You’ve just welcomed a Labrador Retriever puppy into your home. Is there anything as exciting as this moment?
Bringing home a new puppy is both thrilling and a little scary. There is so much to do and prepare for when getting a new puppy! I mean, it’s practically like preparing for a baby, right?
If you are new to puppy parenthood, you may be wondering what exactly you need for your new Lab puppy. You’ve probably scoured the internet, talked to other puppy parent friends of yours, and even made a puppy-preparation checklist.
But how do you know if you have everything you need for your Labrador puppy and all of the puppy stages he will go through? And is there anything a Labrador puppy needs that is specific to his breed?
Actually yes, but don’t let this worry you!
You’ve come to the experts on Labrador Retriever puppies and we know exactly what they need to thrive.
And because I like you, I’ve listed 25 of the top essentials you’re going to need to raise your Labrador puppy into a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adult dog.
Let’s get started!
Preparing For A Labrador Puppy – Why Certain Breeds Need Certain Products
Your Labrador puppy will need certain products to grow and thrive that other breeds may not.
Preparing for a new puppy goes beyond picking a name, choosing a cute collar and leash, and loading a doggy toy box full of toys.
Of course, you know this and that’s why you’re here.
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, with the American Kennel Club listing it as the number one family dog in America for the 28th year in a row!
But what is so special about Labrador Retriever puppies, and what makes them unique from other dogs and dog breeds?
For starters, Labrador Retrievers are known for being intelligent and highly energetic. They are eager to please and easy to train, and very family-oriented.
Labs are wonderful additions to homes with children and active families who enjoy being out and about.
However, Labrador Retrievers can also be a lot of work and need plenty of time, training, and consistency to grow up happy and healthy.
And because Labrador Retriever dogs are larger, more active breeds, they are going to need certain products to help them thrive and reach their full potential that other dogs and dog breeds may not need.
Quality puppy food, the right kind of bedding, certain harnesses and training products, and even teething toys are a must for Labrador puppies!
Not sure where to begin? That’s fine. I’ve got all your essentials listed below. Keep reading!
Quality Puppy Food And Training Treats For Large Breed Puppies
Puppies need a special diet specifically formulated for their size, weight, and activity level.
As I mentioned briefly above, Labrador puppies need a specific diet that is specially created for their activity level and size.
Because Labs grow quickly from small fluffs of fur into large, muscular adult dogs, they require a special puppy diet rich in DHA and vitamins and minerals to support healthy brain and eye development. They also require foods with adequate protein and calcium for bone and muscle growth.
Treats are also an essential part of puppyhood because training is an essential part of puppy parenting.
Positive reinforcement training is highly effective and should be done using tasty, healthy treats that are both tasty and rich in nutrients your puppy needs.
Here are some of my favorite brands of puppy food and training treats for Labrador Puppies.
1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food
Wellness Complete is a well known, quality brand of puppy food and the one above is specifically formulated for large breeds like your Labrador puppy, who is going to grow quickly and need certain nutrients to keep his bones and joints healthy.
This food is also free of by-products, preservatives, soy, and other things your puppy doesn’t need or want in a healthy diet.
2. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Puppy Food
Like all the puppy foods I recommend for Lab puppies, Blue Buffalo is a high quality brand that offers limited ingredient recipes for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Speak with your puppy’s breeder or rescue center if you can to find out if he or she has a sensitive stomach. If so, then a limited diet ingredient puppy food like this one may be the best choice.
3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Dog Food For Puppies
Rachael Ray Nutrish is another brand I love for Labrador Retriever puppies as it is packed with DHA for healthy brain and eye development and specially formulated for young, growing dogs.
You can also select different sizes and recipes. My favorite is chicken and brown rice.
4. Zuke’s Puppy Naturals Dog Treats
I love Zuke’s training treats for puppies because they are made with high-quality natural ingredients and they are small, which means they are perfect for little puppy teeth to chow down on.
Of course, when training a puppy, you need treats that are also very smelly and soft which Zuke’s treats are. Best of all, these treats are loaded with secret goodness like DHA, EPA, and vitamins.
5. Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats
You already know I love the Wellness brand, but I especially love their training treats and use them all the time for the puppies in my care.
I like that these treats are soft and breakable, and my puppies can’t get enough of them. Like the treats made by Zuke’s, the Wellness brand treats are also loaded with DHA and are grain free for pups with sensitive tummies.
Bedding And Toys
Lab puppies need quality bedding and toys for teething.
Labrador puppies grow quickly and have sharp claws and teeth. Their toys and bedding should be sturdy and made of high quality material so they can’t chew them to bits and choke on small pieces.
Puppies also go through a teething phase and will need special teething toys to help soothe their sore mouths and help keep your furniture safe.
As far as bedding, the best bedding for a Labrador puppy is going to be made of high quality material that is soft and plush while also being sturdy enough to keep them off the floor and support their growing bodies.
