It’s not hard to see why Lab puppies need special food. This big, lovable dog has boundless energy. Compare them to a smaller puppy, like chihuahuas and pugs, and you can see that a Lab puppy has different nutrition needs to help them grow into their adult Labrador Retriever bodies. That’s why finding the best puppy food for Lab breed dogs is so important.
- What should I feed my Labrador puppy?
- What are the best foods for Labrador puppies?
- How much should I feed my 8 week old lab puppy?
- 1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food
- 2. NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Puppy Dry Dog Food
- 3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Large Breed Lab Puppies Chicken Meal & Oats Recipe
- 4. Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food Chicken – Large Breed
- 5. Wellness CORE Rawrev Natural Dry Dog Food Puppy
- 6. K9 Natural Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Puppy Food
- 7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Dog Food
- 8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
- 9. Instinct Puppy Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food
- 10. Taste of the Wild Dog-Food High Prairie Puppy Food
- 11. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food
- Wet vs Dry Food for Puppies
- The best large breed puppy food helps your Lab puppy dog grow into a healthy adult.
What should I feed my Labrador puppy?
One of the main differences between Lab puppies and smaller breeds is that Lab puppies have a lot more growing to do. For example, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel weighs about 8 pounds at three months old and grows to an adult size of about 15 pounds, their weight just about doubling. A Labrador puppy, on the other hand, weigh about 20 pounds and three months to about 65 pounds, more than tripling their weight.
Because of this, large breed puppies grow and change a lot in the first few years, going through fast and dramatic bone changes. This makes them very sensitive to nutritional imbalances, which is why using the best puppy foods formulated for Labs helps them get the protein content and nutrients they need to promote healthy growth.
Watching your Lab puppy’s weight is key to helping them grow properly, too. If they’re too heavy, it puts too much pressure on their growing bones which can cause a lot of problems for them later in life. That’s why Labrador specific puppy food and large breed puppy foods in general have fewer calories and fats than other puppy foods. That said, puppy food has more calories and vitamins than adult puppy food to support their rapid growth.
Labs do not reach adult size until they are between 12 and 18 months old, and you should keep feeding them puppy foods throughout this time. When they’re fully grown and no longer puppies, switch to the best breed-specific dog food to make sure your adult Lab doesn’t get too many calories and fat. If you’re not sure when to switch, ask your veterinarian.
What are the best foods for Labrador puppies?
It’s tempting to try to save a few bucks and buy the most affordable puppy foods, but this is not the best option. That’s not to say that all inexpensive options are nutritionally incomplete for puppies, but they are usually made with lower quality ingredients so it’s really important to read the labels. It’s very important not to skimp when it comes to your pet’s health, and by only looking at the price tag, there’s a good chance your Lab puppy isn’t getting what they need.
How much should I feed my 8 week old lab puppy?
The exact amount for Labs and other puppies depends on what ingredients are in the puppy foods you’re using. There should be detailed instructions on the side of the best puppy food for Labs packaging that tells you how much to use depending on the age of your puppy. A general guideline is four meals of two ounces per day at two months, three meals a day of about 3.5 ounces at three months, and two meals of six to eight ounces a day at six months.
Again, this is just a guideline. The best thing to do is follow the instructions on the package or ask your vet to be sure. Keep a close eye on your puppy, too. If they appear to be gaining weight, you may need to cut back a bit.
If you’re looking for the best puppy food for Labs, here are some of the best options available, each of which keeps your Labrador puppy’s health in mind.
Our top pick for the best puppy food for Labs is this breed-specific food from Royal Canin. Choosing breed-specific food from a well-known brand is usually a safe bet, and this is definitely the case with Royal Canin.
This recipe is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of Lab puppies between eight weeks and 15 months. The unique ring-shaped kibble is meant to help Lab pups chew and eat their food more slowly, which makes every meal more satisfying.
