Labradors unquestionably are one of the most well-rounded and popular dogs worldwide. They are huge yet gentle and loving. However, due to Labrador’s personality and size, pet owners often confuse about how much food their dog needs.
The right kind, quantity, and proportion of food decide a dog’s mental and physical development. However, ensuring that your dog has a healthy and nutritious diet can sometimes become overwhelming.
Feeding them too little can deprive the Labrador of essential nutritional needs. Though, going overboard with the food quantity and nutrition can make the dog obsessed and develop a range of physical fitness concerns. While deciding your dog’s diet, there is so much to consider. Well, with all that said, let’s get straight into what, when, and how often should a Labrador dog eat.
What Do Most Labrador Owners Feed Their Dogs?
Labrador owners swear by good quality Kibbles more than any other food for their dogs. Kibble is ready-made pet food that contains various canine dietary necessities, including meat, grains, and vegetables.
It is one popular choice for many Labrador owners since it provides all nutrients which are essential for a healthy leading life. Kibbles are dried biscuit-like pellets that are convenient to purchase, store and feed.
Some Labrador owners also feed home-cooked human food to their dogs. However, this is one majorly sceptical question and concern ‘Does home-cooked human food goes safe for all dogs’? Well, if the food is organic, fresh from the farm, without any preservatives, and prepared, keeping dog allergies in mind, you can offer it you your dogs.
Feeding Labrador Puppy: What, How Much, How Often?
What to feed your Labrador Puppy may not be the easiest decision of all times. Considering their age and unknown food allergies, Labrador owners may have to be very cautious about what they are feeding their little canines. Therefore, you must follow a feeding guide for new Lab puppies.
What Should a Labrador Puppy Eat?
When it comes to choosing what your dog can eat, there are two major choices on the table: Home-cooked food or commercially packed food. With a bewildering choice of different puppy foods available, both options have their benefits and drawbacks.
Some fine food options that you can feed your Labrador puppy:
- Fresh Human Grade Food
- Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF)
- Fresh Home Cooked Food
Home-cooked diet, though, keeps a dog healthy, but it takes a lot of effort, research, and ideas. Preparing a fresh meal from scratch for yourself isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. It isn’t always about a few choice cuts of meat, but your Labrador needs more than that to remain fit and healthy. For a nutrition-packed home-cooked meal, it is better to take advice from a certified Veterinarian. Considering your dog’s health, weight, age, and other conditions, he will recommend better food choices.
However, if you are inclined to feed your dog a high-quality, commercially prepared formula/ food, there’s nothing better than that. Commercial dog foods are always more nutritional and have fewer time-taking choices.
How Much and How Often Should a Labrador Puppy Eat?
As per experts, there’s a general rule on how much and how often should a Labrador puppy eat.
Like any other pet dog breed, Labradors also begin to feed at the age of two weeks. It is when they likely start weaning.
For up to 4 weeks or sometimes 30 days, Labra puppies feed on their mother’s milk. However, in cases where a mother’s milk isn’t sufficient, one can also incorporate puppy formula milk.
Next, when your Labrador is 5 to 6 ½ weeks old, start feeding them soft dog food. However, do not wean them and continue both dietary sources.
Once the puppy turns 1 ½ to 2 ½ months, offer him 2 to 3 cups of food 3 to 4 times a day. It is when you can wean off the puppy from his mother’s milk, though not forcefully. Within 2 to 3 weeks of added growth, feed the dog 2 to 3 times a day.
For more precise details, here is a Lab feeding chart
|Labrador’s Age||Amount of Food (Oz.)||Meals (Per Day)|
|2 to 4 weeks (Mother’s Milk)||Allow the dog to drink as much as he can. However, ensure that the puppy isn’t deprived of the mother’s milk.||No specific schedule |
for several meals.
|4 Weeks to 2 Months||7.5 to 8.4 oz.||3 to 4 meals|
|3 Months to 4 Months||9.2 to 11 oz.||3 to 4 meals|
|5 Months to 6 Months||11.5 to 15.8 oz.||2 to 3 meals|
|7 Months to 8 Months||10.6 to 14.9 oz.||2 to 3 meals|
|9 Months to 10 Months||10.1 to 14.6 oz.||2 to 3 meals|
|10 Months to 12 Months||10.5-14.2 oz.||2 to 3 meals|
A healthy dietary balance is essential for satisfying your dog’s hunger and maintaining an optimum weight simultaneously.
