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How Much Food to Feed a Lab Puppy (Calorie Count, Frequency, And More)

Key Takeaways

  • Labrador Retriever puppies are of a medium-large breed, and can be very hyperactive. This makes their nutritional needs slightly more intensive than the average pup.
  • Whether you’re weaning a Labrador puppy or transitioning them from puppy food, there are a few important guidelines you need to observe so you don’t overfeed or underfeed your labrador puppy.
  • As for food options, there are a number you can choose at your discretion, so long as you seek your vet’s professional opinion first.

Labrador Retrievers are considered a medium-to-large breed, and so a lab puppy tends to eat a bit more than most other breeds of puppy, commensurate to their future adult size. To add to that, Labradors are classified as high-energy dogs. All the labs I’ve handled needed at least one hour of daily walks to not be restless at home. These two factors together mean that you need to let a lab puppy eat around two cups of food each day to support maximum growth.

But that’s just the general estimate; it’s very easy to end up feeding Labrador puppies too much food or too little food. Here are my best tips on how to arrive at the optimal amount, as well as other important feeding pointers:

Your Labrador’s Profile

Labrador Retriever puppies are high-energy dogs with a penchant for mischief. At 8 weeks, these medium-large breed puppies will weigh 8 to 12 pounds and a height of anywhere from 8 to 12 inches. Their healthy adult weight should be 65 to 80 pounds for the male and 55 to 70 pounds for the female.

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If you’re lucky enough to have the lab puppies from the day they were born, then you have the luxury of choosing whether they get wet food or if you introduce them to a raw food diet. While many disagree on whether raw food is the best puppy food out there, if you intend to get your dog’s stomach adjusted to consuming raw dog food, it’s best to do it early on.

In any case, the puppy’s diet should transition to solid foods around 3.5 to 4 weeks from birth. Puppy formula may be necessary at an earlier time to supplement or replace the mom’s milk. Fresh dog food products, like Farmer’s Dog meals and Nom Nom’s meals, can be customized based on a dog’s life stage from puppyhood to senior years.

If you’re getting the puppy from a breeder however, you’ll need to know what the lab puppies ate before they entered your care. Start them off with what they’re familiar with, and from there, a slow transition to your preferred puppy chow can be made.

How Much Dog Food to Feed a Labrador Puppy?

A Labrador Retriever puppy needs lots of calories in their diet so they can grow and have a happy life. Your lab puppy feeding chart should indicate the following:

a black labrador puppy turned its head to the left on a background of a yellow field


Calorie-wise, an 8-week lab should eat around 200 to 250 calories per meal. Unlike adult dogs however, young puppies need to be fed 4 times a day in order to maintain a healthy weight – which means that their daily intake is anywhere from 800 to 1000 calories per day.

Dividing the meals into four is necessary since their bodies are still too small to accommodate large meals. This is part of the reason why puppy food is so effective for treating malnourished dogs, as they’re designed to be fed in small amounts at frequent intervals.

Feeding fresh? Here’s a guide on how much fresh food to feed a dog.

Feeding Time

Note that feeding your Labrador should be done at the same time everyday. Space it out so that the puppy eat his meals around 3 or 4 hours apart.

As the puppy grows, the number of meals they get per day decreases. At the same time however, the calorie content of the meal increases. At 12 months, you can transition your dog to 2 meals a day with 450 calories per meal.

Free Feeding

Free feeding your Labrador puppy should never be done. Puppies have no concept of being “full” and will eat for as long as they have access to food.

This is why you have to control their food intake with a balanced diet and a concise Labrador puppy feeding chart. In addition, never feed a puppy human food that hasn’t been vouched for by your vet.

Choosing Labrador Puppy Food

labrador puppy looking right and sitting on a green daisy field

The nutritional value of what you feed your puppy is crucial to guarantee their long and healthy life. You have several options here. You can offer your puppy kibble, introduce them to eating wet food, raw feeding, fresh food, homemade, or other types of commercial dog food.

Here’s what you need to remember:

Feeding Kibble or Commercial Dog Food

Pay close attention to the food labels of store bought dog foods. As much as you can, look for products labelled AAFCO-compliant [1]. If you plan to feed kibble, try adding some water in the mix. This will help soften the food and introduce more water in his diet.

Remember that adult food is not a replacement for puppy food. Make sure to serve age-appropriate commercial dog foods from your local pet store. Feeding the right kind of food at the right life stage is key to ensuring that your dog stays healthy all throughout its life, saving you the trouble of observing a strict special diet if they happen to contract arthritis or some other disease.

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Adding lab puppy supplements in your dog’s food is encouraged but not always necessary. Ideally, all of the essential vitamins and minerals should come from the dog’s food.

Raw Food for Puppies

Offering biologically appropriate raw food diet for puppies is also a viable option for some dog owners. Raw meat is a good approach to weight management and gives you more control in serving balanced food.

When it comes to raw food, you’ll have to feed puppies more than an adult dog. Check your puppy’s weight and multiply that by 2 percent. You get 0.2 pounds – this is the amount you normally feed an adult dog. But what about a puppy? For a puppy, you need to multiply 0.2 by 3 or 4 times. This means that in one day, the puppy should eat 0.6 to 0.8 pounds of raw food. You must also know how to transition dog food properly if you wish to change diet.

Note that the Labrador breed is prone to some health problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis. You want to start feeding with these in mind. A diet rich in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids should help prevent the likelihood of this happening.

If you want to go the extra mile, a vet or pet nutritionist should be able to provide a comprehensive plan for the best dog food to offer. Veterinary experts can provide guidance on quality food, what human foods to serve, raw diet, how much to feed, and even the lab puppy feeding schedule.

Related Article: How Many Puppies Can A Dog Have?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should you feed a 4 month old lab puppy?

Feed a 4 month old lab puppy with a maximum of 250 calories per meal. Serve him his meals 4 times a day – ideally in the morning, another one at noon, afternoon, and dinner.

How much and how often should I feed my lab puppy?

Puppy’s food should be around 1000 calories per day. Remember though that when feeding commercial puppy foods, it’s best to follow the feeding instructions provided at the back.

How much food should a lab dog eat per day?

Once fully grown, your labrador should start eating adult dog food. An active dog should eat anywhere from 1650 to 2150 calories per day.

Can you overfeed a Lab puppy?

Yes—definitely. A lab pup has no idea when they’re full and will eat as long as they have access to food. While they may look cute, you need to pay close attention to the pup’s weight and make sure they don’t overstuff themselves.

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