Best Dog Food for Lab Puppies and for Other Large Breeds

Owning a puppy that belongs to the large dog breeds comes with its share of responsibilities and challenges, particularly when it comes to feeding. After all, we want our pets to grow up strong, live a healthy and long active life, and that certainly starts with giving him or her good nutrition.

According to pet experts , feeding your dog with a high-quality, well-formulated diet is probably the most important thing you can ever do to him or her healthy and disease free.

The top ten large dog breeds, in terms of popularity, include Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle and Rottweiler, in that order (see reference below for PetMD large breed dogs). Simply because they are large, they require different nutrition when they are still puppies, compared to smaller breed dogs.

According to numerous best dog food for lab puppies reviews, vets and experts on dog food for puppies say it is very important to consider the special needs of large breed puppies. “Large-breed” puppies are usually considered as puppies that when mature will exceed 50 lb.

Large breed puppies such as Labrador Retrievers need to get special diets if you want to avoid some particular health risks to which they are highly susceptible. Even large breed fully grown dogs need close monitoring for symptoms of obesity, bloat, and orthopedic diseases.

The majority of these health conditions are heavily influenced by the kind of nutrition your puppy or large dog receives. This is why we have reviewed the best dog food for labs to help you get the best for your pet friend.

So what is the best dog food for lab puppies? Recommendations here, and click to continue discussion below

1. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppies, 30-Pound Bag

best dog food for lab puppies picture of Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppies
best dog food for lab puppies picture of Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppies
Our top pick for best dog food for lab puppies is Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppies.

Our top pick for best dog food for lab puppies is Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppies. With this special product, you will be helping that adorable lab pup discover that powerful growl. The grain-free formula provides digestible energy and excellent nutrition for your growing puppy.

Made with a blend of fish protein sources, this hearty formula offers a taste sensation like no other. Fruits and vegetables deliver natural antioxidants to help support a healthy lifestyle. Dried chicory root is included to support nutrient absorption and healthy digestion.

  • Protein: 27% Minimum, Fat: 15% Minimum (protein near recommended 30%, fat <20% as recommended)
  • Calcium: 1.4%, as-fed; Phosphorus: 1.0%, as-fed (recommended levels and ratio)
  • Calories: 3,600 kcal/kg (360 kcal/cup) Calculated Metabolizable Energy (within recommended puppy range of 3,500-4,000)
  • Available in 5lb, 15lb, and 30lb bags
  • 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon, with over 230 reviews.
  • Cost factor: $1.51 per pound ($45.99/30.4 lbs) as of 8/14/15 (very good value)

The hearty Taste of the Wild formula offers your pup a taste sensation that he will go mad about! And all the fruits supply and yummy vegetables act as antioxidants helping him develop the lean muscle he is going to need when fetching that ball.

Made using real roasted meats and then fortified with vegetables and vegetables, this Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppies formula provides your puppies with highly digestible energy, a superior taste sensation, and natural antioxidants that support his overall health and healthy immune system. All dogs crave a real taste of the wild, why not go ahead and supply that!

2. Hill's Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food, 15.5-Pound Bag

best dog food for lab puppies hills picture of science diet puppy healthy development small bites dry dog food
best dog food for lab puppies hills picture of science diet puppy healthy development small bites dry dog food
Hill's Science Diet Puppy Small Bites dog food provides precisely balanced nutrition to build immunity and digestive health for puppies who prefer a smaller kibble.

Over 220 food scientists, Ph.D. nutritionists, veterinarians, and technicians based at Hill's collaborate to design all of the pet foods coming from Hill’s to meet the needs of your particular pets. Only ingredients sourced from suppliers whose facilities have been certified as meeting stringent Hill’s quality standards are accepted.

Not only do the professionals at Hill’s examine each ingredient to ensure maximum safety, but they also analyze each of the ingredients for essential nutrients to make sure that your 4-legged companion is getting the most stringent and precise formulation needed. You can rest assured that Hill’s makes some of the best dog food for lab puppies’ products available in the market today.

