There’s nothing like the joy of bringing home a new puppy, especially one as cute and beloved as a Labrador. Of course, any new dog owner will tell you that the good far outweighs the bad, but nobody can deny it’s a lot of work. First-time puppy owners may find it overwhelming, so it’s essential to have a good grasp of properly caring for your new puppy before they join the family.
An 8 week old Labrador puppy benefits most from a “play, sleep, eat, and poop” routine. As he explores his new home and meets new people, his behavior and personality will emerge. Your pup will need your help through appropriate training and socialization, proper nutrition, and timely vet visits.
To help you understand what to expect from your new Labrador puppy, I’ve put together this A-Z guide on their routines, behavior, and care needs, so you and your furry friend can have the best time of your life.
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What To Expect From an 8 Week Old Lab Puppy
The eight-week period is a crucial mark in your Labrador puppy’s life as that’s typically the time they will leave their mother and littermates to join a new permanent home and family.
But your lovely and lively Labrador puppy is still at the fear threshold at such a young age, despite his breed-specific outgoing nature.
With that in mind, here are eight things to expect from an 8-week-old Labrador puppy:
- Your eight-week-old Lab will sleep for most of the day.
- When he’s awake, expect a playful pup because play is your Lab puppy’s main daily activity.
- As with almost every breed, you should expect some signs of fearfulness as your puppy gets to know his new surroundings.
- Labs are very smart and eager to learn, so you should start with some basic commands as soon as possible.
- Expect your Lab pup to grow fond of you quickly and create a lasting bond.
- Labs are very food-oriented, and they grow rapidly, so you should expect lots of excitement around feeding time.
- Chances are your new puppy isn’t housetrained, so be ready to clean up any small messes inside.
- Expect an adventurous and curious pup, one that’s capable of snooping where he’s not allowed.
Although puppies sleep for most of the day, they can be quite the handful when they’re awake. But as long as you’re prepared for that, you should be able to handle it.
The main thing to remember is this: unless they’re 100% house-trained, they require 100% supervision. So don’t leave your eight-week-old puppy alone, even just for a few minutes, unless you know they’re safe and secure.
How To Care for an 8 Week Old Labrador Puppy
Caring for an 8-week-old Labrador puppy entails providing the necessary resources in all the areas that promote your dog’s welfare. These areas include:
- Feeding and nutrition – in most cases, it’s easiest (and advised) to keep feeding your puppy the same food brand and type they’re used to. For example, if they’ve been eating only wet food with lamb, they might not like dry food with salmon, and some puppies may even have sensitive tummies to new foods.
- Health and vet care – most puppies will come from reputable breeders with all their shots and documentation, but some don’t. So it’s essential to find a vet as soon as possible to ensure your pup is up-to-date and healthy.
- Training and socialization – puppies as young as eight weeks can easily begin to learn simple commands, such as sit and stay. Starting them young will help them to learn faster and solidify the kind of behavior you want them to continue. Similarly, the sooner you begin socializing, the better for you and your puppy.
- Exercise and play – puppies sleep a lot, but they’re also full of energy. With that in mind, you’ll need to ensure they get ample exercise and playtime. The more they play with you, the sooner they’ll learn how to do so appropriately (i.e., not bite).
- Sleep and rest – as much as you may want to spend every waking minute with your new Lab, you need to ensure they get plenty of sleep.
- Safety – as mentioned, puppies need almost constant supervision. So, be sure to keep them close or invest in a playpen or crate for when you need to leave them alone. Still, remember that they shouldn’t be left unattended for long periods.
Learn How To Take Care of a Puppy in This Video…
I know it may sound like a lot of information, but you’ll learn as you grow together. Let’s take a closer look at each aspect so you’ll know what to expect.
Feed Your 8 Week Old Labrador Puppy a Healthy Diet
Like all dogs, Lab puppies need to eat a healthy diet with the following six nutritional components:
- Energy foods
- Proteins and amino acids
- Fats and fatty acids
You must feed your Lab puppy with dog food specifically formulated for puppies. Doing this ensures that your pup receives the right amount of each nutrient for his age.
Remember that it’s safest to stick with a brand and type of food you know the puppy likes and can digest. But if you need to change the brand, do so slowly, over the course of a week.
Gradually add some of the new food into their bowl and take some of the old away. They should be eating the new food happily by the end of the week.
