If you own a Labrador, then you understand the importance of maintaining its general health. However, most pet owners hardly tell when the Labs have grown overweight, which later on affects the overall health of the dog.
Indeed, several signs will help you tell if he might need to drop a few pounds and several easy ways to help him lose weight as well. That’s why I have prepared 10 signs that will provide you with a clear picture of the state of your Labrador. This will help you maintain the weight of your dog efficiently for longevity.
Just like humans, dogs don’t grow overweight overnight. This is usually after a few bad feeding habits that promote weight growth. However, to prevent things from going too far, ensure that you do a regular check up on your Labrador.
But what are these signs that you should look for to tell if your Labrador is overweight or not?
1. Check its weight using a scale
The first instincts if you suspect your dog is overweight is getting your bathroom scale and weighing him immediately. Different breeds, however, have varying weight ratio. This means the results can easily deceive you by making you think he is lean or overweight when he is not. For reference, a make Labrador should average 72 pounds and a female one 64 pounds.
Getting the right chart for your dog from a veterinarian or online and doing the math will help you know if your dog is overweight or not. Also, ensure that you have the right general weight of your Labrador to know if you are on the right track.
You should keep in mind that a slight change in the dog’s normal diet can have a greater impact, so measure his weight first before changing his diet. Also, consult your veterinarian before changing to anything too radically.
2. Observing the Ribs
The best indicator of whether you Labrador is overweight or not is the rib test. Run your hands around the dog’s flanks and abdomen. If the dog is at its ideal weight, you should be able to feel the ribs (but you should not see them or the dog would be too skinny). If you cannot feel them through, then the chances are that your dog has been accumulating weight over the years. This means you will have to take weight loss measures to secure the health of your dog. Please check our Labrador weight loss guide to guide you on how to do this safely.
3. Unseen Abdominal tuck
When looking at your Labrador his or her shape should be wider at the chest and thinner at the abdomen, you should be able to see the abdominal truck. If the body shape appears like a tube or worse, then this is a sign that your dog is overweight.
4. Unseen Waist
Most people don’t know how to observe the waist of their dogs and which position provides the right results. But this should be a piece of cake since you can clearly spot its shape from above. If your dog appears straight and thicker at the waist and not like an hourglass shape, then you should take measures to reduce the weight of your dog. However, if your dog is in the right shape, then you have nothing to fear. You can always confirm with your vet for more accurate results.
5. No drive for physical activities.
If your dog is used to playing around and behaving so energetic, but now he prefers the coziness of your couch and sleeping. Then the chances are that your dog is gradually becoming apathetic. Weight gains can keep your dog from being active, since carrying more weight can be more exhausting for your dog. So it will prefer to keep calm and relax other than run around chasing its tail. Check our blog on some fun indoor Labrador games that can help your Lab shed off some pounds.
6. Lack of stamina
Labradors are a very active breed of dogs. If you have one, then you can be certain you have a lot of playing to do. But if you observe that your dog finds it hard to do the things it is used to doing fully, then your dog has grown overweight. For instance, if you Labrador was used to playing more hours and running faster, but currently it plays for a few minutes and avoids running, you should check its weight. One thing about dogs is that they can gain a lot of weight within a short period of time, so don’t be surprised after one month if your dog is not the same.
7. What you feed your dog
Indeed, if you feed your dog foodstuffs with more calories, the chances are that they will gain some pounds.
This is why you should ensure before you take a product home, you have gone through the important factors like how much your dog should eat in a day, and the labels indicated on the package. Check our blogs on the best foods to feed your Labrador and the Labrador foods you should avoid.
Most people don’t measure their dog’s food properly even if they know how many calories are in the food, which may increase the dog’s weight with time.
Unless your Labrador is too warm or stressed, it should not pant with no reason. If you Labs start panting after walking a short distance, he or she may be overweight or extremely out of shape. You might start laying down strategies on how you can exercise the dog and slowly build back his or her stamina.
9. Digestion problems and constipation
If your dog is constantly having regular problems defecating and struggling with constipation, then obesity could be the major cause. Dogs taking more calories than what they burn in a day stand a chance of developing dangerous conditions, which affect the body’s ability to maintain itself. Some of the conditions include liver problems, diabetes, and even pancreatitis.
Monitor your dog keenly for more vivid results on the digestion problems, so that you can address them as soon as possible.
10. Taking your dog to a veterinarian
When you suspect that your dog is obese, you can take him to a veterinarian to prevent other complications like heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, and many more.
Most dog owners hardly acknowledge that their dogs are obese and continue feeding their dogs with calories, which endangers their health.
The veterinarian can also help determine your dog’s BCS and do a thorough physical examination (like listening to the heart and lungs) of your dog. This way, you can know if your dog is suffering from conditions related to weight gain.
The veterinarian can provide you with a weight loss plan that involves reducing caloric intake while increasing activity levels. He or she might also offer you recommendations on the type of feeds your dog should eat and how you can increase your dog’s life span.
Obesity is a significant problem in Labrador Retrievers, and it can cause serious disease, which worsens joint problems, cause digestive disorders, back pain, heart diseases, and many more. That’s why you should always keep an eye on your best friend to ensure that he or she is in great shape. Don’t give her food even when she looks at you with soulful eyes. You can engage her in games or give her a hug instead . She’ll feel even better. Learn more about Labradors on our blog.