If you have ever owned a Labrador Retriever puppy, you know they will eat ANYTHING, whether you consider it edible or not! But what is the best puppy food to feed your Lab puppy, so it grows up strong and healthy?
Decisions made early in your puppy’s life are key to its development as the best puppy food you put into the bowl for your Labrador puppy will help to build strong bones, muscles, and brain matter. This will turn your puppy into the active, healthy dog that your family will enjoy for years to come.
Every Labrador puppy is known for their exuberance and love of life–and their love of food! They are extremely outgoing and inquisitive dogs that love to explore, chase, play, and fetch — preferably outdoors for hours.
To keep up the energy to do all these things, dogs need to eat the best food for Lab puppies in two meals a day — one in the morning and one in the evening If you leave dry dog food out for puppies to graze on all day, they will consume it all and come asking for more.
Creating good feeding habits for your new Labrador puppy will take discipline right from the outset. Those sad eyes will try to convince you to feed them dry dog food more often. However, you need to develop the willpower to ensure your dog doesn’t get used to begging for food from you and other family members.
Five Foods To Fuel Your Lab Puppy
There are countless dog food brands on the market that say they will give your Labrador or any large breed puppy what it needs, listing ingredients from pure proteins to natural grains. However, you want to find the best dog food for Lab puppies. Let’s take a close look at five foods and snacks to see what benefits they offer to large breed puppies, such as your Labrador:
1. Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon Recipe Dog Treats
These wholesome, all-natural, tasty, bite-sized dog treats are sure to get your Lab’s attention when you are trying to get a puppy to focus as they learn new commands. The scent itself is mouth-watering and sure to keep their sweet puppy eyes on you when you need to distract them.
This Wellness Core product’s mixture of pure meat protein is augmented with additional fruits and veggies to gives your growing Labrador puppy a wide variety of nutrients to make it healthy and strong. These treats are specially formulated for dogs under one year of age, ensuring its ingredients support the growth spurts in Lab puppies during those vital early months of development.
With only premium ingredients, they contain no low-quality meat by-products or fillers, such as corn, wheat, or dairy products. They are free from unnecessary artificial colors and flavors that your Labrador puppy doesn’t need in its daily diet.
These perfectly sized treats can be given daily and can fit into your coat pocket while out for a walk or just waiting for the right moment to try out that new trick! For variety, you can also get them in the additional flavor of chicken and carrot, which your dog will also love.
As a natural source of DHA and Omega-3 oils, these treats support your Lab’s healthy, water-resistant coat and its brain development. For a Labrador that loves water, it’s important to keep a lustrous coat.
- Made exclusively from all-natural, premium ingredients and nothing else
- Handy, bite-sized portions make it easy to quickly fish one out during an impromptu training session
- As a soft treat, they deliver an enticing scent that keeps your Lab puppy focused on you at all times.
- Extra vegetable-based nutrients make this a well-rounded snack.
- Designed for large breed puppies, like a Labrador, in their vital first year of life as they grow the most in height and bulk
- No low-quality meat by-products or fillers to clog up their system unnecessarily
- Free of corn, wheat, and dairy products, which can cause skin allergies
- One bag of treats fits conveniently in a pocket while out for a walk or heading to puppy class
- Also comes in of chicken and carrot flavor, for variety’s sake
- Salmon oils provide DHA and Omega-3 oils for best brain development.
- Fish oils also support the undercoat’s protection when they head for a swim.
- Hard to break into smaller pieces, which you want to do to stretch them out since they cost more than other snacks
- Smoke-flavored varieties have added chemicals
- Hard pieces inside may make you nervous to give them to puppies
- The scent from soft pieces leaves a smell on your hands.
2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Real buffalo meat is the first ingredient in this dog food, followed by other real animal protein ingredients including meats such as bison, roasted venison, and beef. This ensures a high ratio of lean nutrition designed to help support the best rate of growth and development of strong muscles in Lab and other large breed puppies.
