If you become the owner of a Labrador Retriever puppy or are preparing for an imminent arrival at the house of a small inhabitant, it’s time to ask the question – what kind of food is better to feed a Labrador puppy. The baby’s diet is different from that of an adult breed. During growth, the cub needs a lot of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Their lack will cause a lag in the development of the dog.
Feeding a Labrador puppy is a task that requires the special attention and responsibility of the owners of a labrador puppy. Most breeders feed their babies with industrial dry food. Therefore, before moving the baby, you need to ask what kind of products the puppy was treated to. The usual daily routine and type of feeding must be used for at least two weeks. This will help a small pet to more easily endure stress after separation from its mother, will not weaken the immune system and health in general from a sharp change in diet and change of place of residence.
What to follow when feeding:
- If you are giving natural food to your labrador puppy, it should not be hot or cold. Feed properly with food at room temperature. The consistency of the food should be semi-liquid, like a viscous porridge or thick soup.
- Feeding is carried out at the same time from the same utensils (made of aluminum or food-grade plastic) with a wide base, which prevents overturning.
- Leftover, half-eaten food is left for 10 – 15 minutes, then removed until the next feeding. It is impossible to keep the food all day, especially in the summer, in the heat, the food quickly turns sour. Unsuitable food can cause poisoning.
- Mandatory availability of clean water for the needs of the animal. Fluid restriction to reduce peeing is unacceptable, it can harm the health of the puppy.
How much and how often to feed your puppy?
At about four weeks, the mother’s milk becomes insufficient for the grown cubs, and at this time they begin to gradually introduce complementary foods. Food is given only during the daytime, puppies are not fed at night. The interval between meals depends on the number of feedings. So a puppy at 2 months old is fed every 3-3.5 hours. The older the pet gets, the less often it is fed and the longer the time between meals.
Up to two months of age, babies are fed six to seven times a day. At 3 months – four to five times. At 4 – 5 months and at six months of age, the frequency of feeding is reduced to three times a day. At 7-10 months, Puppy Labradors are gradually transferred to an adult, two-time feeding. One-year-old Puppies are served twice, but once a day is acceptable.
The amount of food and its type is selected gradually, looking closely at the dog. If the puppy happily ate the entire portion, licked the bowl, and calmly walked away from it, then everything was calculated correctly. If the baby is losing weight, there is not enough food. If you are too stout, the diet should be reduced. If the puppy is worried after eating, whines, and licks the bowl for a long time, the rate can be increased. With a strong swelling of the tummy after dinner, the portions are reduced, and the number of feedings is made more.
Do’s and Don’ts
Labradors are not gourmets, they are not particularly picky about food. Nevertheless, food should be complete, balanced, and varied.
What can you feed your Labrador puppy:
- Meat (beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit), tendons, and veins. May be fed raw after freezing. Cook for no more than 5 minutes.
- By-products (trachea, cheeks, liver, spleen, uncleaned stomachs).
- Groats (oatmeal, buckwheat, rice), their mixtures in the form of cereals.
- Greens, vegetables, fruits in the form of puree. It is useful to give a finely chopped clove of garlic once a week, as a good vitamin remedy and a natural anthelmintic drug.
- Vegetable oil (linseed, sunflower), one teaspoon per day for 1 month.
- Fermented milk products (cottage cheese, fermented baked milk, kefir, yogurt 1-2.5% fat).
- Eggs (boiled white, the yolk can be raw) 1-2 times a week.
- Sea fish (hake, pollock) is fresh after freezing or boiled and ground together with bones, 2 times a week.
Before preparing meals for a retriever puppy, you need to know what food is contraindicated for him.
What is not allowed, a list of products:
- Fatty food, heavy for the liver of dogs, including fatty meat: lamb, pork.
- Sweets containing refined sugar.
- Tubular and avian bones (can lead to constipation, bowel obstruction, and perforation).
- Pasta, bakery products.
- Pickles, marinades, smoked meats, spices.
- Potatoes, legumes, broccoli, onions, mushrooms.
- Grapes, currants, citrus fruits, raisins.
- Cow’s milk (the absence of lactose in the body of dogs leads to digestive disorders).
- Alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee.
