Fuel for Fido: The Best Dog Food for Labradoodles
With their curly hair and boundless energy, Labradoodles are a great dog to have around as a pet – they love to jump on people and greet them, and there’s never a dull moment when you have a Labradoodle around. If you want to keep your big curly mutt healthy, you want to make sure you can find the best dog food for Labradoodles – luckily, we’re here to help!
Our Top Picks: These Brands Are Good Solutions for Labradoodles
**There's more info below, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Chewy.
**Disclaimer: Our dog food reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many dog foods (with our dog's help), but we can't test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and you should consult your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.
How Much Should You Feed a Labradoodle?
**Please note: these estimates are based on an average weight for this breed. Every dog is different. Please talk to your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.
Labradoodles can grow to be fairly large, but they’re no English Mastiffs – they’ll be fairly reasonable in size. Most average labradoodles will weigh about 50 to 65 pounds, male or female. Because of that, you want to adjust their calorie intake depending on their age and activity: for your typical 60 pound Labradoodle, be sure to give them about 1313 kcal/day; if your dog is especially active, even more than usual, increase their calorie intake to 2088 kcal/day. As your Labradodle gets on in years and becomes less active, it’s advisable to bring that feeding down to 1074 kcal/day.
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Watch This to Get a Sense of Labradoodle Activity
This helpful video sees Nancy Friendsley, a training manager for the Berkeley-East Bay Human Society, explaining the heritage and care of Labradoodles. Most important is her emphasis on the activity of Labradoodles – they’re very active dogs, so you need to keep that in mind in both diet, exercise and training.
A Quick Word On Macronutrients
Like most dogs, Labradoodles thrive on a steady diet of healthy animal proteins – your dog needs that kind of nutrition to make sure that they can grow big and strong. Make sure that high quality animal protein is the primary source of your dog’s nutrition. While plant and vegetable proteins are also quite healthy, you want to get your Labradoodle focused more on animal protein. Be sure to look at the top five ingredients of a dog food when you consider buying it; if there are two or more grains, it’s likely that your food has more plant than animal protein in it.
Since Labradoodles have that big curly coat you want to take care of, make sure that your dog food has plenty of healthy fats in it. There are some fats that are better than others, of course; animal-based fats like fish oils and the like are very important, as they’re healthier and your dog can more easily metabolize them. While fat is certainly something to regulate in their diet, going totally lean is not advised due to the benefits of healthy fats.
Carbs are another important consideration; while ostensibly the least healthy of the three considerations you must make (along with proteins and fats), they’re also extremely needed for giving them caloric fuel to keep growing and maintaining their metabolism. As with all things, there are good carbs and bad carbs – if you work to avoid the filler and give them healthy carbs with things like good starches and vegetables that will give them the necessary resources to stay healthy.
You can apply these principles to any large-breed dogs, not just Labradoodles; make sure to give them few grains, mostly animal proteins, and some healthy fatty acids along with some good carbs. If you can pull this off, your Labradoodle should be off to a nice, healthy start and will enjoy a good diet; combined with exercise, your dog should be right as rain for quite some time.
Common Health Problems
- Hip dysplasia. Being a designer breed, Labradoodles have many of the problems inherent to this kind of crossbreeding, including this. Make sure your dog’s diet has plenty of protein and calcium, but not too much to avoid overgrowth and bone problems.
- Heart disease. Be sure to get a feed that has plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote heart health.
- Epilepsy. This can be difficult to treat in Labradoodles, so be sure to treat them with care when feeding.
- Urinary infections. Keep plenty of water close by and within easy access of your Labradoodles.
- Eye diseases. Get a nutrient-rich feed that has beta carotene to promote proper eye health.
- Allergies. Labradoodles will often have food allergies, so make sure to consult your vet to see if your feed may make your dog sick.
HOW TO FEED A LABRADOODLE
Labradoodles are very active dogs, so in their cases it’s pretty much okay to leave them free food and water throughout the day (be sure to measure out the food you give them, though).
You want to make sure that your younger dogs are eating often and at their leisure so that they can make sure to grow at the rate they’re supposed to.
Still, there are limits you can (and should) impose on them; Labradoodle puppies in particular should be sure to have their food and water taken away by 5pm so they are empty for the night and don’t have any unexpected bathroom issues.
When you’ve got a Labradoodle puppy, you need to feed them a lot, but not too much. Make sure you feed them enough so that you can feel but not see their ribs, and don’t feed them so much they lose their waist. By the time your puppy reaches 8 to 12 weeks, you’ll be feeding them 3-4 times a day, but you can adjust that as you need.
If you want to keep your Labradoodle from getting hip dysplasia, you want to encourage slow, sustained growth. Avoiding overfeeding will help to stave off these orthopedic problems, so get a specialized formula for them focused on large-breed dogs. Avoiding too much emphasis on protein, fat or carbs is ideal as well, so make sure it’s got a good balance.
Labradoodles, like most other dogs, should be fed dry food in order to help promote dental health and prevent torsion and bloat. These are significant health conditions that can kill large-breed dogs; be sure to keep that in mind before considering letting them beg for scraps or deviating from the dry food regimen.
Our Recommendation for Labradoodles: Canidae Grain Free Pure Dry Dog Food
Labradoodles have some very specific needs (as we’ve outlined), so naturally it makes sense to give them a very specialized formula to meet them. Based on the nutritional requirements of Labradoodles, we think CANIDAE Grain Free PURE gives that right mix of high-quality meats and vitamin content to help your dog get the nutrition it needs.
First of all, there’s a lot of meat packed into this food, and not just the usual stuff – the most prevalent ingredient in this product is pure lamb meat, which is lean and full of strong animal protein.
Along with turkey and chicken meal, as well as menhaden fish meal, this makes CANIDAE a meat-heavy feed that’s great for Labradoodles.
The rest of the ingredients are nothing to shake your head at either; sweet potatoes, chickpeas and peas are included to provide some very strong sources of plant protein, fiber and vitamins, some of which you won’t find even in most other premium dog foods.
Pros & Cons
- Higher quality starch and veggie ingredients
- Contains a decent fat content for healthy coat maintenance
- Contains suncured alfalfa, which is considered by some to be filler
- Presence of regular potato as filter and as a caloric starch
There are quite a few fantastic dog foods for Labradoodles out there – this is just the one we thought would fit best for most dog owner’s specific needs. However, there’s always more research to be done, so make sure to talk to your veterinarian and do as much homework as you can before deciding on a diet plan for your Labradoodle.
Image credit: Amazon.com, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdbaskin/