Tail-wagging taste: the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers

Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Linda Richard

All dog breeds, including Labrador Retrievers, require a healthy diet to stay happy and in good form. Due to their high energy levels and busy lifestyles, Labradors have particular nutritional requirements that must be satisfied for optimum growth, development, and general health.

In this post, we give a thorough evaluation of the top dog food for Labs to make the decision-making process easier.

Royal Canin Labrador RetrieverBreed-specific formula
Provides weight control
Highly palatable
Coat wellness
Blue Buffalo Life Protection FormulaHighly digestible dog’s diet
Wholesome grains
LifeSource Bits formula
No synthetic flavors, colors, or preservatives
ORIJEN Dog Senior RecipeBiologically adequate
Grain-free diet formula
Whole prey ratios
Limited carbohydrates
Hill’s Science DietSupport for delicate stomach and skin
Good metabolism
Protein of high quality
No synthetic flavors, colors, or preservatives are used
Instinct Original Grain-Free RecipeProtein of high quality
Gluten-free dog’s diet
Support for good digestion
Natural components

Table of Contents

Nutritional needs of Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are famous for their outgoing personalities, limitless energy, and pleasant dispositions. Whether you choose dry or wet food, it is imperative to give them a healthy diet that satisfies their specific nutritional demands to maintain their energetic lifestyle and general health.

Labrador Retrievers’ dietary requirements

For their busy and dynamic lifestyle, Labrador Retrievers have special dietary needs.

Labradors need a diet strong in protein of the highest quality to support the growth and maintenance of their muscles. Additionally, they require the right proportions of fats and carbs to fuel their everyday activity.

Key nutrients essential for Labradors’ health

Key nutrients essential for Labradors’ health that you must pay attention to include the following.


For the benefit of their muscle development and maintenance, Labradors need dry and wet dog food rich in protein. The best options are premium animal proteins including chicken, turkey, beef, and fish.


Labradors benefit from a moderate amount of healthy fats in their diet.

Omega fatty acids and DHA in dry or wet food are particularly important for maintaining healthy skin and coat, brain and eye development, and promoting overall well-being.

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 5-8% is the minimum fat content in dry or wet food for dogs.


Although Labradors don’t have any particular carbohydrate needs, a balanced diet that includes foods like blueberries, sweet potatoes, etc. can give them energy and fiber for their digestive systems. Choose healthful grains and vegetables (sweet potatoes, rice, chickpeas) as your complex carbohydrate sources.

Vitamins and Minerals

To maintain their immune system, bone health, and general growth, Labradors need a variety of vitamins and minerals. These include calcium, phosphorus, omega fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and others.

Common health issues in Labradors and their dietary implications

Labradors are prone to certain health issues that may have dietary implications:


Due to their propensity to put on weight quickly, Labradors should have their calorie intake closely monitored to keep up a healthy weight. Selecting a dry dog food with portion control or weight management ingredients can help avoid obesity.

Joint problems

Labradors are prone to joint problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia. The mobility and health of their joints can be preserved by feeding a diet rich in minerals that support joints, such as glucosamine and chondroitin.

Skin allergies and sensitivities

Labradors may develop skin allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients. Opting for hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diets can help identify and avoid potential triggers.

Digestive issues

Some Labradors may suffer from gastrointestinal diseases or sensitive gastrointestinal systems. Digestive problems may be relieved by choosing dry dog food prepared with readily digestible components or for sensitive stomachs.

Considerations when choosing dry dog food for Labradors

When it comes to selecting the right dry dog food for your Labrador, there are several important factors to consider. Labrador Retrievers have unique nutritional needs based on their age, size, activity level, and any potential allergies or sensitivities.

Age and life stage considerations

The nutritional needs of Labradors vary based on their age and stage of life. Puppies need a diet with more protein and calories to support their quick growth and development.

For adult Labradors to maintain a good weight, a balanced diet of human-grade dog food is necessary. Dry dog food that is specially prepared for senior Labradors may be beneficial.

Size and weight management

Due to their propensity for weight gain, Labradors must be fed dry dog food that promotes weight management. Preventing obesity can be achieved by choosing adult, senior, or puppy food created especially for large breed dogs or weight management.

