Labrador Retriever Nutritional Needs
Labrador Retrievers are a working dog breed. They are often sporting and hunting companions, therapy dogs, and farm helpers. Even though they have calm temperaments they need a food that provides a lot of energy, especially if they are outdoor or working dogs.
A dog food rich in protein and complex carbohydrates that are high in soluble fiber would make for a great dog food for Labrador Retrievers.
Labs are prone to obesity though. So Labrador Retrievers should be getting 10-15% of their energy needs from fats rather than carbohydrates depending on their activity levels. You should also be very careful to make sure any dog food for Labrador Retrievers never contains added sugars.
The Best Dog Food For Labrador Retriever Puppies
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
Large-breed puppies, like Labs, are more susceptible to malnutrition and developmental orthopedic disease compared to small-breed pups.
Many Lab owners have heard of these diseases- hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis , panosteitis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy .
While there is a genetic component to these diseases, there are significant nutritional risk factors that play a part during puppyhood.
These risk factors are rapid growth and excess dietary calcium intake.
Even moderate overfeeding of Labrador retriever puppies and young adults can result in overweight adults and decreased longevity.
It is important to feed them just enough of the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers that provides the perfect nutritional balance for their needs.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Dry Food
First off, Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Dry Food gives pups a significant amount of protein, with the first two ingredients being deboned chicken and chicken meal.
The third to 5th ingredients are wholesome whole grains that provide high energy from complex carbohydrates that are easy to digest.
These are far better than corn and most other sources of carbs found in cheaper foods that are hard for a puppy to get any nutrition from.
Out of everything in this product, 40 percent of it is protein, which is higher than average. About 14 percent of it is fat, and of the remainder, 38 percent is carbs.
The flax-seed in this product is rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and fiber, both of which are important to your pups health including his digestion. And the omega oils may help reduce risk of developing arthritis.
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Things To Look For In The Best Dog Food For Labrador Retriever Puppies
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best food for a Labrador Retriever puppy:
Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list
Since puppies do best on a diet of easily digestible proteins, whole meats are the preferred option for a food for Labrador Retriever puppies. Equally desirable are foods that take meat meals as their primary ingredients.
Plant-based proteins and by-products should be strictly avoided as they are inferior quality and offer few nutritional benefits to developing puppies.
Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
Chemicals, fillers, artificial flavorings and colorings, and mystery ingredients provide no nutritional benefit to a growing Labrador Retriever puppy. Any foods containing these items is best left on the shelf.
Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
Supplements help a diet to be its most effective. The ideal supplements to look for in a food for the Labrador Retriever pup are glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics.
Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
All foods appropriate for the Labrador Retriever puppy should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.
The Best Large Breed Puppy Food Helps Your Lab Puppy Dog Grow Into A Healthy Adult
If you have a Labrador puppy or any other large breed puppies, feeding it the best foods for puppy Labs is important to make sure they grow up with healthy bones and joints so that they dont develop additional health problems as an adult. We gave you 11 great options, including some that are grain-free and all-natural, across all price points so theres something here for everyone.
Follow the instructions on the side of the packaging to make sure youre feeding your Lab puppies the right amount of food, and dont be afraid to ask your vet about when you should begin transitioning your Labrador puppy to food for adult dogs.
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Best Dog Food For Small And Large Breeds
Small breed dogs and large breed dogs have different nutritional needs. Large breed dogs are more prone to musculoskeletal problems than smaller breeds, and so they often require large-breed dog food with different balances of certain nutrients to promote musculoskeletal health, especially as puppies. Small breed dogs, on the other hand, can choke on large-sized kibble and have their own nutritional requirements that can be accommodated with a small-breed dog food. Research your dogs breed to find out if there are any additional nutritional requirements you should be aware of.
Raw Or Cooked Food Prepared At Home
Because nutrition is so crucial for puppies, you dont have time to play around. If you want to go the natural or home-cooked route, make sure you know what you are doing. There are entire books written on the subject of raw feeding and homemade pet foods. Get one and become an expert.
In my personal opinion , getting used to raw food is quite a process for pups.
Im also not comfortable with staking my puppys future on my very limited skills as a pet nutritionist. After all, if I make mistakes, my puppy is going to be the victim!
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Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy
The last puppy food for labs that we will be looking at is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection. While this is not specific for large breeds, it does have a lot of great nutrition for all developing puppies, including DHA and ARA.
