Labrador diets are not easy to maintain. We all know that. What you need to know regarding the Labrador diet is how often should you feed a Labrador. The diet of a Labrador dog is based on the kind of food that the dog will consume.
The most important thing that you have to consider in feeding your Lab is that the dog is consuming enough proteins and calories. Labrador dogs can easily gain weight so it is important to control their diet.
Some people are strict when it comes to feeding their dogs. Some people also do not know how to feed their dogs. Your Labrador dog may have different feeding habits. It is important to know how often you should feed a labrador.
Principles Of Dog Nutrition
The animal nutrition principles for feeding dogs are evolving. An example of how far we've come is what vets called "All Meat Dogs" 30 years ago.
These pathetically sick and dying dogs arrived in clinics in the United States, lean, weak, with hair loss and metabolic disorders as a direct result of consuming a nationally advertised "All Meat" canine dog food.
Since dogs were carnivores (technically they are omnivores), "all meat" diets must be best for them! We now know that dogs cannot survive if fed 100% meat for an extended period of time.
Since then, the knowledge of pet food manufacturers has changed and they are now making some properly formulated foods.
We've all learned a lot more about how to put together the right combination of ingredients in the right proportions to create a nutritious diet.
Unfortunately for the pet food buyer, and worse for the dog, there are several brands of food in the United States that, despite what the label says, DO NOT make a good source of food for your dog.
Some are really harmful! Nary Practice I have often been concerned about the poor state I see some of my canine patients in due to poor quality diets that the owner honestly deems appropriate.
In good faith, the dog owner believes that since the dog food label proclaims "Complete and Balanced," "Premium," "High Protein", etc., if that is all that is given, the dog owner will automatically do it great. Ambiguous or misleading labeling of dog food, the owner will unwittingly incorrectly feed it, and it may take decades for the FDA to enforce stricter guidelines for dog food manufacturers on labeling practices.
Misleading, ambiguous and sometimes wrong, no longer confuse or mislead the buyer. For example, you could make a "high protein" dog food, where the protein is made up of an indigestible substance such as feathers, fur, or hooves.
Sure, the protein level per test could be high (and even the experts disagree on what amount qualifies as a "high" protein level in a food), but if the dog's gastrointestinal tract doesn't break the protein molecules down into amino acids and then can absorb and using these amino acids the diet is useless as a food source for the dog! So "high in protein" on the label means absolutely nothing; You need to read the ingredient label to determine if the protein source is digestible.
How to feed your adult Labrador
Many dog owners continue to feed their dogs twice a day throughout their lives. Some people feed their dogs once a day after twelve months of age.
How much to feed a Lab puppy will be different. We have a section on this next, so keep reading.
We do know that there is an association between bloat and large meals. Though this may only apply to kibble
Once-daily feeding is probably fine if you decide to feed raw meat.
But with kibble, it may be too much dry food in one go.
I recommend that you feed your adult dog morning and evening.
How to feed Labrador puppies
The amount of food that your Labrador puppy needs to eat each day must be divided into several portions.
If you try and give him the whole day’s ration in one go, he will probably give it his best shot. But it will almost certainly give him diarrhea and could damage his stomach as kibble swells after drinking.
From eight to twelve weeks your puppy will benefit from four meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, tea and supper.
Space the meals at least three hours apart to give him chance to digest them properly.
And make sure the last meal is two to three hours before his last trip to the toilet at bedtime.
Once your puppy gets to three months old you can divide his daily ratio into three portions, and by six months to two. Breakfast and supper.
How much food can a Labrador take?
Recommended quantities can be found on kibble packaging and these will vary quite widely from brand to brand.
They are also often on the high side.
If your dog is a little overweight, feed about a third less than recommended for a few days and then re-assess his appearance.
Your dog may well need less food than you think. If you have concerns about your dog’s weight check out our article Fat Labrador for weight loss and feeding information
Diet to maintain optimum weight
Your goal in feeding appropriate amounts of food to your Lab is to achieve a healthy balance in satisfying her hunger while maintaining an optimum weight.
Unfortunately, Labrador retrievers are drawn to food, like moths are too light, you might say. Fondly known as "bottomless pits" by Lab aficionados, it seems they can't eat enough, and they're not particularly fussy about what it is they consume!