This dog food arises from a natural, grain-free recipe that has additional vitamins and powerful antioxidants drawn from real fruits and vegetables. Together, these ingredients support overall health. Additionally, the presence of natural fish oils in this puppy food will protect your Lab from the cold in the winter and the chill of lake water all year round.
This dog food is made with ingredients from trusted and sustainable sources. It contains no grain, corn, wheat, fillers, artificial flavors, or other additives. These omissions make this puppy food recipe perfect for Lab puppies with sensitive skin or tummies. That saves you from cleaning up fewer messes in your house.
Based on a nutrient-rich and highly digestible recipe, this dog food has proprietary a K9-strain probiotic blend to help support your Labrador companion’s digestive health.
Made in the USA by a family-owned and run company, this brand of dog food was created with the most scientifically advanced food safety protocols if you are concerned about how it is produced for your Labrador and the people who make it.
- Made with a focus on providing protein, beginning primarily with buffalo meat
- Next ingredients on the food label are additional meats: bison, venison, and beef among them
- With such a high ratio of protein in this puppy food, it develops strong bones, ligaments, and tendons in fast-growing Labrador puppies.
- The natural recipe is grain-free
- Extra vitamins added from real vegetables, and fruit aims to make it the best puppy food
- Additional antioxidants in the food prevent inflammation in puppies’ joints and organs
- With a double dose of omega-3 and omega-6 oils in this food, the undercoat in your Labrador will flourish and keep him warm.
- The presence of these oils also supports other functions, such as a healthy brain and eyes.
- Absent of grain, corn, wheat, and any other fillers that could cause indigestion or allergies
- No unneeded artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- K9-strain probiotic blend to help support digestive tract health.
- Made in the USA by a family-owned and run company
- Follows the best scientifically advanced food safety protocol
- This food has a higher carb content than some other puppy food on the market
- Contain ocean fish meal as its 17th listed ingredient, without specifying what type of fish, which raises questions
- Contains chicken meal, a common allergen
- Small amounts of beef and venison make their contributions less stellar
- The parent company has had several recalls of other brands of dog food
3. American Journey Lamb
This brand of dog food fuels your growing puppy’s everyday adventures as it explores the world and all its wonders. Its main ingredient is deboned lamb, which is rich in protein and amino acids that your puppy needs to keep your large breed puppy growing muscles lean.
This puppy food for Labs is made to meet specific nutritional requirements for a puppy, with a flavor that will have her bouncing as you fill her bowl with food.
Sweet potatoes and chickpeas give a unique flavor to provide your developing puppy with energy that will last from early morning wake-up calls to late-night tug-of-war sessions.
This dog food recipe omits grain, corn, wheat, and soy. The best news is that it means no fillers and, even better, fewer sloppy poops to clean up in the yard or while out on your daily walks.
Boosted with nutritious fruits and vegetables like blueberries, carrots, and dried kelp provide this food with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants for immune system support, and phytonutrients. As a result, your dog is getting fiber to keep food moving efficiently through its digestive system.
Salmon oil and flaxseed in this food provide omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, including long-chain DHA, which helps support your dog’s skin and coat, brain, and eye development. All these elements come together to fuel your dog’s growth from sweet, fuzzy puppy to long-time companion.
- Real, deboned lamb in this food provides a powerful hit of pure protein to help lanky pups gain weight
- Coupled with amino acids, the meat supports the best growth of lean muscle tissue for long, steam-blowing runs
- Designed specifically for a puppy’s nutritional needs as they learn and thrive in their new home
- Delicious flavor that keeps them coming back for more
- Added sweet potatoes and chickpeas for unique taste and extra nutrients
- Fuels high-energy dogs for endless play sessions that are as fun for you as they are for them
- Devoid of corn, wheat, or soy to avoid digestive distress or allergies
- No fillers so you pay for quality food only
- Added elements from fruits and vegetables, such as kelp, carrots, and blueberries, provide extra vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
- Their antioxidants also beef up your fur baby’s immune system
- Salmon oil and flaxseed in this food deliver the best doses of omega-3 and omega-6 oils
- Long-chain DHA in the oils boosts healthy coat, eyes, and brain
- The second ingredient is chicken meal, which is misleading for owners of dogs with that allergy
- 7th and 8th ingredients of dried plain beet pulp and pea protein could be considered fillers
- Contains low levels of omega-3 and omega-6 oils
- Contains more carbs than some other brands
4. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula with Probiotics Dry Dog Food
Your puppy may be portable at the moment, but that won’t last! You can help the best transition to a big, strong, large breed puppy with this combination of gentle-on-the-tummy chicken and rice. These comfort foods do more than get him drooling; they lay the groundwork for a healthy, long life.
