Labrador Retrievers are mellow, laid back and friendly dogs that have easily won their place in the hearts of many families. They are ranked as the most popular of all family dogs. Although they are classified as working dogs, the average Labrador retriever has a fairly easy life style as a pet and family dog.
The Labrador retriever is a large dog with an even larger appetite. Their weight can range anywhere from 45 pounds to over 80 pounds, with males usually weighing more than females. Although some Labrador retrievers do have an active lifestyle, most don't have the activity level to match their appetite. In many cases, weight can be a problem with this dog.
The Labrador retriever, commonly referred to as a Lab, is a friendly and affectionate dog that loves to be near people, especially when they are eating food. Owners often have a hard time refusing them food, as they can be very persuasive in their "asking" for food. They have an excellent appetite and hearty desire for treats as well. This often results in the Lab overeating and becoming overweight. When they are not playing, they are an inactive dog, which will also contribute to their carrying excessive weight. Obesity is a common concern with Labs, which can bring on certain health problems they are prone to developing.
When the Lab becomes overweight it puts them at high risk of developing diabetes. Although, it is treatable, it can make the dog quite sick and if left untreated, can lead to him becoming blind. Excessive weight is also very risky for a dog that has been diagnosed with hip Dysplasia. While not being the cause of Dysplasia, it can make the dog's health deteriorate much more quickly. Labs are also known to develop arthritis later in life; this is especially true for Labs that are overweight.
When looking at the Labrador retriever, his body should have an hourglass appearance. Any look of fullness in the abdominal area may be signs he is becoming overweight, in which case he should be fed less and treated to activities that are more physical.
Many dog owners have a hard time resisting feeding their dog treats, and the Labrador is so adorable, they make you want to feed them anything they want. In addition, many people like the looks of "well-fed" dog rather than a thin dog, not realizing that the bigger dog is running a bigger health risk. The more overweight the dog becomes, the less active he will be and it becomes a vicious cycle. Once a dog becomes overweight, it is not always that easy for them to lose the weight.
Another concern many dog owners have with the Labrador retriever is that they can eat so much so quickly that they get bloat, which can also develop into a serious condition. Bloat is often caused by twisting of the stomach, which traps the food inside and can lead to swelling of the abdomen, pain and even death, if left untreated. A good healthy diet for your Labrador retriever should begin when they are a puppy - then they'll always know what to expect.