Proper Diet

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Proper Diet

So, you’re either looking to get a Labrador Retriever or you already have one. That is great! They are as close as it comes to being the world’s most perfect dog. You would like to keep them that way and the easiest way to do that is to feed them a proper diet and get them plenty of exercise. Determining what the proper diet is for your Lab is not always easy but there are some things to keep in mind.

When in doubt consult with your veterinarian about what to feed your dog. For starters anything that is labeled as a proper or balanced diet is OK to feed them. Which brand works best can be a trial-and-error process and can be determined by your budget. Some owners will ever prepare their dogs meals from scratch but if you don’t have the time for that that’s OK.

Dry Food

Most dogs in general are fed kibble, or dried pellets of food, and these can be found with numerous flavorings and in every supermarket or pet store in the nation. There are plenty of choices but while some Labs also seem to be developing allergies to this most dogs will thrive with kibble as the majority of their diet. Not only is it convenient for you since it can be poured quickly and easily into a bowl but it is also relatively cheap as well and the packaging can be resealed for later use. The main problem with kibble is that some of the preservatives that go into it are hard to digest and lead to much smellier excrement. It is important to pay attention to what goes into the kibble. The best brands are mostly meat with some vegetables and little to no grain. It can also take time to find out what your Lab likes and may require trying different brands. Kibble though is best for puppies.


Dogs are carnivores and Labrador Retrievers are no different. They like meat and the fats and proteins in meat help keep them healthy and give them that energy you have come to expect from Labrador Retrievers. While canned dog food seems to be decreasing in popularity it is being replaced with raw feeding which can include eating meat right off of the bone. There is of course a danger when it comes to giving bones to dogs as they can splinter and cause internal injuries or choking but this is a dog’s natural inclination. Eating raw meat is perfectly natural to them and it helps with dental health and has little chance of an allergy developing. It is important to prepare the meat in a clean environment and it should be kept away from children at all times so they do not come into contact with it. A raw feeding can also help to reduce bloating as well but not everyone is sold on it and avoiding it and sticking with kibble is perfectly fine.


Most Lab owners feed their dog twice a day though some only feed them once a day as they get older. Once a day should be OK if the Lab is also being fed raw meat as well. If the diet is mostly kibble they should be fed twice a day with the proper amount as prescribed by either the packaging or your veterinarian. Puppies should be fed smaller portions multiple times per day so as to not damage their stomachs with excess food. Puppies that are 2-3 months old should be fed four times a day with puppies between 3 and 6 months at three meals and puppies older than 6 months at 2 meals per day.

Some owners will leave kibble down for a dog to munch on through the day, some will only put it down at feeding time. There is no wrong answer as to which is right since many Labrador Retrievers will eat their food quickly anyway and their daily diet is often times supplemented by human food or treats. This should be avoided with puppies and done sparingly with adult dogs. Some people food here and there will not harm but it could also perpetuate bad or undesired behaviors.


Like any other dog, your Lab will enjoy a treat every now and again. They are great for reinforcing good behavior and for training. Store bought treats like Beggin’ Strips or Milk Bones work fine but just remember not to overdo it with these as they add empty calories. Natural treats like raw meat or vegetables can also be used and are much healthier and some brand of dog treats are derived from natural foods. There are a lot to choose from so consult your veterinarian for what is best when it comes to rewarding your Lab for good behavior.


Water is also a part of a proper diet and how much water a dog drinks depends on their diet. Dogs who eat more kibble than meat will tend to drink more and dogs who eat more meat than kibble tend to drink less. Water should be available to adult dogs at all times though it is OK to take the water bowl away from puppies one hour after their last meal to help with training.There are some things that you should not give to a Labrador Retriever. Puppies should not be given cow’s milk even if they are still weaning age. Dogs older than eight weeks do not need milk and it can give them diarrhea. Some may enjoy it as a treat and may be able to tolerate it but milk is not needed. Chocolate is toxic to dogs so do not even think about giving them chocolate. It can kill them. Other human foods that are toxic include onions, macadamia nuts, peanut butter (if they contain xylitol), avocado, raisins, alcohol and several other foods. Speak with your veterinarian to know what you should avoid giving your Lab. If your dog consumes on of these contact your veterinarian and follow their instructions. It is also a good idea to avoid giving them sweetened beverages. They can lead to dental issues and obesity just like with people.


Hopefully this gives you some idea about what to feed your Labrador Retriever. They can and very well may eat anything and everything so knowing what they should have can help to lead much healthier lives. You’ve probably grown attached to your Lab from Rock Spring Labs so you will want them to be your companion as long as possible!

Kibble allergies –


It was dog food. Beef livers with onions in a can. You open it up and it looks like vomit. 
–Tom Sizemore