Taking care of a Labrador puppy means providing them with the right amount of food that contains all the necessary nutrients.
Following the Labrador feeding chart by age will give you a rough idea of how much to feed your puppy.
Labradors are known for their playfulness, and sweet disposition, and are good at fetch which is why you should provide them with the best nutrition to support their growth.
Ensure that the food contains the right amounts of protein, carbs, fat, and vitamins.
You should avoid feeding your Labrador puppy too much food as they are prone to joint issues, but also avoid feeding them less food as they will be malnourished and not reach their growth milestones.
Continue reading to understand how much to feed a Labrador puppy.
How Much Should A Labrador Puppy Eat?
The amount of food that your Labrador puppy should eat depends on a combination of certain factors such as activity level, weight, type, and brand of food.
Heavier and bigger puppies need to eat more food than smaller puppies, and dogs that have active lives will need more calories than those living sedentary life.
Fortunately, all dog food contains a feeding guideline on the packaging to get you started.
It is important that you create and maintain a feeding schedule for your puppy so that they can maintain a healthy weight and develop good habits.
Consult your pet nutritionist or vet, to learn more about how much food you should give your specific Labrador.
Labrador Feeding Chart By Age
A Labrador can be fed between one and six cups of food depending on their level of activity, age, and type of food.
The amount will differ from one puppy to the other as every puppy has there own requirements.
Therefore, you should follow a feeding guideline that is indicated in the dog food brands or the one designed by your vet.
As a Labrador owner, it is important to understand that the nutritional requirements of your puppy are different at each stage as they grow.
Therefore, adult and puppy dogs should be trained to eat the correct amount at the right schedule. Ensure that you keep a Labrador puppy feeding chart with you.
Calculating the Resting Energy Requirement (RER) of your puppy and doubling it can help you get the right number of calories to feed them.
RER = (Weight in Kilograms)3/4 multiplied by 70
So, if your puppy’s weight is 9 kg their daily intake will be:
70(9)3/4 = 364*2 = 728 calories.
4-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
At the age of four weeks, your puppy is still dependent on the mother’s milk, but you can now introduce puppy food.
To avoid upsetting your puppy’s stomach, ensure that the introduction process is quite slow and done over a week. Feed them a mixture of ¾ water and ¼ puppy food.
Feed your puppy a little amount, in the beginning, to ensure that they are ready to eat. If they are not ready, do not force the food on them. Be patient with your puppy and they will be on puppy food soon.
6-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
By six weeks, your puppy should be more willing to eat the food and the mother will slowly move away and spend less time with them.
The puppy will be relying less on the milk. When your puppy starts eating all the food you offer them, you can reduce the amount of water and increase the food amount.
The puppy will start becoming active and start exploring away from the mother as they no longer rely on the mother. By the end of the week into week seven, the puppy will be able to eat just puppy food.
Ensure that you feed them dry food that is full of healthy protein.
8-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
Your puppy should be fully weaned and ready to go to their new home at 8 weeks old.
They should be eating three to four times per day and need about 2 cups of food. however, the amount can be less or more depending on your puppy’s needs.
Avoid free feeding the puppy as it may be hard to know exactly how much they are eating. Create a feeding schedule as early as possible and this will help them develop good habits in the future.
10-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
At ten weeks, the puppy is now in their new home and settling in.
It is important that you keep feeding them the same food they were eating at the breeder’s home until they get used to their new home so that they are not too stressed.
Your puppy’s appetite should have increased now and will need two to three cups of food per day and still eat three to four times.
Put the food out for only 10 to 15 minutes and take the bowl away if they do not finish.
12-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
When your Labrador turns three months, you should reduce the amount of food to two cups of food and feed them three times per day.
This can be tricky if you are working but it is important that you maintain their feeding schedule as this is a developmental stage.
Three meals per day will help your growing puppy develop their digestive system and ensure that they are getting their nutrition.
14-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
At this stage, your puppy is potty trained as they now have control over their bladder but may need a reminder to go out.
This is also the beginning of the teething stage and they will be biting a lot of things including hard dog food and chew toys.
They should eat about two cups of food distributed over three meals.
16-Week-Old Labrador Puppy
This is the stage where the puppy has got a lot of energy, meaning you can adjust the amount depending on their activity level.
But you should still maintain feeding them two cups of food but can reduce the mealtimes to twice per day.
6 Months – 12 Months Old Labrador Puppy
From 6 months onwards, your puppy can be fed two to three cups of food but reduce the frequency to twice per day. Watch out for the amount of food your puppy eats to avoid them gaining weight.
Also, ensure that they are getting enough exercise to burn off the food.
