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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in 2022

Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers
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The Labrador Retriever is a large breed dog that is highly popular in the US, UK, and many parts of the world. And why not? These pups are highly affectionate, friendly, and outgoing. Sometimes, they’re even quite goofy. They’re the perfect companions for people who have an active lifestyle or who need pets with a gentle disposition.

As pet parents, we want our loveable goofs to stay healthy as much as possible. And to achieve that, right nutrition is essential. That is why we’ve come up with this guide to the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers. 

Breed Overview

  • Pedigree: Purebred
  • Size:  22.5 to 24.5 inches for males; 21.5 to 23.5 inches for females
  • Weight:  Males weigh between 65 to 80 pounds. Females range between 55 to 70 pounds
  • Energy Level: Highly Energetic
  • Lifespan:  10 to 12 years

OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR DOG FOODS FOR LABRADOR RETRIEVERS

10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 2
  • Formulated with real salmon
  • Delivers energy your paw friend needs
  • Loaded with prebiotics
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 4
  • Dog food that is safe for human consumption
  • Packed in preportioned meals
  • With blueberries, carrots, and spinach
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 2
  • Pocket-friendly, tasty meal
  • With dried beet pulp for fiber support
  • Contains 32% protein and 14% fats
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →

Fast Facts

Labrador Retrievers originated in Newfoundland, Canada from the St. John’s Water Dog lineage, known for its intelligence and swimming capabilities. 

The breed has two layers of coats to protect it from wet and cold weather. The top coat is short and thick, while the layer underneath is somewhat water-resistant.

Because Labradors are deeply intelligent, have a gentle disposition, and relatively easy to train, they’re the most popular breed used as guide dogs. 

Why Quality Food Matters for Your Labrador Retriever

Labs are prone to excess weight. The best dog foods will give your Lab enough protein and complex carbs to last all through the day, but these won’t add a bunch of empty calories to your dog’s diet like cheaper dog food products that rely on fillers might do.

Empty calories cause weight gain which puts stress on the spine and hips. Other joints may feel the stress as well. Weight gain is a vicious cycle because your Lab is less likely to exercise, which may make the problem worse.

Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers

And now for our top picks for the best food for Labrador Retrievers in all stages of life.

IMAGE PRODUCT  
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 7
Ollie Fresh Pet Food
  • Pet meal that is safe for human consumption
  • Packed in pre-portioned meals
  • With blueberries, carrots, and spinach
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 8
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream
  • Formulated with real salmon
  • Delivers energy your paw friend needs
  • Loaded with prebiotics
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 9
American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Pocket-friendly, tasty dog meal
  • With dried beet pulp for fiber support
  • Contains 32% protein and 14% fats
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 10
Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Tender Cuts in Gravy
  • Strickly meat-based recipe
  • 100% nutrition with 0% fillers
  • Bang for the buck, meat-only recipe
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 11
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe
  • Premium kibble with freeze-dried raw meats
  • Unique formulation is enticing to dogs
  • With inclusion of 5 animal proteins
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 12
Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb & Brown Rice Formula
  • Single protein and lots of vitamins
  • Problem-free digestion
  • Keeps skin and coat lustrous
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 13
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Specially catered for large puppies
  • Enough calories to regulate growth
  • Helps puppies grow at a healthy rate
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 14
Nulo Freestyle Chicken, Salmon & Lentils Puppy Recipe
  • Ideal transitional food
  • Flavorful chicken and salmon
  • Ideal for sensitive tummies
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 15
Instinct Raw Boost Senior Grain-Free Recipe
  • With dried raw meat for extra nutrition
  • Keeps aging dog's energy constant
  • With L-carnitine to boost metabolism
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10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 16
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Chicken Recipe
  • Fish oil and chicken for healthy fats
  • Provides enough energy throughout the day
  • Better health and immune support
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What Are The Best Dog Foods For Labrador Retrievers?

