Baby labrador food
How Much, Diet Charts And The Best Food
We have lots of information here on feeding your Labrador puppy. We’ll talk about the four main different ways to feed a puppy. We’ll help you decide how much to feed a Lab puppy, how often to feed them, and help you choose the right diet for your puppy.
We will show you the best puppy foods, whether dry, wet, or raw, and we’ll look at food safety, together with schedules, quantities and even a handy puppy diet chart. Finally, we’ll include some reviews of the various brands, and will help you cope with the all-important transition to adult food.
Feeding Your Labrador Puppy
There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started! If you have a specific question, you can use this handy contents list to skip straight to the answer:
- Best puppy food for Labs
- Feeding your puppy on kibble
- What should you add to kibble
- Feeding your puppy a raw diet
- How much to feed your puppy
- Labrador puppy diet chart
- Choosing between different brands
- Keeping your puppy’s weight right
- Helping thin puppies
- How often to feed
- What time to feed
- Hungry puppies!
- Giving puppies milk
- Changing to adult food
- Switching between brands
- Adding variety
- More information and resources
- ASK A QUESTION!
Can My Puppy Eat This?
We often receive questions on the website about feeding your Labrador Retriever puppies. People ask if it is OK to give puppies eggs, or rice, or milk, and so on.
When I was small, we fed puppies all sorts of things, including scraps, raw meat, canned puppy food, puppy meals, or breakfast cereal and milk.
Nowadays, feeding your Labrador puppy is usually much simpler. Most new puppy parents opt for a commercial food that is nutritionally complete and contains everything your puppy needs.
Best Puppy Food for Labs
Naturally, we all want the best for our puppies and want to give them a diet that is nutritious, healthy, and tasty. So, what is the best puppy food for labs? Most people feed puppies with commercially produced dry dog food also known as kibble. That’s fine and can give a perfectly balanced diet. We’ll look at some of the different brands of dry puppy food later.
Others like to mix in some commercial tinned dog meat, which is another healthy alternative. Pick a good quality brand that is specially formulated for puppies.
Feeding your Labrador puppy on home cooked food or on a totally raw diet is also possible. You’ve probably heard of BARF, or ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Feeding dogs this way is growing in popularity, and there are pros and cons to raw feeding puppies. That’s another area we will explore later on.
Ways of Feeding Your Labrador Puppy
Let’s break this down. The main alternatives are:
- Kibble (dry food)
- Barf (raw food)
- Wet food (cans and pouches)
- Home cooked puppy food
All of these have their pros and cons.
Experts Disagree on Puppy Feeding
One problem for puppy owners is that even the experts disagree on what is the best food for puppies. People often feel very strongly that one way of feeding is better than another, and you can always find evidence to support your view.
You will find veterinarians on YouTube pronouncing that BARF is the only way to keep a dog healthy. Other veterinarians and nutritionists argue that kibble is the only way you should feed your puppy, warning of dire consequences if you attempt to go ‘natural.’
To make things even more complicated, dog breeders also tend to be divided into those that feed a natural raw diet and those that feed kibble. Take a look online – you will find plenty of claims for the benefits of one method over the other.
The truth is that there is no good quality evidence showing that kibble is better for the long term health of your dog, or that raw feeding is better. There are risks and benefits to both, and the main thing is to ensure that your dog has good quality food to eat. So, we’ll now take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of the different puppy foods.Choosing The Best Puppy Feeding Method
Different methods of puppy feeding suit different families. Some dogs and some families are better suited to raw feeding, and many dogs and their families are probably better suited to feeding kibble.
If like most people, you’ll be feeding your Labrador puppy on commercial dry puppy food, you should not feel that you are letting him down in any way. Let’s look now at feeding your Labrador puppy kibble. This dried food is how most modern puppies are fed in the USA and the UK
Feeding your Labrador Puppy on Kibble
In most parts of the world, you can buy ready-made puppy food made into pellets. Kibble stores well provided that you don’t get the food become damp. An airtight plastic container or tin will do the job, although you should make sure it is food grade quality.
Most vets and breeders believe that kibble is the best way of feeding your Labrador puppy. As a result, you are likely to get plenty of support from your vet if you decide to feed your puppy on dry food.
A good puppy kibble will contain every nutrient your Labrador puppy needs in order to grow and remain healthy. It will be tasty, good for keeping teeth healthy, and free from additives that can provoke allergies or stomach problems.
What happens if you choose feeding your Labrador puppy dry food? Can you give it other types as well?
What Other Food Should You Feed With Puppy Kibble?
If your are feeding your Labrador puppy kibble, there is no need to provide anything else apart from water. Puppy kibble from a reputable manufacturer is intended to be a complete and balanced food. Some owners like to mix in canned dog food or even scraps of raw food with kibble.
There’s probably no harm in doing this occasionally with an older dog, but with puppies you may find it causes upset tummies and there’s a risk that you won’t be feeding a balanced diet unless you include considerable variety in your ‘extras’.
Speak to your Vet
As always, check with your vet if you want to try it, especially if your puppy needs a special diet.
Whether you decide to feed only with kibble or you want to mix it up, pick a good dried food manufacturer and stick with them. Another type of food, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is the raw food diet.
What About Feeding Puppies On Raw Food?
Some people are worried about the long term effects of feeding your Labrador puppy kibble and believe there are advantages to feeding a more natural raw diet. I have fed many of my own dogs this way. There are pros and cons to raw feeding which you need to consider carefully before plunging in.
Do Plenty of Research
You’ll need to do some research on the nutritional needs of puppies in order to maintain a balanced diet during this period of rapid growth. Here is a link to the articles you need to help you decide whether or not raw feeding is for you:
- Information about raw feeding
Although I like the raw diet for my dogs, most puppies fed kibble go on to have long and healthy lives. Whatever food you choose, the most important thing is portion control. Too much food and they will become fat: too little and they might not grow and develop properly.
How Much to Feed a Labrador Puppy?
People often tell me how much their puppy weighs, and ask how much food they should give him. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear is “how much should I feed my Labrador puppy?”
I have put up a puppy diet guide, below, to give you an idea of what quantities you should be feeding. Most food brands give you a Lab puppy feeding chart.
However, knowing how much to feed a Labrador puppy is sometimes a matter of keeping an eye on her. If she look too fat, you might be overfeeding her.
Risks Of Overfeeding Your Puppy
Rapid growth doesn’t just put weight on a puppy, but leads to larger but less dense bones and associated skeletal abnormalities. Labradors and other larger breed dogs are particularly at risk if they grow too quickly. Try to follow the charts and feeding guides, and don’t forget booking a check up at the vet to make sure your Lab’s growth is normal.
The following diet chart is for kibble fed puppies and does not apply to raw fed pups. It gives you an idea of how much should I feed my Labrador puppy
Lab Puppy Feeding Chart
The Lab puppy feeding chart below is only a very rough guide. The quantity of food you need for your puppy will vary depending on your puppy and on the brand of food you are feeding him.
Many food manufacturers provide similar dietary charts on the bag of food or on their website. You can also check with a vet or dog nutrition specialist to make sure that your puppy grows to be strong and healthy with just the right amount of food.
The diet charts are always useful when selecting the best dog food brand for your puppy.
Choosing Best Brand of Puppy Food
A good brand of dog food is one that will provide all your puppy’s nutrients and keep him healthy without costing you a small mortgage each week.
It’s important to give your little one food specifically designed for puppies, because they have different nutritional needs and their small teeth cannot handle large, hard dog biscuits. Don’t feed puppies the kibble sold for adult dogs.
When feeding your Labrador puppy, the right product will be for medium/large breed puppies. Check the pack carefully and look at the dietary charts. Ideally, you want the optimal protein content and the lowest amount of additives.
