Your 3-year-old Labrador is no longer a puppy, and I’m sure you’ve noticed changes in their behavior and size over the years. But what else should you expect from your 3-year-old Labrador, and what do you need to know to keep your 3-year-old Labrador happy and healthy?
How do I take care of a 3-year-old Labrador Retriever?
A 3-year-old Labrador Retriever is fully grown and living its best life in its prime. It is important to maintain their health, sleep, and dietary habits while continuing their exercise and loving shared moments.
This time is meant to be enjoyed as their thirst for adventure and a deep connection with those they love continues!
A 3-year-old Labrador Retriever has long since moved from the puppy stage into a mature adult dog. While their zest for life will still have Labrador Retrievers going for a long time in their day, they are capable of having some calm moments too.
While they have settled into adulthood, there are still many things to know about a 3-year-old Labrador Retriever. Read along to discover what this age milestone brings.
3-Year-Old Labrador Retriever – What You Need to Know
Labrador Retrievers will be calmer at this stage of life. If they have been with a family for a long time, they will have settled into a comfortable life full of routine and spontaneous adventures.
As a family dog, they have liked adopted the position of watchful guard dog with their friendly yet reserved personality. At this point, they will share a very special bond with at least one family member.
They will also have a strong, loving connection with other family members and enjoy creating and participating in many family adventures inside and out.
Since they were born with a need for a lot of attention, they will continue to need this same amount of love, affection, and inclusion in their families’ daily life. Their need for attention, connection, and to be a part of the fun won’t stop at any point in their lives.
Bad habits like chewing, barking, and digging holes in the yard should have long since left, as a Labrador probably has many other things to do. Since they will always need a lot of attention and channel their abundant energy, bad habits can always come back if left unchecked.
Keeping a Labrador Retriever busy and active at this and every age into their senior years will ensure they don’t get into and find trouble.
It’s a good idea to continue reviewing training and ensuring they have plenty of social moments with others outside the home. A dog park is a great place to start if their personality allows it.
Labs can be jealous by nature, and at this point, they should have this under control. At 3 years old, it can still pop up here and there, and if it does, a parent can easily remind them of their training and redirect their energy.
Separation Anxiety is common in this dog breed since they require a strong, deeply connected bond with their loved ones. Hopefully, they have a home where their needs are considered.
At this age, separation anxiety can still be an issue if not dealt with and managed by a caring and compassionate family member who can respond to their needs. This issue has no age range and doesn’t simply fade away when a Labrador Retriever moves from one age group to another.
Thankfully it’s an issue that’s treatable with lifestyle and home life modifications that benefit the health and wellness of the Labrador Retriever. However, many people may assume it’s only a behavior seen in puppies.
Labrador Retrievers can suffer this issue throughout their lives as it’s linked to their breed background. Therefore those who adopt a Labrador Retriever should be aware of this need and respond appropriately.
As a mature adult dog, a 3-year-old Labrador Retriever will continue to be into everything, which means it will need grooming. They will need regular brushing and baths to keep them from shedding hair everywhere.
This dog breed is notorious for shedding a lot due to its double-layer fur coat. They will shed more during certain seasons, like Spring and Autumn, and during this time, they will need to be groomed more often than usual.
It is hoped that a 3-year-old Labrador has already been trained in the puppy phase and every day after is a reminder and review of the skills they learned. If not, there is still time to train them at 3 years old.
If they have been trained, they can learn many other things that could be enjoyable and fun for the whole family, like tricks. At this age, they have more patience and are calmer, both assets for training or teaching them new skills.
These dogs make great service dogs, meaning they can learn just about any skill with some creative training and some routine. The possibilities are endless, and at 3 years old, it’s the perfect time to teach them something interesting and exciting.
Diet, Exercise, and Sleep
At this stage of a Labrador’s life, it’s all about maintenance, and their diet should continue to be nutrient-dense and protein filled.
They should get anywhere from 2-4 cups of food per day unless they are over 100 pounds; then, it can be closer to 5 cups. Giving dog food 2 times per day is good, with healthy treats in between.
If they seem hungrier in one day, offering extra food is not bad. Labrador Retrievers can overeat and suffer tummy troubles and weight gain from it. Gauging their activity levels when deciding to feed them can help with this issue.
Exercise should be about an hour or more per day unless they are couch potatoes. The more exercise, the better, unless they have existing health issues.
Exercise promotes calmness and peace at the day’s end because they will be tired. The trick is to provide exercise that exhausts them physically and mentally, and diversity is key to exhausting them and activities that exhaust them physically and mentally.
Regarding sleep, 3-year-old Labrador Retrievers will need anywhere from 8-14 hours per day based on how much activity and exercise they’ve had in the day. As adult pets, they can regulate and manage their sleep habits unless there are many disruptions in the home.