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9 Alarming Reasons Why Your Labrador Is So Skinny (2023)

Why Is My Labrador So Skinny

When you look at Labradors…

Most of them look so fluffy or thick.

But why is yours so skinny?

And should you really worry about this? 

Keep reading to find out: 

  • What to do if your Labrador’s too skinny.
  • When should you take your dog to the vet.
  • 9 alarming reasons why your Labrador is so skinny (must see #5 & #7).
  • And so much more…

Why is my Labrador so skinny? 9 reasons

#1: There are 2 types of Labradors

The weight of your dog depends on their variation. 

After all, there’s the American and English Labrador.

So, what could be the difference? 

For one, Labs from the UK are much bigger. Thus, they’re bulkier in appearance. 

Meanwhile, American Labradors are slimmer. 

For easier comparison, check out the size table below:

Labrador typeHeightWeight
American21.5 to 24.5 in (54 to 62 cm)55 to 80 lbs (24 to 36 kg)
English21.5 to 22.5 in (54 to 57 cm)60 to 80 lbs (27 to 36 kg)

Clearly, their gap isn’t too wide.

But the point here is: 

Your Labrador might just be lighter compared to the others. Especially if yours is the American type. 

After all, English Labs are typically heavier. 

So, that means your Labrador could already be in their best shape. 

But how would you know which type of Lab is your dog?

Well, aside from their weight…

These 2 Fidos have more differences. 

To simplify this, use the table below as reference: 

Body partEnglish LabradorAmerican Labrador
MuzzleMedium shortLong
TailStraight and thickThin and curved up

But despite their contrasts…

Both Labradors have the same temperaments.

And if you’re still unsure about what type of Lab you have… 

You can always try asking your vet. Or get in touch with Fido’s breeder.

#2: Floating ribs 

Do you see a bump sticking out of your dog’s rib area? 

Now, that could make you think Fido’s skinny. 

But the thing is, there’s a condition called: 

Floating ribs. 

So, how’s this related to your Lab’s weight?

You see, dogs have 13 ribs. But the last 1 is linked to the backbone. And not to the rib cage.

So, anytime your Labrador moves…

You can see that 13th bone poking through Fido’s skin. 

And once again, this doesn’t mean your Lab’s too thin. 

In fact, the last rib is a natural part of your dog. 

But if you’re still worried about your Labrador…

You should always consult a vet.

Read next: Floating Ribs In Dogs: 7 Things You Should Know

#3: Poor diet 

Your Lab’s weight also depends on how you feed them.

But what kind of diet could make Fido look so skinny? 

Well, in this case…

Your Labrador might not be eating enough. As a result, they end up losing weight. 

So, how much food does your furry pal need? 

Here’s a useful guide from vets:

Your Labrador’s weightCups of kibbles per dayDaily calories
55 lbs (24 kg)2 ⅔ cups1145 
80 lbs (36 kg)3 ¾ cups1629

Note: You must use a standard 8 oz. measuring cup. Also, if your Labrador’s sick or pregnant, they might need more food than that. 

And for a more accurate diet plan for your Lab… 

It’s best to consult a specialist. 

“But what if my dog’s eating the right amount of food?” 

In that case, you can consider more scenarios. 

For example: 

If there are other dogs at home… 

These canines might compete for food. 

And with a Lab’s gentle nature, they would give up their meals. 

Now, this could happen if you’re not around to watch them eat.

Moreover, some dogs don’t react well to sudden diet changes

So, if you switched Fido’s food brand too quickly… 

Your Labrador might stop eating properly. 

Or, in some cases, your Lab could also be picky with food

And that can occur if they want to eat human snacks instead.

Check out also: 7 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Like Human Food

#4: Improper exercise 

Your Labrador Is So Skinny Because Of Improper Exercise

Labradors also need the right activities. Especially as a hyperactive breed

So, how much exercise should Labs get?

As adults, they must work out daily for about 80 minutes. 

But what if your Lab goes overboard? Say, their exercise went on for almost 3 hours. 

Well, at that point, your dog will lose weight for sure. 

However, this isn’t safe at all. 

For one, Labs could get injured. Or they might end up collapsing too.

So, to prevent this…

You can try following these tips: 

  • Buy interactive toys for your Lab.
  • Let them play brain games for a change.
  • Go jogging or swimming with your Labrador.
  • Hide treats around the house. This activity’s more relaxing.
  • Walk your Labrador twice a day. Each set could be for 30 minutes. 