This brand of dry dog food has been cultivated for larger furry friends who will weigh more than 50 pounds by early adulthood, this food provides all the necessary ingredients needed as your dog blows through every growing stage from his first day home until his second birthday.
Starting with chicken as the first ingredient, this puppy food for Labs delivers the protein your dog counts on. Two doses daily provide the essentials your Lab puppy requires to grow up playfully, healthy, and strong. Thanks to the protein content, you can rest assured that you’re feeding your pet a complete meal without having to supplement his meals with other vitamins.
The addition of compounds from omega-rich cold-water fish oils helps support your puppy as it develops its sight and brain. This helps with training and learning as a puppy discovers new adventures while exploring the trails with you and your family.
This puppy food has live probiotics to keep his tummy happy and support his immune health. This extra layer of protection will help when he treats himself to eating sticks and other delights from your yard.
- Chicken and rice are a tried-and-true standard for any puppy food that has fed countless dogs for decades
- These key two ingredients in this puppy food alone are gentle on your Lab puppy’s sensitive tummy
- Designed for any large breed puppy destined to grow into beloved pets that weigh more than 50 pounds
- Supports healthy development of bones to carry that affable bulk of muscle, fur, and drool that you love so much
- Provides essential nutrients to support every stage of growth within the key first two years of life
- No need to change dog food as your puppy evolves into an adult dog
- High-protein recipe
- Live probiotics support gut health and immunity against viruses that can hit puppies hard
- The established brand has led the industry for generations (in human years, that is!)
- Easy to scoop and store with no mess
- This dog food contains small amounts of glycerin, a natural sweetener
- Contains traces of soybean oil, instead of omega-3 omega-6, and can lead to allergies
- Has garlic oil, which has been linked to canine anemia since it attacks red blood cells at a subclinical level
5. Tylee’s Human-Grade Chicken Jerky Dog Treats
These treats are sliced from 100 percent chicken breast–just like you probably eat. They come from a really simple premise: less is more. Its one ingredient has been thinly sliced and dried to create a divine delicacy that is as chewy as it is irresistible.
Each bite of this dog food remains delightfully fresh since these are made by dehydration, rather than exposure to chemical additives. That means you know what your dog is eating, without second-guessing about any additives.
In your hands, you will have the best portable protein that you can pull out at any time to reward your dog’s good behavior. You can break them into smaller pieces to share at the dog park, or so you have more to encourage your large breed dog to do what you say.
On top of fielding a young Lab’s energy, this high-protein snack 76 percent protein and vital amino acids every time you give some to your pet project. It also provides all the flavor of your dog craves.
With a rich, meaty flavor, these are ideal ‘thank you’ when your dog sits, comes, or performs that trick you’ve been working on together. If your dog loves to chew, these snacks’ enticing texture gives them a bit of a challenge and burns off a little more energy, saving your shoes from teeth marks for another day!
