Best Puppy Food for Labradoodles: What is it?
What Is Best Puppy Food For Labrador Retrievers?
The first thing you need to do when choosing the right food for your dog is to understand what kind of diet they are supposed to have. There are two types of diets, one being a ‘complete’ or ‘all natural’ diet and another being a ‘dietary supplement’. A complete diet is one which contains all of the essential nutrients your dog needs to survive. All natural means that it does not contain any artificial ingredients such as preservatives, colourings or sweeteners. Dietary supplements are those products made from non-animal sources (such as fish oil) but may still contain some animal ingredients. These include vitamins, minerals and other substances which are beneficial to dogs.
Dogs require different foods depending on their age, size, activity level and health status. If you’re wondering how much exercise your dog gets each day then there’s a good chance they will need different kinds of food. Some dogs like to run around while others prefer to lie down and rest during the day. Your veterinarian can advise you on what type of food your pet requires based on these factors.
For puppies, the amount of food they should be having depends on their age. You can start giving them small amounts of food after they are weaned at five to six weeks old and increase the amount after that until they reach eight to ten weeks. At this point, you can give them three meals each day. The daily amount will also depend on their age with the total calories given being 1/4 of their body weight each day.
Divide this amount by the number of meals they have and this will tell you the amount per meal.
Foods for adult dogs are a little easier as the main thing to pay attention to is the calorie content. This will depend on the size of your dog. If they are very active they may require more than 2,000 calories per day. The food label will usually show the amount of calories contained in each weight of food.
These are average numbers so if your dog is above or below the average weight then you’ll have to adjust accordingly.
Foods for senior dogs may require lower amounts of calories and additional nutrients to make up for deficiencies that appear with ageing. The most common problem is weight loss which may be due to muscle loss rather than fat. It’s best to seek advice from a veterinarian before making any changes. You can start by changing their diet gradually over a week or two while also monitoring their health.
There are several types of food available for dogs and it is up to you to decide which one you think is best. Many owners prefer to feed their pets natural foods while others choose branded products.
Labrador Retriever Feeding Guide
Dogs are carnivores, which means that meat makes up the largest part of their diet. This does not mean that they don’t require additional nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. It’s just that meat contains these nutrients in abundance. Dogs are classified as ‘obligate carnivores’, which means their bodies cannot digest fruits, vegetables or grains.
This does not mean they should be excluded from the dog’s diet but it needs to be kept to a minimum.
Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs do. They require higher levels of certain nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, especially during their growth period. Many foods for puppies are formulated to meet these higher requirements. Owners of large breed puppies should be aware that their pet may be prone to hip dysplasia and so extra calcium is needed for the growth of strong and healthy bones.
Feeding guide for adult dogs:
A general rule for feeding adult dogs is to look at the label on the food you are considering to see how many calories are in 100g (3.5oz) of food. You should choose a food where the calorie content suits the level of activity that your dog exhibits. If you have a pet that leads a more sedentary lifestyle, then you can opt for a food that has fewer calories.
On the other hand, if you own an active dog with a lot of energy then you should choose a diet with more calories.
If you have more than one dog in your household then you can adjust the amount of food to suit. However, do not feed an overweight dog simply because other family members are present to share the workload. This can lead to serious health problems in the long term and may shorten the animal’s life.
As a rough guide, most adult dogs require about 300 calories per day. If your dog is of a medium size (between 10-50kg or 20-110lbs) then you can adjust this amount according to whether your pet is mildly, moderately or very active each day.
Remember that puppies require more calories than adult dogs and that elderly canines also have different nutritional needs from younger animals. Be sure to seek advice on these matters if you have not kept a dog before or else you may cause your pet a great deal of harm or even death through malnutrition or overfeeding.
How Much Food?
If you are using a measuring cup to give your dog its food then the general rule is 100ml (4oz) of dry dog food per 1kg (2.2lbs) of body weight per day. This is just a guide and if you use a measuring cup at all then you need to adjust this amount depending on how active your dog is. If your pet is getting fat then cut down the food, if it is losing weight (Has bones sticking out and a slight tinny sound when you flick at its belly) then increase its rations.
Remember that puppies and older dogs require less food than adult dogs of working age. Also large breed dogs need more to sustain their bigger bodies.
A good way to measure your dog’s food is to use its daily quota as a percentage of its body weight. As a guideline, you should be aiming for around 1% – 3% of its body weight per day. So for example, if your dog weighs 20kg (45lbs) then its food would amount to 200g – 700g (7oz – 1.5lbs).
Foods For Your Dog
There are many different types of pet food available on the market today. They range from premium diets to food mixed with cereal fillers and on to downright unhealthy foods for dogs. Most pet owners fall into the trap of buying the lowest grade of food because it is more affordable than high quality food, even if only in the short term. The cheaper foods do have their place, especially as treats, but they should never form the basis of your dog’s diet.