I’ve listed a few of my favorite Labrador puppy toys and bedding products for you below.
6. KONG Puppy Rubber Chew And Treat Toy
The KONG is a must-have for any dog parent, but I especially recommend it for new puppy parents. KONG toys are wonderful tools to use during crate training, but they also help with separation anxiety, boredom, and the teething stage that all puppies go through.
It’s important to get a KONG that is specially designed for puppies, like the one shown above, as it will be a bit smaller, a little softer, and easier for puppies to chew.
6. Nylabone Puppy Starter Pack Chew Toys
Since the KONG will most likely be used during crate training or for when you are away, chances are you won’t be letting your pup chew and play with it when you are home.
And since, like babies, puppies go through teething stages, you will need something safe and healthy to help satisfy your Labrador Retriever’s urge to chew, making chew toys super important.
Enter the Nylabone Puppy Starter Pack. These flavored chew toys come both textured and regular to help get your pup (and your furniture) through the teething stage safely.
7. SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy
It’s quite common for young puppies to suffer from separation anxiety in the first few weeks of transitioning into a new home, especially when coming from a breeder. It’s easy to see why when you consider that your new puppy has just left the safety and comfort of his mother and his brothers and sisters.
That’s why I always suggest getting a cuddly, plush companion for your puppy along with the essential chew toys, squeaky balls, and bones.
Cuddly toys like the Smart PetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy above can help your new Labrador puppy adjust to sleeping on his own, assist in crate training, and may even help alleviate anxieties including noise phobias and separation anxiety.
8. ANWA Dog Bed And Crate Pad
You are going to need some bedding for your new Labrador puppy, and that’s why I love this ANWA machine washable dog bed that doubles as a crate pad.
Because puppies will be puppies, their dog bed will probably get a little dirty, so if you don’t get this brand, make sure you are getting a dog bed that is fully washable and durable for those sharp puppy teeth!
You should also look for a puppy bed that supports growing puppy bodies and protects your Lab’s growing joints.
9. Luciphia Fleece Super Soft Puppy Blankets
Like babies, your Labrador Retriever puppy is going to want to feel snuggly and warm during naps and at bedtime. Puppy blankets are a must and can be used for multiple purposes in your home for your pup.
My favorite puppy blankets are blankets that are specially made for dogs, like the Luciphia fleece blankets above.
While you can use any blankets on hand, blankets that are specially made for dogs are usually a bit more durable, easier to wash, and have been made with quality and safe material for your pooch.
Pet blankets are essential for any puppy or dog owner as you can use them as security blankets to help ease separation anxiety, bring them along with you to the vet or during car rides, cover your car seats during travel, or even toss your pet’s blanket on a particular spot on the couch to help him learn where he can lay.
Puppy blankets just make it easy to always a comfy place for your puppy to rest his head no matter where you are.
10. The CHUCKIT! Ultra Squeaker Ball
Dogs love squeaky toys and that is why the CHUCKIT! Ultra Squeaker Ball is an absolute favorite in my house and with my clients. I especially love using this toy for puppies who are just getting the hang of playing fetch.
Anyone with a high-energy dog will tell you that fetch is the best game to play with a dog who needs loads of exercise and when walks or jogs aren’t enough to calm them down.
For puppies, picking up on how to play fetch can be tough. Balls that squeak or make noise when thrown help to make the game more exciting and help encourage young pups to chase whatever is making that high pitched sound!
Leashes, Harnesses, and Collars
Collars, leashes, and harnesses are important tools to help socialize your puppy.
Getting your puppy used to wearing a leash, harness, and collar is an important step towards socializing them.
So even though your Labrador puppy will outgrow his harness and collar quickly, I still suggest investing in these items.
I also highly recommend using a harness instead of attaching your puppy’s leash to his collar, as young puppy’s tracheas are fragile and yanking on them can result in tracheal collapse or other injuries.
Here are five of my favorite leash, harness, and collar products for Labrador Retriever puppies.
11. Copatchy No Pull Reflective Adjustable Puppy Harness
It may be a little while before your new Labrador puppy is ready for full-blown walks, but it’s never too early to start getting him used to leashes and harnesses.
Since your puppy is going to eventually outgrow his puppy harness, I would suggest buying something that is not too expensive but is still made of high-quality material and doesn’t pull on your puppy’s neck or throat.
As I mentioned above, puppies are especially fragile so steer clear of attaching a leash to their collar and try to help them adjust to wearing a harness that is comfortable.
The harness above is made with soft mesh material and is a no-pull harness, meaning it doesn’t apply pressure directly to your puppy’s throat.
12. Puppia Authentic RIteFit Puppy Harness With Adjustable Neck
Puppia is another brand I love and have used in the past. What I like about this harness is that it is adjustable so you can use it a bit longer as your puppy grows.
