Your Labrador retriever Murphy has always been like a battery-operated dog who runs for hours. Since Murphy was a puppy, he has enjoyed tearing through the dog park and playing fetch until your hand was tired from throwing his ball. Since Murphy was an exercise hound, he always maintained a normal weight even while eating like a Sumo wrestler. Now that Murphy’s eight years old, though, he’s toned down the exercise. However, since Murphy still chows down like a champ, he has gained several pounds around the belly. You don’t want Murphy to encounter ailments such as diabetes, joint pain, and liver problems, among others. You’ve asked your veterinarian from Poughkeepsie to design a weight management program for Murphy. Learn more about dogs’ weight problems.
Take some time to give Murphy an unofficial weight test. Remember, if Murphy’s within his healthy weight range, you’ll be able to easily feel his backbone and palpate his ribs. If you must dig deep into Murphy’s ribs before you feel them, he’s definitely been piling on the pounds.
Here’s a second method of unofficially gauging Murphy’s weight. Stand over your pooch and look down. You should see a “waist” between the back of Murphy’s rib cage and his hips. If you don’t see any sign of a “waist,” Murphy probably should lose some weight.
If Murphy eats a certain number of daily calories, and he burns them up with vigorous exercise, he’ll probably remain at a healthy weight. However, Murphy gobbles his regular meals and treats; and you’ve even caught him scarfing down your cat’s food. When Murphy finishes eating, he collapses on the floor for a nap.
Since Murphy’s asleep, he has lots of just-consumed calories he doesn’t need. So, Murphy’s body stores those calories as fat. Unfortunately, Labs and their little pug cousins are notorious for experiencing weight problems. Older dogs are also more susceptible to weight gain.
Getting Murphy’s weight under control will be challenging; good thing your vet can furnish expert guidance. First, record everything Murphy eats daily for a specified period. Also, write down Murphy’s daily exercise habits. You’d like to embellish the numbers in Murphy’s favor; however, don’t do that, as your vet won’t get the accurate picture he needs.
Your vet will create Murphy’s weight management plan after considering your dog’s age and activity level. Feed Murphy only from his bowl, and follow your vet’s advice on treats.
Get couch potato Murphy moving with daily vet-approved exercise. Eventually, Murphy will burn extra calories, decrease his appetite, and increase his resting metabolic rate. If Murphy backslides, your Poughkeepsie vet can reboot your dog’s weight management program.