Breed-Appropriate Nutrition for Labrador Retrievers This article is verified by a vet

Written by Amelie Krause, Tierärztin
Hungry labrador retriever is feeding at home.

Hungry labrador retriever is feeding at home.

Giving a Labrador Retriever the right nutrition wouldn't be an issue at all if the Labrador were left to decide – the most important thing is there being a large quantity of food. This is one of the breeds that isn't exactly choosy regarding its diet. What's more, it's very difficult for us humans to resist its loyal and hungry-looking puppy dog eyes. These circumstances make it even harder not to overfeed a Labrador.

The Labrador Retriever was originally deployed as a retrieval dog during hunts. It is now classed as an ideal family dog due to its good-natured, friendly character and how it enjoys being in close proximity to humans. A Labrador's diet should be based on its activity level.

Healthy diet for strong bones

Since Labradors grow to be large, it's important that puppies aren't fed too energy-rich food so that they don't grow too quickly. The consequences of an energy oversupply are a heavier weight than foreseen and the development of unstable bones. As a result, they will not be able to withstand the traction of the muscles and the pressure caused by an increase in weight, which can lead to misaligned limbs. Despite this, Labrador puppies need a significant quantity of nutrients for optimal growth, because they reach a weight of 35kg in a relatively short time.

In order for Labrador puppies to get off to the best possible start in life, you should make sure to provide appropriate and balanced proportions of calories, minerals, trace elements and vitamins.

Feeding recommendations on puppy food are oriented towards the puppy's current weight and the predicated weight of the dog as an adult. Here you can use the weight of the parent animals of the same sex as a guideline. In addition, the quantity of food is also adapted to the puppy's activity level.

What food can I give my Labrador puppy?

Happy Dog Supreme Young Maxi Phase 1 and 2 is recommended for Labrador puppies, for instance, since it tackles the dog's different growth phases with different compositions.

Advantages of Happy Dog Supreme Young Maxi Phase 1 and 2

  • The shape and size of the biscuits is adapted to the size of the snout.
  • The nutrient content is oriented to the particular growth phase.
  • Features salmon and poultry as high-quality protein sources.
  • Joints supported with chondroitin and glucosamine from New Zealand green-lipped mussels.
  • Contains fibres that have a probiotic function and thereby support digestion.

Outgrowing infancy – feeding an adult Labrador

Once the Labrador is fully grown, the diet should be switched to a food for adult dogs. For very active dogs, it's no problem for the food to contain a few more carbohydrates in order to gain energy. In contrast, you should make sure with more tranquil dogs that the proportion of carbohydrates is moderate in order to prevent obesity. Likewise, the fat content should lie somewhere in the middle. Of course, not just the activity level and type of food are decisive for weight, but the quantity of food too. Treats and rewards should be taken into consideration too. It's best to subtract the quantity of treats from the daily calorie allowance. Labrador Retrievers face joint problems more frequently, therefore types of food containing joint-supporting components such as green lip mussels are particularly suitable. In addition, fibres like carrots or apple pomace in the food benefit the intestinal flora.

It's a matter of taste whether you choose a suitable dry or wet food or to combine the two.

Advantages of wet food

  • The dog consumes fluids along with the food, since wet foods have a moisture content of approx. 70%.
  • It's generally tastier than dry food.
  • The quantity of food is greater due to the moisture content, which can be beneficial for Labradors.
  • It has lower energy content than dry food, which can be of advantage for dogs that tend to gain excess weight.
  • It can be kept for a long time without preservatives when heated up.

Advantages of dry food

  • It is generally cheaper than wet food.
  • Easy to portion and store, also suitable for travelling and on the road.
  • Good energy supply for active dogs.
  • Large biscuits can curb the risk of bolting down food.
  • Smaller amount of packaging than with wet food.
  • Generally already contains ingredients for the joints and other nutrients that can be beneficial for health.

Recommended wet foods for Labradors:

Zooplus Selection Adult

  • Available in different varieties and sizes.
  • Varieties for both active and tranquil dogs.
  • For sensitive dogs too.
  • High-quality ingredients with a high meat content.
  • Contains fibres like carrots or oats for digestion.
  • With Omega 3 fatty acids to support the skin and joints.

Feeding recommendations for an adult Labrador with a normal activity level

Variety of food Feeding recommendation in g for a weight of 27kg
Zooplus Selection Adult approx. 940g

Recommended dry foods for Labradors:

Optimanova Adult Sensitive Salmon & Potato

  • Features salmon as a high-quality source of protein, mono-protein.
  • Probiotics FOS and MOS can have a positive impact on digestion.
  • Supports the skin with zinc, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Also suitable for sensitive dogs that tend to suffer from diarrhoea.
  • Balanced nutrient content.

Feeding recommendations for an adult Labrador with a normal activity level:

Variety of food Feeding recommendation in g for a weight of 27kg
Optimanova Adult Sensitive Salmon & Potato approx. 295g

The golden period in a dog's life

The physical changes linked to age necessitate other demands in terms of the diet of a senior dog. Energy requirements fall due to reduced activity. Hence, you should reduce the energy intake in the food so that your senior dog doesn't gain weight. Since the senses of smell and taste decrease with some older dogs, a particularly tasty food can be advantageous.

Recommended food for senior dogs:

Black Angus Senior

  • Highly digestible protein sources with duck and Angus beef, which also taste good.
  • High proportion of important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which contribute to maintaining cell walls.
  • Features ginger and grape seed extract to support the immune system.
  • Herbs, berries, roots and seeds added to bolster the organ function.

Feeding recommendation for a senior Labrador:

Variety of food Feeding recommendation in g for a weight of 27kg
Black Angus Senior approx. 345g

By choosing a suitable food from the outset, you provide an important building block for your Labrador to live a long and happy life.

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