Labs are affectionate, loving, intelligent, and funny hence it is no surprise that this is one of the most popular breeds. This is a large breed that is known for its healthy appetite and ability to devour everything in sight.
Lap puppies need to have a diet that is designed to fulfill their special nutritional needs. This means that you need to look for a food that is breed targeted or made for large breed puppies.
Too many calories and not ideal calcium content can cause bone malformations, thus your Lab needs a premium diet. High-quality foods are complete and balanced and contain all the necessary nutrients for a steady growth.
Once you start researching puppy foods you will realize that a variety of formulas is available which can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing. The best puppy food for labs in 2018 is the one that tastes good and fulfills all the nutritional needs of a developing pup.
|Name||Image||Best For||Main Ingredient||Grain-free||Calories||Price|
|BLUE Life Protection Large Breed Puppy Dry Food||Brain, eye, bone development||Deboned Chicken||No||396|
|Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Natural Dry Food||Good digestion, muscle and bone development||Buffalo||Yes||364|
|Wellness CORE Natural Puppy Dry Food||Brain,eye, bone development||Deboned Chicken||Yes||417|
|Instinct Raw Boost Natural Large Breed Puppy Food by Nature's Variety||Good digestion, normal growth and bone development||Chicken||Yes||495|
|Orijen Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Food||Normal pone growth, easy digestion||Deboned Chicken||Yes||429|
How to find the best puppy food for labs?
A grown-up Lab can weigh up to 80 pounds, hence a puppy needs all right nutrients for a healthy growth and development. Make sure to look for diets that can fuel your Lab but at the same time let him grow at the steady rate. Diets that are calorie rich or don’t have required amounts of calcium can put your pup’s health at risk.
What are the nutritional needs of Lab pups?
A large breed puppy like Lab can’t possibly have the same nutritional requirements like Poodle. In one year your lab will go from one pound at birth to whopping 70 pounds. This speed of growth means that their bones are under a lot of stress and need balanced micronutrients for normal development.
- Proteins: The main ingredient always needs to be a name-based meat. The best puppy food brands have 23% – 31% protein count which is the right amount for muscle, tissue and organ development.
- Fats: Are made of fatty acids that support healthy coat and skin, besides that they are main sources of energy. Fats are the main contributors to calorie count, and too many calories can cause obesity, therefore look for foods with 10% – 25% fat content.
- Carbohydrates: Are sugar, starches, and fibers that provide energy and keep your pup’s stomach full. Larger amounts can cause weight gain, thus look for low or moderate levels of easily digestible whole grains.
- Vitamins and minerals: As with other breeds Labs can’t produce these micronutrients in their bodies and they need them in their food. Especially pay attention to the calcium-phosphorus ratio that will build strong teeth and bones.
How to feed a Lab puppy?
Labs are notorious for the ability to devour everything in sight, and by this we mean, kibble, table scraps, and whatever he finds during a walk. Because of that, this breed can easily develop obesity that can be avoided with proper meals from the young age.
- A Lab puppy up to four months old should be eating ½ – 2/3 of a cup at each meal. During this period your pup needs to have four meals per day.
- Puppies from four to six months should have their food increased to ¾ – 1 cup per each meal. As your puppy grows, you can cut the number of meals to three at this period.
- After six months and all the way to 18 months, a Lab puppy should eat 1 ½ cup of food per each meal. Once your pup is six months old till the rest of his life he needs to have only breakfast and dinner.
Labs are fast eaters, and as a large breed, they can develop bloat. Feeding your Labrador with smaller meals will prevent this from happening and additionally help with digestion.
What are the benefits of dry food?
Kibble is the number one diet choice for most pet owners, and Lab puppies can benefit from this type of diet. In the end, it is up to you to decide what is the best for your pup, and these are advantages of dry food:
- Dry food tends to have a more balanced amount of nutrients.
- Kibble cleans your pup’s teeth and prevents tartar and plaque buildup.
- It is the economical choice.
- Dry food is easier to store.
