The best way to find a healthy Labrador puppy is to buy the dog from a reputable breeder. New owners should make sure the parents have been tested for genetic problems common to the breed.
Labradors often suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, so the parents should have their hips and elbows evaluated by a professional organization such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Labradors can also have a genetic eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy. This disease can cause blindness, so the puppy's parents should have clearance from a veterinary ophthalmologist. Breeders that don't do thorough health testing have a high chance of producing unhealthy puppies.
New owners should also inspect the puppy for health problems. Excessive discharge from the nose or eyes, flaky or irritated skin, patchy coat quality and coughing or wheezing are common symptoms of health problems. A responsible breeder should have written health records documenting the puppy's history.
New owners should also inspect the breeder's premises for cleanliness. Puppies that are forced to live in dirty surroundings or are unable to move around safely and comfortably are more likely to develop health problems. Some mess is to be expected since the puppies are not yet housebroken, but this should be cleaned up regularly.