Labradors are some of the cutest, most popular dogs out there. They are commonplace in people’s homes because of their undying loyalty and, in some cases, their ability to act as effective hunting partners.
As is the case with any other breed of dog, owners need to know what to be feeding their lab and when. When they are puppies in particular, they should be eating a certain amount each step of the way.
The First Six Weeks
With any puppy, the first six weeks of their life are the most important. When possible, they should be on mother’s milk for the first 30 days at the very least. Unless you are a breeder, however, you may not have that option. When that is the case, they would need to be prescribed a specific formula from your local vet.
So long as you have mother’s milk (or a recommended substitute), that should be part of their diet for at least the first six weeks. They will get only mother’s milk for the first 30 days, then start to go to a mix of mother’s milk and soft kibble until right around the eight-week mark.
It is at the eight-week mark that your pup will start to see some changes in their feeding habits. This will be something that you can easily change up through the first 12-15 months of their lives.
Eight Weeks and On
When our lab puppy hits the eight-week mark, this is where they would go to nothing but puppy kibble. Start with anywhere from 3-4 feedings per day, which works out to anywhere between 2-3 cups per day.
This will continue through the twelve-week mark. When twelve weeks comes around, it is recommended that you go from 3-4 cups to 2-3. It all depends on the dietary needs and response of your puppy. They need a lot of nutrients at this point, which is why there still need to be frequent feedings.
If your pup is continuing down the right developmental path, the final change will come at around the six-month mark. This is where, continuing with anywhere between two and three cups, you would split the total down to a pair of meals.
This will continue to be their method of feeding after they hit the 15-month mark and start to ease into adulthood. Keep in mind that these totals can change depending on your dog. If you think that your dog may have different needs, then you should consult your vet to find out what the best way forward is.
High-Quality Food is Important
While having a labrador feeding chart by age is helpful, quality is hugely important. There is also a sizable difference between some basic, store-branded food and something that is a higher-quality. Most of the lesser brands out there will be lacking in omega fatty acids and animal protein that your pup needs to develop.
Those lower-quality foods also tend to have a bunch of fillers that offer no nutritional value. They also contain artificial preservatives, colors, rubbish, and chemicals, none of which are very good for your dog.
Labs, like most dogs, have three stages: puppyhood, adulthood, and senior years. That puppyhood stage is crucial to their overall development because it sets the tone and foundation for having a healthy body and life.
Inexpensive Route is Not a Good Choice
If you simply choose the inexpensive route and go for the lesser-quality option, you are basically setting your dog up to have a nutritionally-deficient diet. Make sure that you give your pup the best that you can. Their bodies and development will thank you for it. There are a ton of options to choose from out there but finding something that features animal-based protein is a good place to start.
Try to avoid the inexpensive options that have a ton of fillers in them. Those don’t add anything nutritionally to their diet and will ultimately do them a disservice physically. If you want the most life out of your lab, you need to give them the kind of diet that supports their size, energy, and level of activity on a day to day basis.
When in doubt, there are two ways you can go about it. The first is to ask your vet. The second is to do your homework and find an option that suits your dog. There is a lot of information out there about the various types of dog food out there; failing to do your homework means that you are doing a disservice to your pup.
Like any other kind of dog, finding the right dietary balance for your Labrador is key. They begin on mother’s milk for the first six or so weeks of their lives, making the transition into puppy food throughout the first 15 months of their lives.
The number of cups that they receive each day can vary, though they should be in the 2-3 cup range by the time they hit the eight-week mark. If your pup is having a hard time with eating, it may be time to consult your vet to find out what the issue is.