Review of the Best Dog Food for Labs

by | Sep 8, 2019 | 0 comments

Welcome to our review of the best dog food for Labs. We explain why the best dog for Labradors is essential for their growth and wellbeing. It’s a no brainer to say your dog’s food directly impacts his health and physiology, so we look at five of the best Labrador dog foods on the market, helping you to make the best decision for your pooch, no matter what the age.

It’s the question that most dog owners ask: “What kind of food should we feed a Labrador, especially if it’s a puppy?”

Owners never seem sure of whether they can give eggs, rice, or milk to their new puppies. They also seem unsure of how much to feed their puppies and how often. Way back, dogs were fed on whatever was thrown to them or were given scraps from the dinner table. As a consequence, they developed the ability to digest more carbs than would have been commonplace when they were in the wild. Today, we have specialist foods for all occasions. In a strange way, this has eroded our confidence on what to feed our animals.

Best Foods for Labs

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free
  • Mixed with real vegetables
  • Coated with probiotics to support your Lab’s digestive health
  • Flaxseed and salmon oil help to support your canine companion’s skin and coat health
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
  • Quality organic ingredients that are fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • No by-product meat, grains, and non-natural chemicals or preservatives
  • Glucosamine supports joint function and overall mobility
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Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe
  • Protein comes from pasture-raised lamb
  • Contains real fruits and vegetables
  • Nutrient rich and highly digestible
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Brothers Complete Venison and Egg Advanced Allergy Care
  • Focuses on healing, balancing, and maintaining a healthy stomach and gut
  • Helps avoid skin conditions and allergy-related tummy troubles
  • Naturally preserved for maximum freshness in flavor-preserving bags
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Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free
  • Made with real buffalo to emulate the diet of dogs' ancestors
  • Digestible energy for your active pup or large grown Lab
  • Essential minerals mixed with amino acids aid absorption and ensure maximum benefit
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Best puppy food for Labs

For most new Labrador dog owners, there is the problem of what is the best dog food for Labs. Today, the trend is toward feeding our puppies a dry dog food mix called kibble. However, would it not be safer to feed our dogs on home-grown food, or even raw food like the kind they would have in the wild? Raw food is called BARF, which is an acronym that stands for the term “biologically appropriate raw food.” It is certainly becoming a trend. There are definitely pros to this way of feeding, but there are issues as well.

There is no genuine consensus on what is the best food for Labs. If you look to social media, such as Facebook or YouTube, even the vets are not in agreement about which way to go. Natural leaning vets champion BARF, whereas others plumb for kibble. When you look to dog breeders for guidance, they are as divided as the vets.

The truth is, there is no good quality evidence that kibble is the best dog food for Labs in the long run or that raw feeding is better for the health of your dog. Moreover, there are risks and benefits to both.

When making a choice, you should first look at the breed of your dog. Even as a domesticated species, there are still socio-historical imperatives that dictate which way you should go. For instance, hunting dogs would traditionally be fed on the carcass of the prey they hunted as a reward for the capture, and the same could be said for retrievers. However, the choice should be dictated on what best suits your own lifestyle. If you end up going for commercial dry puppy food, you should not feel that you are letting your dog down in any way.

Feeding your Labrador puppy on kibble

Kibble can be of the highest quality if you are prepared to pay for it. It stores well and is recommended by a large proportion of vets and breeders. A good kibble will contain every nutrient your Labrador puppy needs in order to grow and remain healthy.

Kibble, on its own, is the best dog food for Labs and does not need you to supplement your dog’s diet. As long as you source a good, well recommended product, there will be no need to add anything else to it; in fact, doing so may do more harm than good.

There is a strong movement in the dog food industry that believes kibble is harmful in the long run and that dogs should be fed raw food.

Feeding your puppy a raw diet

If you want to feed your puppy raw food, then get educated about it. Learn what your Lab puppy can take before going down that road. You need to do a fair amount of research on the nutritional needs of puppies in order to maintain a balanced diet during this period of rapid growth.

How much should I feed my lab puppy?

