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Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers

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Dog Food By K9 of Mine Staff 23 min read January 29, 2024

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Best Dog Food

Few pups are as popular as the always-hungry and forever-loyal Labrador! 

Speaking of hungry, this food-obsessed Fido needs high-quality eats to fuel his love of swimming, fetching, and making new friends.

With pet food aisles overflowing with products demanding your attention, finding the best food for these precious pooches can be challenging.

Fear not, fellow pet parents! We’ve sniffed out the best dog food for Labs. Let’s dig into our doggy dish discoveries and discuss what to look for in your Lab’s new food below.

Best Overall Dog Food for Labs
Best Kibble / Dry Dog Food for Labs
Best Wet / Canned Dog Food for Labs
Best Overall Dog Food for Labs
Best Kibble / Dry Dog Food for Labs
Best Wet / Canned Dog Food for Labs

How to Choose the Best Food for Your Labrador Retriever

Best dog foods for Labrador retrievers

As a Lab owner, it’s vital to know the common health problems your fur baby may encounter and how these breed-specific issues can potentially be helped by picking the best new food (or harmed by selecting the wrong food!) 

Diet alone can’t necessarily prevent all health problems, but the right food certainly puts your pup on the path to wellness.

Look for these crucial qualities in your Labrador’s dog food:

  • Joint-Pleasing Ingredients: Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common problems for Labs, along with arthritis as these peppy pupperinos age. To help your rowdy Rover remain comfortable and mobile, seek dog food with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.
  • Abundance of Antioxidants: Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye disease that can lead to blindness in Labs. While diet is no cure, antioxidant supplementation can help preserve canine vision. Look for diets rich in vitamins A and E, such as those containing leafy green vegetables like spinach or pumpkin.
  • No Excessive Calories or Fat: Labs are notorious food goblins and, unfortunately, tend to gain extra weight, which can stress their delicate joints and exacerbate problems like hip dysplasia. The best way to maintain your dog’s weight is by feeding the proper portion of food and fitting in plenty of doggo exercise. But some pups need more help staying lean, which is where dog food for losing weight can help. Lower in fat and calories, these diets satisfy your sniffer without piling on pounds.
  • Feast of Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a wonder ingredient, aiding in everything from skin and coat health to battling osteoarthritis. These fatty acids also benefit eye health, an area of concern in Labradors.
  • Heart-Healthy Components: Labradors are at an increased risk of heart disease, making your doggo’s diet the first defense in maintaining canine cardiac health. L-carnitine in meats like chicken, beef, and lamb is beneficial, along with added taurine, to keep potentially heart-damaging deficiencies at bay. For Labs with vet-diagnosed heart disease, low-sodium dog food may be ideal.

Armed with these insights, you’re on your way to securing a more wholesome diet for your Labrador. And what could be better than a healthy, happy Lab?

Pet-Care Pro Tip: Change Foods Gradually

It is crucial to change your dog’s food gradually to avoid any potential digestive upset or tummy trouble.

To transition your dog to a new food, start by mixing a small amount of the new food with your dog’s current food. Gradually increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of the old food over a period of 7 to 10 days.

This slow transition will allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new food comfortably and healthily.

The 9 Best Foods for Labrador Retrievers

Labrador best dog food

Now that we know what to look for in your Lab’s next food, we can chomp into the best dog foods for Labrador retrievers. We’ve grabbed options for everyone, from easy-to-chew canned creations to customizable fresh food.

1. Nom Nom [Best Overall Dog Food for Labs]

Best Overall Dog Food for Labs
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food
Fresh dog food customized to your Labrador’s individual dietary needs before being shipped to your door.
Special Discount: New customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Pet parents after premium, personalized pupper eats for Labradors.

About: Nom Nom crafts its fresh canine cuisine with ingredients sourced and cooked domestically – something not many dog food brands do. With pre-portioned food adjusted to your Labrador retriever’s age, activity level, and more, Nom Nom makes mealtime more convenient for pawrents. Eco-conscious? You’ll love that all Nom Nom products come in wholly recyclable packaging, letting you embrace a greener lifestyle as your pup chows down.

