Feeding Your Labrador – The Right Food, And The Right Way
last updated 27th, Oct 2020,
Labs are amazing dogs. They are smart, intelligent and have an excellent learning drive. If you’ve got yourself a Labrador puppy, chances are you are indulging in playtime, affection and lots of slobbery kisses. However, their is one flip side to these cute cuddle balls, and that is the tendency to become overweight swiftly and quickly!
Labs love to explore and eat. As their guardians, it is very easy to fall for those puppy eyes and feed them more than fair share of their optimal diet. The solution? Regulating their meal and treat times and making sure that there diet is rich in fat and protien and essentially low carb. Remember that Labradors as a breed as susceptible to bone degenarative diseases like hip dysplasia. Making sure that their weight is optimal ensures that your lab puppy lives a long, happy and healthy life.Let's take a look at how a raw diet can work towards achieving these goals and while keep your lab puppy satisfied!
What’s the best dog food for a Lab?
The best food for any dog is one that keeps him healthy, without it eating through your pocket at the same time. You need to ensure your dog gets a ‘balanced diet’.
But what constitutes a balanced diet? Opinions on this differ and we will try and help you make an informed decision as possible.
Thinking what you need to be feeding your Labrador? There’s a lot to choose from
When it comes to their own dog, everyone is an expert. However, even the real experts have differences of opinions on which diet is the healthiest and what really constitutes a diet balanced.
There are mostly two very distinct approaches to dog feeding that are followed by Lab owners:
Raw meat and bones, or BARF
And then there are also a few pet parents who cook and feed their dog only homemade meals.
Is kibble good for dogs?
A few decades ago dogs were brought up on canned meat. In India, fed our dogs a diet of chapatti, rice, milk, and on occasion meats (normally waste meat).
But now the popularity of kibble – the ready-to-eat, dry food that comes out of 10-15 kg bags – has been growing steadily since the last decade or so. It is too soon to speculate on the effect that this transition from wet food to dry food will have on the dogs.
While kibble has several advantages like being easy to feed and store, it has numerous disadvantages too. Kibble doesn’t smell bad, but what comes out of a kibble-fed dog smells extremely unpleasant. The reason for this is that kibble is full of ‘fillers’ that a dog cannot fully digest and it passes straight out of the dog. This is why kibble-fed dogs poop so much more and it is so much smellier too!
Kibble and your labrador:
Kibble-fed dogs might also need to get their teeth cleaned regularly. Some dogs on a dry food diet also have an increased risk of bloat.
However, the biggest problem that has been seen more often since the introduction of kibble is ‘allergies’. More and more Labs are being diagnosed with allergies and the numbers clearly seem to be on the rise.
It is important to read the labels of the packaging and determine what your is puppy eating. A popular brand does not necessarily mean great all the time. Also keep in mind that what works for one dog may not work for another.
The case for B.A.R.F. Diet
There was a time when raw diet (the BARF diet) was considered to be a fad. But as more people are seeing the benefits of dogs being fed a BARF diet, the interest in a raw diet of meat and bones is going up. The dogs are not just doing well; they are thriving.
Many Lab owners genuinely feel that their dogs are best served a raw meat diet only.
Raw feeding - Our final thoughts.
So should you switch to a raw diet for your dear lab or not? What are the pros and cons? Things to remember?
Raw feeding can be great for your dog, and like all meals (even human ones) as complicated or as simple as you want. Why complicated? Because you are constantly worried about whether your dog is getting the right nutrients or not. And we can’t really see a list of ingredients on a meaty bone now, can we?
The simple truth is that we don’t need to. Nature has ensured that meat and meaty bones contain the exact nutrients that a dog needs.
Raw feeding is not really as convenient as kibble feeding. You need a lot of freezer space, a designated area when you can do all your prep work and also follow good meat preparation hygiene (just as you would do when preparing meat for people).
The well-documented benefits of raw feeding include great dental health requiring no teeth cleaning, small quantities of virtually odorless poop implying great digestion outweigh the prep time. B.A.R.F. is a grain-free diet, that also takes care of any allergies that your dog might have developed.
If your Labrador has litter-mates who suffer from bloat, then you should definitely consider feeding raw. Also, if your dog suffers from allergies, he might do better on a raw diet.
What is the right amount of raw?
There is no fixed answer for this. Your dog's diet depends on your dog’s activity levels and your dog’s preferences too. Some Lab owners feed their dogs twice a day and some shift to once a day after the dog is one year old.
Feeding one large meal a day when your dog is raw fed is fine. However, feeding too much kibble at one go can cause bloating and discomfort. We recommend feeding your adult Labrador two meals a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
You will notice some changes in your dog's eating/drinking habits when you switch to raw. Your Lab might drink less water when you switch from kibble to raw. This is because a raw diet is natural and therefore contains sufficient water on its own.
Your dog will let you know themselves and will have a positive attitude if you do. Observe them with a keen eye. Always!
Getting started with a raw diet
Are you considering switching your Lab from kibble to raw? Start gradually, adding more quantity of raw food to his meals every day and slowly reducing kibble until one day his meal consists of only raw food.
You can reach out to B.A.R.F. India for ready-to-eat, pre-made raw that can be delivered to your doorstep.