It is very important that you don’t overfeed your puppy. Overfed puppies may grow too fast, and this can lead to long-term illness. Rapid growth tends to bring larger bones that are less dense than what would normally be expected. This will bring skeletal abnormalities. Labradors and other large dogs are particularly at risk if they grow too quickly.

Overfed puppies may get diarrhea or have consistently runny poo. However, trying to determine whether your lab is overweight can be tricky. There is a large variation in weight between dogs of the same age, and for that reason, there is also a variation in the quantity of food puppies of the same age and weight might need. The packet will give you guidelines and you should follow them, but remember that they are only guidelines.

Choosing the best brand of food for your Lab

A good brand of dog food is one that will provide all your puppy’s required nutrients, have considerable protein and fat content while containing just a few carbs, and won’t cost you a small mortgage each week.

It may sound obvious, but do not feed adult kibble to pups. Lab pups need high calorie intake when growing, but that needs to be reduced when they reach maturity. Remember, you get what you pay for! So cheaper brands will have more filler ingredients, such carbohydrates, usually derived from grain. However, you will need to feed your dog less of the richer brands. There will also be less poo to clean up with the more expensive brands.

Watch out for food guarding. If your puppy is used to feeding alone, he may growl if you approach when he is feeding. Don’t get upset and take it as an offense. This behavior is perfectly normal.

Keeping your puppy’s weight down

As we have stressed, it’s important that your Lab puppy does not get too fat. However, there is some leeway in determining this. Just add to his bowl or reduce the amount of food at meal time to bring your little bundle of joy into line. A Lab should have a good waist without being rotund.

Adjusting for thin puppies

If you are worried about your Lab’s weight, then the first thing to do is take him to the vet, and get an expert opinion. Don’t just double his food. It’s possible that a sudden increase in the quantity of food will just give him diarrhea. If you can see your puppy’s ribs or if he weighs a lot less than the weights on the chart above for his age, get your vet to have a look at him.

How often should you feed your Labrador puppy?

Puppies, like all babies, need more feeding times than adults. Your Lab puppy will grow really fast within the first six months. Therefore, he will need plenty of calories to fuel that growth, as well as the right nutrients. If you feed his calorie allowance all at once, you will overwhelm his digestive system, and he’ll end up with diarrhea. So, you need to make sure that your puppy’s daily ration of food is broken up into several small meals, fed three to four hours apart. Feeding little and often is a great way of preventing tummy upsets. Make your assessment based on the quality of his poo.

Generally speaking, puppies fed on best dog food for Labs require four meals a day from eight weeks to three months, and then three meals a day from their third to their sixth month. After that, they would need two meals a day for the rest of their lives.

Your Lab’s feeding time should be regular but scheduled to suit your preferences. However, never just leave food out for a puppy. He will eat it all at once. Only when he is an adult can kibble be left out for the day. It is also worth pointing out that the times you choose to feed your Lab will quickly become regular events for the dog. So, if you put food out at 6 a.m., then expect your dog to wake at this time onwards.

Space out his meal times, but do not feed him before going to bed. A dog tends to go to the bathroom soon after feeding, which is why it’s a good idea to feed him before taking him out for a walk.

Hungry puppies

What to do with hungry puppies? If you Lab pup has been given the correct amount of food to eat and finishes it off quickly then starts to whine for more, don’t panic! This is normal. After all, a new puppy does not know there is another meal of the best dog food for Labs coming his way soon. He will soon learn that he is going to be fed regularly, and this will stop the whining.

You may have the opposite problem of the puppy not being interested in food; after all, not all puppies are greedy. Interestingly, studies have shown that puppies eat more when they are fed in a group. Being pack animals probably means that when feeding in a group, they are more relaxed. So, it’s possible that your puppy may have a somewhat reduced appetite for the first few days that he spends without his brothers and sisters.

However, if he refuses to eat the best dog food for Labs for more than five hours, then take your pup to the vet.