Part of this always comes down to the cost, because the healthiest foods are usually the most expensive and may not be affordable for some families.
The Cost Of Puppy Food
Some brands of food are more concentrated than and contain a higher proportion of proteins, essential oils, and other nutrients. The cheaper brands may contain more ‘fillers’ in the form of extra carbohydrates, usually made from grain. The absence of these fillers means that you can often feed lower quantities of more costly food, making them less expensive than they first seem.
You might also find that cheaper brands make your puppy poop more due to those extra fillers going straight through him. While some brands are beyond the budget of many families, it is usually good to buy a premium brand.
High Quality Brands of Puppy Food
Some brands of puppy food have developed a reputation for producing a high quality product and have many devoted supporters, including breeders that have fed them to generations of puppies.
We’ve selected some good quality brands in our Amazon puppy picks:
One of our favourites is Orijen Large Breed Puppy Formula.*
We also like Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Food*.
Orijen and Nature’s Variety (and some of the other more expensive brands), rely on legumes like lentils and chickpeas as a source of carbs.
These are much gentler on a dog’s stomach than grain, which can cause bowel irritation.
Both of these brands receive good ratings on Dog Food Advisor, an independent dog food review site where you can find lots more information on the ingredients of different brands of dog food.
Availability of Puppy Food
The big brands are widely available in many parts of the world, and they have a valuable reputation to maintain. So, the chances are, your puppy will be eating a good quality product if you choose one of these.
On the packet, your puppy food should give you the manufacturers quantity guidelines for that brand.
Again, this is a rough guide only, and you should not follow the advice slavishly. Overfed puppies are prone to diarrhea, obesity, and too-rapid growth.
Now, we’ll explain how to figure out if your puppy is getting too fat or too thin.
Following Puppy Feeding Quantity Guidelines
Just to complicate things, not every puppy in each age group will fall within the weights displayed on the chart above. Some owners may worry that there is something wrong with their puppy. However, don’t worry, because our cuddly Labrador pups vary so much.
Quite simply, puppies of the same age vary in weight and size, so that means the amount of food you need to feed them will be different. Use the guidelines on the packet as a guide, then observe and feel your puppy to check how he is doing. You can always chat to your vet if you have any concerns.
We looked at the type of food and the amount, so we can now look at the feeding time routine. Let’s start with where to feed your puppy.
Where To Feed Your Puppy
If you’re feeding your labrador puppy in a family room when she is small, she will soon become used to eating with people milling around her. This should prevent behavior we call ‘Food Guarding.’
At some point, puppies may attempt to guard their food by growling. This is more likely if he is used to eating in isolation, but you suddenly expect him to eat in front of people. Don’t panic if your tiny friend starts food guarding, because it is an easy thing to sort out if you are willing to learn a few tips and techniques.
Don’t be tempted to punish your puppy, because that will make things worse. You will need to follow the instructions in this link in order to stop your puppy growling over food.
Feeding your Labrador puppy some meals in his crate can be helpful, especially if he is a bit unsure whether the crate is a good thing or not. You can read more about this in my in-depth guide to crate training
Choosing The Right Food (And Water) Bowls
There is plenty of choice when it comes to choosing a food bowl for your puppy. You can if you wish, simply feed your puppy from one of your own plates or bowls.
My own preference is for a simple stainless steel bowl*. They are dishwasher safe, don’t break, and last a lifetime. Because they don’t scratch easily, food can’t gather in difficult-to-clean cracks and scratches, making it easy to keep the bowl clean and sterile.
The only disadvantage is that they can be a bit noisy when the puppy chases the empty bowl around the kitchen!
If you are worried about esthetics, there are plenty of much prettier bowls on the market if that’s what appeals to you.
I recommend a really heavy ceramic bowl for water*, simply because they are so difficult for your puppy to tip up – and he will try!
Size can be important, too. If you buy a bowl that is too big, then it is easy to give your puppy too much food accidentally. Too small a bowl, and you might give her too little. The right size bowl is a useful tool for keeping your puppy at the right weight.
Keeping Your Puppy At The Right Weight
It is important that your dog does not get too fat or too thin. However, you have some leeway, and you should increase or decrease his rations accordingly as he grows.
The most common problem is puppies that get too fat. Although we all love cuddly Labrador puppies, they should not be rotund!
By three months or so, they should have definite waist just like older dogs. Check out this page for more information. Don’t forget, if you are unsure about your puppy, your vet is the best person to give you some great guidance.
Of course, the other side of the weight issue is puppies that look too thin. That can be another important issue.
What If Your Puppy Is Too Thin?
If you are worried about your puppy’s growth rate it is a good idea to take him along to your vet for check up. Sometimes, it is just a matter of increasing the amount of food or changing the brand to a more nutritious option with fewer fillers.
Importantly, don’t just double her food overnight, because a sudden increase in quantity can upset her tummy and make matters worse.
If you can see your puppy’s ribs, or she weighs a lot less than the weights on the chart above for her age, get your vet to have a look at her.
How Often Should you Feed Your Labrador Puppy?
Like most baby animals, puppies need feeding more often than adult dogs. Right now, your puppy’s growth is the fastest it will ever be in his life. He needs plenty of calories to fuel that growth, as well as the right nutrients.
If you feed his entire day’s ration in one go, his digestive system will be overwhelmed and he’ll end up with diarrhea. So, you need to make sure that your puppy’s daily ration of food is broken up into several small meals, fed three to four hours apart.
Feeding your Labrador puppy little and often is a great way of preventing tummy upsets. If your puppy has rather loose stools on three meals a day, try breaking his ration up into four meals a day for a while.
As a rule of thumb puppies fed on kibble require
- Four meals a day from eight weeks to three months
- Three meals a day from three months to six months
- Two meals a day thereafter
This is all part of getting your puppy used to the feeding routine. Puppies tend to like predictability and feeding at set times.
Mealtimes and Schedules: Or When to Feed Your Puppy
Your puppy’s feeding schedule can fit in with your personal preferences up to a point. But don’t try and cram all his meals into the evening. If you have to work during the day, you’ll need to make sure someone comes in to feed him.
You can’t just leave a puppy’s food ration for the day down, because he’ll eat it all at once and this may upset his tummy.
Ad Libitum Puppy Feeding
You may have heard of the ad lib feeding system, where puppies can help themselves to food at any time from a hopper.
The idea is that the puppy will regulate his own food intake if food is never restricted.
However, studies have shown that puppies fed this way have a higher incidence of bone and joint problems. As a result, it really is not a good idea.
Choosing the right time of day to give your puppy his meals is important, because it determines whether you can keep your puppy clean and dry at night. Feeding schedules can also influence how long your puppy sleeps for at night.
First Meal of the Day
Puppies love food, and crave the attention that comes with feeding time. If you’re feeding your Labrador puppy at 6am, because he has woken you and was hungry, the chances are he’ll wake you at 5:45 the following day!
Remember, feeding is a powerful reinforcer of behavior. If you don’t want to encourage your puppy to wake you up earlier each morning, don’t feed him as soon as you get up. Have a coffee and wake up before filling the bowl.
Have a set time for breakfast and don’t feed her before then, even if she has been awake for two hours. She won’t starve in that short period of time, although she might make you feel like she is! Be firm and resist the temptation.
Last Meal Before Bed
Try to space your puppy’s meals out fairly evenly throughout the day. Most importantly, don’t feed your puppy just before you put her to bed for the night.
I like to leave at least a four-hour gap between the puppy’s last meal and her bedtime. This helps to reduce the risk that she will want to use the bathroom at 2 am.
Example Puppy Feeding Schedule
Just to help you on the way, here is an example puppy feeding schedule. Of course, you can adapt this to suit your own routine as long as you pay attention to the above advice.
