Feeding Your Chocolate Labrador Puppy

Labrador pups are introduced to dry food (Soaked) at 3 weeks of age. We use Eukanuba Puppy then Eukanuba Labrador because it is a complete and balanced diet. Nevertheless, apart from the possibility of an obesity problem, there is no harm in wet / canned or other dry food. Remember, Labs do not have a natural food intake regulator so you will need to monitor them with portion control. Alternatively, 'Supercoat Puppy' is good at half the price but you will use twice as much. And you will have to clean up larger amounts of waste in your yard.

3 Meals per day for pups

During the early growth phase, the recommended measure of food for labrador puppies is approximated in an 8 oz. measuring cup. To allow for an accurate control of body weight and growth rate, this amount of food can be dispensed over 3-4 meals per day. After 8 months of age, the feeding regularity can be reduced to two meals per day.

Your pup will need:

From 12 - 14 months we recommend 'Eukanuba Labrador'.

The amount of food a Labrador puppy requires will change during first 14 months of their life. At 14 months, their bone / growth plates are set. (We do not recommend desexing you pup until 8 mths of age. This allows for an appropriate development of hormones. Food intake for a Labrador puppy will depend upon their growth rate and is therefore determined by the puppy’s age, gender, activity, temperament, environment and metabolism.

A Balanced Diet for your new Labrador Puppy

Puppy food must be a “Complete” & “Balanced” diet. Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. We do not feed table scraps. There will be no problems if you are feeding a puppy with a homemade diet but it should be prepared from prescribed recipes that are nutritionally complete and balanced. Diets consisting of an unplanned and indiscriminate mixture of human foods particularly carbohydrates will likely result in obesity and even dietary-induced disease. When you Lab reaches 25 kg adult body weight, it should be given a food that contains less energy and calcium. This will decrease the risk of obesity and orthopaedic diseases such as Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD).

Do not feed chocolate or grapes to your labrador puppies, they are toxic. And do not feed them coffee or tea as they can contain caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. These toxic substances can dangerously affect the heart and nervous system. Sweets/ Candy should never be fed to puppies. Onions, garlic, raisins and grapes when consumed in large quantities are potentially toxic in a labrador puppy. Raw meat is potential source of parasites and pathogenic bacteria for your puppy.

Eggs yokes are an excellent source of protein. Strain off & dispose of the egg white. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can, in extreme cease, lead to skin and coat problems.

Liver contains higher levels of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Raw liver can be a source of parasites and pathogenic bacteria. Excessive amounts of liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity.

Raw bone chewing will control tartar buildup on a pups teeth. However, bone chewing can cause intestinal blockages and perforations. Never use cooked bones.

Commercial Puppy Foods

Most commercial puppy foods are designated for small, medium, large and giant breeds. This designation can be found on the label. Puppies of medium sized breeds are less than '25 kg fully grown adult body weight'. A full grown and lean Labrador will usually weigh between 25kg and 35kg. We feed our dogs at the 'lower' level of the recommended range. The 'Hills Body Fat Index' is a very helpful body shape indicator. 

The same food as the bitch

You should feed your new puppy with the same brand of food as the bitch received during lactation. Our bitches are fed 'Eukanuba Puppy', Large Breed for Puppies'

Introducing a new brand of food

If you are wanting to introduce a new brand of food to your puppy, then blend it gradually with the existing brand in increasing amounts over 3 days. This should prevent food rejection and any kind of gastric upset.

Feeding - Management and Monitoring

New food should be selected according to the 'stage of growth' and the anticipated adult body weight for a medium / large breed dog. It is best to choose a diet designed for large breed puppies. Selected commercial feeds should contain a limited percentage of filler compounds. Pawlinglabs recommends Eukanuba Puppy,  Eukanuba Labrador Adult and Eukanube Large Breed.

Growing labradors

Labrador pups have a very steep growth curve, and their total daily energy needs do increase as they grow. The best way to determine the volume of feed is to estimate the lab puppy’s energy expenditure for their age. Calculate the amount of puppy food that will satisfy that need. The feeding guidelines on the commercial pet food label provides an estimated quantity of feed for several different ranges in body size. These instructions will give you an estimated starting point for the particular brand.

Medium or large?

As a rule of thumb, medium-sized dogs weight up to 25 kg and they reach 50% of their adult weight at about 4 months of age. Large dogs with adult weights greater than 25 kg reach 50% at about 5 months of age. Medium breeds should be transitioned to an adult diet by 12 months of age, while large breeds between 14 – 18 months of age. Mature female labradors are medium and weight approx 25-30kg. Mature males are large and weight approx 30-35kg.  

Treats

Treats, snacks and human food should be limited to less than 10% of the total daily food intake. Treats increase a puppy energy intake and given in large numbers may double a puppy’s calcium intake. Their calcium and energy content should not exceed that level recommended by a registered nutritionalist.

Sound skeletal development

Sound skeletal development in labradors is produced by the interaction of genetic, environmental, and nutritional factors. The phase prior to weaning and the growth phase, up to 14 months are integral to sound skeletal structure. Don't take your young pup on extended distance walks and certainly not 'running' until at least 14mths of age.  You wouldn't take a 10yr old child on a 1/2 marathon. You must avoid stairs and slippery floors for the same reasons. Their growth plates are set at about 14mths of age.

Feeding and Overfeeding

Large breeds like Labradors are the most susceptible to skeletal disease. Feed consumption, nutrients balance and feeding methods influence our ability to produce sound skeletal development and eliminate skeletal disease. Appropriate food consumption and nutrition plays a critical role in bone development.

Overfeeding will not increase the growth rate of young and growing labrador puppies. And it does not correlate with optimal adult size. However, it does increase the risk of skeletal abnormalities. The vast majority of skeletal disorders occur in large breeds including labradors and they are associated with consumption of table food and an excessive intake of a commercial food and supplementation. The large breeds like labradors are limited in their ability to cope with an excess of minerals such as calcium. The result of this over consumption is abnormal bone development and skeletal disorders.

Nutritional management will be critical in the to prevention of bone and joint diseases. In most cases, skeletal disease can prevented by appropriate quantities of feed in a regulated diet with optimal nutrient levels.

A complete and balanced commercial diet is essential.  Dietary deficiencies will be of little concern if your labrador pup is fed with a complete and balanced commercial diet. Brands like Eukanuba and Royal Canin are specifically prepared for young, growing labradors. Their is real potential for harm by over feeding and additional supplementation.

Housing safety and activity levels

Housing safety and activity levels are under the your influence. Nutrition is also under your control and it is the single most important factor affecting the development of the musculoskeletal system. Energy, protein, and calcium are the critical nutritional components affecting skeletal development. However, if they are given in excess, they will be detrimental to normal bone and joint growth. Most pet owners feed commercial dog food. These prepared diets are balanced and complete.