Best Puppy Food For Labs | Finding The Best Food For Lab Puppies

Seeking the best puppy food for labs? Then you’ve come to the right place! If you have a hobby of going out hunting with your canine companion, it’s essential that you feed them properly throughout the year rather than just during hunting season.

However, if your dog is still growing, you need the best puppy food for labs to ensure proper growth and development. That’s why larger breed pups and lab puppies need the best kind of nutrition.

Even though your vet might be able to narrow down the main nutrients your lab puppy needs to retain its strength, there are quite a lot of options available on the market. Hence, it can be rather confusing and daunting to just pick anything off the shelf. After all, you are picking food for your best friend.

Before you dive into the pet food section at your closest supermarket, a little lesson in canine nutrition will pay off. That’s because it will help you determine what you should consider before getting the best puppy food for labs.  

What to Consider?Best Puppy Food For black Labs

Your Dog’s Activity Levels

You’ll have to alternate between maintenance and performance food based on your dog’s activity levels. If he’s only going running once or twice a week, he’ll do great when fed good mountainous food. However, if he’s running almost every day, you’ll need proper performance food to keep up his energy levels.

Canned or Dry?

At any supermarket, you’ll see either stacks of canned dog food or large bags of dry food. However, have you ever thought about which is better for your hunting dog? All kinds of dogs love canned food because it tastes the closest to meat, and it has high moisture content.

Adversely, canned foods contain fewer nutrients and more moisture, which means you’ll need to feed your pup more servings so that he feels energized. More servings of high moisture food prevent your dog from achieving full fitness. Therefore, your best option is dry food. Dried food contains the highest concentration of nutrients so your dog will get all the nutrition he needs to revive his energy.

Best Puppy Food For yellow LabsTypes of Dog Food

Just as your dog’s activity levels vary at different times of the year, so will his diet. However, to balance out his diet between different months, you need to understand how maintenance food and performance food are two distinct types of nutrition.

Maintenance Food

For starters, maintenance food is what your dog needs throughout the year when it isn’t hunting season. Since hunting dogs need more fat content during the right season so that they have higher endurance, you need to ensure that they aren’t exhausting their fat reserves while they run and play outside the season. 

In one portion, 50 percent of maintenance food is carbohydrates and 20 percent fat, while 30 percent is protein. With this ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you can maintain your pup’s health and ensure optimum performance during hunting season.

A single serving provides your hunting dog’s digestive system with a high amount of carbohydrates that will reduce his rate of metabolism, effectively cutting down on its fat-burning capabilities. This way, your hunting pal will be in great shape for the season because fat reserves are a hunting dog’s main source of energy while running, and each trip will be highly running-intensive.

Performance Food

On the other hand, performance food is formulated to improve your pet’s endurance during hunting season, so he doesn’t get tired easily after a day’s run and is prepared for another round the next day. The primary nutrients that it contains are fats and protein so his vision and hearing get a boost, while his mind stays sharp.

Providing your dog with this kind of diet during peak season will not just ensure that you get the most out of a few months, but also give you peace of mind knowing that your dog isn’t wearing himself out and is prepared to head out into the field.

Which Dog Food to Get?

To help you avoid going through many buying guides and for convenience, the experts here at Alpha Dog Nutrition have listed the best puppy food for labs.

1.     Grain Free High Prairie Venison and Bison by Taste of the WildBest Puppy Food For Labs

The High Prairie range of dog food by Taste of the Wild has a unique puppy recipe that ensures optimal mental and physical development in lab puppies. This dry food contains real meat; it’s made from roasted venison and bison and boasts a high amount of amino acids.

The protein-rich formula is ideal for helping your pup develop strong muscles and an overall lean body. The recipe is prepared in a smaller kibble size, making it easier to chew for smaller puppies. It contains antioxidants and DHA to mature vision and mental capability.

Aside from containing natural ingredients, the kibble is highly digestible; you don’t have to worry about a lazy puppy because of long digestion period. For healthy gut functioning, the formula contains probiotics specially picked out for lab puppies. All of Taste of the Wild recipes are grain free (i.e. they don’t contain any fillers made from wheat or corn); you’ll be feeding your lab puppy a purely meat-based diet.  