DHA and ARA are both found in mothers milk and are essential for brain development. This food has no fillers either, making it a healthy choice.
Contains DHA and ARA for brain health Formulated with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals No chicken by-products No fillers, corn, wheat, or preservatives Contains nutrition for joint health
Not breed or size specific
Most Popular Labrador Dog Food: Taste Of The Wild Sierra Mountain Grain
When you cant decide what to feed your Labrador Retriever, you can always go with a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. This brand offers a variety of high-quality dry foods featuring premium roasted meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. This Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food is a protein-rich formula featuring fresh lamb and lamb meal as the top two ingredients, providing an overall 25% crude protein content. It contains a blend of canola oil and salmon oil to provide the ideal combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with probiotic supplements for healthy digestion. This recipe contains fresh fruits and vegetables like blueberries, tomatoes, and raspberries to act as natural sources for key nutrients, though there are also vitamin supplements and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. This formula is rich in fiber and natural enzymes for digestive support and, overall, contains 15% fat and 5% fiber at 338 calories per cup.
Pros: Single-source of animal protein, highly digestible, fresh fruits and vegetables, blend of omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, probiotics for healthy digestion, complete and balanced
Cons: Could be higher in protein, some dogs dont require a grain-free diet
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How Much Should You Feed Your Puppy
Like human babies or any baby animals, puppies also need more meals than adult dogs. Since their growth rate is the fastest as its ever going to be, they need the necessary calories to keep up with the growth. A puppy will need about 3 or 4 meals a day. If you feed the food of 4 meals into 1 meal, then your puppys digestive system will not be able to handle such a large food intake in one go, and your dog may get diarrhea. If you are feeding your puppy 3 meals a day, and your pup has loose stools, then take the amount of food for 3 meals, and divide it into 4 meals in a day. Make sure that your puppys daily food intake is divided up into small meals that are fed throughout the day, with at least a gap of 3 to 5 hours in between 2 meals.
Verified Review: User Experience
We understand that some pet parents are looking for food thats recommended by professionals. An Amazon user had this to say about our top choice, Hills Science: My veterinarian has been in practice for over 30 years and SUPER picky about which brand of dog foods he recommends. Hes done a lot of research. Hills Science Diet is at the top of the list.
Its essential to make sure that if you switch dog foods that your dog isnt having any issues with the new food. In fact, some puppy kibble can help your dog feel better in general like this puppy owner noticed:
I didnt want to take any chances with my 8-week old pup getting tummy upsets and diarrhea, making house training more difficult. My old dog is on Hills Science Diet prescription food and whenever I try to switch her off she gets diarrhea so that is why I went with Hills Science Diet over all the large breed puppy foods out there. Complete success! Zero gastric issues and puppy gobbles it up though that could have something to do with eating with other dogs. Anyway highly recommend it.
As soon as theyre able to eat dry food, youll want to have it available because we all know how much puppies can eat. Royal Canin is an incredibly high-quality premium brand that can keep active puppies satiated for long periods of time.
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How Often To Feed Your Labrador
Many dog owners continue to feed their dogs twice a day throughout their lives. Some people feed their dogs once a day after twelve months of age. How much to feed a Lab puppy will be different. We have a section on this next, so keep reading.
We do know that there is an association between bloat and large meals. Though this may only apply to kibble Once daily feeding is probably fine if you decide to feed raw meat. But with kibble it may be too much dry food in one go. I recommend that you feed your adult dog morning and evening.
The Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers For 2022
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Labrador Retrievers are Americas most popular dog breed and for good reason. These sweet-natured, medium-to-large-sized dogs are extremely versatile. They make the perfect family pet, service dog, or bird dog. Theyre natural athletes that require lots of exercise to keep their bodies and minds in top shape. So, its crucial that you choose the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers to meet all of their nutritional needs.
The right food for other dogs in the sporting group may not be right for Labrador Retrievers. Well address this breeds specific dietary needs and potential health conditions below. Because puppies, adults, and seniors have different nutritional and caloric requirements,its important to purchase the best food based on their current stage of life. And as they grow, youll need to adapt your Labrador Retrievers food to their changing needs.
The following list of the best overall options for Labrador Retrievers is based on their stage of life and whether your dog prefers wet or dry foods so you can select the best food for your best friend.