Feeding schedule for an 8 week old Labrador puppy
My puppy feeding times for 8-week-old puppies tend to be something like this:
You don’t need to be a slave to the clock, but this is just to give you an idea. A few minutes or even half an hour earlier or later won’t cause problems.
12 Weeks Old
Feeding schedule for a 12 week old Labrador puppy:
If you want to make an early start with training your puppy, you can use all or part of his daily rations during training sessions. Again, spread these out throughout the day, and don’t feed too close to bedtime
What If My Puppy Is Still Hungry?
One of the things people most often ask is, “what if my puppy is still hungry?” They have followed the guidelines on the packet, but the food doesn’t seem to be enough to satisfy the puppy.
If your puppy clears up his food in a few seconds and begs for more, don’t panic. This is perfectly common and perfectly normal.
Your puppy doesn’t know for sure when his next meal will be along, so it makes sense to him to eat as much as he possibly can right now!
And, puppies are very good at using every trick in the book to win you round.
Slow Feed Dog Bowls
You can try giving your puppy her meal on a slow feed bowl or plate. These work very well for some puppies and can help to prevent a puppy eating its food so quickly that it makes her sick.
Our favourite is the Northmate Interactive Feeder*.
The large one will hold a full meal of Labrador kibble, enough for an adult.
In addition, as an added bonus, your puppy will have a lot of tail-wagging fun getting the pieces of kibble out from in between the ‘blades of grass’. Problem solving can be very enriching for your puppy.
What about the opposite problem, that your puppy is refusing to eat?
What if My Puppy Won’t Eat?
As most experienced Labrador owners know, not all puppies are greedy. And studies have shown that puppies in general eat more when they are fed in a group with other puppies
Many puppies go off their food for the first few days that that they spends in their new home. They eat a few bits of kibble then refuse any more. The puppy may eat from your hand but not their bowl. If your puppy won’t eat at all for more than four hours, then call your vet for advice. Call sooner if the pup is listless or showing any signs of being unwell.
Otherwise, a somewhat reduced appetite, to begin with, is probably nothing to worry about. Just mention it to your vet when you take the pup for his first check up, or in the next day or two.
Should Your Puppy Have Milk?
A few older breeders still give puppies milk and cereal for two of their four meals. This is a throwback to the days before we invented kibble. It is also very natural to want to give milk to a baby animal, and it sometimes feels like the right thing to do. However, don’t forget that dogs are weaned at a younger age than many other mammals.
At eight weeks old, when you bring your puppy home, he is fully weaned. He does not need milk of any description. In fact, many older puppies are highly intolerant of milk and will simply get diarrhea if you feed it to them.
If you are feeding your Labrador puppy on complete kibble, your puppy does not need milk to drink, and fresh water is all they require.
Now, you have followed the puppy feeding advice and your dog is almost an adult. How can you change the feeding routine to help your puppy transition to the next stage of its life.
Changing From Puppy To Adult Food
Kibble manufacturers often recommend feeding your Labrador puppy kibble for puppies up to 12 months of age, before changing to adult kibble.
Some breeders and experienced dog owners do switch their lab puppies on to adult food before this, but not usually before they reach six months of age.
Switching Between Dog Food Brands
If you haven’t brought your puppy home yet, make sure you get a diet sheet from the breeder, and feed her with the same brand for at least a week or two.
There will be quite enough for her little tummy to cope with when she leaves home without learning to digest a different food.
Adding Variety To Your Puppy’s Diet
It’s very easy to give human attributes to puppies and assume that, because we would be bored eating the same thing, your small one will too. This encourages people to try to add scraps to the puppy diet or change brand.
Remember, adding your own extras, like cereals or milk, to kibble might make you feel caring, but it will only unbalance the whole diet. Changing brands can upset puppies’ tummy and make them sick.
In other words, don’t be tempted to fix what isn’t broken. If your pup has a balanced and tasty diet, why change it? Puppies probably don’t get bored from lack of variety, although there is rarely any harm in changing the flavor of food, as long as it is the same brand.
Hand feeding, training and treats
With modern training methods, you’ll find that much of your puppy’s food allowance will be used up in training. You don’t need training treats for this. Simply use your puppies normal food.
If you want to, all the rest of the puppy’s food can also be hand fed. Nowadays I do this with my own puppies and if you are at home throughout the day you can do this too. It’s a great way to form a deep and lasting bond with your puppy
It works like this: I measure out the puppy’s daily food allowance and divide it into portions, but instead of putting those portions into a bowl, I put them in small airtight food containers labelled with a ‘mealtime’.
As soon as one mealtime has passed I open the pot for the next mealtime, and over the next few hours I hand-feed pieces of the kibble in the pot to the puppy whenever the puppy does something that I like and want to encourage. I also get visitors to the house to hand-feed the puppy from the pot too. Here are some examples of when we feed the puppy
- When the puppy is looking up into your eyes
- When the puppy is keeping all four paws on the floor while you pet them
- When the puppy is resting quietly on a blanket or cushion
- When something new happens that might be scary (eg someone knocking at the door)
- When something new happens that is super exciting (eg children visiting)
I also use much of the kibble playing puppy games – these are games designed to build the puppy’s confidence and lay the foundations for future obedience training. I keep some of the kibble in a pocket and give some to the puppy each time I leave the room so that they associate me leaving with a happy experience.
If there is any food left in the pot by the time written on the lid, I tip it into my hand and let the puppy eat it in one go. But usually the pot is empty. And all you need to do is open the next pot!
Good luck with feeding your Labrador puppy! And don’t forget to contact your vet if you are worried about him in any way.
If you want to find out more, we have plenty of new resources for you to look at.
More Puppy Feeding And Growth Resources
If you have recently brought home a new puppy then don’t forget to check out First Days at Home with Your New Puppy and our Labrador Puppy Growth FAQ, for lots more tips and information!
If you want to find out the best way to feed an adult Labrador, then check out our article on how to feed a Labrador here.
One of the best places to get help and support in feeding your puppy is, of course, our wonderful forum. It is packed full of puppy advice and information, and lots of other new puppy owners and experienced Labrador owners are only too happy to advise and support you.
If this is your first puppy, don’t waste any more time – get yourself over to the forum now – we’d love to meet you. And don’t forget to bring some photos with you, because we simply love puppy pictures too.
Dry diets, wet diets, and raw diets can all work for your Lab, but you should not feel that you have to prepare home cooked food for your puppy if you don’t want to. Most puppy parents feed commercially prepared complete foods, and puppies thrive on good quality kibble.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment and, as always, we regularly update articles with new information from our readers. If you’ve enjoyed this article, you might also want to check out our guide to Labrador lifespan! Or find out when your Lab puppy can go outside safely here!
Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.
- How to cope with a crying puppy
References and further reading
- James W, 1960. The Development of Social Facilitation of Eating in Puppies. Journal of Genetic Psychology
- Hawthorne A, et al 2004 . Body-Weight Changes during Growth in Puppies of Different Breeds. Journal of Nutrition
- Larsen J 2010 Feeding Large Breed Puppies (pdf). Vetlearn.com
- Dammrich K 1991 Relationship between Nutrition and Bone Growth in Large and Giant Dogs. Journal Of Nutrition
- Roudebush, P., Bloom, P.B., and DJ Jewell. Consumption of essential fatty acids in selected commercial dog foods compared to dietary supplementation, QBC Europe.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website
How Much To Feed Your Lab Puppy
The Labrador Retriever is America’s number one dog breed and has been for 30 years and counting. He is friendly, infectiously happy, fun, obedient, affectionate, and more. But for him to grow into the typical Labrador that we all know and love, he needs to be cared for properly. Feeding him the best nutrition plays a huge role.
