Best Puppy Food For Labs

The best dog food for Labradors is Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dry Dog Food.

Welcoming a new Labrador puppy into your family is an exciting time. It’s full of hard work, comes with a steep learning curve, but ultimately a highly rewarding process.

One of the things that you might be considering – so what is the best puppy food for a Labrador puppy?

We did our research and have identified the 9 best puppy food that you can feed your Lab puppy. Starting them off with the right nutrition will help them grow up to be strong, healthy adult Labradors. 

What’s more? We have also included a handy’s buyers guide for you to make an informed decision too. 

#1 Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food, Chicken and Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag
  • One (1) 34 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food, Chicken and Rice Formula
  • Formulated to support an appropriate growth rate for large breed puppies
  • Glucosamine supports developing joints and cartilage

We chose the Purina Pro Plan dry puppy dog food as our top pick. What we really liked about it is that it is specially formulated for large breed dogs, such as the Labrador Retriever puppy. 

Large breed puppies need more nourishment and nutritional intake as compared to smaller breed puppies. With this purpose in mind, the Purina Pro Plan is formulated with DHA, antioxidants, calcium, and omega-6 fatty acids.

To meet the dietary requirements and lifestyle of a wider range of dogs – including Labrador Retrievers – Purina has developed five formulations: Savor, Focus, Sport, Bright Mind, and Nature. Each of the formulas is available for puppies as well, which is the thing that we are looking for today.

We wouldn’t choose puppy food as our top pick if it wasn’t made from real ingredients. Each of the available flavors has meat as its primary ingredient, as well as omega-rich fish oils to help promote brain development and antioxidants to strengthen the immune system.

The available wide range of package sizes, flavors, and formulations should allow any Labrador owner to provide their pups with all the nutrients they need. Formulated with high-quality and real ingredients, Purina Pro Plan puppy food is the highly recommended choice for your growing Labrador pup.

Pros


  • Specially formulated for large breed dogs – such as Labrador Retrievers.
  • Formulated with live probiotics for digestive and immune health.
  • Made from high-protein ingredients and real chicken.
  • Available in three bag sizes; 18 lbs, 34 lbs, and 47 lbs.

Cons


#2 Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

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Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe, 30-Pound Bag
  • DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Optimal levels of protein plus prebiotics and probiotics, live yogurt cultures, digestive enzymes, and...
  • HEALTHY SKIN AND COAT: Omega 3 fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed to support healthy skin and coat
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine for a healthy heart

This dog food’s basic recipe is similar to those found in Holistic Select’s other adult dog food. Moreover, this recipe includes chondroitin and glucosamine for joint support, which is essential for large or giant pups with pre-existing joint issues.

It also contains the amino acid L-carnitine. L-carnitine supplementation is thought to aid with any possible deficiency in giant dog breeds that are prone to poor heart conditions.

Furthermore, while this food contains a lot of carbohydrates, it is indicated for large-sized puppies with sensitive stomachs, so we may ignore some of the carb-heavy ingredients like oatmeal and rice.

This dry dog food from Holistic Select comes highly recommended for those who require a high-quality adult recipe that is designed to meet the long-term health demands of large canines. It’s an excellent food for puppies with sensitive tummies.

Pros


  • Encourages a healthy immune system.
  • Promotes joint support.
  • Contains no artificial colors, flavors, by-products, or cheap fillers.
  • Made in the USA using globally sourced ingredients.
  • Comes with salmon oil and flaxseed to provide omega-3 fatty acids vital for healthier skin and coat.
  • Ideal for large puppies with sensitive stomachs.

Cons


#3 Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food, 30 lb.
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Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food, 30 lb.
  • FORMULATED FOR PUREBRED LABRADOR RETRIEVERS: Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food is designed to meet the...
  • SPECIALIZED KIBBLE: Unique kibble design helps quick eaters chew food slowly
  • HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT: An exclusive complex of antioxidants including vitamin E helps protect puppy development of the...

If your Labrador Retriever puppy is very picky about his food, then this Royal Canin breed-specific puppy food might be the right pick. After all, it is made for Labrador puppies specifically!