  1. Ollie Fresh Pet Food
  2. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Formula
  3. American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
  4. Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Tender Cuts in Gravy
  5. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe
  6. Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb & Brown Rice Formula
  7. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
  8. Nulo Freestyle Chicken, Salmon & Lentils Puppy Recipe
  9. Instinct Raw Boost Senior Grain-Free Recipe
  10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Chicken Recipe
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1. Ollie Fresh Pet Food

Rating: 5/5

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Carrots, Peas, Rice, Chicken Liver

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 17
Ollie offers pet owners a new option for their beloved companion. If you desire to have a dog food that is safe even for humans to eat, then this is right up your alley. Their recipes are all made from human-grade ingredients with vitamins and antioxidants.

Ollie crafts freshly cooked dog foods using human-grade ingredients, after which the food is prepped and delivered to your door. The preportioned cooked food is made in small batches and according to each individual pet’s weight, size, age, and lifestyle. 

This recipe uses chicken as the first ingredient and as its single animal protein source. The inclusion of chicken liver makes it not only more nutrient dense but also far more palatable to dogs who love the taste of the organ meat. 

The brand chooses to provide essential vitamins and minerals as much as possible from natural sources, such as blueberries, carrots, and spinach. This eliminates the need for synthetic supplements.

Because the dog food is customized to each dog, you are sure that your pup is getting the precise amount of nutrient that he needs. It’s a limited ingredient formula, which is better for sensitive stomachs.

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Pros:

  • Human grade ingredients
  • Fresh, cooked meals
  • Easy portion sizes
  • Limited ingredients
  • No fillers

Cons:

  • Requires cold storage
  • Delivery options are limited in certain parts of the country

2. Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream Formula

Rating: 4.5/5

First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 18
Why don't you try giving your bud a taste of the sea? This kibble is made from fresh salmon as protein source and sweet potatoes for carbohydrates plus antioxidants from fresh veggies and fruits making it a very nutritious delight.

Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a dog food because there are so many options out there. When you just can’t make a choice, consider a trusted brand like Taste of the Wild.

Formulated with novel proteins including real salmon, this grain-free dog food recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly-digestible energy your active pup needs; natural antioxidant support from real fruits and vegetables; and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and a healthy digestion.

It’s fully packed with animal protein. Aside from the fresh salmon, the recipe also includes salmon meal and smoke-flavored salmon to up the flavor content and make it more enticing to your pup.

Overall, this grain-free recipe is an excellent source of all the essential nutrients your dog needs at an affordable price.

Pros:

  • Packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids
  • Notable difference in pet's coat and skin health
  • Picky eaters eat this

Cons:

  • Always out of stock
  • Poor bag design

3. American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe

Rating: 4.5/5

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Chickpeas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 19
Getting its proteins from multiple sources: lamb, chicken and turkey, this kibble surely boasts high protein content. This grain free, affordable dog food also contains lots of antioxidants.

American Journey has produced dog food that goes to show that cheap does not have to mean poor quality. Using lamb as its main source of animal protein, this dry dog food formula contains 32% protein and 14% fat.

This is amazing for a budget dog food and will be more than enough to ensure your dog maintains a healthy immune system, bones, and muscles. 

Deboned lamb is the main ingredient, followed by chicken and turkey meal to bolster the food’s protein content. There is also menhaden fish meal further down the ingredients list. 

This formula does include “dried plain beet pulp” as a source of fiber. This is fine but the saponinins in it has been found to cause irritation in some dogs' gastrointestinal tracts.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • High in protein
  • Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Cons:

  • Uses pea protein
  • Smaller bag sizes

4. Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Tender Cuts in Gravy

Rating: 4.25/5

First 5 ingredients: Beef Broth, Beef, Chicken, Wheat Gluten, Liver

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 20
With USDA beef as its topmost ingredient, this grain free formula also contains antioxidants, omegas and fiber to promote digestion, skin health and overall well-being.

For dog owners who want to feed canned food but are on a budget, this recipe is one of our recommended dog food options. It consists of tender cuts of fish and meat in a delectable gravy sauce to keep large breed dogs tempted and interested.

The formula offers 100% nutrition and absolutely 0% fillers. Beef leads the protein here, with liver, salmon, and chicken helping to bring up the protein content. 

