The best puppy foods for Labs should contain the correct balance of nutrients that his active body requires to meet his energy levels. In a nutshell, this calls for a well-balanced diet that consists of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins & minerals, as well as water. The food should also be nutritive, healthy, and palatable without synthetic additives, fillers, corn, wheat, or soy.
The Labrador retriever is a high-spirited, extremely energetic dog breed that requires lots of daily exercise. As such, feeding him a nutritious diet, such as the best large breed puppy food for Labradors, is essential for his overall growth and health.
Lab puppies are susceptible to high risks of developing a canine hip dysplasia that can lead to crippling. The best way to protect them from this risk is by feeding them a diet that is specially prepared for large breed pups.
Doing this is also the best way to make sure that they hit their 10 to 12 years life expectancy happily. In addition, high-quality puppy foods for labs support healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
Why Diet is Crucial to Lab Puppies
What is the best food for a lab puppy?
If you are a Labrador parent, you can agree with me that this dog breed is particularly voracious. No matter how much they eat, they always want more of it and would do anything. As such, they are susceptible to food-related health issues such as obesity which surges health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, bladder stones, heart disease, and arthritis.
Others include hip & elbow dysplasia which can be caused by obesity, as well as gastric dilatation volvulus or bloat. As you can see, diet plays a major role in your Labrador puppy’s life which is why you should consider his nutritional needs, how much you should feed him, and more.
In this article, we shall look into the dietary needs for lab pups, feeding & weight charts, and a review of the 10 best foods in the pet foods market. We will also answer your frequently asked questions.
7 Best Puppy Foods for Labs
Labradors are the most popular dogs in the US and for many reasons, including their personality that makes them excellent companions and charming family dogs. Maybe you are planning to buy (or already have) a Lab puppy for your family. The most disturbing question you have right now is ‘what is the best puppy food for Labradors?’
Whether it is the best puppy food for Labradors UK, Canada, or Australia, these 7 best foods are available on shelves in most pet food stores and large shops:
Reviews of the 7 Best Puppy Foods for Labs
In this section, we are going to review the best 10 best pup foods for labs in our list above looking at what they have to offer. We shall also include the pros and cons of each. By the time we are done here, you will have at least one or two best foods for Labrador puppies.
1. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Puppy
Our finest puppy food for Labs from Wellness Core ranks as the best puppy food for Labradors that contains premium protein content at 36%. This chicken flavor recipe & turkey is a balanced diet that contains high quality protein from fresh meat for lean body weight and muscle tone.
To promote your Lab pup’s healthy growth and development, the formula includes guaranteed levels of DHA from salmon oil for brain & eye health and antioxidants for a powerful immune system. In addition, it is grain-free and has omega fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseeds to support your Lab’s healthy skin and shiny coat.
Other vital ingredients include glucosamine, probiotics and taurine to support a healthy heart and phosphorus for bone and teeth development. Fat, fiber, and water content are 17%, 5%, and 10%, respectively, which is healthy for your Lab pup.
- Support muscle tone
- Controlled shedding
- Quality natural ingredients
- Low odor pup food
- Inconsistency in batches
- Some dogs dislike it
2. K-9 Grain-Free Puppy Freeze-Dried Dog Food
If you want to feed your Labrador puppy with GMO-free puppy food, our runner up grain-free freeze-dried dog food from K-9 is a fantastic choice! This beef & Hoki oil flavor from K9 Natural is grain-free to prevent obesity in Lab pups and is crafted with 100% natural ingredients.
This nutritious puppy food contains nutrient-rich protein (90%) from New Zealand grass-fed beef which promotes healthy muscle development in your Labrador pup. The Hoki fish oil that helps with skin problems and allergies in Lab pups, aids mobility, heart and joints health. The oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that support skin health and promote a lustrous coat.
Other ingredients include DHA & EPA that promotes eye development and healthy brain, as well as guaranteed phosphorus & calcium levels for strong bone & teeth development.
- Excellent pup food
- Convenient & palatable
- High-quality ingredients
- High price tag
3. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Puppy Formula
Are looking for puppy formula that is highly digestible and rich in nutrients for your Labrador pup? Taste of the Wild got you covered with their grain-free puppy recipe. The formula features real roasted Venison & Bison plus a mix of protein sources for palatability and muscle health.
