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How Much To Feed A Labrador Retriever: From Puppy To Senior

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Labrador Retrievers are wildly popular dogs, in fact, these pooches have consistently ranked as the most popular breed of dog in the United States in recent history.

Dog owners that have owned Labs in the past will certainly understand why these dogs are so beloved. Labradors are charming, intelligent, and highly trainable. This makes them perfect for outdoorsmen, those in need of a service dog, or anyone who is simply searching for a loving dog for their family.

Prospective Labrador owners will certainly want to know about the food intake of a Labrador Retriever before purchasing one of these pooches.

Luckily, if you’re considering a Labrador for yourself, this article will discuss how much food is necessary to provide your Lab with all the nutrients that it needs. Keep reading to have all of your Lab feeding questions answered.

How Much To Feed A Labrador Puppy

Feeding A Labrador Puppy

Bringing home a Labrador puppy is an experience that an owner won’t soon forget. These adorable pups are nothing but precious during their first few months of life.

However, prospective Labrador pup owners should keep in mind that their petite pooch won’t stay small for long. Instead, their Lab puppy will rapidly grow into an Adult Labrador before their very eyes.

Owning a Labrador pup will be lots of fun for the whole family, but remember that there is more to owning a puppy than just having fun. Just like other puppies, Labrador pups are a big responsibility.

Owners should consult with their vet and other experts to develop a healthy feeding pattern for their furry friend.

Most importantly, always feed your Labrador high quality food to keep them happy and healthy. These are our favorite foods!

Best Organic
Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food
9.8
  • Natural dog food for adult dogs with added vitamins, minerals and taurine
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient and a good source of protein that helps support healthy organs and maintain lean muscle mass
  • Fiber sources including peas and brown rice help support healthy digestion
  • No poultry by-product meal, fillers, or added wheat or wheat gluten ingredients and No artificial flavors or artificial preservatives
Best Overall
Royal Canin Large Breed Dry Dog Food
9.5
  • Precise nutrition specifically made for large dogs 15 months to 5 years old weighing 56–100 lb
  • Mature dog food helps support bones and large breed joint health in older dogs
  • Easy-to-digest, high-quality proteins and a balanced supply of fiber promote dog digestive health
  • EPA and DHA nourish skin and a healthy dog coat
  • Highly palatable large dog food kibble is specially designed for large adult dogs
Best Value
Purina One Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
9.2
  • Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Microbiome balance and a SmartBlend of high-quality ingredients, including prebiotic fiber for dogs, to help your pal be his best self
  • Supports your dog's strong muscles, including his healthy heart, and has high-quality carbohydrate sources for healthy energy
  • Made with omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, plus four antioxidant sources to help maintain a strong immune system

What Is The Best Food For My Labrador Retriever Puppy?

Before adopting a Labrador Retriever puppy, many owners go to great lengths to deduce the optimal food for their pup.

From raw feed to canned food from a local pet store, there are plenty of dog food options for owners to consider, but which is the best dog food?

Whether you feed your puppy a raw food diet or commercial dog foods, there are lots of ways for your pup to consume a balanced diet. There are plenty of sources that will describe the benefits of one diet over another, but remember that no one knows your puppy better than you.

The decision to feed your dog a diet that you think is best is yours to make. There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to selecting a food for your puppy.

Your pooch will likely enjoy eating wet food just as much as they enjoy commercial dog food. So long as you feed your pup an adequate amount of food, they are likely to live a long and healthy life.

If you would like specific advice about feeding your individual puppy, you may wish to consult with your veterinarian or other dog food expert.

Why Won’t My Labrador Puppy Eat?

When you first bring your puppy home, it can be alarming if your dog does not touch its puppy food during the first few days at home.

Is this cause for concern? Should an owner be worried about a dog’s eating habits during this time?

Noticing that your precious pup is not eating can be a frightening realization. Luckily, there is no need to worry about your puppy’s lack of appetite during its first few days at home.

A Labrador puppy’s first few days at home will be an overwhelming experience for your pooch. While bringing a puppy home will be very exciting from an owner’s perspective, it can initially be an unknown and frightening time for your puppy.

