Inside: Learn how much you should feed your Labrador Retriever each day. Plus, charts on how much to feed a Lab, by weight.
When you are a first-time Labrador owner, you have to wonder how much to feed a Labrador. Dog parents are always worried about whether they are feeding the right quality food as well as quantity for their Labrador.
Remember, food requirements may vary from breed to breed and even from dog to dog. In addition, the energetic level, along with the health of your dog, affects the overall quantity of food.
Table of Contents
Just like people, some dogs can eat anything they want and not gain weight. While other Labrador retrievers need to be regimented so as not to gain unhealthy weight.
1. How Much to Feed a Labrador?
When developing a complete diet plan for your Labrador, you must consider some essential things like how much to feed a lab puppy, how much should a lab eat, and what type of food to feed them.
And, the health considerations for overfeeding a dog.
To be a responsible dog parent, you probably want to know the appropriate food quantity for your Lab.
2. Overweight Labs
When a dog is overweight, there are several health concerns that can arise. Here are some common health issues associated with obesity in dogs:
- Joint Problems: The excess weight puts additional strain on a dog’s joints, leading to conditions such as osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and intervertebral disc disease. Joint problems can cause pain, reduced mobility, and a decreased quality of life for the dog.
- Heart Disease: Overweight dogs have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart failure. The heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, leading to potential complications.
- Diabetes: Obesity is a significant risk factor for developing diabetes in dogs. The excess body fat can interfere with insulin production and lead to insulin resistance. Diabetic dogs require careful management, including insulin injections and dietary changes.
- Respiratory Issues: Overweight dogs can experience difficulties breathing due to the pressure of excess fat on their chest and lungs. This can result in decreased stamina, exercise intolerance, and an increased risk of heatstroke.
- Reduced Life Expectancy: Obesity is associated with a shorter lifespan in dogs. It can lead to various chronic conditions that impact overall health and well-being, ultimately reducing a dog’s life expectancy.
- Skin Problems: Overweight dogs are more prone to skin infections and irritations due to skin folds that provide a warm and moist environment for the growth of bacteria and yeast.
- Digestive Disorders: Obesity can contribute to digestive issues such as pancreatitis, liver disease, and gastrointestinal disturbances. The liver may become fatty, leading to a condition called hepatic lipidosis.
- Increased Surgical and Anesthetic Risks: Overweight dogs undergoing surgery or anesthesia are at higher risk of complications, including poor wound healing, prolonged recovery, and adverse reactions to medications.
It’s essential to address and manage a dog’s weight to reduce the risk of these health concerns. Regular exercise, portion control, and a balanced diet recommended by a veterinarian can help dogs achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Consulting with a veterinarian is crucial for an accurate assessment of a dog’s weight and to develop an appropriate weight loss plan tailored to their specific needs.
3. How much should a lab eat a day?
It does not matter how much and how many times a day you feed your lab he will be still hungry. Check out our article about why are Labrador retrievers always hungry.
A specific quantity of food will be different from lab to lab because of their weight and energy levels.
4. Labrador Feeding Chart by Weight
These are the general recommendations as per manufacturers for an adult Labrador Retriever eating dry dog food.
- If your pup is 50 pounds, then serving 2 to 3 cups of food per day is a good place to start.
- If having an active pup of 60 pounds, then 3 to 3-1/2 cups will be enough.
- While 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups is appropriate for a Labrador of 70 pounds
- For a Labrador of 80 pounds, 3 to 4 cups of food are preferred by experts
- For the needs of a Labrador that is 100 pounds or more, 4 to 4-3/4 cups is the perfect quantity.
- For a giant 120-pound Labrador, you will have to serve 4 to 5-1/4 cups of food daily.
|Labrador Weight||Serving Quantity in a Day|
|50 Pounds||2 to 3 Cups|
|60 Pounds||3 to 3-1/2 cups|
|70 Pounds||3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups|
|80 Pounds||3 to 4 cups|
|100 Pounds||4 to 4-3/4 cups|
|120 Pounds||4 to 5-1/4|
Consulting the vet will be an excellent option to ensure that your pup is fine and not underweight or overweight.
Royal Canin is another popular high-quality Labrador-specific dog food. which gives you the option to serve food to your pup as per activity level not just by weight. It contains around 28% protein.
- For a 57-pound Lab with low action feed 3-3/4 cups, medium action feed 4-3/8 cups, and high action feed 5 cups.
- For a 66-pound Lab with low action feed 4-1/4 cups, medium action feed 4-7/8 cups, and high action feed 5-1/2 cups.
- For a 75-pound Lab with low action feed 4-5/8 cups, medium action feed 5-3/8 cups, and high action feed 6-1/8 cups.
- For an 84-pound Lab with low action feed, 5 cups, medium action feed 5-3/4 cups, and high action feed 6-5/8 cups.
