The Best Puppy Food for Labs for 2022

Written by Kirstin Opal
Published: March 17, 2022

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While all dogs are cute, we have a special place in our hearts for Labrador puppies. It’s hard to not have a smile plaster across your face when you see the little furballs play, nap, and just exist. 

To help keep your lab puppy as healthy and happy as possible, it’s crucial to feed them a proper diet. There are so many options on shelves today, how are you supposed to know what sets one apart from another? 

We’ve made it simple by doing the work for you. Below you’ll find in-depth and detailed reviews about the four best puppy food for labs. We’ve also included some frequently asked questions and reviews from real pet parents. Let’s get started with our favorite choice of kibble for adorable lab pups. 

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Puppy Food for Labs

  1. Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  2. Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
    • Specifically designed for large dog breeds
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • Uses DHA from fish oil to keep coat shining
    • Recommended by veterinarians
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed
  4. Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed
    • Affordable option
    • The first ingredient is real chicken
    • Added calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone growth
    • Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy
  6. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy
    • High-quality food specifically for Labs
    • Contains DHA omega-3 fatty acids
    • No harmful chemical preservatives
    • Support correct weight with balanced energy component
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original
  8. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original
    • Made with optimal protein levels and calorie content
    • Expertly balanced to produce a complete diet
    • Contains omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Overall Best: Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food is our choice for the overall best food for your labrador. Just by looking at the packaging, you can tell your little pup is going to love this food. 

It’s specifically designed for large dog breeds and provides plenty of calcium to help your puppy’s bones grow strong. There’s a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals to aid in Fido’s overall health. 

There are just about 400 calories per cup, just enough to keep your dog full while helping their body fill out. This puppy kibble uses DHA from fish oil which helps keep coats shining, skin smooth, and vision clear.

Pet parents appreciate that Hill’s Science makes their food right here in the United States. With that being said, there are some ingredients that come from outside of the U.S. Lastly, we chose this tasty kibble as the top choice because it’s recommended by veterinarians. 

Overall Best
Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  • Specifically designed for large dog breeds
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Uses DHA from fish oil to keep coat shining
  • Recommended by veterinarians
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Best Budget: Chicken Soup Dry Dog Food

Do you remember Chicken Soup for the Soul books from the late 1990s? While those heart-touching stories put a smile on our faces, their dry dog food does even more. Having a labrador puppy can cost quite a bit of money. 

In addition to expensive vet visits, dog toys, training classes, and indoor dog houses, puppy food can add up. Thankfully, the Chicken Soup dry dog food is an affordable option. The first ingredient is chicken to provide your pup with plenty of protein for their growing body. 

It’s calcium and phosphorus fortified to promote healthy bone growth as well. We love that it’s packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While it is on the cheaper end, it may take some time for your dog to get used to the taste. Perhaps mix it with their favorite wet food when you switch. 

Best Budget
Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed
  • Affordable option
  • The first ingredient is real chicken
  • Added calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone growth
  • Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Best High-End Food: Royal Canin Puppy Dry Food 

On the opposite end of things, if you’re looking for premium puppy dog food, we’ve got you covered. Royal Canin is known for making incredibly high-quality food for every type of breed. They make kibbles specific to certain breeds and their labrador kibble is beloved by dog parents. 

Like other options on the market, Royal Canin puppy dry food contains DHA omega-3 fatty acids to help with your pooch’s vision and cognitive development. One of our favorite things about this kibble is that you won’t find any harmful chemical preservatives. 

Each piece of dog food is designed especially for labradors’ teeth size and jaw movement. While it does cost more than the average dog food, you’re paying for higher-quality ingredients that could pay off in the long run.

Best High-End Food
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy
  • High-quality food specifically for Labs
  • Contains DHA omega-3 fatty acids
  • No harmful chemical preservatives
  • Support correct weight with balanced energy component
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Best Dry Food: Wellness Core Natural Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken Recipe is wholesome, grain-free dog food for dogs made with turkey, chicken, fish oil, fruits, and veggies, and fortified with antioxidants, probiotics, minerals, and vitamins, including a fish and flax omega blend for glowing skin and shiny coat. 

Wellness CORE dog food recipes are founded on the dietary premise that dogs thrive on a meat-based diet. There are no meat by-products or preservatives, gluten, maize, soy, wheat-gluten, parabens, colors, or flavors in each grain-free, nutrient-rich formula for your dog.

Best Holistic Food
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original
  • Made with optimal protein levels and calorie content
  • Expertly balanced to produce a complete diet
  • Contains omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics
  • Non-GMO ingredients
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Let’s have a look at some important factors to consider while purchasing puppy food for your Labrador. Labradors, like other bigger dogs, require special attention as puppies to ensure that they receive the nutrition they require to start developing bones, a clear brain, and a functional digestive tract.

Preservatives

The sort of preservatives used in your puppy food is the final item we recommend looking for. You should avoid foods that contain the chemical preservatives BHT or BHA. These compounds are found in the human diet as well, but they are dangerous and should be avoided, especially in puppy food. 