Prior to being welcomed to its forever home, your Lab puppy was accustomed to living with its mother and siblings. Therefore, being uprooted from this life can initially be a startling experience for a dog.

Fortunately, puppies should develop an appetite within a day or two of entering their forever home-they just need a short time to adjust to their new life.

If, after a few days, your puppy is still not eating their dog food, it may be a wise idea to have your puppy evaluated by a vet.

Feeding A Two-Month-Old Labrador Retriever

Two months old is about the earliest point at which a Labrador puppy can be brought home by their new family. This is the point in a puppy’s life where they should be weaned off of their mom’s milk or puppy formula and eating solid food such as dry food or wet food.

When a Labrador puppy begins to eat solid food, it will not be eating a ton of food. In fact, feeding these tiny pups about 3/4 cup of food should be plenty for them initially.

So, owners can start their Lab puppy off with somewhere around 0.75 cups of food when they’re 2 months old.

As your puppy grows older and gets bigger, owners should look to increase the amount of food for their Labrador pup. By the time a puppy is nearing three months old, it should be eating well over 1 cup of food every day. Some puppies may be consuming close to two cups of dog food at this time.

Feeding A Three-Month-Old Labrador Retriever

Your furry friend has likely grown a considerable amount during the month in which they’ve been a part of your family. This increase in size means that their appetite has also surely grown since bringing them home.

By the time a Labrador puppy is around 3 months old, it should be eating close to 1.5 cups of food every day. Some puppies may still be eating around 1 cup of food at three months of age, but don’t worry-your dog’s appetite will certainly increase in no time.

Large three-month-old Labrador puppies can be away a substantial amount of food as they are near four months old. Some puppies will be able to consume around 3 cups of food daily at this point in their lives, but most will be eating closer to 2 cups of dog food every day.

If your pup seems hungry and looks to be a healthy weight, there is no need for owners to be concerned about how much food their three-month-old Lab is consuming.

Feeding A Four To Five-Month-Old Labrador

Four to five months of age is a time in which Labrador puppies start to grow quickly.

Your precious pooch will start to look more like an adult with each passing day. Therefore, it is essential to feed your dog enough food to promote the weight gain that makes dogs thrive.

Four-month-old Labrador Retrievers should be given at least two cups of food daily. If you worry that your dog’s weight isn’t keeping pace with its growth, provide your furry friend with additional food to get them to a desired weight.

The biggest, most ravenous Labs will eat close to 3.5 cups of food every day. However, only dogs on the large end of the puppy spectrum will need to eat this much at this time.

Average four to five-month-old Labs should eat anywhere from 2 to 3 cups of food daily.

Feeding A Six To Nine-Month-Old Labrador Retriever

Once your Labrador Retriever reaches about 6 months old, they have surely entered the teenage stage of their lives.

Labrador Retriever teenagers are characterized by disproportionate body parts, distracted behavior, and dispositions that range from silly to ornery.

The teenage phase of a Lab’s life is vital to both its physical and mental development. Therefore, getting enough food to support such development is imperative.

A six-month-old Labrador will surely be able to eat at least 2.5 cups of food every day, but your pup may be able to eat more than that.

Owners need to pay attention to their dog’s food bowl during this time, as hungry dogs can be supplied with more Labrador food until they seem to be satiated. This will ensure proper growth for your pooch.

As your puppy reaches the point in which it is 7 to 8 months old, continue to increase the amount of food that your puppy receives.

Labrador Retriever puppies that are close to 9 months old can eat more than 4 cups of food daily. However, your furry friend is more likely to consume 2.75 to 3.75 cups of food every day when they’re nine months old.

Feeding A Ten To Twelve-Month-Old Labrador Retriever

A ten to twelve-month-old Labrador Retriever will not look much like the tiny puppy that you brought home when it was two months old. Instead, your pup is likely nearing its adult size.

It is important for owners to continue providing their dogs with all the food that they need at this point in their lives, as this will ensure that your dog’s health is in good shape as they prepare to enter their adult lives.

So, how much food should ten to twelve-month-old Labs be eating?

Puppies that consume quantities of food on the low end of the spectrum should be consuming at least 3 cups of food every day during this time. On the other hand, large Lab pups that are between 10 to 12 months old could be eating 4.5 cups of food daily.

