Labrador Feeding Guide – Australia
Labradors are one of Australia’s most beloved dog breeds, and for good reason. These pups are playful and friendly bundles of energy that brighten the days of thousands of Aussie families. So what exactly does your Labrador need to live a fit and healthy life?
If you have just adopted your very own Labrador, you might have a lot of concerns around feeding them. Puppies can be a lot of hard work, but making the right choices concerning their feeding is essential for setting up your dog for the best start in life. In this Labrador feeding guide, we’ll take you through the key stages of puppyhood and explain what kinds of foods and what amounts are best for your growing puppy.
We’ll also cover some of the common health and wellness questions you might have, such as how often you should feed your Labrador, or what kind of diet you should start them on. You’ll also learn more about the weaning process, how to use treats to your advantage, and a few great all natural dry dog food options to feed your Labrador.
How Much Should You Feed a Labrador Puppy?
The best food for Labrador puppies to consume in their first 4 weeks of life is milk from their mother. This specialised care is usually left to trained breeders or veterinarians, who are knowledgeable in caring for pups with no mother to nurse from.
If you have recently brought a Labrador puppy into your family, they are most likely older than 8 weeks, and so have started to eat solid foods. It’s good for pups to get used to eating dry food while they are still young, so before four months it is advised to include some dry food in their diet.
You can do this by mixing some dry food with specially formulated puppy milk to form a soft mixture. You can feed your puppy this mixture three to four times a day.
Over time, you can reduce the amount of milk you include in this mixture, until they are at the point where they are happily eating dry foods. Once your pup has adapted to eating solid foods, you should consult with the specific feeding guide for the brand of dog food you are using, as different brands have different caloric value.
Read on to learn how much you should feed a Labrador puppy as they get older.
4 Months – 10 Months
Labrador puppies do a lot of growing in their first year of life! In their four months living with you, and once they are weaned off milk, Labradors are likely to reach almost half their adult weight.
With this rapid growth can come some risks. Labradors can be susceptible to bone growth disorders, like hip dysplasia and joint abnormalities that can start in puppyhood. Because of this, it’s vital to feed your pup the right amount of food at each stage of puppyhood.
Remember to consult your food brand’s feeding guide or speak with your veterinarian to determine how much to feed your lab.
10 Months – 12 Months
Your puppy’s body will reach maturity as they approach their first birthday. Labradors will still be very active during this time, but won’t be as high energy. The amount of food you feed your Lab per meal during this time won’t change much, but the amount of times a day you feed them will. Once puppyhood is over, you can move to feeding your lab twice a day instead of 3 or 4 times.
Labs are still very active in their adolescent years, and so should be fed with this in mind. The transition from puppy food to adult food should happen at around 15 months. This is because, being a breed who grows very quickly, you want to ensure that you are feeding them according to their large breed needs.
What Should You Feed Labrador Puppies?
You need to take special care when considering what you should feed your Labrador puppy, as they require different nutrients compared to their adult counterparts. Because puppies’ stomachs are smaller, they get full much faster.
Labradors are large breeds, which means they need plenty of nutrients and calories as they grow to ensure they go from being active puppies to healthy adult dogs.
Labrador puppies need to eat food that is higher in proteins and fats compared to adults. Protein is essential to your pup’s developing tissue, while fats will assist in healthy brain, skin, and eye function. Hypro Premium’s Turkey & Lamb Grain Free kibble, for example, contains fatty acids such as Omega 3 and emu oil, which are essential for ensuring that your puppy’s joints and muscles can keep up with your puppy’s naturally high energy levels.
Carbohydrates are also essential for supporting your active pup. Aside from nutritionally complete dry puppy food, Labrador puppies can benefit from the extra protein that raw meat can provide them with, such as lean beef, turkey, chicken, or fish.
How Much Should You Feed a Labrador Adult Dog?
The amount of food you give your Labrador is determined by their weight, energy levels, and age and reproductive status. For most adult Labradors, around 1250 to 1780 calories per day from high quality food sources is ideal. Female Labradors, who tend to be around 5 to 10 kilos lighter than males, may need less food, as will less active dogs. Dogs who need less food, whether they are less active or simply older, will need to be kept on maintenance levels. . You may want to alter the amount of food you are feeding your Labrador based on how calorically dense their food is.
Adult Labradors should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Their daily allotment of food should be split between these two meals. For most dogs, it is recommended that you exercise your dog before meal times to assist with potty training.
However, some dogs may benefit from exercise after eating: especially high energy Labs with a lot of energy to burn off. You should also try to give your Labrador a high quality food that is specially designed for large breeds, especially if they are very active.
There will be times in your pup’s life where their feeding needs might change. For example, less active senior dogs will need to eat less food as they will not be burning calories as quickly as a lively little puppy will. Senior dogs may benefit from a higher fibre and lower calorie diet.