Giving puppies milk

Some breeders continue to give their puppies milk and cereal for two of their four meals. This is a throwback to the days before kibble was invented. You won’t be blamed if you feel like giving your pup milk, as it feels natural to do so. However, after eight weeks old, your pup does not need milk of any description. In fact, many older puppies are highly intolerant of milk and will simply get diarrhea if you feed it to them. The only liquid your Lab needs after eight weeks is water. You’ll have to clean up a lot less diarrhea as well.

Changing from puppy to adult food

Good kibble manufacturers often recommend feeding special puppy kibble for up to 12 months of age. Most experts consider that puppies have completed their growth when they reach 99% of their adult weight, but that time scale can depend upon breed.

Small dogs may finish growing at nine months, but larger Labs often take another six months to finish growing.

It’s a good tip to get a diet sheet from the breeder you get the pup from, and feed him on the same brand as the breeder for at least a week or two. It will help him settle faster to his new surroundings. There will be quite enough for his little tummy to cope with when he leaves home without learning to digest a different type of food. Don’t be tempted to fix what isn’t broken. If you want to give your puppy one-off treats, then only feed the recommended ones and not too often.

If this is your first Lab puppy, then there’s no need to feel alone in this age of digital social networks. Find an online Labrador club, and sign up to the forums. You’ll get all the information you need from other dog lovers, and you can even form friendships for future breeding opportunities

Feeding fully grown Labs

A Labrador Retriever is considered a large breed dog. There are different claims made about the amount to feed a Labrador. One thing is for sure: they love eating and do not need any motivation to eat. However, this dog breed is prone to hip dysplasia, and if the dog becomes overweight or obese, the chances of getting this disease would increase.

Labradors also have sensitive stomachs that can result in an upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. Hence, be very particular about what you are feeding your pet. Your Lab’s diet should be high in protein while providing adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fat, minerals, and vitamins.

Generally, feeding your pet with just canned dog food can result in digestive, tooth, and gum problems. Labradors require dry food in large amounts to ensure that they get all the required nutrients. Also, dry dog food aids in keeping the teeth clean and prevents gum diseases. If you want to feed your Labrador canned food, make sure that just a quarter of the food is canned, and the remaining portion is a quality dry food, which can be meal-based or meat-based.

Whether you are feeding your pet with commercial dog food or homemade food, stick to one that your Labrador enjoys. Keeping a close watch on your dog’s activity level, weight, and size will help you determine how much to feed it.

Check out our review for the best dog food for labs below. Our review is based on professional consumer feedback and customer reviews. We hope you enjoy!

The Review

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken

The key strength of Core Wellness dog food is the formula, which is high in protein content and low in carbohydrates. This is important to help keep your Lab going strong. This delicious grain-free recipe is crafted with protein taken from chicken and turkey to provide your Lab with the protein-focused nutrition he needs. Made with antioxidants, Omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and probiotics, this nutrient-dense food serves as a perfectly balanced diet for all adult dogs.

Wellness continues to stand by its promise to exclude undesirable ingredients, including meat by-products, grains, or artificial ingredients and chemicals. This makes it the best dog food for Labs. All quality dog foods are grain free, so allergies and digestive issues related to grain won’t be an issue.

It’s made in the USA and mixed with real vegetables, fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. All natural means no meat by-products, no grains, and no artificial chemicals.

Conclusion: This recipe, which is high in protein and free of grains, is made with real deboned turkey and chicken, providing your Lab with the wholesome daily nutrition he needs. Glucosamine and chondroitin aid in ensuring good health for the bones and joints to support your active pals’ zest for life.

The kibble is coated with probiotics to support your Lab’s digestive health, plus it’s crafted with nutrient-rich ingredients. Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and salmon oil help to support your canine companion’s skin and coat health. This is without meat by-products, grains, and artificial chemicals because no dog deserves that!

