Labradors are short medium-coated sizeable-sized dog breeds. Knowing the best diet for labradors will be required of any owner or breeder. Labradors are outgoing, active, and affectionate companions with a lot of energy. During the first four weeks of your labrador’s life, you will not have to worry about its diet as it will get most of its nutrition from its mother’s milk.
After the 4th week, you will have to start weaning your labrador puppy. You will need to introduce the best diet for your labrador puppy that provides the right nutritional ingredients and is appropriate for your labrador’s large size and age.
When trying to put together the best diet for Labradors, especially puppies, you have to bear one thing in mind: they require lots of energy from sources that will not fatten them. The percentage of ingredients your labrador needs depends on age and size.
Generally, the main nutritional requirement for labradors is protein, but growing labrador pups need a minimum of 22%. In comparison, adults require a minimum of 18%. Proteins provide energy, helps build and repair tissues, and keep the immune and musculoskeletal system strong.
The second most important nutrient is fat. Fat is necessary for functioning and developing body cells, nerves, muscles, and tissues. As with protein, the requirements of adults and puppies differ; puppets need at least 8%, and adults require 5%. As its owner, you should add other ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates to make the best diet for Labradors.
To provide the best diet for your labrador to keep them healthy, be mindful not to overfeed them as they can quickly gain a lot and become overweight. For this reason, it is crucial to be able to tell if your labrador is fit or overweight.
What To Feed Your Labrador?
When it comes to variety, Labradors, just like humans, have a lot of diet options. Variety doesn’t help provide a taste of different types of food; it also helps provide them with a lot of nutrients. To make up the best diet for labradors, you must have a variety of meals to feed them, from kibbles to raw meats and vegetables.
1. Kibble: This is a dry dog food that is rich in a lot of nutrients and is made from carefully selected ingredients like high protein meats, wholesome grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Kibble will be a perfect diet for your labrador dog.
2. Canned Foods: This is another example of dog food, but unlike kibble, this is wet. If you choose to add canned foods to your labrador’s diet, you meet to check the ingredients of the one you wish to use, as some of them have sugar, which is terrible for your labrador’s health.
3. Semi-Moist: This is a perfect way to spice up your labrador’s diet. This diet is a mixture of wet and dry dog food and will be a perfect addition to the diet of your labrador.
4. Barf(bone and raw food): A BARF diet supplies your labrador with proteins, no carbs, and natural fat. But, bacteria and pathogens like salmonella are a potential health hazard. This diet has, however, caused a lot of controversies as some still consider it to be a cranky and extremist fad.
5. Vegetables: Vegetables can be cut up and given to labradors as a treat. They are one of the best diets for labradors as they love vegetables.
6. Home-cooked Dog Meals: This is a beautiful way to monitor what your labrador takes in. If you have the time, you can make home-cooked dog meals and add them to your diet for labradors.
Is My Labrador Fit Or Overweight?
Being overweight is unhealthy for your labrador, leading to various health complications like heart disease, arthritis, etc.
The ideal weight for an adult female labrador is 55-70 lbs(25-32 KG), while that of the adult male is 65-80 lbs( 29-36 KG). Once your labrador is way past this optimum range, it can be considered overweight. Health experts consider dogs to be an oversight if they have 25-40% body fat content. A healthy labrador’s standard body fat content is between 15-20%.
You can also use your eyesight and touch to determine if your labrador is overweight. Your labrador’s waist should be visible from above with a modest tuck behind the ribs, it should also have an upward-sloping line from the lower chest to the hind leg, and when you run your fingers down the side of your labrador, you should feel its ribs.
Labradors can be overweight for several reasons and some of which are;
• Improper diet
• Labrador’s feeding habit
• Insatiable cravings
• Genetic issues
• Underlying medical conditions
• High body fat index and
• Lack of exercise
Weight Loss Tips For Overweight Labradors
• Practice proper meal planning
• Reduce your dog’s food intake and control the portions
• Account for treats and snacks
• Keep track of weight loss journey
• Exercise regularly
• Keep it consistent
The best diet for your labrador will always be one that supplies it with all the necessary nutritional ingredients, be it dry dog food, wet dog food, a mixture of both, or any other meal you choose. It is also essential that in a bid to keep your labrador healthy, you do not overfeed it.