Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world. Originally bred in England to be gun or hunting dogs, labs are loyal, smart, and eager-to-please their owners. If properly cared for, your new lab puppy can live a long and healthy life, and this proper care begins with good nutrition
Your Brand New Labrador
When you bring your Labrador puppy home initially, it will likely be overwhelmed and frightened by the whole experience. This is why it is a good idea to introduce your puppy to everyone in the house slowly and gently, and why it is also a good idea to feed your puppy the same food that it is used to eating, at least for the first few days. Over the next seven to ten days, mix the old food and the new food together, gradually decreasing the amount of old food until your puppy is used to the new food.
Making a Feeding Schedule
Your puppy will need approximately three meals a day until it is about nine months old. Puppies of all breeds are voracious eaters, but it is important not to overfeed them. Go by the recommendation on the dog food bag if you aren't sure of the exact amount, but keep in mind that those recommendations are usually more food than your dog will actually need. Feeding your puppy in the same place, at the same times everyday is the best way to help them regulate their appetites and establish a lifelong feeding routine.
Types of Puppy Food
There are many different brands of puppy food, but two main types: dry and wet. Most breeders and veterinarians recommend limiting the amount of wet dog food that you give your pet, since it is high in fat, salt, and sugar. When it comes to selecting a dry food, or kibble, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive dry food is made with low-quality ingredients, fillers, and contains artificial coloring and ingredients. Premium dog food, naturally, contains the highest quality ingredients but is also the most expensive. If you aren't sure which brand of dog food to choose for your puppy, ask your veterinarian or your breeder.
Where to Feed Your Puppy
Your puppy should eat its three meals a day in the same place in order to establish a routine. Many people think that placing a dog's food and water in an area of the house where most family members gather (like the kitchen) is best, but in truth, dogs are pack animals and like to be left alone to eat in peace without worrying about having their food stolen from them. Choose an out of the way spot for your puppy's feeding times.
Health for Years to Come
Establishing good eating habits at an early age is one of the best things that you as a loving pet owner can do for your puppy. Labradors who are overfed and those who are underfed run the risk of developing many health conditions that can be prevented, simply by feeding them the correct amounts of healthy, nutritious dog food on a regular schedule, and of course, plenty of water at all times.
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Hazel Baker has been writing professionally since 2003. She covers e-commerce, technology and legal topics for various online publications. Baker has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in history from Point Loma Nazarene University.