In addition to providing your puppy with the best nutrition it needs to thrive, Royal Canin also includes an effective blend of antioxidants to help boost their developing immune system and proteins and probiotics to support optimal digestion. It promotes healthy bones and weight management to help your Lab become a healthy adult.
There’s a feeding table on the package that suggests feeding amounts for puppies at every stage of puppyhood, from two to 14 months. This 30-pound bag should last you quite a while, especially when your puppy is very young. Store it in a large air-tight container to keep it fresh between feedings.
Another great thing about Royal Canin’s puppy foods is they make adult breed-specific food, too. So, when your puppy reaches adulthood, transitioning to Royal Canin’s adult Labrador food is easy. Best of all, Royal Canin’s breed-specific health formulas are all 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.
A good large breed puppy food that’s good for Labs is Wholesome Essentials by Nutro. Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient, which tastes great and provides the protein your puppy needs for healthy growth.
This food also contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids like DHA for brain development and to promote your Lab’s shiny coat and healthy skin. There’s also calcium to support bone growth and joint health and a unique blend of brown rice, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables to deliver the nutritionally rich food your puppy needs to grow.
This best Lab puppy food doesn’t contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and it is made using non-GMO ingredients. It’s available in a five and 15-pound bag so you can choose the size that works best for your puppy. A detailed feeding schedule is included on the package so you can be sure your puppy is getting the right amount of food every day.
This natural dog food is also available in a lamb formula. While it also delivers complete nutrition, it’s only meant to feed your puppy for one year, which means you’ll have to transition to another puppy food at that time to bridge the gap until adulthood. The best food for puppies from this brand is the chicken recipe.
This best large breed dry puppy food is great for puppy Labs. It contains the optimal amount of calcium to support controlled bone growth and balanced minerals strong bones and teeth. Puppies love the delicious chicken flavor and the high-quality protein helps them develop and maintain lean muscle. Fish oil provides DHA for healthy brain and eye development, too.
Something impressive about this brand is that its recipes are developed by a team of more than 200 food scientists, vets, and Ph.D. nutritionists. They carefully choose their suppliers by making sure their facilities meet a high bar of safety and quality standards and each ingredient is examined to make sure it delivers the nutrition necessary to keep the recipe balanced for your pet.
Hill’s Science Diet is made in the USA with the best ingredients sourced from all over the globe. It’s the number one veterinarian-recommended brand because it gives you pets the best start in life so they can grow into healthy and happy adults. This dry Labrador puppy food uses only natural ingredients with no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or chicken by-product meal. Plus, with every purchase, Hill’s donates food to animal shelters across the country, feeding over 100,000 homeless pets every day.
Another best food puppy for Labs is this large breed option from Eukanuba. It’s meant for Labrador puppies through 15 months old for breeds expected to weigh over 55 pounds. High-quality chicken is the first ingredient, proving the lean protein your Lab needs for energy and to support lean muscle growth.
This formula also contains optimized levels of phosphorus and calcium to support bone health, DHA for healthy brain development, and vitamin E to help a developing immune system, all ingredients to help your large breed puppy grow into a healthy adult Labrador retriever. Concentrated energy provided by the appropriate level of carbohydrates and fat keeps your puppy going, playing, and exploring while continuing to grow.
There are three sizes available so you can choose the size appropriate for your Lab puppy. Whether you choose a five, 16, or 33-pound bag is up to you. Serving sizes for Lab puppies are listed on the side of the bag for Labrador puppies at ages two, five, eight, and 12 months. Eukanuba is so sure you and your puppy will love this best dog food, satisfaction is guaranteed.
This high-protein, nutrient-dense dry large breed Labrador puppy food for Labs from Wellness CORE uses 100 percent raw freeze-dried turkey that provides the right amount of protein and calories to support your Lab puppy’s high energy as well as a taste it will love. The naturally grain-free kibble also includes turkey and chicken meal for concentrated protein which also delivers the DHA your puppy needs for healthy brain and eye development. This high amount of protein also develops leaner muscle mass.
