Best food for Labrador Retriever – how to feed puppies and adult dogs

December 17, 2021
Dog Breeds
Best food for Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is not a finicky breed. However, for normal development, it requires a balanced diet that optimally combines proteins, fats and carbohydrates. That’s exactly the kind of dry mixes this rating looks at, with safe, tasty, and affordable products for puppies and adults. There were 20 contenders in the selection of the best pet food for Labrador Retriever and 6 of the best dog feeds burst into our rating, based on pet owners’ reviews.

Rating of Labrador Retriever foods

The rating was based on the reviews of owners of Labrador Retriever breed and veterinarian recommendations regarding the proper nutrition for Labradors at different ages – puppies up to 1 year, adults up to 6 years, seniors. The construction of the rating was made possible after studying a number of product characteristics and comparing products for each of them.

The selection parameters were:

  • Age of pet – puppy, adult, elderly;
  • Type of mixture – dry or wet;
  • Packaging – Kraft bag, pouch, jar;
  • The special needs of pets – allergic reactions, sensitive stomach, etc;
  • Balanced and natural composition;
  • The percentage of the main component – meat;
  • The amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and their ratio; Presence of vitamins and micro-, macroelements;
  • The effects – improving digestion, condition of the coat and skin, strengthening teeth;
  • Ease of chewing;
  • Daily allowance;
  • The need to increase the amount of water consumed; Calories and satiety of the body;
  • Amount of packaging;
  • Shelf life.

The key point was the reaction of the dogs to the food and the lack of habituation, i.e. the possibility of a painless change of diet.

Labrador Retriever puppies food

The main component here is fresh lean meat – turkey, chicken, beef and veal. It should account for at least 40-60% of the composition. It is desirable to add vegetables, berries and fruits to the mix to strengthen the immune system. The 3 products selected by the DogFoodExpert ┬áteam for the rating have proven to be good Labrador Retriever puppies food.

Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Adult Lamb & Rice Labrador meal


  • Improves digestion due to the yucca content

  • Has an antiparasitic effect

  • Cleanses the body of heavy metal ions due to pectins

  • Normalizes the work of the liver

  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6

A versatile mix suitable for Labrador Retrievers of all sizes: small, medium, large. The product comes in plastic bags of 4, 8 and 16 pounds. If you buy a larger package, you can save a little money. It can be used as a complete daily diet for Labrador retriever over 2 months of age. For accelerated and harmonious puppy development, the composition is characterized by an increased content of protein, the source of which is meat. Purina contains 28% poultry and 8% lamb, with no bone meal added. The rest comes from fat, wheat, rice, corn, carrots and peas. The inclusion of vegetables and grains provides the growing body with the necessary reserve of energy and increases resistance to disease. The dietary fiber in the Retriever puppy food creates a favorable environment for the development of healthy microflora in the intestines.

Because of the low humidity of not more than 9%, the owner will have to keep a closer eye on the water availability of the animal. Purina is a source of:

  1. calcium
  2. phosphorus
  3. selenium
  4. zinc
  5. iodine
  6. copper
  7. manganese
  8. vitamins A, E, B and D3

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal



  • Small daily rate - 195 to 800 g depending on weight

  • Doesn't bore for long

  • Doesn't cause thirst

  • Easy to combine with wet counterparts

  • Makes coat shiny

  • No problem chewing

  • Includes grains

A low-cost diet specially formulated for large breed puppies, including the Labrador Retriever. Designed for puppies up to 1 year of age. It is based on chicken and turkey meal (35%) mixed with grains (rice and corn). Eggs, beets, soybean oil, flax seeds and cellulose are used as additional ingredients. This variety of ingredients helps to strengthen the growing body and protect it from diseases and parasites. Hill’s Science Plan contains antioxidants to prevent free radicals. It has an optimal distribution of protein (27%) and fat (14.8%) to help maintain normal energy levels and promote weight gain. The dry mix is rich in vitamins A, C and E, which helps strengthen the animal’s immune system. Available in 3 boxes – 15, 30, 33 pounds.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken



  • Good degree of shredding

  • Humidity 10%

  • Optimal caloric value - 3850 kcal/kg

  • Refers to the premium class

  • Can be combined with other varieties

  • Contains fruit, which is not suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs

  • Not holistic

Blue Buffalo’s food is designed for large breeds, including Labrador Retriever. The formula is sold in chicken flavor, with poultry as the main ingredient. This made it possible to achieve a 28% protein content, the lack of which prevents the puppy’s body from developing properly. The fat content is only 16%, reducing the risk of gaining excess body weight. They include fiber, which is good for digestion. Dry food for Labrador retriever puppies is quite nutritious, which is due to the combination of meat with grains – oats, corn, wheat. Reviews note the positive effect of the diet on the coat and digestion. This option has good tolerability.

Adult Labrador Retriever feeds

These mixes are based on meat combined with cereals (wheat, oats, corn), vegetables, berries, fruits, plant extracts. Adults are defined as animals between 1 and 6 years of age. Older pets are called seniors, and they need their own diet – with a limited number of calories. The DogFoodExpert editorial board studied the characteristics of 10 nominees and added the 3 safest, tastiest, healthiest to the rating.

