Choosing the right food for your puppy is a significant decision for every pet owner. With deceptive marketing, contradicting advice, and a ton of options, finding the best one for your canine friend can be daunting.
Large dog breeds such as Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, and Labradors have different dietary needs compared to smaller breeds such as Dachshund. First, for a larger breed dog, you need to pick a choice that clearly states it’s for larger breed puppies. These foods contain a mineral and calorie content tailored to prevent large breed puppies from developing bone and joint abnormalities as well as growing too fast.
Importance of feeding your dog puppy food
Puppies grow very fast and require a high calorie, nutrient-dense diet to facilitate their growth. It is advisable to feed your dog puppy food for a year or until they transition to adulthood. Puppy food contains the following vital nutrients that are crucial for your growing dog:
- Calcium and Phosphorus that help support growing teeth and bones.
- High-quality protein that supports muscle development
- Healthy fats essential for energy and growth
- Antioxidants to support your puppy’s immune system
- DHA, Omega 3 fatty acid that helps vision and brain development.
We have compiled a list of some of the best puppy foods for your Labrador, ranging from dry food, wet kibble to semi-wet food:
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food
- Wellness Core Natural Grain-free Dry Dog food Large Breed Puppy
- Diamond Naturals large breed puppy formula
- Blue buffalo life protection large breed puppy food
- Chicken Soup for The Soul Large Breed
- Hill’s Science diet puppy large breed dog food
- Blue Buffalo Blue Carnivora Woodland Blend Natural Puppy Dry Food
- Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe
- Nutro Cuts in Gravy Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
- ORIJEN Puppy Large High-Protein, Grain-Free, Premium Quality Meat, Dry Dog Food
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Formula dry dog food
Why is Purina Pro Plan Puppy food one of the best? The company often test their products and only allow it on shelves if it passes their strict quality control standards. It has a high protein formula with chicken as the main ingredient. It’s fortified with live probiotics to aid digestion and boost immune health.
It contains Glucosamine, which supports your Labrador’s developing cartilage and joints. It also contains DHA from omega-rich fish oil, which aides with vision development and nourishes the brain. The dry formula dog food is rich in antioxidants that help support your Labrador puppy’s growing immune system. It is also calcium and phosphorous abundant to help build healthy teeth.
This natural puppy food offers a healthy mix of protein and grains. It consists of rice, salmon, and chicken ingredients. It provides your puppy with essential vitamins, probiotics, and antibiotics that enhance your puppy’s overall body health.
Omega-3 Fatty acids are also a component present that attributes to a shiny coat and healthy skin. This kibble has salmon oil and a healthy dose of DHA that develops your puppy’s brain and antioxidants that support the development of a robust immune system. Wellness Complete puppy food is engineered explicitly to aide healthy muscle growth, boost energy and vitality.
Wellness Core dry kibble is perfect for a pet owner who prefers a grain-free diet for their pup. It has a high concentration of fresh meat that helps your puppy develop muscle tone and a lean body mass. The DHA from the Salmon Oil aide’s brain development.
One of its ingredients, flax seed, constitutes omega fatty acids that help your puppy maintain healthy skin and a glossy coat. This Wellness Core puppy food contains probiotics that are immune boosters. It ensures the healthy development of the dog’s bones and teeth with the Phosphorus and calcium balance. Sufficient Phosphorus and calcium are crucial for muscle development and healthy bones. We like it because it has non-GMO ingredients and is excellent not only for puppies but also for pregnant and nursing dogs because it is transferred to the puppy.
As Labrador retriever pups are growing, you should keep in mind their genetic ability to grow bigger. As they grow, their activity level increases, and that is why Diamond Naturals dry kibble comes in handy. Diamond Naturals puppy formula has L-Carnitine that helps convert fat and protein into energy.
Its high-quality protein made from real lamb is perfect for a growing puppy to develop lean and strong muscles. The dry food is laden with superfoods for antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for a canine puppy’s great skin and coat quality. For your puppy’s brain and vision development, the dry food formula has sufficient amounts of DHA.