But there’s more to it than just feeding the best nutrition. And you’ve probably got a few questions on your mind. How much do you need to feed your puppy? How does it change as he grows? And how do you know if you’re feeding him the right food? Puppy nutrition can be a little tricky, but this guide answers all of these questions and much more.
Whether you’re about to welcome a Lab puppy into your life (congrats!) or you feel out of your depth and not sure if you’re feeding your pup correctly (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), you’ve come to the right place. So, let’s get you started on your Labrador puppy feeding journey.
- 1 How Much Should A Lab Puppy Eat?
- 2 Different Types Of Puppy Food
- 3 The Importance Of High-Quality Food
- 4 Why Is Large Breed Puppy Food Important?
- 5 What Nutrients Do Lab Puppies Need?
- 5. 1 Protein
- 5.2 Carbohydrates
- 5.3 Fiber
- 5.4 Omega Fatty Acids
- 5.5 Vitamins And Minerals
- 6 How Much Do Lab Puppies Grow Each Week?
- 7 Keeping Your Lab At The Right Weight
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Final Thoughts
Lab Puppy Feeding Chart At A Glance
|Age||Type of Food||Cups a Day||Meals a Day|
|0 – 30 days||Mother's Milk||n/a||Unlimited|
|4 – 6 weeks||Mother's Milk & Softened Kibble||n/a||Unlimited|
|8 – 12 weeks||Puppy Kibble||2 – 3||3 - 4|
|12 weeks – 6 months||Puppy Kibble||2 - 3||2 – 3|
|6 – 15 months||Puppy Kibble||2 - 3||2|
How Much Should A Lab Puppy Eat?
Remember that all dogs are different, but here are the general rules of how much a Lab puppy should be eating week by week. If you are curious about more details regarding your dog’s growth milestones, you can consult our Labrador Retriever growth charts.
In the first few weeks of your pup’s life, he eats (or drink) his mother’s milk. The first week is crucial for puppy development, and it determines just how healthy a pup he will become. Mother’s milk is full of colostrum, which provides the pups with the infection and germ-fighting protection their immune system needs. Receiving these antibodies in the first few days is essential for your pup’s health.
It’s important to let the mother nurse their pups as much and for as long as possible. Unfortunately, some mothers reject their pups, and some are simply unable to produce any or enough milk due to health problems. If this happens, you need to contact your vets, who provide the supplements that your Lab pup needs.
At two weeks old, your Lab pup still feeds on his mother’s milk. Already, you’ll probably be able to see the difference between the strongest and weakest pups in the litter. If you can, try to help ensure that the smallest pups get to their mother’s milk before the stronger pups. If not, you can make up the difference with puppy formula yourself. It’ll be hard work, but you need to give them the best possible start to life.
At three weeks, curious Lab puppies have figured out how to coordinate their legs to explore. This means that they’ll need extra fuel as they are now moving more. Many puppies also begin to develop their puppy teeth at this stage too. Some breeders introduce their pups to softened kibble or fresh food at this point. But it’s best to let their mother continue nursing them for a little bit longer.
The arrival of the fourth week brings with it an exciting time for Lab puppies because now they get the chance to experience something other than just their mother’s milk. Although their diet still is predominantly milk, softened food should be introduced to their diet. Any drastic changes in their diet can upset their stomach, so it’s important to introduce it gradually.
Mix a small handful of fresh food or kibble with water – the mixture should be 1/4 food and 3/4 water. Don’t be surprised if the pups turn their noses up at it the first few times. If they don’t seem keen, offer it to them several times a day. But never, ever force them. They’ll try it when they are ready. They continue feeding on mom as and when they want to.
Most Lab puppies have had their first taste of real food by now and a more willing to eat it most days. Although they still nurse when they can, they are now less dependent on their mother. Their mother knows this and enjoys the much-needed rest by spending less time with her pups.
The mother probably stands to feed the pups instead of laying down, as this gives her more control to walk away. This is normal – she’s not giving up on them. In fact, it’s a good sign that the puppies are becoming more independent. And mother is happy she has done her job well.
All Lab pups should be more interested in eating the new food mixture than their mother’s milk at six weeks. Although they still probably try to sneak in a few last milk sessions while they can. If your pup is doing well on the new food mixture without experiencing any adverse effects, it’s time to change it. The mixture should be gradually changed throughout the week until it becomes 3/4 food and 1/4 water.
At seven weeks, Lab puppies should be almost entirely weaned, if not completely. Some hungry pups might be still trying their luck with their mother’s milk, but that’s all down to mom now. She’ll either let them or not, but they no longer need milk. The mixture should be working well for them.
Eight week old Lab puppies should now solely be eating dog food and fully weaned. This is usually the time that most puppies are sent off to their new homes. A typical eight-week-old Lab pup consumes around two cups of food a day, split across four different meal sittings. Do not free-feed the pup because it’ll be tricky to monitor how much they are eating. Plus, two cups of food in one go might cause stomach upset for sure.
Some breeders give new owners enough food for you to gradually switch them to whatever new brand you choose to feed them. If not, you’ll have to ask the breeder what kind they used and buy a small bag of your own. Be sure to gradually switch them over, and follow the new package instructions. Typically, dog food transitioning takes between 10 and 14 days. Some new owners choose to stick with the same brand.
After a week of your Lab puppy being in your home, you’ll have hopefully established a feeding routine that is working. Stick with this same routine until around 12 weeks. Tweaking it as and when you need to is fine. After all, it needs to work for both puppy and you. At nine weeks, you’ll be able to feed your pup cooked meats. Just don’t fall into the bad habit of feeding him from the table.
Your Lab pup is super curious this week exploring his new surroundings, so he’ll probably be hungrier than normal. But it’s important to stick with the routine and food allowance to ensure that he doesn’t put on too much weight. Labradors can be very greedy dogs, and they will eat anything and everything in sight.
After two weeks of intense exploring and adapting to his new surroundings, your pup should show his appetite more than ever before. It’s important to stick to the routine that you’ve set up. If your pup leaves his food, take it away after 10 minutes. He’ll soon learn to eat it when you place it down rather than go hungry for a few hours.
By now, you’ve probably visited your vet for his first check-up with you. Ask your vet how your pup is doing. Your vet will tell you whether your pup is lacking behind, at a healthy weight, or becoming too chunky. Whatever your vet’s observations, be sure to follow any new instructions. Too little or too much weight can lead to various health concerns, so it’s important to get it right.
If your Lab pup is forever begging for food and seems completely unsatisfied by his mealtimes, you can up his daily food allowance to three cups a day. This is because around week 11 is the most dramatic growth spurt he’ll face. But only if he is active, healthy, and you can see his waist. If not, he’ll have to make do with the smaller food allowance. Stick to the routine and do not feed him extra food in between mealtimes.
Twelve weeks is the next change in the Lab puppy feeding schedule. If you upped his food previously, be sure to reduce it back down to two cups. And instead of four meals a day, you can reduce it to three meals a day now. This should be more manageable than before. Three meal sittings are better than two because it helps with the developmental digestive period. Plus, it avoids stomach upset or a drastic change in blood sugar levels.
It’s important to stick to the new schedule and not feed him in between mealtimes. Labs are curious canines, and he’ll be forever on his paws and playing. And although you might think he needs more food, he doesn’t. Labs are notorious for Oscar-worthy starvation acting – but do not fall for it.
His forever-hungry belly leads him to toxic scraps on the floor, dangerous items in the garden, and inedible household objects. Watch out for his surroundings, and keep all food out of reach. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on his poop, as this can give you a good idea about what extra bits he is eating and shouldn’t be.
Your Lab puppy starts to lose his milk teeth at this stage, so he’ll be chewing whatever he can to soothe the pain. Eating dried kibble also helps alleviate the discomfort, so don’t be tempted to water down his food. But be sure to provide him with chew toys and sticks suitable for teething puppies.
