Having a Labrador is a commitment, the same kind of commitment you make when you decide to have children. The simple explanation to this is these dogs can’t really do anything by themselves, like take a bath or buy their own food, despite how intelligent Labradors actually are.
And just like any child you would have, it is your obligation to feed your Labrador and make sure that their diet consists of healthy food.
Aside from healthy food, the main question should be “How much food should a Labrador puppy eat? This question is the start of becoming a responsible parent, as you want to make sure that you’re neither over feeding them nor making them malnourished.
In this article, you will find out about the important things to know about feeding your Labrador puppy. Some of these questions will also prove pertinent to answering how much you should feed your Labrador puppy so it grows and stays healthy into a well-behaved and nourished adult Labrador.
When Can a Labrador Puppy Eat Dog Food?
A lot of fur parents eagerly wait for the time when their Labrador puppy can start eating dog food, as this is one sign that they are starting to mature and become ready to leave their mother’s side. It is pretty easy to tell when a puppy can start to eat dog food, as there are a few signs you should be aware of.
The first sign to take note of is when your puppy starts growing teeth. These teeth are very sharp and can be painful for the mother when the puppy starts sucking on her teat. If you do a quick inspection without stressing the puppy out, it’s going to be a first sign that it’s almost time to get the puppy used to dog food.
The other sign is when the mother herself pushes her puppy away when it tries to suck on her teat for milk. As mentioned, puppy teeth are very sharp and uncomfortable for the mother, so it’s not a surprise that some mothers would stay away from their puppies. At this point, it would be wise to start introducing milk, wet dog food, or softened kibble into your Labrador puppy’s diet.
Types of Puppy Food
Just like there are different kinds of milk and even food for your baby, dog food also has a wide range of selections for many fur parents to choose from. Among them are the three most common.
Dry dog food, better known as kibble, is the type of food of choice among many fur parents. These dry pellets of nutrition serve a lot of advantages to fur parents, one of them being convenience. This kind of dog food is more convenient than others because of how easy it is to prepare and clean, unlike wet or raw dog food.
Kibble is also much easier to store and often has a long shelf-life, so you wouldn’t need to worry about having too much stock for just one dog.
Furthermore, Labrador puppies and other puppies in general have a specific kind of kibble made for them. This is known as puppy food, and is much smaller in size so eating it is not a hassle for your Labrador puppy. It is also said that this kibble is richer in protein to support your puppy’s needs when it can no longer get milk from its mother.
Wet dog food is not kibble just added with more water, it is a completely different type of food. The flavor and content typically depend on the brand, but what’s important to note is that this kind of food is only really necessary for picky eaters and Labrador puppies with dental problems.
Getting your Labrador puppy used to this kind of food is not bad, but you’ll quickly realize just how expensive this kind of food is. To overcome this, what most fur parents do is top their Labrador puppy’s kibble with wet dog food to make it taste better and much easier for dogs with dental problems to eat.
Raw Meat – Knowing B.A.R.F.
B.A.R.F. literally means “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food”, and is probably the most expensive and taxing of all kinds of dog food. This is because you have to learn all about the raw food you can prepare for your Labrador puppy, and prepare every single meal just like you would prepare your own.
There are benefits to B.A.R.F., but the FDA is not fully into it due to the dangers of preparing raw food and meat as well. If you want to go all the way for your Labrador, then B.A.R.F. is definitely something you should consider and study thoroughly, as this can’t be done with just half-baked efforts.
Nutrients Your Labrador Puppy Needs
Just like our human body, Labrador puppies must be fed with nutrients to maintain their health and organ structure and function. Here are the 5 basic nutrients they need in a typical diet:
Protein is what makes up most of our living cells, and there are some proteins that the body can’t produce by itself. These proteins are also known as essential or dietary proteins, as these can only be introduced to our body through the food that we eat.
Making sure that your Labrador puppy gets the amount of protein it needs to completely support its growth is as important as ensuring your own protein intake. Puppy food is known to be richer in proteins, so make sure that you feed your dog age-appropriate food as well.
Carbohydrates serve as the main source of fuel for your body, and a lack of it in your puppy’s diet will immediately show. Your puppy will be weak and easily get tired, so it won’t be able to match the energy level of any other healthy puppy. Keep track of the carbohydrates in your puppy’s diet to ensure it gets just the right amount for its activity.
Fiber is essential for digestion of food. Although what Labrador puppies eat is not as complex as what we humans eat, they still need the right amount of fiber so they can absorb all the essential nutrients from their food. This also makes sure that their gastrointestinal tract is healthy.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are important for energy storage and transporting various digestive products in your puppy’s body. Giving them a diet rich in essential fatty acids allows them to live healthier as well and have normal body functions.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are just as essential for dogs like they are for us. Vitamins help us carry out normal body functions throughout the day, which means we can enhance our body’s performance. Ensuring your puppy gets the right vitamins it needs will allow it to grow into a healthy adult Labrador that can live up to its expected lifespan.
How Many Calories Does Your Labrador Puppy Need?
Unlike humans, doing a calorie count for your puppy is not that important. What’s important to know is that kibble typically contains more calories than wet dog food, which is why a lot of fur parents mix both together still.
Knowing when and how much to feed your puppy is enough as long as you ensure that the food you buy for your dog has all the nutrients your puppy needs for growth. The most expensive dog food isn’t always the best one, so be diligent with your research and don’t choose the easy way out!
How Much Should a Labrador Puppy Eat?
The rapid growth your Labrador puppy goes through makes it hard to pinpoint exactly how much food it needs. Luckily, there are feeding charts you can follow to prevent over feeding your dog, as what new fur parents normally do.
At 0-30 days of age, you need not worry about feeding your puppy as it will completely rely on its mother’s milk for nutrition. At 4-6 weeks, you can start slowly introducing softened puppy food, which is usually puppy kibble together with some warm milk, making it easier for your Labrador puppy to chew and digest.
By the time your Labrador puppy is 8-12 weeks of age, it must no longer rely on its mother and should be used to being fed 1-3 cups of kibble thrice a day. Once it has reached 1 year of age, your Labrador may no longer need to be fed thrice a day, and you can lessen feeding times to twice a day to prevent overfeeding.
At first thought, feeding puppies can seem hard, especially for those whose first time it is to have a Labrador puppy. However, the details really are not that hard to remember as dog nutrition has its similarities to human nutrition. Basically, all you have to remember is that your dog should be getting the right amount of nutrients it needs for growth.
Apart from that, you also have to be careful with how much you feed your Labrador puppy. Overfeeding can lead to bone problems in the future, so just don’t overdo it with the dog food no matter how tempting it may be. Just remember: a healthy Labrador puppy always grows into a healthy adult with the right care!
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