3 year old Lab, advice needed - Labradors Forums
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Old 18-02-2016, 09:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 3 year old Lab, advice needed

Hello everyone,
I was hoping for some advice on the right way to help my dog lose weight.
She is currently at her heaviest 32KG. Her weight has always been a constant battle mainly because when I am in work throughout the day my dad feeds her for me.. But he tends to give her treats for no reason and also feeds her scraps when he has his tea. He is adamant she is not overweight and that she doesn't eat much she just needs more exercise but I am finding it hard to exercise her at the minute with her being so big when she runs for the ball she also tends to bunny hop and I worry that the weight will damage her joints therefor I don't want her doing anything too strenuous. I just wanted to hear from everyone else on what they feed their dog and the amount of exercise they get?
We have had one Labrador before but as we had her from when I was only 7 years old I never really took much responsibility for her eating/exercise whereas now I want to make sure that my dog Boo has a healthy lifestyle.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you
Michaela
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Old 19-02-2016, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi
At risk of stating the obvious, that treating from your father really needs to stop. It could undo any work you do around diet and exercise. You need to get her down to carefully controlled meals only and up her exercise to turn things around. If he won't listen to reason from you, how about dragging him along to the vets and have them give you some weight advice and set some ground rules. And don’t ever cave into any “but she looked hungry” comments, Labs are always hungry and will eat themselves to death given half a chance!

Weight can be subjective depending on overall body condition, shape and size, whether her parents were large built dogs or small built dogs etc, but in general, 32Kg for a lab female IS overweight.
Table scraps are OK in moderation but it depends on the food. Bits of left-over lean meat or veg shouldn’t do any harm, but fatty/salty/sugary foods really have no place in a healthy dogs diet, so if she's getting fried foods, salty/sugary sauces or gravy, bits of pizza etc that really won't be good for her. Plus, feeding table scraps whilst the humans eat is terrible for creating attention seeking and food begging behaviours. Sure Gemma can have some of my left overs but we use them for training treats, or they go in her food bowl at meal time. But giving treats for no reason is a terrible waste of training potential, I usually insist that Gemma earns her treats, even if it's just a Sit.

My Gemma is a real live wire and I do exhaustive training, and never ending training reinforcement with her, with food, so I have to cut her meals down accordingly. Her meals were getting cut down so much it felt like I was giving her nothing, so she's actually on a "diet" dry food so she can have more but it's less fattening. Perhaps that would be a good starting point for you - get her onto a weight control or "light" feed. Or something with the lowest protein+oil/fat levels that you can find. Even "senior" dogs feed would meet that, that's just labelling and branding, they are still essentially diet foods. Or let your vet recommend something.

Exercise is another subjective thing. I would say a bare minimum of a 1 hour walk/day for a large breed dog like a Labrador. But if you need to shift some weight, it needs increasing as part of a shaping up plan. I know some folk who do longer walks than me in respect of hours and minutes. But much depends on the actual quality of that walk. Gemma gets off the lead every day in a park for field, and off-lead exercise is a massive game changer, as they can zig zag around at their own pace, sniffing and exploring, the dog could be doing 2-3 times the mileage when compared with a slow trot stuck to a lead.

When all is said and done, it’s the same formula for dogs as it is for us humans when we need to lose weight. More exercise + less food + healthier food. If lifestyle is a problem and funds allow, could you get some extra help from a dog walker? Or drop her into a large doggy day care centre now and again?
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Old 19-02-2016, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Above poster has made some great suggestions and covered most of what you've asked.
But just reading through the bit about exercise and not wanting to put too much pressure on joints, would you consider taking her for a hydrotherapy session each month? There are loads of benefits about doing this, and the fact it is a non weight bearing form of exercise means it could be a gentle way to get her back into the swing of things.

In the meantime, short potters round the block, gradually increasing the time/distance will all benefit her which is something either you or your dad could do

Is she a family dog or your own dog? If the latter, having a serious sit down with your dad (or like above, take him to the vets!) and just saying you are worried for her health, and would really appreciate if he could take part in getting her back to a healthy weight.

My grandad had a chihuahua, who over time became increasingly overweight as he just adored her so much he gave her everything she wanted as a gesture of affection. Numerous visits to the vets with him to explain, we actually had sneak a new food into his container which was a senior/light formula and even just a change of diet she started slimming down. She's now nice and trim as she should be!

You could set out 'portions' each day for your dad. Put her daily allowance (maybe reduce by 10% initially to get the weight loss going) into tubs, along with a specific tub for the treats she's allowed throughout the day.
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Old 20-02-2016, 12:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Michaela

I totally agree with previous posters 😀
BUT, I'm thinking, how old is your Dad?? any chance that he could give her some little walks??

Chel and Juice xx 🐾🐾
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Old 21-02-2016, 04:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your advice, I really do appreciate it. Unfortunately my dad suffers quite bad with arthritis in his legs so can't really walk her for me throughout the day. I take her for a walk everyday after work but maybe not as long as I should be doing it seems. I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing whether it be an hour long walk or even a run on the park with her ball. I just worry about her back legs as she bunny hops a lot when running back to me with the ball and I wonder if it's down to her weight so I don't want to push her too much. I would like to start taking her to hydrotherapy but would it be best for me to check this with her vet first to make sure she will be ok to do this? Also can I ask, is there any particular feed you could recommend for her? And how much does everyone else feed their dogs? Thanks, Kayla
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Old 22-02-2016, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry about your Dad, but he must realise that if your dog is overweight and, as you say bunnyhopping, maybe this could be the start of arthritis?? and HE should know about the pain.
So, I'm sure you now think that a plan is in order. Go to your vet, take your Dad and have her weight checked, then ask about hydro, my vet recommends one local who will only take doggies with walking problems with a vet referral (my friend takes her mature rotty there 😀 )
As for food, everyone feeds different, look at the feeding guide on the bag and cut it down 😎 And weigh it!!!!
Now your Dad!!! - - if he won't understand I will come an' smack his bum!! I'm sure I'm older than him and I'm fighting "oldie bits" 🙈

Chel and Juice xx 🐾🐾
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Thank You my Choccy Girls, Cassie and Sophie, for teaching Me about Labradors - "Razz" forever at Rainbow Bridge xxx and Thank You Dilys for teaching Me about Rescues, Cass and Soph will take care of You now xxx
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