Plenty of pet parents wonder how much to feed Lab puppies, especially since they require a lot of nutrition to grow into strong and healthy adults.
Whether you are breeding your Labrador for the first time or if you have recently brought a puppy home, you’ll need to know when and what to feed them.
With the help of this guide, you’ll be perfectly prepared to deal with any food-related questions you may have about the latest addition to your family.
Healthy Recipes to Feed Your Lab Puppy
When you head to the pet store, you’ll find there are four main options to consider when feeding your puppy: kibble, raw food, wet food, and homemade food.
Even though these are the most popular options for most pet parents, they each have their benefits and disadvantages, especially when it comes to nutrition and the ingredients in each of the recipes.
1. Wet Food
You’ll find that wet food is typically available in cans or pouches, which makes them incredibly easy to store at home.
Many pet parents prefer wet food because it’s easy for puppies to manage, especially before they grow healthy teeth, and the product is available in numerous flavors.
They’re also incredibly easy to keep at home, as they typically have a long shelf life and make it easier for your puppy’s body to retain nutrition.
Sometimes, you may notice that wet food can cause loose stools in your puppy, and you can guarantee that wet food will be more expensive than kibble, for example.
Also, you have to pay close attention to dental hygiene, as the softness of canned and pouch recipes can quickly get stuck in any small teeth your puppy has developed.
Also referred to as dry food, kibble is typically one of the most popular options for puppies because of how affordable and convenient it can be.
All you have to do is measure out the correct serving size for your puppy and place it in their bowl or automatic feeder.
Kibble also helps to make sure that your dog achieves the correct amount of fiber, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, and proteins.
With that said, kibble is looked at as having lower quality ingredients that can affect your puppy’s appetite and growth.
Plenty of top-tier brands have recipes that are full of fillers, as well, which can be quite disruptive to your pet’s digestive system.
Also, you will need to make sure your puppy drinks a lot of water, as kibble is likely to dehydrate them after feeding.
3. Raw Food
The most significant concern with raw food is similar to if you were giving a human some raw meat; it can be packed with harmful bacteria.
Also, it’s incredibly deficient of nutrients, especially when compared to specially prepared wet, dry, or homecooked food.
You must note that some pet parents have realized that raw food can help to assist with digestive issues, healthier skin, and even cleaner teeth.
Overall, it’s best to avoid raw food, especially with puppies, to protect their digestive tract and to ensure they get the appropriate amount of nutrition.
4. Home-Cooked Food
There is a lot of nutrition your puppies will need, and as a result, if you want to make their meals on your own, you have to do a lot of research.
You will also need to know the ingredients that are hazardous to your dog’s health as well as any allergies they might have.
It’s always best to consult an animal nutritionist to know what would be the most beneficial for your Lab puppy if you make their food at home.
If you have all of the necessary knowledge to create healthier meals, your dogs will be able to avoid unnatural preservatives, colors, and flavors in each of their meals.
You also have total control over contamination, as you can ensure all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Many veterinarians may suggest home-cooked recipes for puppies, especially if they are particularly picky eaters and show no interest in pre-packaged food.
How to Feed a Lab Puppy
There are two main things to remember when it comes to feeding your Lab, you will need to know how often to feed them and the amounts they require per meal.
There are specific guidelines to follow to make sure they’re getting enough nutrition, though every dog is different.
As you begin to implement their new diet, you can make changes as necessary, such as adjusting their portion size or the number of meals they eat per day.
Just like any other animal, your Lab puppy needs to be fed more often than an adult dog, especially since they are growing the fastest during this stage of their life.
They will require an ample amount of calories, which you won't achieve in a single sitting, as this can cause stomach upset and indigestion.
How Often to Feed a Puppy
Here is a table of the recommended frequency of feeding a puppy:
Number of Feedings
Eight Weeks to Three Months
Three Months to Six Months
|Six Months +|
How to Establish Feeding Schedules
The next part of learning how to feed your new puppy is to create feeding schedules, as this is a fantastic way to manage their eating habits and to keep you prepared.
You can undoubtedly adjust their feeds to your schedule, as long as you are ensuring they are getting the correct number of meals per day.
You’ll find the majority of pet parents will have some schedule established with precise times for feeding.
Another benefit of knowing when to feed your dog is that you can begin to house train them at the same time.
Knowing how quickly they digest their food will enable you to take them outside before they make accidents at home.
Not to mention, you also can control their sleep/wake cycle, as the earlier you feed your dog every morning, the earlier they are bound to wake you up!
How Much to Feed a Lab Puppy
Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact science when it comes to figuring out how much to feed your puppy, especially since every Lab is different.
Some may be more active than others, which means they will require far more calories to burn throughout the day.