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Health Dietary Changes In Labradors
It is possible to manage food-related health conditions in Labs by modifying their diet.
Below are some dietary adjustments you can try if your canine friend is experiencing any of the conditions listed below.
|Increase amino acids which can be found in protein
|Concurrent GI Signs
|Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats try a simple ingredient food trial
|Chronic Itching and Dermatitis
|Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil add a dog probiotic try a simple ingredient food trial
|Dull Coat and Scaling
|Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet try a food that has added zinc
|Dandruff and Crustiness
|Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels
If you notice your Lab has skin allergies or joint pain, dog fish oil is an excellent addition to their diet. According to AKC, fish oil promotes healthier coats by reducing itchiness and flakiness in the skin because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Other significant impacts include promoting enhanced immunity while strengthening heart health in dogs.
Taste Of The Wild Ancient Prairie
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- High protein supports bones, joints, and muscles.
- Nutrient-rich with vitamins and minerals from superfoods and ancient grains.
- Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- K9 Strain proprietary probiotics to help support healthy digestion, immune system, and overall health and wellness.
- Made in the USA.
This recipe is made with ancient grains that are also naturally high in protein, so not only is this recipe full of meat, but he also receives protein from other ingredients for muscle maintenance and growth.
This recipe has the lowest fiber content which makes it a great option for those who dont function well on a highly fibrous diet, but it still has plenty of live probiotics to ensure a healthy digestive tract.
We love that this recipe is made with other protein sources such as Buffalo, Pork, Venison and Bison, so it offers a tasty alternative for those Labs who arent overly keen on Chicken flavored kibbles.
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Biologically Approved Raw Food
The majority of vets prefer kibble for its balanced nutritional profile. However, many veterinaries still suggest that the BARF diet may be the best option for dogs and puppies, including Labradors.
BARF can be either homemade or commercial.
Home BARF diets include raw meat, bones, as well as additions like fruit, vegetables, and raw eggs. Because of this, BARF may feel more natural and less boring to Labradors than kibble food.
Commercial BARF comes in the form of a meat-based putty and is sold either fresh or frozen.
While BARF is a possible alternative to dry food, it has some drawbacks that you should be aware of.
First of all, the raw meat in BARF diets has been found to contain infectious pathogens that may cause bacterial infections in both humans and pets.
Secondly, tweaking the nutritional value of BARF diets may be very difficult, especially with homemade diets.
As a result, making sure that your Labrador puppy is getting just the right amount of nutrients to be healthy and not to become obese becomes much more difficult.
Dry foods are much better in this sense because they have a balanced profile out of the box.
Besides, containing bones, BARF can pose a choking hazard for your Labrador puppy.
In the end, while BARF diets may be able to deliver great results if used properly, the risks and inconvenience associated with them make dry foods a much better choice for Labrador puppies.
The Best Dog Food For Adult Labrador Retrievers
If you are looking for the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers that are older than 15 months of age or are transitioning from puppy food to adult food, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
Your vet can help determine your Labs current body condition score. With this in hand, you can decide which maintenance adult diet is best.
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How Do You Recognize Quality Puppy Food
There are a lot of choices to choose from when you go to buy puppy food. So how do you choose the one with the best quality? If you go for one of the well-known, popular, and widely consumed brands, the chances are that the puppy food of these brands is of high quality hence, their popularity. So, do not be reluctant to spend some bucks, and get your beloved puppy the food it deserves.
What Should I Feed My Labrador Puppy
One of the main differences between Lab puppies and smaller breeds is that Lab puppies have a lot more growing to do. For example, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel weighs about 8 pounds at three months old and grows to an adult size of about 15 pounds, their weight just about doubling. A Labrador puppy, on the other hand, weigh about 20 pounds and three months to about 65 pounds, more than tripling their weight.
Because of this, large breed puppies grow and change a lot in the first few years, going through fast and dramatic bone changes. This makes them very sensitive to nutritional imbalances, which is why using the best puppy foods formulated for Labs helps them get the protein content and nutrients they need to promote healthy growth.
Watching your Lab puppys weight is key to helping them grow properly, too. If theyre too heavy, it puts too much pressure on their growing bones which can cause a lot of problems for them later in life. Thats why Labrador specific puppy food and large breed puppy foods in general have fewer calories and fats than other puppy foods. That said, puppy food has more calories and vitamins than adult puppy food to support their rapid growth.
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