With Labs, you must maintain a constant vigil on their caloric intake and try not to let that sweet face and those pleading eyes break down your resistance when it comes to treats and table scraps. Of course, feeding a diet consisting of high-quality animal protein, complex carbohydrates, and the proper fat ratio is paramount.
Seek advice from your veterinarian, breeder, or from tons of online resources such as the AKC and the websites of some of the most popular commercial brands of dog food for nutrient and feeding guidelines.
How Many Minutes should a dog take to eat his dinner?
Some people leave food down for their dogs to ‘graze’ on.
I prefer my dogs to eat their meals up fairly quickly. Some dogs are more likely to be ‘picky’ if they know they can come back to their dinner later on.
So I recommend you take up your dog’s bowl after ten minutes if he hasn’t finished what is in there.
He won’t come to any harm if he hasn’t devoured the lot. Plus, he will eat more enthusiastically at the next meal if he is a little hungry.
How to make your Labrador eat slowly?
A much more common problem in Labradors is the dog that scoffs his dinner in a heartbeat and then begs for more with pleading eyes.
There is an association between bloat and rapid eating, so if you can slow down your dog a little, it is probably a good thing.
The best way to do that is by using a slow feed bowl.
Feeding scraps and leftovers
Many people will add household scraps to their dog’s dinner bowl. In theory, there is a risk that this will ‘unbalance’ his diet.
In practice, most adult dogs will come to no harm if they occasionally get some ‘extras’ in their bowl. Provided there is nothing in there which is unsuitable.
Make sure that your leftovers don’t contain sugar, onions, cooked bones, or any common human foods that are toxic to dogs.
And to keep the diet balanced, unless they are mainly meat, try to make sure that leftovers don’t comprise more than 10% of your dog’s dinner.
Why Shouldn't we give leftovers to puppies
Puppies need a very well-balanced diet to grow up strong and healthy.
Unless you are a very experienced dog owner and knowledgeable about nutrition and the dietary needs of a growing animal, it is not a good idea to feed your puppy on household scraps.
We’ve already seen how much to feed a Lab puppy.
And complete puppy foods contain all the nutrients your pup needs to develop a healthy body.
Equipment and storage for dog feeding
There is a huge choice of feeding bowls available. You’ll probably want to make sure the bowls you choose are dishwasher safe and not easily breakable.
You can get some very cheap and colorful plastic bowls. But they tend to scratch easily and look a bit ‘sad’ when they’ve been through the dishwasher a few times.
I like stainless steel. But I admit it is quite noisy to handle and use. And not as pretty as some of the ceramic products.
Think carefully before you buy raised bowls as some studies have associated these with bloat.
Feeding your Labrador puppies
When you first bring your puppy home, your breeder should have provided you with a diet sheet, some food, and plenty of information on feeding Labrador puppies.
It is really important to stick with his familiar food for the first few days. Moving home is traumatic enough for an eight-week-old pup without giving his tummy a shock too.
If you have not been given any food or any information on how to feed a puppy then I suggest you call into your local pet store and buy a small sack of (kibble) puppy food that is appropriate for his breed and age.
Read the information on the sack carefully, as there are lots of different versions of each ‘brand’ and only one version is the right one for your puppy.
The Do`s and Dont`s of Dog Food
Having a dog can improve your quality of life. Having a dog as your best friend can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and feelings of loneliness.
Owning a dog can also improve your opportunities for exercise and socialization.
Because of these health benefits, there are safety benefits dogs can bring to you and your home based on their loyalty, intelligence, good hearing, and sense of smell. Did you know that dogs can detect cancer in humans? Your pet can help you get treatment.
Dogs have long been helpful to the disabled, prosecuting criminals, rescuing disaster victims, delivering messages, foraging for food, and herding animals.
Some races are better than others at helping people. For example, golden retrievers are best for therapy, while border collies are best for herding.
But for you to continue enjoying the health benefits and companionship of your pet dog, you should prioritize pet nutrition. The food you provide your pet can significantly affect your pet’s health. Giving your dog adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals will ensure that they will live healthily for the longest time possible.
To easily determine what you should and should not feed your dog, note these do’s and don’ts when it comes to dog food:
Vegetables are healthy for humans but are you aware that this is also true for your pet dog? Dogs can highly benefit from vegetables because these are great sources of carbohydrates that can give them energy as well as fibers and minerals that can improve their overall bodily functions.