Good quality dog foods are a more balanced diet which will provide all the nutrients that your dog needs. The cheaper alternatives have been described as “False Economy” by many vets because though the food may be cheap to buy, the vet bills soon add up when your dog falls ill due to bad food!
The other advantage of better quality food is that your pet should have glossy coats and if you have a puppy, it should have less trouble with house-training.
How To Feed Your Dog
Once you have decided which type of food to feed your dog then you need to learn how much to feed it. There are many different types of feeding schedules from free choice, which is leaving a full bowl of food available all the time, to restricted, where you only provide the amount of food your dog needs each day.
In between these two extremes you have timed feeds, which are usually 4 times per day when a set amount of food is given, and volume feeds where a certain volume of food is given at each mealtime but the amount of food may vary depending on the size of your dog.
Which system is best depends on your personal circumstances and what is convenient for you. You also need to take into account that all feeding systems require some fine tuning. For example, if you are at work all day then a timed system may not be suitable as your dog may overeat if the food is left out for too long.
Another issue to bear in mind is the size of your dog and the amount of food that it needs to eat. If you have a giant breed of dog, for example an Great Dane or a Mastiff, then it is not going to be able to eat the same amount of dry dog food as a Jack Russell or a Poodle. You need to make sure that you are feeding the correct amount for the size of dog that you have.
If you decide to use a free choice system, which is leaving food out all the time for your dog, then you need to bear in mind that some dogs will overeat if they are allowed to do this. They are normally the first to arrive at mealtimes and often try to eat as much as they can as quickly as they can. This practice is called gorging and it can have serious repercussions. It can lead to obesity and serious digestive problems.
Some dogs will also stock pile their food by hiding it around the house or their yard.
If you are using a free choice system you should make sure:
To take your dogs food supply away at mealtimes, otherwise they could be eating 24 hours a day! To keep an eye on the weight of your dog. If it is putting on too much weight then you may need to adjust the amount that you are feeding it. To check your dogs stool.
If it looks like painful pellet like droppings then you may need to feed it more, if the droppings are loose then you may need to feed it less.
It is a good idea to keep records of how much food your dog is eating. You can then keep a check on whether you need to adjust the amount that you are feeding it.
You should also take regular weight and growth checks on your puppy. Between four and eight weeks your pup will grow the fastest and it should gain between twenty five and forty percent of its body weight during this period. If your pup does not gain this amount then you need to feed it more, if it gains too much then you need to feed it less.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog?
It is impossible to say exactly how much food your dog should be eating because it depends on so many factors. Different breeds of dog will have different food requirements even if they are the same age and size. A larger dog will need more to eat than a smaller one just to sustain itself. A working dog will require more than a pet dog if it is doing the same activity. If it is twice as active then it will need around twice as much food.
In addition to this there are other things that affect how much food a dog requires such as climate, the temperature and how active it is. A dog that spends most of its time outside in summer will need less food than one kept indoors in an air conditioned home for example. A dog that plays all day will require more food than one that sleeps all day.
There is also some controversy over the amount of protein that dogs should have in their diet. Some people believe that dogs can only effectively digest low protein food and others believe that a mixture of both high and low protein is better. As with most things in life the truth is somewhere in between the two extremes. Most dog foods contain a good mixture of proteins and also contain additional supplements to ensure that the dogs are getting everything that they need.
The easiest way to work out how much food your dog should be eating is to look at the information on the back of the bag or can. On the majority of brands this will tell you how much to feed your dog on a daily basis and over how long a period. The most common units are cups or grams, but some manufacturers also list the amount in ounces or as a percentage of the dogs body weight.
The information on the back of the package will tell you what weight range your dog should fall into before it reaches adulthood. It will also tell you the expected weight of a dog of that size and age. A puppy will grow fastest between four and twelve months and may gain between twenty five and forty percent of its body weight during this period. If your dog does not gain this amount then you need to feed it more, if it gains too much then you need to feed it less.
Puppies are usually weaned from eight weeks but should not be eaten the full amount of food that they will require as an adult until they are at least a year old. During the time that the puppy is being weaned you can work out how much to feed it by judging how much it is currently eating and making adjustments so that it gains the required amount during the period that it is growing quickly. You can also get advice from your vet or local pet store.
Feeding Your Dog
Once you have worked out how much food your dog should be eating each day then it is simply a case of portioning the food out for it. Many people feed their dogs once a day in the evening. This is fine as long as the dog does not go too long between meals as the dog is just as likely to overeat if it is very hungry.
Use a flat, non-tip bowl for feeding. Dogs have been known to turn over their bowls or even tip them on purpose to get food onto the floor. This is especially true if you have more than one dog.
Putting the bowl down and leaving it until the next meal is not a good way of feeding dogs as many people do with their children. Dogs are evolved to eat as much as they can as quickly as possible when food is available because they never know when the next meal will be. This means that they will gorge themselves whenever food is available and this can lead to digestive problems and obesity. It can also lead to minor arguments over who gets the best bits and this can develop into major disputes in households with more than one dog.