Different Types Of Puppy Food
The main types of dog or puppy foods are:
- Fresh (human-grade)
- Kibble (dry food)
- Canned or pouch (wet food)
- Raw or BARF (biologically appropriate raw food)
- Home-cooked food
High-quality dog food like human-grade or kibble has been rigorously tested for its nutritional benefits and safety. So you can be sure that everything your Lab puppy needs to grow healthily is in each bite. Ollie makes one of our favorite grain-inclusive recipes.
Canned or processed foods are often higher in fats, which is not ideal for puppies who need to grow steadily. Especially the greedy Lab.
A raw diet (aka BARF) is often too rich for sensitive puppy stomachs, and it is not always nutritionally balanced.
And unless you are out of food or under your vet’s instruction, we would advise you not to feed your pup home-cooked food. It is not tested in terms of nutritional value or safety, which could lead to nutritional deficiency.
The Importance Of High-Quality Food
There is a huge difference between basic store-branded and high-quality dog food brands. Poor quality brands rarely contain enough animal protein or omega fatty acids for adults, let alone growing puppies. Plus, they are pumped with fillers with little to no nutritional value, artificial rubbish, preservatives, colors, and chemicals.
Labradors have three life stages; puppyhood, adulthood, and their senior years. Puppyhood is arguably the most important nutritional life stage because it sets the foundations for a healthy life and body. By skimping a few dollars on poor quality food, you are risking your pup becoming nutritionally deficient or developing abnormally. So, nothing else will do for your Lab puppy.
Best For Puppies
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy
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Best For Adults
The Farmer’s Dog
View at TheFarmersDog.com
Best For Seniors
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior
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Note: Clicking the above links take you to Amazon.com or each company’s website, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Why Is Large Breed Puppy Food Important?
Your Lab weighs anywhere between 55 and 80 pounds at maturity, making him a large dog breed. Large dogs grow at a much quicker rate compared to smaller dogs, and this can lead to skeletal abnormalities and joint issues. Hip and elbow dysplasia is a common concern in Labs, so it is important to control skeletal growth. Large breed puppy dog food does exactly that.
The nutrition inside each piece is optimized for controlled bone growth. The specific nutrients that are optimized are calcium, phosphorus, fats, and vitamin D. Dog food designed for small or medium-sized pups does not control bone growth. Sometimes, even those brands that claim to be suitable for all-sized breeds are unsuitable for large dogs. So, like before, nothing else will do here.
What Nutrients Do Lab Puppies Need?
If you stick to high-quality food, you can rest assured that all the nutrients that your Lab puppy needs are found in their meal. But, it’s also useful for you to know what nutrients he needs and what ingredients to look out for. So, let’s take a look at the main components of a well-balanced Lab puppy diet.
Protein is full of life’s building blocks, which are scientifically known as amino acids. Without these, his body and muscle mass would not have the right power to grow efficiently. Protein can be found in animal meats. The first ingredient in puppy ingredient lists should always be a named animal protein. Meat meals, such as chicken meal, are concentrated forms of protein that are high-quality and full of glucosamine for his joints. The protein content in puppy food should be at least 22%.
Protein alone is not enough to keep your pup fueled for the day. This is where carbs step in. Healthy carbs can be found in grains, such as rice, barley, and oatmeal. Or they can also be found in veggies such as peas, sweet potatoes, and lentils.
Although fiber technically has no nutritional content, it is essential to your Labs puppy diet. Fiber helps to regulate doggy digestive systems and helps his stools to be firmer and healthier. It is also a low-calorie component that helps to keep your Lab puppy feeling fuller for longer. Look for fiber-rich ingredients such as sweet potatoes, spinach, beet pulp, and chicory root.
Omega Fatty Acids
Although we keep stressing the importance of keeping your Lab trim, essential fatty acids are crucial for healthy puppy development. They help his brain and eyes develop healthily, keep his skin and coat nourished, assist with vitamin absorption, and boost overall wellness. Look for ingredients such as meat meals, fish, fish oils, flaxseed, and canola oils.
Vitamins And Minerals
Just like us humans, dogs also need vitamins and minerals to develop into healthy adults. Without them, their immune system does not develop properly, and they are more at risk from illness and disease. Many high-quality dog foods list real fruits and veggies such as blueberries and cranberries, as well as added supplements. Also, look for nutrient-dense ingredients such as dried kelp and seaweed meal.
How Much Do Lab Puppies Grow Each Week?
At ten weeks, he should weigh around 20 pounds. He’ll be roughly half his expected weight at maturity by the time he reaches 18 to 20 weeks old.
Of course, all dogs are different, and stronger pups grow faster than weaker pups. A great indicator for you to keep an eye on is his waist. If you can see his waist, he is growing well. If you can’t, he’s too chunky, and if you can see his rib cage, he’s too skinny. If you are concerned about his weight or growth, make an appointment with your vet.
Keeping Your Lab At The Right Weight
Labradors are one of the greediest dog breeds on the planet, and if you don’t believe us, science actually backs this claim up. Labradors are born with a faulty gene that makes them feel as though they are still hungry. So, it’s up to you to control how much they eat. Feeding a puppy can be just as demanding as feeding a human baby. It also comes with just as much responsibility.
Unnecessary weight leads to a whole host of health problems, such as bad joints, cardiac conditions, diabetes, and even higher risk of cancer, to name just a few. And considering that the Lab is already at risk of joint dysplasia and cardiac concerns, it’s really important to minimize the risks as much as you can.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although we have made the world of Labrador puppy feeding as simple as possible for you, we agree, it’s not as simple as ABC. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions relating to Lab puppies and their feeding schedules.
When do I switch my Lab puppy to adult food?
Lab puppies are not fully mature until around the age of two years old. But, like most other dog breeds, they should be switched to adult dog food between the ages of 12 and 15 months old. Like you did when you introduced him to food from milk, you need to make the transition gradually to avoid stomach upset.
What are the best brands for my Lab puppy?
When looking for a brand, it’s important to choose a well-known and high-quality brand. It’s also important to consider your puppy’s unique dietary needs. For example, if your pup is allergic to chicken, you’ll need to find a chicken-free recipe. You also need to consider the availability of that brand in your area, as well as your budget. We have a complete food guide dedicated to the best foods for Labs in their every life stage. So head over there for the best recommendations for your canine.
Should I feed my Lab puppy supplements?
If you choose high-quality dog food, everything your Lab puppy needs are in that. Puppy food is already enriched with extra nutrients compared to adult food, so you shouldn’t need to feed him any extra supplements. In fact, it could be detrimental to his health. For example, too much calcium can lead to skeletal problems. If you have any concerns, please speak to your vet before adding anything extra to your pup’s diet.
What if my Lab puppy refuses to eat?
Puppies love to eat, and Labrador puppies are even more so. Some puppies, especially the runts of the litter, are smaller, weaker, and slower than the other pups. They get less than their fair share of the food. If you can, give these guys a helping hand getting to their mom or the food bowl first.
If your puppy completely refuses to eat, it could be a sign that something is wrong, so you need to take him to the vet straight away.
The Labrador Retriever is the nation’s canine sweetheart. As you can see from our puppy feeding guide, he needs a little help to develop into that gorgeous Fido that we all know and love. Puppy feeding is a hard task, but for most of us who welcome them into our lives at week eight, most of the hard work and late nights have already been completed by the breeder or previous owners.
But, what you feed your Lab, how often you feed him, and tracking his development is your responsibility. It’s not difficult, but it requires careful attention and routine. You also need to resist your Lab’s puppy dog eyes when eating something naughty because he’ll want a slice of the action. Overall, by sticking to our puppy feeding guide and choosing a high-quality food, your Lab will have the best start to life for sure.