It’s specially formulated to meet the growing nutritional needs of Labrador puppies from 8 weeks to 15 months old. From our research, many Labrador puppies owners have complimented this product for giving their pup:

  • Shiny and soft coat
  • Fantastic energy levels
  • Healthy monthly weight gain

It is also designed to promote better nutrient absorption. With donut-shaped kibbles, they help to slow down the rate of ingestion by promoting chewing, which in its turn can improve digestion. This is important as Labradors are prone to suffer from bloating. 

Ultimately, this could mean noticeably improved bone and joint development, enhanced coat and skin health, and steady growth for puppies younger than 15 months.

We liked Royal Canin Labrador food for its focus on Labrador puppies. And this can really make a difference since Labradors have a unique muzzle length, jaw structure, and distinctive coats!.

Pros


  • Specially formulated for Labrador Retriever puppies.
  • The specially-adapted donut-shaped kibble promotes better chewing and biting patterns.
  • Well-balanced formulation based on chicken.

Cons


#4 Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Large Breeds, With Real Meat And Whole Grains, Chicken Meal...
  • A large breed puppy food specially made with an optimal level of calcium for controlled bone growth
  • Uses a balanced set of minerals to promote strong bones and teeth in large puppies
  • Uses DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain and eye development for growing dogs

If you’d like a wider variety of flavors for your Labrador Retriever puppy, then Hill’s Science Diet dry dog food may be a great pick for you.

In terms of flavors, this food product is similar to our top pick. However, it may be better in the sense that it doesn’t have various formulations for puppies: you won’t have to wrap your head around different form factors of dry food.

What’s much more important about this pack is that it delivers all the nutrients a Labrador puppy would need. Based on either chicken or lamb, this dry food pack includes glucosamine, chondroitin, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.

Made with a balanced set of minerals and natural ingredients, the Hill’s Science Diet puppy food will help to promote strong bones and teeth in your growing Labrador pup.

Pros


  • Three flavor options; Chicken, Chicken Meal & Oat, Lamb Meal & Brown Rice.
  • Available in three package sizes; 15.5 lbs, 30 lbs, and 33 lbs.
  • Made with natural and easy-to-digest ingredients.

Cons


#5 Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Puppy, Large Breed Lamb and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag
  • Contains Das for brain and eye development
  • Antioxidant Formulation
  • Balanced omega fatty acids for skin and coat

Diamond Naturals dry dog food uses a lamb and rice formula designed for puppies who are fond of lamb meat. Since the proteins in this food are made from real pasture-raised lamb, it may be the best lamb meat dog food available out there.

Not only is the food in this pack flavorful, but it also is easy-to-digest thanks to the small-size kibble. If your Labrador puppy has been having problems with larger kibbles, this one may be able to help you.

Diamond Naturals dog food comes in three bag sizes; 6 lbs, 20 lbs, and 40 lbs. These size options will provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate your grocery purchases or restocking schedule. The 40-lb pack is especially notable since it can last for a much longer period!

Each bag from Diamond Naturals is power-packed with essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and superfoods, such as kale and chia seeds, guaranteed to provide the fullest nutritional value you can get out of each serving. Its smallest size option comes in a 6-lb bag for convenient taste testing, if your pup is a picky eater.

Pros


  • Available in three bag sizes; 6 lbs, 20 lbs, and 40 lbs.
  • Uses pasture-raised lamb as its primary ingredient.
  • Comes in smaller and easy-to-digest kibbles.

Cons


#6 IAMS Proactive Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

IAMS Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Puppy Food with Real Chicken, 30.6 lb. Bag
  • Large Breed Puppy Food: Created to fit a large breed puppy’s specific needs, this kibble features real, farm-raised...
  • Veterinarians Recommend IAMS: Made with 22 key nutrients like those found in mother’s milk, including omega-3 DHA to...
  • Complete and Balanced Puppy Nutrition: IAMS Dog Food is made with high quality animal protein and no artificial...