These formulae frequently include regulated calorie counts, lower fat content, and additional satiety-promoting components.

Activity level and exercise requirements

Due to their high energy and activity levels, Labradors need regular exercise. When selecting dry dog food, your Labrador’s degree of activity should be taken into consideration.

While less active individuals might need a diet with fewer calories to prevent weight gain, very active Labradors can benefit from the best dog foods with a slightly greater calorie content.

Allergies and sensitivities

Like other breeds, Labradors are prone to allergies or food sensitivities.

Grains (such as wheat, corn, or soy) and specific protein sources (like beef or chicken) are common allergies in puppy food.

It could be important to choose a limited-ingredient diet or a formula designed especially for dogs with food sensitivities if your Labrador shows symptoms of allergies or sensitivities.

The best dog food for Labrador Retrievers

In this section, we have curated a list of the 5 best dog foods that are often recommended for Labradors.

Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Dry Food

For Labrador owners who want to be certain their beloved friends are getting the optimum nutrition, Royal Canin Labrador Retriever is a popular option. With consideration for the special needs of Labradors, including breed-specific traits and probable health issues, this dry dog food was created.

Ingredients and nutrient profile

The components in Royal Canin Labrador Retriever have been carefully chosen to give Labrador Retrievers the right nutrients.

Chicken meal, an excellent source of protein necessary for muscle growth and maintenance, is the main component. A well-balanced combination of carbs for energy is provided by the addition of brown rice and corn.

Specific formulas tailored for Labradors

The specialized formulation of Royal Canin Labrador Retriever is one of its main advantages. Royal Canin has created this recipe to address particular health issues that Labradors may experience, to take into account the breed’s unique demands.

The size, shape, and texture of the kibble are all intended to induce chewing, which improves oral health by lowering plaque and tartar buildup.

Customer reviews and feedback

Owners of Labradors who have seen noticeable improvements in their pets’ general health and energy have given Royal Canin Labrador Retriever favorable feedback.

Numerous clients have mentioned that their Labradors’ healthy weight stayed stable while eating this meal.


  • Breed-specific formula: Royal Canin Labrador Retriever is specifically formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of Labradors. The tailored formula considers the breed’s characteristics and potential health concerns.
  • Affordable dog food.


  • Corn as an ingredient: Some dog owners prefer to avoid corn in their pet’s food due to potential allergies or sensitivities. If your Labrador has specific dietary restrictions, it’s important to review the ingredient list to ensure compatibility.
  • Inclusion of by-products: Some dog owners may have concerns about the presence of by-products in dog food, including Royal Canin Labrador Retriever. By-products are often lower-quality ingredients that can vary in nutritional value and may not provide the same benefits as whole meats or protein sources.
  • Use of fillers: Like many commercial dog foods, Royal Canin Labrador Retriever contains fillers such as corn. These fillers are used to bulk up the product but offer limited nutritional value and may be difficult for some dogs to digest. They can also be potential allergens for certain Labradors with sensitivities or allergies to corn.
  • Artificial additives: Some dog owners prefer to avoid artificial additives, such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. While Royal Canin Labrador Retriever may contain some of these additives, they are used to enhance palatability and extend shelf life. However, they may not provide any nutritional benefits and some dogs may have sensitivities to these additives.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

When looking for healthy, natural food for their Labradors, dog owners frequently choose Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula.

Ingredients and nutrient profile

Chicken meal, a premium source of protein for muscle growth and maintenance, is the first ingredient in Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula.

A nutritious carbohydrate source that provides energy and dietary fiber is brown rice. To provide vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the formula also combines a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Specific formulas tailored for Labradors

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is a well-rounded and nutrient-rich choice ideal for a variety of dog breeds, while not being specifically formulated for Labradors.

Customer reviews and feedback

Many Labrador owners who value natural and premium ingredients have given Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula great evaluations.

Customers have noted increases in the digestion health, general energy level, and coat condition of their pets. Pet owners have praised the company’s dedication to using natural ingredients and forgoing artificial additives.


  • High-quality ingredients: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula contains real chicken and wholesome ingredients, offering a natural and nutritious option for Labradors.
  • Balanced nutrition: The formula provides a well-rounded nutrient profile, including essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your Labrador’s overall health.
  • Positive customer feedback: Many Labrador owners have reported positive results, including improved coat health, increased energy levels, and better digestion.


