Labrador puppies look cute and almost anyone would love to have them around. When you have these cute pets with you, loving them is not enough. You also need to make sure that your puppies are eating properly
Here’s a quick guide on how to choose the right dog food for your Labrador pups.
You can go straight to Amazon to see the customers’ reviews and buy the products by clicking links in the comparison table
Below here is our complete instruction about how to choose the products, continue reading for more details
When to Feed Labrador Pups With Dog Food?
While the process of finding the right dog food is important to anyone who owns a Labrador, understanding the weaning process is also a must. The weaning process starts when a Labrador is three weeks old.
Before this age, it would be better to allow your pups to drink milk directly from their mother.
From this time, puppy porridge which is a combination of commercial dog food and the mother dog’s milk is fed to baby Labradors. The portion of solid food to milk gradually increases to make the pups more accustomed to commercial dog food.
Often, Labrador pups need to adapt to a new home by the age of eight weeks and they should be prepared for this.
While the age of eight weeks is ideal, most pups have been fully weaned when they are six weeks old. The weaning process is really important and it could affect your puppy’s overall health.
Kibble or Raw Food?
Labrador breeders may share a common appreciation and admiration for the breed but there are different schools of thought when it comes to the best way to feed the pups.
There are some people who prefer kibbles while others believe that raw food is the best choice for their babies. Both options come with pros and cons and you need to think things thoroughly before you decide.
Commercial dog food often referred to as kibbles, is the go-to option for most people. Some people who feed this to their dogs often feel guilty that they are not making the best choices for their pets. This should not be the case, though.
Kibbles, especially those that are made by reliable manufacturers, provide balanced nutrition to canines. In fact, you do not need to feed your dog anything else when you are giving it commercial dog food. Kibbles should contain all the nutrients that your pet will need to stay healthy.
When you ask vets, they would support you with the decision to feed commercial dog food. There are many dog owners who do not think that this is the best option though as they fear the long-term effects of kibbles to their dog. Switching to raw food comes with disadvantages too.
If you are new to feeding raw, you need to do your homework. Read up on the best way to promote dog nutrition when following this kind of diet. If you do not do things right, your dog can be deprived of the right nutrients.
How Much Should You Feed Your Dogs?
Now, that you are familiar with the types of food that you can feed your canines, you should know the best amount of food to give your dogs.
When it comes to puppies, the right amount of food is of utmost importance.
When the Labrador puppy grows too fast, its skeleton could receive too much stress than it can handle. This can lead to all kinds of bone abnormalities. Dog owners should never feed dogs more than their recommended diet as this can do more harm than good.
Increased levels of Vitamins A and D are bad for your puppy and it could lead to all kinds of skeletal problems. Having too much calcium in the diet is not good too. In fact, after weaning puppies can live without milk and their ability to digest the calcium in this beverage also declines.
At eight weeks or two months, dogs should be about seven to eight kilograms. They should be getting at least four meals with two ounces for each meal.
By the third month, your Labrador’s weight should increase by three or four kilograms and weigh around 11 to 12 kilograms. At this time, you can reduce the number of meals to three times a day with about 3 ounces for each meal.
When your puppy is six months old, you should be preparing your pet for what its life would be as a mature dog. The weight of your puppy at six months should be more than half of its weight at three months.
The average weight for Labrador’s at this age is 23 to 27 kilograms. Puppies should also be having meals twice a day and each meal should contain six to eight ounces.
Required Nutrition for Labrador Puppies
When choosing dog food, you need to know the right balance of fats, carbs, and proteins. We will look into these things one by one to know the ideal amount of each nutrient. Here’s a quick breakdown of what your puppy food needs to contain.
Protein: 30 %
Carbs: 30-70 %
Fats: 25-50 %
Puppies require more protein than their adult counterparts. Protein is necessary to help build stronger muscles to support your pet’s adult body. According to the Association of American Feed
Control Officials, the ideal amount of protein in puppy food should be around 22 percent. However, most vets suggest that the protein in a puppy’s food should be at least 30 percent.
As the Labrador grows older, the amount of protein required in its diet decreases. However, as pups, they need as much protein as they can to support their muscular growth.
Carbohydrates are an essential component of dog food although there is no consensus on the amount of carbs that your dog needs. Since carbs are the main source of energy for canines, it is a vital component of any dog diet.
There are various sources of carbohydrates most of which are plants including rice and other grains. Canines that are prone to allergies are better off consuming food that is free from grains.
Since puppies are in the growth stage, they can tolerate higher levels off carbohydrates in their diet. Ideally, carbs can take up 30 to 70 percent of your canine’s diet.
Carbs give fibre and energy to the system. These dogs are very active and need a slow burning fibre like sweet potato to digest easily but release their energy steadily. Dobermans are prone to spikes and lows in their sugar level and a steady release of carbs into the system is the best.
25% of carbohydrates will work for this breed but the right sort of carbohydrates is important.
Now Let’s Have A Look at Our 5 Top Picks So Far
Royal Canin Breed Specific Labrador Puppy
Royal Canin is a popular food brand and despite its fame, it has weathered numerous controversies in pet food manufacturing.
Based on an overall assessment, the dog food from the brand which is designed specifically for Labrador pups may not be the top pick that you should make although it contains 31 percent protein.
The first ingredient of this dog food is chicken meal. This is a concentrated form of protein hence it can provide higher qualities of protein which could exceed the amount of protein in fresh meat by more than 100 percent.
The next ingredients in the list are brown rice and rice. Both of those grains are carb sources and the nutritional value of this food is deemed to be modest.
