How much should you feed a Lab?
I found that in most cases, there is a direct correlation between weight and quantity of food. However, just like for humans there are some flaws built into that method.
Related article: How Big Do Labs Get? Should You Be Worried?
Fortunately for us, dog food manufacturers use the raw science to help with determining portion sizes. Therefore, most of the time it is fine to follow the guidelines printed on their food bags.
To make it simple, I have taken 5 popular dog foods on Amazon and provided data from their feeding charts below for an average full-grown Lab (65-70lbs).
Pedigree Adult Dry Dog Food - Grilled Steak & Vegetable Flavor
Bag size: 33lbs
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Bag size: 30lbs
Purina ONE Smart Blend Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Bag size: 31.1lbs
Iams Proactive Health Minichunks & Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Lamb Flavor
Bag size: 30lbs
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Large Breeds, Chicken & Barley Recipe
Bag size: 35lbs
As you can see, there is a wide range in the monthly cost depending on which foods you go with. I do think it's important to remember that some of the more premium foods can be better for your dog's overall health.
If you have the means, providing a higher quality diet will likely be beneficial in the long run.
It is also prudent to consider the possibility that your Lab has severe allergies. These things cannot be predicted. So ensure your budget could sustain it if you were forced on the higher end for hypoallergenic food
Are Labs always hungry?
In my experience, I haven't found it to be the case that Labs are always hungry. Do Labs eat a lot? Sure, but keep in mind, that I feed my dog on a schedule. So for me it is not a lot because they continually go back for more. Instead, Labs eat a lot because of how much they eat in their sitting.
However, if it feels like they are always hungry, you have to remember that these are naturally high energy dogs. Depending on the amount of regular exercise your Lab gets, this can have a big effect on their appetite.
Using good judgment has always worked best for me. On days where we were overly active I might increase the food. Nothing too extreme, though.
The best indication on whether you're managing it right will be during weigh-ins. It may be worth investing in a pet scale if your Lab ends up having issues. The one I would recommend is made by Redmon and you can purchase it on Amazon (click here for Amazon link).
Do Labs know when to stop eating?
This is an important question. Many of my friends leave food out at all times for their dogs as opposed to scheduled feedings. Personally, I have always been the type to schedule.
Admittedly, I thought it would be pretty convenient if I could just pile up the food, or use one of those bowls that just continually releases more food as your dog eats! However, there was a part of me that just worried about overeating. So, I poked around to see if I was being overly cautious.
I found a study completed by a researcher from the University of Cambridge that had fascinating results. To put it in the most lay terms possible:
Labs tend to have a genetic mutation in their DNA that can cause them to over eat!
So, we decided that feeding the dog is a great chore for our kids. We do NOT let Molly call the shots! If we did, then I'm confident that nobody would need to ask me if Labradors eat a lot!
How can you reduce overall food cost?
Next, there are a handful of things that you can do to reduce your overall food costs. Here are a few tips that I find especially helpful!
At the time of this writing, and as long as I can remember, Chewy.com has various discounts available that can help here. If you're a first time customer, you get $15 off your first order. Many brands, like Blue Buffalo, have discounts if you set up Autoship.
In the long run, this adds up. Plus, it's super convenient! I mean we have to buy the food anyway, right? It's 2020. Why are we still lugging the food home from Walmart? I love having it dropped off at my front door!
Order in bulk
I know this one is obvious, but so often we forget. When you purchase in bulk, your price per ounce is reduced. The dog is going to eat it anyway! Plus, ordering in bulk likely will put you over the edge for reduced or free shipping.
Change it up
While I realize it isn't EXACTLY the same, would you want to eat the exact same thing 2-3 times per day EVERY day? I used to do this, but after seeing a really good deal on Chewy.com, I ordered another type of food for Molly. She responded well, and I ended up picking up a bag of that with my Autoship.
This ensures that I get the free shipping, and it also allows me another chance to find sales or discounts on her food. When you stay committed to only one food or brand, your chance of finding a deal is limited!
Labradors eat a lot relatively speaking. This is for many reasons that include their overall size, a genetic mutation, and the fact that they are very high energy dogs.
If you strategize properly you can keep them from overeating. Additionally, you can save money so that the fact that Labs eat a lot isn't a deal breaker, or a budget breaker for that matter!
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson