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Labradors are notorious for putting on weight and they require a nutritious diet to maintain healthy body weight. Not all labs are the same and they will require different dog food depending upon their situation.
The best dog food for labs is the Royal Canin Dry Food that is designed only for Labradors and contains all the premium nutrients for a healthy diet.
Choosing between dry dog food for labs to raw or wet alternatives is completely up to you. Dry food for your lab is recommended but if they are refusing to eat several brands, you may need to resort to wet dog food to get them eating enough food.
Table of Contents
Best Dog Food For Labs
|Labrador Dog Food||Designed For||Grain Free|
|Royal Canin||Healthy Diet||No|
|Wellness Core||Sensitive Stomach||Yes|
|Nature's Variety Instinct||High Protein||Yes|
|EUKANUBA Breed Specific||Healthy Diet||No|
Convenience to the modern-day dog owner is key and dry kibble for your Labrador is much easier to feed to your dog and stores much easier. For this reason, we are only recommending dry dog food for labs.
Ensuring your Labrador doesn’t become overweight is a big concern of many owners. Regular smaller meals than a few large meals a day are highly recommended but all dog foods will come with a quantity recommendation for your lab.
Finding the correct food for your Labrador can be hard and needs to works for both you and the dog. Below is a list of the best dog food for labs that ensure they retain a healthy diet that supports bones and joints.
Royal Canin Breed Labrador Dry Food
Royal Canin Labrador dog food is breed specific and dedicated to the needs and requirements of the breed. Labs have a unique, water-resistant coat, less muscle, more likely to have joint diseases, and 3 recognized coat colors compared to other breeds.
Even the texture of the kibble itself (donut-shaped) has been tailored to Labradors in such a way that it helps reduce the rate of food intake. You are able to feed your lab this dog food from the age of 15 months. However, they do offer dog food for puppy labs, which will help ease the disruption of changing from puppy to adult food.
To ensure the coat of your Labrador is kept healthy and shiny, the formula is enriched with EPA and DHA, which is known for this sort of improvement. It is not a weight loss dog food but for a well-balanced diet, Royal Canin is ideal.
Overall, it is the best dog food for labs that are over the age of 15 months and require healthy food to support healthy joint function and improve mobility.
Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe
Labradors eat a serious amount of food and the bills can soon mount up, which can be a worry for those on a budget. However, at the same time, you want to be able to give the best Labrador dog food for your dog to ensure they live a healthy lifestyle.
The Diamond Naturals is cheap dog food for labs that contains the quality nutrients found in the premium alternatives. It is not grain-free but the carbohydrates come from the rice instead of wheat or corn that some dogs find it hard to digest.
Overall, it is a top-rated cheap Labrador dog food (and other large breeds) that contains all the added vitamins, minerals, natural antioxidants, fatty acids, and other ingredients that the premium brands use.
Wellness Core Grain Free Dog Food
Dog food for labs with sensitive stomachs requires a grain-free formula that maintains a rich protein source. This is exactly what the Wellness Core formula is, which includes deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal, which are excellent sources of protein for your Labradors diet.
Ensuring that the food is grain-free, the carbohydrates come from potatoes and other easily digestible filler foods such as peas and tomato pomace.
Wellness core offers a range of breed sized food and flavors, which makes it a very desirable dog food. It is one of the most popular foods available in the US that is protein-rich and has no by-product, unlike many cheaper alternatives.
Overall, it is the best grain-free dog food for labs that suffer from a sensitive stomach. The main drawback is that is it fairly expensive but if you want the best for your Labrador, there is not much better than this.
Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein
Nature’s Variety offers a range of dog foods for labs but this is their “Ultimate Protein” food that contains 95% of its protein from real cage-free chickens and zero animal meal. It is the only dry kibble that contains the nutrition of raw food.
Compared to the other alternatives, it is the easiest to digest and has high levels of natural omegas and antioxidants for a healthy coat and skin. It is a complete grain-free formula with no potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, or preservatives.
