Best Dry Dog Food For Labradors

In a rush and just want my recommendation?  I think the Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat is a great choice.

Labrador retrievers are America’s favorite dogs, so the manufacturers saturate the market with food designed for our most popular family pet. With so many options, choosing the best dry dog food for Labradors can be overwhelming, especially when you consider your pet’s nutritional needs through each stage of their life. 

In this article, I’m reviewing the following dry dog foods for Labradors.

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Labradors

Your Labrador needs to eat a healthy diet with a balance of necessary nutrients. Since retrievers have various activity levels, the amount of food you feed your pet might be different to other Labradors. Remember that puppies have different dietary needs than adult and older-adult dogs. 

How Much Food Does Your Dog Need?

Labradors have varying calorie needs, based on their temperament and activity level. Your retriever might be active one day and lazy the next. So, you might notice that your dog eats more on those busy days and only grazes on lazy ones. 

Since Labs are large dogs, they usually need around 1,500 calories per day, which is about 30 calories per pound of body weight. If your dog is an active adult, it might need closer to 2,000 calories. However, older Labs, even active ones, only need about 1,100 calories per day, because they slow down a little their elder years. 

If you are concerned that your lab is eating too much or too little, watch their weight. You don’t want your dog to become overweight or malnourished, as both lead to health problems. 

How Should I Feed My Labrador Retriever?

Labs like to eat, and they do not always know when to stop. While many breeds can have food out all day, Labs are not good at free feeding. To keep your Lab at a healthy weight, you should measure your lab’s dry food each day. You can feed your dog in the morning and evening to keep your lab’s energy at an appropriate level. 

What if My Dog has Special Dietary Issues?

Some Labrador retrievers have food sensitivities and allergies. You’ll notice your dog might have an upset stomach after you try a new dog food brand. When you switch brands, pay attention to your Lab’s eating habits while also monitoring common allergens in the food. 

Many breeds have sensitivities, and Labs often struggle with allergies to soy. If you notice your pet has issues that result in vomiting or stool problems, they might have an allergy. You should work with your veterinarian to determine the problem. 

Fortunately, many dog food manufacturers have hypoallergenic choices for Labs and other breeds. Manufacturers list ingredients, so you can look for soy or other ingredients that could cause problems. 

What Nutrients Does My Lab Need?

Since Labrador retrievers are busy dogs, they need several nutrients, like fat and protein. 

Protein

Many dry dog food brands have about 25% protein. Your Lab will need at least that much protein, as it helps their amino acids promote muscle growth. 

Since you are looking for the best dry dog food for Labradors, then you should try to find a brand with at least 50% protein. That level of protein will help them stay active and healthy. Unfortunately, protein—usually in the form of meat or eggs—is the most expensive ingredient, so manufacturers often use less of it. If you cannot find 50%, then 25% or higher is satisfactory. 

When shopping for high-protein food, look for natural protein that resembles anything the dog might eat in the wild. To keep your Labrador healthy, avoid proteins from by-products or processed ingredients. Real meat, or meat meal is the preferred protein source. 

Fat

A healthy Labrador has a shiny, lustrous coat, which comes from eating dog food with about 5% fat. Manufacturers usually enhance the flavor of their blends with fats. The best fats for your Labrador are flax seed or fish oil with omega fatty acids that keep your hound’s heart and immune system healthy. Avoid processed fats. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Dogs need more than fat and protein, so the additional nutrients matter. The best dry dog food blends have high-quality ingredients so manufacturers do not need to add supplements. 

However, many manufacturers include antioxidants to help boost immune systems and keep dogs healthy as they age. They also add fruits and vegetables in their blends, especially for older dogs to slow their cells from aging. 

How To Choose the Best Dog Food For Labradors?

When looking for your Lab’s food, look closely at the ingredients and the blend of protein and fats. Read the ingredients and look for words you recognize, like chicken, beef, fish, flax seed oil, and fruits and vegetables. Avoid kibble with ingredients that are not natural. 

