If you’ve started a new adventure with a little fluffy bundle of joy scampering around, or you’re thinking of doing so, it’s important to get things right from the start. How much should you feed a Labrador puppy?
Labradors are incredible dogs. They are loving and excitable and they absolutely love to play. With a Labrador in your home, you can rest assured that no day will be boring again!
Unfortunately, as much as they love affection and attention, these things are not going to sustain your new puppy and it’s vital that they get the correct amount of food the right number of times per day. If you’ve never had a Labrador before, or indeed if you’ve never even had a dog before, it might be overwhelming to think about all the factors that need to be considered.
But that’s why you’ve found yourself here. Keep reading to find out exactly how to feed your Labrador puppy and how much is too much!
(image of Labrador puppy eating)
Firstly, What Do Labrador Puppies Need Energy For?
We all know that food is fuel for the body and helps us to get everything done that we need to do in a day, as well as keeping us healthy and helping us grow. Labrador puppies are no different in that respect – they also need to grow, do things, and be healthy.
These three things are the key reasons that Labrador puppies (and puppies in general) need energy, and it is food that will give them the majority of this energy.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these energy uses:
Labradors are fairly big dogs. If you’re looking into getting one, you should know that by now. But of course, as puppies they’re much smaller, and will have quite a way to go before they are the size of their parents before them.
Along with sleep and exercise, Labrador puppies need food to fuel their growth. And because they have a lot of growing to do and do so quite quickly, they’ll need quite a bit of food (but more on that later)!
Giving your puppy the correct type of food for their age as well as the correct quantity of food will help them on their mission to get big and strong!
(image of different sized Labradors – puppy to fully grown)
Playing and Exploring
Puppies are curious and fun-loving little beings. Apart from being cuddled and fussed over, all they want to do is play games, chew things, and explore their surroundings. Sniffing and exploring is how puppies learn about the world, so it is vital that they are able to do lots of this, especially in their early years!
You’ll also find that your Labrador puppy loves to play with you, whether that be rolling and jumping around, chasing after you or a ball, or playing tug-of-war, and all of these games will help your puppy bond with you as well as develop important skills.
Playing improves a puppy’s balance and coordination, strength and speed, and cognitive function. The more they play, the more they learn, and the more intelligent and capable they’ll become.
Food is the fuel for all of this, just as it is for growing.
(image of Labrador puppy chewing something)
Unfortunately for Labrador puppies, their health is largely out of their own control. A puppy might instinctually know to chomp on some grass if they’re having tummy troubles but apart from that, their health and care lies mainly at your feet.
Given the choice, a Labrador puppy would likely go for table scraps before eating their own food, and likewise, given the chance, they’d likely gobble up a whole bag of biscuits rather than just the amount they need. In their early years before they’ve learned better, lab puppies are probably best not to be trusted when it comes to their own nutrition!
Giving your puppy the right kind of food as well as the correct volume of food will ensure they are consuming the right kinds and volumes of nutrients to keep them healthy.
(image of happy-looking Labrador puppy)
Another important point to understand under the health factor is weight. Unfortunately, Labradors are quite prone to putting on weight quickly and if left unchecked, this can lead to obesity which is sadly rife amongst the species.
Thinking about and properly controlling how much your Labrador puppy eats will keep them at a healthy weight and save them from other health issues associated with obesity. These issues include liver and heart diseases, joint issues and arthritis, and respiratory and metabolic problems, none of which any puppy deserves.
How Much is Too Much?
So now that we’ve seen why lab puppies require food for fuel and why it’s important that they have the right amount, let’s move onto how much to feed them and how much is too much.
The volume of food you give your puppy will depend on their age as well as their size/weight. Most dog food packages will have a chart on them to tell you the correct amount for each age and size as a guide.
Generally speaking, a puppy of two months weighting between 7 and 8 kilos should be given around 50g of food four times per day. A puppy of three months weighing between 11 and 12 kilos should be given around 80-100g of food three times per day, and a 6-month old puppy weighing between 20 and 27 kilos should be given 175-225g of food twice per day.
Whilst these examples are not the law for every dog and owner, they do give you a rough idea of how much food is appropriate for your Labrador puppy at the different stages of his or her puppyhood.
Of course, there will be factors that might impact how much food your puppy requires – for example, if they’re super active, they might get hungrier faster.
However, use your best judgement and monitor feeding as you go. The last thing you want is to overfeed your puppy because you’re worried it’s hungry and then it ends up overweight.
Unfortunately, Labradors are notoriously greedy when it comes to food, so they need to be watched carefully. Never leave your puppy with enough biscuits to last the whole day, for example, because the likelihood is that they will eat it all in one sitting.
If you’re concerned that your puppy might be putting on too much weight, or alternatively, losing too much weight, then checking in with your vet is always the best option. They’re the experts and will be able to advise you appropriately on what to change.
To read up a bit on what kind of food to feed your lab puppy, check out this link.
If Your Puppy Eats Too Quickly or Doesn’t Want to Eat
As a general rule, Labrador puppies will eat whatever is put in front of them. For that reason, it’s important to have some strategies in place to slow down their gobbling. Some things you can try:
(image of a slow feeder bowl or kong toy)
- Use a slow feeder bowl – there are a lot of dog bowls on the market nowadays with raised patterns in them designed to make it more difficult for your dog to reach the food so quickly. This means they have to slow down whilst eating to make sure they’re getting all the food.
- Try a puzzle toy or kong – these might not be ideal for full meals but if you’re leaving your puppy with some treats while you’re out the house, for example, putting them inside a kong or puzzle toy will stimulate your puppy as well as ensure they can’t eat the treats too fast.
- Feed less, more often – another strategy could be to feed your puppy smaller meals but more frequently. This will ensure they aren’t consuming too much food all at once but are still getting all the food that they need throughout the day.
- Rule out parasites – before assuming your puppy is just being unusually greedy, it might be worth taking them to the vet to make sure they haven’t got any parasites such as worms. Worms can make puppies hungrier as they consume the puppy’s swallowed food before they have the time to digest it properly.
Alternatively, if you find that your puppy is eating more slowly than normal or doesn’t want to eat at all, there could be other issues at play.
It’s normal for puppies to have fluctuating appetites as they move through different growth phases, but it’s not normal for a puppy to stop eating altogether. If you notice your lab puppy refusing food, and this lasts for longer than a day, then make an appointment with your vet as this could be a sign of an underlying health concern that could need medical intervention.
Don’t Worry Too Much, Odds Are You’re Doing Ok
Getting a new puppy can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning. It’s a big responsibility and commitment so it’s easy to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing or that you’re doing everything wrong.
You’re probably doing just fine though, and these fears are just a testament to how much you love your new furry baby. Labradors are sturdy dogs. Even if you make the odd mistake here and there, the odds are they’ll be just fine.
The best way to ensure you’re taking the best possible care of your puppy is to do some research ahead of time and understand what to expect. As we went through above, your Labrador puppy will be curious and energetic, and will have a lot of growing and developing to do, and for this all to take place, they’ll need the right feeding schedule.
Using your own judgement, your vet’s advice, and the instructions laid out on dog food packaging, you should be able to feed your puppy exactly what it needs to realise it’s full potential. And if you notice any anomalies or issues with heir feeding, make sure you address it as soon as possible.
Following this guidance, you and your new puppy will be off to a great start in your long, happy, and healthy life together!
(image of a person hugging a Labrador)