Oct 06
dog health app

Put A Spring In Your Labradors Step

In Australia, a study reveals a concerning statistic: over one-third of dogs are overweight*. Among these, Labradors stand out due to their lower-than-expected energy needs and a natural inclination towards food. Their love for treats often leads to unwitting overfeeding, resulting in many Labradors being overweight, which significantly impacts their lifespan and quality of life.

The repercussions of canine obesity are substantial, ranging from common issues like osteoarthritis to more breed-specific concerns such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cruciate ligament disease. Additionally, overweight Labradors are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver disease.

However, there’s hope. By implementing simple strategies at home and seeking expert guidance, your Labrador can regain health and vitality. Here are some practical steps:

Monitor Weight

Regularly weigh your dog. You can do this by first weighing yourself while holding your dog and then weighing yourself alone, deducting the latter from the former. We don’t look at this daily – but it’s great to notice trends over months.

Control Portion Sizes

Use a standard measuring cup for feeding, ensuring you’re not inadvertently overfeeding. Avoid using oversized containers, like mugs, which can lead to inaccurate portioning.

Track Food Intake

Keep a detailed record of your dog’s daily food consumption, including treats, both for them and yourself.

Adjust Diet Gradually

With the help of a professional, assess your Labrador’s diet and gradually reduce the daily intake to achieve safe weight loss of 1-2% per week.

Prioritise Exercise

Regular, daily exercise is vital for weight management. Tailor the intensity and duration of activities based on your Labrador’s size and current fitness level. If you’re unsure – chat with your vet.

Remember, achieving a healthy weight for your Labrador requires a combination of proper nutrition and regular exercise. With dedication and guidance, your furry companion can lead their happiest, healthiest life.

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*Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
The Veterinary record (Impact Factor: 1.49). 06/2005; 156(22):695-702.

About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.