There are no vegetables or fruits. This is strictly a meat-based recipe — and there are lots of it! — which works perfectly for pet parents who want bang for the buck. In fact, there is only a little room left for gravy, but mixing a little water with the food can create more sauce for your choosy pup.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Packed with plenty of meat
  • No fillers added
  • Chunky cuts of meat that dogs love

Cons:

  • Contains wheat gluten

5. Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Red Recipe

Rating: 4.5/5

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 21
Features real beef plus freeze-dried raw bites for that extra meaty taste that dogs crave. Other protein sources of this kibble includes lamb, salmon and rabbit making it oozing with protein.

Merrick’s Backcountry Raw dry dog food recipe uses bits of freeze-dried raw beef along with premium kibble to provide complete protein and excellent taste. It’s minimally processed so the dry dog food contains as much of the natural nutrients they originally came with.

The Great Plains Red grain-free recipe utilizes five animal proteins: beef, lamb, salmon, pork, and rabbit. The unique meaty formulation is enticing to pups and made even more so with the addition of the freeze-dried raw coating on the kibble. Because of the extremely high protein content, it’s one of the best dog foods for large breed dogs who are extra active.

The adult dog food is grain-free and contains no artificial flavors or colors. There are no artificial fillers, no corn or soy products, and it’s gluten-free. Sunflower oil gives your Lab a rich blend of omegas (3 and 6) for healthy skin and coat along with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints.

All protein options are USDA-inspected, and the produce are GMO-free.

Pros:

  • Freeze-dried, raw meat
  • Five animal protein sources
  • Minimally processed
  • Poultry-free formula
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health

Cons:

  • Freeze-dried bits settle at the bottom of the bag
  • Price has increased

6. Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula

Rating:  4.25/5

First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 22
This meal is perfect for sensitive tummies, with novel protein as its main ingredient. Plus it has zero soy, artificial colors or flavors and gluten making it ideal for dogs of all breeds and age.

Nature’s Balance produces foods with single protein sources to help dogs with picky digestive systems. The company uses science to create a diet that gives sensitive dogs a chance to digest food fully and adequately.

Natural Balance’s dry dog food formula is  a limited ingredient diet so that your Lab has a better chance for a problem-free digestion. It uses lamb and brown rice for a good balance of protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain your Lab’s energy levels all day.

Brown rice provides an excellent source of fiber while the omegas help keep skin and coat healthy. It has no artificial colors or preservatives and contains no cheap fillers such as corn or soy.

Pros:

  • Single protein source
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • Good fiber content
  • Excellent protein and carbohydrate ratio
  • Omega fatty acids support coat and skin

Cons:

  • Has canola oil, which is over processed

Best Puppy Food for Labrador Retrievers

10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 23

Puppies grow and change a lot in a short period, so it’s likely that your feeding habits will change rapidly. Your veterinarian can provide you with the best options to make sure your puppy gets everything it needs to grow healthy and active.

1. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe

Rating: 4.25

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Split Peas, Rice Bran

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 24
Designed for large breed puppies aging up to 18 months old, it made with non-GMO ingredients and is teeming with omega-3 fatty acids to promote brain and eye development.

Nutro Natural Choice is a limited ingredient recipe specifically made for a large breed dog going through the growing stage. Puppies have different nutritional requirements from adult dogs, and this recipe aims to support this critical stage in life.

Because large breed puppies’ growth have to be regulated or they will grow too fast and become too big than their bones can accommodate, the calories they ingest must not be too dense. This recipe ensures that your little one gets the appropriate ratio of essential nutrients that he needs. 

The dry dog food also has naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin to support growing joints, and a precise mix of carbs and proteins help puppies grow at a healthy rate.

There are two excellent sources of protein here (lamb and chicken), and they lead the list. Brown rice and rice bran help with digestion and weight control, and the formula has no cheap fillers like corn or soy, no artificial preservatives, and no artificial flavors.