The high-quality ingredients used include lamb, real chicken or salmon protein with the sole goal of giving you Hill’s best large breed puppy food products. Hill’s dry foods are made using natural ingredients, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, plus proven antioxidant and never contain preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, or any chicken by-products.

  • Protein: 30% Minimum, Fat: 19.8% Minimum (protein near recommended 30%, fat <20% as recommended)
  • Calcium: 1.58%, as-fed; Phosphorus: 1.2%, as-fed (recommended levels and ratio)
  • Calories: 3,744 kcal/kg Calculated Metabolizable Energy (within recommended puppy range of 3,500-4,000)
  • For Puppies Up To 1 Year Old
  • 4.6 out of 5 rating on Amazon, with over 150 reviews.
  • Cost factor: $1.87 per pound ($28.98/15.5) (medium value)

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small Bites dog food provides precisely balanced nutrition to build immunity and digestive health for puppies that prefer a smaller kibble. Made with high-quality ingredients and fish oil that provide an ideal combination of nutrients, clinically proven antioxidants and vital fatty acids to give your puppy the best start in life.

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Original is slightly below Taste of the Wild in popularity on Amazon, perhaps because Taste of the Wild is less expensive. Historically, however, Science Diet is also one of the top selling brands.

3. PEDIGREE PUPPY Targeted Nutrition Chicken Flavor Dry Food For Puppies, 28 lb. Bag

best dog food for lab puppies picture of PEDIGREE PUPPY Targeted Nutrition Chicken Flavor Dry Food For Puppies
best dog food for lab puppies picture of PEDIGREE PUPPY Targeted Nutrition Chicken Flavor Dry Food For Puppies
Pedigree Targeted Nutrition Chicken Dry Food For Puppies

Pedigree Targeted Nutrition Chicken Dry Food For Puppies has been formulated with the goal of helping your pup to keep pace with the bigger dogs. The formula has been made using DHA for healthy dog brain development. For strong bones and healthy teeth, it has been fortified with phosphorus and calcium.

  • Helps develop a strong immune system
  • Includes DHA for healthy brain development
  • Contains Calcium & Phosphorus for healthy teeth and strong bones
  • Formulated for puppies with a delicious chicken flavor
  • Includes Dhal for healthy brain development
  • For puppies up to 1 year old
  • Made in North America
  • Rated 4.4 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 700 reviews.
  • $ .71 per pound ($19.98/28 lbs) (good value) as of 08/14/15

Puppies need to be fed with special nutrients if they are to grow into strong, healthy dogs. This particular Pedigree Puppy Flavor has been specifically made to help your puppies grow strong and big. The tasty dry food formulation comes in a chicken flavor that dogs will love, featuring whole grain, has vegetable accents as well as other ingredients meant to support the immune system development and more.

4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food, Focus, Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula, 34-Pound Bag

best dog food for lab puppies picture of PEDIGREE PUPPY Targeted Nutrition Chicken Flavor Dry Food For Puppies
best dog food for lab puppies picture of PEDIGREE PUPPY Targeted Nutrition Chicken Flavor Dry Food For Puppies
Purina Pro Plan Focus Dry Dog Food. High-quality protein, including chicken as the first ingredient.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Dry Dog Food offers different dry dog food formulas that cut across five separate nutritional platforms: Natural, Savor, Sport, Focus, and Bright Mind. Each has been designed to meet the unique requirements of different dogs depending on their age, lifestyle, taste preferences, activity levels, and dietary or special considerations.

Purina Pro Plan is formulated using high-quality proteins, including chicken, are among the first ingredients. Naturally sourced Glucosamine help support the development of pet joints and cartilage. This is why I have included Purina Pro Plan Focus among my best dog food for Labradors.

  • One convenient 34-pound bag of Pro Plan® Large Breed, Puppy Formula dry dog food
  • Made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient
  • Contains natural sources of glucosamine for joint health and mobility
  • OptiStart®, easy-to-digest, natural milk proteins to help support a puppy’s developing immune system
  • For puppies weighing over 50 pounds at maturity
  • Cost factor: $1.24 per pound ($42.29/34) (relatively expensive)
  • Rated 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon, with over 1,000 reviews

Puppy Food Formulas from Purina are formulated specifically for a growing dog. They come with DHA for vision & brain and development and vital antioxidants that help in nourishing immune systems that are still developing. This specialized Purina Pro Plan Focus Dry Dog Food formula is recommended if your dog experiences stomach and/or skin sensitivity.