The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.
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The best food for Labradors - Rating 2021
Labrador Retrievers are active, intelligent and very friendly animals with a playful disposition and luxurious golden coat. This breed has become very popular due to its beautiful appearance and docile nature of its representatives, which is why Labradors are so often started as companion dogs.
This breed is very active, agile and generally in good health, but can be prone to overeating, so owners of Labradors need to be very careful in choosing a diet and carefully monitor portion sizes. We tell you what is the best way to feed these dogs so that they remain healthy and active, and present our rating of the best dry food for Labrador Retrievers.
The benefits of dry food
What type of food to choose
What should be in the food
Food for adult Labradors
Food for older retrievers
Food for Labradors with various diseases
Advantages of dry food
Veterinarians usually recommend feeding adult Labradors high-quality dry food for large breeds, which will contain all the necessary trace elements and beneficial additives. Why is it better to use dry food rather than wet canned food or an all-natural diet from regular products?
Balance. For retrievers to be active, playful and healthy, their diet must be properly balanced in proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as contain the necessary minerals, fatty acids and vitamin supplements. Composing a perfectly balanced natural menu on your own can be very difficult, if not completely impossible - which means that the dog will not receive the elements he needs.
Saving time. Preparing a natural diet requires a lot of cooking time - the food must be fresh, so you will have to cook often and in small portions, enough for just one or two feedings. Therefore, it is much easier (and often more affordable) to feed a Labrador with professional industrial food from a well-known manufacturer.
Dental care. Another advantage of dry food is that dry kibbles, when chewed, help to effectively remove plaque and clean the dog's teeth, keeping them strong and protecting against cavities. Soft, wet, canned food or natural food cannot provide this effect, so it is not recommended to be used for regular feeding of your Labrador Retriever.
Economic consumption. High-quality dry mixes usually have a high calorie content, so a very small portion will be enough for one feeding. Due to this (and the fact that the mixtures are supplied in large packages), such feeds are consumed very economically.
Which type of food to choose
Labrador retrievers have a good appetite and are quite unpretentious in food, so they are unlikely to refuse even the usual store-bought economy class food. However, such nutrition is unlikely to have a good effect on the well-being of the dog. Due to the lack of essential microelements and nutrients, the animal may become lethargic, overweight, allergic, or have joint diseases. To avoid this, veterinarians advise choosing high-quality industrial premium or super-premium food for everyday feeding.
High-end formulas suitable for feeding Labradors can be found in the lines of the following manufacturers:
From cheaper economy-class mixtures, such feeds differ in high protein content, fewer plant components in the composition, as well as the obligatory presence of a variety of useful additives - vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other ingredients necessary for the proper functioning of the dog's body. In such feeds, real fresh meat is most often used, and not meat and bone meal, so they saturate better and have a beneficial effect on the dog's digestion. However, for the same reasons, they are sold at a higher price than economy class mixtures - but this is justified by the higher quality of the product, as well as its safety for the health of the dog.
What should be in the food
Proteins. Labrador Retrievers need a high-quality balanced diet containing a sufficient amount of essential trace elements - primarily protein. Its sources can be fresh or dehydrated meat (beef, veal, lamb, game), poultry (chicken or turkey), various types of fish, as well as quality offal such as liver or heart.
Proper carbs. A good Labrador food should not be mostly carbohydrates, but they must be present in its composition. Carbohydrates are the most accessible source of energy that these active animals need, and they often contain valuable trace elements and vitamins. The source of carbohydrates in the diet can be cereals and cereals (such as rice or wheat), as well as fresh vegetables or legumes such as corn.
Healthy fats. For good digestion and maintaining high quality wool, the feed must contain sources of the right fats - these can be vegetable oils or fish oil rich in valuable unsaturated acids.
Various supplements. To cover all the dog's needs for minerals, vitamins and other trace elements, useful supplements must be present in his feed. Many manufacturers add vitamin complexes, prebiotics for proper digestion, brewer's yeast extract for coat care, and various other ingredients to their mixtures, depending on the needs of a particular dog.
Food for adult Labradors
Most major brands (such as Royal Canin) produce specialized formulas for Labradors - most often they are marked with the "labrador" or "labrador junior" (for puppies) badges. However, adult dogs of this breed, in principle, can be fed with any dry mixes intended for animals of large breeds. Therefore, if you do not find a special food for Labradors, nothing bad will happen - just choose the food that suits you best, marked “for medium / large breeds” or “for all breeds”.
Royal Canin Labrador Retriever
The Royal Canin brand has a whole line of specialized feeds for Labradors of different ages. This product line is suitable for feeding adult Labrador Retrievers over 15 months of age and is designed to maintain a healthy weight in obese dogs.
Contains 30% dehydrated proteins from pork and poultry, as well as vegetable protein isolate, fiber, rice, wheat and fatty acids.
The complex of antioxidants slows down the processes of premature aging, helping the animal to stay active longer.
Chondroprotectors protect joints and bones, helping them cope with overloads.
The special shape of the kibble makes the dog chew more slowly and slows down the rate of absorption of food, thereby helping to avoid overeating and reducing the risk of obesity.
Eukanuba Breed Specific Labrador Retriever Adult
Everyday complete super-premium food for adult dogs from the Russian brand Eukanuba. Balanced food with a predominant content of natural dehydrated meat, suitable for healthy dogs of any age.
Contains dehydrated poultry meat, cereals (barley, wheat, rice), vitamin and mineral supplements, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for the proper functioning of the musculoskeletal system, as well as a special additive 3 Denta Defense to protect teeth from caries.
Enriched with a complex of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a thick, shiny coat and healthy skin.
Contains L-carnitine to help burn fat and maintain normal body weight.
Without dyes and artificial flavors.
Brit Care Salmon&Potato Adult Large Breed
Grain-free super-premium food with salmon and potato flavors for everyday nutrition of large dog breeds (over 25 kg). Grain-free, therefore suitable for dogs with gluten allergies.
Made mainly from fatty fish varieties - the product contains 34% dried salmon, 10% salmon protein and salmon fat rich in valuable unsaturated acids.
The source of carbohydrates instead of cereals is potatoes and dried apple, and extracts of fruits and herbs provide the animal with the right amount of vitamins A, B, C, D, E.
Brewer's yeast helps maintain the quality of wool, and oligosaccharides strengthen the dog's immunity.
Puppies and young Labrador Retrievers need to be fed special "baby" foods adapted to the jaws and digestive system of babies. These foods are usually much more nutritious and high in protein, because puppies require significantly more energy to actively grow and develop. They also changed the size of the croquettes - they are made smaller so that it is easier for kids to chew them. "Children's" mixtures are usually recommended to be used up to a year and a half, and after that you can already begin to transfer the dog to a full-fledged adult diet.
Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Junior 33
Russian food for Labrador puppies under the age of 15 months. The balanced composition of the dry mix ensures harmonious development and correct weight gain for young animals in the active growth phase.
Contains dehydrated poultry proteins (33%), rice, beet pulp and corn as sources of carbohydrates and fiber, vitamins A, D3, and plant extracts.
Mannooligosaccharides and antioxidants strengthen the immune system, while prebiotics support the digestive tract.
Contains highly digestible L.I.P. proteins essential for rapid growth and good digestion.
Calcium and phosphorus help strengthen growing bones and promote proper development of the musculoskeletal system.
Hill's Science Plan Chicken Puppy
Food from the Czech brand, intended for puppies of large breeds under the age of one year. Contains the optimal amount of protein, calcium and minerals necessary for active growth, proper brain development and the formation of a healthy immune system in a small dog.
Contains 28% poultry protein, including 18% fresh chicken meat, as well as chicken and turkey meal, eggs, vegetables (corn, sugar beet), flaxseed and fish oil rich in unsaturated acids.