For more info on the best diet for a Labrador, this article has it covered.
If you’re unsure what to feed your pup, ask your veterinarian for recommendations on the best commercial dog food for your Lab.
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Feeding Routine for an 8 Week Lab Puppy
Your eight-week-old Lab puppy cannot eat large amounts of food in one go, as this will upset his stomach. Still, he needs plenty of food to keep his energy up so he can grow.
So instead of one to two big meals a day (which is normal for adult dogs), feed your Lab pup small meals during the day.
It’s best to start with four small meals on a strict routine every day. That may look like the following:
|First meal||7 am|
|Second meal||11 am|
|Third meal||2 pm|
|Fourth meal||5 pm|
You should follow this type of feeding schedule until your Lab puppy is 14 weeks old, after which you can adopt a two meal per day plan.
Don’t Give Your Puppy Too Many Treats
When your Lab puppy comes home at eight weeks, you should start basic obedience training. To motivate your pup, you’ll need treats to reward good behavior as part of positive reward-based training.
However, keep in mind that Labs are especially prone to overeating and obesity, so if you use treats, ensure you give them sparingly. In fact, a study in the UK listed Labrador Retrievers among the eight breeds most prone to being overweight. So your food-loving Lab puppy requires a bit of control.
One way to keep them from overeating treats is to portion out their food for the day and use that as their reward. In most cases, the puppy will respond just as enthusiastically to kibble.
Provide Your 8 Week Old Labrador Puppy With Plenty of Fresh Water
Your eight-week-old Labrador puppy needs to stay hydrated by drinking fresh, clean water throughout the day. Place a bowl of water in a location accessible to your puppy and supervise him to ensure he drinks enough but not too much.
Puppies at this age should drink between half and one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. So if your eight-week-old Lab is 12 lbs (5.44 kg), he should drink around 6-12 ounces (170-340 grams) of water per day.
Ensure Your 8 Week Old Lab Puppy Has Proper Vet Care
At eight weeks, your Lab puppy needs mainly preventative vet care in vaccines and deworming meds. This is an essential part of puppy care.
As mentioned, if you get your puppy from a reliable breeder (which should always be the case), the pup should have already started with his vaccinations, and the breeder should provide the vaccination records. Then, make an appointment with the vet for any vaccination follow-up.
Also, ensure your pup stays on worm preventative medication as puppies are more prone than adult dogs to worm infection. Sometimes puppies are also born with certain types of worms from an infected mother, especially roundworms and hookworms, where mother-to-puppy transmission is a significant mode of spreading.
Be especially sure that your Lab puppy gets the heartworm vaccination. Heartworm is a dangerous and potentially fatal disease, and once your dog is infected, the cure is expensive and extremely harsh on your dog.
Provide Appropriate Training for Your 8 Week Old Lab Puppy
Training your puppy is an effective way to create an ideal human-dog coexistence. A trained dog will learn how to behave in and outside the home and around other humans and pets.
I have a full beginner guide on how to train an 8 week old Labrador puppy, but in a nutshell, there are three training areas you should focus on in terms of pet training: housebreaking, obedience, and socialization.
Housebreak Your 8-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
Housebreaking means training your puppy to eliminate outdoors or at a designated location inside the home instead of doing it anywhere and at any time.
Puppies need frequent bathroom breaks because their system is not yet mature enough to hold it for long. Luckily you can take advantage of that to teach your dog to always use the same spot.
Pay attention to the signs your puppy gives when they need to ease themselves, like circling, whining, or sniffing their groin. You can also go by your puppy’s natural elimination rhythms.
Puppies naturally need to eliminate at these times:
- First thing after waking up in the morning.
- Last thing before retiring at night.
- After every meal.
- After drinking plenty of water.
- Upon waking up from a nap.
- During or after play or exercise.
- When they wake up during the night.
Pro-tip: Check out this article for more info, When Are Labs Potty Trained? How to Potty Train a Lab
Note that crate training is also an essential part of housebreaking because dogs don’t usually soil their space and will hold it until they are let out.
Teach Your 8-Week-Old Lab Puppy Basic Obedience Commands
Your Lab puppy should have developed enough to learn basic commands at eight weeks. Their brain, at this point, is like a sponge that will easily absorb new info. Also, teaching these commands early will make living with you easier for your dog as he will know what is expected of him.