For the full development of the baby, it is important to know what kind of food to feed the puppy. When feeding small pets, they adhere to one of three schemes: natural nutrition, feeding with ready-made (dry and wet) industrial feed, or mixed feeding. There is no universal option for feeding a Labrador puppy.
You need to focus on the individual preferences of the dog, its appearance (a healthy animal has a shiny coat, clean eyes, normal weight gain, no signs of allergies), activity. Which food is best for a Labrador puppy, you choose. You need to focus on the pet’s taste preferences and its physiological characteristics.
Features of feeding dry and ready-made feed
Many owners, due to their employment, prefer to use dry food.
Benefits of ready meals:
- There is no need to spend a lot of time on the preparation of the diet, cooking dishes.
- This option is convenient when traveling or walking: “drying” is needed a little, it weighs little, takes up a minimum of space, does not stain the dog and the owner’s things.
- Ready-made food contains all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals necessary for the harmonious growth and development of the puppy.
- The daily rate can be calculated as accurately as possible. All data is indicated on the packaging.
- Long shelf life.
The lack of ready-made feed is the cost and the high likelihood of allergic reactions. The price of a good ready-made dry industrial feed is higher than the cost of natural products. And semi-moist food for puppies is priced even more expensive than “drying”, but cubs love it more.
There are many varieties of brands and names on the market for such products. But it is better to choose a proven, high-quality premium, and super-premium feed from well-known manufacturers than to purchase a little-known, dubious quality economy product. There will be no benefit from it, and the health of the dog can be spoiled. Cheap food contains many preservatives, dyes, and stabilizers that can cause irreparable harm to the puppy’s body.
So, what kind of food should you feed your Labrador carousel? The products of such brands are considered the best:
- Royal Canin. Produces a special brand “Labrador Junior” for feeding babies of this breed from two to fifteen months. The product regulates weight, joint mobility. Contains highly digestible proteins, probiotics that support the digestive tract, and normal intestinal microflora. But if your Labrador puppy is allergic, then none of the company’s rations will work – all feeds contain poultry protein.
- Monge is a super premium Italian food. The composition includes only natural products that have passed all quality checks, even suitable for human nutrition. Takes into account the need for a growing body in high-energy food. Contains vitamins, omega fatty acids, the necessary amount of Chondroitin and Glucosamine for the development of healthy bones, joints, and proper skeletal formation. There are no preservatives or colorants in the feed.
Many Labradors are prone to allergies, so don’t buy a lot of dry food at once. Take a little sample and see how the puppy reacts. Well-known brands have a line of food for allergic dogs with lamb, which experts recommend to dogs with hypersensitivity and diet food for various health problems.
Features of feeding with natural food
If you have sufficient financial resources to purchase quality products, time for their preparation; you have your own qualified veterinarian who is able to develop a competent individual menu for feeding a puppy, then it is better to opt for traditional natural food. Such food allows you to find many recipes, prepare many dishes, and diversify your diet as much as possible. You can be sure of the quality and freshness of the products.
Natural water is absorbed by the body almost completely. Natural products can be used for fresh, canned food, added to cereals.
It should be borne in mind that in the cold season, natural food is required more than in summer. With physical exertion, you need more protein foods.
Cons of natural food – it cannot be stored in the refrigerator for a long time, the need for frequent cooking.
Approximate menu for a Labrador puppy 1-2 months per day, table:
|6:00||Buckwheat porridge, rice in milk. Butter. Half a raw egg.|
|9:00||Homemade cottage cheese with honey or berry syrup.|
|12:00||Soup with minced meat.|
|15:00||Fermented milk drink.|
|18:00||Stewed vegetables with meat.|
|21:00||Milk porridge, butter, yolk.|
|24:00||Minced beef, a spoonful of sour cream, grated raw vegetables (beets, carrots).|
High-quality dry food and natural products are used: meat, cottage cheese, crackers, kefir, yogurt. Here you should adhere to the rule – do not mix different types of food on one plate. Ignoring this requirement leads to liver disease. In the first feeding, dry food is given, in the second – broth with meat, homemade cottage cheese made from milk, and kefir in equal dosages or calcined from milk and calcium chloride. You can serve lean marine fish: hake, cod, ice fish, and buckwheat. Hercules is not recommended – porridge from it often causes diarrhea.