  • Potential for allergies: While Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is generally well-tolerated, some Labradors may have sensitivities or allergies to specific ingredients. It’s important to monitor your dog’s response to the food and consult your veterinarian if any concerns arise.

ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe: the best dog food for senior labs, editor’s choice

For older Labradors, ORIJEN Dog Older Recipe is a premium, high-protein senior dog food. This dog chow is made with the finest ingredients with the goal of giving elderly Labradors the best nutrition possible.

Ingredients and nutrient profile

Genuine, biologically relevant components are given priority in the ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe. It offers a selection of fresh and raw meat meals, such as turkey meal, fish, and chicken meal. These protein sources are crucial for helping senior dogs retain their muscle mass and improve their general health.

By omitting additives and common allergies, including wheat, corn, and soy, the formula avoids grains. Instead, it includes nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and botanicals to give senior Labradors a diet that is natural and well-balanced.

Additionally, ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe is a great source of antioxidants, important vitamins, and minerals that promote general health and fulfill the unique nutritional requirements of aging Labradors. The nutrient composition is specifically designed to support elderly dogs’ optimum health and energy.

Specific formulas tailored for Labradors

ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe is a highly healthy choice that is appropriate for older Labradors, even if it is not specifically made for Labradors. As they get older, Labradors are more prone to developing health concerns such as musculoskeletal troubles and cognitive impairment.

These considerations led to the inclusion of components in these senior dog foods that support joint health, mobility, and cognitive function.

Glucosamine and chondroitin, which are proven to support healthy joints and lessen the effects of age-related illnesses like arthritis, are included in the ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe for healthy joints. These components encourage movement and guarantee that older Labradors can continue to be comfortable and active.

Additionally, the inclusion of DHA and EPA, omega-3 fatty acids, supports brain health and cognitive function in aging Labradors. These nutrients can help keep senior dogs mentally sharp and support their overall cognitive well-being.

Customer reviews and feedback

Owners of Labradors who have given ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe to their senior dogs have left favorable ratings and comments. The following are some recurring themes in customer reviews.

Improved vitality and energy

After converting to ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe, many customers have observed an improvement in their senior Labradors’ overall vitality and energy levels. Dogs who had previously been lethargic or had decreased levels of exercise displayed a newfound excitement and energy.

Enhanced coat and skin health

The food has received accolades from Labrador owners for improving the coat and skin condition of their pets. The ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe’s potent combination of premium ingredients helps senior Labradors’ typical skin concerns and promotes a healthy, lustrous coat.

Satisfied appetite and digestion

The ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe has been well-received by dogs with picky appetites, and several customers have remarked that their senior Labradors enjoy the taste.

Numerous owners have also observed improvements in their dogs’ digestion, including firmer feces and fewer digestive problems.

Maintained muscle mass and weight management

Owners of Labradors appreciate that ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe supports their dogs’ preservation of muscle mass and aids with weight control. Senior Labradors can keep a good body condition and prevent excessive weight gain thanks to the precisely balanced nutritional profile and high protein content.

Overall health and well-being

Customers are pleased with the improvements in general health they have noticed in their older Labradors. This includes increased joint comfort, increased mobility, and a discernible improvement in cognitive function. Owners of Labradors value how ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe caters to the particular needs of aged dogs and enhances their general well-being.

Although most customer reviews about this being the best dog food for older labs have been good, it’s important to remember that individual outcomes may vary. To guarantee a seamless transition to this food and to find out if ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe is appropriate for your senior Labrador’s unique needs, it is advised to consult your veterinarian.

It’s important to consider your senior Labrador’s specific dietary needs and consult your veterinarian when choosing the right dog food, including ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe.


  • High-quality ingredients: ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe uses premium, biologically appropriate ingredients, including real meat and a variety of fruits and vegetables, to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for senior Labradors.
  • High-protein content: The high protein content supports muscle maintenance and helps senior Labradors maintain a healthy body condition.
  • Joint and mobility support: The inclusion of glucosamine and chondroitin help support joint health and mobility in aging Labradors.
  • Cognitive support: The presence of DHA and EPA promotes brain health and cognitive function in senior dogs


  • Cost: ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe is a premium dog food brand, and the higher quality ingredients and formulation may come at a higher cost compared to some other brands.
  • Individual preferences: While ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe is highly regarded, each dog may have their preferences. Some senior Labradors may not find the taste or texture of this dog food appealing.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Food: the best dog food for adult labs

Hill’s Science Diet is a specialized dog food designed to address the needs of Labradors with sensitive digestive systems and skin issues.

