It is known that Labrador Retrievers never give up food, they eat everything very quickly and to the last crumb, they tend to pick up everything edible that comes across on the street and beg for food from the owner even after eating on schedule.
Therefore, the representatives of this breed are prone to obesity. In order to avoid problems with weight, it is important to control the amount of food consumed, to draw up a clear repetitive feeding schedule from day to day.
It is important not to allow the pet to lead a sedentary-lying lifestyle, you should motivate him to spend time actively, play games, which will avoid weight gain. Weight control should be carried out regularly, the pet should not be overly pampered with treats, and as an encouragement not to use food often.
To prolong food intake, it is recommended to use maze feeders or cut the meat into larger pieces so that the pet is forced to gnaw them. It is better to choose a place for feeding that is calm, hidden from strangers, so that the dog feels comfortable and does not seek to quickly swallow food, worrying that it may be taken away.
Natural Type of Feeding a Labrador Retriever
A balanced diet for a Labrador Retriever should be 50% animal protein, 30% complex carbohydrates, and 20% vegetables and fruits. So, for example, the daily portion of a dog weighing 10 kg should consist of 450 g of lean meat, 270 g of rice or crushed barley, 215 g of vegetables and fruits. On average, the daily portion of an adult dog is 900-1400 g.
The diet should contain not only the muscle meat of poultry, beef, lamb but also offal, especially the liver, kidneys, heart. Meat products should be alternated with marine fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon.
In addition to meat and carbohydrate foods, it is good to include green vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower, celery, apples, and pears in your Labrador Retriever’s diet.
You should not feed the Labrador Retriever corn, beets. Corn is difficult to digest and can cause allergies or rapid weight gain. In the diet of older animals, it is recommended to limit the number of grains, especially if the pet suffers from arthritis or hip dysplasia.
It is helpful to add one teaspoon of flaxseed oil, olive oil, or other vegetable oil to your food every time you feed your Labrador Retriever. Vegetable oils contain omega-6 fatty acids, which help maintain a healthy coat.
It is acceptable to include fermented milk products in the retriever’s diet, but not cow’s milk, which causes diarrhea in most dogs. Labrador puppies do not need milk after weaning from 8 weeks old. Natural yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese are useful for a puppy and an adult.
When natural feeding a Labrador Retriever, you should take care of additional sources of vitamins. An adult needs 800-1000 mg of calcium daily to maintain bone strength. However, you should not adhere to this norm in order to avoid mistakes in feeding, less is better than more. Calcium is present in meat, cereals, and vegetables, but not in sufficient quantity. Eggshells are an excellent source of calcium, which must be dried in the oven and chopped. The resulting powdery mass can be added to food.
By the way, raw or boiled eggs should also be present in the pet’s diet, but not more than 2 times a week. Boiled eggs are better absorbed.
Labrador retriever puppies need enough phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and adults need chondroitin and glucosamine.
Feeding Your Labrador Puppy
Puppies are taught to solid food at 20-25 weeks, after weaning. The diet of Labrador Retriever puppies at first consists of liquid cereals or dry food soaked in low-fat yogurt, kefir.
You should choose food with an inscription on the packaging “for puppies of large breeds” or special food intended for puppies of the Labrador Retriever.
Upon reaching the age of 40 days, the baby is transferred to a full-fledged diet, including meat, fish, rice, buckwheat, barley, dairy products, vegetables. Raw meat is better digested and absorbed. The fish is served boiled, deboned.
New products should be introduced gradually, starting with a small amount.
Feeding Dry Food
Of course, the nutritional needs of a Labrador Retriever puppy and an adult dog differ greatly. Puppies are constantly growing and need a high protein feed, with protein sources high on the list of ingredients. It is best to avoid dry food based on chicken and chicken offal, as chicken becomes a common cause of allergies in Labradors.
You should look for food containing fish oil or vegetable oils, they contain nutrients necessary to maintain healthy skin and coat.
For pets leading an inactive lifestyle, it is recommended to choose dry food with a fat content of 8-10%. For active dogs, choose foods with a fat content of 14-20%.
The breed does not need additional vitamin C if the Lab is fed dry food. Excess vitamin C leads to liver and kidney problems.
If the Labrador Retriever eats dry food, then preference should be given to food with a high level of glucosamine necessary for joint health, reduced calories to maintain a normal weight, increased protein content, sources of vitamins and minerals to maintain immunity.
It must be remembered that the dosage of dry food must strictly comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations, depending on the weight and age of the dog. But sometimes it is subject to adjustment, taking into account the dog’s lifestyle, the degree of development.
Regardless of the type of feeding, the pet should always have access to fresh water. The water should be changed several times during the day, especially in summer. It is recommended to clean the water before going to bed so that the pet does not wake up at night and does not ask to use the toilet.
How Many Times to Feed a Labrador Retriever
Up to 3 months, the daily portion of the puppy is 300 g. The daily portion is divided into 4 meals. There should be at least 3 hours between feedings so that the baby has time to digest the food. The last meal should be 2-3 hours before bedtime so that the pet has time to go to the toilet.
After 3 months, the daily portion is increased to 400 g, but the Labrador Retriever puppy is still fed three times a day, dividing the daily portion into 3 parts 130 g each.
From 6 months, the number of feedings is reduced to two times: in the morning and in the evening. The daily portion is increased to 500 g and divided into two meals of 250 g each.
Starting from the age of one year, the portion volume is not increased or slightly increased (by 70-100 g), depending on the pet’s activity. Gradually, the pet is transferred to the diet of an adult dog. You can continue to feed twice a day, or just once a day if the Lab is inactive.