Features of feeding puppies of different ages
Consider feeding a Labrador carousel month by month. As the main source of nutrition for up to a month, babies receive mother’s milk, after which the owner decides on feeding. There are times when a bitch loses milk or she dies, then the owners have to feed the babies themselves.
What puppies need up to one month old?
Up to one month of age, crumbs are given milk oatmeal for breakfast with the addition of glucose and butter. The second feeding includes chopped meat with vegetables, the third – cottage cheese, mashed with milk. In the 4-5th feeding, broths and decoctions with minced meat are given. Before going to bed, they offer milk porridge or calcined cottage cheese.
The breeder will tell you how to feed a month-old Labrador puppy that the puppy ate before the sale. The baby’s usual diet needs to be adhered to for several weeks. Then, if necessary, a new product is gradually introduced, gradually replacing the old one. A quick change to a different type of diet can cause stunted growth and digestive problems. When treating a labrador with ready-made food for up to two months and before changing teeth, they usually offer dry food soaked in warm water or broth in the form of porridge. It is at this time that you can wean the baby from the mother, gradually transferring him to independent nutrition, preparing him for moving to new owners.
Between four and six weeks, when babies start to feed, semolina is best. Cottage cheese is useful for bone development, it will provide a sufficient amount of calcium. Once a week, a boiled egg is given, added to the porridge. You can make an omelet. After weaning from the mother, the puppy is given a few drops of fish oil, bringing the volume, in the absence of indigestion, to one and a half to two tablespoons per day. Mineral supplements are introduced: bone meal, phytin, chalk, salt, brewer’s yeast, calcium gluconate.
Feeding a 2-month-old puppy
How to feed a labrador puppy at 2 months old? From this time and up to six months, they give fermented milk products, frozen meat, fish, mashed vegetables, fruits, chopped greens. You can offer babies raw beef large bones.
Feeding on six months to a year puppy
From the age of six months, it is allowed to feed Labrador puppies with heat-treated beef entrails. The rest of the diet is the same. In the morning feeding, babies are served with dairy dishes, in the evening – with meat ones.
When feeding with ready-made industrial feeds, preference is given to complete feeds of at least premium class. They clean the teeth, give an opportunity to chew.
At fifteen months, the Labrador is switched to food for adult dogs.
Labradors are heavy food lovers. They are not capricious, not picky about food, they will never refuse supplements. Because of this, dogs of this breed are overweight and need a low carbohydrate and low protein diet. But sometimes the puppy stops going to his favorite bowl, does not go to the call, refuses to eat. He looks for a secluded place, fits in there, looks unhappy.
Reasons for refusing food
There are psychological reasons for refusing food. Usually, the problem is solved quickly, goes away after eliminating the annoying factor.
Why the puppy doesn’t eat:
- changing feed or switching to a different type of food;
- weaning from mother and dog family;
- stress, fear;
- hot weather;
- stale food.
Repeated refusal to feed is a signal of a possible disease.
What to do?
There are signs indicating a serious health problem. And here it is impossible to hesitate even a minute. When to seek help:
- if the puppy has a fever, his body temperature is low or high;
- the whites of the eyes turn red or yellow, and the eyes become dull;
- the puppy often urinates, pushes, cannot go to the toilet in a small or large way;
- there is discharge from the eyes, nose, ears;
- the baby does not eat, does not drink, often vilifies, he has vomiting;
- feces have an unpleasant, putrid odor, mucus, blood is present in them;
- the puppy is constantly hiding, has dramatically lost weight;
- he developed a limp, shortness of breath, cough;
- the dog shakes its head often;
- rash, redness, severe itching appeared.
In such cases, you need to urgently rush to the veterinarian. A specialist will conduct an examination and select the correct treatment. Delay in puppyhood is especially dangerous. Serious illnesses can develop rapidly. Failure to seek medical attention in a timely manner can lead to the death of your pet.
Be attentive to your little pet, surround him with care and attention. Give your baby good care and proper nutrition. And then your baby will grow healthy, and very soon it will turn into a real handsome man – an adult elegant Labrador, after whom many passers-by will look around with admiration.