Canine obesity is not all fun and games for your Labrador retriever. Simple tasks like climbing into the car can be a struggle. Worse still, it can be predisposing your pooch to many avoidable diseases. Diabetes and high blood pressure bother not only humans but also overweight dogs.
The reason why Labrador retrievers gain weight fast has finally been cracked. In this blog, we tell you why these friendly dogs seem to tip the scales all the time.
- They are poor at satisfying their hunger cravings
- Labs eat very fast
- Prone to chronic diseases that could lead to obesity
- Little to no exercise as they age
- Medical procedures like castration
- Excess protein and fats in their dog food
Poor skills in cravings management
If you are new at the dog keeping game, your Labrador is bound to surprise you by the amount of food it can eat. This dog breed is big no doubt. On average, an adult male lab weighs 5llbs more than their female counterparts. They can clock 80llbs and can still add on in excess. They eat anything and everything at any time. Woe unto you if you offer many treats in the form of food rather than play during your fun times. Having children that throw around food to your Lab will not ease things either. Your dog will add more onto their palate.
Labs have lots of cravings. If not put under a strict diet and feeding schedule, you will be in for a rude shock. Call it greedy, but your pooch will consume and consume, building more fat around its body. You can check on how to feed your Labrador retriever to make wise diet choices. The fact that lab owners swear by is giving more fiber-filled foods to make the dog fuller than usual.
Labrador retrievers eat very fast
This dog breed sweeps its dog food bowl in a blink. If you serve yourself and the Lab at the same time, it will finish and wag its tail at you. You guessed it, begging for more. Even if you know too well the foods to avoid, their table manners will still be a new thing to understand. Wrapping your head around this, labs are notorious in swallowing food. You will spot them busy skipping on the chewing part, only to gulp in their dog food.
You need to give your Labrador retriever kibble that helps to engage chewing. Choosing to offer food that is solid rather than semi-solid can go a long way in training it to chew its meals. Slow feeding will ensure a reduction in obesity risk.
Labs are prone to chronic diseases that can lead to obesity
You are not the only one who finds comfort in food during your sick days. If you are guilty of indulging in excess to that pack of chips, so can your dog when unwell. Labs are in a high predisposition to suffering from hypothyroidism. If you have not taken your Lab for some hormonal shots, this disease can sweep your big friend to the ground. Also known as Cushing’s disease, it affects breeds like Doberman’s pinschers and Labradors.
Next time you notice symptoms like low mood, hair loss, or lethargy, get your Lab on the scales. Chances are you will find it is overweight. Get to the vet with the suspicion of possible hypothyroidism infection.
Little to no exercise as they age
It’s a fact. When in the puppy stage, you tend to take your Lab for exercise more. They jump more, demand more and all over the place. You can fail in saying no to a hyperactive puppy. With time, the fun games you can play indoors with your dog, or even walks become a challenge. In most cases, you either skip this because of the dog’s own inactivity or your own reasons. The thing is, you won’t be able to reverse accumulated dog weight as easy as you may think.
Large dogs like Labrador retrievers need 20 to 60 minute walks on a daily basis. Be sure to have your Lab on a regular routine to avoid seeing its belly hanging below its normal size. If its overweight, activities, like jumping to you or climbing onto something, will get too strenuous. Worse still, their joints can get weaker with their overwhelming weight. You can learn other signs that your Lab is overweight here.
Some things are pegged in the blood. Genetics, too, play a unique role in giving us some traits. Not to your surprise, weight can be hereditary. Such is the case for Labrador retrievers. They come from a lineage of weighty animals. By nature, labs have a layer of fat below their necks that help them store warmth when in water.
You should be keen to know the history of your Lab. In case this is unreachable, their colors can help. Labs come in three colors; black, golden, and yellow-white. In general, white labs are weightier than the black ones. You should know whether your Labrador retriever is of English or American descent. This detail from their profile is also a factor leading to the weight difference. English labs are heavier than the American ones. This hence makes them quite capable of adding more weight than their counterparts.
Medical procedures like castration
You may have noticed a spike in weight on your Labrador after castration. Don’t stress those are some of the effects of castration are settling in. Castrating dogs is for a variety of reasons. No matter your intention on this, your Lab is bound to get overweight after the procedure. It affects the dog’s metabolism and how it expels off energy. When sprayed or castrated, your Lab will thus slow down a bit, giving it more weight to gain fast.
Excess carbohydrates and fats in their food
The saying ‘You are what you eat’ does not only apply to you but also to your dog. Whatever the dog takes in, it lets out. Feeding your Lab with kibble that has excess carbs and fat will make it put on weight faster than you imagine. A diet rich in carbohydrates and fats is recommended for dogs that need to gain weight. Because of this, you should check on the contents of the kibble packs before buying. It will save you many vet visits and a cumbersome weight loss routine. Contrary to common belief, losing weight is as harder than gaining it in dogs as it is for you. If you are not sure what to feed your Lab, you can check some recommendations here.
Some of the ways to check whether your Lab is overweight are;
- Look at its waist-area. Your Lab should have a definite waist.
- Check the dog’s ribs. You should not be able to see them. When you press your fingers with firmness along its sides, they should bump along them.
- Look at your Lab from the side. It should have a sloping upward line from the base of its chest to the back of its legs.
You can be sure of two more years by having a slimmer dog. Help your dog tone up and live longer by being keen from the beginning. After all, you want a companion for life, right? Let no weight issues come asunder.