If you want your dog to eat then feeding it by hand is a better option. Most dogs will feel more secure about eating if you are there with them and this also gives you the opportunity to check the food for pieces of glass or any other unpleasant items that may have found their way into the food.
Taking your dog out with you when you go for a walk is a great way to provide it with exercise and help it to wear down its energy. It is very important when walking a dog that you have a good quality collar and lead to keep it under control. Dogs have a lot more strength in their neck than we do and a collar which allows too much movement can easily strangle a dog when it is pull as hard as they often do.
It is also important to have a good grip on the lead, not only to keep the dog under control but also because the dog will be using some of its strength against you. A standard leather lead is not ideal for this as they are designed to flex and thus your dog will have some leeway. A a firm grip on a flexing lead can cause painful twisting in your arm as you try to restrain the dog. A firm grip on a flexing lead can also cause the lead to snap back and whip your hand with considerable force.
A chain or wire lead does not flex and so does not suffer this problem, a chain is also less likely to become entangled around lamp posts and other street furniture.
When you are out with your dog you may be approached by people with appeals for you to sign petitions or donate money for a variety of causes. These people are generally quite respectful and will not try and engage you in conversation or delay you for more than a few moments. Your dog on the other hand may see them as a threat and to some degree this is true. These people are competitors for your attention and your dog has evolved to protect you from such threats.
Your dog will very likely bark at them if you do not keep it under control. If the person is coming across as too over familiar or threatening then the dog may even feel compelled to attack them to defend its territory and its pack (you).
Keep your dog under control and do not let it approach people without your permission.
Your Dog’s Home
It is important that you make your dog feel comfortable in its own home. For the first few days you must keep it indoors except for when you are both out for walks. After this period you can gradually allow it more and more freedom within the house. You should never just lock it in a room though as this will make it destructive and it will soon learn that if it makes too much noise or chews things it will be locked up.
Always be around and interact with it to let it know you are the Alpha. It is also a good idea to keep the TV or radio on when you are not around to keep it company and let it hear your voice. You may also want to get it a companion to keep it company. Two dogs are easier to manage than one and have been found to be less likely to develop neurotic behavior.
Accidents are going to happen but you must keep on top of the situation and not let your dog get away with anything. The best way to handle this is to get a large plastic tray (the kind that vinyl records come in is ideal), which you will keep by the door in the room where you will be keeping your dog when you are not around to supervise it. When you let it out to play, it must immediately go over to the tray and take care of business. Once this is done, it can then play until it is time to come back inside.
If it has an accident it should be punished immediately (a sharp word of disapproval is often enough) and then taken straight over to the tray to perform the action again. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary until it gets it right. As soon as it does it can then come back inside and be praised for being successful. It is important not to let it get away with anything at this stage or it will learn that if it holds on long enough you will give up and let it in.
Your dog will require much more exercise than it got when it was a wild. At the minimum it will need to be taken on several long walks every day. This is not only to fulfill its natural instinct to roam and hunt but it maintains its fitness and health. Longer trips into the country are also a good idea as long as you are not attempting to travel too far.
Your dog will need to be kept occupied when you are not around also. This does not just mean leaving a ball or toy for it to play with. You must take it for walks as well as engaging in interactive games with it, such as hide and seek, fetch and tag. Without this sort of attention your dog can become destructive and neurotic.
It may even become aggressive and start biting people in an attempt to look tough. As with most social animals, dogs are happiest when they have someone to be their companion and look after them. Do not neglect your pet or get annoyed with it for simply being a dog.
Can I keep it Feral?
Once tamed, dogs cannot be returned to a truly wild state again. It will no longer be able to survive on its own and will become permanently dependent on you. It will also be unable to breed, or even mate with other dogs so if your intention is to create a new breed of dog it is better to start with a pure bred puppy and select the traits you desire. This does not mean that you cannot still enjoy the company of a feral dog though. Many people keep these as faithful companions and there is no reason why you too could not do this.
Sources & references used in this article:
LabradoodLes by L Stone – 2008 – books.google.com
Self assessment: pyrexia and lameness in a Labradoodle by M Maltman – Companion Animal, 2017 – magonlinelibrary.com
Expression of Behavioural Traits in Goldendoodles and Labradoodles by VL Shouldice, AM Edwards, JA Serpell, L Niel… – Animals, 2019 – mdpi.com
Puggles by R Owen – 2012 – books.google.com
Caring for My New Puppy by J Bankston – 2019 – books.google.com
Probiotics For Dogs–Do They Work And Which Are The Best by S Holloway – thelabradorsite.com
Mutts by B Brevitz – 2009 – Workman Publishing
Complete Puppy & Dog Care: What every dog owner needs to know by MH Bonham – 2005 – Alpha Books