Whether your Labrador is a puppy or fully grown, what you feed them has a major impact on their health, temperament, and energy levels. If you didn’t know, the life expectancy of the Labrador Retriever breed almost halved over the last 20 years. Finding the best dog food for Labradors is the first step towards a healthier Labrador.
The breed is known for being energetic, playful, and loving. Feeding them a high-quality diet will maintain their delightful nature. Labradors are prone to overeating so make sure you keep an eye on their weight and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly. Regular exercise should also be a part of taking care of your Lab, and adjusting the portions depending on the level of activity is crucial to avoid obesity or malnutrition. If you are breeding Labradors, increase quantities for the pregnant and nursing bitch, but otherwise be strict.
14 Best Dog Foods For Labradors
Labradors do not require fancy or expensive dog food. As long as you feed them quality dog food that is high in protein, they will maintain their happy and playful demeanor. That only makes choosing what brand of dog food to feed them slightly easier.
When choosing the right food for your Lab, the following points should be on your list of priorities:
- Meat-based protein sources (preferably the first ingredient on the bag or can)
- A modest amount of carbohydrates
- No artificial colors or flavors
- No byproducts
- An AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose on the bag or can of food
There is an endless number of choices when thinking about what to feed a Labrador, but we’re here to help!
1. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food
All-natural recipes specially formulated for large-breed puppies, this Eagle Pack dry food offers a dual protein source with Chicken and Lamb, with DHA to help the brain and eye growth. Calcium and phosphorus will allow your puppy’s bone and structure to develop with few complications, even with a lot of exercise (particularly important in female Labradors to avoid eclampsia.)
This is one of the best dog foods for Labrador puppies. It is void of the loathed meat by-products, corn, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. On top of all the macronutrients it provides, the Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food also packs optimum quantities of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and antioxidants. Young puppies need a great balance of micronutrients to improve their immune system.
- Dual protein source (chicken and lamb)
- All ingredients are natural
- Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Contains calcium and phosphorus for bone and muscle support
- Price jump
- Not recommended for picky eaters
2. Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain
If you haven’t heard of the brand Blue Buffalo before, we urge you to check it out. Blue Buffalo Wilderness is one of the best kibbles available for your Labrador for many reasons. The manufacturer boasts that the Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain recipe has been specially prepared to provide for “the Wolf that lives on in dogs today.” This formula is made using a protein-rich formula containing meat such as deboned beef, lamb, bison, and venison.
The grains used in this recipe are gluten-free, and there are no traces of wheat, soy, or corn. Thanks to its unique hypoallergenic formula, you can stay confident that your dog won’t face any gastrointestinal distress. Your dog will remain energetic throughout the day, and its coat will Be shinier than ever. The salmon formula helps Labs struggling with skin and coat problems by providing a meal rich in good fatty acids.
- Rich in protein and nutrients
- 100% free from wheat, soy, and corn
- Contains essential fatty acids
- Hypoallergenic formula
- Might be pricey for your liking
- Not applicable for allergy-prone dogs
3. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Formula
When talking about grain-free dog food for Labrador Retrievers, not many products can live up to the reputation of the Taste of the Wild range. This is premium-grade dog food in the truest sense because it contains all the right ingredients to keep your dog healthy and lively. It is priced quite modestly to be affordable for everyone too. This grain-free formula has been made keeping in mind the needs of your dog’s ancestors that roamed in the wild.
Taste of the Wild has included the best combination of meat, veggies, and fruit inside this popular recipe. Carbohydrates are usually supplied with a grain-based source; this formula uses sweet potatoes and peas instead. Sweet potatoes and peas provide the most digestible energy for your active dog. Roasted meat offers a taste that your pup has never experienced before. This combination of ingredients ensures your Lab will have a meal nutritious and delicious meal!
Don’t take our word for it; check other reviews to see what we’re talking about. The grain-free formula helps every dog digest this food easily and enjoy all the advantages of getting the right nutrition. Sourcing nutrients from grain-free sources reduce your dog’s risk of allergic reactions.
From a healthy coat to the vibrant energy and a better mood, your Lab will show them all!