The Ultimate Protein dog food by Nature’s Variety has one major drawback and that is the expensive price to purchase. If you intend on feeding your Labrador this formula throughout its life, it can end up being quite expensive in the long run.
However, that being said, it is the best Labrador dog food you can buy and if it was cheaper, it would be top of our list.Check on Amazon
EUKANUBA Breed Specific Dog Food
Eukanuba is a premium dog food for labs that contains high-quality animal-based proteins to build strong muscles and maintain a healthy body condition. It features high levels of calcium alongside the protein to ensure all the joints stay healthy and the bones are strong.
The patented 3D DENTADEFENSE systems that are found is all Eukanuba dog food is highly rated for dental hygiene. The brand claims that this food will reduce tartar build-up in just 28 days, which is fairly impressive.
It is the main competitor to the Royal Canin and although it has excellent dental qualities, it does lack premium nutrients compared to the Royal Canin. However, it is still an excellent dog food for labs, which would be the first food to try if your Labrador doesn’t like the Royal Canin alternative.
Labrador Dog Food Buying Guide
It can be hard to find the best dog food for Labs, especially as there are countless choices in the market today. They all claim to be the best Labrador dog food, so how can you actually find which one is the best.
We have done our research to get you the best products out on the market currently. In addition to that, below we have our buying guide which to help you pick out the best dog food for Labradors. They’ll also help you get a better understanding of what things you should look out for when you are researching the web.
How Much Should You Feed A Labrador?
If you get a Labrador puppy, you should know that their food should be divided into several smaller portions that are fed to them throughout the day. If they try to eat in one go it might not end well.
From when your Labrador is eight weeks till they are twelve weeks, they should have four meals a day, which are breakfast, lunch, tea, and supper. Their last meal should be at least two to three hours before their last trip to the toilet for the day.
Once they get to three months, their daily portions can be cut into three portions. By six months old, you can cut down the lab food to two larger portions.
How Much To Feed A Puppy Lab?
Depending on the weight and age of your puppy, there is a suggested amount that your puppy should be fed. They can also depend on the brand of the Labrador puppy, as different branded products have different amounts of calories and nutrients.
Generally, the higher quality foods are rich with quality nutrients that give puppies all that they need with even a little amount.
|Puppy’s Age||Puppy’s Weight||Quantity|
|2 months||15 lbs. to 18 lbs.||7 oz. to 9 oz.||4||2 oz.|
|3 months||24 lbs. to 26 lbs.||9 oz. to 11 oz.||3||3 oz. to 3.5 oz.|
|6 months||50 lbs. to 60 lbs.||12 oz. to 16 oz.||2||6 oz. to 8 oz.|
How Much To Feed An Adult Lab?
There isn’t a simple answer as to how much you should feed your adult lab, however, we can offer you a rough guideline that might help you get an idea of how much you need to feed your dog daily. Adult Labrador food is generally meant for Labradors that are over fifteen months old.
|Weight||Medium Activity||High Activity|
|57.3 lbs.||3 ¾ cups||4 3/8 cups|
|61.7 lbs.||4 cups||4 5/8 cups|
|66.1 lbs.||4 1/8 cups||4 7/8 cups|
|70.5 lbs.||4 3/8 cups||5 1/8 cups|
|75 lbs.||4 5/8 cups||5 3/8 cups|
|79.4 lbs.||4 ¾ cups||5 ½ cups|
|83.8 lbs.||5 cups||5 ¾ cups|
|88.2 lbs.||5 ¼ cups||6 cups|
What If Your Labrador Has A Sensitive Stomach?
If you suspect that your Labrador has a sensitive stomach, you might want to watch out and see if they display any of the following symptoms.
Occasional bouts of vomiting are normal, but repeated bouts might be indicating that your dog either has a serious health issue or a sensitive stomach.
Repeated occurrences of runny or loose stools can indicate a serious issue or sensitive stomach.
If your dog suffers from gas regularly, then it might be because of a sensitive stomach issue.
Before you assume anything, you might want to get them checked out by a vet to make sure that there are no underlying issues that could be masked by the food sensitivity. Once you are sure that they do have a sensitive stomach, it could be because of four common reasons.
