Labrador Retriever is inarguably the most popular pet dog breed in India and the most common question we face from pet owners across our chat, emails and phone calls is a suggestion of a diet plan for their lab puppy. So, if you have just bought your new pupper and wondering what to feed him/her, you are at the right place. Although I am not a veterinarian myself, I have been a lab owner for 11 years and been in the pet food industry for the last 6 years. In the course of my journey, I have met countless dog owners, breeders, participated in many dog shows and visited/spoke to many registered veterinary practitioners. So, in this article, I would like to share my experience regarding the most suitable diet for a labrador puppy/dog based on the food and supplement options available in India.
Labrador puppy age(0-3months)– If you are buying or adopting your puppy from a good and responsible breeder, it is highly unlikely that he/she will allow you to take the puppy away from his/her mother before 1.5 months age. However, if this is not the case for your pupper, no need to worry. Although your pup won’t get mother’s milk, you can feed him dog milk available in the market. Be sure not to feed normal cerelac or cow milk as that will result in loose motion as well as stunted growth. Among baby dog milk, there are various options from well-known brands like Royal Canin, Drools, Farmina although I personally prefer Beaphar Lactol. At this tender age, you need to feed your lab pup via feeding bottle like you would feed a human baby of age 2 months.
Milk is the only food apart from purified water which your dog is gonna need till 1.5months. After this age, till 3 months you have two options. You can either continue milk or look at starter food options like Royal Canin Maxi starter or drools starter. The kibble for starter food is small and most probably, your puppy will able to chew it. In case he/she is not, consider adding the dry food into a blender with lukewarm water and make a mix which should be dilute enough to be administered via feeding bottle. Certain dry food can be extremely hard to chew, so depending on the toughness of the kibble you might have to break i.e – blend the food yourself as your pupper might not develop good teeth at this age. You should be following this diet of starter food till 3 months age at least. Also, make sure you are vaccinating as well as deworming your pup at the right intervals.
Labrador puppy age(3-15months)– Your puppy will grow to the maximum extent in this age span. So, a proper nutritious diet is essential to achieve good growth. You can either go for Royal Canin Maxi Junior or Royal Canin Labrador Junior or puppy variants of other brands like drools, pedigree(not recommended ideally) at this age. If you are giving a good diet like Royal Canin, farmina or even home-made food, growth should be good. No need to add additional supplements. If you are feeding home-made food like boiled chicken which itself is a very good food option, consider adding some fish oils like Beaphar Salmon Oil. In case, you are going for filler-prone options like pedigree / drools, supplements like Bone builder / Kalk tabs are mandatory.
Labrador dog age(15months onwards)– Your puppy is a grown dog now. It’s highly unlikely your dog will grow further in length and height after this age. However, a good diet is recommended to ensure a good life span(above 12 years). I recommend feeding Royal Canin Labrador adult. You can also go for more premium brands like cibau or Orijen. Homemade food can be a healthy option as well. Remember, lab is a high energy dog, so regular exercises/walks are very essential.
Most common diseases of Indian bred dogs like canine hyp dysplasia appear at this age. So, study the symptoms well and take your dog to a registered veterinary practitioner in case such situations arise.
Lack of appetite is also observed during this age at times. For not-so-severe cases, you may administer Himalaya Liv52(syrup or tabs) twice a day for 1-2 days to stimulate your dog’s appetite. In case, your dog has gastrointestinal disorders, referring to a prescription diet under the guidance of a veterinarian can be helpful.
If you have more questions regarding your Labrador dog/puppy and his/her maintenance , feel free to reach us via the chat option from the bottom-right corner of this page. We have access to registered veterinary practitioners who can help your dog regardless of breed/age.