The Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers for 2022 — (Senior, Puppy, and Adult)

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: September 10, 2022

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Key Points:

  • 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.

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

  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
    • Specially formulated for adult large breed dogs
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health
    • Formulated by a team of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists
    • Feature real meat as the first ingredient
    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

#1 Overall Best for Labrador Retrievers: 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.

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 Labrador Retriever Puppies: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Large Breeds

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog 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. It also includes balanced minerals that promote strong bones and strong teeth.

This dog food made with natural ingredients 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.

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.

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

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 Senior Labrador Retrievers: 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.

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 Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food is specially formulated to maintain the wellness of adult large breed dogs like Labrador Retrievers. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health and the overall mobility of bigger dogs.

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.

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.

Best Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult
  • Specially formulated for adult large breed dogs
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health
  • Formulated by a team of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists
  • Feature real meat as the first ingredient
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#5 Best Canned Dog Food: Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Wet Dog Food 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

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.

Our Criteria and Experience

We wanted to provide you with best food options for your Labrador Retriever possible. By combing through the many options, consulting experts and by reading reviews – we were able to make these outstanding selections. Most reviewers’ complaints came from owners whose Labrador Retrievers wouldn’t eat the food. As one said, “I have a black Lab who will eat about anything but not this stuff. I also bought the wet food that goes with it but nothing worked, she would not eat it.” Another said, “At first, my dog seemed interested in this food, but after a few days, the only way he would eat it was if I mixed some canned wet dog food into it. He had trouble chewing the large pieces, and I even tried breaking them up into smaller ones. I don’t plan on buying this again.”

Most of the reviews, such as this one, were overwhelmingly positive: “My male Lab went from well over 100 pounds to 79 pounds on his last vet check and it was basically all diet. His activity level has always been moderate. He never has turned down food so switching was very easy. His coat has never looked better and his breath has improved dramatically. This food causes him to slow down and, by sheer volume, eat less. For once, he actually chews his food instead of inhaling it.”

Another said, “Our female Lab will be 13 years old in a couple of months and has been dining on this food since she was 20 months old. She still gets compliments on how her coat shines and her teeth are in good shape for an elderly Lab. Plus, she is still pretty spry for an old gal. One has to think her diet must have something to do with her healthy condition. On top of everything else, she has always loved how it tastes.”

Summary of the Best Food for Labrador Retrievers

RankBest ForProduct
1.OverallRoyal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Dry
2.PuppiesHill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Dry
3. SeniorsRoyal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult 5+ Dry
4.Best DryBlue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry
5.Best CannedRoyal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Wet

Notes on Labradors

Whether your lab is a puppy or a senior, you’ll want to remember these basic breed traits.

  • Labs typically live 10 to 12 years old but can live much longer. The oldest lab was named Adjutant and lived to be 27 years old!
  • Lifespans are largely based on genetic factors, but care is important. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight will limit health complications as they age.
  • Athritis is common in senior labs, so be careful with exercise that’s too strenuous at this age.

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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.