Just like with humans, being an overweight Labrador Retriever is not a fun thing.
After all, for the most part, obesity can result in many health complications that may limit your Labrador’s activities.
For this reason, if you want to help your Lab lose some weight, we have prepared this article to help you know what an overweight Labrador’s diet should be.
Is my Labrador fat?
If your Labrador weighs more than the ideal weight for their height and age, then your Labrador is fat.
You can also ask a veterinarian to make sure so you know if you have to change their diet and make them do more exercise.
Another quick way to know if your Lab is fat is by looking at their ribs.
You should be able to see the last rib when they twist, bend, drink, or eat. If you can see more than the last rib, they are too thin.
You can also feel their ribs. If you can just feel your Lab’s ribs, your Lab is not fat. However, your Lab is overweight if you cannot feel their ribs!
More protein, fewer carbs
If you want to make your Labrador lose weight, you need to focus on what your Lab is eating first.
The nutrition that the food offers is more important than how much you feed a Labrador.
For example, you might be feeding your Labrador the normal amount of food for their weight.
However, your Labrador can quickly become overweight if they are eating food full of carbohydrates and fat.
Therefore, you need to make sure their diet is high in protein and low in carbs and fat.
There are studies that show that dogs who ate a high protein diet lost a lot of excess weight and fat.
Protein helps your dog feel full and strong. Protein helps their muscles stay strong and it takes longer to digest, so your dog may not feel hungry as quickly.
Labs need to eat some fat and carbs, but they mostly need diets high in protein no matter how much they weigh.
Too much fat and carbs in their diet would be the same as you eating junk food all day.
It would be “empty” calories that make your dogs gain weight without providing any nutritional value.
If you are buying dog food, you should choose brands that have 30% protein.
If you are making your Lab’s food, you should aim to give them 3-4 grams of protein for each pound that they weigh.
You can ask your vet how much protein they believe your labrador specifically needs.
How much should an overweight Labrador eat?
Now that we know what your Lab should eat, we can talk about how much your Lab should eat.
A big mistake that people make when they change an overweight Labrador’s diet is that they give too little food.
You need to make sure your Labrador still eats enough to not feel hungry.
This is especially true if your Lab is on a low-calorie diet. Healthy weight loss should be slow and supplemented with lots of exercises.
Additionally, you do not want to shock your Labrador’s stomach. Suddenly giving them half or a quarter of what they normally eat will upset both your Lab and their stomach.
Depending on how much your Labrador eats, you can try to slowly lessen their food until it reaches the recommended amount they should eat.
Before you decrease your Labs meal, you need to cut out any extra snacks.
If they eat a lot of treats during the day, you need to stop giving them those for now. You should also stop giving them food scraps.
The best way to know exactly how much your Lab should eat is to consult a vet.
Each Lab has different needs, so you need to ask a vet how much your particular Lab needs.
Choosing home-cooked or raw foods
Some people will choose raw or home-cooked diets for their overweight Labs.
They believe that it gives them more control over what their dogs eat because they know exactly what they are feeding their Labs.
If you choose a raw diet, you need to make sure you choose natural and organic ingredients.
Keep in mind that raw food and home-cooked diet can be tricky. It takes some experimenting and research to know if you are giving your Lab the right foods with enough nutritional value.
Some ingredients that you can use in a home-cooked diet include:
- Brown rice
- Ground turkey
Some ingredients that you can use in a raw food diet include:
- Raw organic eggs
- Muscle meat (can be on the bone)
- Organ meats like kidneys and livers
- Bones (whole or grounded well)
- Veggies like celery, spinach, and broccoli
Best dog foods for overweight Labrador Retrievers
Some dog foods are specially formulated for overweight dog diets. They normally are high in protein and low in calories and fat.
Some popular choices include:
1) Wellness Complete Healthy Weight
This artificial-free, low-fat dog food is high in protein like whitefish and chicken meal.
Another bonus is that it has tons of whole grains that give your dog more energy but keep them full. Plus, it has lots of vitamins and minerals.
2) Dr. Tim’s Premium Weight Management Pet Food
This is a low-calorie dog food specifically made to speed up your Lab’s metabolism. However, the recipe still makes sure that your dog feels full between meals.
3) Nutro Ultra Weight Management Dog Food
This dog food is low in calories and high in whole proteins like real chicken, chicken meal, and lamb meal. It also has a good mixture of carbohydrates, veggies, and fruits to keep your Lab healthy.
Best treats for overweight Labradors
You should avoid giving your Lab high-calorie treats while they lose weight. However, you can still reward them with some low-calorie and healthy treats like:
- Apple slices (with no seeds)
- Carrot slices
- Zucchini slices
- Cucumber slices
- Small pieces of some baked sweet potato or regular potato (never give uncooked or unripe potato plants)
- Cooked lean meats
If your Labrador is overweight, you can change their diet to make it high in protein and low in fat and carbs.
You can also follow the tips above to learn what kinds of dog foods are best for weight loss and low-calorie treats to help your Lab lose weight.