First Five Ingredients: Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, & Spinach

Features:

  • Vet-Approved Meals: A board-certified veterinary nutritionist carefully designs every Nom Nom recipe to ensure a balanced canine diet that meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages.
  • Flavorful Nibbles: Nom Nom optimizes gentle cooking methods to preserve the taste and texture of ingredients, resulting in tongue-wagging creations even picky pups will love.
  • Protein-Forward Approach: Each recipe is built on a solid protein foundation. With turkey, pork, beef, or chicken to choose from, your Labrador retriever has plenty of options. You can even order them in a rotation to keep your canine content.
  • Safe for Sensitive Systems: The brand takes pride in offering personally crafted meals that cater to your Labrador retriever’s food sensitivities and special health needs, guaranteeing he enjoys a diet made just for him without triggers.
  • Real Good Stuff: Nom Nom is made without artificial preservatives, dyes, and flavors, keeping it natural for your legendary Lab.

Ingredients List

Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, Spinach...,

dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, beef fat, citric acid, salt, vinegar, calcium carbonate, water, fish oil, choline bitartrate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin e supplement, taurine, natural flavor, zinc gluconate, copper gluconate, niacin (vitamin B3), manganese gluconate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement.

Pros

  • Personalized to your Lab’s unique dietary needs
  • Pre-portioned meals take the guesswork out of measuring your pup’s food (and aid in weight control)
  • Flavor is a hit with most pups
  • One of the few dog foods made in the USA with only US-sourced ingredients

Cons

  • Like most human-grade diets, this food is expensive
  • Refrigeration is required

Like the fresh stuff?

If fresh dog food is your jam, be sure to check out our list of the best fresh dog food brands — they’re mouth-watering options that will please even the prissiest picky eaters.

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection (Large Breed Adult) [Best Kibble / Dry Dog Food for Labs]

Best Kibble / Dry Dog Food for Labs
Blue Buffalo Life Protection (Large Breed Adult)
A large-breed dry dog food rich in joint-pleasing glucosamine, wholesome grains, and lean protein.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Owners of adult labs looking for the convenience of kibble with the premium ingredients of the best eats.

About: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food offers carefully crafted nourishment for big buddies like the Labrador retriever, complete with L-Carnitine for lean muscle maintenance and calcium and phosphorus for strong bones. You’ll also find energizing carbohydrates from a blend of grains, including brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. Rounding off the recipe are omega-3s for healthy skin and a shiny coat.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, & Barley

Features:

  • Top Spot for Meat: Real meat is the first ingredient in this protein-rich adult food. Choose from lamb or chicken to support your Labrador’s ever-moving muscles. 
  • Fruit and Veggie Power: A bounty of produce provides natural fiber and an antioxidant boost, especially in Blue’s special LifeSource Bits.
  • Healthy Add-Ins: Glucosamine and chondroitin join forces to aid in canine joint health, while taurine supports canine cardiac function. Talk about nose-to-tail wellness!
  • Digestive Dividend: Added probiotics are dedicated to promoting your Lab’s digestive health. These can really help keep your pup’s tummy in tip-top shape.
  • Proudly USA Made: Blue Buffalo whips up food right in the USA, sourcing ingredients from trusted global partners.

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Pea Starch, Peas, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of EPA-Eicosapentaenoic Acid), Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Garlic, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

Pros

  • Designed by experts to meet the nutrient needs of large-breed dogs like Labs
  • Added probiotics give your pup’s belly a boost
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health
  • Excellent source of skin-supporting omega-3s

Cons

  • Limited protein options for large-breed barkers
  • Not every dog likes Blue’s LifeSource Bits

3. Diamond Naturals Beef Dinner Canned [Best Wet Dog Food for Labs]

Best Wet Dog Food for Labs
Diamond Naturals Beef Dinner Canned
A canned canine cuisine made with tasty meat, grains, and produce at an affordable price point.
Buy on Amazon

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Lab parents after easy-to-eat, highly palatable wet food for picky palates or dogs with missing teeth.