- For a 97-pound Lab with low action feed 5-5/8 cups, medium movement feed 6-1/2 cups, and high action feed 7-3/8 cups.
|Labrador Weight||Low Activity||Medium Activity||High Activity|
|57 Pounds||3-3/4 cups||4-3/8 cups||5 cups|
|66 Pounds||4-1/4 cups||4-7/8 cups||5-1/2|
|75 Pounds||4-5/8 cups||5-3/8 cups||6-1/8 cups|
|84 Pounds||5 cups||5-3/4 cups||6-5/8 cups|
|97 Pounds||5-5/8 cups||6-1/2 cups||7-3/8 cups|
5. Labrador Feeding Questions
Here are some common questions that Lab owners have when deciding how much to feed their dogs.
Can I feed my Labrador once a day?
Feeding frequency for dogs, including Labradors, can vary depending on various factors such as age, activity level, and overall health. While some dogs may do well with one meal a day, it is generally recommended to divide their daily food intake into two or more meals.
Labradors, in particular, are known to have a tendency to overeat and become overweight. Feeding them once a day can lead to hunger and potentially encourage them to eat too quickly or excessively in one sitting. This can increase the risk of bloating, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Dividing your Labrador’s daily food into two or three meals helps to promote better digestion, prevents overeating, and can help maintain a healthier weight. It also provides a more consistent energy level throughout the day.
It’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian to determine the specific feeding routine and portion sizes that best suit your Labrador’s individual needs. They can consider factors such as age, weight, activity level, and any underlying health conditions to provide tailored feeding recommendations.
How much should I feed my overweight Labrador?
Feeding an overweight Labrador requires careful portion control and a balanced diet. The specific amount of food to feed will depend on your dog’s current weight, target weight, activity level, and overall health. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian for a personalized feeding plan. However, here are some general tips to help manage your overweight Labrador’s diet:
- Determine the ideal weight: Your veterinarian can assess your Labrador’s body condition and determine the ideal weight range. This will serve as a reference point for developing a weight loss plan.
- Choose a high-quality, low-calorie diet: Opt for a balanced dog food that is specifically formulated for weight management. These diets are lower in calories while still providing essential nutrients.
- Follow portion control: Follow the feeding guidelines provided on the dog food packaging, but keep in mind that these are general recommendations. Adjust the portions based on your Labrador’s individual needs and weight loss goals. Your veterinarian can help you determine the appropriate portion size.
- Monitor treats and table scraps: Limit or eliminate high-calorie treats and table scraps, as they can contribute to weight gain. Instead, offer low-calorie treats or consider using a portion of your dog’s daily food as treats during training.
- Consider a gradual weight loss approach: Rapid weight loss is not ideal for dogs and can have negative health effects. Aim for a gradual weight loss of 1-2% of body weight per week. This slow and steady approach is healthier and more sustainable.
- Regular exercise: Along with a controlled diet, regular exercise is essential for weight management. Consult with your veterinarian about appropriate exercise routines for your Labrador, taking into account their current weight and any existing health conditions.
Remember, every dog is unique, and it’s crucial to work closely with your veterinarian to develop an individualized weight loss plan for your overweight Labrador. They can provide specific guidance based on your dog’s needs and monitor their progress along the way.
Should I feed my Labrador twice a day?
Yes, feeding a Labrador twice a day is generally recommended for optimal health and digestion. Splitting their daily food intake into two meals helps to promote better digestion, prevent overeating, and maintain a consistent energy level throughout the day.
Labradors have a tendency to overeat and become overweight, so dividing their meals can help control portion sizes and prevent excessive food consumption in one sitting. It also helps to regulate their metabolism and prevent hunger pangs.
By feeding your Labrador twice a day, you can provide them with a more balanced and manageable feeding routine. It allows for better absorption of nutrients and reduces the risk of digestive issues such as bloating or stomach discomfort.
6. Foods to Avoid for Labrador
Providing leftovers to your Labrador can be harmful to its health because there are some foods that dog parents should avoid giving their dogs.
- Chocolate is rich in a stimulant known as theobromine, which is somehow similar to caffeine, which is why it is poisonous for the Labrador. The number of stimulants may depend on the type of chocolate. This caffeine-like stimulant directly affects the heart and central nervous system of the Labrador. It may also cause some kidney issues even within 24 hours of eating chocolate. Vomiting, along with diarrhea, is a side effect of chocolate.
- Many vegetables are highly suitable for the health of Labradors, but onions and garlic are never allowed. Both of these can be toxic even if eaten in small quantities. Therefore, while cooking homemade food for Labradors, you must avoid garlic and onion.
- Alcohol is another harmful and toxic food item for dogs. If your pup consumes it even in small quantities, it may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. Moreover, alcoholic beverages also cause depression, a shortage of oxygen, tumors, and blood change.
- Moldy foods and trash: Bread, nuts, some dairy products, and moldy foods are rich in toxins that cause illness. Many dogs love to get into trash, or have a real “nose” for finding leftover food some place. Take extra precautions to make sure that your Lab cannot access any moldy food.
7. Best Food for Labradors
When choosing a food for your Lab, of course cost is an issue. Labs are big dogs that eat a lot of food.
Of course we want to spoil our furry friends, but buying the most expensive food on the market is not necessary. In fact, buy a good quality middle-of-the-list food, and even if you can afford more expensive food, put that money away for any unexpected veterinary expenses.
Also, counseling the vet before choosing canine food can be a sound methodology for your Labrador retriever.
As always, your veterinarian is a great resource for Lab feeding information.