With some exceptions, you can add cooked or raw vegetables to your dog’s kibble bowl or give these as treats. Here are some of the best vegetables for dogs:
If you have been feeding your dog the same foods for years, incorporate steamed asparagus into their diets. This vegetable is packed with vitamins and minerals and can add more flavor and texture to any of your dog’s meals.
Adding broccoli to your dog’s diet is always a must as this vegetable can boost your dog’s immune system, fight arthritis inflammation, and ward off cancer. However, when feeding your dog broccoli, make sure it’s no more than 5% of your dog’s diet. More than that can upset your dog’s digestive system and cause major gas issues.
Your dog’s mouth can become a breeding ground of germs and bacteria when not cleaned properly. Aside from regularly brushing your dog’s teeth, giving them crunchy carrots can help clean teeth and ease canine anxiety. Antioxidants in carrots can improve your dog’s eyesight and immune system.
- Green beans
An obese dog can have serious health risks. Excessive weight gain can lead to high blood pressure and heart diseases in dogs. To avoid these, replace about 5% of your dog’s diet with green beans, which are high in fiber and can help regulate your dog’s bowel movement and digestion.
Regardless of how much you love your dog, remember that you can’t share all of your food with your pet. Foods that are safe and healthy for humans aren’t always beneficial to dogs. In fact, some human foods are toxic to dogs. Yes, dogs can die from some types of human food.
If you don’t want to put your dog’s health in danger, make sure that you don’t feed the following foods to them as these are considered toxic:
- Chocolate, coffee, and anything else with caffeine
Eating chocolates and drinking your favorite cup of coffee might be a treat for busy adults but these should not be given to dogs. Chocolates, coffee, and any food that contains caffeine are poison to dogs. Even icing made from these ingredients can cause severe nervous system damage in your dog.
Never feed your dog mushrooms. Mushrooms can be poisonous and can cause sedation, seizures, and tremors in dogs. Having said that, some experts say that some mushrooms are safe for consumption by dogs. Still, if you’re not sure, play it safe, and no, don’t, never, provide mushrooms as dog food.
- Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic are dangerous to dogs. These can cause severe liver damage and even death. Always check the food that you give to your dog for any amount of onions or garlic in any form, raw or cooked, or even in powder form.
Any type of nuts should not be given to your dogs as this can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. Over time, this can lead to dehydration and death among dogs. The side effects of nuts when taken by dogs aren’t always visible, so make sure to keep your nuts away from your canine friend. While some veterinarians approve of peanuts, almonds, and cashew nuts, always ask a licensed professional.
Ask a professional before Serving a Dog Food
With the increasing variety of dog food choices and pet diets available for sale today, choosing one for your dog can be very challenging.
Should you follow your friends’ advice? Or should you settle for an organic diet that is widely advertised in the market today?
What will be your basis for choosing? Play it safe and ensure that you’re not putting your dog’s health at risk. Get professional advice from your vet before giving any dog food to your pets.
Your vet’s advice regarding your pet’s dog food can help you choose pet food that suits your dog’s nutritional requirements.
This is especially important if you are feeding puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with medical conditions.
Be careful, the wrong dog food can create health issues or aggravate existing medical conditions.
Don't give too many treats
Giving treats is essential when you have a dog. The treats you regularly give them serve as incentives or rewards for your dog. This can motivate your dogs to follow your orders and learn new tricks. However, although beneficial, it’s also important to know where to draw the line. Since dog treats usually contain high levels of sugar, feeding excessive amounts of treats to your dogs can put them at risk for weight gain or obesity. Over time, this can also cause lethargy or even diabetes.
Most pet owners understand how dangerous it is to give excessive amounts of dog treats, but they would usually give in whenever their furry friends put on those “puppy eyes.” If you don’t want to experience this kind of situation and ensure that your dog only receives enough treats, consider these tips:
- Give treats consistently as you’re training your dog for the first time
Training your dog is beneficial for a lot of reasons.
This can benefit the owner and the dog because training regularly can strengthen their relationship.
Training regularly can also help your dog become more sociable and smart. Training serves as mental exercises for your dogs to keep their cognitive functions sharp.
To ensure that your dog remains excited to train with you, give treats consistently when you’re training with them for the first time.
