If Labrador puppies grow too fast because they do not get adequate nutrition, they may later suffer from joint problems. To avoid this, you can follow these tips.
Why do Labrador puppies need special food?
Labradors, like other larger dog breeds, are at risk of developing hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia in old age, which can cause joint pain. A large part of the risk can be prevented by always providing Labrador puppies with an age-appropriate diet. The nutrients are then composed in such a way that your little four-legged friend gets everything he needs for healthy growth, but not too many nutrients.
This would cause the bones and joints to grow faster than the dog gets. The faster the growth, the more unstable the bones and joints become and the sooner or later there will be problems. In addition, puppies must first switch from breast milk to solid food and the digestive system of the young dogs must first adapt to the new food. If you have any questions or are unsure, you can contact your breeder or vet.
Proper nutrition for the puppies
In principle, you only have to follow the instructions of the veterinarian or breeder to feed your Labrador puppy properly. It is best to get a kitchen scale and always measure the portions exactly. It should never be too much. Labradors often have a tendency to be eaten, and your four-legged friend may even beg. With Labrador puppies, it’s best to try not to be softened by the cute dog’s gaze.
On the one hand, you will quickly lose the overview of the appropriate food portions, on the other hand, your little rascal will get accustomed to being rewarded for begging; it is not easy to get rid of him later again.
On the packs of ready-made food you will usually find a note stating the age or life stage for which it is suitable and how much you should feed daily. As a precaution, keep to the lower limits and spread the food over several small portions a day. Labrador puppies need protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and only a few carbohydrates, as do adult dogs. However, the protein content for the Labrador babies is reduced, otherwise the food would be too nutritious.
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be right and about 1.5 to 1. You can also barfen your puppy, but it is more difficult to achieve an optimally balanced nutrient composition. It’s not impossible, but it requires extensive knowledge and very accurate planning.
Adapt feeding to growth
As your Labrador puppy gradually grows larger and grows into a young dog, you will also need to adjust the amount and frequency of feeding. The individual portions will be larger, while the frequency will be reduced. It takes about nine to 15 months for Labrador puppies to reach adulthood and be able to receive adult food once or twice a day.
For portion sizes and feed quantities, ask your breeder or veterinarian for safety. A small Labrador puppy of about two months can best process its food if you give it five small portions spread over the day. At four months you can increase the amount of food a little at a time and give only four portions a day. A five-month-old Labrador only gets three servings a day and from six months you can gradually get him used to two servings a day.
These topics on dog nutrition might also be of interest to you:
Puppy nutrition: Foods for young dogs
Barfen with puppies: Tips
Feeding puppies right: What the young dog needs