There are a lot of other great ingredients in this best puppy food for a Labrador puppy, too. Omega fatty acids from flaxseed and salmon oil develop a healthy coat and skin, antioxidants for a healthy immune system, glucosamine for healthy joints, and probiotics to encourage effective digestion. Plus, there are no fillers like wheat, soy, or corn.
Wellness CORE is made in the USA from globally sourced non-GMO ingredients, carefully chosen for their nutritional benefits. You can get this dry food in four or 10-pound bags so you’ll have just what you need for your little pup.
If you’re looking for great natural puppy food for Labs, take a look at this freeze-dried recipe from K9 Natural. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s loaded with goodness that will help your puppy grow into a healthy, strong adult.
Here’s what you won’t find in this best dog food. There are no fillers or gelling agents, GMOs, animal meals, or legumes and they never use any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. What you will find is whole, nutrient-rich food ingredients and the right amount of fats and vitamins to support whole growth and development.
This recipe uses grass-fed beef from New Zealand along with fresh Hoki oil obtained from sustainably sourced fish. Every serving provides DHA for brain and eye development, phosphorus and calcium to support teeth and bone development, and premium protein for energy and muscle development.
The best thing about this brand is that it was developed by a vet who looked at the evolutionary standpoint of dogs and their diets. Before dogs were domesticated, their diet consisted of raw animal proteins with minimal carbs and a high amount of fat and protein. So much pet food these days contains carbohydrates, which is why K9 Natural was developed.
Another great thing about this large breed recipe is your Lab puppy is going to love the taste. K9 Natural is so sure about this that they provide a no questions asked money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Blue Buffalo is another well-known brand of dog food, and their large breed puppy formula is perfect for your Lab. They always use real meat as the first ingredient, like the high-quality real chicken in this recipe that encourages healthy muscle growth. This puppy food also contains DHA and ARA, fatty acids present in breast milk that contribute to the development of the brain and eyes.
A cool thing about Blue Buffalo is that they include something called Lifesource bits in their dry dog food. These are kibble-sized bites that contain a precise mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have been specially blended to support your puppy’s immune system and life stage requirements.
This is also a great choice if you’re looking for natural dog food. It uses the finest ingredients and contains no poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, or soy as well as no artificial preservatives or artificial flavors.
The large breed kibble size is also perfect for puppy Labs. It’s small enough for them to eat easily and encourages them to take their time chewing while cleaning their teeth and removing tartar. This product comes in two sizes, 15 and 30 pounds, so you can get just what you need.
Another option from Blue Buffalo is this high-protein puppy formula that specially blended to satisfy your puppy’s instinctual love for meat. It uses real chicken to encourage strong muscle growth as well as many other healthy ingredients. It’s grain-free but provides quick carbohydrate energy in the form of peas and sweet potatoes as well as omegas 3 and 6 to support coat and skin health. That’s not all, this kibble also has adequate levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joint health and development.
This recipe also includes the brands Lifesource bits to meet your puppy’s life stage requirements and support the development of a healthy immune system. Lifesource bits are processed at a lower temperature which means that they do not degrade as quickly as regular kibble, maintaining the integrity of the ingredient.
Blue Buffalo uses only the finest ingredients to deliver the vitamins and minerals Labs need without any by-product meals, fillers, or artificial flavors or preservatives.
Raw diets have become quite popular, and this Instinct puppy food with raw bits gives your puppy Labs what they needs while also incorporating some of the benefits of a raw diet. This grain-free recipe includes freeze-dried raw boost bits of natural chicken, supporting muscle growth, and providing the energy your puppy needs to play and learn.
This large breed food supports teeth and bone health with adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus as well as natural DHA for eye and brain development. You won’t find any corn, soy, wheat, protein by-product meals, or artificial colors and preservatives. This recipe is an ideal blend of high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and omegas, designed to support your puppy’s development to a healthy, strong adult.
