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What Do Labrador Dogs Eat? How To Feed A Labrador Dog

By
 Ashly 
on 
May 16, 2021

Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog breed in the United States, so it’s no surprise that you might have some questions about their care and nutrition.

At the top of the list for many people is what do Labrador dogs eat? Being the most popular dog breed has also led to their reputation for being healthy, but they still need the right diet to stay fit and strong.

We’re always being asked what the best dog food is for Labradors. This is a complex question as there is no single answer.

Every dog is a little bit different, and there are a variety of great dog food brands out there.

Nevertheless, there are a few general guidelines for Labrador nutrition and a lot of great foods out there to meet these needs. 

In today’s article, we’ve pulled together a list of five fantastic dog foods that are great for the majority of Labradors, and we’ve also put together a comprehensive food buying and feeding guide to help you make informed decisions about how best to feed your Lab.

They say you are what you eat, and this rule extends to dogs as well. If you feed your Labrador the right diet, you will quickly find that you have a happier and healthier pooch on your hands.

Different Types of Dog Food

Here the list of different types of dog food in choosing the best fit for your dog.

1. Dry Dog Food (Kibble)

These are mostly packed in bags. This is the most widely used type of dog food because it is economical, easy to administer and it can last longer compared to other types. It has low moisture content like shaped pellets (kibble), biscuits (mixers), and flaked cereals. Dry foods still have meat contents in them.

2. Canned Dog Food (Wet Foods)

This type of food has high moisture content. You can easily find this in the supermarket but this is considered to be expensive. To prepare this food, it should be cooked at a high temperature to sterile them.

3. Semi-moist Dog Food

Semi-moist dog food is typically considered as a dog food treat. This type of dog food are the least nutritional and should not be considered as a diet food for your puppy. This may come in shaped like burgers, pork chops, or other meaty foods.

4. Raw Dog Food

Raw food may be raw meat with some bones and never cooked or commercially produced raw products like frozen or freeze-dried formats. This is also considered an expensive type of dog food.

5. Homemade Dog Food

Dog owners have complete control over the food intake and diet of their dogs. When prepared right, this type of food is nutritional but time-consuming and expensive.

6. Dehydrated Dog Food

Dehydrated dog foods are a great option for picky Labs (really are there picky labs?). We sometimes feed our dog's Honest Kitchen which is human-grade dog food.

7. Fresh Dog Food

Fresh dog food delivered to your door is all the rage recently. We dipped our toes in the water and subscribed to The Farmer’s Dog's fresh food. Raven loved her food. However, the one major drawback is this stuff is expensive.

Best Overall Dog Food For Labs

(Please take note that this is based on our own research.)

1. Wellness Core Original Formula

this dry food from Wellness Core has an above-average amount of protein making it ideal for Labs.

Unlike many dry foods, it has named meat – deboned turkey – as its first ingredient, and then has its protein levels topped up with turkey and chicken meal. There is also added chicken liver and chicken fat, both of which are great sources of nutrients for active Labradors.

There are lots of fruits and vegetables added to the recipe as natural sources of vitamins and minerals including broccoli, carrots, apples, blueberries, and kale.

The recipe has also been topped up with glucosamine and chondroitin, which protect joints, so it is important for Labs, a dog breed prone to hip dysplasia.

The main drawback with this recipe is that it is high in calories, so you need to be careful how much you give your dog, but it is also expensive, another good reason to watch portion sizes.

Pros:

  • Named meat as first ingredients
  • High in protein
  • No grains
  • Added glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Natural sources of vitamins and minerals

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • High in calories

Overall, most Lab owners will probably agree that this recipe is worth the expense as it contains so much better for your dog.

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe (Dry)

This is another high protein recipe, which also contains a lot of healthy fats, and is made by the experts at Blue Buffalo. Like all of their recipes, it is grain-free to ensure it is highly digestible for your pooch.

It starts with named meat, deboned chicken, as the first ingredient, and then has its protein levels boosted with chicken meal and fish meal, which is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. There is also added chicken fat and dried egg product, though we aren’t a huge fan of the latter as some dogs are allergic to eggs.

It has high protein levels, low carbs, and contains no soy, corn, wheat, or grains; these are ingredients considered of little to no nutritional value and an allergen to some dogs, so, ideally, this recipe contains none of this.

The kibble is laced with Blue Buffalo’s patented LifeSource Bits, which are a special blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that pups need to thrive, though it is also packed with real fruits and veggies as natural sources of these important nutrients.

We also like that it contains L-Carnitine, which can boost your Labs metabolism and give them an energy boost. This can be great for older Labs that are starting to slow down a little.

