How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers
Canada’s Labrador Retriever is a breed that enjoys immense popularity as a cherished family companion. A dog that traces its roots to a fisherman’s assistant in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, the Labrador is a versatile and athletic dog that excels at many different pursuits.
The Labrador Retriever is a highly intelligent dog, making it well-suited to many different sports including field trials, obedience, Rally, agility, scent detection, and more. A breed that is very friendly and affectionate, the Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice for families with children with whom it is gentle and kindly dispositioned.
Labrador Retrievers have a lot of energy to expend, so they are best in a family that enjoys an active lifestyle. However, if kept well exercised, this dog breed will not be prone to becoming obese.
A hearty eater, the Labrador Retriever will eat far past the point of satiation if free fed. It is recommended that the best dog foods for Labrador Retrievers be measured and all intake monitored to prevent the dog from becoming overweight.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Labrador Retrievers
Selecting the best dog food for a Labrador Retriever can be a daunting task. Once an owner has decided on the right diet, it is then necessary to determine how much the dog needs for each meal. The best course of action to ascertain this is to use the suggested serving size printed on the bag as a starting point. These amounts can be adjusted until the proper amount has been found.
Labrador Retrievers can be predisposed to a condition known as bloat. Though experts do not yet know what factors must combine to result in this life threatening medical condition, it is generally believed that eating too much and too quickly should be avoided.
The ideal diet for an adult Labrador Retriever should consist of a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat.
Dietary Requirements for Labrador Retriever Dog Foods
Since the Labrador Retriever is a natural athlete, this dog type requires a high performance, well-balanced diet to thrive. The best dog foods for Labrador Retrievers base themselves on a lean meat. Whole meats are the preferred option, but meat meals are also an excellent concentrated source of protein suited to this energetic and lively breed.
By-products and plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat are inferior in nutritional quality and can trigger food sensitivities in some dogs. Diets that include these ingredients should be avoided. Additionally, additives, chemicals, flavoring agents, and artificial colors offer no benefits to the Labrador Retriever. Foods containing these items are best left on the shelf.
Carbohydrates can come from fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Dogs that have displayed food sensitivities in the past may do best on a diet that is grain-free. The primary importance of any ingredient selected for a diet for the Labrador Retriever is its ease of digestibility and high antioxidant content.
Healthy fats play an important role in the Labrador Retriever’s nutritional needs. It is from these ingredients that the dog’s energy levels are stoked and coat and skin health are achieved and maintained. The best sources for these ingredients are animal-based and include such items as oily fish and chicken fat. Canola and safflower oils can also boost the omega 3 and 6 fatty acid profile of a food.
Supplements can help an excellent quality food to be even more effective for dogs. The ideal supplements to look for in a food for the active Labrador Retriever are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best dog food for a Labrador Retriever:
Whole meat-based proteins heading up the ingredients list
The Labrador Retriever needs a diet that takes a lean, meat-based protein as its primary ingredient. Whole meats are the best option, but meat meals are also acceptable.
Among the proteins that are best avoided are soy, corn, wheat, and any meat by-product.
Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
Chemicals, fillers, artificial flavorings and colorings, and mystery ingredients provide no nutritional benefit to the Labrador Retriever. Foods containing these items are not suited for the needs of this breed.
Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
Supplements help a diet to be its most effective. The best supplements to support the Labrador Retriever’s health include prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
All foods appropriate for the Labrador Retriever should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.