What Ingredients Should I Avoid Giving To My Labrador?

While animal by-products are safe, they do not usually have the same nutrients as the actual meat. If you see ingredients with the words ‘by-products’ in them, they do not offer much nutrition and could be anything. This video explains some of the foods to avoid. 

You should also avoid feeding dyes and other artificial, chemical-laden ingredients to your dog. Dyes can cause allergic reactions, and they’ve been connected to hyperactivity and cancer. 

Dogs need nutritious ingredients, not fillers. So you should avoid feeding your dog calorie-laden ingredients like rice and corn. If those ingredients are first or second, the formula has too much grain and not enough protein. 

The Best Dry Dog Food for Labradors

These five brands offer some of the best dry dog food for retrievers. 

Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult Breed

Royal Canin for Labrador Retrievers is a breed-specific food in a donut shape that forces Labs to slow down while eating. The blend includes EPA, DHA, and glucosamine to help with joint and bone support. The blend also includes chicken, pork, and several vitamins and minerals. It also includes rosemary for a delicious flavor. The nutrients include 28% protein and 11% fat. 

Pros: 

  • Donut shape helps prevent overeating
  • Good blend of protein and fat
  • Plenty of added supplements
  • No soy

Cons: 

  • Includes chicken and pork byproduct
  • Does not have many whole fruits or vegetables

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Eukanuba Adult Medium Breed Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Adult Medium Breed Dog Food includes animal-based proteins and a formula to support joints. This dry food maintains healthy dental hygiene by reducing tartar buildup with 3D DentaDefense.

The ingredients include chicken, dried egg, flax and fish oil, as well as other vitamins and minerals, and supports healthy brain function with DHA and vitamin E.

Pros: 

  • 13% fat
  • Plenty of added supplements
  • No soy

Cons: 

  • Only 23% of protein
  • No whole fruits or vegetables
  • Animal by-products in the ingredients list

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat

Diamond Natural has a Skin & Coat blend that is healthy for Labrador retrievers and other large breeds. Their formula includes whole foods like salmon, peas, blueberries, pumpkin, and other nutritious ingredients as well as added vitamins and minerals. Diamond designed this formula for food-sensitive dogs. The blend improves the immune system and provides plenty of energy. 

Pros: 

  • Minimum of 25% protein
  • Whole foods
  • No byproducts

Cons: 

  • Has an off-putting aroma
  • Designed for large breeds, not just Labs

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula

Purina ONE SmartBlend for large breeds includes tender bites of meat mixed with crunchy kibble. It includes protein-rich chicken to help support your lab’s muscles and heart. The blend does not have any fillers or artificial flavors or preservatives. Purina ONE designed this blend to support the nutrition needs of large-breed adults. 

Pros: 

  • Minimum of 26% protein
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Includes glucosamine for joint health

Cons: 

  • Contains chicken byproducts 
  • Includes soy
  • 12% fat

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds

Hill’s Science Diet for Large Breeds includes ingredients that support mobility. The omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E keep your dog’s skin and coat looking healthy and supple. The balanced formula includes easy-to-digest ingredients without any byproducts. Science Diet includes several whole fruits and vegetables for healthy nutrition. 

Pros: 

  • Large-size kibble forces Labs to slow down while eating
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Includes glucosamine for joint health

Cons: 

  • Protein and fat percentages are not given
  • Includes soy

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Which Dry Dog Food is the Best?

The best dry dog food for Labradors is Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat. This dry dog food includes the most whole foods and the fewest unwanted ingredients. The other brands on this list include animal byproducts and very few whole fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, none of these offerings have more than 26% protein, and many have too much fat in them. 

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat includes several beneficial ingredients, but the formula does have a smell that humans might not like. Dogs don’t seem to mind at all, as they enjoy eating the Skin & Coat blend. 

The ingredients resemble food that humans eat, so you should recognize everything in the blend. Diamond Naturals doesn’t contain several of the foods that cause an allergic reaction, most notably soy. 

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