The key notable feature in IAMS Proactive Health puppy food pack is that it is available in 3 size options. This flexibility allows you to better manage the supplies of dog food stocked at home. Besides, the smallest 7-lb bag size would allow you to try out the food before considering incorporating it as a part of your dog’s diet.

Convenience is great, but what is more important is that this dry food packs 22 key nutrients to match the nutritional value found in a mother dog’s milk. Well, another reason why you and your Labrador puppy may favor this product is that it uses real, farm-raised chicken as its primary ingredient!

What we really liked is that this large breed puppy dog food from IAMS provides Lab owners with a lot of options for food supply management. It’s highly nutritious and flavorful.

Pros


  • Comes in three bag size options; 3 lbs, 15 lbs, and 30.6 lbs.
  • Uses real, farm-raised chicken.
  • Includes 22 nutrients found in a mother dog’s milk.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons


#7 Nulo Freestyle Dry Puppy Food

Nulo Freestyle Dry Puppy Food - Grain Free Kibble Recipe with DHA for Brain Development - Salmon &...
  • GRAIN-FREE recipe contains no corn; wheat; soy; white potatoes; tapioca; artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives....

Nulo Freestyle dry puppy food is a complete and balanced formula for growing large breed puppies with adequate calcium and phosphorus ratios. This tasty grain-free salmon and turkey recipe will definitely have your dog begging for more.

This recipe contains 80% real meat proteins to help your furry friend grow large and strong. It also contains DHA fatty acids sourced from real salmon, which help to improve brain and eye development. Healthy calcium levels also help your doggie’s bones and teeth to stay strong.

Additionally, it contains BC30 Probiotic, which helps to enhance the immune system, improve metabolism, and ease digestion. It is essential for any pup’s health to have proper nutrition, and Nulo guarantees that your puppy has all it requires from the start.

Even though this puppy food recipe from Nulo Freestyle is a little on the pricey side, we believe it is worthwhile for the quality you can expect. The ingredients were all-natural to help your puppy maintain a healthy weight, a balanced diet, and a high level of energy. If you don’t want to make your own food for your beloved pooch, this purchase would certainly help.

Pros


  • Made from 100% natural ingredients.
  • Contains no artificial ingredients, corn, soy, or wheat.
  • Meets specific nutrition needs of large breed puppies.
  • Large kibble size.
  • Promotes bone health and aids in digestion.
  • Available in three flavors; Salmon, Turkey, and Salmon & Turkey.

Cons


#8 Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, 33 lb
  • FOR LARGE BREED PUPPIES: Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food is complete and balanced nutrition for large breed...
  • SUPPORTS MUSCLE GROWTH: High-quality animal protein and optimized levels of calcium and phosphorous support muscle...
  • HEALTHY BRAIN FUNCTION: Clinically proven levels of DHA support healthy brain development for smarter, more trainable...

Formulated with various ingredients like natural fibers and high-quality chicken proteins, among everything else, Eukanuba dry dog food is designed to promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.

With its large breed formulation containing DHA, calcium, and phosphorous, it helps to support essential brain function, healthy muscle growth and bone health during the early stages of your pup’s development. Available in a 33-lb bag size, this product will definitely last for months.

Overall, a well-rounded large breed puppy food that contains all the essential ingredients needed for your Lab puppy’s development. Comes with a feeding table for easier food management.

Pros


  • Contains clinically proven levels of DHA, which helps promote smarter, more trainable puppies.
  • Available only in one 33-lb bag size.
  • Uses a blend of natural fiber and prebiotics to aid in digestion and promote better gut health.

Cons


#9 Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Adult Recipe, 30-Pound Bag
  • DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Optimal levels of protein plus prebiotics and probiotics, digestive enzymes, and dietary fiber in this...
  • HEALTHY HIPS AND JOINTS: Calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine and chondroitin maintain bone strength and joint health
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine for a healthy heart

Labradors are breeds that are prone to bloating. That is where the Holistic Select natural dry dog food might be the recommended option for you to consider.

As compared to the other large breed puppy food options here, the Holistic Select Natural is more focused on improving digestive health. 

It comes formulated with optimal levels of prebiotics, probiotics, live yogurt cultures, digestive enzymes, and natural fiber, all of which will help to enhance the digestive health of your Labrador pup. 

