If you have a Labrador Retriever or are planning to have one, then it is extremely important to take care of his nutrition, which not only helps him keep in shape, but also keeps his coat healthy and shiny.
Many of us are fascinated with a Labrador Retriever, owing to his placid and lovely temperament, besides his distinct abilities to be a disaster and guide dog. But, only few of us are able to rear a beautiful and proportionate Lab. The problem lies with nutrition. Only a well-balanced nutritious food can help your Lab grow to his breed characteristics. Let us see what are the specific characteristics of a Lab and how proper nutrition can help maintain them.
Unique structure of the Lab coat
Structure of the Lab’s coat is unique. His hair is strong, dense and short, which means the Lab can endure even ice-cold water. When retrieving in the countryside, Labs have to negotiate bushes and thickets that can cut them. Their dense fur is a great help in preventing lesions. The water glides over the coat, as it glides over the feathers of a duck, hence they are less wet than other breeds after a swim. They produce more sebum than other breeds. Sebum is the oil secretion of the sebaceous glands that waterproofs the hair. Labs sometimes develop a hypersensitivity to specific allergens such as dust mites or pollen. This condition is called atopy.
Labs have a natural predisposition to excess weight
Compared with other dogs of similar weight, the Lab’s body mass consists of less muscle mass and more fat. Epidemiological studies show that he is among the breeds with an increased risk of obesity. They often tend to be greedy. That makes it essential to maintain a proper exercise regime and to follow ration recommendations.
A protein diet promotes lean mass, favouring muscles over fat. Specific nutrients play a significant part in ensuring that dogs do not put on unwelcome excess pounds.
Common ailment: arthritis
In expending energy, the Lab puts his joints under a huge amount of stress. In time, the cartilage is damaged and this wear and tear may lead to arthritis, as the animal gets older. Maintaining an optimum weight is the best way to relieve joints. Cartilage is a water-cushioned shock absorber. When a joint moves, the coefficient of friction is equivalent to ice moving against ice. It ‘glides’ effortlessly. In time, this friction damages the cartilage. The major supplementary source of glucosamine and chondroitin (1000 mg) helps preserve a well-hydrated cartilage matrix. Chondroitin sulphate inhibits the action of enzymes that cause the destruction of cartilage. Its high water retaining capacity ensures proper cartilage hydration. Glucosamine (precursor of glycosaminoglycans, the principal components of articular cartilage) stimulates the regeneration of cartilage (especially promoting the synthesis of collagen).
Lab’s visual and cognitive capacities engendered by prudent selection
Whatever his function, the Lab always commits 110% of his powers. He is a disaster dog that works himself to exhaustion to rescue people all over the world. He can be trained to find explosives and drugs as he is able to distinguish 5,00,000 different odours. The average human recognises around 4,000 His size, endurance, character, intelligence and stability make him the ideal guide dog. He also has a proven track record as an assistance dog for people with motor disabilities. Guide dogs become the eyes of their masters, so it is essential that they possess acute twenty-twenty vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in the crystalline lens and the retina in significant quantities, protecting them against damage caused by oxidation. With an average life expectancy exceeding 12 years, the older Lab can develop some behavioural complaints. The synergic antioxidant complex helps maintain cognitive functions and plays a role in preventing senility.
Royal Canin’s Lab food
Royal Canin offers Labrador Retriever 30, which not only nourishes the coat but also protects the skin. It provides the building blocks the skin needs. With 30% high value biological proteins per ration, every meal provides dogs with all the ingredients essential to a healthy coat. It also helps in maintaining ideal weight by harmonising energy intake with lifestyle. It controls the energy content in food as it has ingredients they need to produce powerful muscles without excess fat. This food is available as a kibble with a shape and texture, which promotes the feeling of a full stomach. Its size forces the dog to chew, which encourages mechanical brushing of his teeth, combating the build-up of dental plaque.
It also relieves joints by controlling body weight and incorporating glucosamine and chondroitin. This Lab food also nourishes cartilage, combats inflammatory mechanisms and degenerative mechanisms stemming from oxidative stress.
The food also preserves visual and cognitive capacities by nourishing the crystalline lens and the retina as it is a source of lutein and zeaxanthin.
A well-balanced and nutritious food will make your Lab beautiful and proportionate.