Another thing to know about this brand is that it’s minimally processed, which goes a long way to keeping the natural benefits of the carefully sourced ingredients intact. And, because the raw ingredients are freeze-dried, they’re shelf-stable so you don’t have to worry about anything going bad.
This food may also help your Labrador puppies have better-formed stools and help relieve food sensitivities. Most picky eaters gobble it up. If your dog doesn’t, don’t worry. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
Prairie Puppy Food from Taste of the Wild uses real meat as its top ingredient; specifically, bison and venison, just like on the prairie. This delivers the optimal amount of amino acids and protein to help your puppy grow strong, lean muscles, and provides the energy they need to explore and grow.
This recipe also contains DHA for healthy brain and eye development and superfoods for necessary antioxidants. In addition to real meat, ingredients also include vegetables, fruits, and legumes, all in special grain size that’s ideal for Labrador puppies. There’s no grain, corn, fillers, or wheat, and never any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
The idea behind Taste of the Wild is that your dog is still a part wolf and that years of domestication haven’t changed their cravings for real meat. By combining the protein your pet craves with real vegetables and fruits, Taste of the Wild gives your puppy everything it needs to feed its wild side while helping it grow into an adult dog that will be a loved and trusted member of the family for many years to come.
Finally, if you’re looking great dry dog foods for Labs, we recommend Purina Pro Plan. High-quality real chicken is the first ingredient to meet your puppy’s high energy needs and encourage strong lean muscle growth. This antioxidant-rich formula supports your puppy’s developing immune system, and DHA from fish oil encourages healthy brain and eye health.
This Pro Plan arge breed formula was created with a puppy’s unique needs in mind. It delivers 100 percent of the balanced nutrition your puppy needs to grow and develop and maintains excellent coat and skin health. Plus, they taste great, so your puppy will love it.
Every ingredient in this recipe is checked for quality and produced in US facilities so you can trust the quality of the manufacturing process, too. Pro Plan has recipes for every life stage, so once your puppy is ready to move onto adult and later senior dog food, you can stick with a brand you know and trust.
They are what they eat
Good health and longevity begin with good nutrition and quality ingredients for Lab puppies The educated dog owner strives to feed the best and most beneficial food that their budget allows. Even the choice of canned food versus dry is a big one, thanks to a wide variety of formulations, price points, and health claims with strong proponents on either side. As always, your veterinarian should be the last word on your Lab dog’s nutritional needs.
Wet vs Dry Food for Puppies
Both wet and dry food can give your puppy what they need. We focused primarily on dry food because it’s more affordable and easiest to store, but it’s important to know about the differences between wet and dry food so you can make up your own mind.
As we said, dry puppy food is more affordable and convenient than wet food. It’s less messy, easiest to measure, and you don’t have to worry about it going bad if it sits in your puppy’s bowl for a while, which also means it’s less wasteful.
Dry food is also more calorically dense. Dry food is usually less than 10 percent water while wet food is as much as 75 percent water. So, dry food definitely gives you more bang for your buck. Your puppy or any large breed dogs will need to eat significantly more wet dog food to get the same amount of nutrition as it will get from a serving of dry food.
Wet foods may be enough for a small puppy, but a large puppy like a Labrador would not be able to get by on wet food alone, which is why we recommend dry dog food.
There are some cases in which you might want to consider mixing some wet food in with your Labs dry diet. Canned foods have ingredients that generally taste a lot better than dry food that puppies sometimes really like, so if you have a picky eater, this may help solve the problem. Wet food has a softer and more appealing texture for Labs, too. If you do decide to mix wet with dry, be very careful to watch your puppy’s intake. Wet food tastes better so puppies may start to want more, so be sure they’re not gaining excess weight when eating these foods.
What about grain?