Teach your Lab puppy to sit, lay down, stay, leave, and other basic commands that are foundational for more advanced training later.
Check out this article for my complete guide on training commands, The Ultimate Labrador Training Commands Guide.
Remember to use only positive reinforcement training approaches and reward your puppy with verbal praise, positive gesture cues, and treats. If you feel you can’t complete the task, seek the services of a professional to train your Lab puppy.
Check Out This Cool Video on The First Week of Labrador Puppy Training…
Socialize Your 8 Week Old Labrador Puppy Appropriately
Socializing your eight-week-old Labrador puppy means exposing him to varied social realities, including:
- Other dogs, pets, and animals
- Different sounds, sights, and smells
You’ll need to bring your young pup to dog parks (but always keep him on a leash), take him for walks, or invite people to your home, even with their pets. Exposure to these realities will help your Lab puppy adjust fast and nurture proper social behavior.
In addition, exposure will preempt signs of poor puppy socialization, like aggression and fear around people and other animals.
Provide Your 8 Week Old Lab With Enough Exercise and Playtime
While the amount of exercise your puppy needs will vary depending on the breed and how well your puppy is coping, some activity is vital for every puppy’s proper physical growth.
In general, your eight-week-old Labrador puppy should have two 10-minute sessions of exercise daily. If you’re unsure, follow this rule: puppies need five minutes of exercise for every month of age, twice a day.
In addition, keep the following in mind:
- Keep exercise sessions short in the beginning and allow your puppy to adapt gradually.
- Playtime counts as exercise, so be careful not to over-exercise your Lab puppy.
- Train your puppy to walk on a leash in your home or yard before bringing him for walks, and ensure the leash is comfortable on your pup’s neck. Better still, use a harness such as the Walk Your Dog With Love No-Pull Harness to avoid pressure on your young pup’s neck and lead him from the front. This is the harness I use.
- Allow your pup spontaneous rest moments between play.
- When exercising your puppy, avoid taking him for walks during the coldest or hottest times of the day.
- Avoid slippery or rough surfaces on your walks, including concrete which can feel sore on your pup’s little paws after a while.
- Consult your puppy’s vet if your Labrador puppy shows signs of lameness or extreme fatigue after a bit of exercise.
Ensure Your 8 Week Old Labrador Puppy Is Safe
Safety is a crucial element of care for your Labrador puppy, both at home and outside the home.
There are several ways to ensure your eight-week-old Labrador puppy is always safe, including ample supervision and choosing the right kind of toy.
Puppy Proof Your Home Before Bringing Your Lab Puppy
Puppies at eight weeks are curious and will sniff, lick, and eat anything around them, risking poisoning. They might also try to get away on an exploratory walk if the door is left open.
To avoid these dangers, puppy-proofing your home before getting your eight-week-old Lab puppy is vital. Follow these guidelines to ensure your Lab puppy is safe once he gets home:
- Install baby gates to stop your puppy from going into rooms or areas he’s not allowed.
- Keep cleaning products, medications, and other chemicals out of your puppy’s reach.
- Educate yourself on the dangers of certain foods and ensure you don’t leave them accessible. Read more here, What Foods are Poisonous to Labradors?
- Puppies explore their new world with their mouths, so don’t leave small objects that your puppy could swallow lying around the house.
- Unplug power cords and put them away when not in use, as your puppy could try chewing on them.
Remember that your puppy is young and still learning. So, if he chews your shoes because you left them out, that’s not his fault. As a general rule of thumb, put anything away that you don’t want them to get their little teeth into.
Microchip Your Labrador Puppy
Even if you think you don’t need it, you should always microchip your pup. It is also a legal requirement in some countries, such as the UK, and it may be required when traveling.
A study by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine found that 73% of stray dogs who entered a shelter with a microchip were found by their owners.
While name tags are an excellent way to identify a dog, they can be easily removed or get lost, which means you are better off microchipping your Lab puppy, or even better, do both.
Choose Safe Play Toys for Your 8-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
Like us, eight-week-old puppies still have their baby teeth which they gradually lose to make room for their adult teeth. So, expect a lot of chewing and nipping during this time. Like humans, teething can be uncomfortable, and chewing is their only way to relieve some of that pain.
To that end, ensure your Lab puppy has the right chewing toys to avoid damaging teeth or accidentally swallowing toy pieces. I recommend the KONG Puppy Toy from Amazon. This toy is great for teething pups, doubles as a fetch toy, and is also a treat-dispensing toy where you can stuff it with peanut butter or other goodies.