About: Say hello to dietary excellence that’s easy on your wallet and easy for your floof to eat with Diamond Naturals Canned fare – a pate-style wet food that brings flavor and hydration with real broth. Offering even more of a tasty twist is the organ meat that’s loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for the growth and maintenance of dogs 70 pounds or more, this wet food is perfect for feeding your Labrador retriever on its own or mixing into his kibble as a treat.

First Five Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Rice Flour, & Carrots

Features:

  • Protein Leader: Every Diamond Naturals recipe stars a named meat at the top of its ingredient list.
  • Meat Variety: Diamond Natural Canned comes in common flavors like beef and chicken, or you could venture to the somewhat unique realm of lamb.
  • Grain-Inclusive Recipe: Rice flour gives your Lab the energy he needs for mischief-filled fun while keeping his tummy fuller between meals.
  • Produce-Driven: Every can of Diamond Naturals is brimming with fruits and veggies like cranberries, pumpkin, and blueberries, offering a pop of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
  • Proudly American: Diamond Naturals food is made in the USA using global ingredients from trusted suppliers.

Ingredients List

Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Rice Flour, Carrots...,

Dried Egg Product, Lamb Meal, Fish Meal, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Agar-Agar, Pumpkin, Cranberries, Quinoa, Blueberries, Inulin, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract

Pros

  • Most dogs enjoy the taste
  • A rare grain-inclusive wet dog food
  • Pate texture is a breeze for all barkers to eat and easily mixes into dry dog food

Cons

  • Mixed-protein recipes can be a concern for Labs with sensitivities 
  • Additional novel proteins like salmon or pork would be ideal

4. Wag Wholesome Grains Beef & Brown Rice [Best Budget-Friendly Dog Food for Labs]

Best Budget-Friendly Dog Food for Labs
Wag Wholesome Grains Beef & Brown Rice
A budget-conscious canine creation centered around nutritious meat, hearty grains, and produce.
Buy on Amazon

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Budget-savvy Lab owners after the best dog food for less.

About: Wag Wholesome Grains Beef & Brown Rice is a wallet-friendly woofer food that doesn’t skimp on quality, leaving out common sensitivity triggers like chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, and soy. Each recipe also contains cost-saving extras like glucosamine and meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, including the growth of large-breed pups. This food is homegrown, too, with each Wag bag made in the United States with globally sourced ingredients.

First Five Ingredients: Beef, Beef Meal, Brown Rice, Grain Sorghum, & Cracked Pearled Barley

Features:

  • Protein Positive: Real beef leads the pack, followed by beef meal, offering a drool-worthy flavor your Lab can’t resist and the muscle support he needs as a natural athlete. Other protein picks include chicken, salmon, and lamb.
  • Healthy Grains: Brown rice, cracked barley, and grain sorghum are just some of the grains providing much-needed carbs to keep your Labrador retriever running strong.
  • Vitamin & Mineral Mix: Dense in crucial vitamins and minerals, this blend guarantees your pup gets his daily dose of nutrients to thrive.
  • Digestive Aid: Probiotics and fiber promote a well-functioning gut and optimal digestion, potentially firming stools and leading to a better-functioning tummy.
  • Formulated with Expert Input: A thumbs-up from a vet nutritionist ensures your pooch’s bowl is filled with only the best nutrition.

Ingredients List

Beef, Beef Meal, Brown Rice, Grain Sorghum, Cracked Pearled Barley...,

Rice Bran, Dried Yeast, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Oatmeal, Pork, Dried Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (A Source Of Dha), Flaxseed, Blueberries, Raspberries, Tomatoes, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid (Preservative), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Contains extras that can save on supplements, like glucosamine and omega-3s
  • Kibble size is perfect for big barkers like Labs

Cons

  • Mixed-protein recipe may be problematic for dogs with meat allergies
  • Additional novel protein picks would be ideal

Need more affordable dog food options?

Want a tasty, nutritious food that won’t break the bank? Check out our list of the best budget-friendly dog foods to see some more options that’ll save you a few bucks!

5. Nutro Chicken & Brown Rice (Large Breed Puppy) [Best Puppy Food for Labs]

Best Puppy Food for Labs
Nutro Chicken & Brown Rice (Large Breed Puppy)
A dry dog food formulated for large-breed puppy growth and made with balanced nutrients and joint-friendly compounds.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Lab puppy parents looking for growth-focused nutrition with perks like brain-boosting DHA.