The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador’s origin can be traced to Canada. It is today among the most famous and popular retriever breeds, loved in many countries. In the old days, the breed was mostly appreciated and used as a versatile hunter dog. It hunts well on land just as in water. Apart from those qualities, this is an intelligent dog that possesses a gentle temperament, making it an easy fit as a friendly family pet.

If you are already the proud owner of a Labrador puppy or are thinking of getting one, how to ensure that he gets the best nutrition and care for optimum growth and health must be causing some anxiety. But we are convinced that with the above-detailed analysis of best puppy for large breeds food items and products, you will be in a better position to give your furry pet the best!

Labrador Retrievers, similar to other large dog breeds are also prone to certain types of health disorders. If you are, therefore thinking of keeping this breed, then ensure you are very conversant of the diseases that could affect your Lab pup as well as all the necessary medications

Why Special Labrador Puppy Foods?

Choosing the most suitable food for your large breed puppy and feeding him the right quantities significantly lower the risk of your dog developing health complications. That’s mainly because large breed puppies’ nutritional requirements differ from those of medium and small breeds. Large breed puppies, according to DogFoodAdvisor are classified as those whose weight is likely to exceed 50 pounds when they attain adulthood.

In a year, a Labrador can grow to over 70 pounds from a single pound at birth. That amounts to a massive 70-fold increase. A human being, on the other hand, can take close to 18 years to even achieve just half of that weight. Ignoring those special food needs can lead to crippling joint and bone disorders such as Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and a host of other canine relate health c0mplications.

The Labrador Retrievers, being large dogs are susceptible to few diseases among the most common being Cataracts, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), Acute Moist Dermatitis, Myopathy, Cold Tail, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD), Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus as well as ear infections.

With good nutrition, your Labrador puppy will have better chances of evading the above-mentioned diseases. This is why we have reviewed and recommended the best puppy for large breeds.

Feeding Lab Puppies

The food needed to meet the requirements of your Labrador puppy each day needs to be divided into a number of portions. In case you attempt feeding your pup the whole day’s ration in a single go, certainly, he will do his best to finish, but it’s not healthy. Most likely, it will cause diarrhea and could also possibly damage his tender stomach because kibble will swell once he drinks some water.

Between 8 and 12 weeks, your Lab puppy will gain most from receiving 4 daily meals: breakfast, lunch, tea followed by supper. The meals should ideally be spaced at least 3 hours apart so as to give the pup time to get the food digested properly. It’s good to ensure that his last meal is at least 2-3 hours before the last toilet trip before bedtime.

Once the puppy has attained 3 months, you may now decrease the meals to 3. After 6 months, two meals daily would be adequate. You can continue giving 2 meals per day even after he has grown up.

After your dog attains 12 months, feeding once a day can work so long as you are feeding him or her on raw meat. However, the dry kibbles generally have a tendency of swelling once your dog drinks water, potentially causing bloating. This may damage the stomach and thus not highly recommended.

Cautions When Feeding Puppies

A common challenge with these large breeds is obesity as they just love eating. If you get into the habit of handing out too many treats or feeding two times a day, chances are very high that your Labradors could get overweight.

Puppies generally love food as well as the attention that accompanies being fed. If for example, you feed him at 6 in the morning because he is up and seems hungry, odds are high that the following morning, he will be up at 5:45 am!

Remember that feeding is an extremely powerful behavior reinforcer. If you want to discourage your puppy from waking you up much earlier each subsequent morning, avoid feeding him as soon as he or you get up especially with the best lab puppy food! Set some specific breakfast time, and even if he wakes up 2 hours earlier, don’t feed him before that time. That short period of time won’t starve him.

The Cost Of Lab Puppy Food

Some of the best large breed puppy food brands reviewed in this article are normally more concentrated compared to others. Cheaper products are likely to contain more ‘fillers’ coming in extra carbohydrates, typically made from grain.