With these activities, it gets easier to control your Lab’s energy levels.

Reading tip: 17 Brain Games For Dogs To Entertain Your Fur Baby 

#5: Illnesses

Any dog could lose weight if they’re sick. 

And the thing is, there are many diseases to watch out for. 

So, let’s focus on the common health issues in Labs. Namely:

But aside from these…

Any dog could also face other canine problems that causes weigt loss, such as: 

  • Stress.
  • Cancer.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Diabetes.
  • Oral pain.
  • Parasites.
  • Gut problems.
  • Kidney issues.

Warning: Some of these diseases can be fatal for Labradors. 

Now, the health risks above have varying symptoms. Thus, it’s hard to tell which 1 your Lab might have. 

So, how would you know if Fido’s actually sick? 

Dr. Coren says that dogs tend to hide their pain.

However, vets state you can still notice signs, like:

Note: For your Labrador’s safety, you should take them to the clinic.

Continue reading: 9 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Is Eating Slowly 

#6: Drug side effects

Let’s say you already took Fido to the vet. 

And before you did, your Lab’s weight was just fine. 

In that case…

It seems that your furry pal got skinny after going to the clinic. 

Now, this might make you think: 

“Did my Lab catch more illnesses at the vet’s?” 

Not at all. 

It’s just that dogs also lose weight when they’re healing.

And that’s because of the medicine Fido takes. 

After all, some drugs have side effects. And 1 of them is affecting your Lab’s weight. 

Meanwhile, surgeries also do the same thing. 

So, if your Lab recently went through an operation…

That could explain why they’re so skinny.

Now, these cases are still normal. 

But if you have any concerns, you should talk to Fido’s vet.

#7: Stress 

Research claims that some dogs eat more when they feel anxious. 

But this issue could also be the opposite…

Your Lab might eat less due to stress.

Though, how can you tell if Fido has this? 

First, you can pay attention to their body language

Observe any signs of stress, such as: 

So, what should you do if your Lab’s stressed? 

There are many ways to calm an anxious pup, like: 

Note: If none of these works, consult your Lab’s specialist.

Learn more: 17 Clear Signs Of Dog Stress (Stressed Dog Body Language)

#8: Depression 

Mental health matters for Labs too. 

And since you already read about stress in #7… 

This time, I’ll tell you about depression. 

You see, your Lab might stop eating due to this issue. 

And with that, they’ll lose weight too. In return, Fido ends up looking skinny.

Now, you must be worrying: 

“How will I know if my Lab’s depressed?” 

Well, just like with stress…

Fido’s body language can be your guide. So, just watch out for signs, like: 

Warning: Depression can be fatal for any dog. In case you notice these symptoms, call an expert ASAP. 

Aside from that, you can also spot this issue right away. 

And specialists say you could do that by knowing what causes depression in dogs. Those are:

  • Stress.
  • Injuries.
  • Illnesses.
  • Boredom.
  • Losing a loved one.
  • Adopting a new dog.
  • Picking up your emotions.
  • Sudden lifestyle changes.
  • Meeting new family members.

With this, you can prepare for your Lab’s reaction.

And if you need more help on how to cheer up your pup…

Just watch this useful video: 

Suggested read: Quiz: Is My Dog Depressed? 19 Symptoms (+Tips To Treat It)

#9: It’s their normal weight 

Sometimes, there’s no alarming reason at all. 

In the end, being skinny could just be your Lab’s appearance. 

For example: 

You might see bigger dogs more often. Like, Chow Chows or Bulldogs. 

And that could make you think your Lab’s skinny. Especially if you compare your pup to those larger Fidos. 

Basically, your Lab might have no issues at all. 

In fact, Fido’s skinny look could mean that:

Your dog has a balanced diet and lifestyle.

Let’s say your pup’s eating the right amount of food. Plus, they follow healthy exercise too. 

So, why are they still so skinny? 


Your Lab’s weight can be affected by genetics too. 

For example: 

Do you know someone who eats a lot yet never gains weight? 

In most cases, it’s because those people have fast metabolisms.

And that could happen to your Labrador too. 

But in case you’re still worried…

How could you tell if your Lab’s underweight? 

Well, you can refer to the table I gave in reason #1. 

Right there, it states that Labs have an average weight of 55 to 80 lbs (24 to 36 kg). 

So, if your furry pal weighs less than that… 

Then that’s the time your dog is too skinny. In that case, you should contact the vet.