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Pros:

  • Limited ingredients
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
  • Whole deboned lamb as the primary protein source
  • Non-GMO ingredients

Cons:

  • Kibble is a little too hard for very young pups

2. Nulo Freestyle Chicken, Salmon & Lentils Recipe Puppy

Rating: 4/5

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Salmon Broth, Chicken Liver, Salmon

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 25
This wet puppy food is crafted from real chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, salmon broth, salmon and lentils as its top ingredients. This tasty low-glycemic formula has zero corn, soy or wheat but it has all the protein needed to fuel and nourish any puppy.

Nulo’s chicken, salmon, and lentils grain-free wet food is a great way to transition from nursing to real food. It uses whole, deboned chicken as the first ingredient for high-quality protein plus lentils for long-lasting energy.

Salmon provides another lean protein source plus omegas for better coat health. Whole fruits and veggies support the immune system and provide an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s grain, corn, soy, and gluten free for sensitive tummies.

Pros:

  • Balanced levels of essential vitamins and minerals
  • Omega fatty acids including DHA for brain, skin, and coat
  • Low-glycemic
  • Suitable for sensitive tummies

Cons:

  • Some cans are broth heavy

Best Senior Dog Food for Labs

10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 26

Seniors will receive a lot of the same types of nutrition as they did when they were younger, but if weight or other health issues are concerns, they may need modifications.

It’s most important to support proper weight and joint health at this time so your Lab can continue enjoying the activities it loves.

1. Instinct by Nature's Variety Raw Boost Senior Recipe with Real Chicken

Rating: 4.5/5

First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal , Salmon Meal, Chicken, Tapioca, Chickpeas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 27
Packed with real chicken plus freeze dried raw chicken pieces to promote lean, strong muscles, this kibble offers lots of benefits to your mature companion.

The Raw Boost formula uses bits of freeze-dried raw meat for extra nutrition and to encourage seniors to eat. It’s a diet rich in protein to keep your older pup’s muscles strong and keep him mobile. 

This grain-free dry dog food is a balanced diet with proper amounts of protein and carbohydrates to keep energy levels high and constant throughout the day. It provides all the support your senior needs for aging joints, eyes, and brains. 

There is l-carnitine to boost the metabolism and help your dog maintain a healthy weight; calcium and phosphorus to keep bones and teeth healthy; omega acids, including DHA, to provide a good foundation for brain, skin, and coat health; and all the essential vitamins and minerals older canines need to maintain overall wellness and keep health issues at bay.

The grain-free food has no artificial flavors and no cheap fillers that can cause weight gain and irritate the digestive system.

Pros:

  • Has glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Freeze-dried raw meat
  • Grain-free diet
  • Contains guaranteed levels of DHA, l-carnitine, and probiotics

Cons:

  • Chicken meal is the first ingredient
  • Some dogs pick around the kibble

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Chicken Recipe

Rating: 4.25/5

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Pea Starch

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
10 Healthiest & Best Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers in [year] 28
This dry dog food is especially crafted for senior pups and has been carefully made using the finest of ingredients plus Blue Buffalo's trademark: LifeSource Bits.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness grain-free formula contains precise amounts of protein from deboned chicken to help your older pup maintain a good and consistent level of energy throughout the day. The protein from the deboned chicken is further boosted by the inclusion of chicken meal and fish meal.

Fish oil and chicken supply the healthy fats that your dog needs to keep his cells strong and his nervous system healthy and properly functioning. 

Because it’s grain-free and seniors also need a little help in keeping their bowel movements regular, there’s tapioca starch to provide the fiber your doggo requires. 

The grain-free food also includes the trademark LifeSource Bits by the Blue Buffalo brand, which provide an excellent balance of vitamins and antioxidants for better health and immune support.

Pros:

  • Contains guaranteed levels of omega fatty acids
  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • Has a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants called LifeSource Bits
  • Grain-free diet
  • No cheap fillers (including poultry by-product meals)

Cons:

  • Some senior dogs don’t like LifeSource Bits
Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers

3 Common Health Issues

Medium to large breed dogs like the Labs are very healthy overall, but there are a few things you need to keep an eye out for if you want your friend to live a long healthy life.