About: Nutro Natural Choice Chicken & Brown Rice Large Breed Puppy meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for growth in bigger breed pups, just like your future 70-pounder Labrador retriever. Top-notch chicken is always the headliner in this kibble, followed by its right-hand chicken meal for plenty of protein to nourish healthy muscles. Lab not a chicken fan? Try the lamb! As for energizing carbohydrates, this recipe boasts quality grains like whole-grain brown rice and whole-grain barley for fueling fun and keeping your food-happy friend more satisfied between meals.

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Brown Rice, & Whole Grain Barley

Features:

  • Joint-Supportive Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin act as joint guardians, starting your Lab on the right paw in life.
  • Non-GMO Guarantee: This dry dog food prides itself on being made with real, natural ingredients, while passing on potential triggers, such as corn, wheat, and soy.
  • Brain & Eye Boosters: Omega-3s like DHA step in to accelerate your Labrador puppy’s brain and eye development, plus they promote skin and coat health.
  • Fruit & Veggie Bonanza: Vitamin-rich produce like dried pumpkin, spinach, and kale comes packed with fiber and antioxidants, propelling your puppy pal’s wellness.
  • Made in the USA: This crunchy kibble is made in the United States with globally sourced ingredients.

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Barley...,

Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Rice, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Pros

  • Specially formulated to meet the nutrient needs of large-breed puppies
  • One of the few dog foods featuring non-GMO ingredients
  • Rich in joint-friendly compounds and fatty acids 

Cons

  • Probiotics would be a welcome addition
  • More protein options are needed

6. Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Barley (Senior) [Best Dog Food for Senior Labs]

Best Dog Food for Senior Labs
Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Barley (Senior)
Senior-focused food with glucosamine and chondroitin for aiding joints and healthy fats for skin and coat support.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Owners of senior Labradors seeking food with joint-supportive ingredients, belly-boosting fiber, and more.

About: Wellness Complete Health Senior Chicken and Barley is specially designed with the health of senior sweethearts in mind, boasting protein-packed chicken for lean muscle support and omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a shiny coat and happy skin. Your lovable Lab is also treated to glucosamine and chondroitin in this recipe, keeping his joints moving and grooving. 

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, & Ground Brown Rice

Features:

  • Antioxidant Support: Your senior sniffer’s immune system gets a helping hand from antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies like blueberries and spinach.
  • Wholesome Grains Galore: The trio of oatmeal, barley, and brown rice delivers easily digestible and energy-packed grains for woofer wellness.
  • Digestive Health: The recipe incorporates prebiotics and probiotics to support healthy digestion in your senior fur buddy.
  • Nature at Its Best: You won’t find artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors in this dry dog food – just top-quality, natural ingredients for your mature pooch.
  • Proudly Made in the USA: This dog food is made in the USA with ingredients from trusted global partners.

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice...,

Peas, Rice, Ground Flaxseed, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat, Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Chondroitin Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root Extract, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Garlic Powder, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract

Pros

  • Catered to the unique concerns of senior puppers with antioxidants, omega-3s, and more
  • Digestion-friendly formula rich in prebiotics and probiotics
  • Packed with joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin 

Cons

  • Some pet parents report an uptick in Fido flatulence after switching to this food
  • More protein options would be ideal for Labs with meat allergies

7. Natural Balance LID with Healthy Grains [Best LID Food for Labs with Food Allergies]

Best LID Food for Labs with Food Allergies
Natural Balance LID with Healthy Grains
A grain-inclusive dry dog food with a brief ingredient list that shuns potential problems like artificial colors, flavors, and soy.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Lab pawrents in need of a limited-ingredient food that won’t send canine allergies into overdrive.

About: With a focused ingredient list and a single protein source, Natural Balance’s LID With Grains is a top-notch dog food option for Labrador retrievers struggling with food allergies. Brown rice keeps your lovable Lab’s energy going strong through the day while omega-3s boost his skin and coat – a major area of concern with allergy-prone pups. Heart health is also a focus, with added taurine supporting your canine’s ultra-caring ticker.