Feeding Labrador Adult: What, How Much, How Often?
Though there is no gold standard for how much to feed your dog. The correct dietary intake may depend upon factors including calorie requirement, age, physical activity, and health conditions.
What Should a Labrador Adult Eat?
Adult Labradors have different dietary needs than puppies. Their daily diet must consist of 30% complex carbohydrates, 20% fruit and vegetables, and 50% animal protein approximately.
An Adult Labrador can eat commercial food as well as home-cooked meals. However, the most important thing is the transition from puppy food to adult food must not be done in a hassle. Once Labrador turns a year old, you can introduce adult dog food gradually.
While you are just beginning, introduce a small amount of adult dog food to their old feed. Increase the amount gradually daily, and notice how your dog’s metabolism is behaving. If things go swiftly, you can increase the percentage of adult dog food, and it won’t take more than 7 to 10 days.
How Much and How Often Should a Labrador Adult Eat?
|Labrador’s Weight (in Pounds)||Amount of Food||Number of Meals (Per Day)|
|50 Pounds||2 to 1/2 to 3 cups daily||2 to 3 Meals|
|60 Pounds||3 to 3 1/2 cups daily||2 to 3 Meals|
|70 Pounds||3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups daily||2 to 3 Meals|
|80 Pounds||3-1/2 to 4 cups daily||2 to 3 Meals|
|100 Pounds||4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups daily||2 to 3 Meals|
|120 Pounds||4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups daily||3 to 5 Meals|
To avoid any gastrointestinal issues and bloat, it is better to divide the amount of food into more meals throughout the day. Also, if your dog’s daily physical activity is low, you can always decrease the amount of food, or the canine will grow overweight. Similarly, for dogs with medium to high daily activities, increase the amount of feed.
Can Labs Be Fed Once A Day? Is It Cruel To Feed A Dog Once A Day?
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) recommends feeding your dog twice every day. Even many veterinarians advise feeding adult dogs twice a day, whereas puppies thrice to four times a day.
Dogs who are fed only once a day may suffer from malnutrition and can become prone to bilious vomiting. Even if your dog eats once a day on purpose, you must visit a Vet and find the reason behind it.
Labradors or dogs, in general, do so if they are suffering from any health considerations or underlying disease. It is even cruel to feed your dog once a day.
Are Labs Hungry All The Time?
If compared to other breeds, Labradors are hungrier throughout the day. Why? Well, a specific gene mutation (which is the first of its kind) sets Labradors apart from other dog breeds. This, though, also associated them with dog obesity. Though not all food-obsessed dogs had the gene mutation in Labradors, it is clearly available.
A study at the University of Cambridge in 2016 also suggests that Labrador’s constant hunger is a result of the POMC gene. However, only 25% of Labradors carry POMC gene mutation, and it affects higher body weight and higher body fat composition in that section. Labradors are also known as bottomless pits and their insatiable love of food.
POMC gene forms two neuropeptides that are responsible for regulating food intake in Labradors. Two Neuropeptides include β-MSH and β-endorphin. The former is associated with weight control, whereas the latter connects food cravings with the brain. Therefore, the POMC-affected dogs become incapable of feeling food, and thus they also crave more.
What should Labradors not eat? Are treats good for Labradors?
Avoid feeding food items including Chives, Onion, Garlic, Chocolate, Artificial Sweetener, Macadamia nuts, and Avacado to your Labradors. Whereas for treats, be extremely specific with this breed.
Since Labradors are prone to obesity and rapid weight gain, it is better not to offer them so many treats. Treats, though, are one fine way of rewarding your dog, but this addiction can hamper your dog’s health to a very bad level.
By the end of this article, we hope that our Labrador feeding guide will prove helpful to you. However, because every dog is different, we suggest consulting a veterinarian as well. It is better to consult a professional besides gathering information from the internet for your dog’s dietary and medical needs. As an owner, you are responsible for providing your Labrador only with the best.