Labradors are undoubtedly the world’s favourite dog, and these loveable hounds love their food. Sadly, Labs are prone to piling on the pounds and carrying a bit of timber is bad news for your Labrador’s joints.
Given their predisposition to conditions like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, it’s important your pooch gets all the nutrients they need to develop healthy bones and joints, whilst being able to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk and severity of any joint conditions they could have.
So what should you look for when you’re trying to find the best dog food for Labradors that will keep them fit and healthy?
The best dog food for Labradors will:
Help to prevent or delay joint problems.
Be perfectly portioned for improved health and lifespan.
Help to maintain a healthy weight.
Provide balanced nutrition suited to Labradors.
Contain wholesome, natural ingredients.
One of the biggest problems facing labradors is hip and elbow dysplasia. And the biggest risk factors for dysplasia in Labradors is being overweight.
It isn’t just diet that affects your Lab’s joint, but their feeding pattern has also been linked with joint problems. Free feeding (ad libitum) puts dogs at greater risk of developmental bone diseases, such as dysplasia. In other words, sticking to a regular dinner time routine with your dog will decrease their risk of problems, and that risk becomes even lower when their doggy dinners are portioned correctly.
Feeding a Lab slightly less than they need has been proven to help to delay and even prevent hip joint osteoarthritis. Other chronic and age-related conditions were also delayed or completely prevented in these dogs, and they lived significantly longer than the average Lab.
As well as feeding your dog a little less to keep their joints healthy, you should make sure they’re eating enough of the right thing. It’s clear diet has an influence on diseases like hip dysplasia, but the extant needs more scientific study. At the moment, we know that too much calcium and vitamin D can contribute to problems, but if a dog doesn’t eat enough of these minerals then their skeleton won’t be healthy. As with many things, it’s all about finding a balanced diet.
In terms of diet, making sure your Lab eats plenty of fatty acids like Omega-3 and 6 will help to maintain the health of their joints. Meanwhile, antioxidants like vitamin A can help to combat arthritis and reduce inflammation. Antioxidants are easily found in many fruits and vegetables like melon, carrots, pumpkin, and pepper.
They’re trickier to include naturally in a dog’s diet, but glucosamine and chondroitin are great supplements to keep a dog’s joints healthy. Even if your Lab is already feeling a little creaky with arthritis, then these supplements can still help to ease their symptoms so they can move more freely, helping them to stay active and healthy.
It might feel mean when your greedy Lab just wants to eat and eat, but keeping your Lab on a carefully portioned diet will work wonders on their health and longevity.
That means a much better quality of life for your Lab, fewer vet visits, and longer to spend with your furry friend. To us, that sounds like a win-win, because we all want our furry friend to be happy, healthy, and living longer.
It can seem barking mad that something as simple as controlling your Lab’s serving sizes can have such a clear impact on their health and wellbeing. It’s even easier with balanced, healthy meals like Pure, since we’ll make sure you know the perfect portion sizes your pup should be eating.
Portion control won’t just help your Lab to live a longer and happier life, it helps to manage their weight. Many Labs are overweight, which leads to shorter lifespans, greater risk of joint problems, and higher risk of conditions like heart disease.
Cutting the carbs is one way to help your Lab stay lean. For starters, dogs get more energy from fat than they do from carbohydrates. Plus, many kibble foods are stuffed with “fillers” like corn or wheat that just add a ton of empty calories to try and fill a dog up cost-effectively.
That means your dog gets a lot of calories but not a great deal of nutrition. Kibble food is very starchy and calorific anyway, as the starch is needed to keep the dough held together and able to form a biscuit shape.
Just like with humans, Labs are at their happiest and healthiest when they eat a balanced diet containing natural, whole foods that haven’t been highly processed. You wouldn’t eat highly processed junk food every day because you know it isn’t healthy and you’ll gain weight and feel lethargic, and it’s the same for our furry friends.
That’s precisely why Pure has a whole host of nutritionists on hand to make sure your dog’s dinner is perfectly balanced to meet their individual needs. That means plenty of protein, a dose of fat for energy, a smidge of complex carbs, and some fresh vegetables for vitamins and minerals.
All our carbs come from wholesome sources like vegetables and sweet potatoes, so your Lab definitely won’t be crunching empty calories.
Dogs aren’t true carnivores, but they still need a lot of high-quality protein to keep them healthy and energised. All that protein will help your Lab to stay in shape, maintaining their muscles, so they can be as bouncy and active as the breed is meant to be.
Active dogs need more protein than other pups, so the best dog food for Labradors will provide plenty of protein from natural, whole sources. (No mystery meat meal, animal derivatives, or other low-quality rubbish!)
Whole animal protein that hasn’t been heavily processed is best because it ensures your dog can ingest all of the amino acids that meat provides. Dogs need 22 amino acids to stay healthy, and 11 of those amino acids are “essential” and must from their diet.
Their body can’t store these amino acids, so they need to eat them all every day to stay healthy. Extrusion and harsh processing used to make kibble has been found to destroy amino acids, which is why more natural protein sources are super for your furry friend.
Here at Pure, we only use 100% whole, human quality meat like what you’d eat yourself. There’s never any meat meals, derivatives, or other nasties to try and boost our protein levels. All our protein is from pure, proper meat, so it’s healthier for Fido and a whole lot tastier too!
Natural food provides greater nutritional value and introduces important vitamins and minerals into your dog’s food. It’s also more digestible, which means your Lab absorbs more of the goodness from their food (and has less waste coming out the other end!)
Greater digestibility also means happier tummies, since it puts less strain on their gut to break it all down. Not to mention, artificial ingredients are common irritants and are often at the root of many dietary allergies or intolerances.
If you’re looking for a perfectly balanced, natural dog food for your Labrador, we can help. We’re Pure by name and nature and only use 100% natural ingredients in our dog food so your furry friend gets the nutrition they need naturally.
Your plan will be personalised to your Labrador too, so you’ll get tailored food fit for their individual needs, and we’ll let you know the exact portion sizes they should be eating too to keep them in top shape.