unnamed(1)Science Explains the Flab on Your Lab

You really can’t blame your pet Lab for begging for scraps. Recent research indicates nearly a quarter of the breed lacks a gene that helps control hunger.

Veterinarians estimate that more than 50 percent of pet dogs in North America are obese. However, as some animal health professionals are quick to point out, there’s no standard definition for obesity in animals. And these troubling numbers skyrocket among Labrador Retrievers as 60 percent of this breed is considered obese.

With a biological reason behind it, it’s easy to understand why your pup is so likely to beg for food. To prevent obesity in your dog, consider more active ways of engaging with your canine. Throw a toy bone instead of an edible one. Spend more summer evenings walking or playing in dog parks. Find something that can energize both of you.

That said, there may be some benefits to your dog’s cravings, so don’t feel too badly if Fido insists on scraps; your dog probably responds well to food rewards. Using a food reward system often makes breeds such as Labs easy to train, plus it explains why they make good service dogs. A breed’s trainability, not just its potential for obesity, is important to remember when choosing and caring for a family pet.