog.
Flea & Tick Treatment
FOR LARGE IMAGE
common products recommended by veterinarians are Frontline®
and Advantage®. The active ingredient in Advantage is
Imidocloprid, an ingredient found in some tree &
shrub insecticides. Many of these now also contain a fertilizer
which you wouldn't want to put on your dog (my dogs are big
enough already!). The key is to find a brand which ONLY has
the active ingredient of Imidocloprid and nothing else.
The most commonly available is probably Ortho®
Max Tree & Shrub Insect Killer. You can find this at
most WalMart, Lowes and Home Depot stores. We use one we just
found at our local farm supply store. The label should read
exactly like the sample label at left. (Click to
Use 1 ML of liquid for every 10 lbs. of body weight, to a maximum
of 6 ML.
Get a plastic syringe without needle. Apply it in about a 3-inch
stripe from between the shoulder blades back. For a larger Lab,
we use about 6 cc's. We apply half of it between the shoulder
blades as usual, and the other half from the dog's tail root
backwards. This tree & shrub product is EXACTLY the same
chemical (Imidocloprid 1.47%) as Advantage®. It is a lower
strength however, so more must be used. It can be used as often
as every other week if necessary.
costs about $15 for a quart bottle (about the same as a single
dose of Advantage!). One bottle will last for years on a
Heartworm & Internal Parasite Prevention
FOR LARGE IMAGE
common products recommended by veterinarians are HeartGuard®
and Interceptor®. The active ingredient in both of these
is Ivermectin, a common anti-parasite chemical used for
livestock. This must be used carefully, as the quantity for
use in dogs is small and must be accurately administered. We
The box says "injection" but we give this orally.
We just use a syringe to extract the liquid from the bottle.
Remove the needle, insert through the lips and teeth back by
the jaw so they have to swallow it. NEVER use this (or any
heartworm meds) unless you know your dog tests negative
have an accurate weight for your dog. Use your bathroom scale,
set your scale to zero while you're on it, then hold your dog
and read his weight. Use 1/10 of a CC (ML) for each 10 pounds
of body weight. In other words, if you have a 70 lb. dog, use
0.7 CC (ML) of Ivomec. Besides heartworm, Ivomec also kills
many other internal parasites like hookworms, roundworms and
costs about $35-$40 for a 50 ML bottle, which will treat 5,000
lbs. of dog. One bottle will last for 6 years on a single 70
lb. dog! You can get it at any Tractor Supply or other farm
store or on-line.
Ivomec will NOT treat tapeworm. This medication (Droncit) must be
obtained from your veterinarian.
a Persistent Flea Infestation
can be a real headache, especially if you have several pets, and
they are allowed in and out of the house. If you have used the
standard flea & tick treatment, but you continue to have tormented
pets, you will need to use The Three-Pronged Fork. Treat
the dogs, the house and the outside environment.
To rid your dog of fleas instantly, and keep them off for
up to a month, we recommend Comfortis®.
You will see dead fleas within 30 minutes! This product also kills
the eggs and larvae. It costs about $17 per dose, but is worth
it when you're trying to do a comprehensive extermination. It
is by perscription only. It can be used with Imidocloprid safely.
rid your home of fleas and eggs, we recommend Precor®.
A small bottle of the concentrate (around $10) mixes with a
gallon of water, and will cover over 1,200 square feet. Spray
it liberally wherever your dogs lay or play inside your home.
Floors, dog bedding, everything that your dog has body contact
with should be sprayed. Precor is an Insect Growth Regulator
(IGR) used by professionals.
rid your dog's outdoor environment of fleas and eggs, use
the Tree & Shrub Insect Killer we recommend above. Follow
the label directions and mix up a gallon at a time in a common
garden watering-can. Soak all the areas where your dogs commonly
lie down or play. This product will stay active for nearly a
the Deadly Heartworm
girl Liberty - healthy and cured of heartworm!
It is very
important to begin heartworm treatment by about 4 months old
and continue the treatment monthly throughout your dog's life.
As we mentioned above, it is safe to suspend the treatments
during the coldest months, when mosquitos which carry heartworm
are dormant, but should be resumed in very early Spring in most
parts of the country.
If you end
up with a dog that tests positive for heartworm, whether through
your own neglegence, or by buying or adopting a pet that has
it, the treatment for it must be done very carefully, because
chemical treatments which kill the heartworm, can also kill
your dog. This happens when the worm(s) are killed, and the
dead worms form a clot in the dog's blood vessels, essentially
causing a heart attack.
a heartworm preventative on a dog unless you are CERTAIN that
they are heartworm-negative. In fact, your vet will not sell
you a preventative without first running the test, unless he
knows for certain himself. If your dog tests positive, it is
VERY serious, even life-threatening, but it is curable!
our first female Lab, Liberty from a disreputable breeder several
years ago. We traveled 150 miles to buy a breeding-age female.
What we found when we got there was a crated, miserable girl
with fur like straw and long nails. She didn't even know her
name. We discovered the next day when we took her to the vet,
she had a serious case of heartworm that included a chronic
cough. We bought and paid for her just to get her away from
her previous owner, thinking perhaps she could never be bred,
but that we could give her a good life here.
an all-natural, herbal remedy called Parasite
Dr. on her faithfully for a couple of months and took her
in for another test. She still tested positive. We continued
treating her with it. I'm not exactly sure how many months or
how many bottles we ended up using. It was perhaps 4-5 months
worth. After that time, she was going into heat, so we brought
her in to be tested again. She tested NEGATIVE, and the vet
re-tested to be certain. The vet was impressed with the results,
and so were we. He gave a go-ahead to breed her. We got four
litters from our girl before we retired her from breeding. She
has a permanent place on a mat at the foot of our bed, and remains
in perfect health. I haven't tried Pet Dr. for other parasites
that it claims to treat, but I can testify that if you are patient,
and don't expect overnight results, even a serious case of heartworm
can be overcome.
The information contained on this page should not be substituted for
professional veterinary care. These are simply suggestions for the
regular health maintenance of your puppy or dog, and Covenant Farm
Puppies and the Murch Family assume no liability for any situation
arising from the use of the advice given here (but we'll take the
credit if it works out well!).