12 Months & Above Labradors
From this age, your Labrador is becoming an adult. So, you should transition them to adult food. Ensure that the switching process is done slowly to avoid causing vomiting and diarrhea to your puppy.
Your Labrador can be fed once per day now and the amount reduced to about two cups of food.
Understanding Labrador Puppy Nutritional Needs
If you stick to feeding your Labrador high-quality food, be assured that they are getting all the necessary nutrients.
However, it is useful to know the types of nutrients that they need and the ingredients to watch out for. The following are the main components of a balanced diet for your puppy:
- Protein – the first ingredient of your puppy’s food should be protein as it has amino acids that help them develop strong muscles. Your Labrador needs 22% of the protein in their diet and sources can be chicken, lamb, and beef.
- Carbohydrates – healthy carbs are necessary for providing energy for your puppy. Sources like barley, rice, and oatmeal are great. Healthy carbs can also be found in veggies such as sweet potatoes, peas, and lentils.
- Fiber – it helps regulate the digestive system of your puppy and helps the stool become healthier and firm. Sources include spinach, chicory root, and beet pulp.
- Omega Fatty Acids – are important for your puppy’s healthy development as it helps the eyes and brain develop healthily, make the coat and skin nourished, boost overall wellness, and help with vitamin absorption. Sources include fish oils, fish, canola oils, and fish.
- Vitamins and Minerals – are needed for improving the immune system which helps in protecting your puppy from diseases. Veggies and real fruits like cranberries and blueberries are great sources.
How Many Times A Day To Feed A Labrador Puppy?
The frequency of feeding your Labrador depends mostly on their age. Puppies need to eat three to four times per day while senior and adult Labradors can eat one to two times per day.
Labrador is a breed that is motivated by food, meaning that the chance of them turning down food is low.
Given their nature, it can be difficult to figure out whether they are really hungry or just food obsessed.
Since they cannot regulate their eating habits, it is important that you develop a feeding schedule to prevent them from gaining weight.
Kibble vs Wet Food For Labrador Puppies
You can feed your Labrador puppy either kibble or wet food. Both types of food provide your dog with the best nutrition they need to grow and develop.
When you feed your dog kibble, ensure that you choose one that is grain-free and formulated from whole food sources so that your dog can digest it easily.
Also, check the label on the packaging and make sure that it contains the perfect balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Kibble is cheaper than wet foods and stores easily as it does not require refrigeration. It also helps clean the teeth by removing tartar and buildup when your puppy chews it.
Wet food also provides balanced and complete nutrition for your Labrador.
It contains DHA, EPA, and glucosamine which helps supports heart and joint health in your dog. It provides more hydration to your puppy as it contains high moisture content.
However, wet food needs to be put in the fridge once opened otherwise it will go bad.
Some dog owners mix wet food and kibble to give their dogs the best of both worlds.
Switching From Puppy Food To Adult Food
Usually, puppies’ dietary needs are different from those of adult dogs. Therefore, most premium dog food brands have different specially formulated puppy food.
Puppies can be fed with puppy food until they are about 12 to 15 months old then transition to adult dog food.
When transitioning your dog from puppy food to adult dog food remember to introduce the feed gradually for about seven to ten days by mixing small amounts of the adult dog food with the puppy food.
Decrease the puppy food gradually every day with a simultaneous increase in adult dog food. This will helps the pup o adjust to the new meal easily.
What If My Labrador Puppy Won’t Eat?
Experienced Labrador Retriever owners will tell you that not all puppies eat a lot. Studies also have indicated that puppies eat more when fed with other puppies or in a group.
When the puppy gets to a new home, they might go off the food for the first few days.
They might eat a few kibbles and then leave it. Your puppy may also prefer to eat from your hand and not the bowl.
However, call your vet if your puppy refuses to eat for more than four hours. Call immediately if your puppy looks unwell. There are a few reasons you need to keep an eye on because they indicate serious problems:
- Your pup neither drink nor eat
- No bowel movements
- Suddenly puppy stops eating and does not try to eat.
Can You Freefeed A Labrador Puppy?
Free feeding is not a good idea for Labrador. T is better to use feeding schedules.
When the puppies are free-fed, it means that the puppy is left with food at all times and they may tend to eat it at any time even when not hungry.
Sticking to a feeding routine will help your dog remain healthy and prevent weight gain.
A feeding schedule also helps with house training. When they feed at the same time every day they will learn to release themselves at specific times hence minimizing accidents of poop or pee.
