What to Feed Your Labrador Retriever Puppy
No matter the color, Labrador Retrievers are one of America’s most popular dog breeds. In fact, the AKC ranks the Labrador Retriever as the number one most popular breed! With a gentle demeanor and family-friendly personality, it’s easy to see why this breed has wormed its way into so many hearts.
Two fun facts; one, there is a place called Labrador, it’s a Canadian province, and two, Labrador Retrievers are not actually from Labrador. Odd right? Labrador Retrievers actually hail from Newfoundland. Newfoundland is an island off of the Labrador mainland. The more you know.
One of the first questions you’ll probably ask yourself after bringing a new Labrador Retriever puppy home is “what do I feed my new puppy?” Well, you’re in luck. Today we’re talking all about what to feed Labrador Retriever puppies.
Your puppy will transition to solids before you bring it home, so it’s important to talk to either the shelter or breeder that you got your puppy from to determine what food they were eating before they came home with you. You should never switch up a dog’s food overnight. The transition needs to be gradual. If you decide to switch your puppy’s diet, we recommend that you do so slowly over the course of a few days.
When you start thinking about the frequency that you want to use to feed your pup we recommend starting with three meals a day. When you space out a puppy’s meals, he’ll feel more satisfied after finishing his meal, and he’ll be on the right course as far as weight control and bloating goes. Labrador Retrievers, like some other large breeds, are genetically prone to obesity, meaning that you’ll need to keep an eye on how much your puppy is eating. This makes the prospect of “free feeding” undesirable. “Free feeding” is the practice in which food is made available to dogs at all times, but this practice can have many downsides. For example, your puppy not eating is a common sign of some puppy diseases, when you free feed you won’t be able to tell as easily when your puppy starts eating less.
An ideal feeding schedule for a Labrador Retriever puppy goes as follows:
- Breakfast between 6-7am
- Lunch at noon
- And dinner between 5-6pm
Most puppy owners switch from three meals a day to two meals a day when their puppy is around 12 weeks old. Of course, each Labrador Retriever is different. Always make sure that you are consulting with your vet before making any changes to your puppy’s diet or feeding schedule.
One problem that some Labrador Retriever owners face is their puppy eating their food too quickly. When puppies get too excited, they can inhale their food too quickly, leading to many troubling concerns including choking, gagging, and more. One solution to this problem is to use a slow bowl feeder. These bowls have obstacles inlaid in their design that limit how much food your Labrador Retriever puppy can eat at once.
What’s the difference between adult and puppy formulas? Well, puppy food is specially formulated to support a puppy’s specific needs. Puppy food has twice the daily nutrient requirements of adult food to assist your puppy as she develops her bones, muscles, joints, internal organs, and immune system. According to most vets, an ideal puppy food will include all the nutrients that your puppy needs to grow. A good puppy food will be made up of at least 30% protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, and lastly, it will have a high-fat content to promote energy.
As mentioned above, puppy food is very different than adult food. Just like introducing a new brand of puppy food, you’ll need to gradually switch your puppy from puppy formula to adult formula food. The Labrador Retriever is a sporting dog with a unique digestive system; you’ll need to select an adult food that’s been created for large breeds. An additional benefit could be a formula that supports joint health, which is something the breed struggles with as they age.
When it comes to adult or puppy food, the choices can seem overwhelming. The best course of action to choose the right food for your Labrador Retriever is to talk to your vet. He will be able to make a very educated recommendation as to which food will best complement your Labrador Retriever. Hereditary diseases or traits can cause a puppy to need more or less specific ingredients than others, thus the need for an educated opinion. If you’re conflicted about which food is right for your Labrador Retriever puppy, you can use sites like Pet Breeds to compare today’s top dog food brands.
Labrador Retriever Breed Profile Overview
Here’s a brief breed profile of the Labrador Retriever to start your puppy learning. For more in-depth information, such as ideal vaccination schedules or potty training tips, visit our online archive of over 10,000 vet approved articles.
The Labrador Retriever hails from Newfoundland and not Labrador, as the name suggests. Fishermen brought the breed to Britain in the early 19th century. The breed was not originally used as a companion dog. instead, Retrievers were bred exclusively as hunters. A job for which they possessed superior talents. The Labrador Retriever was officially accepted into the English Kennel Club in 1903 and the American Kennel Club in 1917, after which their popularity boomed.
Appearance and Size:
The Labrador Retriever is a strong, medium-sized dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables him to function as a retrieving gun dog and as a member of the family.
The breed is known for its kindly, outgoing and tractable nature. The Lab is eager to please and usually non-aggressive toward man or animal.
****Labrador Retrievers are intelligent and love to learn. Most Labradors can begin command training at 6 to 8 months of age.
For more details on this breed, including info on home and family relations, special care, and common diseases and disorders visit our Labrador Retriever breed profile.