How to feed a Labrador puppy

Proper nutrition for your Labrador Retriever puppy is essential for his health and well-being. However, not every new owner is able to compose the right complete menu for his pet. 

Prepared Labrador Puppy Foods
The diet of many young Labrador retriever puppies consists of industrial dry and wet food. And the choice of their owners is justified: such products are balanced, healthy, nothing needs to be cooked, dry industrial food does not spoil for a long time, and wet food is available in portion packets or cans. True, the price of quality puppy canned and dry food "bite". If the choice is still made in favor of industrial products, what food to feed a Labrador puppy? It is highly recommended to give preference to the food of extra premium class, the main component of which is a quality source of protein natural meat and fish. Such products, which are best absorbed by the canine body, contain at least 60-70% meat, while in the premium level products about 35-20% of meat, and in cheap economy class foods, meat (more precisely, meat ingredients of dubious quality) is often less than 10-5%.

So what brand of food is best for a small Labrador? Look out for these high quality products (especially considering that they should say "Puppy", "Baby", "Junior" and other similar labels on the package, since food for adult dogs is not suitable for young dogs): As a rule, the puppy is actively suckling on the mother's breast until 2-3 weeks of age, around this time the first food is introduced in the form of a small amount of boiled meat turned into mashed potatoes. And from 1-1.5 months, puppies start to eat almost the same as adult dogs. In the menu of Labrador puppies aged from 1 to 3 months, there should be a lot of dairy products about 50% of the total food intake (this includes milk, cottage cheese and sour milk products). About 20% of the food should account for meat (including offal and fish), 15% each for cereals and vegetables.

From the time the puppy is 3-4 months old, the situation with the amount of dairy products in the diet changes slightly. At this age, puppies need more meat, at least 50% of the food, but milk reduces the proportion to 20%, with vegetables and cereals at 15%.

What foods should be in a puppy's diet Now let's talk about what to feed a Labrador puppy. Here are the main foods, which almost always can be given a baby (if on a particular product, of course, no allergies): Lean meat (veal, turkey or chicken, rabbit meat). Most often puppies are given meat in boiled form, but if feeding raw meat, it should be kept in the freezer for a week (at least 3 days) to destroy the worms. At an early age (1-2 months), it is advisable to give meat in a heavily chopped form;
By-products beef trachea, tripe, cartilage, heart, lungs, some liver. They are boiled and shredded, and then mixed with porridge or with vegetables;
Sea fish (cod, chum, salmon, etc.). They are also given in boiled form, without bones;
Dairy products fresh and low-fat (puppies up to 3-4 months of age are given porridges with milk, while older dogs are usually given sour milk);
Cereals rice, buckwheat, oatmeal. They are cooked in the usual way with water, meat broth or milk, but without adding sugar, butter or salt. As a rule, porridges for puppies are mixed with pieces of meat, fish or by-products;
Vegetables pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, turnips, bell peppers. As a rule, vegetables are briefly boiled and shredded before being served to the dog. You can also give your puppy raw vegetables, chopped with a knife or grated, but only if there is no diarrhea. Not all dogs are crazy about vegetables, so they are usually added in small amounts to cereal or meat;
Greens parsley, dill, lettuce. Greens are finely chopped and added to dishes prepared for the pup;
Vegetable oils linseed, sunflower, olive oil. They are added in small quantities (0.5-1 tbsp.) to ready meals;
Eggs quail or chicken. They are given to puppies once a week in 2-1 pcs. respectively.
What foods should not be given to Labradors
Labrador puppy diets should not include these foods:

Fatty meat;
Bones (sometimes large thigh bones can be given as a toy to massage the gums, but only under the owner's supervision);
River fish and minnows like sprat;
Certain plant foods (potatoes, corn, beets, onions and garlic, any mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, lots of white cabbage, citrus fruits and any other overseas berries and fruits, grapes and nuts)
Fresh baked goods;
Sugar, chocolate and other sweets (marmalade, marshmallows, toffee, etc.);
Alcohol and fizzy drinks;
Sausage products regardless of variety;
Sauces;
Spices and salt;
Any fried or smoked foods.
What's important to consider when feeding your puppy
So, we have figured out what to feed a Labrador puppy at home.
And now let's find out what daily feeding rules are important not to forget:

You should not force the Labrador baby to eat something that he categorically does not like. Yelling and pushing to the bowl is simply unacceptable. It is much better to replace unloved product with something equivalent (for example, the absence of fish in the menu compensate for the absence of dairy and meat products);
The Labrador should be fed daily at approximately the same time;
There is no need to feed your puppy copious amounts of unscheduled food, even if he really asks for it. All Labradors are prone to obesity, so overfeeding at an early age is not desirable. If he asks for something tasty, you can feed him homemade liver treats or cured meat (by-products). Another option is a purchased bone-in tendon;
Don't leave any leftovers in your puppy's bowl at all times (think straight food). Allow about 15 minutes for each meal. If he doesn't finish his food, it can be put away in the fridge and left for later;
If you're busy and don't have time to feed him, there's only one way out: leave his dry food in the bowl so it doesn't spoil. And leftovers from wet food need to go to the fridge after every meal;
There should always be fresh water in the bowl. Water should be changed at least once a day;
It is important to pay attention to the cleanliness of the pet's bowls;
Food for the puppy should always be at room temperature;
The Labrador should not be fed both ready-made and straight food. Later it will have a negative impact on the digestion of the animal;
Within 1-1.5 hours after the meal you should not burden the puppy with physical tasks, including active games;
You should never give a Labrador Retriever puppy any products of dubious quality (this applies to both purchased food, and those dishes that have been prepared by the owner).
How many times a day to feed a Labrador puppy
An adult dog is usually given food twice a day. But how many times a day to feed a Labrador puppy? At 1 month of age (more accurately, between 1 and 2 months of age), the dog is fed 6 times a day. At 2 months and 3 months, the puppy is given 5 meals a day. From 4 months to 5 months, feedings are reduced to 4 times a day, and from 5 to 7 months inclusive, another feeding is removed, leaving 3 servings per day. From the 8th month, the puppy can be fed twice a day, as an adult.

How much food to give a Labrador puppy
Above we have already mentioned that Labrador retrievers are still those lovers of food, but you should not overfeed them. So how to feed them the right amount? With ready-made foods everything is clear: all recommendations on feeding (including portion size) are written on the packages.

With natural food it's a bit more complicated. The weight of all the food a baby eats in a day should not exceed 7-9% of his weight. Let's take, for example, a 4-month-old Labrador boy weighing 20 pounds. He needs to eat about 1.4-1.8 kilograms of food per day, which means that each portion (and they are 4 per day at this age) should weigh 350-450 grams. And a 1.5-month-old puppy weighing 5 kilograms needs less food: from 350 to 450 grams per day (ie, approximately 60-75 grams per serving).

Note that these figures are approximate. So do not worry if the dog suddenly eats less than usual, or asks for more, licking the bowl clean. Portions can be increased or decreased slightly within reasonable limits.

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