This large breed dog formula has gone through AAFCO feeding trials and is widely popular with pet owners. Not only is this kibble delicious, but it also has optimal levels of calcium that help manage your puppy’s bone growth. Its high-quality protein content helps your Labrador pup build and maintain muscle. The dry food producer has also cleverly used DHA, which aids with brain and eye development for growing puppies.
I recommend this food for your pups because of its manageable dryness. Lab owners love this kibble because of its ability to prevent food decay. If you are cost-conscious, this selection best suits your pocket. With its affordable cost, fiber content, and antioxidants, you have a fair deal.
This wet dog food is mainly made up of deboned chicken and chicken meal that helps your puppy build and maintain muscle. It also has wholesome garden veggies, fruit, and whole grain. Your puppy will easily digest this dry food because it lacks both corn and whole grains.
Genetically, Labrador retriever puppies are at risk of hip and joint diseases, and this food greatly reduces this risk with its blend of Phosphorus, calcium, and other essential minerals. The food has flax seeds that contain Omega 3 and 6, which are great for your pup’s bones. The ideal size of the Blue Buffalo kibble is appropriately shaped to facilitate tartar removal by simply chewing. Lastly, the perfect balance of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids helps your Labrador puppy develop healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Chicken Soup is a tasty, high-quality protein dish that utilizes chicken as it’s first ingredient and turkey as it’s second. It doesn’t contain any by-product meals, preservative, wheat, or artificial flavoring.
It’s adequate levels of calcium and Phosphorus promote the growth of strong teeth and bones. For a healthy coat, this chicken soup is made with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. The soup has naturally occurring Glucosamine and chondroitin to aid the development of stronger joint support. A puppy’s brain and vision development are crucial, especially at a young age; hence a healthy dose of DHA from salmon oil is included in the diet meal.
Carnivora Woodland Natural Puppy food is a high protein dish with 90% animal sources. The animal sources are chicken, turkey, duck, and saltwater fish. It is nutrient-dense with DHA and ARA to aide eye and brain development. The high protein provides a great source of energy for your puppy.
This puppy food is grain-free and doesn’t rely on vegetables for protein. The blend is created to fulfill a dog’s natural instinct hence the high animal protein content. It contains nutrient-rich organs and cartilage that satisfy your pup’s vitamin and mineral needs.
Among the wet food options, this option tops the list. Nutro Cuts high protein, and low fat is excellent for a growing, active pup. Filled with beef, peas, and carrot, it also comes with the preferred options from chicken, lamb to turkey.
Nutro boasts of average protein and below-average carbohydrates, affording your pup the energy to play and socialize. The wet food kibble is non-GMO and has no corn, wheat, soy, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.
This food brand offers natural, high-quality pet food that provides a balanced diet. Its above-average fat and near average protein content makes it a great choice. The salmon chicken liver, turkey and broth combo is the perfect definition of a balanced meal. The kibble chunks are well-sized, making it easy for your puppies to chew without choking.
The brand doesn’t necessarily specify it’s for large breed puppies, but it is definitely worth trying. The diet is grain-free, which is suitable for puppies with sensitive stomachs. It can be served either as a complete balanced meal or as a topper.
The delicious dry dog food is designed to suit your Labrador retriever puppy specifically. Since both Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are physically large breeds, this food would suit your Golden retriever puppy.
The high protein mix of dried egg, whites, beef, beef liver, and potatoes is crucial for muscle development and retention while keeping your puppy’s muscles lean. Not only will it boost your puppy’s immune system with its complex antioxidants, but it will also ensure bone balance. This food mix is laden with probiotics to aid in stool quality. Due to its essential nutrients, Royal Canin helps your pup maintain a shiny, healthy coat.
ORIJEN puppy large dog food provides a diet rich in whole animal ingredients from free-run chicken, wild-caught fish, turkey, and cage-free eggs. This meal is 85% based on animal ingredients, which is how canines nourish their natural needs and instinct.
