Saturday, March 01, 2008

Is your Labrador overweight?

I occasionally hear from people who tell me that their Labrador is over 100 pounds. This is a lot of weight, especially for a Labrador. Being overweight puts a lot of strain on the joints and isn’t good for the vascular system of your dogs. In short, it shortens the life of your Labradors. How can you tell if your dog is overweight? They should have a waist that is visible. The waist occurs after the last rib and before the hip and stifle joints.

There are a couple of things that you can do to take weight off. One is to make sure that the dog gets regular exercise. Long walks of around 2 miles a day are ideal. Another thing to do is to reduce the amount of calories being given. That means you will need to reduce the amount of food being fed or perhaps switch to a food that has fewer calories such as a Light version of the food that you are feeding. Another method that I’ve used on occasion is the Green Bean Diet.

With this diet, you substitute green beans for up to 1/2 of your dog's food on a daily basis. In other words, if your dog normally gets a cup of food in the morning and a cup of food in the evening, you can give them 1/2 cup of dog food and 1/2 cup of green beans for the morning feed and do the same thing in the evening.

The type of green beans is important. Fresh beans are ideal but frozen ones that you buy in bulk will do. Don’t cook the frozen ones but put them in the microwave to thaw. As a last resort, use canned UNSALTED green beans. Use the liquid from the can to pour over the food and then add the beans.

There are a few other vegetables that you could use but be careful of the sugar content. Carrots are about the best if you care to mix some of them with the beans. Both will add a good deal of fiber to the diet and will make your dog feel full. I suggest that you watch his stool to make sure that he isn’t getting too much fiber!

Don’t be discouraged as the diet may take a while to work. Don’t give in and don’t give treats, except for pieces of carrot during the dieting period. Remember that these vegetables are good for your dog and will help with the weight loss program. A trim Labrador is definitely a more healthy one.

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