The subject of how much to feed a Labrador Retriever can be confusing for many Labrador owners.
After all, anyone who has experience with a Lab or knows a thing or two about them will know that Labs can eat a lot.
In fact, there’s a good chance that the Labrador’s seemingly endless belly is the first thing that you hear about them.
And these rumors are true. In a significant number of Labs, their hunger is not purely by coincidence.
Some Labs have a mutation of a certain gene that prevents them from accurately telling when they are already full, according to this study.
In addition to that, Labradors are naturally predisposed to obesity, for which the mutated gene is partly responsible.
Because of all these, Lab owners can be wary when it comes to food.
As responsible Labrador Retriever owners, you want to give them just the right amount of food that will keep them healthy but won’t make them overweight in the future.
Fortunately, with enough research, that is not too difficult to do. The rest of this article will explain how much to feed your Labrador at the different stages of their life.
Hopefully, this text will be an additional piece of guidance to help you on your path to becoming a Lab parent.
Important things you need to consider when it comes to how much to feed your Labrador Retriever
First off, there is no clear-cut definition as to how much you should feed your Labrador.
For the most part, it depends a lot on what diet you are putting them on and what your vet would recommend. Additionally, there are also recommendations in the packaging of the food you buy.
While food seems like quite a simple thing, it’s really not. This is especially true when you want to take an active part in taking care of your Lab’s overall well-being.
Below are some of the common factors that you got to take into consideration as far as knowing how much to feed your Labrador goes:
1) The kind of food your Labrador Retriever eats
The type of food your Lab eats or will eat is an important aspect in determining how much you should feed them.
For example, if you feed your dog dry foods such as commercial kibble, they will need less of it than if they were eating wet food.
The reason behind this is because dry food has a high calorie value as compared to wet canned food.
Canned food will likely have more water content. Hence, your Lab will have to eat more of it before they feel full.
Take note, though, that each type of food has their own pros and cons, and no particular dog feed is perfect.
Dry food is considerably less expensive when you compare it to wet canned food since your dog will be eating less of it.
But, generally, you can actually get quality food for your Lab, whether it is kibble or canned.
Try to consult with your vet first about what type of food they can recommend specifically for your Lab.
2) Health conditions
Of course, existing health conditions would also make a Labrador’s diet different. Regular rules will not apply to a Labrador dealing with an illness.
This includes Labradors that are suffering from obesity. The dog’s veterinarian will usually recommend the appropriate diet for them to lose weight and stay healthy.
3) How old they are
Take note that your Lab’s age is also important in determining how much to feed them.
The instructions on the food packaging are usually dosages that apply to adults.
Note as well that a puppy will eat considerably less than an adult Lab does.
On top of that, puppies will also need a special diet that will help them in their growing stage.
As a Labrador grows older, they also get incrementally more sedentary. They will more around less due to possible joint issues, and they will be less active than they were in their youth.
It follows that older Labs will also need less food than younger adult Labs.
4) How much they weigh
In the packaging of most dog foods, you will probably find serving suggestions.
In these labels, you’ll notice that the amount of the suggested food varies depending on how heavy your dog is.
Remember that every Lab is different, and each one has a different eating pattern.
The food your Lab needs is only proportionate to their size. You cannot feed a smaller Labrador a lot of food, or they will get overweight.
In the same manner, you also cannot underfeed your large Lab because that is an unhealthy practice.
5) Their activity levels
Similar to how much they weigh, your Lab’s activity levels are also something to take into consideration.
If your Lab is not very energetic, then you should consider feeding them lesser food since they will not be burning the calories off anyway.
Serving suggestions based on activity levels also appear on some food brands so you have a benchmark on how much to feed your Lab based on how much they do in a day.
How much to feed your Labrador
While how much to feed your Lab is a question that has an open-ended answer, there are some metrics that we can base on. Note that these suggestions are applicable only for adult Labradors.