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free

Grain-free and protein-rich, this recipe is perfect to provide your lab with the nutrients he needs every day.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free

Blue Buffalo Wilderness makes the best dog food for Labs, and the chicken recipe puts your dog first by keeping real meat as the first ingredient. It’s formulated to mirror the diet of ancestral wolves, with high protein levels, a reasonable carbohydrate content, as well as antioxidant-rich fruit. It includes protein through fish meal, chicken meal, and chicken.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are included to keep your Lab’s coat and skin in good health. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals all exist in a perfect combination to support the immune system. This powerful recipe is specially crafted to support your dog’s overall health and well-being.

This is a recipe is made to satisfy your Lab’s natural love for meat. The large amount of protein aids in the building and maintenance of lean muscle mass. Blue Wilderness grain-free adult dog food is infused with healthy carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes and peas, to help fuel your adult dog’s active lifestyle. Blue Wilderness dry dog food contains premium quality organic ingredients that are fortified with vitamins and minerals. It never contains by-product meat, grains, and non-natural chemicals or preservatives.

Conclusion: Essential proteins and carbohydrates provide the needed energy requirements for your pet to lead a healthy lifestyle. The abundance of minerals and essential vitamins ensures that your Lab would have strong bones and teeth, whereas glucosamine supports joint function and overall mobility. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids help your pet to achieve a shiny coat and healthy skin. Healthy carbohydrates come from potatoes, peas, and antioxidants from blueberries, cranberries, and carrots.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein

This recipe is fortified with vitamins and minerals that your Lab needs to stay healthy. Contains no non-natural chemicals or preservatives.

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food

Put your gorgeous Lab puppy on the best dog food for Labs with superior nutrition from Diamond Naturals large breed puppy formula dry dog food. Enhanced with superfoods and probiotics that help support your growing Lab’s development and overall health. If you’re looking for a balance between great nutrition and value for money, then Diamond Naturals is a good starting point.

Diamond Naturals large breed puppy food gives your Lab everything he needs. That means an abundance of protein, vitamins, minerals, fruits, and vegetables. Made in the USA, it’s our pick for best dog food for Lab puppies.

The protein comes from pasture-raised lamb with optimal amino acid, which is great for lean, strong, developing muscles. Real lamb is the first ingredient, followed by real fruits and vegetables, including peas, garbanzo beans, papaya, and coconut. It provides your puppy with protein and minerals, not to mention Omega fatty acids and antioxidants for healthy skin and a shiny coat to ensure the well-being of your pup. Help your pal achieve a complete and balanced holistic diet with Diamond!

Diamond Naturals adds vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and Omega acids for smooth skin and coat. For pregnant or nursing adult Labs, we recommend free-choice feeding. Note that you ought to have fresh water available for your Lab at all times.

Diamond Naturals is a family-owned company that says it chooses ingredients from trusted sustainable sources.

Conclusion: Made for large breed puppies like your Labrador, this brand contains real pasture-raised lamb as the first ingredient, followed by other whole foods for lean nutrition that helps build strong muscles. It’s a natural recipe that supports healthy skin and coat growth. It is nutrient rich and highly digestible because of the probiotic blend, while natural DHA supports brain and vision health. It is made with no grains or preservatives.

The product is made in the USA by a family-owned and run company with some of the most scientifically advanced food safety protocols because your Lab deserves it.

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe

This special formula designed for large breed puppies will be perfect for your young Lab, supporting every aspect of his growth.

Brothers Complete Venison and Egg Advanced Allergy Care

What do you do if your Lab is prone to allergies? First things first, don’t panic and bring him back to the dogs’ home. Go get your brothers. No, not that brother but Brothers Complete allergy formula dog food. It’s free of grains, potatoes, and other ingredients that can provoke upset stomachs. They choose the proteins used for their soothing properties.

Brothers complete turkey and egg formula is advanced in allergy care and provides the nutrition that mimics a Lab’s natural diet. Recipes feature high-quality proteins, such as turkey and chicken, dried whole eggs that are easily absorbed, and no grains or potatoes. They carefully select every ingredient with a focus on healing, balancing, and maintaining a healthy stomach and gut. This food is great at every level of development for your lab and helps him avoid skin conditions and allergy-related tummy troubles.

