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Nutritional Considerations for Labrador Retrievers

A dog’s diet is dependent on many factors that you should take into careful consideration when deciding what to feed your Labrador Retrievers. Although there are already commercially prepared dog food suited for different ages and stages, it is still important that a dog owner should have basic knowledge on their dog’s daily nutritional requirements. This knowledge is also a useful tool in assessing whether or not dog food which can be bought off the shelves is able to supply the nutrients needed by your dog.

Your dog’s breed, age, size, and environment will often determine their nutritional needs. Labrador Retrievers, like all other dogs, also have certain food preferences as well as foods to avoid.

Protein is one of the very essential feed nutrients in a dog’s diet. Nutritionists recommend that protein should comprise about a quarter of your dog’s daily diet. Rich protein sources include meat, fish and milk. If possible, remove small bones from meat and fish as this can choke your dog or get stuck in their throat, needing a trip to the Veterinarian. Dog owners often can’t resist giving their dog table scrapes and bones especially when their Lab keeps on nudging them during dinner time. Bones can also lead to constipation.

Almost half of a dog’s daily food ration should consist of carbohydrates. This food group provides the main source of energy for your Lab. Good sources of carbohydrates include potatoes, rice, or corn.

Although dogs by nature are carnivorous, adding vegetables, fruits and cereals to your Lab’s diet can help improve the process of digestion because of the fiber that these food sources provide. However, never allow your dog to have access to walnuts, chocolates, raisins, and Macadamia nuts, as they contain a substance that the dog cannot metabolize. These foods can become highly toxic for your Lab and have been known to cause death in serious cases.

About 5% of your dog’s diet should come from fats. Aside from an alternative source of energy, fats are important in the absorption and utilization of fat-soluble vitamins. Wheat germ oil is a rich source of fats for your Lab.

These essential components should all be present in your dog’s diet. If you don’t have the time to mix your own dog food, you can still buy from pet stores. Just be sure to read what they contain and what specific breed, age, and size they have been formulated for. Determine if this commercial dog food is able to give your Lab a balanced diet to provide for its nutritional needs.

The first time that you bring your Lab puppy home, the dog breeder should have given you samples of the food that it has been given so that you can continue to give it to your puppy during the first few days until he has completely adjusted to its new surroundings. If your assessment of the dog food is good and you can afford it, then there is no reason that you should switch to another brand. If it will not fit in your budget, you can slowly switch to another brand which can be cheaper but at the same time still provide the required nutrients. A slow transition from the old food to the new one will ensure that your Lab will not suffer any stomach upsets.

Photo of Angus by Just Labradors Forum member eastcoastmom