Top 5 Best Puppy Foods for Labs

Labrador Retrievers, lovingly referred to as Labs for short, are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They have a long history of being man's best friend. They're loyal, very easy to train, and have playful attitudes that continue well into adulthood.

Thanks to their inclusion in many popular movies and television shows throughout the past several decades, these dogs have a reputation for being the quintessential family dog.

When you first bring your little Lab puppy home, it can be hard to imagine them as an adult. However, these dogs grow up fast!

well fed healthy labrador dog

Their bodies go through some pretty intense changes in just a short amount of time. To ensure that your pup has all the support they need to grow up into a fun and energetic adult, you need to provide them with some top-notch puppy food.

Labrador puppy food is specially formulated to meet the needs of growing pups. Standard kibble just won't cut it. Luckily, there are plenty of great products out there to choose from. Here's a selection of some of the best dog foods for Lab puppies on the market.

7 of the Best Dog Foods for Labrador Pups

1. Hill's Science Large Breed Puppy Diet, Chicken Meal & Oats Recipe

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Large Breeds, Chicken Meal & Oats Recipe

This Hill's Science dog food is specially made for large breed puppies. There's even a picture of a Lab puppy on the packaging. The dry kibble has optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus. 

As a result, it can contribute to controlled bone and joint development. The main ingredient of this food is chicken meal. It also contains chicken liver and pork liver. In total, protein makes up about 30 percent. There's also a healthy supply of fat through the inclusion of fish oil.

Overall, this product is balanced and beneficial for your pup. With its natural ingredients and lack of artificial additives, your dog will have no problem scarfing it down.


2. Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin has a whole line of products that are made with specific breeds in mind. This one is exclusively for Labrador puppies. It can support your dog's growth until they reach the age of 15 months. 

The recipe contains all the right ingredients to keep your Lab healthy. It's high in protein, contains healthy oils, and even has ingredients to keep their gastrointestinal tract in good shape.

This product can also strengthen your pup's immune system thanks to its use of vitamins. The individual kibble pieces are rather unique. They take on a donut shape to promote proper chewing and slow eating.


3. ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy Large, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy Large, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

The large puppy formula from Orijen is packed with protein. The ingredient's list is filled with multiple meat sources. They include deboned chicken, turkey organs, and a variety of fish. 

In total, protein makes up an impressive 38 percent of the formula! That's more than enough protein to make your puppy's muscles lean and strong. In addition to the protein, the kibble contains a lot of fruits and vegetables.

It has everything from whole pumpkin and pinto beans to apples and mustard greens. This array of plant ingredients gives your dogs all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.


4. Eukanuba Puppy Medium Breed Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Puppy Medium Breed Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

Made for puppies less than a year old, this Eukanuba food is designed for optimal mind and body growth. It has about 29 percent protein. Most of it comes from wholesome chicken. 

The fat content is a bit on the high side at 18 percent, so you'll need to monitor your dog's weight and avoid overfeeding. Fish oil provides your dog with DHA and omega fatty acids.

There's also a healthy blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients for better immunity. To aid with the development of the digestive system, fiber and prebiotics are added as well.


5. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice,

The large breed puppy food from Wellness is made up of natural and healthy ingredients. At the top of the list is deboned chicken. Additional protein sources include salmon meal and chicken meal. 

Together, the proteins make up about 29 percent of the recipe. Flaxseed is used as a source of omega fatty acids while things like blueberries and apples are added as antioxidants.

This food offers whole-body support without using any artificial ingredients or potentially harmful fillers. There's no corn, wheat, soy, or chemical preservatives. Everything is natural, which is great for your puppy's delicate system.


Wet Canned Foods for Lab Puppies

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Wet Dog Food Large Breed Chicken Dinner

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food Large Breed Chicken Dinner

While this canned food from Blue Buffalo isn't formulated for puppies specifically, it has a lot of the ingredients that they need. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support their growing joints. 

There's also L-Carnitine for heart health. The wet food is ideal for young puppies who aren't quite ready for hard kibble. 

The homestyle recipe contains soft morsels of chicken, brown rice, and plenty of vegetables. The ingredients are soaked in nutrient-rich chicken broth that tastes great for pups and is easy to eat.


Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food

From Natural Balance is this beef-based wet food. Pieces of beef muscle meat are combined with liver to give your pup a delicious dose of protein. Potatoes, carrots, and brown rice are used for carbohydrates and vitamins. 

The recipe is balanced and offers the right combination of nutrients for puppies. There's calcium for bone growth and additional vitamin supplements to support the immune system.

Like the previous option, this food is very high in moisture thanks to the broth. This food is great for softening dry kibble and giving your puppy some extra nutrients.


Are Puppy Formulas Really Necessary?

Raising a new puppy is no easy task. Not only do you have to train them to behave in your home, but you also need to invest in a slew of products to keep them healthy. The single most important thing you can buy your new puppy is high-quality puppy food.

Specialty formulas that are made for Lab puppies aren't just some marketing gimmick. They actually contain all of the essential nutrients and vitamins your puppy needs during this delicate growth period. Labs can weigh as little as a pound at birth. However, by the time they're a year old, they can tip the scales at 70 pounds or more. 