Ingredients and nutrient profile

The carefully prepared Hill’s Science Diet is made with premium ingredients that are easy on the stomach and support healthy skin and fur.

Real chicken serves as the main protein source and offers the required amino acids for constructing and maintaining muscle. To boost general health and well-being, the formula has also been enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

This dog chow has readily digestible components that reduce the possibility of gastrointestinal discomfort to assist a delicate digestive tract. It has prebiotic fibers to improve wholesome digestion and encourage the development of good gut bacteria.

Specific formulas tailored for Labradors

While Hill’s Science Diet is not specifically formulated exclusively for Labradors, it can still be a suitable option for these dogs. Labradors are prone to certain health conditions as well, including sensitive stomachs and skin allergies.

Customer reviews and feedback

Numerous Labrador owners who have fed their dogs Hill’s Science Diet have given it great ratings, making it an option for the best dog food for labs.

Customers have stated that their Labrador’s digestion has improved, with fewer stomach upsets and firmer feces. The formula’s emphasis on skin health has also received attention, with improvements in coat quality and a decline in skin allergies or irritations.

The premium ingredients used in this dog food and its capacity to meet the unique dietary requirements of Labrador dogs are greatly appreciated by their owners. The favorable reviews demonstrate how well-being, in general, is improved in Labradors with sensitive stomachs and skin problems by using Hill’s Science Diet.


  • Sensitive stomach support: Hill’s Science Diet is formulated to be gentle on the stomach, making it an excellent choice for Labradors with sensitive digestive systems. The easily digestible ingredients and inclusion of prebiotic fibers promote healthy digestion and minimize gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • High-quality ingredients: Hill’s Science Diet is known for using high-quality ingredients in its formulations. Real chicken is the primary protein source, providing essential amino acids for muscle maintenance and development. The formula is also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, giving pet owners peace of mind about the quality of the food they are feeding their Labradors.
  • Nutritional balance: This dog food provides a nutritionally complete and balanced diet for adult Labradors, ensuring they receive all the essential nutrients they need for optimal health and well-being.


  • Limited formula variations: While Hill’s Science Diet is a reliable option for Labradors with sensitive stomachs and skin, the range of formula variations may be limited. This may make it less suitable for Labradors with specific dietary requirements or preferences.
  • Price: Hill’s Science Diet is a premium dog food brand, and the cost of its products may be higher compared to some other brands.

Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe Dry Food

A high-quality dog food that offers a wholesome and biologically suitable diet for Labradors is Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe. This dry dog food is created to satisfy the dietary requirements of dogs and uses the actual rabbit as the primary protein source.

Ingredients and nutrient profile

Real rabbit is used as the first ingredient in the Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe, offering a high-quality source of protein. It employs foods including peas, chickpeas, and tapioca as substitute carbohydrate sources instead of grains, removing common allergies like wheat, corn, and soy.

This dog food’s nutrient profile has been carefully calibrated to give Labradors a comprehensive and balanced diet. It is abundant in important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost the immune system and general health.

Specific formulas tailored for Labradors

Despite not being created expressly for Labradors, Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe is a good choice for these dogs.

Real rabbits’ high-quality protein aids in maintaining and growing muscles, which is crucial for Labradors’ busy lifestyles. Additionally suited for Labradors with grain allergies or sensitivities is the grain-free formula.

Customer reviews and feedback

Owners of Labradors who have fed their dogs the Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe have given it favorable feedback. Customers have noted improvements in the general health and happiness of their Labradors.

After switching to this food, many people have noticed that their dogs’ coats are shinier, they have more energy, and their digestion is better.