Some dry dog foods contain a good amount of grain while wet dog food does not. So, if you’re trying to avoid grains for your Labrador puppy, you might be tempted to use wet dog food instead. Corn, wheat, and rice are often used to bind dry dog food and make it possible to have nice bite-sized pieces of kibble. This one way to tell high-quality Labrador puppy food from a low-quality one. While a little bit of grain is okay, especially if it’s natural and sourced responsibly, foods that use a lot of grain usually cut protein, which means that your puppy is ultimately not going to get what it needs to thrive.
There is a lot of debate about whether or not grains are good for dogs and puppies, including your Labrador puppy. One argument is that wolves were carnivores that didn’t eat plant matter or grains so modern domesticated dogs shouldn’t either. Other people believe that wolves were scavengers and would have supplemented their diet with corn, roots, fruits, and vegetables when meat was scarce.
No one knows for sure and we’re not here to try to settle the debate about these ingredients and wet and dry foods for puppies. Ultimately, you’re going to choose what is best for you and your Labrador puppy. Just remember that dry food is a little more economical and nutrient-dense. If you choose to feed your puppies wet food or to mix it with dry to get the benefits of both food and their ingredients, keep a close eye on the number of calories you’re feeding your puppy and watch for excessive weight gain.
Look at the label.
As you can see, nutrition is very important for large breed puppies (like your Labrador puppy) and it is very important to learn how to decipher the label.
You should always be able to find a list of ingredients on the bag. This list is organized in descending order, meaning that the first ingredient is the one that the food contains the most of by weight and is what the puppies who are eating these foods are getting the most of.
The first and second ingredients in good large breed puppy dog foods should always be meat of some kind, whether its chicken, lamb, of beef. You might see meat meal listed as the main ingredient. Like grains, the nutritional value of meat meal is often debated. Meat meal has less water than meat, which means it has more concentrated nutrition. Generally, this is not a bad thing.
What you need to be aware of, though, is the quality of the meal. Some are made of waste products, like bones, hooves, and animal heads. Basically, the parts of the animal that you might not want your puppy to eat. High-quality meat meal doesn’t contain these things, only high-quality meat.
So, meat meal isn’t necessarily bad for your Labrador puppy. It’s only as healthy as the ingredients put into it. What should you avoid? Any dog foods with ingredients described as an animal by-product meal or with a vague description like meat meal. Instead, look for clearly defined, honest ingredients like chicken meal, beef meal, or duck meal. This is the sign of a high-quality concentrated protein that’s good for your puppy.
If you decide to feed your Labrador puppy grains, look for whole grains on the label and avoid things like corn gluten meal or soybean meal.
You should also always avoid artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, and sweeteners.
Another area where dry dog food has an advantage over wet food for your Labrador puppy is that dry food can help maintain good dental health. Some brands are shaped specifically to encourage chewing to scrape off plaque buildup as the puppy chews.
Wet food, on the other hand, is believed to contribute to plaque. Because of its texture, it sticks to the teeth much more than dry food and may cause more plaque.
Some studies done in the 1990s showed that there really was no difference in the dental health of dogs who ate dry adult dog food versus those that ate wet, but things have come a long way since then. Some food brands have developed special shaped and textured pellets that have been proven to scrape off some plaque.
Ultimately, dental health is not the main reason you should choose any food for puppies or Lab adult dogs and you should always be sure to take care of your pet’s teeth with regular brushing. That said, it’s nice to think that the food you choose may help instead of hinder the health of your puppy’s teeth and gums.
The best large breed puppy food helps your Lab puppy dog grow into a healthy adult.
If you have a Labrador puppy or any other large breed puppies, feeding it the best foods for puppy Labs is important to make sure they grow up with healthy bones and joints so that they don’t develop additional health problems as an adult. We gave you 11 great options, including some that are grain-free and all-natural, across all price points so there’s something here for everyone.
Follow the instructions on the side of the packaging to make sure you’re feeding your Lab puppies the right amount of food, and don’t be afraid to ask your vet about when you should begin transitioning your Labrador puppy to food for adult dogs.