So you have a new, precious little member of the family—-a labrador puppy! This little bundle of joy is now your responsibility to care for, to train, and to develop a relationship with as you model what it means to care for a pet.
When it comes to feeding your labrador puppy, there are many things that must be considered. How old is your puppy? Is he fully weaned? How many teeth does he have, and what kind of diet has he been subjected to thus far?
Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help you determine which way you want to go with care and nutrition for your puppy.
We all want the best for our precious pets. Just what is the best way to feed a Labrador? Most puppies eat a diet including kibble or dry dog food.
However, it is possible to feed your dog a diet of home-cooked dog food or B.A.R.F., a biologically appropriate raw food source.
We’ll look at all of these options in a moment, but there are some things you need to consider as you budget for your pet. For example:
- How much time will you be spending with your puppy?
- What is your food budget for your puppy?
- Do you have time to prepare meals and monitor nutritional needs, or will you need to establish a more independent feeding routine?
Answering these questions will help you determine which nutritional course to embark upon. Remember, the ultimate decision is yours to make, but let’s take a look at what the experts say when feeding labrador puppies.
Experts disagree on the basics of puppy care
Believe it or not, there is a wide variance of opinion as to which diet is best for labrador puppies. For every potential pathway that you could choose, there are staunch supporters of every method as well as those who strongly oppose them.
The greatest amount of controversy exists between those who promote the dry dog food diet and supporters of the raw food method.
The truth of the matter is, there are no consistent reports that any single method is superior to all others; the best course of action is to monitor your own puppy’s health as you strive to meet his unique nutritional needs.
What are the benefits of feeding a dry dog food diet?
No matter where you live, you are most likely able to find ready-made dry dog food of good quality. They store well for long periods of time, provided you don’t get them damp.
Good quality kibble has few fillers, is made largely from grains and protein sources, and will contain all of a growing puppy’s nutritional needs in their daily intake.
When feeding kibble, there is really no need to supplement with anything else other than fresh, clean water. Pick a high-quality kibble from a reputable manufacturer and stick with it for best results.
Here are some of our favorites for labrador puppies
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Natural Puppy Food
Blue Buffalo always features meat and protein sources as its main ingredient, with a focus on antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support bone and muscle growth.
Containing only natural ingredients, this dog food is a comprehensive approach to total health for your precious pet.
2. IAMS Proactive Health Dry Puppy Food
Veterinarian approved IAMS contains 22 essential ingredients including nutrients found in mothers milk to encourage proper growth and development well into their adult years.
With farm-raised chicken being the first ingredient in IAMS nutritious blend, it is a superior choice for both taste and quality.
3. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Puppy Food
This nutritious blend, formulated specifically for labrador puppies, promotes healthy joint function and brain development while providing comprehensive nutritional support for overall growth.
A great choice for skin and coat growth as well, Royal Canin is a blend you can use with confidence well into adulthood.
What are the benefits of feeding home cooked or raw foods for my pet?
Supporters of the raw food way of feeding pets feel that there is simply not enough nutrition derived from the kibble diet.
While there are a host of benefits that come with raw food feeding, it is considered to be the more costly option, and you must do a fair amount of research as to what your pet’s nutritional needs are to ensure that you are meeting all of them during this period of rapid growth.
How much should I feed my labrador puppy?
Following strict guidelines with regard to how much you feed your puppy are essential for proper growth and development.
Overfeeding can cause rapid growth of muscles on bones that aren’t yet fully developed, which can lead to skeletal deformities and other structural complications in adulthood.
Underfeeding your puppy does not allow him to experience vibrant health and growth like he would if he were following a maintenance schedule for feeding.
Recommended guidelines for feeding and growth according to age are found below:
Puppies that are 2 months of age, weighing approximately 15-18 pounds, will need about 7-9 ounces daily, spaced out in 3-4 meals. Provide plenty of fresh clean water with each meal.
Puppies that are 3 months of age, weighing approximately 24-26 pounds, will need about 9-11 ounces daily, spaced out in 3 meals.
Puppies that are 6 months of age, weighing approximately 50-60 pounds, will need about 12-16 ounces daily, spaced out in 2-3 meals. Monitor your puppy to see whether this is adequately meeting his nutritional needs.
How do I know if my puppy is getting what he needs?
There is no better advocate for your pet than you and a qualified veterinarian; talk to your pet care professionals and have an assessment of your pet’s health done at regular intervals to ensure that you are making smart choices with regard to your pet’s health.
Your vet may be able to make recommendations that improve health and quality of life for your pet. You have a lifetime of care, wonderful memories, and lots to look forward to with your little puppy.
Set yourself–and your puppy–up for success by providing the proper tools for optimal health and nutrition.