Labrador retrievers are one of the most adorable breeds of all. They are goofy, cute, and very popular because of their loving nature towards everyone. Owning one has been bliss for my family and me, but the most common issue of owning a labrador is that it is always hungry. I am not sure how my dog wants to eat more after feeding her the full bowl meal. It seems like she is never full.
Well, I cannot wholly blame her as a new study found Labrador Retrievers are more likely than other breeds to beg for treats and obsessed with food. That’s because they have a specific gene mutation. The chemical messages which tell a Lab when he’s full don’t work correctly.
As a labrador owner, I have found a few helpful tips that have kept my dog’s weight in check, which you can also try. And for additional information on dog breeders you can read more here on WeLoveDoodles.
How to Control Your Labrador’s Weight
#1.Feed Them Twice a Day
An adult labrador needs to be fed twice a day- once in the morning and the second time after 12 hours in the night. Only two important meals are enough for the dog to feel energetic the entire day. The meal portion should be calculated right so that you do not overfeed or underfeed the dog. If you are feeding the dog kibbles, you can check the bag of kibble as the quantity of food that needs to be fed is always mentioned based on the dog’s age and weight. If you are feeding your homemade dog food, understanding the quantity may be tough; hence you should consult the vet to get a hold of the right quality and quantity of dog food.
#2. Use Healthy Treats:
Labradors are incredibly food motivated, which means you have to always have treats by your side to ensure they behave. If you do not keep a check on the treats, you will never realize you are overfeeding treats to your dog. Instead, try using healthy treat options like carrots and apples, which are carbohydrate-free, so the dog does not gain weight. Avoid store brought treats as much as possible, as it is equivalent to junk food for dogs.
#3. Feed Them a Balanced Diet:
The main meals of your dog need to be well balanced in nutrition. It should not consist of more carbohydrates and less protein. The main content of the meal should be protein, as recommended by vets. If you are feeding dog food to the pet, buy high-quality pet food. There are breed-specific dog foods available in the market that focus on the particular breed’s issues. If you are making meals at home, consult the vet so that you add the right supplements to the meal.
#4. Follow the Waltham Growth Curve:
The most challenging part of managing weight in labradors is while they are puppies, as it is tough to anticipate how much they should weigh currently because they grow so quick. To make that simple, use the Waltham growth curve, which is designed for puppy growth. The chart consists of a graph between the age in weeks of the dog and their weight. If your dog is following a particular curve, then throughout the growth, preferably, they should be on the same curve or shift just a curve below or up. Too much variation means something is not right in the dirt.
#5. Exercise the Dog:
Only controlling food intake is not enough. You need to walk your dog twice a day and exercise them for at least 45 minutes per day. Like humans, dogs also need to burn calories; hence ensure to let them out once every day to run around and burn extra energy. This will eventually calm them down and make them more disciplined inside the home.
#6. Do Not Be Weak to Begging:
Labradors are masters of begging. The moment you eat something, they will come to beg. You have to be brave enough to say no when it is not their mealtime. Sharing food from your plate is not healthy. It will only encourage this behavior, and you will not even realize that they will start gaining weight. A little from your plate every time you eat will be too much-unwanted food for them. Hence refrain from offering them food when they beg for it.
#7. Change Food Quantities with Age
As your Labrador gets older, its metabolism will come down, and its activity level is going to reduce. That means your dog does not need the same amount of food. Consult the vet and reduce the meal quantity based on the dog’s activity level.
#8. Take Additives into Consideration:
Labradors can become picky eaters over time. Hence, you may have to add additives to their meal. If you feed your dog dry kibbles along with additives, then do not forget to measure additives as extra. Mix a little less quantity of kibble to balance out the calories your dog will get from additives. You can use healthy additive options like chicken, liver, boiled vegetables, lentils, and certain fruits. Store brought additives are also an option that you should avoid as natural additives are far better than processed ones.
#9. Get Your Family and Friends on Board:
There is no point in you trying to keep your dog healthy when your family members are weak when it comes to refraining from overfeeding the dog. The rules need to be set for everyone, and they should be communicated what is acceptable and what is not for the dog’s welfare.
The Bottom Line:
Owning a Labrador or labradoodle is bliss, but that also comes with a responsibility. Labs love to eat, and as a pet owner, it becomes tough to avoid puppy eyes when they beg. Remember, you are doing this for the betterment of the dog; hence refrain from overfeeding your dog, even if they beg. By saying them ‘No,’ you are actually showcasing good pet parenting.