Look for tocopherols, which are a type of natural preservative. Vitamin E and rosemary are two others. You don’t need to know all of them; as long as you avoid BHT and BHA, you’ll be good.

Protein

Puppies’ protein needs are typically high, but they’re significantly higher in labradors. To create muscle and give energy, these muscular working dogs require a lot of protein. Whole meats such as lamb, cattle, chicken, and bison provide protein. 

There are also some unique brands that include alligator and other exotic meats, however, we recommend saving exotic foods for treats because gator meat isn’t something a dog consumes in the wild. 

The first component should be whole meat, such as chicken or beef. You should avoid or at least limit the usage of food that contains animal by-products or has the meat moved down the ingredient list, particularly during this critical time of your puppy’s life.

Omega-3 and Omega-6

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are other important nutrients for your dog. These acids, which are commonly referred to as DHA, aid in brain and eye development. These acids are also beneficial to the heart and liver, as well as preventing cancer and arthritic damage later in life. 

Fish oil fortification, as well as salmon and other fish components, are common sources of omegas. The disadvantage of omega-fortified food is that it smells worse than other foods.

Calcium and Phosphorus

Calcium and phosphorus are two minerals that work together to strengthen teeth and bones. When growing a big dog like a Labrador, finding puppy chow that provides these minerals is critical to ensuring appropriate bone growth. Tooth decay is a serious problem for dogs of all breeds, and buying a meal supplemented with calcium and phosphorus will help your pet avoid it.

Antioxidants

Antioxidant-rich foods will aid in the development of a stronger immune system in your pet. Antioxidants are particularly imperative for your pet while they are young because certain issues that arise now might persist throughout their lives. Antioxidants can be found in berries, carrots, and broccoli, among other fruits and vegetables.

The Different Types of Puppy food for Labs: Pros and Cons Compared

So, how do you know what type of food you should be giving your furry friend? Here are some of the most common pros and cons of the most popular types of food for puppies. 

Organic Puppy Food 

ProsCons
Made with the healthiest ingredientsMost expensive option
Can be designed specifically for your dog Can go bad if not used quickly 
Great for their growing body Must be refrigerated

Dry Puppy  Food 

Pros Cons
Available in bigger quantitiesGoes bad quicker than other options
Usually more affordable Can be hard for some dogs to chew
Several flavor options are available
Helps with dental health

Wet Puppy Food

ProsCons
Easier for puppies to eatDoesn’t get rid of tartar or plaque
Can be used to hide medication
Tends to be tastier than dry food

Verified Review: User Experience

We understand that some pet parents are looking for food that’s recommended by professionals. An Amazon user had this to say about our top choice, Hill’s Science: “My veterinarian has been in practice for over 30 years and SUPER picky about which brand of dog foods he recommends. He’s done a lot of research. Hill’s Science Diet is at the top of the list.” 

It’s essential to make sure that if you switch dog foods that your dog isn’t having any issues with the new food. In fact, some puppy kibble can help your dog feel better in general like this puppy owner noticed: 

“I didn’t want to take any chances with my 8-week old pup getting tummy upsets and diarrhea, making house training more difficult. My old dog is on Hill’s Science Diet prescription food and whenever I try to switch her off she gets diarrhea so that is why I went with Hill’s Science Diet over all the large breed puppy foods out there. Complete success! Zero gastric issues and puppy gobbles it up though that could have something to do with eating with other dogs. Anyway highly recommend it.”

As soon as they’re able to eat dry food, you’ll want to have it available because we all know how much puppies can eat. Royal Canin is an incredibly high-quality premium brand that can keep active puppies satiated for long periods of time. 

“I’ve been using this brand for years for my three labrador retrievers. My chocolate female lab just had nine puppies and we gave her the puppy food instead since we heard it is better for pregnant moms. Her coat is so shiny and the puppies look amazing and are all healthy. All nine of them. Highly recommend this food for all labs.” 

Products For This Review

About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

The Best Puppy Food for Labs for 2022 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the recommended amount of water for a puppy? 

Puppies require roughly a half cup of water per two hours on average. You’ll need to keep an eye on your puppy to ensure he’s getting plenty to drink but not too much. Older pups that have been nursed require one-half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.

 

Is it acceptable to wet dry dog food? 

To make dry dog food more appetizing and to improve the dog’s hydration, add water. So, sure, mixing dry dog food with water is OK. Dogs prefer moist dog food over dry kibble, particularly when they are weaning puppies or senior dogs. It has a superior flavor and scent.

 

What makes some puppy food so inexpensive? 

Every product, whether it’s canned dog food, dry dog food, or treats, is extensively tested and re-tested to guarantee it meets those criteria. Some dog foods for puppies are inexpensive because they substitute maize and vegetable-based components for meat.

 

What is the duration of a puppy's requirement for puppy food? 

Between seven and 14 months, based on the puppy’s breed and weight, you’ll most likely move to adult dog food. Puppies require the greatest nourishment between the ages of six and twelve weeks. You’ll have to feed them three times a day at this point. You’ll progressively decrease the feeding to twice a day as your puppy grows older.