- Authentic meat as the main ingredient
- Grain-free formula
- High-quality and premium ingredients
- Packed with needed nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Might not be suitable for picky eaters
- Not for allergy-sensitive dogs
- Might have an unpleasant smell
4. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free
Fully grown Labradors should weigh between 55-80 pounds. If you believe your Labrador has to shed some weight, get them on a low-fat canine diet immediately. Fortunately, preparing low-fat food doesn’t mean relying on fresh-off-the-market ingredients and your culinary skills. Several low-fat formulas are available, but we want to choose one that will help your dog lose weight while still getting all the necessary nutrients. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food can do this job exceptionally well!
This Wellness core product boasts of bundled a grain-free formula and reduced fat formula to support your dog’s weight management needs. As a concerned pet parent, you need not be worried about your pup’s daily nutrition. This product combines the best of protein-rich, low-fat ingredients like chicken, salmon, and real turkey to make every meal as nutritious as it is tasty.
Being free of grain, wheat, soy, corn, and meat by-products, means your Labrador is getting only the finest quality food. It contains 80% more meat than other dog foods and also offers healthy omega fatty acids, probiotics, and other antioxidants to provide complete care for your dog’s health. If you want to trim some pounds off your Lab, try this formula! Your dog can get back to a healthy weight without sacrificing quality ingredients.
It contains only all-natural ingredients and no artificial flavoring or preservatives.
- 100% free from grain, wheat, soy, corn, and meat by-products
- High in protein
- Contains essential omega fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants
- Can be too pricey
- Some dogs might not like the new formula
5. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food
Labrador Retrievers are not particularly prone to developing allergies, however, if you notice any behavior such as itching or excessive paw licking, your dog might be having a reaction to some allergen (not necessarily food- consult your vet before changing foods). Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is great hypoallergenic dog food, and we recommend it to all dog owners whose labradors are showing signs of a food allergy.
This formula offers advanced support for your dog’s digestive tract by being loaded with probiotics, digestive enzymes, digestive botanicals, and fibers. By all means, try it for a month and you should notice the difference in your dog’s stools whether they show signs of a food allergy or not. Remember that a food allergy should be monitored by your veterinarian and the diet revamped under their supervision.
This product has been specially formulated for large breeds that require lots of nutritional value. This is why Holistic Select only included premium quality lamb, duck, and salmon meat to deliver the right proteins in adequate amounts. This product does not include traces of meat by-products, wheat, gluten, fillers, or artificial flavors that can trigger upset stomachs in dogs.
This brand adheres to the highest standards of food safety and can guarantee that your dog will show signs of more energy and all-around development when you give them this food. The key to a dog’s overall health lies in its stomach, and you should feed your Lab the best food possible.
- Hypoallergenic dog food
- Premium and high-quality ingredients
- All ingredients are free of preservatives and fillers
- Packed with probiotics, digestive enzymes, digestive botanicals, and fibers
- Might have an unpleasant smell
- Shipping and packaging
- Might not be good for picky eaters
6. Purina Beyond Natural Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
Wet dog food might not be the first choice for many dog owners as portioning out the right amount tends to get tough, but there’s no denying the fact that dogs love them! I mean, if they could ask for it, dogs would. Due to its price, dog owners will often mix wet and dry food together. This is a great way to give your dog the nutrient-packed and flavorful taste of wet food, along with cheaper dry food (which has unique advantages such as removing tartar from your dog’s teeth.)
Keeping chicken, beef, or salmon as the first ingredient, Purina Beyond has managed to deliver significant quantities of nutrients even in small servings. There is no need to worry about fillers such as wheat, corn, or soy; you get only the best ingredients when you buy this product. This formula is grain-free and gluten-free as well! This product also contains all-natural vitamins and minerals that fine-tune the whole nutritional profile of this wet food.
This product will give your pet the right nutrition to live a long and happy life. Make sure you’re feeding your Lab the right amount, or they can eat more than what’s needed. This food is perfect for dog owners who think dry food is insufficient. Purina Beyond is also ideal for fussy eaters since wet dog food is known for its irresistible palatability.
If you choose to feed your Lab a strictly wet diet, you should get the dog treats with a hard surface or be adamant about cleaning their teeth.
- Beef, salmon, and chicken as the first ingredients
- All ingredients are 100% natural
- No fillers and preservatives included
- Contain balanced nutrients and vitamins
- Might not work well on dogs with dietary sensitivities
- Delivery and packaging (there are reviews of dented cans)
- Continuous price increase
7. Canidae All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula
Developed with essential ingredients like vitamins, antioxidants, and probiotics, this Canidae Multi-Protein Formula dog food ensures a healthy digestive and immune system among Labradors. This dog food also has the vitamins and minerals that promote a healthier coat, skin, joints, and muscles. In addition, its easy-to-consume kibbles are both delicious and healthy – flavored with lamb, turkey, and chicken, and no corn, soy, and wheat added. Applicable for all ages and sizes, this product is one of the top choices for your Lab’s daily food.