If proper toys are not provided, your Lab puppy will chew any available object in the house, such as table legs, shoes, remotes, or your hands.
Provide Your 8 Week Old Lab With Plenty of Rest
As indicated earlier, eight-week-old Lab puppies sleep away most of the day. As such, they need proper resources for resting and sleeping. That includes the time to do so and a place where they will feel safe in.
Try a Cozy Bed
Although some dogs – especially those with thicker coats – prefer to sleep on the cool floor, it’s always worth trying a comfy bed.
Since Lab puppies grow quickly, you’ll want to find something big enough to keep your pup comfy for longer, such as a 4 by 4 feet bed (1.2m by 1.2m), which should last until they’re grown.
Consider the MidWest Homes for Pets Ombre Dog Bed from Amazon. This synthetic dog bed has an ultra-soft feel and provides maximum comfort for your Lab. You can use it in the crate or as a stand-alone bed, and it comes in a few different styles and sizes.
I like this bed due to its 3.5″ depth which will protect your pup’s growing joints. It’s a great started bed and will look good in any home. Ensure the bed is in a location with no draft and where your puppy does not get any disturbance when resting.
Get Your Lab Puppy a Suitable Crate
A crate or kennel is your Labrador’s exclusive place of rest, comfort from unpleasant experiences, and his privacy den. Of course, you’ll need to do some crate training first if you choose this method.
If you put your puppy straight into the crate without helping them adjust, it may react poorly.
When buying a kennel, the best approach is to buy one that your pup can use as an adult dog, which for a Lab would be around 42 inches (106.68 cm).
Just be sure to get a crate with dividers so you can make the space smaller for your puppy. If you put a small pup in a large crate, chances are he’ll use the empty space as a bathroom.
I like the Midwest Homes for Pets iCrate from Amazon. You can choose between single or double doors, and it comes with a free divider panel and includes an easy-wipe tray, so you’ve nothing else to buy.
Caring for an 8 Week Old Labrador Puppy FAQs
To sum up my A-Z guide on caring for an eight-week-old Labrador puppy, here are four related questions that new puppy owners often ask:
How Far Can an 8 Week Old Lab Puppy Walk?
An 8-week-old Lab puppy can only walk for approximately 5-10 minutes at a time. In most cases, young puppies will not walk but rather jump around and play. Still, keep in mind that they do not need long exercise sessions. Instead, keep playtimes short and allow for lots of rest.
Remember that puppies should only walk about five minutes for every month of age, twice a day. That means at two months old, they shouldn’t be out for more than ten minutes. At three months, you can stretch it to 15 minutes.
Overwalking your Lab puppy can cause joint and bone issues and should be avoided.
How Much Should I Feed My 8 Week Old Lab Puppy?
If you’re wondering how much to feed your puppy, it depends on the weight of the breed in adulthood. As such, a dog from a larger breed will need more food as a puppy than a smaller breed.
An 8-week-old Lab puppy should be fed three to four meals of no more than 2-3 cups a day. The amount you feed your puppy will depend on his size and weight. For example, if your puppy is between 10-20 lbs (4.5-9 kg), he should eat approximately ¼ cup (30-35 grams) of food four times a day.
These measurements can vary with each dog food product, as different manufacturers have varying ingredients, so ensure you check the packaging first.
How Much Do 8 Week Old Lab Puppies Sleep?
Eight week old Lab puppies sleep for approximately 18 to 20 hours a day. This much sleep is crucial for the healthy growth and development of the puppy’s central nervous system, physical muscles, and immune system.
Besides, a puppy spends a lot of energy on the day’s activities and needs plenty of sleep to recuperate.
How Often Should an 8 Week Old Lab Puppy Pee?
An 8 week old Lab should pee as soon as they wake up, after eating and drinking, after waking up from a nap, during or after a session of play or exercise, just before going to bed at night, and when they awake during the night.
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Bringing a puppy into your home is a wonderful experience, but there are many things to keep in mind if you want them to be healthy, well-behaved, and happy.
Overfeeding can be a huge issue with Lab puppies if you feed them calorific treats on top of their food. So, remember, you can use their daily food allowance instead.
Also, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that they need constant attention and supervision. Otherwise, they might get into something that could do them harm.