With this blend of prebiotics and probiotics, the consumption of this food will increase the number of good bacteria in your pup’s gut, which will further aid in digestion and promote good bowel regularity.

If your Labrador puppy has signs of digestive issues, then the Holistic Select dog food might be a good option to consider. However, it is definitely more on the pricey side as compared to the previous products.

Pros


  • Formulated with dietary fiber, digestive enzymes, and botanicals.
  • A recipe consisting of chicken meal and oatmeal.
  • Contains no wheat or fillers.

Cons



Puppy Food For Labs Buyer’s Guide


Labrador Retriever puppies are among the most adorable pets in the world. Energetic, playful, and loving, a Labrador may be the perfect pet for your family.

However, before actually deciding to get yourself a Labrador puppy, there are certain crucial things that you will need to plan ahead.

One of them is nutrition and diet. If you don’t give your pup’s diet the attention it deserves, you may run into serious health problems.

Besides, Labradors have been shown to be highly prone to obesity and bloating, so you will need to keep that in mind when feeding your Labrador puppy.

To help you a little bit with choosing the right puppy food for your Labrador, we’ll now discuss the key things that you should consider in dog foods.

Do You Really Need A Special Diet For Your Lab Puppy?

You may be wondering why you even need to get specially formulated puppy food for your Labrador puppy. Dog food is dog food, so why go into such details?

The thing is that the dietary needs of a puppy and adult Labradors vary drastically.

Puppies are growing rapidly, so their nutritional demands are higher than in adult dogs. They need resources to build their bones and muscles and whatnot, right?

At the same time, adult dogs are more or less in their equilibrium. They are already all grown up, and adult dog diets pursue maintaining form and weight rather than development.

We’ve also mentioned that Labradors are extremely prone to obesity. This is thought to be caused by the full or partial absence of an appetite-regulating gene called POMC.

Due to this, Labradors are notorious for their gluttonous character. They will eat anything from dog food to socks and rocks, and you will need to control your Labrador puppy’s diet to make sure he is growing healthy.

3 Different Food Options For Labrador Puppies

Labrador puppy food generally comes in three forms – kibbles (dry), biologically approved raw food (BARF), and wet. Let’s now see what the benefits and disadvantages of each type are.

Dry Food (Kibbles)

Dry food is widely considered to be the best for not only Labradors but any breed of dog in terms of nutritional value. Because of this, it is very popular among breeders, which is a good testimony to the high-quality and nutritional efficiency of dry food.

Dry food comes in the form of kibbles – small pellets that are designed to make consumption easier. All the ingredients of dry dog foods are concentrated in the kibbles.

Because kibbles are designed specifically for dogs and puppies, they can provide your Labrador with the right balance of nutrients. Thanks to this, it is rather easy to adjust a Labrador puppy’s diet with dry dog food, which may make battling obesity much easier for you.

With that being said, the quality of kibbles will affect how quickly your Labrador puppy gets full.

Cheaper dog food brands tend to contain plenty of fillers in them like wheat or corn. They add to the weight of the food, at the same time adding too little nutritional value to it to satisfy the hunger. Besides, they may pass through the digestive system without being absorbed too well.

Because of this, you may need to give more of the cheaper kibbles to your dog so he gets full. In a sense, low-quality dry dog foods are less cost-effective in the long term, though their initial price is lower.

And besides, giving more low-quality kibbles to your Labrador puppy may increase the risk of him getting obese.

Thereby, you should only get high-quality dry dog foods. Your puppy will get full sooner, and you won’t have to give him as much food. Besides, food without fillers may be easier on his digestive system.

Kibble – be it high- or low-quality – has one notable downside. It can be more boring for Labradors to eat than regular meat, so you may find that it is difficult for him to switch from regular food to dry dog food.

Biologically Approved Raw Food (BARF)

The majority of vets prefer kibble for its balanced nutritional profile. However, many veterinaries still suggest that the BARF diet may be the best option for dogs and puppies, including Labradors.

BARF can be either homemade or commercial.