Conclusion: This product has natural allergy care because it’s made with real turkey and low glycemic carbs. Eggs have all the amino acids your lab needs, including those the body cannot produce. Encapsulated probiotics deliver live, good bacteria to the gut, where they are fed by the included probiotics. Finally, this product is naturally preserved for maximum freshness in flavor-preserving bags.

Brothers Complete Venison and Egg Advanced Allergy Care

Made with real turkey and low glycemic carbs, this food provides for Labs troubled by food allergies and allergy-related skin and stomach conditions.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nourish your Lab companion with a balanced diet nature intended for your best friend. Taste of the Wild dog food offers the best dog food for Labs. This is also great for dogs with grain allergies. It may be a bit pricier, but it’s worth the cost to get your Lab the nutrition he needs.

This product is made in the USA by a family-owned and run company that is known for having the most scientifically advanced food safety protocols.

Formulated with novel proteins like buffalo and bison, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver digestible energy for your active pup or large grown Lab. Natural antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables, as well as dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion, give the Labrador in your life the balanced diet he requires to hunt, play, and grow. Essential minerals mixed with amino acids aid absorption and ensure maximum benefit.

Conclusion: It’s a grain-free recipe, but not as you know it, as it is made with real buffalo to bring out that call of the wild in your beast. There are other protein-rich ingredients, including bison, roasted venison, and beef for lean nutrition that supports strong muscles.

This natural recipe has added vitamins and powerful antioxidants from real fruits and veggies that will be sure to ensure good health, while Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids support healthy skin and coat. This product is made with ingredients from trusted and sustainable sources, with no grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It sounds tasty and smells great!

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free

This food is made with real buffalo to emulate the diet of dogs' ancestors, providing lean nutrition that supports strong muscles.

Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural With Real Turkey & Venison Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend is a low-cost alternatives that still contains all the supplements your dog needs to remain in good health. The principal ingredient is turkey—the genuine kind not a by-product or paté. Glucosamine found normally in turkey meat gives support to joints and helps with a labs active lifestyle.

Purina ONE SmartBlend also comprises 30% protein, of which 17% is fat, 3% fiber, and 12% water. Customer reviews comment that it has helps their dogs develop because of the amount of protein present, and is great if your dog has gas or a sensitive stomach. While this food contains grains, that’s compensated for with a high degree of meat.

Whilst the primary ingredient is turkey there is also venison, for that call of the wild taste your dogs will just love. In addition to venison with all that protein to help build solid muscles there is added omega-6 unsaturated fats for a great looking skin and coat. Added extra nutrients and minerals bring resistant cancer prevention agents, making this product the full dinner your buddy will thank you for.

To recap: Supplement enriched recipe with 30% protein from turkey as the main ingredient, in addition to venison for the high-protein diet labs will blossom with.

Packed with nutrients, minerals and cancer prevention agents to help your special friend prosper.

High in omega-6 unsaturated fats to keep healthy looking skin and a glossy coat.

This is a complete meal for grown-up dogs as delectable as it is substantial.

Made in USA, Purina ONE SmartBlend is seen as the best dog for labs whose owners are on a budget.

Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural

This is a supplement enriched recipe that contains protein for strong muscles and Omega acids that help improve skin condition. It even boasts cancer prevention agents.

We hope you found these reviews useful to help you decide on which dog food to get for your Labrador!

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Greg Holmes
Greg Holmes resides in Portland, OR with his wife and two daughters, as well as three Havanese dogs. Being an AKC-certified CGC Evaluator and a certified dog trainer, taking care of dogs has been a big part of his life ever since he was young. His love for dogs started when his father took him to the state dog shelter to find his first puppy, which he named Einstein because the dog presented with a very unruly coat when he saw it for the first time. From this experience, he has become a very strong advocate of "adopt don't shop" for aspiring pet parents.

Greg joined the team because he believes that every dog, regardless of breed or age, deserves critical attention and the best dog-related products in the market because man's best friend only deserves, well, the best. Being an active member of the American Kennel Club, he aims to provide up-to-date information to his readers and present factual data about the products available in the market.