The formula is properly dried, eliminating the need or use of preservatives, and a fully meat-based recipe means that no artificial flavoring is required. The brand Taste of the Wild is based in the U.S and produces all their dog food variants according to safety regulations and in advanced, sanitary conditions.

For other healthy nutrients like minerals and vitamins, Taste of the Wild recipes contain specially formulated combinations of beneficial fruits and vegetables for canines. The following factors make this our pick for the best dry dog food for lab puppies:

  • Fully meat-based recipe.
  • Free from grain fillers like wheat and corn that don’t add nutritional value.
  • Easily digestible formula; your puppy won’t get tired because of indigestion.
  • Promotes mental growth and better vision.
  • Free from preservatives, artificial coloring, and flavors.
  • Produced according to advanced and sanitary conditions.
  • Contains roasted bison and venison.
  • Smaller kibble size is suitable for growing lab puppies.


2.     Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Life Protection Formula

best puppy food for lab puppies

The unique recipe by Blue Buffalo is free from additives like those you often find in grocery store brands. Formulated with real meat, Blue Buffalo’s dry food contains deboned chicken, brown rice and a healthy mix of different vegetables. This means it contains necessary nutrients like vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are important for your lab puppy’s development and growth.

The mixed formula is dried naturally without the use of preservatives. Hence, this Blue Buffalo dry dog food is an all-natural recipe. It contains flaxseed as well, which is a great source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These acids are important for maturing your lab puppy’s vision and reflexes. With the core ingredient being deboned chicken, you can rest assured that your pup is eating a protein-based diet. Moreover, the diet will promote strong and lean muscles.

The recipe is free from any corn and wheat-based fillers. Moreover, it only contains carbohydrate-rich brown rice. Additionally, the large breed recipe comes in a smaller kibble size, making it easier for your growing lab puppy to eat. The kibble is also easily digestible, so your puppy can be active throughout the day without getting lazy because of slow digestion that can make him sick.

It contains plenty of fruit extract. Hence, your pup gets vitamins and antioxidants that protect his body from wear and tear of intense activity. As for the safety of the ingredients, skilled veterinarians carefully select each nutrient and add in the formula based on the requirements of specific large breed species. The Blue Buffalo brand believes that owners should love and feed their dogs like family, which is why they created the most wholesome puppy recipe.

The following factors make this option a top contender for the best puppy food for labs:

  • Made from natural ingredients.
  • The protein-based recipe contains deboned chicken as the main ingredient.
  • Free from corn or wheat fillers that add no nutritional value.
  • Dried naturally, free from preservatives, additives, and artificial colorings.
  • Doesn’t contain chicken or poultry by-products.
  • Includes vegetable and fruit extracts as an important source of vitamins and minerals for puppies.
  • Boosts your lab puppy’s mental and physical strength.
  • Helps in building strong muscles needed for hunting.
  • Small and easily digestible kibble size.


3.     Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula

best dry dog food for lab puppies

Purina is a well-renowned brand of dog food. Their amazing healthy puppy formula is gaining a lot of attention from dog owners as well. This recipe contains chicken as the primary ingredient and boasts a number of benefits that you begin to notice in your pet. Other ingredients include rice and oatmeal that aid your puppy’s digestive system by providing fiber.  Aside from all-around nutrition, Purina SmartBlend also has DHA, a crucial nutrient that puppies need for optimal brain and retinal development.

Moreover, the formula contains antioxidants that protect your puppy’s internal organs from the negative effects of free radicals. Along with antioxidants, minerals like selenium and zinc promote a healthier immune system in your puppy. Since it’s free from soy, corn or wheat fillers, this Purina SmartBlend dry food is easily digestible, and that means less cleaning up.

With a special blend of amino acids and Omega 6 fatty acids, this formula helps your lab puppy develop a healthier and shinier coat. Since your pup will be super active, the recipe includes calcium and phosphorus. These nutrients reduce the stress on bones and joints by strengthening them and repairing early wear and tear.

The small and crunchy kibble size is easy for lab puppies to eat and it helps keep their teeth and gums healthy. With the addition of vitamins E and A, your lab puppy will have stronger eyes and sharp reflexes. Not to mention, the amazing meaty taste ensures that your pup enjoys his food as much as the benefits from it.

