The Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers (Senior, Puppy, and Adult)

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: January 4, 2023
©

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species..

Key Points:

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for Labrador retrievers is the Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever.
  • Labrador retrievers are natural athletes and require plenty of exercise to stay in good shape.
  • A Labrador’s food should be formulated for their specific needs — including supplements for strong bones and a healthy coat.
  • Portion control is essential as these dogs tend to be overweight — which can lead to hip dysplasia.

Labrador retrievers are America’s most popular dog breed and for good reason. These sweet-natured, medium-to-large-sized dogs are extremely versatile. They make the perfect family pet, service dog, or bird dog. They’re natural athletes that require lots of exercise to keep their bodies and minds in top shape. So, it’s crucial that you choose the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers to meet all of their nutritional needs.   

The right food for other dogs in the sporting group may not be right for Labrador retrievers. We’ll address this breed’s specific dietary needs and potential health conditions below. Because puppies, adults, and seniors have different nutritional and caloric requirements, it’s important to purchase the best food based on their current stage of life. And as they grow, you’ll need to adapt your Labrador retriever’s food to their changing needs.

The following list of the best overall options for Labrador retrievers is based on their stage of life and whether your dog prefers wet or dry foods so you can select the best food for your best friend.

  1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever
  2. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever
    • Meet the nutritional needs of purebred Labrador Retrievers
    • Support bone and joint health with EPA, DHA, and glucosamine
    • Exclusive donut-shaped kibble encourage the dog to chew and eat food slowly
    • Precise calorie and fat content for labs
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  4. Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
    • Contains an optimal level of calcium for controlled bone growth
    • Balanced minerals that promote strong bones and strong teeth
    • Made with natural ingredients uses DHA from fish oil
    • Developed by over 220 veterinarians, food scientists and technicians
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+
  6. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+
    • Contains antioxidants to help support healthy aging
    • Adapted calorie content to help maintain ideal body weight
    • The kibble size and texture are specifically designed for older Labrador Retrievers
    • Includes collagen, EPA, and DHA to support cartilage
    Check Chewy
  7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult
  8. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult
    • Chicken and brown rice recipe designed for large breeds
    • Glucosamine for joint health
    • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
    • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever
  10. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever
    • Created specifically for pure breed Labrador Retrievers
    • Complete and nutritionally balanced
    • Precise energy levels for weight management
    • Contains EPA, DHA, and glucosamine to provide bone and joint support
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals-Top Picks for Food for Labrador Retrievers

#1 Best Overall: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever

Our choice for the best overall dog food for adult Labrador Retrievers is Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food.

This dry dog food is formulated specifically to meet the nutritional needs of purebred Labrador retrievers that are 15 months and older.

This dry dog food will help your pet to maintain their ideal weight with precise calorie and fat content tailored for Labrador retrievers. It will support your large dog’s bone and joint health with EPA, DHA, and glucosamine. And its exclusive donut-shaped kibble is designed specifically to encourage your Lab to chew and eat food slowly.

Royal Canin develops specific recipes based on each breed’s specific nutritional requirements and life stage needs. They take their activity levels, size, coat type, health concerns, and other factors into consideration to ensure that their foods help your dog reach its full potential.

However, as this food is breed-specific it is a more expensive option. Furthermore, some customers reported that the kibble is much larger than they expected and as a result their pets struggle to eat it.

Pros and Cons of the Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever

ProsCons
This food has a precise calorie and fat content tailored for Labrador retrievers.This food is expensive.
It contains EPA, DHA, and glucosamine to support bone and joint health.The kibble is quite large which is not suitable for all dogs.
The donut-shaped kibble is designed to encourage your Lab to chew and eat food slowly.
Overall Best
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever
  • Meet the nutritional needs of purebred Labrador Retrievers
  • Support bone and joint health with EPA, DHA, and glucosamine
  • Exclusive donut-shaped kibble encourage the dog to chew and eat food slowly
  • Precise calorie and fat content for labs
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Puppies: Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food is specially made with a delicious chicken flavor and an optimal level of calcium for controlled bone growth: a unique developmental need of large breed puppies.

This dog food is made with natural ingredients and uses DHA from fish oil to support your large dog’s eye development and brain function. High-quality protein will help your large dog build and maintain muscle. It also includes balanced minerals that promote strong bones and strong teeth.

This food contains controlled levels of calcium to promote optimal bone growth. It also has added glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health.

Hill’s pet foods are developed by over 220 veterinarians, food scientists, technicians, and animal nutritionists to ensure that they include all the nutrients that your pet needs. Plus, they do not contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or chicken by-product meal.

Unfortunately, some customers reported that their pets would not eat this food, while others said that it gave their pets fish-smelling breath.

Please also have a look at the list of food we compiled specially for Lab puppies.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food

ProsCons
This food uses DHA from fish oil to support eye development and brain function.Not all dogs like this food.
It contains balanced minerals to promote strong bones and strong teeth.Customers reported that it can give some dogs fish-smelling breath.
This food contains controlled levels of calcium to promote optimal bone growth.
The added glucosamine and chondroitin promotes optimal joint health.
It is free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and chicken by-product meal.
Best for Puppies
Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  • Contains an optimal level of calcium for controlled bone growth
  • Balanced minerals that promote strong bones and strong teeth
  • Made with natural ingredients uses DHA from fish oil
  • Developed by over 220 veterinarians, food scientists and technicians
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Seniors: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+

As dogs age, their nutritional needs change. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+ Dry Dog Food can give your maturing Lab the tailored nutrition he needs, including nutrients like collagen, EPA, and DHA to help support his aging bone and joint health.

This also formula features an exclusive combination of antioxidants to help support healthy aging and delivers an appropriate phosphorus content to support kidney health.