No matter how much food your puppy is eating, as long as they seem satiated at the end of every day, owners can be assured that they’re doing a good job with feeding their canine companions.

If your puppy doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite, it would be wise to have a vet evaluate them if the problem persists given that weight gain is important during this time.

Transitioning A Labrador Retriever From Puppy Food To Adult Food

Labrador Retrievers can be considered adult dogs when they’re anywhere from 12 to 18 months old. Though your pooch may be fully grown by the time they’re around 10 months old, their minds still need time to develop after this point.

If your puppy is on the brink of adulthood, it would be wise to consider weaning it off of its puppy food in favor of adult dog food.

All Lab puppies should be offered adult dog food when they reach maturity, as such food replaces nutrients that are essential for puppies with ingredients that benefit adults.

Whereas puppies should eat food that increases their body weight, adult Labs should eat food that maintains their weight.

So, if you think it may be time to switch your Labrador Retriever to an adult dog food diet, consult with your vet and find a food that is best for your adult Lab.

How Much To Feed An Adult Labrador Retriever

Feeding An Adult Labrador Retriever

The amount of food that an adult Labrador Retriever will consume is dependent on several factors. Of course, the mature size of your pooch will dictate how much food it can and should be consuming every day.

Generally, it is advisable to feed an adult Labrador anywhere from 3 to just over 4 cups of food every day. Gauge the weight and appetite of your pet to determine the perfect amount for your furry friend.

Though the above recommendation will be perfect for most adult Labs, there are some instances in which mature Labradors will require more adult food.

Pregnant Or Lactating Labs

A Labrador who is pregnant or lactating will require substantial amounts of food to nourish herself and her litter of pups. Therefore, owners should be prepared to offer vast quantities of food to their Labrador mothers.

While a typical adult Labrador will consume 3 to 4 cups of food every day, Labrador mothers should be offered around 6 cups of food at least to keep up with their enormous energy requirements. If your mother Labrador snarfs this food down and still seems hungry afterward, be prepared to offer her additional food.

Especially Active Labs

If your Labrador is an athletic specimen, it may need to consume more than a typical adult Lab to fuel the exercise regime that such a dog is accustomed to.

Dogs that receive more than one hour of daily exercise could be considered especially active dogs. Owners can begin by offering these pooches 4.5 to 5 cups of food daily. If they still seem hungry, owners can increase the amount of food given to these dogs.

How Much To Feed A Senior Labrador Retriever

Feeding A Senior Labrador Retriever

Any Labrador Retriever that is seven years or older is typically considered to be a senior dog. Once a dog reaches the golden years of its life, it is once again time to switch up its diet.

Senior dogs should consume food that caters to the needs of their aging bodies. These pooches can get away with eating a low-protein diet whereas such food would not be appropriate for puppies or adults.

Given that senior dogs are usually not especially active dogs, they do not require as much food compared to adult and large puppies.

Therefore, supplying a senior Lab with anywhere from 2 to just over 3 cups of food daily should be plenty for your pooch.

Labrador Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Labrador Retriever?

Now that you know how much to feed your Labrador, you are likely curious about the number of times that your dog should be fed every day.

Some may be looking for a quick answer about how often to feed a Labrador every day, but the truth is nuanced. When it comes to feeding your Lab, it turns out that Labs of different ages should be fed different amounts of food every day. Read on to discover the perfect number of meals for your Lab.

  • Newborn to three-month-old labs: At least four meals per day
  • Four to twelve-month-old labs: Three meals per day
  • Adult labs: Two meals per day
  • Senior labs: One to two meals per day

How Many Meals For Newborn To Three-Month-Old Labrador Retrievers?

An infant Labrador Retriever should have its daily food allotment broken up into at least 4 meals every day. This will help supply these petite pups with the energy that they need to get through the day.

This is the only time in a Labrador’s life in which owners can free-feed their dogs. After this point in a dog’s life, free feeding is not advisable since it could lead to an overweight dog.

How Many Meals For Four To Twelve-Month Old Labrador Retrievers?

Lab puppies that are four to twelve months old do not require as many meals as their younger counterparts. However, these dogs should still receive three meals per day to support their rapid metabolism.

