What is The Best Dog Food for Labradors?
What is the best dog food for Labradors? The Labrador, also called a Labrador Retriever, is a type of retriever-gun dog. They are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and UK. Labradors are often trained as disability assistance dogs.
They are pleasant, kind and outgoing dogs. Their retriever origin means that they have a keen sense of smell and are often used in police forces as detection dogs. A quirky habit of the Labrador is to hold things in its mouth, from toys to human hands or arms. But their great gentleness means that they can carry an egg in their mouth without breaking it.
They love chewing things, but this habit can be unlearned. Labradors love water, so don’t be surprised if your dog goes for a swim in the fish pond on a hot summer day.
Labradors Love Food!
Watching a Labrador devour its food is quite a sight! They do not mess around, but try to gobble up everything in one go. Research has now shown that the Labrador’s intense food obsession may be based in the dog’s genes. Read the full article here.
Fast eating is not good for digestion, so it is advisable to invest in a slow feeding dog bowl. Together with a fancy dog bowl, you have to monitor your dog’s food intake very carefully. Labradors can very easily become obese or suffer from diabetes.
How To Find The Best Dog Food For Labradors
You should always try to find a high-quality dog food, no matter what kind of dog breed you have. But with Labradors it is crucial to invest in good dog food. Find a brand where you can build up from their puppy food selection to senior, so that your dog has a consistent diet throughout its life.
Your one option is to go with a well-known brand, such as Iams or Purina. These brands have been on the market for years, so their products are stable. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best options. It’s all about the ingredients, not the brand.
Understanding Dog Food Labels
Finding the best dog food for Labradors will entail a bit of research. You need to compare various product labels to ensure that you pick the brand most suitable for your dog. There are a few basic things you can look out for.
Find a brand that labels itself “complete and balanced”. Some dog food brands contain byproducts including bones, brains, blood, stomachs, udders and other cleaned intestines. It’s a personal choice whether you want to buy dog food containing these. But for instance liver, labelled as a byproduct, is rich in various nutrients including vitamin A. It might sound very gross to you, but your dog won’t mind eating weird byproducts.
Any artificial colors, preservatives or stabilizers must be approved by the FDA or recognized as generally safe. Try to find a dog food brand with minimal artificial ingredients. But some are needed, for instance to keep dry dog food fresh.
Tip: Find low-fat dog food for your Labrador. These foods often contain more fiber and less fat. This means it will fill up your dog without adding unwanted calories.
Some dog food brands no longer use BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin. Instead they opt for natural preservatives such as vitamin E mixed tocopherols or vitamin C, as well as other plant extracts. These do keep the dog food fresh, but for a shorter period. Check the “best by” date before purchasing and feeding it to your dog.
Check the nutritional adequacy statement on the label. A good dog food brand follows the model regulations created by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This means that the food has been formulated to meet the AAFCO standards. Or it has been tested in feeding trials and were found to provide complete nutrition.
Do Labradors Really Have Special Nutritional Needs?
Even though Labradors are more challenged in the dieting department, all dog breeds have the same nutritional needs, more or less. Bigger dogs obviously need more food, but your Labrador needs basically the same percentage of fat, protein and carbohydrates as for example a Chihuahua.
Your dogs need food with a decent amount of protein and from high-quality sources such as lamb, chicken or fish. Labradors are a high-energy breed, so your dog will benefit from a dog food brand that is rich in protein.
An important aspect for Labradors specifically, is to get the food-exercise balance right. You can find the best dog food for Labradors, but if you don’t exercise your dog enough, it will still possibly gain weight. It’s crucial to constantly keep a close eye on your Labrador. Read this article to learn more about the ideal weight for Labradors.
Tip: If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is showing symptoms of allergies, look out for hypoallergenic dog food. These are free from the most common allergens such as soy and gluten.
When you find the best dog food for Labradors and give your dog adequate exercise, you don’t have to worry about giving it any extra supplements. When your dog gets really old and fragile, then you can consider a few boosters to give it a higher quality life.
Be careful with health supplements. A good dog food has been balanced to contain everything your dog needs to stay healthy. By adding supplements to your dog’s general diet, you can throw off this balance and in the end do more harm than good.
Check with your veterinarian before introducing something new into your dog’s diet. Your dog’s specific medical conditions may require special medication, but don’t assume that giving your dog a health supplement will be good for it.
What Should You Feed Your Labrador?
Dogs are mostly classified as carnivores. But feeding your dog a 100% meat diet is not ideal. Your dog leans closer to an omnivore in reality. Your Labrador needs a balanced diet consisting of fats, proteins, carbs, minerals, vitamins and water.
Commercial dog food is best to offer your dog a healthy and balanced diet. You can alternate with home-made dog food but the best dog food for Labradors remains high-quality, nutritious commercial dog food. Dog food manufacturers have spent years perfecting their scientifically-based formula. Stick to the label of “complete and balanced nutrition” and you can’t go wrong.