As Labradors age, their activity levels may decrease. That’s why this formula provides an adapted calorie content to help maintain ideal body weight and helps maintain muscle mass with adapted protein content and L-carnitine. Plus, the unique kibble size, shape, and texture are specifically designed for your older Labrador retriever’s facial shape and are rehydratable for easy eating.

However, as this food is once again breed-specific it is more expensive than other options.

Pros and Cons of the Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+

ProsCons
This food contains collagen, EPA, and DHA to support bone and joint health.This food is expensive.
It contains an exclusive combination of antioxidants to help support healthy aging.
This food has an adapted calorie content to help maintain ideal body weight.
It contains L-carnitine to support healthy muscles.
This food has a unique kibble size, shape, and texture which is specifically designed for senior Lab’s.
Best for Senior Dogs
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+
  • Contains antioxidants to help support healthy aging
  • Adapted calorie content to help maintain ideal body weight
  • The kibble size and texture are specifically designed for older Labrador Retrievers
  • Includes collagen, EPA, and DHA to support cartilage
Check Chewy

4. Best Dry Dog Food: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Dog Food

Our selection as the best dry food is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Dog Food which is specially formulated to maintain the wellness of adult large breed dogs like Labrador retrievers.

Blue Buffalo’s recipes are carefully formulated by a team of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage needs, and a healthy oxidative balance. This food contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health and the overall mobility of bigger dogs. It also includes L-carnitine to support lean muscle development, while calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins promote healthy bones and teeth.

Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient. High-quality protein from real chicken helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles. They also contain wholesome whole grains, garden veggies, and fruit. Their formulas never include chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Unfortunately, some pup parents reported that their dogs only pick out and eat certain pieces from the kibble.

Pros ad Cons of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health.Some dogs can be selective while eating the kibble pieces.
It includes L-carnitine to support lean muscle development.
Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins are added to promote healthy bones and teeth.
This food is free from chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Best Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe designed for large breeds
  • Glucosamine for joint health
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Canned Dog Food: Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Canned Dog Food

The best wet food is the Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Canned Dog Food which is created specifically for pure breed Labrador Retrievers 15 months or older.

This complete, nutritionally balanced canned dog food features a delicious pâté texture that appeals to a Lab’s appetite. This highly palatable soft dog food promotes an ideal weight with precise energy levels for weight management in large dogs. In addition, EPA, DHA, and glucosamine provide bone and joint support for big Lab bodies.

This canned dog food can be fed as a complete and balanced diet or mixed with Royal Canin Adult Labrador Retriever Dry Dog Food. However, a small number of customers reported that their pets would not eat it.

Pros and Cons of the Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Canned Dog Food

ProsCons
This food features a delicious pâté texture that is appetizing to most dogs.Not all dogs like this food.
It contains EPA, DHA, and glucosamine to provide bone and joint support
This food uses precise energy levels to promote an ideal weight.
Best Canned Dog Food
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever
  • Created specifically for pure breed Labrador Retrievers
  • Complete and nutritionally balanced
  • Precise energy levels for weight management
  • Contains EPA, DHA, and glucosamine to provide bone and joint support
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Special Food Considerations for Labrador Retrievers

Labrador retrievers are prone to the following health conditions: elbow and hip dysplasia, heart disorders, hereditary myopathy (muscle weakness), and eye conditions. They are also susceptible to obesity occurring from improper diet, overfeeding, or decreased exercise as they age.

You can protect your Labrador retriever’s heart by feeding him high-quality dog food that includes balanced minerals. His food should also include vitamin A, fruits, and vegetables, since these may help to prevent certain eye diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight will minimize pressure on your dog’s joints and heart, so be sure to feed him breed-appropriate dog food in appropriate quantities.

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers: What to Look for

When choosing the best dog food for your Labrador retriever you need to consider three factors: price, quality, and type (dry or wet). Here’s how to analyze each of these attributes:

Price

Inexpensive dog food usually includes inferior-quality ingredients that you wouldn’t want to feed to your pet. Quality dog food includes premium ingredients and doesn’t include chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Be sure to read labels carefully to ensure that they don’t include these ingredients.

Quality

Most high-quality dog food includes meat as its first ingredient. The label should also list health-enhancing vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals. Dog food that is formulated specifically for Labrador retrievers will also include omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6, and biotin to encourage healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Type (dry or wet)

The dog food discussed in this review is available in dry (kibble) and wet (canned) varieties.

The Different Types of Dog Foods for Labrador Retrievers: Pros and Cons Compared

When choosing the best type of dog food for your Labrador Retrievers, first you need to understand the different types. In this review, we discuss dry dog food (kibble) and canned (wet) dog food. Here are the pros and cons of each type:

  • Dry dog food comes in bags and will last a long time if stored properly. It will spoil if it comes in contact with moisture. Quality dry dog food is a concentrated source of nutrition. Eating kibble can help to remove tartar from your dog’s teeth.
  • Canned (wet) dog food is generally more expensive than dry. It must be refrigerated after opening. It’s a good option for dogs with dental problems and for finicky eaters.
About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

The Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers (Senior, Puppy, and Adult) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can I mix a combination of dry and wet dog food together?

Yes, wet and dry dog food can be mixed together. Many owners mix a little wet food in with dry food to make the food more appealing and tastier for their dogs. However, keep in mind that when mixing foods, it is important to make sure both the wet and dry foods are designed to match the dietary needs of your dog. For example, this means that you should avoid mixing dry puppy food with wet adult food.

Does dry food contain more protein than wet food?

No, most dry foods have a lower protein content than wet foods. Wet foods are often formulated with premium meat, poultry, or fish ingredients as the first ingredient.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.