Feeding one meal in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening is optimal.

How Many Meals For Adult Labrador Retrievers?

Adult Labs do not need to eat as many meals are puppies due to their slower metabolisms. Supplying an adult Labrador Retriever with two meals every day would be perfect for these dogs.

Ideally, adult dogs will be fed one meal in the morning and one in the evening.

How Many Meals For Senior Labrador Retrievers?

When your furry friend reaches the point in their life where they are considered to be a senior dog, your pooch will have the slowest metabolism in their life.

The slow metabolism for senior Labs means that these dogs do not need to eat as frequently as they did when they were younger. In fact, senior Labrador Retrievers can get by with eating a single meal every day.

One to two meals per day is ideal for a senior Labrador Retriever. Owners can see if their senior Lab prefers one or two meals each day by allowing them to try each option.

Are Labrador Retrievers Prone To Obesity?

There’s a pretty good chance that you have observed a chunky Labrador at some point in your life. Is this because these dogs are prone to obesity or simply because there are so many Labs out and about?

It turns out that Labrador Retrievers are more prone to obesity than many other dog breeds. Labs have evolved to be very active dogs. If owners fail to provide their dogs with proper exercise and feed their furry friends excessive amounts of food, there is a good chance that owners will end up with overweight dogs.

Why Is My Labrador Overweight?

If you are someone who owns an overweight Labrador, you are not alone. Overweight Labs are still lovable pooches, but they could stand to lose some pounds for their own good.

Obviously, feeding your dog less food is likely to be one of the keys to helping your canine companion to lose weight. However, you may be wondering what else you can do to help your Labrador lose weight.

Well, if you do not frequently exercise your dog, then this is a good place to start. Try feeding your dog its typical amount of food but increasing its exercise to see if it starts to lose weight.

Helping An Overweight Lab To Lose Weight

overweight labrador retriever

Most dogs will begin shedding pounds if they are properly exercised. For those that are still struggling to get your pooch to lose weight, be sure to cut out table scraps and dog treats from the diet of your dog.

Labradors that consume human food are especially likely to gain weight, so cutting human food out of your Lab’s diet is crucial to its weight management.

Moreover, be sure that you are not free feeding your Labrador Retriever. Free feeding is acceptable for puppies when they are infants, but Labradors that are any other age should not be free fed, for this can also result in a chunky pooch.

If you fear that your dog is consuming its food too quickly, there are plenty of feeding methods to help your pooch slow down. Obesity in dogs is a serious issue.

Best Foods and Diets For Labrador Retrievers

You may be curious to know about the best foods and diets for your Labrador. We briefly touched on this subject when discussing the best foods for Lab puppies, and the same advice will apply here.

Some owners feed raw to their Labs, while others may feed kibble. Does this mean that those who practice raw feeding are likely to own healthier dogs compared to those feeding kibble to their dogs? Of course not!

High-quality dog food may take many different forms. A raw diet could provide your dog with all of the nutrients that it needs, but it is not inherently better for your dog than dry food or homemade food.

Ultimately, owners know their Lab better than anyone else, so they should have the final say regarding what to feed their dog.

What If I Don’t Know What To Feed My Dog?

Deciding what to feed your Labrador can be an overwhelming prospect. If you find that you’re not sure about how much to feed a Labrador, there are several options for you.

Consult A Veterinarian

Inquiring with a trusted veterinarian about the diet of your Labrador Retriever will help an owner determine the optimal food intake for their precious pooch. They may also recommend certain dog foods that can be purchased to feed a Labrador.

Refer To A Labrador Feeding Chart

If you are still not sure about how much to feed your Labrador, try viewing a handy Labrador food guide. A feeding chart will provide information related to how much food to provide a Lab based on its age.

A feeding guide may even break down how much food to feed a Labrador based on its weight. There are plenty of Labrador Puppy feeding chart options and feeding guides for adults.

Finding a feeding chart that was created by a trusted source like the American Kennel Club can help you make an informed decision about how much to feed your furry friend.

Ultimately, a feeding guide is a good place to turn if you find yourself in need of a quick answer about the topic of how much to feed your Lab.