Firstly, they might not be able to digest some of the fat or proteins in their food. Secondly, they might be allergic to some proteins in their food. Thirdly, they might not be able to digest their treats because of the ingredients in them. Lastly, they might suffer from emotional distress.
If your Labrador has a sensitive stomach, then it might be best to look for food that is allergy-friendly. Hypoallergenic foods will not have any common allergens included, such as soy and gluten, which make it easier for your Labrador.
Once you find a brand and food that works and suits your Labrador, then we recommend that you stick with it. You should look for tell-tale signs that show whether your dog is thriving with the food, including maintaining a healthy weight, plenty of energy, well-formed stools, and a glossy coat.
You should ensure that their food does not have any grain as some have a harder time digesting wheat, corn, and other grains. There should be a limited number of ingredients within the food. The fewer ingredients there are, the lower the chances of it upsetting your dog’s stomach.
You should get food that is easily digestible, including potatoes, brown rice, lamb, and chicken. You might also want to look at foods that contain supplements and ingredients that help in the digestion process, such as dog-friendly yogurt or probiotics.
What To Do If Your Labrador Is Becoming Overweight?
Labradors love to eat and their families are generally happy to keep feeding them unwittingly leading them to obesity. Obesity is a big health issue with Labs are they are notorious for inhaling their food fast.
A healthy Lab should weight anywhere from 55 lbs. to 75 lbs., while an obese Lab could be upwards of 100 lbs. The excess weight can cause serious impacts on their life expectancy and health, including higher chances of liver and heart disease, respiratory and metabolic diseases, skeletal problems, arthritis, joint inflammation, and lowered resistance.
Though exercise might be one of the issues, it can’t be the only reason. You need to take into account the amount that they have eaten, exercised, and other factors. Most of the time, you’ll find that they might be eating too much.
The first step to overcoming obesity is to cut off any fillers or snacks that are given to them in between meals. If they get given a lot of household scraps, then this must be stopped. You should stop using food as their dog training rewards, instead, you can try to find a healthier alternative to their usual dog treats.
If your dog is very young, old, or unwell, then it might be best to contact your vet before making any big changes to their diet.
Orthopedic Diseases In Labs
Labrador puppies, as they are a larger breed, require different dietary requirements in comparison to smaller breeds. This is because they grow quicker and longer than smaller breeds. A Labrador that was born at 1 lb. can grow to be around 70 lbs. just within the first twelve months.
They keep growing even after that as they are still considered to be puppies until twelve to twenty-four months old.
Their speedy growth makes them sensitive to their calorie and nutrient intake, such as nutritional excesses, deficiencies, and imbalances. It can also put them at risk for orthopedic diseases, which include bones and joints disorders, such as osteochondrosis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and panosteitis.
How To Lower The Risk?
According to various studies, larger breeds have a higher risk of orthopedic diseases due to four main factors, which are overfeeding, overnutrition, over-supplementation, and just genetics. Though there isn’t anything that can be done about their genetics, you can control over nutrition and overfeeding. It’s important for Labrador puppies to grow slowly so that you are able to prevent them later in life.
The amount that you feed your Labrador really matters. If you overfeed them, it can lead them to gain extra weight really quickly which leads to obesity. The extra weight can also cause your puppy to have extra stress on their skeleton when they already have less bone density.
Most dog owners tend to follow either a restricted-calorie diet or free feeding method. The latter is the most popular option of the two, which just involves you filling up your puppy’s bowl and letting them eat whenever they want to.
The free feeding method only works with dry foods, since wet foods are likelier to spoil quicker. It is also the more convenient method for those owners who have busy schedules.
However, it is also the most discouraging method as it makes them grow too fast Instead, it recommended that you implement the restricted calorie diet plan. This involves you feeding your puppy with several, smaller portioned, meals throughout the day.
Ian is an avid outdoorsman and dog lover. He lives in Central Florida with his wife Heather, and their 2 dogs – Panda (Purebread Rough Collie X English Golden Retriever) & Kuma (Blue Merl Purebread Rough Collie)