The high calorie content of the dry mix allows puppies to quickly gain weight and grow actively.
The mineral complex helps strengthen growing bones and teeth, while docosahexaenoic acid promotes brain formation.
Brit Fresh Beef with Pumpkin Puppy Large
Another complete Czech food for puppies of large breeds with an increased amount of fresh and dehydrated meat in the composition. All ingredients included in the dry product have undergone the minimum possible processing so that they retain the maximum of useful substances.
Contains plenty of animal protein for healthy puppy growth and development - 40% fresh and 25% dehydrated beef.
It contains a large amount of vitamin-rich vegetables, fruits and herbs - for example, pumpkin, apples, fresh beets, rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc.
Enriched with chondroitin sulfate and collagen to protect cartilage and reduce the risk of future joint problems.
Oats, buckwheat and flaxseed, combined with prebiotics, ensure the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
Free of soy, gluten, wheat and corn, reducing the risk of allergies.
Senior Retriever food
Older dogs often become much less active than they used to be, so they gain weight easily and may even become obese. To prevent this from happening, they require special care: they should be fed reduced-calorie dry mixes, and their portion sizes should also be monitored. In addition, in such animals, the load on the articular and cartilaginous tissue increases significantly, so their food should be enriched with special additives.
Royal Canin Maxi Joint Care
Due to their tendency to be overweight, Labradors (especially adults and the elderly) can have joint and connective tissue problems. In this case, it is better to feed them with special food containing chondroprotectors - for example, Royal Canin's Maxi Joint Care mixture.
Contains hydrolyzed collagen to strengthen cartilage and support the musculoskeletal system.
The product has a reduced calorie content, due to which it helps to normalize the weight of the animal in order to reduce excessive stress on the joints.
The food is based on dehydrated poultry meat, easily digestible proteins L.I.P., cereals, vegetable fiber and beet pulp.
Also contains E vitamins for coat and skin.
Royal Canin Maxi Ageing 8+
Food for large or medium breed dogs (from 26 to 44 kg) of mature age (from 8 years old) that require extra care and a special nutrition system.
The food is based on easily digestible dehydrated poultry proteins, various types of fiber for proper bowel function, fresh vegetables, cereals and plant extracts.
Antioxidants - polyphenols from green tea in combination with fatty acids neutralize free radicals, slowing down the aging process of cells.
Chondroprotectors from cartilage hydrolyzate support healthy joints, helping the dog stay mobile and active longer.
Food for Labradors with various diseases
If your dog has any health issues, it may need special food. In this case, it is better to choose a diet together with your veterinarian, who will help you take into account all the indications and contraindications in order to choose a special therapeutic or preventive food.
Karmy Sensitive Medium&Maxi for sensitive gastrointestinal tract
Russian premium food is designed to feed dogs from 1 year old with hypersensitivity of the gastrointestinal tract. The balanced composition of the product helps to improve the condition of the intestinal microflora, restore immunity and reduce the risk of allergies.
The complex of pre- and probiotics helps to improve the quality of the stool, improve the functioning of the digestive system and restore the balance of microflora.
Contains dehydrated meat and fish (including salmon), hydrolyzed meat proteins, whole grains, vegetable fiber to improve digestive processes, and a vitamin and mineral complex.
Chondroprotectors (glucosamine, chondroitin) protect cartilage and joints from excessive stress and reduce discomfort.
Pro Plan Grain Free Formula Puppy Medium & Large
Italian complete food for puppies of large and medium breeds with sensitive digestion. Neutral and high in turkey, this product is designed to improve the balance of intestinal microflora in puppies, as well as to improve the natural digestive processes.
Contains 32% animal protein (18% turkey meat, chicken protein), as well as easily digestible vegetable protein products.
Prebiotics in combination with dried cassava restore the intestinal microflora, improve the quality of the stool, and also contribute to the growth of the number of bifidobacteria.
Minerals, amino acids and antioxidants ensure the healthy development of all systems of the puppy's body.
Developed in collaboration with veterinarians and nutritionists, it is free from dyes and potential allergens and is also suitable for pregnant or lactating dogs.
Feed for sterilized cats - which one to choose
more diet by months
If you have become the owner of a Labrador Retriever puppy or are preparing for the imminent arrival of a small inhabitant in the house, it's time to ask yourself what kind of food is better to feed a Labrador puppy. The diet of the baby is different from the diet of an adult representative of the breed. During growth, the cub needs a lot of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Their lack will cause a lag in the development of the dog.
Feeding a Labrador puppy is a task that requires special attention and responsibility of the owners of a small pet. Most breeders feed babies with commercial dry food. Therefore, before moving the baby, you need to ask what kind of products the puppy was treated to. The usual daily routine and type of feeding should be used for at least two weeks. This will help a small pet to more easily endure stress after separation from his mother, and will not weaken immunity and health in general from a sudden change in diet and a change of residence.
What should be observed when feeding:
If you are giving natural food to your baby, it should not be cold or hot. Properly feed food at room temperature. The consistency of food should be semi-liquid, like viscous porridge or thick soup.
Feeding is carried out at the same time from the same dishes (made of aluminum or food grade plastic) with a wide base that prevents tipping.
The remaining, uneaten food is left for 10-15 minutes, then removed until the next feeding. It is impossible to keep food all day, especially in the summer, in the heat, food quickly turns sour. Unsuitable food can cause poisoning.
Mandatory availability of clean water according to the needs of the animal. Fluid restriction to reduce piss is unacceptable, can harm the health of the puppy.
How much and how often to feed
At about four weeks, the mother's milk becomes insufficient for the grown cubs, and at this time they begin to gradually introduce complementary foods. Food is given only during the daytime, puppies are not fed at night. The interval between meals depends on the number of feedings. So a puppy at 2 months is fed every 3-3.5 hours. The older the pet gets, the less often it is treated and the more time between meals.
Up to two months of age, babies are fed six to seven times a day. At 3 months - four - five times. At 4-5 months and at six months of age, the frequency of feeding is reduced to three times a day. At 7-10 months, little Labradors are gradually transferred to an adult, two meals a day. One-year-old pets are fed twice, but once a day is acceptable.
The amount of food and its type are selected gradually, looking closely at the dog. If the puppy happily ate the entire portion, licked the bowl and calmly moved away from it, then everything was calculated correctly. If the baby is losing weight, there is not enough food. If you are overweight, you need to reduce your diet. If the puppy is worried after eating, whines and licks the bowl for a long time, the rate can be increased. With a strong swelling of the tummy after dinner, the portions are reduced, and the number of feedings is increased.
Do's and Don'ts
Labradors are not gourmets, not particularly picky about food. Nevertheless, nutrition should be complete, balanced and varied.
What can you feed a Labrador puppy:
Meat (beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit meat), tendons and veins. May be served raw after freezing. Cook no more than 5 minutes.
Offal (trachea, cheeks, liver, spleen, uncleaned stomachs).
Cereals (oatmeal, buckwheat, rice), their mixtures in the form of cereals.
Greens, vegetables, fruits in the form of puree. It is useful to give a finely chopped clove of garlic once a week as a good vitamin remedy and a natural anthelmintic drug.
Vegetable oil (linseed, sunflower) one teaspoon per day for 1 month.
Sour-milk products (cottage cheese, fermented baked milk, kefir, yogurt 1-2.5% fat).
Eggs (boiled protein, raw yolk) 1-2 times a week.
Sea fish (hake, pollock) fresh after freezing or boiled and ground together with bones, 2 times a week.
Before preparing meals for a retriever puppy, you need to know what food is contraindicated for him.
What not, list of products:
Fatty food, heavy for the liver of dogs, including fatty meat: lamb, pork.
Sweets containing refined sugar.
