Best Practices for Feeding Your Labrador Retriever
Feeding your Labrador Retriever a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do to help them thrive. With that said, here are a few things to look out for when choosing dog food and the best feeding practices for your Labrador Retriever.
What type of food should I include in my Lab’s diet?
There are many types of dog food out there. Most Lab owners—and dog owners in general—opt to feed their dog dry kibble. It’s convenient, affordable, and easy to store. If the right quality of dry kibble is bought, dry kibble has everything to keep your Lab’s diet balanced. Other options included homemade raw-meat diets or complete wet food. You don’t have to stick to a strictly raw or kibble diet. Labs will do well with supplementing dog kibble with a bit of raw meat or vegetables.
Although these food types are viable options, they tend to be more expensive and have more prep work. However, it’s up to you to decide what kind of food you will feed your pet and what fits your schedule best.
Regardless of food type, it’s essential to make sure your Lab’s diet is well balanced. A balanced diet means that they receive the right amount of nutrients—too much or too little can both be detrimental to your Lab’s health. Keep this in mind when supplementing dry kibble, for example.
Ideally, you want to feed your Lab a diet high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Look for dog food that contains at least 21-30% protein, 10-25% healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. No-grain diets aren’t ideal as starch helps satiate your pet. As with everything, balance is vital.
Also, remember to be mindful when feeding your Lab human food. Ultimately, giving your dog human food is up to you, but it is not recommended to give your puppy human food due to training reasons. Additionally, remember that some human foods are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Foods like onions, grapes, and xylitol are all poisonous to dogs.
How much food should I give my Labrador Retriever?
The quantity of food you need to give your Lab all depends on age, size, and type of food. Each food product will have a nutritional label that will help determine how much of that food your Lab needs. Keep in mind that the amount of food your Lab needs is different when they are growing from puppyhood to adulthood. It’s recommended to switch your pup to adult dog food when they reach their full height.
Be mindful to pay attention to your Lab’s body size as that will be a good indicator of how they respond to the amount of food. If the label recommends a certain amount, but you see that your Lab is gaining or losing too much weight, don’t be afraid to adjust the amount of food you give them. Unfortunately, food labels can provide recommendations on how much to feed your Lab based on age and size, but this is an estimate. Many factors weigh in in the best feeding practices for Labrador Retrievers,such as the amount of exercise your Lab is getting.
What are the best feeding practices for a Labrador Retriever?
The feeding practices you incorporate into your pup’s life are crucial to set them up for success. Keep in mind that each dog is different, and some things that work well for one Lab may not work for another. You’ll have to adjust these recommendations to what works best for both you and your Lab.
There are two main types of methods of feeding your dog. One is to leave the food out in a bowl for your dog to graze on during the day. Grazing works well for picky or slow eaters. The other method is to feed your pet once or twice a day and remove the bowl after 10 minutes. This second method works exceptionally well for Labs. Labs are enthusiastic eaters and are prone to overeating or scarfing down their food too quickly. For Labs, it’s best to feed them twice a day. These smaller portions help keep them satiated throughout the day and prevent bloating. Another great tool to utilize for Labs is a slow feeder bowl.
Puppies also need to have their meals split up throughout the day. A puppy that is between 2-4 months old should have fourmeals a day. A 4-6-month-old pup should have three meals a day, and a 6-12-month-old can be given 2. Remember to keep these meals at least three hours apart and at least two to three hours before bedtime to avoid accidents.
One final practice to remember is to always keep a fresh bowl of water out for your Lab.
Labrador Training HQ, “Feeding Your Labrador Puppy: What, How Much, How Often?”
Snowy Pines White Labs, “A Guide to Feeding Your Labrador Puppy.”
The Labrador Site, “Labrador Food And How To Feed a Labrador – A Complete Guide.”
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