The following factors make this a top choice in the best dry dog food for lab puppies:

  • Protein-based recipe contains chicken, oatmeal, and rice.
  • Has traces of DHA that develops brain functions and retinal senses.
  • Antioxidant blend protects your pup’s body from the effect of free radicals.
  • Doesn’t contain any soy, corn or wheat fillers; quick digestion.
  • Smaller kibble size for convenience.
  • He’ll grow a healthy and shiny coat because of amino acids and Omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Minerals like calcium and phosphorus ensure bone and joint health.
  • Selenium and zinc enhance the immune system.
  • Keeps the teeth and gums in good condition.


4.     Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Puppy Large Breed Formula

top best dry dog food for lab puppies

This dry dog food is part of Purina’s specialized range of dog foods. These food items cater to specific issues based on age range and breed. This particular dry dog food is the large breed puppy recipe for the FOCUS range. The food enhances concentration and reflexes, making it perfect for a lab puppy. All dry foods in this range contain real lamb, salmon or chicken as part of the recipe. The ingredients vary based on species-specific needs.

Since this formula is for puppies, the main ingredient is chicken, and it contains rice as a carbohydrate-rich constituent.  The high protein content in this recipe is so that your lab puppy develops lean muscles that can support intense activity and training. In addition, the recipe includes nature-derived sources of glucosamine that aid in maturing and developing joints and bones.

Since it’s a puppy-specific formula, it contains DHA, a nutrient essential for the development of vision and reflexes. The small kibble size that’s full of nutrition makes this Purina Dog Food much easier for lab puppies to feed on. Moreover, your pup can put on healthy weight without overeating.

It doesn’t contain additions like wheat, soy, and corn so rest assured that your pup is getting holistic nutrition. Because Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy doesn’t have fillers, your lab puppy will digest his meals easily and won’t get sick from hard-to-digest foods that prolong the digestion process, making him feel lazy. Specialized veterinarians carefully pick out which nutrients are necessary to give your lab puppy because he has different capabilities. With constant exercise, your lab puppy will grow into a strong canine companion.

The following factors make this option a top contender for the best puppy food for labs:

  • Caters to specific needs of a breed.
  • Enhances concentration and reflexes.
  • Contains real chicken as the core ingredient and rice for carbohydrate-rich diet.
  • High protein content to develop strong and lean muscles.
  • Glucosamine to keep bones and joints healthy.
  • Includes DHA for development of vision and reflexes.
  • The small kibble size is easily digestible.
  • Grain-free recipe; no fillers.
  • Veterinarian-picked nutrients that are optimal for hunting dogs.


5.     Rachel Ray Nutrish Super Premium Food for Puppiestop best puppy food for lab puppies

If you want your lab puppies to experience the taste of a homemade meal, then Rachel Ray Nutrish dry dog food is what you’re looking for. It has the ingredients and taste that can rival that of canned food, minus the excess moisture and double the beneficial nutrients. The core ingredient for this is U.S. farm-raised chickens.

Like other large breed puppy-oriented foods, this contains DHA, a nutrient found is mother’s milk that stimulates brain development and vision. Other ingredients include brown rice, which is high in protein and helps build a better amino acid profile for your pup’s growth. This dry food for lab puppies also contains vegetables like carrots and peas, as well as fruits like cranberries, sources of antioxidants that protect its body from the effects of harmful radicals.

A healthy blend of ingredients ensures carbohydrates, B vitamins, and a proper source of fiber that encourages digestive health. The addition of cranberries also boosts your lab puppy’s immunity so it can be more active. The kibble is small enough for a growing lab puppy to chew and eat, as well as digest.

Moreover, the Rachel Ray no-grain recipe is free from traces of poultry by-products, so your puppy can get a good dose of nutrition at a single time without overeating. No filler ingredients and healthy carbohydrates mean easier digestion for your lab puppy without feeling inactive and lazy. It’s manufactured in the U.S. using natural drying methods, so it’s free from artificial preservatives or flavors.

The following factors make this option a top contender for the best puppy food for labs:

  • Delicious taste; made from farm-raised chickens.
  • Protein-rich brown rice build an amino acid profile.
  • Contains DHA for development of vision and brain functions.
  • Contains vegetables like carrots, peas, and beets as a source of essential B vitamins and fiber.  
  • Moreover, contains cranberries as a rich source of antioxidants that enhance the immune system.
  • Smaller kibble that’s easy to eat and digestible as well.
  • Free from filler ingredients, artificial preservatives, and chicken by-products.