Most dogs do not have issues about tolerating these ingredients but some canine find it difficult to stick to a diet containing ingredients that they do not like eating.
Another ingredient is corn gluten which is a plant-based protein source. This protein source is lower in quality as to meat and the same is also true with wheat gluten. Then there’s chicken fat which is a carb source. Combined these ingredients have lower values compared to other brands in the market.
Things we like…
Protein content is above-average
Contains omega-6 fatty acids which is considered as a quality ingredient
Chelated minerals provide additional
Price is too high
Some dogs developed an unwanted scent
Ingredients are not that high quality
Taste of the Wild Grain Free – High Prairie
Unlike other brands in the market Taste of the Wild comes with a grain-free formula that makes is easy to digest for growing puppies.
The combination of protein and other ingredients makes this a healthy dog food choice and it also comes with fruits and vegetables to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
The main ingredient of this dog food is beef which is a quality ingredient. Unfortunately, beef accounts for a smaller protein content in dog food since it is 80 percent water.
Meanwhile, the second and third ingredients are peas and garbanzo beans which make up 25 and 22 percent of the protein content, respectively.
These plant-based sources remain to be good sources of nutrition but this could affect the overall assessment of the dog food too.
The fourth ingredient in the dog food is lamb meal which contains about 300 percent of the protein compared to fresh lamb. Finally, there’s canola oil and although it remains to be a controversial item, it could help your dog get its Omega 3 fatty acids.
Based on the assessment of the products in the dog food, protein only accounts for about 32 percent, while the carb content is around 42 percent.
Things we like…
Includes Omega 3 in its list of ingredients
High-quality dog food
Product contains only Some customers claim of receiving contaminated products
Some dogs developed an unwanted scent
There were reports of dogs developing elimination and digestive issues
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Potatoes Recipe
Wellness CORE happens to be one of the most popular choices when it comes to dog food. The first three ingredients are meat and meat concentrates.
The top ingredient is chicken and although the protein content is reduced by 80 percent after cooking, the second and third ingredients are chicken meal and turkey meal.
The next two ingredients are potato which is easy to digest and it is gluten-free. Peas round up the top five ingredients in the list and this are also a good source of protein.
Based on the dry matter content, this dog food also contains 6.7 percent fiber and 34 percent protein.
Chicory root which is also part of the ingredients in this dog food and this contains inulin. This is a good source of fiber and of prebiotics that can promote good digestion in dogs. It also contains chelated minerals that provide overall nutrition
Things we like…
A lot of dogs adore this product
Contains healthy ingredients
Good for weight control
There are canines who cannot tolerate this product well
Customers observed moisture issues
Some dog owners had problem with molds
Hill’s Science Large Breed Chicken Meal
This dog food happens to be quite popular. The main ingredient for this dog food happens to be chicken. As the first in the list of ingredients, this is a great choice although it is not much of a protein source.
The next four ingredients on the list are wheat, barley, sorghum, and corn. All of these ingredients are plant-based. This is one reason why this dog food is quite controversial.
Based on the list of ingredients, this dog food contains Omega 6. It seems that the ingredients have some fiber content.
Peas are also part of the ingredients and this happens to be controversial ingredients. Probiotics are absent though and the minerals in the dog food are not chelated and this makes it harder for a person’s body to absorb the nutrients in a particular dog food.
Hill’s Science Diet contains 22 percent protein and for a puppy food, this just meets the minimum requirement by the AAFCO and it falls short by eight percent of the recommended 30 percent protein by vets.
Things we like…
Helped with improving dog poop
Perfect for improving the dog’s coat
There were some issues with packaging
Dogs can’t seem to get enough of this product
Complaints about the delivery issue
Protein content falls behind the recommended amount by vets
CANIDAE Life Stages Dry Dog Food for Puppies
Canidae is a popular dog food brand and they also have a specific formula for large dog breeds. This is deemed to be a good choice for pups.
Based on the assessment of the ingredients of this dog food, this contains 23 percent protein and it comes with premium ingredients which makes it a good pick when you are looking for high-quality dog food
This dog food’s main ingredient is chicken meal, turkey meal, and lamb meal. These meat concentrates contain almost thrice the amount of protein in fresh meat but it is deemed to be a controversial ingredient.
And, the fourth and fifth ingredient is brown rice and white rice which provides balanced nutrition to your puppy
The dog food contains chelated minerals which improves the overall quality of the brand. However, there are some controversial ingredients that dog owners need to be wary about and this is a major point of concern for anyone who owns Labrador pups.
Things we like…
Dogs are enthusiastic about this food
No more itchy and smelly dogs
Does not contain wheat, soy, and corn
Price is steeper compared to competing brands
Protein content is below average for high-quality dog food for puppies
Some dogs experienced diarrhea and vomiting from eating this brand
When it comes to Labrador puppies, the main concern is protein. These pups will need more of this nutrient given the amount of growing they need to do. Since puppies need to eat more protein to support muscle growth and to become healthy dogs, you need to stick to the basic 30 percent protein content recommended by vets.
While it’s true that AAFCO suggests 22 percent protein, it would be better to feed puppies with kibbles containing at least 30 percent protein.
With this consideration in mind, the best option is Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food which contains 34 percent protein. Aside from that, it also contains fiber which improves the digestion of dogs.
Based on the feedback from most pet owners, this is also the best choice. However, there are some dogs that face problems with this dog food. So, be sure to check out if your dog can tolerate this food well and gradually transition to a new puppy food for Labradors.
Please keep in mind that with the above opinions, all of those come from my own experience. There are still some exceptions for some specific dogs. Consult your local vet for more information if your dogs are not in general cases