This is another high-calorie recipe that needs to be fed to your dog in moderation, but it’s a bit lighter on the wallet than our top choice.

Pros:

  • Named meat as the first ingredient
  • High in protein
  • Grain-free
  • LifeSource Bits nutrient packs

Cons:

  • Contains eggs
  • High in calories

Overall, this is a top-quality recipe from Blue Buffalo, and they’ve thought about everything that active dogs like Labradors need to thrive, even as they age.

3. Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Formula

This recipe from Taste of the Wild is ideal if you want to mix up your dog’s diet and give them some novel proteins. It contains buffalo as its first ingredient, and then it has its protein levels topped up with lamb meal, chicken meal, chicken fat roasted bison, roasted venison, and beef.

While this adds a lot of great variation to your dog’s diet and results in a recipe high in protein and also full of healthy fats, it won’t help if you are trying to avoid giving your dog chicken to avoid them picking up an allergy. We think one of the few things that could have made the recipe better would have been to skip the chicken.

This great recipe is a grain-free formula and contains lots of added vitamins and antioxidants to ensure your pup’s health. A proprietary K9 strain probiotic blend to support digestive health is also included.

Despite how much goodness there is in this recipe, it is calorie efficient and relatively affordable, making it a great choice for both your dog and your wallet.

Pros:

  • Novel proteins
  • Named meat as the first ingredient
  • High in protein and healthy fats
  • K9 probiotic blend
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Contains chicken
  • High in fat

Add some variation to your dog’s diet with this affordable novel protein food from Taste of the Wild.

4. Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care

If your Labrador suffers from allergies, this allergy care recipe from Brothers Complete may be the answer you are looking for.

The recipe uses limited ingredients that are carefully sourced to ensure there are no nasties to set off your dog’s allergies.

It starts with a turkey meal, whole eggs, chicken fat, and chicken liver, which results in a high protein recipe that is also rich in healthy fats. We would have liked to see named meat as the first ingredient, but the resulting recipe still works.

The recipe is topped up with low-glycemic carbs made from cassava roots, which means they are low allergen and represent a low risk for diabetes.

There are added digestive enzymes to help break down food and improve nutrient absorption. This also boosts immunity and reduces the risk of allergies.

While many Lab parents will find this a lifeline for pups struggling with allergies, the recipe is expensive.

Pros:

  • High in protein and healthy fats
  • Low-glycemic carbohydrates
  • Added digestive enzymes
  • Low allergen recipe

Cons:

  • Meal meat as the first ingredient
  • Expensive

There are three varieties of this great food available for Labs that struggle with allergies.

5.Diamond Naturals Adult Beef and Rice Formula

If you are looking for a budget food that is still great for your Labrador, Diamond Naturals might be the choice for you.

Despite the very affordable price tag, it still starts with named meat, chicken, as its first ingredient and is topped up with a chicken meal and chicken fat. The resulting recipe is high in protein, but nowhere near as high in protein (23%) as the other recipes on this list (above 30 percent). It does, however, mean the recipe is lower in calories.

The recipe is full of added vitamins and antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The recipe contains guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to protect the joints of both active and older Labs.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Named meat as the first ingredient
  • Low in calories
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin

Cons:

  • Lower in protein than other recipes
  • Not grain-free

This is a budget-friendly recipe that offers great nutrition for your dog if you can’t invest in a premium line.

Why Not Wet Food?

You might have noticed all of our recommended foods are dry kibbles rather than wet foods. This was a deliberate choice.

It is much simpler to find a wet food that is good for your dog, as they are much more likely to be high in protein and contain named meats as their primary ingredients. These make a great addition to a dry food diet. When choosing a wet food, look out for:

  • A specified meat source as the first ingredient and the absence or limited use of meal meat. Animal by-products should never be present
  • Added sources of fat and organ meat; again, always from a named source
  • Grain-free or whole grains
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

But wet food should form a limited portion of your dog’s diet as it is very high in calories.

Wet food can complement dry food. Dry food also tends to contain nutrient packs full of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need to thrive.

Feeding your dog a healthy diet that is ideal for their metabolism and activity levels can make a huge difference to their health and quality of life. 
For Labradors, a healthy diet isn’t difficult. It means feeding them food that is high in good-quality protein, rich in healthy fats, and which doesn’t have any nasties added that might upset your dog’s stomach.

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Ashly

Hey yaa! Im Ashly and I love pets. Growing up in a house with 2 dogs, a cat, a parrot and many furry rodents; it was natural for me to have a profound affection for them. I created GenerallyPets.com to create useful guides and articles on looking after your furry friends. The advice given on this site is our views and expertise, please consult a VET prior to testing anything. Hope my site helps you :)

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