Dry food for adult dogs Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult



  • Animal gets fed quickly

  • Normal digestion

  • Shelf life is 12 months

  • Can be given to the elderly over 7 years of age

  • Does not affect kidney function

  • It gets tiresome after 3 to 5 months

Yet another food designed for Labrador retriever. It is designed specifically to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. The minimum recommended age for feeding is 1 year, the maximum age is 6 years. The mix belongs to the premium class, in particular because of the large amount of meat – poultry and pork. This led to a protein content of 30%, which has a positive effect on the immune system, cartilage, liver. The Royal Canin feed is rich in fiber (4.5%), and is especially good for pets with poor digestion and liver function disorders. Low fat content (13%) protects against weight gain, and cereals help replenish energy reserves. The composition also includes cartilage hydrolysate, which strengthens the joints. The energy value of the mix is high – 3710 kcal per 1 kg.

Holistic Select Natural grain-free dry nutrition for Labrador retriever



  • Contains no dyes

  • Excludes soy and fat

  • Does not include by-products

  • Gentle cooking process

  • Balance of vitamins

  • Suitable only for adult dogs 1 year and older

A diet is balanced for all dog breeds and for Labrador retriever including large animals. It’s the only holistic product in our range, designed with your dog’s body and risk of allergies in mind. This minimizes the chance of digestive, kidney and liver disorders. The value of the dry mixture is the complete absence of grain components, and more than 65% is meat. The grain-free formula is well-suited for pets with sensitive stomachs and does not cause heaviness after feeding. The diet is as close to natural as possible. The source of protein, which here is 25% versus 15% fat, is fresh chicken meat. Additional ingredients include pumpkin, apples, and peas.

The approximate daily food allowance for the Labrador Retriever is 400-600 g; the more active the animal, the higher it should be.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein for Labrador Retriever



  • Made non-GMO

  • Large amount of fiber (3%), which improves intestinal function

  • Natural antioxidants that protect against aging

  • Variety in composition, diluted with apples and pumpkin

  • Balanced formula

  • Humidity of 10% or less requires more water

  • Presence of fat

BLUE Wilderness grain-free dog food made with healthy carbs, including sweet potatoes and peas, helps keep your adult dog active; it also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health.

However, the main ingredient is ground chicken meat and fat, which provides 25% protein and 1.5% calcium. This has a positive effect on skin, coat and bone health. The food is designed for hyperactive dogs. It is easy to digest due to the absence of by-products, flavorings and colorings in the composition. It also reduces the risk of allergies, even in Labrador Retrievers with sensitive digestion. However, the food should be introduced gradually (within 7-10 days), and fresh water should be provided. The food contains vitamins A and D3, which are important for vision and joints. Blue Buffalo dog food ranks high on Chewy’s Best Food and Brand Ratings click for more.

How to choose supply for Labrador Retriever?

The mixes with a high content of pure meat (beef, turkey, chicken), which are of the super premium class, are most valued. They increase the amount of protein and improve the development of the animal. Ideally, you should take specialized diets designed specifically for Labradors, but there are few on the market.


Dog food is divided into dry and wet, which is available as canned food in cans and chunks in pouches. The latter two are less common. Their advantages are higher calorie content, ease of digestion, improved palatability and balanced composition. However, they store less and are not very profitable. Dry food for Labrador Retriever is better to choose in terms of economy, it lasts for a long time and is conveniently stored in bags with a zip-lock or in special containers. Their shelf life sometimes exceeds 1 year. It also takes care of the animals’ mouths and cleans plaque from their teeth when they chew the pellets. Separately, it is worth noting the wide selection for puppies, allergies, older Labrador Retriever.

Pet’s age

Food for Labrador Retriever puppies should contain more meat than for adults, because they need protein for normal body development and trouble-free growth. It is also important to have calcium and phosphorus in the formula, which are needed to strengthen joints and cartilage. You can start giving any formula only when the pet reaches 2 months of age. For puppies and adult dogs under 6 years of age, the caloric intake should be high – at least 3,500 kcal. Older dogs no longer need so much energy and can buy less hearty mixes with easily digestible carbohydrates.


Zip-lock bags, pouches, and cans are available on the market that come in canned foods. Once opened, any of these packages must be sealed tightly to prevent odor from escaping. Otherwise, the Labrador Retriever will not eat the food with a good appetite.

Special Needs

Special needs include allergies to ingredients (most commonly oats, wheat, corn, soy), sensitive stomach, impaired digestion, elderly or younger than 1 year of age. Information about this should be indicated by the manufacturer on the package or in the product description. Mixing food with fresh vegetables is great, but find out how dogs can eat raw broccoli.

What is the best food for Labrador Retriever?

The most popular dry mixture, which quickly satiates the body, maintains the right level of energy, health and provides prevention of disorders in the kidneys, liver, stomach. However, when introducing it into the diet, it is necessary to increase the amount of water consumed by the pet, regardless of what food will be fed to the Labrador Retriever.

The choice of food is determined by the needs of the Labrador Retriever:

  • Active Labrador Retriever puppies who need plenty of energy can be given Purina ONE SmartBlend lamb and rice with cereal.
  • Hill’s Science Plan chicken-based dry mix is recommended for strengthening a growing dog.
  • To avoid overweight, especially in dogs prone to it, it is worth introducing Blue Buffalo with chicken into the diet.
  • Royal Canin can help maintain a Labrador Retriever healthy skin and coat.
  • If you have a sensitive stomach and are allergic to grains, consider Holistic Select Natural grain-free with or without yams.
  • For highly active Labrador Retriever dogs, you can buy products from the brand Blue Buffalo.

Before choosing any food for a Labrador Retriever, it is better to carefully study the characteristics of the products and reviews about them. Only by comparing the compositions and the effects of using the mixture, you will be able to choose a worthy option. Also, we have painstakingly researched the best senior dog food and the best senior food in this article.

Samuel Carter author About Author

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