Your dog may also have a different appetite than a neighbor’s, for example, which means you may have to adjust their servings as necessary.
Your best option for determining how much food to give your pet is to follow the guidelines that come with the pet food you have purchased.
When the recipe for dog food is created, nutritionists will determine how many calories they will get per serving as well as other essential nutrients for vitality.
This is why you’ll find some recommend a half cup of food while others may favor a cup or more per serving.
If you have begun to notice a disruption in your pet’s digestion after eating, consulting your veterinarian is a fantastic option.
For example, if their stools are looser than usual or if they are vomiting after eating, it could be as a result of improper feeding.
Also, it could be a sign of allergies, which is something that will need to be tested medically.
Average Labrador Growth
Another fantastic way to see if your puppy eats enough food is to think about how much they’re supposed to grow at each milestone.
If your dog isn’t reaching the milestones it should be, it could be a result of a poor diet or not enough exercise.
Typically, you will be able to get the exact measurements for your puppy from your veterinarian, as every Lab is different.
However, there are general guidelines that you can follow to make sure they are obtaining enough nutrition and growing as they should.
On average, your Lab should be gaining at least two to three pounds for every week they get older.
For example, if your puppy is eight weeks old, they should be approximately 16 pounds and about 32 pounds at four months.
The best way to keep track of their growth, much like a child, is to have a written record of how large they have gotten over time.
With this method, if you visit the vet, you can give them exact figures for the growth or lack thereof of your puppy.
Tips for Feeding a Labrador Puppy
You’ll likely experience a couple of bumps in the road when it comes to transitioning your puppy from milk to food, which is where these tips will be quite useful.
From knowing how to encourage fast eaters to slow down to supplementing your dog’s food, you will want to consider these pet parent-approved tips.
1. Be Mindful of Puppy Supplement Usage
Puppy supplements, much like human supplements, are designed to give your dog added nutrition where it’s necessary.
That said, it’s not the best idea to give them supplements if you have already established a healthy eating schedule with balanced dog food.
You may find that using supplements will give them too much of one type of nutrition, which can be unhealthy.
It can be tempting for pet parents to overload their puppy with ingredients designed to fight against hip dysplasia and arthritis, but an excessive amount of calcium, for example, can lead to skeletal problems in your puppy.
It’s always best to stick with a healthy diet using their puppy food rather than attempting to supplement certain areas of their diet without medical advice.
2. Don't Leave Dog Food Out
If you have a busy day, you might be tempted to give your dog a serving of food and leave it out all day so that they can eat as they please.
Unfortunately, this is the number one way to encourage your dogs to engorge or to establish an unhealthy eating schedule.
Instead, you should provide them with a pre-measured serving and ensure they eat at the time they are given their meal.
If you were to leave the dog food out, your puppy will eat at random times, often not taking as much as they should when it’s feeding time.
This process will lead them to have poor house training skills, as they will also be going to the bathroom at random times.
A better idea would be to give them their food and then allow up to 15 minutes for them to finish, then you can take the bowl away.
By implementing these steps, you will teach them the importance of eating only at feeding time, and you will help to prevent any picky habits while making their bodies more regular.
3. Use Slow Feeders
Puppies are incredibly active and love bounding around the house and trying to scarf down as much food as possible in one sitting, which can become quite challenging to manage.
Plenty of pet parents spend a lot of time training their pets to eat slowly, only to no avail, which is where slow feeders will become your best friend.
With your Lab, a slow feeder helps to prevent your pet from getting sick if they eat too quickly, but it also makes eating more fun, as they will have to work the food out from the grooves of the feeder.
These devices can be put at the bottom of their dog bowl and have different cracks and crevices where the food will fall.
Instead of putting their whole head in the bowl at once, your puppy will have to figure out how to get each piece of kibble out, allowing their bodies to digest their food thoroughly.
4. Feed in a Quiet Space
We wouldn’t love eating a meal in a noisy environment, and neither would your Lab puppy.
Before you begin thinking about any of the previous tips, the first thing you must do is establish where you will be feeding your pet.
Ideally, you will want to choose a quiet and calm space in your home where they will feel comfortable eating their food without any distractions.
If you put your puppy’s food bowl in an area with a lot of foot traffic, they will always be on edge that their meal is going to get stolen.
Opt for any area other than the kitchen or dining room since it can cause anxiety around their mealtime.
How Much to Feed Lab Puppies: Final Thoughts
By following the nutritional guidelines on your food, you’ll quickly learn how much to feed lab puppies.
As animal nutritionists typically determine the serving sizes, you can trust the portioning for each particular recipe you are trying out.
Also, be prepared to make a couple of adjustments if your puppy doesn’t seem to be meeting the correct size and weight milestones for their age.