Obesity: a danger for any dog, especially Labrador Retrievers!

Narrated from: Dog Nutrition

One of the main health problems of modern people is being overweight. Dietologists are all over the news, urging us to eat healthily.

However, it turns out that being overweight is a problem that man’s best friend shares as well. According to some studies, 25% of all dogs in the USA suffer from obesity. This is especially true for Labrador Retrievers. Labs are not only the most common breed in the States, but they are also naturally prone to obesity.

Weight disorders are extremely dangerous for dogs. The negative effects of overweight come in the future, but with dogs the future comes much faster than with humans. You see, a dog suffering from obesity will be prone to have high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory difficulties, diabetes mellitus, back and joint pain, hip dysplasia, heat intolerance and skin problems.

Quite an impressive list, isn’t it?

One might think that is just a doctor’s mumbo-jumbo. However, science confirms that lean Labradors live longer. Nestle Purina PetCare conducted a life-long study over a group of Labradors, and the results showed that Labs who don’t suffer from obesity live up to 15% longer than overweight dogs! That might be just a year or two, but in a dog’s timetable a year or two is quite a long period of time!

If your dog is obese, you should be able to notice it quite easily – a dog should weigh no more than 15 to 20% over the breed’s standard weight. A standard grown Labrador weighs about 30 to 60 kilograms (up to 42 for females) according to size. An obese dog’s abdominal area behind the ribs would be wider than the dog’s chest, which is not normal for Labradors. Another test for obesity is that when you touch the dog’s chest, you should be able to feel the ribcage without pushing.

So, if your Labrador is obese, you should apply a diet and some exercise; the best thing to do is to consult the vet. A different diet would be achieved by giving smaller amounts of food or introducing a new brand of dog food with fewer calories. However, a new brand should be introduced gradually, over 10 days, as a Lab’s stomach is quite sensitive.

If your dog is not obese, you should still be alarmed – the gaining of weight may have already begun. It is important to control your dog’s diet – provide healthy dog food, feed the dog several times during the day rather than providing only one huge meal, and most importantly DO NOT feed your Labrador with table scraps or any kind of human food.

You see, the main reason Labradors gain weight is because they are too lovable! Few people can resist’s a Lab’s hungry gaze and pleading whimper. However, these dogs are gluttonous. You must never allow a Labrador to manipulate you into giving him extra food!

Even if you do not feed scraps to your dog, you should check the nutritional value of the food you offer; always be suspicious of food supplements as well. Many vets would recommend vegetable oil as a food supplement because it is good for the skin, but you should be aware that veggie oils add a lot of extra calories to your dog’s diet, so you need to cut down on something else!

Last but not least, always find time to provide your canine companion with some much needed exercise, like playing with a ball, or fetch, or even just taking a longer walk in the park. It would be good for the dog, and it would be good for you too – as humans also tend to do better without any extra weight around!

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