6.     Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Formula with Fowl in GravyTop Puppy Food For Labs

Even though dry food does wonders for nutrition, you may want to be flexible from time to time by giving your growing pup some canned wet food. That’s because you’d want him to get a taste of all types of food in case you ever need to make the switch from one food to another. However, since you want to be careful regarding the moisture content in what your pup is eating, we found the best canned wet food that’s as nutritious as it is delicious.

This Canine Formula dog food is prepared with gravy for the best taste that your lab puppy can experience. It’s made of the finest fowl-based ingredients, while the gravy contains real chicken and duck broth. This meat-based gravy ensures that your puppy is getting a protein-rich meal that develops strength and lean muscles.

Its core ingredients include duck, chicken liver, roasted quail and chicken that provide your pup with carbohydrates. Its secondary ingredients include vegetables and fruits like peas and raspberries; these are made of essential vitamins and antioxidants that develop your puppy’s immune system. In addition, such healthy ingredients contain fiber that aids in the digestive process.

Fish-based ingredients are also part of the recipe since they make up the fatty acid blend that contributes to making your puppy’s coat soft and shiny. The soft, chewy texture will be easier for growing puppies to feed on, while the bites of meat are ideal to develop their taste for it.

The following factors make this Canine Formula a great option for the best puppy food for labs:

  • Amazing taste and filled with nutrition.
  • Gravy is made of chicken and duck broth.
  • Contains fowl-based ingredients like roasted duck, quail and chicken.
  • High protein content for development of muscles.
  • More carbohydrates for easy energy and an active puppy.
  • Vegetable ingredients add fiber and make it digestible.
  • Contains fruits as a source of antioxidants and vitamins that heighten the immune system.
  • Contains a blend of fatty acids that promote a healthier coat for lab puppies.
  • The soft and chewy texture is good for puppies.


7.     Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Recipe Chicken Dinner

the Best Puppy Food For Labs

We mentioned how you’ll need to be careful while picking out the best puppy food for labs and Blue Buffalo’s recipes fit the bill. The brand has been creating homemade meal-type dog foods for ages and their canned food provides the same results as dry food. Their Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables Puppy Recipe is popular among dog owners with lab puppies.

Real de-boned chicken is the primary ingredient for this wet food, and it’s free from any sort of poultry by-products. Protein-rich meat and brown rice are good for developing your lab puppy’s muscles and building a good amino acid profile that provides it with the energy it needs throughout the day. Garden-grown vegetables are a secondary ingredient that adds fiber to the recipe, making it all the more digestible.

Specialized veterinarians formulate its extensive nutrient-profile so that it promotes your lab puppy’s cognitive and brain function development. The brand also made fruits such as blueberries and cranberries a crucial part of their recipes. The vitamins and antioxidants these fruits provide aid in improving your pup’s immune system.

Unlike other brands of canned dog food, Blue Homestyle Recipes don’t contain wheat, which manufacturers often use as a thickening additive for wet foods. The Blue Buffalo brand is US-based and makes this canned food recipe according to safety and sanitary regulations.

The following factors make this option a top contender for the best puppy food for labs:

  • High-quality wet food that doesn’t contain wheat as a thickening agent.
  • Delicious taste because of real meat pieces.
  • Made of pure de-boned chicken; no poultry by-products.
  • Contains protein-rich brown rice to provide your pup with amino acids.
  • Garden vegetables added are a source of fiber and make the food digestible.
  • No artificial preservatives or flavorings.
  • Contains fruits like blueberries and cranberries; these provide antioxidants and vitamins that develop the immune system.
  • Made according to U.S. standards.


8.     Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food

the best puppy food for lab puppies

Relied upon by many dog owners across the country, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food is one of the best dry foods for lab puppies. Veterinarians recommend this dry dog food for lab puppies that are up to a year old, pregnant, as well as nursing dogs because it contains all the essential nutrients that puppies need for optimal growth.

One of the reasons why veterinary specialists recommend it greatly is that it contains natural DHA that benefits growing puppies by developing their vision and retinal reflexes. Unlike other foods that contain artificial DHA, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food is made of DHA derived from pure fish oil.