- Compared to wet food, kibble stays fresh for longer periods of time.
What are health risks associated with this breed?
With the best large breed puppy food for labs, you can prevent the occurrence of diseases that are caused by bad nutrition. As other large breeds, Labs are sensitive to nutritional imbalance, and the most important thing is avoiding excess calcium.
- Musculoskeletal deformities: These include hip and elbow dysplasia that are commonly seen in large breeds. They are caused by genetics, excessive dietary calcium, and overfeeding.
- Obesity: Labs love to eat and beg for food which is the main reason why the number of overweight Labs is growing every day. An obese puppy is at the higher risk of damaging his bones, so you shouldn’t cave to pleading eyes and other tricks ( Read more about best dog food for weight loss)
- Bloat: Once you teach your Lab to eat smaller meals from a young age, he will have lower chances of developing bloat. This is a serious and life threating condition that causes the stomach to twist capturing all the gases.
There is a variety of different foods available and the thing that will determine what is the best puppy food for labs is the individual needs of your pup. Be aware of the things we listed above in order to find the nutritious and tasty diet that will help your puppy grow.
Top 5 best puppy foods for Labs
Featuring natural ingredients and LifeSource bits, Life Protection large breed puppy food is one of the best foods for lab puppies. Made from premium quality ingredients in order to provide complete and balanced nutrition for a steady growth.
The main ingredient Deboned Chicken is combined with Chicken Meal and Menhaden Fish Meal for a variety of meaty flavors. Together they create a minimum of 28% crude protein for a muscle, organ and tissue growth.
Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, and Peas are wholesome carbohydrates that fill your pup’s stomach and give energy. Combined they create a maximum of 5% crude fiber, that gives healthy nutrients but makes this food not appropriate for pups with grain allergies.
The main source of fat is Chicken Fat, combined with Flaxseed which is the source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Together they create a minimum of 14% crude fat, which is a perfect amount for a developing Lab puppy.
Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Spinach, and Kelp are just some of fresh vitamin and mineral sources included. They are reinforced with supplements, for an optimal organ function and a strong immune system.
This dry puppy food for labs contains DHA to support brain and eye development, and appropriate calcium-phosphorus ratio for strong bones. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will maintain a healthy skin and a glowing coat.
Blue added Dried Chicory root as a natural source of prebiotic fiber for easier digestion. And with a 396 kcal/cup, this is a complete and balanced food made to suit the needs of a still growing Lab.
Your Lab puppy craves premium quality meat sources, and with this food, you can give them. This brand bases their food philosophy on the dog’s ancestral diet and features grain free and novel protein formulas.
The main ingredient is Buffalo, combined with Lamb Meal, Roasted Bison and Venison. Together they create a variety of delicious meaty flavors and a minimum of 28% crude protein. This is the right amount for a healthy growth, tissue and muscle development.
Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Potatoes are grain-free and easily digestible carbohydrates. Combined they make a maximum of 5% crude fiber, that gives the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.
The main source of fat is Canola Oil, combined with Salmon oil that is a natural source of DHA. Together they create a minimum of 17% crude fat, that is at the same time source of energy and serves as skin support.
Tomatoes, Blueberries, and Raspberries are sources of vitamins and antioxidants for a strong immune system and healthy puppy. They are also supplemented in order to make this food suitable for growing large breed pups.
Dried Chicory Root and Yucca extract are added to help with better digestion and nutrient absorption. Furthermore, there is the brain, eye, skin and coat support for a healthy and good looking Lab pup.
This is a grain-free dry food that is a great choice for Lab pups with allergies and sensitive stomachs. And with 364 kcal/cup, a nice choice for normal weight and bone development.
With the inclusion of premium quality ingredients and a variety of different products, Wellness is a great pet brand. CORE is their grain-free line and a good choice for Lab puppies that don’t need necessary calories.
The main ingredient Deboned Chicken is combined with Chicken Meal and Turkey Meal. Together they provide a tasty poultry flavor and a minimum of 36% crude protein for healthy muscles and tissues.
