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171 Labs rehomed in 2010

52 Labs rehomed since 1 Jan 2011

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25 February 2010

Is your dog too fat, too thin or just right?

This is one of many dog ownership tips I'd like to share with you under the name 'Paws for Thought' written by a friend at work, posted here with her permission. Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer). Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

We get Labs of all shapes and sizes. Some need to lose heaps of weight and others need to gain some. Don't blame your dog for their weight problems, it's your responsibility to feed the right amount so that they stay a healthy weight. Hopefully this information will help you stay on the right path :-). 

Each dog is an individual and even dogs from the same litter can differ greatly in their adult size and nutritional needs. You can’t rely on breed standards and books because they give standards, averages or ranges – there is no ideal weight chart that suits all dogs. So how do you tell if your dog is too fat, too thin or just right?

Some approaches for determining whether your dog is the right size or not are:

A visual check:

* Take a good look at your dogs shape from a couple of angles (from the side and from immediately behind or in front) and then compare it with one or more of the following dog body condition charts:

How to Evaluate Your Dog’s Weight for Dummies at

University Body Condition Score Chart at but
which you will also find on a number of other university websites

Purina Understanding Your Dog’s Body Condition at

Purina Body Condition System – Adult at

Purina Body Condition System – Puppy at

IAMS Dog Body Condition Chart -

Placing your hands on each side of his rib cage:

* If the ribs are protruding your dog might be too thin.

* If you can feel individual ribs easily and your dog’s abdomen (belly) is slightly tucked up from the side – he is probably in good form.

* If you can’t feel the ribs easily, you can’t see his waist and his belly hangs down then he’s probably overweight.

Or you can combine both into a process that Waltham has flowcharted for you at

The three graphics from the website give you a quick visual overview of the key points you will find in the other more detailed condition charts.

You can find more about the 14 year Purina life span study from the same site. The key findings being:

* Lean dogs generally appear to live longer than other dogs (measured in years).

* The need for treatment for certain health conditions can be delayed by years in lean dogs.

* Lean dogs appear to delay the loss of body mass as they age.

* Lean dogs appear to have fewer visible signs normally associated with aging, such as greying muzzles.

For a more detailed look at the research and its results check out:



Final note

If you are at all uncertain or concerned about your dogs weight or your dog comes in as underweight or overweight please speak to your vet.

References (in addition to links included in post)

Look at gorgeous Buddy's shape - he's a beautiful athletic boy!!


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