First Five Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, & Canola Oil

Features:

  • No Unnecessary Add-Ons: This limited-ingredient regimen doesn’t include soy, gluten, or artificial colors and flavors – it’s all about sticking to the essentials.
  • Bone and Joint Pleasers: Glucosamine gives your Lab’s joints a paw of support, while calcium and phosphorus foster bone health.
  • Protein at the Helm: Every Natural Balance Limited Ingredient offering features premium protein! Choose from 5 delectable protein options, including chicken, bison, venison, duck, and salmon.
  • Safety First: Natural Balance leaves no stone unturned regarding safety. Each production batch undergoes rigorous multi-point testing.
  • Made in America: Natural Balance is proudly made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients from trusted partners.

Ingredients List

Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Lactic Acid)...,

lamb, dried tomato pomace, brewers dried yeast, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, taurine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Inositol, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin), minerals (ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, citric acid (used as a preservative), rosemary extract

Pros

  • Short ingredient list makes avoiding your pup’s triggers a breeze
  • Many pet parents note skin and digestion improvement after switching to this food
  • One of the rare grain-inclusive LID recipes

Cons

  • Doesn’t include probiotics
  • Lacks fruits and vegetables (though this is intended as a LID food)

8. Merrick Texas Beef + Sweet Potato [Best Grain-Free Food for Labs]

Best Grain-Free Food for Labs
Merrick Texas Beef + Sweet Potato
A grain-free dry dog food fueling your Lab with fiber-rich sweet potatoes, peas, and a medley of proteins.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Pet parents of Labs with vet-diagnosed grain allergies needing a dry dog food containing alternative carbohydrates.

About: Merrick Texas Beef & Sweet Potato turns mealtime into a protein-packed, grain-free banquet with its meat-forward recipe. A staggering 65% comes from meats, meat meals, and nutritious fats, with the remaining 35% being a smorgasbord of fresh produce, healthy carbs, fiber, and other natural goodies. Omega-3s round things out to banish dry skin and give your Lab’s coat the luster you love.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, & Barley

Features:

  • Protein Comes First: Deboned beef takes the top spot on the ingredient list, delivering flavorful and protein-rich bites your Lab will love.  
  • Carb Creativity: Skip the grains and wave in the alternative crew of sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes for energy, satiety, and belly-friendly fiber.
  • Antioxidant Allies: Apples and blueberries supply natural antioxidants, boosting your darling doggo’s immune health.
  • Joint-Care Champions: Glucosamine and chondroitin step in as joint heroes, providing much-needed support for recovery after a day of Labrador antics.
  • Homegrown Greatness: Crafted with pride in the USA, this food serves quality and safety you can rely on.

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Turkey meal, Chicken fat, Quinoa, Natural flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon oil, Potassium chloride, Salt, Apples, Carrots, Sunflower oil, Organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, Choline chloride, Iron amino acid complex, Zinc amino acid complex, Zinc sulfate, Sodium selenite, Manganese amino acid complex, Copper amino acid complex, Potassium iodide, Cobalt proteinate, Cobalt carbonate, Taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, Mixed tocopherols, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin supplement, Vitamin A acetate, d-Calcium pantothenate, Thiamine mononitrate, Folic acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 supplement, Citric acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Pros

  • Grain-free recipe suits Labs with vet-diagnosed grain allergies
  • Packed with protein for promoting lean muscle development
  • Most dogs give the taste a tail wag of approval

Cons

  • Pricing is on the high side
  • Mixed-protein recipe can spell trouble for Labs with meat allergies
Exercise Caution with Grain-Free Foods

Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before selecting a grain-free food for your doggo.

Veterinarians have established a correlation between grain-free foods and increased rates of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

It isn’t yet clear whether grain-free foods are causing these problems or if it is coincidence.

Nevertheless, caution is warranted.

Additionally, the overwhelming majority of dogs digest grains without issue, and few four-footers are actually allergic to grains (most food allergies are caused by things like chicken, beef, or dairy products).