Home BARF diets include raw meat, bones, as well as additions like fruit, vegetables, and raw eggs. Because of this, BARF may feel more natural and less boring to Labradors than kibble food.

Commercial BARF comes in the form of a meat-based putty and is sold either fresh or frozen.

While BARF is a possible alternative to dry food, it has some drawbacks that you should be aware of.

First of all, the raw meat in BARF diets has been found to contain infectious pathogens that may cause bacterial infections in both humans and pets.

Secondly, tweaking the nutritional value of BARF diets may be very difficult, especially with homemade diets.

As a result, making sure that your Labrador puppy is getting just the right amount of nutrients to be healthy and not to become obese becomes much more difficult.

Dry foods are much better in this sense because they have a balanced profile out of the box.

Besides, containing bones, BARF can pose a choking hazard for your Labrador puppy.

In the end, while BARF diets may be able to deliver great results if used properly, the risks and inconvenience associated with them make dry foods a much better choice for Labrador puppies.

Wet Foods

Wet foods can be very appetizing for Labrador puppies, but the bad thing about them is that they are often low in nutritional value. Most of their weight is made up of water and by-products, which also decreases cost efficiency.

And besides, wet foods can’t be stored for too long once opened.

If your Labrador puppy doesn’t have any conditions that make wet food the only option for him, go for other dog foods instead, preferably dry food.

Image from Pet Plate

Key Ingredients To Look Out For

Lab puppy foods, in general, can contain plenty of ingredients, but there are certain ingredients that absolutely must be in the food for your Labrador. Those key ingredients are chondroitin, glucosamine, taurine, and L-carnitine.

Chondroitin and Glucosamine

Chondroitin and glucosamine are key to ensuring proper bone and joint growth and the prevention of joint deficiencies. In fact, they’ve been even found to prevent arthritis in older dogs! This is because chondroitin and glucosamine are natural parts of cartilage’s structure.

Needless to say, the presence of these ingredients is crucial in Labrador puppy foods. Make sure that the puppy food you are going to buy has them.

You should also know that chondroitin and glucosamine come as separate supplements. Don’t buy them as supplements since Labrador foods have enough in them for you not to worry about it. Go for it only if your dog’s vet recommends it.

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid and a key component of proteins. Any amino acid is crucial for dogs – including Labradors – but taurine plays a major role in the synthesis of proteins. Without taurine, dogs will be prone to developmental deficiencies, as well as to heart disease.

Taurine occurs naturally in meat, so any food containing meat ingredients will also contain taurine. Thereby, you need to choose puppy food with adequate amounts of meat, as you probably know.

L-carnitine

L-carnitine plays a major role in the prevention of heart diseases, so it definitely is an ingredient that you should be carefully looking for. Like taurine, it is contained in meat, so again, make sure that the dog food you are getting has adequate amounts of meat.

Additional Considerations To Think About

Aside from the ingredients we mentioned above, Labrador foods may contain many other ingredients as well. Those can be various vitamins, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and many other things. And because the health condition and dietary needs of each Labrador puppy are unique, you have to pay attention to what the dog food contains.

If your puppy has any health conditions, then you should consult a vet to determine whether he will need to follow a special diet. And as a general, it is a good idea to consult a vet before getting dog food.

Remember about the various fillers that can be included in dog food. As we already mentioned, they add little value to the food. And besides, you may need to avoid them if your puppy has dietary conditions.

And most importantly, remember about the obesity proneness of Labradors. No matter what kind of food you choose, it needs to allow you to conveniently track your puppy’s diet.


Final Thoughts


Keep your Labrador puppy healthy with the right puppy food!

After reviewing 9 excellent large breed puppy food, we believe our top pick is the best. This is because it is formulated with tons of nutritional supplements such as DHA, antioxidants, calcium, and omega-3, all of which are essential ingredients needed to aid the healthy development of your Lab puppy. 

Next, we’ve dived deep into the question of choosing the best puppy food for a Labrador.

With this, we hoped that we have provided you with an informed decision on choosing the best puppy food for your Labrador puppy!

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Pete Decker