Hip Dysplasia – Large dogs are prone to a condition called hip dysplasia and the labrador retriever breed is no exception. The joints in some of these dogs dosn’t form properly and don’t line up exactly right. Under stress, such as serious exercise or excess weight gain, the hip can pop out and cause pain.

You can’t do much to cure the problem, but foods with essential fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin can help maintain healthy joints and reduce pain.

Skin Allergies – The labrador retriever breed is sensitive to environmental triggers that might cause their skin to become red and itchy, flaky, and inflamed. You can’t control the environment, but you can reduce the number of allergy triggers in your Lab’s food.

Avoiding common allergens such as corn, soy, and by-product meals help reduce inflammation in the digestive system and keep the skin more supple. Essential fatty acids also help build healthy skin.

Excess Weight – Although not a disease, excess weight plagues Labs. They’re fun-loving, curious, and tend to get into everything. And everything includes food. Lab puppies and adults alike will eat themselves to death if you let them, so it’s vitally important that you watch their food intake carefully.

They need quality foods that won’t let them pack on excess calories. Plenty of fiber and proper amounts of protein help your dog feel full and maintain energy while keeping weight down.

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What to Look For in a Quality Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers

1. The first five ingredients are crucial. You know how dog food reviews always lists down the first five ingredients? It’s because these are listed in order of volume. The first ingredient will naturally make up the most volume in the food, followed by the second, and so on.

So by looking at the first five ingredients, you will already know a lot about the quality of a particular dog food. Does it use high-quality ingredients? Is the dog food meat-based? These can usually be answered by a glance at the first five in the label.

The first ingredient of any dog’s food should always be whole meats. The exception is when it’s wet food or if it’s a special diet. 

The right dog food should be meat-based and not have more carb or vegetable ingredients than meat. Too much carbs can make your pup gain excess weight.

2. Must meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials. The AAFCO has established guidelines that many dog food manufacturers adhere to. These guidelines ensure that your pups are getting a complete and balanced diet for the specific life stage he is in.

3. Must meet your labrador retriever pup’s specific dietary needs. It’s always a must to feed your pet a dog food that’s made for his specific life stage or condition. 

Lab puppies, adults, seniors, lactating or pregnant canines, and active dogs all have different nutritional needs and this must be taken into account when choosing the best dog food to give your pet. 

For example, puppy food usually contains essential fatty acids like DHA to help in the brain development of growing dogs. Dog foods for senior canines will most probably contain glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep older dogs mobile.

And performance dogs will need dog foods that contain higher amounts of protein for a better energy supply. Also, If your lab has food sensitivities, limited ingredient foods may help keep allergy flares under control. There are also various formulas made specifically to keep weight down, support digestive health, and so on.

Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Lab’s Dog Food

1. Fillers – Corn, corn gluten meal, and soy are common fillers that frequently appear first on the ingredients list of some of the cheaper dog foods. These add nothing but empty calories to your pup’s meal and can even make it prohibitively difficult to control your Lab’s weight. 

If you can’t seem to get your Lab’s weight under control without severe restriction, the dog food you’re feeding is probably full of empty calories.

2. Animal by-products and unspecified meat meals – These often show up in dog food as chicken by-product meal or poultry by-product. It’s best to avoid these because these are what’s left over after all the choice cuts have been removed from the animal, meaning these will be overprocessed and will have little nutrition left.

Unspecified meat meals can be detrimental to your pup’s health if it turns out that he is allergic to certain animal proteins. Since these meat meals do not mention which animal the meat comes from, it can be hard to track whatever it was that triggered your pet’s allergies or sensitivities.

3. Artificial ingredients – There are so many natural ingredients that brands can use to preserve a dog food or make it tastier. However, artificial flavors and preservatives are much cheaper so many dog food brands use these instead to cut on costs. 

These can be causes of allergies too, so it’s best to stay away from these ingredients. And in the case of artificial colors, your dog doesn’t need them. They are not attracted to colorful food unlike humans so there’s no need for them to be in the dog treats and food you give your furry buddy.

4. Lots of potatoes, legumes, and peas – While these aren’t bad ingredients, make sure that the dog food you select does not have these in overwhelming numbers. 

