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Tips for Choosing a Healthy Diet for Labrador Retrievers

Any Labrador Retriever owner will tell you that any food item that hits the ground will be immediately gobbled up. All dogs love to eat, but the Labrador Retriever has a particularly powerful appetite. These dogs will eat just about anything they can get their mouths on, but that doesn’t mean you can feed them just anything. The quality of your dog’s diet is directly related to his health and wellbeing so it is in your dog’s best interest to choose a high-quality diet. Keep reading to learn more about your Lab’s nutritional needs and to receive tips for choosing a quality pet food product.

Picking a High-Quality Dog Food

When it comes to picking a high-quality diet for your Labrador, there are three main nutrients to consider – protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Protein is the most important nutrient for dogs because it fuels their growth and development as puppies and maintains lean muscle mass in adulthood. A quality dog food will list a premium animal protein as the first ingredient and will contain a minimum of 18% crude protein, though more is always better. Fat provides a dog with a concentrated source of energy and it too should come from animal sources with a crude minimum of 5%.

Dogs don’t have specific needs for carbohydrate but digestible sources like whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables can provide dietary fiber as well as key nutrients. Just make sure the product doesn’t contain more than 5% crude fiber – too much fiber can cause digestive issues. You also want to look for a dog food that contains beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics. Chelated minerals are mineral supplements that have been chemically bound to amino acids to improve absorption and uptake. Probiotics help to support healthy digestion.

Feeding Tips for Labrador Retrievers

When your Labrador is still a puppy he will need a constant supply to food in order to fuel his growth and development. It is best to feed your Lab puppy a formula designed for large-breed puppies because it contains all of the protein and nutrients your puppy needs to grow. Once your puppy reaches about 80% of his maximum size you should switch to a large-breed adult formula. Large-breed formulas are still rich in protein to support your dog’s lean muscle mass, but they are more limited in fat than small-breed recipes to help prevent your dog from consuming too many calories. Follow the feeding recommendations on the package according to your dog’s weight and keep an eye on his bodyweight and condition. If he loses weight, increase his portion and, if he gains too much, decease it a little.

Many dog owners assume that all dog foods are created equal, but that is simply not true. Quality varies greatly from one manufacturer to another, and even among different recipes from the same brand. When choosing a dog food for your Lab, follow the tips above to make sure it is a high-quality product that will provide for your dog’s nutritional needs.

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