On the other side, this Canidae dog food is grain-inclusive; even though it only contains wholesome grains, it might cause a reaction if your dog is sensitive to grains.
- Packed with essential ingredients for overall good health
- Supports healthier skin and coat
- Delicious and easy-to-consume kibbles
- Reviews state that quality varies from bag to bag
8. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food is known for its authentic and pasture-raised lamb as the main ingredient. This product is also packed with needed protein and minerals to meet your Labrador’s health needs. Plus, it contains essential omega fatty acids and vitamins from blueberries and oranges that guarantee a healthier and shinier skin and coat. Additionally, this product contains K9 strain probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics for a healthy digestive and immune system.
However, similar to the previous product, this dog food is grain-inclusive. Despite wholesome grains being utilized, Labradors with grain sensitivities might react poorly to this product. In addition, buyer reviews state that this product might not work well for picky eaters.
- The authentic and high-quality main ingredient
- Applicable for all life stages
- Comes with needed nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Not for picky eaters
9. Victor Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food
This premium dry dog food manufactured by Victor is made of 30% protein from high-quality chicken, pork, beef, and fish meals. This dog food is the best choice for dogs with high physical demands because of the specially developed formula to provide energy. Another plus point is that this treatment is developed with specific supplements, vitamins, and minerals that maximize every dog’s genetic potential. In addition, this Victor product is applicable for all life stages and ideal for pregnant dogs, lactating females, and even puppies.
On the downside, this product might not be your best choice if your Labrador has a very sensitive stomach. Additionally, this Victor dog food is also grain-inclusive.
- 30% protein level
- Contains essential nutrients and vitamins
- Applicable for all ages
- High-quality ingredients
- Not for sensitive stomachs
10. Dr. Gary's Best Breed Holistic Field Dry Dog Food
With its high-protein and high-energy ingredients, Dr. Gary’s Dry Dog Food is popular among Labrador owners. Since this product is formulated by Veterinarians, it is guaranteed that this food provides balanced and holistic nutrition for dogs. Dr. Gary’s dog food also contains vitamins, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and green-lipped sea mussels that support joint health, a stronger immune system, and a more vibrant coat.
But, take note that this product is not grain-free. Thus, it might not be applicable for dogs allergic or sensitive to grain ingredients. In addition, there are some reviews saying that the kibble sizes are too small for their large dogs.
- Packed with high-protein and high-quality ingredients
- Guarantees overall wellness
- Formulated by experts
- 100% free from artificial preservatives, corn, wheat, and gluten
- Kibble sizes might be too small for larger dogs
11. Blackwood Whitefish Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
This high-protein Blackwood Adult Dry Dog Food is proud of its carefully cooked kibbles to ensure that every bite is as delicious and flavorful as the other. Formulated with essential probiotics, this food guarantees healthier digestion and stomachs among dogs. Plus, all ingredients used are natural and high-quality – and this dog food is nutritionally balanced and complete.
On the other hand, some pet owners think that this product is too expensive for their liking. Plus, picky eaters might not also like this product.
- High-quality and 100% natural ingredients
- Promotes healthy digestion and overall wellness
- Cooked in small batches
- Can be expensive
- Might not work well for picky eaters
12. Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Food
The Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Food is specially formulated for purebred Labradors aging 8 weeks to 15 months old. Packed with antioxidants like vitamin E, this Royal Canin supports your puppy’s immune system development. Plus, it also aids in bone, joint, and healthy weight management with its balanced mineral and energy content. Aside from that, its unique kibble design helps quick Labrador eaters to chew their food slower and more carefully.
However, some of the ingredients in this product’s recipe are considered common allergens among dogs. Thus, ensure that your dog is not prone to allergies. There are also reviews complaining about the product’s subtle unpleasant smell.
- Specially developed for purebred Labradors
- Packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
- Unique kibble shapes to make quick eaters chew slower
- Supports wellness in the immune system, joint, muscle, and weight
- Contains common allergens
- Might have an unpleasant smell
13. Petcurean Gather Free Acres Organic Free-Run Chicken Dry Dog Food
This Petcurean Gather Free Dry Dog Food is proud of its authentic and high-quality chicken as its first ingredient. Non-GMO vegetables like blueberries, cranberries, organic peas, and lentils are also included to strengthen the nutrition levels and flavors of this dog food.