A recent study has shown a link between a condition known as canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and a diet heavy in potatoes and peas. The link isn’t fully understood so use your best judgment. We recommend staying away from foods that contain too many of these.

Dietary Considerations

The Labrador Retriever breed is known for being highly active and playful. These highly friendly pups are no lap dogs, enthusiastically preferring any activity that involves lots of exercise. Because of their very physical nature, Labrador Retriever pups need lots of protein in their diet.

A typical Labrador Retriever will need around 1600 to 2150 calories per day to maintain a healthy body weight. For the non-active pups or senior ones, fewer calories should suffice. They will need between 1300 to 1725 calories daily. 

The best way to meet your pet’s dietary requirements is to buy a breed specific formula or one that’s made with big dogs in mind. Be careful about feeding because Labradors are known to be quick eaters with a tendency towards obesity.

Key Nutritional Requirements

1. Protein – Protein in dog food is the main source of long-lasting energy. Active dogs or working pups especially need a high-quality fuel source to keep them performing for hours at a time.

Lab puppies require — on a dry matter basis — a minimum of 22% protein in their dog food, while adult Labs need a minimum of 18%. 

It’s best if your chosen dog food relies more on animal protein rather than vegetable-based protein. Animal protein contains a complete set of essential amino acids that are not all present in vegetable-based protein. 

2. Fat – Fats are also important sources of energy for your dog. Aside from energy, fats also help your dog’s body absorb vitamins and keep your pet’s coat shiny.

A healthy diet for your Lab should contain healthy fats taken from highly digestible sources, like chicken fat or fish oil. Ideally, if you’re going to feed dry dog food, the fat should be a minimum of 12%. Canned food must have at least 2% fat content.

3. Carbohydrates – Dogs get their fiber and sugar requirements from carbohydrates. These come in the form of grains, such as whole grain brown rice, or in the form of potatoes, legumes, and sweet potatoes. 

4. Moisture – Water is as important a requirement in dogs as in humans. Dry food typically contains around 10% moisture or less, while canned food contain around 70% up. 

Ideally, your dog should consume an ounce of water for every pound he weighs.

Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Puppy Feeding Chart

 8-10 Weeks Old – At about this time, your Lab puppy is ready to begin the weaning process from his mom’s milk. Don’t try to rush it as some pups this age will want to keep drinking milk, while others will be ready to try someting new.  

The puppy teeth are still a little bit soft at this point so introduce canned food first to make feeding easier.

12 Weeks – At 12 weeks, Lab puppies may be able to make the switch from wet dog food to dry.  A good rule of thumb is to mix a little percentage of kibble into your pet’s dish and to slowly increase the ratio each week.

Some dog owners find that adding a little moisture to dry kibble makes the transition easier.

3 Months – At this point, your playful puppy should have been able to fully transition to a dry dog’s diet or be close to it. 

5 Months – At this stage, you can slowly introduce additional dog foods to your puppy’s diet. 12 Months – Your Labrador is now officially an adult! His metabolism has slowed down now, and he will now be comfortable with being fed just twice day.

Labrador Feeding Guide

Food portions can vary depending on a few different factors including life stage, gender, and activity level. Work with your vet to find the best path for your particular Lab.

Here Are Some General Feeding Guidelines:

  • Puppies: Puppies that are aged below three months should be fed four meals a day. Lab pups that are aged above three months but below one year should be fed three times a day.
  • Adults: Adult dogs can be fed twice a day. Typical adults receive between three and four cups of kibble per day depending on the brand and body type of your pet. Divide these between two servings. 
  • Seniors: Seniors are also fed twice a day. Your senior dog should have about the same serving sizes as he did during his adult life, but if there’s a weight or severe health issue, your vet may decide on a different path.

Final Thoughts

Giving your Labrador Retriever quality food from the very beginning means that the breed’s trademark energy, athleticism, and curiosity remain constant all his life.

Your Lab is fun-loving and loyal, so support his physical needs with good food to keep him at a healthy weight and so that you never have to say no to an activity ever again.

Farmers Dog
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