Nutrition specialists carefully select the ingredients based on their nutrient ratio so that your lab puppies and other larger breeds can get a well-balanced diet. The kibble is also smaller than that of regular dry food so that your lab puppy can easily eat and digest it.

To boost your pup’s immune system, this dry food recipe contains the ideal blend of vitamins and antioxidants that protect its body from the harmful effects of free radicals. It contains natural ingredients like chicken, vegetables, rice, and fruits. The high content of carbohydrates will provide your pup with easy energy so they’re active and playful throughout the day. Meanwhile, the protein-rich ingredients help build your puppy’s muscles so they grows stronger.  

The following factors make this option a top choice for the best dry dog food for lab puppies:

  • Contains natural DHA that’s derived from fish oil.
  • DHA matures vision and develops brain function.
  • Made of natural fruits, vegetables, and pure chicken.
  • Easily digestible because of smaller kibble.
  • Vitamins C and E, and antioxidants develop your pup’s immune system.
  • Proteins build strong and lean muscles.
  • Carbohydrates energize your pup.
  • Fiber enhances digestion so your pup makes less of a mess.


9.     Merrick Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

what is the Best Puppy Food For Labs

The Merrick brand knows that large breed puppies need a proper diet of proteins and fats so that they grow well, so they created the perfect recipe that provides just that. To create the best recipe, Merrick lives up to a promise of providing a food that’s made of real meat. That’s why their puppy dry dog food contains real de-boned chicken as the primary ingredient.

The recipe is completely grain-free, so it doesn’t contain wheat, soy or corn-based ingredients. This means that the recipe is consequently gluten-free so that your puppy can digest this food easily and quickly compared to other foods.

Animal nutrition specialists selected the core nutrients and ingredients to add in the recipe so that it contains all the essentials that a puppy requires. Fish oil is part of the recipe since it’s a source of healthy DHA, which is a nutrient present in mother’s milk that develops a pup’s brain and retinal functions. At the same time, it also contains healthy fatty acids that promote your puppy’s coat to be shinier and thicker.

Glucosamine, a natural compound, is also part of the recipe because of its beneficial effect to keep bones and joints healthy. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes add carbohydrates to give your lab puppy energy and fiber so that his digestive system stays in good condition.

The recipe is formulated with fruit extracts so that it contains vitamins and antioxidants, vital ingredients to enhance your puppy’s immune system and protect its body from harm caused by free radicals.

The following factors make this option a top contender for the best puppy food for labs:

  • Free from wheat, soy, and
  • Gluten-free to aid in digestion.
  • Includes DHA to improve retinal and brain function in large breed puppies.
  • Encourages a thicker and shinier coat.
  • Contains glucosamine, which is beneficial in protecting hips and joints.
  • Contains vegetables that provide fiber and energy.
  • Includes fruits which provide vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Develops the immune and digestive system.


How We Selected These Products

In our search for some of the best puppy food for lab puppies, we made sure to leave out any grocery-store brands that often contain filler ingredients that are derived from wheat and corn. These brands of dry dog food also contain artificial preservatives, colors, and flavorings so that the product has a longer shelf life; it looks and tastes more appetizing to dogs.

We selected dog foods that are US-produced according to strict regulations, and don’t contain any artificial preservatives. All of the products we selected contain real meat as the primary ingredient, and include essential growth nutrients as part of the recipe. We ensured that the products we shortlisted contain healthy fruits and vegetables so that your lab puppies are provided with the right vitamins, minerals and blend of antioxidants and amino acids.

Conclusion  Best dog Food For Labs

We hope that this list will help you choose the right food for your lab puppy that it can easily digest and finds appetizing. It’s important to remember that just like humans, dogs have their own tastes; so it’s not necessary that your lab puppy find a certain brand of dog food appetizing just because your friend’s dog does. You can switch between these brands of dog foods at a steady pace to find one that your puppy enjoys eating.

More importantly, make sure that you consult with your puppy’s veterinarian before you purchase any dog food for it. In some cases, puppies can be intolerant to certain ingredients, so you may want to be cautious by discussing the use of new dog food with a specialist first.

This article was sponsored by Fowl Plains Waterfowl Outfitters in Kansas. If you're looking to get yourself & you lab out with some of the best Kansas Duck Hunting Guides in the business, we highly recommend trying them out!

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