For example, a safe amount of kibble to feed a 50-pound Lab is around 3 cups, give or take.
For heavier Labs that weigh upward of 70 pounds, you may need to give a bit more than that at 3 and ½ cups of food per day.
However, these are incredibly loose suggestions. The calorie content and the nutritional value of the food you are feeding them are important matters in taking note of how much your Lab should eat.
Some brands will have less calories than another brand, and you can expect a slight discrepancy.
Thus, you should be vigilant in picking out dog food for them that fits very well with their dietary needs.
Anyway, there will be a Labrador puppy feeding chart on most commercial dog food available on the market. You can begin your testing there and adjust if necessary.
A trip to your vet or consultation is also a great idea. Your vet already knows your Labrador’s history, so they will be able to give you professional suggestions.
When you start out on a diet plan, it may not be the right amount immediately.
So, if you notice that your Lab is gaining weight with the amount of food you are giving them, it may be a sign to reduce their food intake.
Aside from the foods Labradors can eat, just bear in mind as well the different types of food to avoid for Labradors.
How much and how often to feed a Labrador puppy
The amount of food to feed a Lab puppy is considerably different. Their diets have to be curated specifically to assist them with growing properly and healthy.
At 8 weeks old, a starting point of how much to feed your Lab puppy is about 200-250 grams of food a day.
This amount will gradually increase as they get older. Additionally, at this point in time, they will need to eat more frequently than adult Labs and will need to eat 4 times a day.
When they get to 12 weeks old, the amount of food they eat per day can be increased up to 300 grams.
You can also now get away with feeding them 3 times a day as opposed to the previous number of times.
By the time they turn 6 months old, they’ll likely have to eat around 450 grams of food a day, more or less.
Feeding frequency can also be brought down to 2 times a day. From then on, two times a day is usually the number of times a day a Labrador will need to eat.
How much to feed an overweight Labrador?
For an overweight Lab, you should definitely not feed them more than they can burn off in a day. You should check with your vet for a suggested diet plan if your Labrador is overweight.
Obesity in Labradors is a medical issue, and you will need professional advice on how to tackle it.
How much your Lab should eat will depend on what your vet says is a safe amount for them to eat.
How much to feed a senior Labrador?
Like an overweight Lab, there is no hard rule for how much you should feed a senior Lab.
However, they generally will need a lesser amount of food than they did when they were younger. Make sure to decrease their food intake over time to adjust to the slowing down of their lifestyle.
How much raw food to feed a Labrador?
If you do decide to raw feed your Lab, a good basis to start with how much to feed them is around 2-3% of their body weight.
However, it could easily go above or below that. Just make sure to adjust your Lab’s diet depending on how they are responding to it.
How much wet food to feed a Labrador?
Generally, feeding your Lab wet food will mean a greater quantity of food for the same amount of calories than kibble.
There are food recommendations for wet food on the packaging. Some brands usually put out a need for 1oz of food for every pound of body weight.
However, again, this is a very rough metric, and you should check the label for more accuracy.
How much Royal Canin to feed my Labrador puppy?
How much Royal Canin to feed your Lab depends on their predicted adult weight. For puppies that will most likely weigh around 26-30 kg when they are adults, a four-month-old puppy should consume around 3 cups of Royal Canin.
Here is a chart of how much Royal Canin you should feed your Labrador Puppy:
Treats are an excellent way to train your Lab and to motivate them to do various activities.
It can help when you are grooming them, trying to teach them new tricks, potty training them, or basically any other thing you can think of.
Treats do a great job of being prizes because Labradors are naturally food-motivated.
However, that can be a double-edged sword at times. While treats are great when used sparingly, the amount of treats that your Lab eats could easily add up to their normal calorie intake.
It is important to deduct the amount of food you give them as treats in their main meals, especially if you are trying to watch their weight closely.
It is good practice to be aware of how much your Lab is eating so that you can adjust easily if ever you see that there is a need for it.