Labradors are a large-breed dog that goes through a pretty impressive growth spurt in just a few short months. That tiny puppy you brought home will grow right before your eyes.

Your pup's bones, joints, and organs change at a very rapid pace. While this is true will all young dogs regardless of breed, it's important to take special care with a large breed. When you compare the growth rate of a Lab to that of a small Pomeranian, it's pretty easy to see why generic dog food can do more harm than good.

Nutritional Ddeficiencies

Unfortunately, things can wrong as your puppy grows up. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to abnormalities in their skeletal system. Various health issues can arise because their development was either stunted or pushed too far.

To make matters worse, many of these problems aren't noticeable until well into adulthood.

The right kind of puppy food can make a drastic difference in your dog's life, even after they've moved onto adult food. What they eat will directly affect their health as an adult, so why not go the extra mile and supply them with the very best?

How to Find the Right Dog Food For Your Lab Puppy

There's no shortage of dog food products out there. To choose one that's suitable for your growing pup, you need to understand what types of ingredients are beneficial.

Protein

Protein is crucial to the overall well-being of any dog. Animal meat is a prime source of muscle-building amino acids, so you'll want to get dog food that has plenty of it. In fact, Labs need significantly more protein during their puppy phase than they do when they're adults. They will need a recipe that consists of 25 to 30 percent protein. The exact amount will depend on how active your puppy pal is.

Most young Labs have a seemingly unlimited amount of energy, so you'll probably have to stick to the higher end of the protein range to make sure that your dog's body can keep up.

When it comes to the source of the protein, natural meats are always best. Ingredients like chicken, beef, and fish are great options. Steer clear of any mystery meats and byproducts. Your pup's immune system is still developing, so you should avoid any foods with unidentifiable protein ingredients.

Weight Management

It might seem counter-productive to think about weight management while your puppy is growing up but it's important with Labs. These dogs are prone to gaining weight. Excessive weight gain can lead to some lasting problems, as the extra poundage puts unnecessary stress on the bones and joints.

labrador puppy

Managing your pup's weight doesn't mean that you should restrict their food intake. In fact, puppies need to eat multiple meals throughout the day to fuel their bodies.

The key to keeping your pup's weight gain under control is to provide them with food that's slightly lower in calories. It's also a good idea to monitor their food intake and avoid free-feeding.

Puppies will continue to eat as long as there's food available. By getting food with fewer calories, you can easily manage your pup's development.

Calcium and Phosphorus

One of the biggest causes of joint and bone problems in Labs is the incorrect amount of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals play a crucial role in the development of bones and teeth. It's a fine line between providing them with too much and too little. Not enough of these minerals will stunt your dog's growth. However, too much can lead to deformities.

Formulas that are specifically made for large breed puppies will contain the right dosage. Typically, for every 1 part of phosphorous, puppy foods need 1.2 parts of calcium.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Joint problems are relatively common among Labs due to their size. As a result, many veterinarians recommend a healthy dose of glucosamine and chondroitin early on. These supplements help to promote the development of joint cartilage, which may reduce pain and discomfort.

It has been shown that providing glucosamine and chondroitin to puppies may help to prevent symptoms of arthritis from occurring. At the very least, they will help to keep your dog's joints in good condition for much longer.

Many dog foods include these supplements into the formula. Though, you can also purchase them as supplements.

Heart-Healthy Amino Acids

Another common health issue that Labs face is heart disease. Damaged vessels and blood clots can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. To prevent heart disease, it's recommended that you find a food with taurine and L-Carnitine. These amino acids can benefit your pup a number of ways.

They can strengthen blood vessel walls, which helps to support the heart and ensures that blood can flow throughout your dog's body freely. While some dog food manufacturers add these amino acids through supplementary ingredients, they can also come from the protein source. Chicken is an excellent source of Taurine while red meats provide L-Carnitine.

Beneficial Fats

Labrador pups need a diet that consists of about 10 percent fat. This is a bit more than what average healthy adult dogs need. Fats serve a couple of different purposes. However, the most important role that they play in your dog's diet is that of an energy source.

* They also add tons of flavor to your pup's food.

The type of fat that's used in a puppy formula is important. The best kind of fat will be one that's filled with Omega fatty acids. Examples include fish oil and flaxseed oil. Omega fatty acids contribute to overall heart health while making your pup's fur nice and supple.

Vitamins and Minerals

You can't go wrong with vitamins and minerals from plant-based materials. A healthy collection of fruits and vegetables will support cell function and keep the immune system in check.

Look out for things like spinach, carrots, and blueberries. These are commonly-used ingredients that can do a lot to keep your pup healthy.

Conclusion

Due to their size and fast growth cycle, Labrador puppies are much more susceptible to the effects of poor nutrition than other dogs. Your little canine companion will grow to roughly 70 times their birth size!

High-quality puppy food is needed to ensure that their journey to adulthood is a smooth one. Any one of these food options will do. They provide a balanced diet that is formulated to overcome the unique challenges that your Lab will face as they get older.

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