9. Blue Wilderness Salmon Plus Wholesome Grains [Best for Labs with Joint Problems]

Best for Labs with Joint Problems
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Plus Wholesome Grains
A crunchy kibble rich in joint-friendly glucosamine and fishy flavor doggos adore.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Labrador pawrents looking for extra joint support with every meal.

About: Reel in the power of glucosamine with Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon plus Wholesome Grains, a kibble concoction that goes big on joint health. Omega-3s offer added support, combating inflammation that often coincides with joint woes. Real deboned salmon shines as the top ingredient, followed by protein-dense fish meal and dried chicken to foster lean muscles for a stronger Fido frame. You’ll also find high-quality grains like oatmeal and barley coupled with alternative carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas for added fiber and satiety.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Fish Meal, Dried Chicken, Oatmeal, & Barley

Features:

  • Varied Protein Menu: This formula gives you the chance to choose from salmon, chicken, and duck-based recipes.
  • Antioxidant Assistance: Your Lab’s immune health gets a boost from Blue’s LifeSource Bits, with these cold-pressed pops of antioxidants.
  • Gentle on the Tummy: A blend of prebiotics and probiotics works towards smoother doggo digestion, promoting firming stools.
  • Clear of Common Problem Ingredients: This kibble has zero corn, soy, and wheat – ingredients notorious for sometimes stirring issues in dogs with sensitive systems.
  • True Blue American: Blue takes pride in crafting its food right here in the USA, using domestically sourced and quality global ingredients.

Ingredients List

Deboned Salmon, Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Chicken, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine), Potatoes, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Pea Protein, Potato Starch, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Salt, L-Threonine, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Dried Chicory Root, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Choline Chloride, Carrots, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Taurine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary

Pros

  • Excellent source of joint-friendly glucosamine
  • Packed with a whopping 34% protein
  • Most floofs seem to love the flavor

Cons

  • Mixed-meat recipe may be an issue for Labs with protein allergies
  • Lab owners concerned about DCM may prefer pea-free dog food

Advice for Picking a Dog Food for Any Doggo

how to pick dog food

Picking a new food is pretty similar for every dog at its core, whether you’re after the best grub for your active, always-on-the-go Labrador retriever or need to feed your couch potato Pekingese. 

There’s no need to get bogged down in the marketing: Simply look for a trio of checklist items to sort the best from the rest.

When picking a dog food, look for a pupper product that:

  • Meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for your dog’s current life stage: AAFCO guidelines assure that a food packs all necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for your dog’s current age. This means your canine buddy will be covered from his puppy days through his senior years. Just be sure the food is suitable for large-breed growth if your pup’s set to be 70 pounds or more in adulthood.
  • Addresses your dog’s specific health concerns: Your dog’s diet isn’t just about taste; it should support his health and wellness with every meal. This could be packing extra omega-3s if your dog has dry, itchy skin or selecting a low-calorie food to help him achieve his ideal weight. Dog food manufacturers produce specialized recipes that cater to various canine concerns, from joint support to sensitive stomachs, making this much easier. 
  • Has your vet’s support: Your vet is a gold mine of expert advice customized to your unique canine. Asking your vet’s opinion is especially vital if your dog has known health concerns or dietary restrictions. Veterinary professionals can also help you decipher facts from fluff on dog food labels.

While the above parameters are musts for picking a worthy new food, additional elements separate the good foods from the GREAT ones.  

Ask the following of a food to find the crème de la crème of canine cuisine:

  • Does the brand have a dog nutritionist on staff? It’s a great sign if a brand has a dog nutritionist formulating its recipes. This ensures that the food will fulfill the unique dietary needs of canines, especially those with specialized needs.
  • How does the brand handle food safety? Safety checks are a must in keeping canines safe, ensuring the manufacturing process sticks to hygiene standards and uses quality ingredients that won’t make woofers sick. Ideally, a manufacturer will perform batch testing, ideally using third-party providers for added oversight.
  • Does the brand use cooked or pasteurized proteins? Whether you’re looking for a canned food, fresh option, or dry kibble, be sure that it contains cooked proteins. Cooking or pasteurizing proteins eliminates harmful pathogens. While trendy, raw meat can make dogs seriously ill or sicken humans who handle it. 
  • Is the food made in a Western country? Western countries tend to enforce rigorous pet food production protocols. Look for foods from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Western Europe.
  • Does the brand source ingredients solely from Western countries? Similar to manufacturing, Western-origin ingredients are usually safer, given the stricter quality regulations in these nations.
  • Does your dog like the taste? It’s important to take your pup’s palate into consideration when picking the right diet — your pooch would certainly do the same for you! Some dogs will prefer crunchy kibbles, while other dogs like wet foods. Some dogs prefer chicken, while others enjoy fishy flavors.