To ensure your Lab puppy lives healthy and happy, this grain-free formula features natural antioxidants from fruits & veggies just like they would feed in the wild. It is the nutrition that your Labrador pup needs to thrive with 28% protein, 10% water, 17% fiber, and 5% fiber.
- High-quality protein
- Reported solution for chronic ear infections
- Palatable & aromatic
- FDA reports on causing chronic heart disease
- Low-quality batches on Amazon
4. Eukanuba Puppy Formula
$55.79 in stock
Labrador pups are intelligent but it wouldn’t hurt to make them sharper with this puppy formula from Eukanuba. This complete and balanced chicken flavor recipe from Eukanuba has been clinically proven to elevate DHA levels for brainier dogs that are highly trainable.
With premium chicken as the first ingredient and animal-based protein source, this pup formula is everything your Lab puppy needs to power his day with muscle growth and bone health. It also provides concentrated energy from carbs and fat levels which aids in puppy growth.
This puppy formula contains optimal phosphorus and calcium levels to promote muscle and bone development for your growing Lab pup. It features 26% protein, 3.7% fiber, 18% fat, and 10% water.
- Promotes brain health
- Suitable for active pups
- Smooth digestion
- Supports shiny coats
- Complaint about corn meal ingredient
5. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
$54.99 in stock
If you are working on a tight budget but still wish to feed your Labrador puppy with quality dog food, Hill’s Science got you covered on that end. This large breed puppy recipe helps build and maintain lean muscles in your Lab pup with high-quality animal-based protein from chicken.
To promote healthy brain and eye development in Labradors, the formula features DHA from fish oil as well as a balanced set of minerals to support strong teeth and bones in your pup. In addition, the food includes optimal calcium levels that promote controlled bone development.
Protein makes up 29.2%, fat 16.1%, fiber 45.5%, and carbs 45.5%.
- Healthy science diet option
- Pups like it
- Good on stomach
- Changed kibble size
6. Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy
$83.69 in stock
Do you prefer feeding your Labrador pup with dog food formula that has been specially designed with his nutritional needs in mind? Royal Canin’s Labrador retriever puppy is a brilliant pick! This kibble with a donut shape features the right chewing size and controls his eating speed.
Formulated with chicken meal which as the protein source that is easily digestible, it helps your Lab pup develop lean, strong muscles. The recipe also contains prebiotics that supports optional stool quality, and precise mineral content to promote healthy bone growth and weight management.
Other ingredients include a blend of antioxidants such as vitamin E that support healthy immune system and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and shiny coat. It contains 31% protein, 12% fat, 10% water, and 3.7% fiber.
- Promotes a lustrous coat
- Good tummy
- Designed for Lab pups
- High price tag
7. Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy
$52.98 in stock
Do you prefer feeding your Lab pup with BARF? You might want to consider neutralizing the effects of chronic inflammation caused by free radicals with a diet rich in antioxidants and this recipe from Blue Buffalo is an ideal choice!
This chicken & brown rice formula has been designed for the health and happiness of your Lab pup with real deboned chicken as the first ingredient. This animal-based premium protein supports muscle development and features DHA & ARA to promote eye and brain development.
The recipe features healthy grains that are easy to digest as well as fruits & veggies as natural sources of antioxidants for optimal immune health and omega fatty acids. It contains 26% protein, 15% fat, 10% water, and 5% fiber.
- High-quality ingredients
- Inconsistent Amazon batches
- Not grain-free which is bad for some pooches
Surely, you must have a brand or recipe that you are convinced fits your lab puppy best!
5 Labs Nutritional Needs
Feeding your Labrador pup with a well-balanced diet is crucial and the secret to keeping your canine friend happy and healthy. As we mentioned in the beginning, your Labrador’s health depends heavily on the diet you serve him, feeding consistency, and the amount you feed him.
Here are 5 labs nutritional needs that must be inclusive in your Labrador’ diet to ensure optimum health:
Animal-based proteins from identified sources should be the first ingredient in your Labrador daily diet. They are essential in building and maintaining lean, strong muscle tissues in your lab and also add palatability. Proteins should make up the biggest part of your Lab’s diet.
Water is crucial in promoting digestion, regulating body temperature, and helps transport substances in your pooch’s body among other benefits. As such, make sure that your dog has clean water throughout the day.
