You wanted an enthusiastic and lively dog so you decided to buy a Labrador. You inquired and carefully looked for a well-known breeder from which to buy a Labrador puppy. You made the purchase, and now what's next?
One of the questions I constantly get is: How should I feed my Labrador puppy. I get this question so often so I decided to write about it.
A few basic things before we get started:
- The information below is for healthy, disease-free puppies
- Every puppy is different and there is no one for all diet but rather just some rules to guide you
First, we need to understand what types of food is on the market:
- Dry food for the puppies, are those small biscuits that you find in packed in plastic bags of different sizes.
- Wet dog food, is usually found in cans and looks like a stew
- Homemade food is usually moist.
I will exclude home-cooked food from the start. If you are not an expert in dog nutrition, you can do more harm than good to your puppy, because you will not offer him a balanced diet. If you are an expert in dog nutrition, you probably don't have to read this article. 😊
The immunity and the diet of the Labrador puppies are closely linked. A good diet is a balanced one, with a minimum of 33% protein intake and does not contain forbidden foods for dogs or harmful substances like Butyl Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Ethoxyquin or Propylene Glycol (PG). These substances cause liver and kidneys damage and can weaken the immune system.
Therefore, what do we feed a Labrador puppy?
Quality food. Regardless if it’s dry or moist food, if the quality is good will offer a balanced diet and an increased protein intake. Most well-known manufacturers have good products and if you compare the price and the ingredients you will easily know if it is of good quality or not.
The food he likes. The second thing to consider is whether the puppy likes the taste of the food you are giving him. Just as we prefer certain types of meat or vegetables, dogs prefer certain products because of their taste.
No supplements or mixed food. If you choose quality food from a good manufacturer, the product will have everything a Labrador puppy needs to grow healthily. By adding supplements, mixing different types of food, or changing food very often, you risk creating a nutritional imbalance.
Don't forget the rewards. Do not exaggerate with rewards but do not take them out from your puppy's diet, after all, they are rewards and should represent only a very small part of the diet.
Fresh water all the time. It applies to all dogs regardless of breed or age, they must always have a bowl of fresh water.
How much do I feed him?
Very important, how the caloric value of the food you are giving to your puppy. Each quality product must have a guide where it should say the amount of food recommended for the puppy (for that product). The feeding guide, as it is called, is usually correlated with the age and weight of the puppy.
My advice is to start with the quantity proposed by the manufacturer and watch how the puppy grows. If he gains weight too quickly, you can decrease a little the amount of food or if the puppy is too weak, you can do the opposite and increase a bit the daily food portion. Remember that the feeding guide is ultimately just a guide and each puppy is different, some being more active than others.
How do I feed them?
The recommendation is to portion the food as follows:
- Up to 3 months, the food should be divided into 4 servings per day
- between 3 and 6 months, the food should be divided into 3 portions per day
- After 6 months, the food should be divided into 2 portions per day
It is recommended that the portions be evenly distributed throughout the day (for example 3 meals a day at a distance of 4 hours).
The above distribution of portions helps the puppy to digest food easily and helps to avoid stomach pains or diarrhea.
The diet must be changed gradually over a period of about 7 days to allow the Labrador puppy to adjust to the new diet.
When you take home the Labrador puppy, it is very important to ask the breeder what food he received so far. If the breeder is a professional one, he will tell this without even asking. It is important to know which food the Labrador puppy received in the first months of life because it is recommended to continue with the same product.
Also, keep in mind that a diet change is mandatory for Labrador puppies after 8-14 months of age when the pup becomes an adult dog.