How thin should a dog be to be in good shape?

(30 Posts)
VeryStressedMum Mon 12-May-14 20:21:51

I have a lab and the vet once said she's in good shape because when you run your hand over her you can feel her ribs, obviously not protruding ribs but she should go in slightly at the waist (or what ever you call the stomach bit on a dog), and you should be able to feel the ribs, but I always think it looks too skinny and think I should feed her more....she's active and healthy but is always on the scrounge for food (which she would be like anyway even if she weighed 20 stone).
So just wondering what shape is the best shape, should she go in at the stomach or should she be a bit rounder? probably a strange question but I think I want to feed her up a bit but don't want to make her unhealthy.

moosemama Mon 12-May-14 20:38:32

Your vet is correct.

Have a look at this chart ...

... and the associated thread about dog obesity.

LEMmingaround Mon 12-May-14 20:40:49

Your dog sounds perfect - which is great for a labrador walking dustbin The rule is that you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them, although i'd rather see ribs on a lab that fat.

Vet definitely right. It is sadly easy to lose sight of what is best these days as you seem to see so many overweight dogs.

VeryStressedMum Mon 12-May-14 21:41:01

I think I have a distorted image of what is healthy, but I'll not feed her anymore (even though she acts like she's starving to death grin)

noddingoff Mon 12-May-14 22:06:21

Yes - most people have a distorted view of what is healthy. The link above quotes a study saying that 60% of dogs are overweight...ie the average dog is too fat. From my experience in first opinion vet practice, I agree with this. Fat is "the new normal". A lot of clients with slightly to moderately overweight dogs think they are fine, and clients of obese dogs are surprised when I tell them this - they think the dog is just very slightly chubby. This goes for chihuahuas and mini yorkies to labs and even bigger dogs, and everything in between, and also cats - I would estimate that an even higher proportion of pet cats are at least slightly overweight.

I often get a mix of 'wow its nice to see a BT looking so fit' to 'Mmm he's lanky isn't he?' from other BT owners depending on which side of the fence they are on. But as with most other breeds you see so many overweight ones you forget what they should look like.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 12-May-14 22:45:17

You should be able to feel the ribs with light pressure, there should be a neat wast both from above and side on. Most people's view of what a healthy dog looks like is fat. Sadly 50% of the UK's dog population is obese.

clam Mon 12-May-14 23:03:07

My vet is always surprised when mine gets on the scales - shaggy coat disguises his "speedo hips." He's a perfect weight, apparently.
<preen>

flowery Mon 12-May-14 23:07:43

I can't remember the last time I saw a lab which wasn't overweight. sad

clam Mon 12-May-14 23:18:16

My sister's isn't. But they have to REALLY watch what he eats and make sure he runs for miles daily.

BrianTheMole Mon 12-May-14 23:22:06

We've got labs. They are in perfect shape. You have to be strong and ignore the sad eyes. Our oldest lab is 16 and still bouncing around like a puppy. Dh is very careful in watching their weight.

pigsDOfly Fri 16-May-14 19:01:35

It so sad to see dog who are over weight. There's a chocolate lab that comes to our park that I thought was a really old lady because she's so slow. She isn't massive but she does look a bit like a pig in shape with a very round belly; turns out she's actually 4 years old.

Occasionally she'll have a little run but not for long. She has no other - non weight related - health issues as far as I'm aware. I feel so sorry for her.

CMOTDibbler Fri 16-May-14 19:06:50

Its amazing how many dogs (and yes, esp labs) are terribly overweight now, and how it restricts their running. Better slightly ribby than tubby imo

Owllady Fri 16-May-14 19:25:24

My dog is like yours and yes it looks skinny I suppose but mine is normal weight and I have never had an over weight dog. This is a pic of her lying down grin I don't have one on here that shows her body really

whatadrama Fri 16-May-14 20:33:22

I'm paranoid about my lab being too skinny compared to everyone elses but the vet insisted he's the perfect weight when i asked about weight gain foods for him!

All the labs we meet on walks are far more of a barrel shape confused

VeryStressedMum Fri 16-May-14 23:30:46

The thing is I can see her ribs, they're not really sticking or our anything like that, but I can see a faint outline of them. I don't want an overweight dog but should I actually be able to see them or not see them just feel them? She was at the very not too long ago and she didn't say anything.
I think I feed her enough...Maybe I'm not, she gets 3 tins of pedigree chum a day and she does get quite a few snacks too. She can't eat dry food anymore it gives her the runs.

littlewhitebag Sat 17-May-14 07:17:43

I was worried my lab was gaining weight so I cut down on her food. She looks perfect now. I don't want my dog to be overweight and unhealthy. Just ignore the sad eyes!

basildonbond Sat 17-May-14 07:29:56

The trainer at puppy class has a beautiful black lab who's from working stock so is much leaner than the show type anyway. He says he's constantly being told by other lab owners that she's too thin when actually she is a perfect weight and extremely fit and active

We had two labs growing up, one stockier show type who would put on weight just by looking at food and was completely food-obsessed and our second was a working lab who never carried an excess ounce throughout her life

Most people's idea of what labs should look like has been skewed by the huge numbers of overweight ones around. Once fully mature they should be able to keep going all day, running, swimming, walking - that's what they were bred for but most round here would struggle running once round the park

GobblersKnob Sat 17-May-14 09:24:35

There are several very obese dogs on our park, one is a lab of seven, that looks like she is in her teen. Every day their owners meet on the park, but no longer walk them around they sit on a bench and talk while the dogs lie next to them, they claim the dogs are lazy and not keen on exercise......

I have a whippet who people constantly tell me needs feeding up grin

Floralnomad Sat 17-May-14 09:34:26

gobblers that's the same as the lab and Goldie owners here they all stand in a huddle gossiping and the dogs are left to either exercise themselves or not . Perhaps they think the dogs are smart enough to know how much to run around . I have a Patterdale x and I'm weight obsessed as he puts weight on very quickly ,he's on diet rations at the moment as he has had a toe amputated and can't go out .

FuckyNell Sat 17-May-14 09:39:36

If anyone watches gardeners world, monty dons retriever is a good visual example IMO.

VeryStressedMum Sat 17-May-14 09:44:00

I think that's it because so many dogs are overweight i look at mine and think she's too skinny. But she can go all day she loves to run and she's 10 now...although i still cant help but think i shouldn't see her ribs!!

WeAllHaveWings Sat 17-May-14 10:02:56

I have seen 10 year old labs waddle around the field because they weigh to much and the owners insist they are just old. If yours is still running around with loads of energy I think she's likely to be just perfect!

AncientsOfMuMu Sat 17-May-14 10:36:19

My 2yo lab is a working type and very lean. Most people comment that he is too thin for a Labrador. My vet says he is perfect and you should be able to see at least two ribs each side.
He is full of energy, bouncing , leaping and running everywhere. He wouldn't be like that if he wasn't fed enough.
It's sad to see dogs, especially young labs, that are overweight and plodding around on a walk.

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