Like humans, dogs have a hard time losing weight. The situation gets worse as they grow and usher in their sunset years. Once you pass the denial stage and admit that your Lab is overweight, you are in for a new adventure.
Reversing obesity in your Lab is possible. Before you start grumbling upon what a hard job awaits, read on to get a well-tried and tested guide.
- Visit the Vet for a checkup
- Find out the best diet for your dog
- Add on the protein and decrease the carbohydrates
- Add healthy fiber in the diet
- Reduce your dog’s food parts
- Weigh your entire dog’s food
- Adjust the dog’s feeding times
- Be keen on the treats you give
- Work on an exercise routine
- Make the weight loss program a whole family affair
- Weigh your dog to check the progress
Visit the Vet for a checkup
Before kick-starting any weight loss program for your overweight Lab, you need a checkup.
In the same way, you should not self medicate you shouldn’t self diagnose your Lab. Obese dogs are prone to diseases like diabetes and joint issues. High blood pressure is also a nagging pain for many. Your Vet will be able to determine which program is best as they recommend one based on your dog’s medical report. Before getting a clean bill of health, your Vet will need to check for hypothyroidism. This is to determine whether it is a possible predisposing factor to the weight gain in your Lab.
Find out the best diet for your dog
Once you get home from your vet trip, it’s time to structure a proper dog diet. You should note that immediate diet changes can cause severe responses from your dog. To avoid this, everything must transition in a step by step basis.
A proper way to start is beginning to prepare homemade meals. The comfort in this comes in your ability to do your own rationing as per the Vet’s advice. Using lean meats and green vegetables in the place of grains and starches works well. Oftentimes, manufactured food may not pay attention to a dog in a diet that has special needs.
Increase the protein intake and reduce the carbohydrates
When looking to transform your Lab from fat to fit, say goodbye to cabs. Reducing its carbohydrate intake and increasing protein intake ensures lean muscle development. Labs should thrive with high protein, moderate fats with little to no carbohydrates. Even dogs on a weight loss program need to reduce their calorie intake. Take extra caution when picking the dog foods on the shelves. Reading through the contents can save your dog loads of kilos.
Add healthy fiber in the diet
Your Lab requires fiber for better digestion. Grains are a good source of fiber, which makes them a perfect pick. They contain high protein levels and reduced calories. Also, as you ensure a healthy fiber diet, give your Lab good fats as well. Fish, coconut, and olive oil are a good example of suitable good fats for your dog. Soft gels are a perfect alternative too. Giving it food rich in animal fat from meat trimmings can be deadly. In the same breath, keep chips, bacon, and chicken skin away from your dog. Among the foods to avoid giving a Labrador retriever, bad fats affect their weight the most.
Reduce your dog’s portions
You need to reduce your Lab’s portions to save its life. Labs can be greedy dogs, and they don’t seem to get full. For this reason, you will find them chewing on this and that, as long as it is edible! Help your dog by cutting its portions and increasing its water intake.
Remember to also give it the food in smaller portions many times. Your dog will feel more satisfied and think they are eating a lot. Use a smart tip of freezing its wet food in a kong then give it. Making it work for its food using some food dispensing toys is fun. It’s a creative way to cut down on its portions without traumatizing the dog. It may grumble a lot at first but will understand if you become consistent.
Weigh your entire dog’s food
It may be time to dust off that kitchen scale you’ve had stacked up in your pantry for so long. Measuring the amount of food you will be giving your Lab is the new rule in town. This initiative can be sure cumbersome but rewarding in the end. You will be able to track the amount of food you give at a specific time and predict how much your dog will consume. Every potion you give your pooch should go up the scale before it reaches its mouth.
Adjust the dog’s feeding time
Your overweight Lab has one problem, eating any time and every time. Put an end to this self-destructive freedom by having a strict feeding time schedule. Most adult dogs can go well with two meals a day with a few treats here and there. Your Lab will appreciate the new system of order and learn to respect its feeding schedule. In no time, you will displace any excess bitings you would give it that only lead to weight build-up.
Be keen on the treats you give
If you put the number and size of the treats you give your dog under a microscope, you will see why it’s so huge. Rewarding your Lab is not what we preach against. To avoid packing on the pounds, reduce the dog treats, and cut them into smaller sizes. Dogs only care about the number of treats they get. Treat this as a plus by also ensuring they are low in calories. You can get creative and make some homemade treats. Some of the ingredients to use can be sweet potatoes, carrots, and low-fat organ meats like liver and hearts. Avoid giving your lab candy or chocolate as it is fatal.
Work on an exercise routine
No matter how fuelled up you are in this weight loss program, you can’t put your dog on hours of running. Exercise has to be gradual. Enroll your Lab in an exercise routine that is not too strenuous. Be sure to increase the intensity as you go. A walk here, a run there will shed the excess weight away.
Make the weight loss a family affair
Let the whole family be on board that you are helping to trim up your dog. It does not help your dog if given breakfast here and snacks there. Let everyone be on the same page.
Weigh your dog to check its progress
Get to the scales again and check how far you’ve come along. Compare it with your goals and determine whether to continue or not.
With all said and done, having a fit Labrador retriever is a joy to all. Remember, gaining weight can happen within a short period of time. Maintaining a fit build requires consistency and discipline. You will now have to adapt to a new lifestyle so that to maintain a balanced dog body. Everyone, including your Lab, will love it. Find out more about Labrador retrievers in our blog.