Like the Copatchy harness above, the Puppia RiteFit puppy harness is made with spongy material and is specially designed not to put pressure on your dog’s throat.
13. BAAPET 5 FT Reflective Rope Dog Leash
While you are going to need to get different harnesses and collars based on how much your Labrador Retriever puppy grows, investing in a good, high-quality leash can mean you get to keep said leash for at least a few years.
The BAAPET 5 Ft Rope Leash is one of my favorite products for larger dogs. It’s made with climbing rope so it’s ultra strong, but it’s also made with your comfort in mind seeing as it has a padded handle.
Best of all it is the perfect length (five feet) for puppy training and is a leash your Lab puppy can take with him into adulthood.
14. Bolux 5ft & 3 ft Puppy Training Leash
Since a lot of your initial “walks” with your puppy are going to include tons of training, I highly recommend a leash like the Bolux puppy training leash.
It is built like a standard leash, but it offers you control over how far away your puppy can get. This is excellent for puppy parents who live in busy neighborhoods or who are working with a puppy who likes to wander.
15. Blueberry Pet Solid Color Puppy Collars
Just like with your puppy’s first harness, his first collar is going to be temporary. While he may outgrow his collar quickly, it’s still important to help acclimate him to wearing one as soon as possible.
Puppyhood is an important time for socialization and it’s helpful to get your puppy used to wearing collars, harnesses, and leashes during his puppy days to help him with leash training activities in the future.
For this reason, you probably don’t want to invest too much in a collar but you should still get a collar that is made of high quality and is fitted properly.
Large Breed Puppy Play Pens, Gates And Crates
Lab puppies are playful and curious and can’t be left free-range until they are trained.
Large breed puppies like Labrador Retrievers require crates that grow with them. It’s important not to put your Lab puppy in a crate that is too big and it’s also important not to put him in a crate that is too small.
This is why I love crates that come with dividers so that they can grow with your Lab puppy.
I also recommend playpens, as Labrador puppies are notorious for being very active and energetic. Lab puppies are also incredibly curious and tend to chew a lot in their first few months, which is why indoor dog gates will also be an important part of puppy proofing your home.
Take a look at some of my favorite puppy-proofing products below.
16. Midwest Foldable Metal Playpen and Exercise Pen
Every puppy needs a playpen, especially during their potty training and teething days. Nobody likes cleaning up potty accidents. Of course, no one wants a big, bulky pen that takes up half of their home either!
That’s why I love the Midwest Foldable Metal Playpen for Labrador Puppies. It’s easy to store for the times you don’t need it and it’s portable, meaning you can use it both inside and outside.
I also love that the pen is big enough for puppies to grow into and allows them to learn how to explore a space larger than their crate while keeping them and your home safe from their curiosity.
17. Petmate Precision Pet 2 Door Great Crate
Every puppy needs a puppy crate, whether for travel, company, or crate training. And since crate training is such an important part of puppyhood and actually helps your puppy adjust to being alone and feeling secure, we recommend investing in a good, high quality crate you can use for years.
I love crates like the Petmate Precision Pet 2 Door Great Crate listed above. It has two separate doors for entrance and exit and it comes with a divider so it can be adjusted to the size of your dog as he grows.
Just remember to leave your pup inside his crate with a KONG and some bedding so he is comfortable, and remember that puppies who are younger than six months old should not stay in their crates for longer than four hours.
And of course, don’t use your puppy’s crate as a tool for punishment. It’s very important that he sees his crate as a safe space and enjoys being inside of it.
18. Midwest Folding Single Door Puppy Crate
I also love puppy crates that are easy to store and fold away. For those of you who plan to leave your puppy out and about while you are gone (and after he is trained, of course), then a crate that folds may be your best bet.
The MidWest Foldable Dog Crate posted above is one such crate that is not only made well, but also stores well.
Like most crates ideal for Labrador puppies, this crate also comes with a divider so it can grow with your dog.
19. Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate
Until your puppy is fully trained, puppy-proofing your home is going to be a must. Along with crates and puppy playpens, you also might consider getting a gate to keep your puppy from entering places in your home that may pose a risk to him.
Many of my clients keep gates up in their kitchen entryway, or gate their living rooms where puppies are tempted to chew on wood furniture.
One of the most common gates for puppies is the Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate listed above. I have used this gate a number of times and love that it is easy to install and remove, it doesn’t damage walls, and it is easy to open and close.
20. Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate
For those of you worried about installing something or accidentally damaging walls or paint, there are always free-standing gate options, like the Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate.
I do like the way these gates look and the simplicity of them, however, they are not always the most secure and may not stand up to a strong and curious puppy.
These gates are also not ideal for leaving puppies unsupervised as they can sometimes find ways to knock them down.