Potatoes and Peas are easily digestible carbohydrates that won’t cause stomach upset or allergies. Combined they create a maximum of 5% crude fiber for a full tummy and right amounts of energy.
The main source of fat is Chicken fat, followed by Salmon Oil and Ground Flaxseed, Combined they create a minimum of 17.5% crude fat, and support good looking skin and coat.
Bananas, Spinach, Apples, Blueberries, and Broccoli are just a few of natural sources of vitamins and minerals that are reinforced with supplements. DHA is present to support healthy brain and good vision.
For well-developed bones and strong teeth, Wellness incorporated 1.5% of calcium and 1.2% of phosphorus. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will provide your pup with a healthy skin and silky coat.
Chicory root extract and Yucca extract are added for a better digestion and optimal nutrient absorption. With 417 kcal/cup, this is a complete and balanced dry food that is a great choice for still growing Labs.
Nature’s Variety is a great brand that combined freeze dried food with kibble and created a premium diet for Lab puppies. This is a complete and healthy food and a middle ground for owners who can’t decide to go completely raw.
The main ingredient Chicken is combined with Turkey Meal, Chicken Eggs, and Herring meal. They make this food taste delicious and create a minimum of 33.5% crude protein. This amount will support a healthy growth, muscle and tissue development.
Peas, Chickpeas, and Tapioca are healthy and easily digestible carbohydrates that provide energy and feeling of fullness. Combined they create a maximum of 4.5% crude fiber, that is easy to digest and suitable for pups with allergies.
The main source of fat is Chicken Fat combined with Ground Flaxseed. Together they create a minimum of 15.5% crude fat, that is the right amount that won’t lead to obesity.
In this dry food, you will also find raw bits made from Freeze dried Chicken, Freeze dried Chicken Liver, and Freeze dried Chicken Hearth. They will make this kibble even more flavorful and a favorite choice for your pup.
All the necessary vitamins and minerals are supplemented for a strong immune system and proper organ function. Salmon oil is a natural source of DHA for a normal brain and vision development.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are present for a good looking skin and glossy coat. And calcium-phosphorus ration is balanced and suited for large breed puppies.
With 495 kcal/cup, this is a calorie dense dry food and you need to make sure that you aren’t overfeeding your puppy. With that being said, this is a great formula that is suitable for daily feeding of Lab puppies.
Orijen is a Canadian pet food brand that uses high-quality regionally sourced ingredients. What sets them apart is that their food is made of 85% meats, 15% vegetables, and 0% grains.
The main ingredient is Deboned Chicken, combined with Deboned Turkey, Yellowtail Flounder, and Whole eggs just to name a few. Combined they create a minimum of 38% crude protein for a steady growth and well-developed muscles.
Whole Green Peas, Whole Navy Beans, and Red Lentils are easy to digest carbohydrates that won’t cause stomach upset. Combined they create a minimum of 6% crude fiber that will provide your Lab pup with all the necessary nutrients.
The main source of fat is Herring Oil, combined with Chicken fat as optimal sources of energy. Together they make a minimum of 16% crude fat, which is a great amount for normal growth.
Pumpkin, Kale, Spinach, Apples, Carrots, and Pears among others are sources of vitamins and minerals that are also supplemented. With 1.1% calcium and 0.9% phosphorus this dry food will support normal bone growth and development.
DHA is also present for a well-developed brain and eyes and Orijen included Glucosamine and Chondroitin as joint and mobility support. These are great for large breed puppies to prevent the development of any bone malformations.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are present to support healthy skin and shiny coat. With 429 kcal/cup this is a complete and balanced premium dry food that contains all the essential nutrients for health and well being of a growing puppy.
Lab puppies will grow up to be funny and affectionate large dogs that need to eat excellent food while they are young. This is because they grow so fast which makes them prone to bone malformations if they don’t get all the right nutrients.
Checking what is the best puppy food for labs in 2018 can help you distinguish good foods from bad. Being a puppy is the most exciting part of your dog’s life and he is counting on you to make the right dietary choices for him.