Labradors like to eat, and without proper exercise can become obese. Laziness is a contribution to this. Obesity is a serious condition and can be considered the number one nutritional problem with dogs. A study shows that at least 25% of dogs in the United States are overweight.[71] Therefore, Labradors must be properly exercised and stimulated. A healthy Labrador can do swimming wind sprints for two hours, and should keep a very slight hourglass waist and be fit and light, rather than fat or heavy-set. Obesity can exacerbate conditions such as hip dysplasia and joint problems, and can lead to secondary diseases, including diabetes. Osteoarthritis is very common in older, especially overweight, Labradors. A 14-year study covering 48 dogs by food manufacturer Purina showed that Labradors fed to maintain a lean body shape outlived those fed freely by around two years, emphasising the importance of not over-feeding. Labradors should be walked twice a day for at least half an hour.[72]

Frito is a tender and sweet pup. He came to rescue as stray and when he first arrived was very submissive. He seemed to be more comfortable outside than in the house, and he didn't touch his toys. In just over a week he is coming out of his shell and although he still exhibits the occasional shyness, he is excited to come when he's called, he is comfortable enough to nap in the middle of the floor or on the couch, and he's a ball of sunshine when we wake up in the morning. Over the past week, his tail has gone from between his legs to wagging with gusto! With time and trust, he will become a typical Lab.
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