Puppy Grooming Essentials
Keeping your puppy looking dapper isn’t just about vanity!
Grooming your Labrador puppy early on not only helps to socialize him and prepare him for a life of vet visits, groomer visits, and physical contact with people, but it also helps to keep him clean and healthy.
Like babies, puppies are more sensitive to certain products and require products that are specifically designed to be gentle on their sensitive skin and fur.
Be selective of the shampoos, dog brushes, and other grooming products you pick for your Labrador puppy and make sure you always use high-quality products.
Some of the products I recommend most for grooming a Labrador puppy are listed below.
21. Pet Care Sciences Puppy Shampoo
Labrador puppies don’t need to be bathed often, but they will need bathing from time to time. Luckily, most Labs enjoy bath time, but it’s still important to make their first experience with bathtime fun so as to make the process easier for you both.
It’s also important to use the right products.
Puppy fur and skin is different than adult dog fur and skin, so your Labrador puppy is going to need shampoo made just for him.
I love the Pet Care Sciences puppy shampoo brand since it is made with natural ingredients, is tear free, smells great, and supports the natural oils of your puppy’s fur and skin.
It also smells great, which is an added bonus!
22. Pet MD – Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes
Dogs with long, floppy ears are more susceptible to getting ear mites, ear infections, and a buildup of yeast, wax, moisture, and debris in their ears.
Keeping your Labrador puppy’s ears clean is an important part of grooming to keep him healthy.
There are a variety of ear cleaner products on the market to help keep your dog’s ears clean, but with puppies, it’s best to keep things simple.
Using ear wipes that are already medicated and specifically formulated for doggy ears is going to help you quickly and effectively clean your puppy’s ears. One brand I recommend is the Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes posted above.
These wipes are not only effective but soothing as they are made with Aloe and Eucalyptus.
23. BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper With Safety Guard
Puppies have sharp little claws, but that’s not the only reason early nail clipping is important.
Getting your Labrador Retriever puppy used to having his paws played with and his nails trimmed early on is a vital part of socializing him and getting him prepared for going to the veterinarian and the groomer.
Since I have personally (and obviously accidentally) clipped my own dog’s nails too short in the past, I now only use dog nail clippers with safety guards, like the BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper above.
You can also use a nail grinder, although the process takes a bit longer and can prove a bit more difficult with dogs who squirm.
24. Friends Forever Dual Side 2 in 1 Pet Grooming Combo Brush
Even though your Labrador Puppy won’t need extensive brushing right away, it’s still a good idea to help get him accustomed to being brushed and groomed often.
Labrador Retrievers have double-layer coats that shed often and will require brushing at least a few times a week, especially during shedding season.
The Friends Forever Dual Sided 2 in 1 Pet Grooming Brush posted above can be used as a beginner tool for your puppy. Best of all, you can continue to use this brush as your puppy gets older for all of his brushing needs.
25. Arm & Hammer Dog Dental Care Control Kit For Puppies
Staying on top of your dog’s oral care is an important part of being a pet owner. Not only will it help your Labrador Retriever puppy grow into a happy and healthy adult dog, but it could also potentially save you thousands on vet bills down the road.
Taking good care of your puppy’s teeth doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you begin getting them accustomed to having their teeth brushed at an early age.
Arm & Hammer makes great dog products and in fact my favorite brand for pet dental care is Arm & Hammer. They make a dog toothpaste that is beef flavored that my dog loves and their kit comes with both a toothbrush and a finger brush to help make brushing your puppy’s teeth a little bit easier.
Welcoming Your New Labrador Retriever Puppy Home
More than anything else, your Labrador puppy needs your love.
Now that you are all prepared for your Labrador puppy, you are ready to welcome him home! Feeling festive? Why not throw him an adorable puppy shower or get your friends together for a super cute puppy photo opp?
But while puppy parenthood is super fun, it can also be hard at times. Remember that this is a transition for everyone, so be patient with your puppy and keep every first time experience as positive and fun for him as possible.
Positive reinforcement training methods work best when training Labrador puppies, as this is a breed who loves to please.
And enjoy him, because there is almost nothing on earth as fun and special as raising a Labrador Retriever puppy.
Madison Guthrie (also known as Sonny Mackenzi) is a pet care specialist and positive-reinforcement trainer who works most closely with anxious and reactive dogs. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Madison developed a love for animals at an early age and spent most of her childhood outdoors rescuing stray pets and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Along with animals, Madison also developed a love for writing and music. Over the past five years, she has worked to use her passions to help the pets and pet parents in her community build stronger bonds and live happier, healthier lives together. Currently, Madison lives in South Pasadena, California where she owns and operates Miss Madison LLC, a marketing company that focuses on helping privately owned veterinary establishments and pet care companies grow and thrive. She also works as a dog trainer at My Dog Spot, which is an award-winning pet care and training establishment in Pasadena, California.