The absence of fillers means that in most cases you will only have to feed lower amounts of the more costly quality food which effectively makes them less expensive than it had first appeared. You might, in addition, discover that when feeding your puppy a cheaper brand he poos more often because those extra fillers tend to go straight through the system.

Large Breed Adult Dogs

Just like us humans, our dogs also like having a mixture of both dry solids as well as some wet food that are somewhat more palatable and easier to chew. Experts at PetsWorld recommend give your furry friend a mixture of both dry and wet food Although you can opt to feed him either of the two, it is, however, best when they are mixed together.

As soon as your large breed puppy attains early adulthood, the time to identify to yet another type of food has come. This is the best time to consult to with your pet vet about the best dog food for Labradors and other large breeds.

The caloric needs of each dog are unique. Your vet is in the best position to share observations and insights about the most suitable diet for your large dog based on size, breed, and other related health concerns. Vets usually have access to many and varied resources allowing them to give you the best recommendations to help you make an informed choice.

As of the moment of writing of this article, Taste of the Wild Dry Adult Dog Food, Hi Prairie Formula is the #1 best seller on Amazon for dog food! This is a pretty impressive statistic.

The Puppy food, shown above, has equivalently impressive numbers, with a 4.5 rating and 90% positive review rating. You really don’t see these sorts of ratings very often.

The only complaints that appear seem to be from some people who say that their puppy’s breath smells like fish! This is not surprising. This puppy food is made from fish protein sources. The fact that the food is grain-free eliminates any issues about sensitivities to grain, which is not uncommon in dogs. Every now and then a puppy just does not get along with this food, but not very often!

Finally, at the time of publishing of this article, this dog food for puppies is covered for free shipping under Amazon Prime. This is a great value for a 30-pound bag of dog food. Prices can change at any time, and until you click “buy” we cannot accurately tell you the price.

It should be fairly obvious that dog food is quite heavy, and shipping charges can be $15 or more, depending on your location. However, many of these dog foods qualify for Amazon Prime, which gives you free shipping. So as you click on one of our links here, you might want to check around on the shipping costs. We cannot possibly keep up with the changes.

Note: If you order from Amazon more than 10 times a year, or especially if you buy your dog food from Amazon, it does not take long to get a really good value from Amazon Prime, which costs $99. Not to mention a ton of other benefits you receive. Personally, I am a very happy member of Amazon prime!!


This Best Reviews Guru article is specifically about the best dog food for lab puppies. To a large extent, however, it applies across the board for the best dog food for large breed puppies.

The main issue with large breeds is that if fed like adults, they physically grow up more quickly than their bodies can handle. This introduces additional risks to their health. (See the Lauten article referenced at the bottom of this article for detailed information.)

Following a good feeding regimen during the puppy stage, in terms of the type of food and the amount of food can make a large improvement in the physical health of large breed puppies. It is especially important in relation to the risk of having hip dysplasia. Large breed puppies should be fed adult food only starting at about 12 months of age.

For example, risks occur when a large breed puppy, such as a lab puppy:

  • Is fed extra food supplements in addition to a standard off the shelf complete dog food.
  • Is fed and adult dog food that will supply an adult balance of nutrients.
  • Is fed adult food that contains too much calcium, or simply is fed too much.

Basically, a large breed puppy should be fed measured quantities of food. Their weight should be maintained basically to keep them slim and lean. These conclusions are based upon various studies from Jennifer Larsen (see references below). You should consult with your veterinarian as to the recommended weight for your specific puppy. What does “lean” mean in your case? It should be pretty obvious what “fat” is.

Product images sourced from

Best Dog Food for Lab Puppies and for Other Large Breeds

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply sophia August 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I have a 1-yearold lab old lab puppy and I switched him to Taste of the Wild after some allergies and rashes. He no longer suffers from allergies and doesn’t itch his skin to death like he did before . He loves the taste of his salmon food. I am very happy with the product and I would call TOTW the best dog food for lab puppies.

  • Leave a Comment