Best Puppy Dog Food For Labrador
1. IAMS Smart Puppy Large Breed – Real Chicken
This puppy food is made specifically for large-breed puppies. It has real and farm-raised chicken as the number 1 ingredient to build strong muscles and provide essential nutrients for strong bones.
This puppy food contains 22 key nutrients found in the mother’s milk. The Omege-3 DHA in these minerals is important for healthy cognition. Antioxidants are added to make it a better immune booster.
This puppy food is made with high-quality animal protein and does not have artificial preservatives, fillers, or flavors for balanced nutrition.
- Complete and balanced puppy nutrition
- Suitable for large breeds.
- 22 nutrients to promote a strong immune system
- Meant for large breeds only
2. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food
This puppy food is rich in DHA from the omega-rich fish oil that nourishes vision and brain development. It has real lamb as the first ingredient.
It is high-quality protein hence building lean muscles. It was previously known as the FOCUS Lamb and Rice Formula.
This puppy food is fortified with live probiotics to support immune and digestive health. There are also antioxidants available for the developing immunity of the puppy.
Phosphorus and Calcium helps build strong teeth and bones. It also has Omega-6 fatty acids and Vitamin A to nourish skin and coat.
- Nourishes the coat and skin
- There is calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones.
- Live probiotics for better immunity and digestive health
- DHA for vision and brain development
3. Purina Smart Blend Natural Large Formula
This formula has real chicken as the number 1 ingredient for strong and growing muscles and a healthy heart.
The puppy food had DHA that supports brain and vision development, and four antioxidant sources for better immunity.
It also has glucosamine for appropriate growth rate and joint health. It is crunchy with tender meaty morsels for great taste.
- Protein for strong and growing muscles
- DHA for brain and vision development
- Antioxidants for strong immunity
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
4. Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Dry Food
This puppy food includes the Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe for puppies up to 12 months. It has real chicken as the main ingredient.
It has non-GMO ingredients and no chicken by-products. It has Omega-3 fatty acids for brain development.
It has Calcium for strong joints and bones. The essential antioxidants support healthy immunity.
- Calcium and antioxidants for strong immunity and bones
- Non-GMO ingredients
- High-quality protein.
5. Orijen Dog Puppy Recipe
This puppy food has a rich diet and has fresh and animal ingredients from turkey, free-run chicken, and wild-caught fish.
It comprises 85 quality animal ingredients and helps nourish the dog according to its natural and biological needs.
Origen is grain free and biologically appropriate for dogs.
- Grain-free dog food
- Animal ingredients
- Strong odor
Is A Raw Diet Healthy For A Labrador Puppy?
There are several reasons for feeding your dog a raw diet. These reasons include:
- Convenience and practicality
- Your family’s health and safety
- Your dog’s health and safety.
Most people worry about the safety of the raw diet for their dogs. They worry that their dog might choke or die from the bones when they swallow it.
You should base your decisions on how practical raw feeding is to you.
The following are the benefits of raw feeding:
- Less or nice poop – dogs fed on a raw diet have less poop and don’t smell much. This is because the raw diet suits the dog and is fully digested.
- Healthy anal glands for your dog – this is because the dogs fed on a raw diet d not produce much poop hence less pressure on the anal glands when passing poop.
- Great dental health for the dog – The grinding and crushing of the bones help dental health because of the abrasion action on the dog’s teeth.
How Much Do Labrador Puppies Grow Each Week?
A typical Labrador Retriever puppy grows around two pounds every week. By week 100 the puppy should weigh about 20 pounds.
By the time he is 18 to 20 weeks, he will be about half the expected maturity weight.
However, all dogs are different, and puppies born stronger grow faster than those born weak. The best indicator to keep an eye on is the waist.
If the waist is visible, he is growing nicely but if the waist can’t be seen means he is overweight.
If the ribcage is prominent then he is underweight. Any concerns about your dog’s weight, seek advice from the vet.
Should You Feed A Labrador Puppy Supplements?
Supplements may not be necessary if you are giving him high-quality dog food. A meal that has everything the puppy needs is okay.
Usually, puppy food has extra nutrients compared to adult food, therefore, supplements are not needed.
Supplements could even affect his health, for example, if given too much calcium, they may develop skeletal problems. Consult your vet before adding anything extra to the puppy’s diet.
How Much Water Should A Labrador Puppy Drink?
Water is good for Labrador’s diet. Water intake usually depends on the activities and size of the dog. Your Labrador needs about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight.
When puppies are transitioning to solid food they need about 0.5 cups of water every two hours.
After the full transition, the puppy needs between 0.5 and 1 fluid ounce per pound of body weight every day.
Always set a schedule for your puppy’s water intake and ensure to ration the intake too.