"Complete" means it contains all the essential nutrients your dog needs. And "balanced" means that these nutrients are present in the right proportions. There are laws and regulatory bodies monitoring dog food brands with this label, so you can rest assured that your dog is following the best diet possible.
The Best Dog Food For Labrador Puppies
All dogs eat the same type of food and the same amount regardless of age, right? Not quite. Food that might be good for your adult Labrador might not necessarily be the best dog food for Labrador puppies. That is because puppies have more sensitive digestive systems and a different metabolism. Taking that into consideration, we need to be careful about what food we give our little Labrador puppies.
How Much Should You Feed a Labrador Puppy?
Even if you give your puppy the best dog food for Labrador puppies that money can buy, you still need to be careful about feeding them the right amount.
Divide your Labrador puppy’s daily food into several portions. One or two feedings will most likely give him an upset tummy or diarrhea. Puppies between 8 and 16 weeks should eat about a cup of dog food four times a day.
After 16 weeks, you can increase the feeding to a cup and a half, three times a day. Remember Labradors love food, so you can’t leave them to their own devices with a self-feeder. They will overindulge.
How Often Should You Feed a Labrador Puppy?
From 8 to 16 weeks you can split the meals into breakfast, lunch, tea and supper. The meals should be spaced at least three hours apart for good digestion. Try to schedule the last meal of the day about two to three hours before your puppy’s bedtime toilet break.
The Best Dog Food For Labrador Adults
As we mentioned above, an adult Labrador has different dog food needs than a puppy might. Should we feed them more? Should we feed them less often?
How Much Should You Feed an Adolescent Labrador?
When your Labrador turns 6 months old, you can cut down to two cups each day. Check your dog food brand recommendations to make sure you’re giving it the correct amount of food as specified by the manufacturer.
How Often Should You Feed an Adolescent Labrador?
You should split the two cups of dog food into breakfast and supper. Even though your dog’s stomach is now stronger to handle more food, it is still best to split the daily feeding into two.
The Best Dog Food For Older Labradors
Much like humans, as Labradors get older, their dietary needs also change. Their metabolism might start to slow down and you might need to start introducing food that helps them a little more with their digestive system.
How Much Should You Feed a Senior Labrador?
You can stick to the same amount of food as for an adolescent Labrador, but make sure you switch to a senior dog food brand and stay within the recommended feeding amount.
If your Labrador has become a little overweight, switch to feeding it roughly a third less than the dog food brand recommendation for a few days and re-assess if this has helped to get its weight under control again.
How Often Should You Feed a Senior Labrador?
Stick to the usual two feedings a day. You might want to feed your aging Labrador a bit earlier in the evening to make sure there are no accidents during the night if your dog sleeps inside. Older dogs have less control over their bowl movements.
Labradors and Malnutrition
The importance of finding the best dog food for Labradors is that you don’t want your dog to suffer from malnutrition. And in Labradors that includes the risk of obesity. Do not fall for that forlorn look while you are eating, if there was enough food available, your Labrador would most likely eat itself to death.
Symptoms of Malnutrition
- Weight loss or remaining too thin
- Tiredness and looking lackluster
- Digestion problems such as constipation or diarrhea
- Skin and coat problems
- An increased risk of falling ill and a slower recovery
You are responsible to keep your dog in a healthy condition, which includes feeding it the best dog food for Labradors and to give your dog enough exercise. Constantly monitor your Labrador to make sure that it does not become obese. We all know that it’s easier to gain a few extra pounds than it is to lose them.
Is It Okay To Feed A Labrador Scraps and Treats?
As long as these are occasional indulgences, it’s fine. And in moderation as well. Given the chance, dogs will always beg when they see you eating. But you can teach them to drop this bad habit. And taking the precarious genetic situation of Labradors into account, it’s best to rather only give them treats at set times than random table scraps. Read this article for some healthy homemade dog treat ideas.
Conclusion - Benefits of Finding the Best Dog Food for Labradors
By finding the best dog food for Labradors, you are enriching your dog’s quality of life. Bigger dog breeds already don’t live as long as smaller breeds, so you want do to everything in your control to extend your dog’s lifetime for as long as possible.
Plus, you want your dog to look good and feel good. A shiny coat, healthy teeth and gums, bright eyes and much more energy. Feeding your dog the best dog food for Labradors will turn it into a more pleasant member of your family.
Chances of your dog becoming sick is much less. And if it catches a few germs, your dog’s strong immune system will be able to fight back much better. This also means you won’t have to visit the veterinarian as often, saving you money and saving your dog the stress of the trip to the doctor. High quality dog food might cost you a little bit more each month, but think about the long term benefits for you and your dog.
How do you deal with your Labrador’s food obsession? Have you found the sweet spot between enough food and exercise?