Tubular and bird bones (can lead to constipation, obstruction and perforation of the intestine).
Pasta, bakery products.
Pickles, marinades, smoked products, spices.
Potatoes, legumes, broccoli, onions, mushrooms.
Grapes, currants, citrus fruits, raisins.
Cow's milk (lack of lactose in the body of dogs leads to digestive disorders).
Alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee.
Types of feeding
For the full development of the baby, it is important to know what food to feed the puppy. When feeding small pets, they adhere to one of three schemes: natural nutrition, feeding ready-made (dry and wet) industrial feeds, or mixed feeding. There is no universal option for feeding a Labrador puppy.
You need to focus on the individual preferences of the dog, its appearance (a healthy animal has a shiny coat, clean eyes, normal weight gain, no signs of allergies), activity. What food is best for a Labrador puppy, you choose. You need to focus on the taste preferences of the pet and its physiological characteristics.
Features of feeding with dry and prepared foods
Many owners, due to their busyness, prefer to use dry food.
Benefits of ready meals:
There is no need to spend a lot of time compiling a diet, cooking dishes.
This option is convenient when traveling or walking: you need a little “drying”, it weighs little, takes up a minimum of space, and does not stain the dog and the owner’s things.
Ready-made feeds contain all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals necessary for the harmonious growth and development of the puppy.
The daily rate can be calculated as accurately as possible. All data is indicated on the packaging.
Long shelf life.
The disadvantage of ready-made feeds is the cost and the high likelihood of allergic reactions. The price of a good ready-made dry industrial food is higher than the cost of natural products. And semi-moist puppy food is even more expensive than dry food, but kids love it more.
On the market for such products, there are many varieties of brands and names. But it is better to choose a proven, high-quality premium and super premium class food from well-known manufacturers than to purchase a little-known economy product of dubious quality. There will be no benefit from it, and the health of the dog can be ruined. Cheap food contains many preservatives, dyes and stabilizers that can cause irreparable harm to the puppy's body.
So, what kind of food to feed the Labrador? The best brands are:
Royal Canin. It produces a special brand "Labrador Junior" for feeding babies of this breed from two to fifteen months. The product regulates weight, joint mobility. Contains easily digestible proteins, probiotics that support the digestive tract and normal intestinal microflora. But if your Labrador puppy is allergic, then none of the company's diets will work - all feeds contain bird protein.
Monge is an Italian super premium food. The composition includes only natural products that have passed all quality checks, suitable even for human nutrition. Takes into account the need for a growing organism in high-energy food. Contains vitamins, omega fatty acids, the necessary amount of Chondroitin and Glucosamine for the development of healthy bones, joints and the proper formation of the skeleton. There are no preservatives and dyes in the feed.
Many Labradors are prone to allergies, so do not buy a lot of dry food at once. Take some for testing and see how the puppy reacts. Well-known brands have a line of food for allergic dogs with lamb meat, which experts recommend for dogs with hypersensitivity and diet food for various health problems.
Features of feeding with natural food
If you have sufficient financial resources to purchase quality products, the time to prepare them; If you have your own qualified veterinarian who is able to develop a competent individual menu for feeding a puppy, then it is better to opt for traditional natural nutrition. Such food allows you to find many recipes, cook many dishes, diversify the diet as much as possible. You can be sure of the quality and freshness of the products.
Natural is absorbed by the body almost completely. Natural products can be used fresh, canned, added to cereals.
It should be borne in mind that in cold weather, natural food is required more than in summer. When exercising, you need more protein food.
Cons naturalki - it can not be stored in the refrigerator for a long time, the need for frequent cooking.
Sample puppy menu 1-2 months per day, table:
Buckwheat porridge, rice in milk. Butter. Half a raw egg.
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Soup with minced meat.
Sour milk drink.
Stewed vegetables with meat.
Milk porridge, butter, yolk.
Minced beef, a spoonful of sour cream, grated raw vegetables (beets, carrots).
High-quality dry food and natural products are used: meat, cottage cheese, crackers, kefir, curdled milk. Here you should follow the rule - do not mix different types of products in one plate. Ignoring this requirement leads to liver disease. In the first feeding, dry food is given, in the second - broth with meat, homemade cottage cheese made from milk and kefir in equal dosages or calcined from milk and calcium chloride. You can serve low-fat sea fish: hake, cod, ice fish and buckwheat. Hercules is not recommended - porridge from it often causes diarrhea.
Features of feeding puppies of different ages
Let's consider feeding the Labrador kittens by months. For up to a month, babies receive mother's milk as the main source of nutrition, after which the owner decides on feeding issues. There are times when a bitch loses milk or she dies, then the owners have to feed the babies themselves.
What do puppies up to one month need
Crumbs up to a month old for breakfast are given milk oatmeal with the addition of glucose and butter. The second feeding includes chopped meat with vegetables, the third - cottage cheese, mashed with milk. In the 4-5th feeding, broths and decoctions with minced meat are given. Before going to bed, they offer milk porridge or calcined cottage cheese.
What to feed a month-old Labrador puppy that the puppy ate before the sale, the breeder will tell you. The usual baby diet should be followed for several weeks. Then, if necessary, a new product is gradually introduced, gradually replacing the previous one. A quick switch to a different type of food can cause stunting and digestive disorders. When serving prepared food to a Labrador for up to two months and before changing teeth, they usually offer dry food soaked in warm water or broth in the form of a porridge. It is at this time that you can wean the baby from the mother, gradually transferring it to independent nutrition, preparing it for moving to new owners.
In the period from four to six weeks, when they begin to feed babies, semolina porridge is best. Cottage cheese is useful for bone development, it will provide enough calcium. Once a week, a boiled egg is given, added to the porridge. You can cook an omelet. After weaning from the mother, the puppy is given a few drops of fish oil, bringing the volume, in the absence of indigestion, to one and a half to two tablespoons a day. Mineral supplements are introduced: bone meal, phytin, chalk, salt, brewer's yeast, calcium gluconate.
Feeding two month old puppy
What to feed a Labrador puppy at 2 months? From this time until six months, they give fermented milk products, frozen meat, fish, mashed vegetables, fruits, chopped greens. You can offer babies raw beef large bones.
Feeding from six months to a year
From the age of six months, it is allowed to feed Labrador puppies with thermally processed beef entrails. The rest of the diet is the same. In the morning feeding, babies are served dairy dishes, in the evening - meat.
When feeding with ready-made industrial feeds, preference is given to complete feeds of at least premium class. They clean your teeth, give you the opportunity to gnaw.
At fifteen months, the Labrador is transferred to adult dog food.
Labradors are heavy eaters. They are not capricious, not picky about food, they will never refuse a supplement. Because of this, dogs of this breed are overweight and require a low-carbohydrate, low-protein diet. But sometimes the puppy stops coming to his favorite bowl, does not go to the call, refuses to eat. He looks for a secluded place, fits in there, looks unhappy.
Reasons for not eating
There are psychological reasons for not eating. Usually the problem is solved quickly, it goes away after the elimination of the irritating factor.
Why is the puppy not eating?
Repeated refusal of food is a signal of a possible disease.
What to do
There are signs that point to serious health problems. And here you can not hesitate for a minute. When to ask for help:
if the puppy has a fever, his body temperature is lowered or increased;
the whites of the eyes are reddened or yellowed, the eyes become dull;
the puppy often urinates, strains, cannot go to the toilet in a small or big way;
there is discharge from the eyes, nose, ears;
the baby does not eat, does not drink, often swears, he has started vomiting;
stools have an unpleasant, putrid odor, they contain mucus, blood;
the puppy is constantly hiding, has lost a lot of weight;
he developed lameness, shortness of breath, cough;
the dog often shakes its head;
rash, redness, severe itching appeared.