Your dog may also develop chronic or short term medical conditions that require specially formulated food. For example, Labradors can be particularly susceptible to obesity. As a breed, they tend to be one of the most commonly obese dogs in Australia. This is due to several factors, including a genetic predisposition to unhealthy weight gain and a famously large appetite. However, plenty of Labs suffering from obesity are simply overfed and not getting enough exercise.
If you are unsure about what you should feed your Labrador, you should always consult your vet. They will be able to determine if your dog is suffering from any chronic health issues, and they will be able to create a nutritional plan to help keep your dog healthy and happy for many years to come.
Best Food to Feed Labradors
When it comes to sorting out your Labrador’s feeding schedule, you’ll need to consider what foods are best to give your pup so they can grow up fit and healthy.
Wet food for Labradors is often high in protein and fat, and is better at keeping your dog hydrated than other food sources. However, it often doesn’t keep as well as dry foods.
Dry dog kibble is a good option for your Labrador as it keeps well and can help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Chewing on dry food can be especially good for teething Labrador puppies.
A raw diet can be a good option for your Labrador as you have more control over the kinds of food your pup is consuming. For this reason, raw diets require a lot more work on your part as an owner.
Make sure you check the ingredients on any prepared dog foods you feed your Labrador to make sure they contain the right ratio of nutrients. Always check with your vet before changing your puppy’s diet.
How To Make Sure Your Labrador Stays Healthy and Fit
There are a few key factors to consider when it comes to keeping your Labrador fit and healthy. First, it is essential that your dog’s diet contains the right balance of nutrients. Different dog breeds will need different kinds of nutrient support as they go through the various stages of their life. As their owner, it is important that you monitor your Labrador’s food intake and behaviour around food. It can also be easy to overestimate the amount of food your Labrador needs to stay fit and healthy – especially if they are skilled at begging! You need to make sure that your dog is eating the right amount of food for their breed, their size, and activity level.
You should also avoid foods that, while delicious for humans, can be harmful or toxic for dogs. Foods like onions, nuts, cooked bones, and artificial sweeteners are commonly included in foods for humans, but can cause serious health issues for your Labrador.
Not only does exercise keep their bodies healthy, but a run in the park is also great for your dog’s social and psychological development too.
How Often Should I Feed My Labrador?
No matter how old your Lab is, it is important to keep to a consistent feeding schedule. This can assist in house and obedience training, as well as monitoring your dog’s food intake. A feeding schedule can help you keep track of any changes in behaviour around food that might signal illness or physiological stress.
You will need to change your Labrador’s feeding schedule as they grow from a puppy to an adult dog, as per the below:
|Under 8 weeks||4 times a day|
|8 weeks – 11 months||3 times a day|
|Over 12 months||2 times a day|
All dogs should be fed at regular intervals; adult dogs should be fed once in the morning, once in the evening.
You should consider how exercise fits into your dog’s routine. It can be useful for your dog to get some exercise after their evening meal in particular, to make sure they have time to burn off all that energy before bedtime.
How Many Treats Should I Feed My Labrador?
Treats can be a very useful part of your dog’s diet. Not only does your dog love them, but they are excellent tools for training your pet. Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to encourage your dog to perform tricks, and behave in a safe and productive way as a part of your family. Treats can help your dog understand to avoid antisocial behaviours like nipping, biting, and food guarding behaviours. As you train your dog using treats, figure out what treats your dog will respond to best. High value treats, like peanut butter, pieces of chicken, or freeze-dried liver, are important for getting your dog excited about training.
Treats can also be a lovely way for pet owners to show affection for their four-legged friends. However, treats should not make up any more than 10% of your adult dog’s total caloric intake. Don’t let treating your dog turn into overfeeding them.
Hypro Premium for Adult Dogs
Hypro Premium offers a range of tasty and nutritious foods that are a great source of all the nutrients your Labrador needs to stay fit and healthy, at every stage of life.
For puppies weaning off milk and onto solid dry food, try Grain Free Turkey & Lamb kibble. Its expertly crafted formula includes natural ingredients like turkey, lamb, beans, peas, potato, carrot, spinach, and natural oils that are vital to healthy development. Grain Free Turkey & Lamb kibble supports joint, skin, and coat, as well as immune system development.
For adult Labradors, Grain Free Chicken & Duck kibble is a great choice for supporting the health and wellbeing of your large breed dog. This kibble is full of real lean meat proteins that are essential to maintaining muscle and joint health, as well as high-quality fats to promote sustained energy. Grain Free Chicken & Duck is perfect for Labradors, which will help keep your dog’s weight at a healthy level.
All Hypro Premium high quality pet foods contain antioxidants and minerals that assist in keeping dogs of all ages healthy. And if you’re worried about maintaining your Labrador feeding schedule, Hypro Premium offers excellent affordable delivery options so your dog never runs out of that delicious Hypro Premium goodness.