Calories, sourced from carbohydrates, provide the required energy that your Labrador needs to stay healthy and active. Calorie content in dog diet depends on the activity level, age, and weight. For young active Labs, 1500 to 1875 calories a day is sufficient based on the weight, while pregnant & nursing Labs need approx. 700 calories a day. Senior Labs need fewer calories.
4. Fats & Fatty Acids
These two contents are the most solid energy sources in your Lab’s diet and comprise of more energy value (by 10% to 15%) than carbs. Fats & fatty acids are crucial for the normal nervous tissue development and aid in the control of inflammatory responses after injury.
5. Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins, found in most natural foods, are vital to your Lab’s normal canine digestion and help in blood clotting and bone development. Since Labs are susceptible to eye problems, vitamins come in handy in aiding with the eye function.
When it comes to organs and tissues development in your Lab’s body, minerals are a must-have nutrient in your dog’s food.
Labs Feeding Chart
Below is a chart showing how much you should feed your Labrador pup per day against their age, weight, and quantity per meal.
|Puppy’s Age||Pup Weight||Quantity per Day||Meals per Day||Quantity per Meal|
|2 months||15 – 18 lbs.(7-8) kgs||7 – 9 ounces(200-250) grams||4||2 ounces(50-56) grams|
|3 months||24 – 26 lbs.(11-12) kgs||9 – 11 ounces(250-300) grams||3||3 – 3.5 ounces(80-100) grams|
|6 months||50 – 60 lbs.(23-27) kgs||12 – 16 ounces(250-450) grams||2||6 – 8 ounces(175 – 225) grams|
Table 1: Labrador feeding chart [Courtesy of thelabradorsite.com 2015]
Labs Puppy Weight Chart
A male Labrador puppy should weigh 29 kg to 36 kg while the female weighs 25 kg – 32 kg. Here is the weight chart with the left arm of the table representing the age.
|Birth||2 ½ oz.||2 3/14 oz.||3 oz.||3 ½ oz.||4 oz.||4 ¼ oz.||5 oz.||5 ½ oz.|
|1 wk.||3 ¾||4||5||5 ½||6 ½||8||9||9 ½|
|2 wks.||5||5 ½||6 ½||7||9||11||12 ½||13 ½|
|3 wks.||6||7||8||9||11||14||16||17 ½|
|4 wks.||7||8||9 ½||11||13||17||19||21|
|5 wks.||8||11||11||13||15||19 ½||22||24|
|6 wks.||9||12||12 ½||15||17 ½||22||24||27|
|7 wks.||10||13||14 ½||17||19 ½||24 ½||27||30|
|8 wks.||11||15||16||19||21 ½||27||29||33|
|9 wks.||12||16||17 ½||20||23||29||32||35|
|18 months||2 lbs.||2 ½ lbs.||3 lbs.||3 ½ lbs.||4 lbs.||5 lbs.||5 ½ lbs.||6 lbs.|
Table 2: Labs puppy weight chart
Hint: To determine your Lab’s anticipated weight when grown fully (at the bottom), weigh him in ounces, check the line of figure alongside the number of weeks, and take the puppy’s figure or what the approximate weight.
Commercial Dog Food vs. Homemade Dog Meals for Labrador Retrievers
Commercial or processed dog foods are convenient and have been, for generation, the tradition for feeding dogs among many dog owners. They also come with a list of ingredients and a long shelf-life without freezing or refrigeration. Quality processed foods tend to be well-balanced.
On the pudgy side, however, commercial dog foods might contain emulsifiers, additives, and binders which can be harmful to your dog’s health.
Homemade dog meals, on the other hand, require in-depth familiarity with your Lab’s nutrition, including the proper nutrient quantities in each meal using organic and natural foods. In addition, you will need info on what suits your pooch best between raw (BARF) and cooked.
On the downside, cooked homemade foods alter amino acids and enzymes while feeding raw is nutritious but with high risks of infections and bacterial contamination. Nutritional imbalances and risks of internal injuries from un-chewed bones is also a major concern.
VERDICT: Consult your dog’s veterinarian before making the final decision on what to feed your lab. What is appropriate for one pooch might be detrimental to another.
What should I feed my 8 week old Labrador puppy?
8 week old Labrador puppy should be fully weaned and given pup food 3 – 4 times a day or 2 – 3 cups of food daily. Make sure the meals are separated into equal proportions and fed consistently.