Another good thing about this product is, it contains essential fatty acids that help in developing and maintaining a strong heart and brain. Lastly, this Petcurean product is 100% free from any grains, antibiotics, preservatives, by-products, added growth hormones, wheat, corn, and soy.
On the other hand, some reviews state that they’re not fond of this dog food’s smell. Plus, this product might not all be applicable for picky eaters.
- Single source of meat protein
- Comes with essential vitamins and minerals
- Free from by-products, wheat, soy, corn, and preservatives
- Might have an unpleasant smell
- Might not be suitable for picky eaters
14. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
This dog food from Natural Balance is perfect for dogs with extremely sensitive stomachs. In addition, this product is also proud of its real and high-quality Salmon as the main ingredient. This dog food is purposely formulated with limited ingredients that will support in maintaining your dog’s healthy heart and overall well-being. The Omega-6 fatty acids from sunflower oils and menhaden fish also aids in having a healthier skin and coat.
However, some pet-owners find this product too expensive or pricey. Plus, some of its ingredients, like sweet potatoes, might cause allergic reactions if your dog is sensitive to it.
- Single source of protein (Salmon)
- Contains taurine that is good for the heart
- Packed with essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants
- Limited ingredients used
- Price increase
- Some dogs might be sensitive to sweet potatoes
Best Dog Foods For Labradors: FAQs
Here are some of the answers to the frequently asked questions about the best dog foods for Labradors:
The frequency of Labrador feeding time may vary depending on their age, physical fitness, and other specific factors. Here is the most common guide used in feeding Labradors:
Puppy (15-26 pounds): 3 to 4 meals a day
Adult (61-80 pounds): 2 meals a day
More than 80 pounds: 2 meals a day
In constructing your Labrador’s diet plan and schedule, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian to avoid any problems.
Based on this article by Carter (2022), here are the common calorie-intake and protein table for Labradors:
Puppies (2 to 12 months old): 200-1,200 calories and 20-25% protein
Adult (1 to 6 years old): 750-1,500 calories and 18-25%
Senior (7 years old and above): 750-1,500 calories and 18-25%
However, take in mind that the calories you should feed your dog per day still vary on their specific needs, weight, and physical activities. For example, a more active dog will need more calories to replace the calories it burned throughout the day. In addition, younger Labradors, like other younger dogs, require more protein compared to adult dogs.
According to Mattinson (2019), here are the foods that are toxic to Labradors, and even to dogs in general:
-Chocolates: This food contains a stimulant called Theobromine which is toxic to dogs and can even cause kidney failure.
-Garlic, Onions, and Chives: The entire onion family can be extremely toxic for dogs and can result in gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage if exposed.
-Alcohol: This food can cause intoxication, sickness, and diarrhea among dogs. Plus, it can even damage their central nervous system.
-Grapes, Raisins, and Avocados: There is an unknown ingredient among grapes and raisins that is a potential cause of severe liver and kidney damage in dogs. Meanwhile, avocados contain Persin which causes vomiting and diarrhea.
-Artificial Sweeteners (Xylitol): This ingredient commonly found in sweet treats and food is toxic for dogs since it can result in hypoglycemia – which is connected with health problems like blood clotting and liver failure.
In addition, visiting your veterinarian is recommended to further understand the specific food and ingredients that might be toxic for your dog. Doing allergy tests is also advisable to have knowledge on what ingredients to avoid.
Based on this article by Purina, here are some of the most common health issues in Labradors:
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
These common health issues among Labradors, which usually progress as they age, are one of the main reasons why you should always choose the best dog foods for them.
You should always feed your Labrador dog food that is high in micronutrients and meat-based proteins while avoiding fillers, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. If you can avoid feeding them formula with grains, this will ensure they have an easier time digesting their food and absorbing all its nutrients.
The main concern with Labradors (and dogs in general) is overeating. Make sure you manage their weight and exercise them regularly. If you feed your dog high-quality food, you usually spend more but smaller portions are enough thanks to a higher density of nutrients. Plus, they will enjoy a healthier life, have more energy, and live longer.
Your dog gives you endless amounts of love and affection, you should return the favor by feeding them a healthy diet from one of these best dog foods for Labradors!