  • High-quality protein source: Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe utilizes real rabbit as the primary protein source, which offers essential amino acids for muscle development and maintenance in Labradors. This protein helps support overall health and energy levels in dogs.
  • Grain-free formula: Labradors with grain sensitivities or allergies can benefit from this grain-free formula. By eliminating common allergens like wheat, corn, and soy, it reduces the risk of digestive issues and skin irritations in sensitive dogs.
  • Natural and nutrient-rich ingredients: This dog food is made with natural ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for optimal health and immune function in Labradors.


  • Limited protein options: While the rabbit-based formula is a great option for many Labradors, some dogs may have specific dietary requirements or sensitivities to rabbit meat. It’s important to consider your Labrador’s individual needs and consult your veterinarian to ensure the chosen protein source is suitable for your dog.
  • Price: As a high-quality and specialized dog food, it may be more expensive compared to mainstream brands. However, many pet owners view it as an investment in their Labrador’s health and well-being.

Additional tips for feeding Labradors

In this section, we will provide additional tips for feeding Labradors to help you make informed decisions about their nutrition.

Feeding guidelines based on age, weight, and activity level

When feeding Labradors, it’s important to consider their age, weight, and level of activity to give them the right amount of food.

Since Labradors are known to have a voracious appetite, it is important to keep an eye on the portion sizes of both adult and puppy food to avoid obesity. Large breed puppies, including Lab puppies, have different nutritional needs than adult dogs.

According to your Labrador’s unique needs, consult your veterinarian to identify the best food recommendations. As your Labrador grows or their activity level increases, adjust how much food they are eating accordingly.

Best dog treats and supplements for Labradors

Treats can be a fun addition to your Labrador’s diet, but it’s crucial to pick the right ones for their specific nutritional and health requirements. Avoid sweets with excessive fillers, artificial additives, or high amounts of salt and sugar in favor of those that are created with high-quality ingredients.

Treats made especially for Labradors can be a smart choice because they are frequently adapted to their size and nutritional needs.

Additionally, speak with your veterinarian to find appropriate solutions if your Labrador needs particular vitamins, including joint support or omega-3 fatty acids.

Hydration and water availability

Like any dog, Labradors need constant access to fresh, clean water. Make sure your Labrador has access to water all day long, particularly in warmer weather or when there is more physical activity.

Their overall health, digestion, and control of body temperature all depend on proper hydration. To make sure they stay properly hydrated, keep an eye on their water intake and frequently replenish the water bowl.

Keep in mind that this advice is just designed to be used as a broad guideline. As each Labrador is different, so may their nutritional requirements. Your Labrador’s food will be acceptable and give the nutrients they need for a healthy and happy life if you take regular trips to the vet and properly monitor your dog’s weight and general health.


In conclusion, selecting the best dog food for your Labrador Retriever is a crucial decision that directly impacts their overall health and well-being. Labradors have unique dietary requirements, and considering factors such as age, weight, activity level, and any specific health concerns is essential.


In this section, we address common questions regarding the dietary needs of Labradors.

Should Labradors eat large-breed food?

Typically, Labradors don’t need specific large-breed dog food. Despite being categorized as a medium- to large-sized breed, Labradors normally do not experience the same growth issues or problems with bone development as some larger breeds.

However, it’s crucial to make sure the dog food you select is suitable for your Labrador’s age, weight, and unique medical requirements.

What is the best healthy food for Labrador?

The healthiest diet for Labradors is one that satisfies their nutritional requirements, is created with premium ingredients, and is appropriate for their age and level of activity. Authentic meat should be the main protein source in dog diets, coupled with a well-balanced mix of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals.

It’s crucial to take into account any dietary allergies or restrictions your Labrador may have.

Is Royal Canin really that good?

A well-known company called Royal Canin offers a variety of dog food recipes that are tailored to particular breeds and conditions.

Even while Royal Canin uses high-quality ingredients, some detractors contend that the company’s recipes nevertheless contain fillers and by-products. Some pet owners like dog diets that contain more whole and natural ingredients in general.

To establish if Royal Canin dog food is the best option for your Labrador Retriever, it’s critical to consider all the drawbacks against the potential advantages and speak with your doctor.

Linda Richard

I know that all dog breeds are different, but Labradors exude a special energy, don’t they? I believe everyone deserves the unconditional love of a pet, so my main goal is to make sure you can experience it.

3 thoughts on “Tail-wagging taste: the best dog food for Labrador Retrievers”

Comments are closed.