The high protein content is designed to aid with muscle development and maintenance. As advised by the manufacturer of this wholesome dog food, the diet should be introduced gradually to avoid any stomach upsets for your puppy. A 25% gradual increment is advisable for a better transition.
How to Choose the Right Dog Food for Your Labrador Puppy
Raising puppies can be a daunting task. With the proper food choices, your Labrador retriever pups can grow happy and healthy. Choosing the right food means selecting the right ingredients. Being a responsible pet parent, serving a healthy balanced diet is essential for your puppy’s health.
Here are important factors to consider when buying you puppy food:
The age of your puppy
When deciding the right food for your puppy, the first important factor is the age of your puppy. Your puppy needs to be fed the appropriate food for their current age. Your puppy needs the right amount of calories and proteins to properly grow into adulthood. Puppies need more proteins and calories than an adult dog. Between 3 to 8 weeks, solid food is important for your puppy. Over this period, your puppy enters a healthy stage where they have growing limbs, teeth, and joints that require the right nutrition to develop properly.
Choosing the right food is based entirely on your dog’s breed size. Most dog food options clearly categorize food by the breed-specific factors. Small breed dogs have a faster metabolism compared to medium and large breed dogs; therefore, small breed dogs need more fatty nutrients.
Large breed dogs have extensive nutritional needs. Their diet should include large amounts of natural dog food that is nutrient-dense. It should consist of fiber, vitamins, carbs, protein, and minerals. However, over nutrition in large dogs may lead to bloating, diabetes, and bloating; hence their diet should be carefully managed.
The presence of grain
Most dog foods could contain grain, while others don’t. Grains are often used as filler content due to their affordability. Whole grains are carbs, but proteins should surpass the carbs in a puppy’s food. Keep an eye on the content on meat, vegetables, and dried fruits, which are the most essential.
Wet dog food vs Dry dog food
Selecting the right food also depends on the type of food. Different puppies enjoy different types of food, so consider what your puppy likes. Wet food provides a great source of hydrated meals, especially if your puppy doesn’t drink a lot of water during the day. Wet foods also contain fewer calories than dry food. It has a strong taste and smell. When kept out for too long, it loses most of its nutrients, so it’s a good choice when it is immediately consumed.
Dry food, on the other hand, is convenient and considered the cleanest. It can be kept out for long hours without bacteria accumulation or spoiling. It also takes into consideration the kibble size due to dental health issues. The rough texture of dry kibble helps clean dirt and bacteria of your puppy’s teeth as they chew it. Dry food also contains higher nutrient content; hence it eliminates health problems caused by contaminated fillers.
When deciding between dry and wet foods, consider factors such as medical and dental conditions and lifestyle choices.
Food allergies are on the rise in dogs due to the lifestyle preferences of their owners. When choosing food for your puppy, consider if they have redness of the skin, thin coat quality, or sensitive skin. However, it is important to differentiate food intolerance from food allergies.
Some dog products offer specialized diets that prompt a stronger immune response against allergic responses. Food sensitivity is a common reason for allergic responses. Feeding your dog foods with artificial additives and harmful additives will inevitably elicit an allergic reaction. Boost your dog’s immune mechanism by choosing the right ingredients.
Easy to digest
You can quickly determine if you are feeding your puppy the right food based on how they defecate. It’s easy to differentiate the good from the bad depending on the difficulty your dog experiences when pooping.
Once you choose the right food and preferred feeding time, and start feeding your dog, repeat this for a week to understand the effect it has on your dog’s poop and pooping schedule. Stick to foods that are AAFCO certified to guide against misleading labels and advertising.
Choosing the right food for your puppy is literally a life-saving choice. There are thousands of dietary options for your puppy, and the above-listed foods give you a great head start at canine nutrition. When making dietary decisions for your puppy, always consult with your veterinarian, as canine nutrition is broad.