Whenever you teach them a command or trick, always give them treats whenever they follow through.This can help reinforce positive behavior and motivate them to continue following your orders.
- Consider using clickers along with the treat
If you want your training sessions with your dog to be more effective, invest in a clicker.
This is a great reinforcing tool that can ingrain positive behavior in your dog.
A clicker is cheap, easy to use, and produces great results in a short period of time.
When using a clicker, make sure to “click” it the moment your dog exhibits the behavior you command them.
If you instructed them to do a “high five” using their paws, use the clicker when they touch your hands using their paws and then immediately give the treat to them.
- Give praises whenever you hand out treats to your dog
Dogs can be considered social creatures because they love affection and appreciation.
In fact, your dog understands your words and your body language towards them. This is one of the reasons why you should praise your dog whenever you hand out your treats to them.
Speaking kind words, petting their heads, and praising their actions are great rewards for your dog.
Along with the treats you give them, your praise will serve as a powerful tool for your dog to always listen to your commands.
Remember: positive reinforcement does not always mean treats.
- Reward randomly
As your dog learns tricks, begin to reward them randomly.
If you’re confident that your dog already obeys your every command, reward them once in a while and not always.
Instead of giving a treat whenever they follow your command, pet them or praise them verbally.
These options are great ways to reward your dog’s positive behaviors without putting their health at risk from too many treats
Feed your dog with Fish
Contrary to popular belief, adding fish to your dog’s diet can be very beneficial to their overall health and wellness. Some of the safest and healthiest fish you can give to your dog are ocean whitefish, herring, flounder, walleye, Lake Whitefish, and salmon pike. Depending on the age of your dog, you can bake, grill or steam fish before adding it to their food bowl.
However, when preparing fish, avoid using too much seasoning such as salt and pepper. You can use greasing agents such as oil and butter but only in extremely limited amounts. The blander the fish is, the better it’ll be for your dog’s health. Don’t forget: seasonings and greasing agents can irritate your dog’s kidney and can cause health problems in the long run.
With some exceptions, fish is considered a good addition to your pet dog’s diet. Don’t forget to remove bones from fish before feeding it to your dog. If possible, consider adding boneless fish to your dog’s diet. Fish is vital for dog nutrition as it contains Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin A.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your dog’s health, particularly during their early years when they are still puppies.
This nutrient can properly support the brain development of puppies. It can also help dogs with arthritis by reducing inflammation of the joints.
At the same time, Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your dog’s susceptibility to cancer, boost their immune system, and improve their heart and kidney health. This nutrient is very important for sickly or senior dogs.
If you’re looking for a natural remedy against your dog’s anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity, add more fish to their diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids can encourage natural balance in your dog’s body and help maintain their mental health, too.
Protein is one of the important building blocks of your dog’s body.
This nutrient helps your dog’s body to function properly and improve its skin and hair health.
Having normal levels of protein in the body can also ensure that your dog’s muscles develop properly, and their tissues are repaired fast.
Protein is also responsible for producing and regulating antibodies, enzymes, and hormones in your dog’s body.
- Vitamin A
Your dog naturally stores the vitamin A in their bodies and then only consumes it whenever needed.
This is an essential vitamin that is responsible for a lot of your dog’s bodily functions.
You should add fish to your dog’s food to increase the supply of vitamin A.
This vitamin is responsible for your dog’s healthy coat and skin, It conditions their fur and improves their physical growth.
Vitamin A can also help manage common health problems among dogs such as night blindness and difficulty breeding with other dogs.
Strange to say, but I think we dog lovers will return in the future to properly feed our dog friends.
The return to nature by feeding meat feeds and including so-called "table debris" in dog diets is certainly an upgrade over some of the cheap, grain-based pet foods available today.
Raw foods, frozen meats, and homemade diets are here today and will be even more popular in the future as dog owners will see the great results these more natural diets get.
This does NOT mean that commercial canned and dry food is either good for cats and dogs. I have personally examined 20-year-old cats and dogs that have never been fed table litter, only brand-name dry or canned food. There will always be a well-deserved location for commercial dry and canned pet food.
I just hope the high-quality ones are used the most.
Use common sense. Read the labels. If you do those two things, you will certainly avoid the cheap, plant-based dog foods with the fancy labels that try to make you think you're getting a good deal.
Remember your dog's health, more than any other single aspect, depends upon optimum nutrition.