You love your precious Lab puppy, and you want them to be happy and healthy for years to come. But what is a proper weight for 4-month-old Labrador puppies? It can be difficult to determine when a puppy is overweight or underweight, and uncertainty can be distressing.
Today we will be taking a look at healthy weights for Lab pups, and some tips to ensure that your lovable new companion stays in top shape. Let’s get started!
A Proper Rate for Lab Puppy Weight
The main thing to understand about proper puppy weight is the correlation between age and weight. These two items are related. As the puppy matures, their weight should usually increase. Weight monitoring in relation to the puppy’s age is the main key. If the weight gain rate is too fast or too slow, that’s what indicates potential problems.
There’s no single weight that is considered healthy for a Lab, but instead a weight range. For a four-month-old Lab puppy, that range is generally between 20 and 40 pounds. Your puppy’s numbers may be on the higher or lower end, depending on if it is an English or American Lab. Whether your Labrador is show or field bred can also affect their weight.
The guidelines should not be perceived as absolutely strict boundaries. If your playful pooch is a couple of pounds above the range, it could be that they have a bit more muscle, which is not a bad thing. Your puppy could also be a bit under the weight range without indicating that anything is wrong. The rate of weight gain or weight loss is more important than a single particular number.
The key here is that you don’t need to panic at slightly out-of-bounds numbers. There’s room for error. It’s when you notice a more acute deviation that corrective action may need to be taken. A four-month-old Lab that weighs 17 pounds, for example, might be considered underweight. It’s important to record your puppy’s weight over time to get a clear picture of their gain or loss and take action as necessary.
So, How Exactly Do You Weigh A Puppy?
This is one of those things that most people never think about until they need to do it. The answer is so simple that you might laugh – use a bathroom scale. This works surprisingly well, and it’s something that most people already have in their homes.
The digital readout scales are best because you can record even a small change, and they’re useful for charting trends. The one challenge is keeping your puppy still for a few seconds to get the readout. A popular method for overcoming this challenge is to weigh yourself alone and then weigh yourself again while holding your puppy. Subtract your weight from that number, and you have your puppy’s weight. Simple.
Once you have those numbers, hopefully, everything is fine. But what if things are not so great? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. Let’s have a look at some steps you can take if the numbers show a cause for concern.
Abnormal Weight? Check What They Ate!
If your Lab puppy has an abnormally high or low weight, it could be due to their eating habits. Take a few days and keep a log of when they are eating and how much. This will give you a clear picture of what your pup’s diet looks like. If you see that they aren’t eating very often or very much, you might want to consider a different type of food.
Most Labs tend to prefer their food more on the moist side, rather than dry food. Try wetting their food a bit and see if it is more to their liking. If it is, then you might consider switching to a wet dog food permanently. Another benefit of wet food is that it contains more water and may help to solve some dehydration issues.
That Table Scrap Might Be a Trap
Another thing which may cause weight problems for your pup is the sweet mistress known as table scraps. Almost every dog loves a good table scrap, and many owners see nothing wrong with treating their pup with leftovers. Nutritionally-speaking, however, that table scrap could be a potential issue.
Certain foods, while quite tasty, are simply not suitable for dogs to eat. Their physiology just isn’t made for it. Some human foods can cause digestive or other issues such as malnutrition, and other foods can easily pack on the pounds. Certain human foods can even be deadly for your Lab.
This isn’t to say that absolutely all human food is bad for dogs. Some table scraps are occasionally okay, but you need to take care and exercise moderation.
If you have a concern about your dog’s diet and nutrition, the best course of action is always to speak with the veterinarian. Your dog’s vet can help you develop a meal plan that supplies your Labrador with the appropriate nutritional content for their lifestyle.
If They’re Too Thin, Bring Them In
If your young Lab seems to be overly scrawny and can’t seem to put on weight even with good nutrition, they might actually be sick. Things such as parasites and cancer can cause persistent weight loss even with an adequate diet.
One of the obvious signs of a severely underweight dog is their frame. As with humans, in a healthy Labrador, the ribs should not be visible if they have sufficient mass. This is true even for a four-month-old Labrador puppy. Therefore, if you can see their ribs through their skin and fur, it’s generally a sign that something is amiss.
If The Scale Reads A Ton, It’s Time For A Run
On the other end of the spectrum, if your Lab is overweight, the rather obvious first step is exercise. Labrador puppies especially tend to be on the energetic side, but there are always exceptions. The problem comes in when their activity level drops, but their food intake doesn’t follow suit.
This can set the puppy up for all kinds of health issues later in life. Dogs can suffer many of the same conditions as humans, including heart attacks, respiratory conditions such as asthma, and even arthritis.
The first and easiest preventative measure for your puppy is to simply be more active. This can include going for a walk or run, or more playtime. A new toy could be a great way to encourage them and pique their interest.
If you think your pup is getting adequate exercise but isn’t shedding the pounds, then a vet visit might be in order. Even if your pup isn’t ill, the vet can create a specific diet and exercise plan to help win the battle of the bulge.
Don’t Sweat The Weight of Your Pet
All of this information can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but you don’t need to panic. Especially with puppies, sometimes it can be tempting to become a bit overprotective. You do not need to weigh them every single day – three to four weeks is considered the best practice for puppies.
Sometimes their weight will fluctuate naturally from month to month. This is usually normal and not a cause for concern. Be watchful and aware, but it shouldn’t be a cause for stress unless the puppy’s weight is way outside the averages.
Having a young pup is an extraordinary time, one that you will cherish forever. With some loving care, everything will be fab for your little Lab.