- Made from 100 percent chicken breast, making for a short ingredient list
- Quality of meat is equal to that served to your pet’s human companions
- Full of meaty, mouth-watering flavor, which can distract your Lab when you need some ‘me’ time
- Chewy and irresistible to Labs who love to keep their mouths busy
- Meat is thinly sliced then dehydrated in a pure and simple process
- Free of chemical preservatives
- No worrying for you about toxins produced in drying process
- Easy to break into bite-sized pieces
- Enticing training treat, due to its scent and taste
- Suitable for any breed of dog, in case your Lab is friends or roommates with a Chihuahua or other small dog
- Delivers 76 percent protein in each handful
- Keeps up your dog’s energy with small snacks
- Provides essential amino acids for growing dogs
- Portable and light to carry
- They need to be used within a few weeks or they go moldy
- The treats tend to fall about when jostled, so you lose some snacks when they crumble in the bottom of the bag
- Must be stored in a cool, dry place so they don’t travel well on hot days
- Sold in small quantities so you go through a bag quickly with a big dog
Tips That You Might Want To Know First:
The Danger Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
Since a Labrador is such a big dog, they are already carrying a pretty solid weight on their joints. If you give in and feed them whatever dry dog food they want, they will easily pack on extra pounds that will strain those joints. Therefore, you need the best puppy food for Labs without any fillers.
Labrador Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, a common disorder where the ball of bone no longer stays inside the socket of the hip joint. This is extremely painful and limits your dog’s mobility. That, in turn, will lead to more weight gain and more stress on your beloved dog’s body. One way to avoid this tragedy is to make sure your Labrador puppy gets the protein it needs in the best dog food to build strong bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles when it is young. While hip dysplasia can be genetic in dogs, you can prevent it in four different ways:
- Control your dog’s weight by feeding it only the amount of dry dog food listed on the side of the bag;
- Getting your dog lots of regular exercises (which usually means you are getting lots too by going for walks or throwing a ball repeatedly);
- Giving your dog only infrequent, healthy snacks, such as crunchy carrots or celery stalks; and
- Providing a daily dose of glucosamine, a shellfish-based supplement to support a dog’s hip joints, usually served with its food.
(Special note: Never feed your dog any food with onions, grapes, or chocolate. These “people foods” are very toxic since your Labrador cannot digest certain compounds within them. Many puppies owners have had their hearts broken after a cherished pet inadvertently eats these items.)
Training Your Dog With Food
Another common issue is relying on food to train your Labrador puppy. If you slip him or her a treat every time they come or sit, puppies will come to expect a bite of food every time. More and more trainers are encouraging dog owners to incorporate food into their lessons. Since Labs are so food-driven, they do respond enthusiastically to this type of incentive.
If you train with food, only do so to get your Lab puppy to learn a new skill, such as sitting or giving its paw. Once it has mastered this skill, you will no longer need to provide this reward. The animal understands what it needs to do so it should listen to you because you give a command, not to get food every time.
Since Labrador puppies can be stubborn, you will want to train yours well, for its safety. There will be times when you need to call your dog away from danger – such as a busy road or a bristly porcupine – without them hesitating. The last thing you want is an injured pet and a giant veterinarian bill.
Training also builds a bond between you and your Lab puppy. Make sure you make it fun with lots of encouragement and praise when they respond to your command. Food should become a bonus, not always a regular thing.
Keep up the training with games, such as hide and seek or fetch, as you throw the ball in different directions. This will keep puppies engaged and learning as they age. It will also help keep you young and that’s one of the best reasons to get the best dog friend you can find.
So, what is the best dog food to feed your large breed puppy? While new trends come and go, Purina Pro Plan has been a staple with a loyal following for years and with good reason. The simple ingredients in this dry dog food make it clear with it is selling, with no surprises. The recipe supports the growth of Labrador puppies with a no-nonsense formulation.
The company doesn’t try to dazzle you with fancy or trendy meats. If you have a Lab, you know they will eat anything you put in front of them, so you could go with another puppy food for Labs in any price range with any sexy concoction. Your role is to provide your dog with the best puppy food that will fill them up and keep them going and growing.
If you are concerned about the questionable ingredients listed above, and their effect on your puppy, you can switch brands. Good luck finding a puppy food that doesn’t have something in the small print that makes you ask questions. You could overthink or overpay for your puppy food. Or you could just buy Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Chicken and watch your puppy enjoy every bite.
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