Weight Management and Exercise for Labradors
Sociable, intelligent and trustworthy, the Labrador Retriever is one of the nation’s favourite dogs. These medium-to-large sized dogs are an active breed who love playing with their human “pack”. However, Labs can be prone to weight gain and as responsible pet parents, we need to keep an eye on their diet.
The thing is, most Labs love their food. In many cases, their enthusiasm for eating is part of their charm. Some Labs simply don’t have an off-switch where it comes to eating and so their diet is an important factor.
Also, because the Lab is such a lovely-natured dog, they’ve become popular pets for households with children. The family Labrador has plenty of love and attention – but it can be tricky to give these former working dogs as much exercise as they need when you’re busy with a young family.
So, how can we manage our Labradors’ weight and exercise? Here are Guru’s tips for a fit and happy Lab.
How much should my Labrador weigh?
Roughly, an adult male weighs 30-36kg (65-80lbs) and a female 25-32kg (55-70lbs). Sizes vary (for example American Labs are usually a bit lighter), so these are general guidelines. Weight isn’t always the best indicator of healthiness in some breeds: muscle weighs more than fat, so a fit, well-exercised dog may weigh heavier.
Other ways to tell if your Lab’s a healthy size
Give your Lab a lovely long (and firm) stroke along their side – you should be able to feel their ribs. If you can see ribs, they’re too thin (not usually a problem with domestic Labs). The dog should have a waist when viewed from above, with their overall shape curving in slightly rather than rounding out. Viewed from the side, the tummy should slope upwards from the chest toward the back legs, and not hang down.
How do I manage my Labrador’s weight?
A complete pet food is really helpful if you need to manage your dog’s weight. You know exactly how many calories are in a bowl and you can control the amount you feed them. You can gradually reduce or increase the amount you give your dog until you reach the right level for their health. In Guru’s case, our cold-pressed ingredients retain their nutrients, so you also know that your hungry Lab is getting all the goodness they need too. By making sure you’re feeding them a delicious and nutritious meal (like Guru Pet Food) you’ll reap many benefits, such as keeping them fuller for longer, so their need to snack should be reduced.
Cutting back the snacks
Tasty treats play a big part in dog training and reward, but be careful not to feed too many. Our Nothing To Hide Venison Sausages are great for training, they’re made from 70% British Venison, so we’re sure your lab will love them! You can get your paws on a pack here. We recommend feeding no more than 5 slices per day, which can help with lowering calorie intake, but you can always cut them in half to get more out of your bag. Remember, showing them a little love is sometimes all the reward they need.
You’ll probably find your cheeky Lab won’t say no to a tasty treat, if given half a chance. Make sure you don’t reward them for begging or helping themselves to food (don’t give in to those gorgeous puppy dog eyes) be firm with your commands. Also, help your dog to avoid temptation by thinking about what food’s within reach.
If you’re looking for a longer lasting, low calorie snack… why not try our REEly tasty Fishskins? Made with 100% white fish skins from sustainable sources, we’re proud to say there’s Nothing To Hide! Grab a packet here.
As Guru is totally tasty, you can always feed the bites as treats too, just remember to take the amount off their daily allowance!
The balance of diet and exercise
Most of us humans know this one from personal experience! Bred to be an active working dog, the Lab needs a lot of exercise to stay fit and healthy. If a dog isn’t getting lots of exercise, they need to have fewer calories. However, as Labs love bouncing around almost as much as they love eating, it’s best for the dog to give them as much opportunity for exercise as possible.
The best exercise for Labradors
If you like the outdoor life, then this is the pet for you. Labs love fresh air and exercise and plenty of it. Let them off the leash on the beach or in a field, and their exuberance is a joy to behold. If you have a decent-sized garden, your dog will have plenty of chance to run around. Children make brilliant companions for Labs, as they share a love of play!
Ideally, your Labrador needs two long walks a day, of about an hour each. If you can, allow for some off-the-lead haring around during these walks. They also enjoy a swim.
Try the Guru diet
If you want to know more about how Guru Pet Food can help manage your Labrador’s weight, please get in touch. We love these friendly dogs, and will happily spend hours discussing their quirks and enthusiasms!
As always, thanks for reading Geeksters,
The Guru Geeks xx
Photograph credit: @ruffandtumbledogcoats
Model: GORGEOUS Geekster Red!