Dig deeper into choosing a top-notch food for Rover!

Best Dog Foods for Labrador Retrievers: FAQ

how to pick your lab's food

Do you still have questions or concerns about feeding your fun-loving Labrador retriever? Check out the most commonly asked questions and answers surrounding Labrador eats.

What is the best food to feed a Labrador retriever?

The best dog food for your Lab will vary by his age and health needs, but the healthiest dog food is always one that meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for your pup’s current life stage, supports woofer wellness by addressing any health issues he has, and has the OK of your vet. 

Some pups thrive with fresh, customized food like Nom Nom, while others might need a crunchy kibble with a focused ingredient list, such as Natural Balance’s LID with Grains

Also, don’t forget that because Labs are big pooches, you’ll want to select a food designed for large breed dogs.

What food is not good for Labrador dogs?

As a breed prone to obesity and joint issues, skip calorie- or fat-laden foods with your Lab. You’ll also want to avoid toxic foods like onions and raw meat that may sour your sniffer’s stomach. 

Contact your vet if you’re concerned your Lab’s food isn’t a good fit. Signs of food intolerance include excessive gassiness and diarrhea, while food allergies may cause itchy skin, red ears, and watery eyes.

Is Blue Buffalo good for Labradors?

Blue Buffalo has several recipes that are excellent matches for some Labs. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is a quality choice for adult doggos. At the same time, specialty formulas like Blue Buffalo True Solutions Perfect Coat can help Labs with skin or coat concerns, and Blue Buffalo’s W+M Recipe can aid portly pups achieve a healthy weight.

How much food should I feed my Lab?

Your Lab’s specific caloric needs will vary based on several different factors, including his age, overall size, and activity level. The best way to determine how much food to provide is by starting with the amount the manufacturer recommends, and then making adjustments based on your pet’s body weight. You’ll also want to get your vet’s input on the matter.

Do Labs need large breed dog food?

With a maximum adult weight exceeding 70 pounds, the Labrador retriever is considered a large-breed dog, so large-breed food is recommended. Large-breed puppy food fosters proper growth in Lab puppies, ensuring they grow at a healthy rate for bone and joint development.

What is the best meat for Labradors?

The best meat for your Labrador depends on his dietary needs. Lean protein like chicken is ideal for maintaining healthy muscles and maintaining a healthy weight, but some pups benefit from the added omega-3s found in salmon recipes. 

In rare cases, canines with meat allergies to common finds like beef need an exotic offering, such as venison or kangaroo. If you’re worried your woofer has a meat allergy, contact your vet to get to the bottom of it and for guidance in picking the right protein source for his needs.

Should I feed my Lab dry food or canned food?

You should choose your Labrador’s diet based on what works best for you and your pet. Some dogs prefer the taste and texture of wet food, while other like to crunch on dry kibble (although it bears mentioning that most dogs will prefer fresh food, if your budget can accommodate the cost).

There is no one-size-fits-all answer in this department.

   

Voila, dear dog parent! Food for your Labs’ thoughts — and tummies! While your Labrador retriever might look ready to tackle a cheeseburger or raid the local butcher, we know the importance of a balanced and nutritional meal.

We’d love to hear which recipe your Labrador retriever loves. Share your stories and your Lab’s favorite chow down in the comments. 

Have you found one that helped your dog reach an ideal weight? Is your Lab a very active dog in need of a high-octane food? Do you opt for a food with fish oil to support coat health? Does your pup prefer dry food or wet food?

Let us know in the comments below!

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