7 Things Nutritionists Wish Labrador Owners Would Stop Doing

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Key Takeaways

  • Overindulgence in treats can lead to obesity.
  • Feeding routines should include proper portion control.
  • A well-balanced diet considers the dog's life stage and activity.

Ever seen a pudgy pup with a wagging tail and a pleading gaze by the dinner table?

Chances are it's a lovable Labrador begging for just one more treat.

Labrador owners often unintentionally indulge these behaviors, altering feeding routines and portions without realizing the potential harm to their furry friend.

We understand the desire to spoil your four-legged companion, but as nutritionists, we see firsthand the importance of proper diet and feeding habits for the health and longevity of your Labrador.

Navigating the myriad of canine dietary advice can be challenging, so we're here to offer guidance grounded in professional expertise.

The goal?

To help you avoid common nutritional missteps that can lead to health issues for your Lab.

By following tried-and-true feeding practices, you give your Labrador the best chance at a healthy and happy life.

In this article


Ever noticed how your Labrador gives you those puppy eyes as if they haven't eaten in days, even after a full meal?

It's easy to fall for their charm and give in to giving them one more treat.

But did you know that a study by Banfield Pet Hospital found that about 1 in 4 dogs in the U.S. are overweight?

Yep, that extra "little" treat can add up!

First things first, those portion recommendations on the dog food bag aren't just a suggestion—they're there to keep your Lab fit and fabulous.

Overfeeding can sneak up on you, so let's break it down:

  • Weight Gain: If your furry buddy is looking more round than usual, it could be a sign of overdoing it at mealtime.
  • Too Many Treats: We get it, giving treats is a way to express love. But maybe try a belly rub instead?

If you're nodding along thinking, "Oops, I might be overfeeding my Lab," don't sweat it just yet.

Here's the skinny on keeping your Lab healthy:

  • Follow the guidelines: Generally, adult Labs need about 2 meals a day. Puppies, on the other paw, require 3 meals until they're around 6 months old.
  • Monitor the Treats: A cube of cheese may not seem like much, but it's the equivalent of a whole hamburger for your Lab!

Remember, our lovable Labs rely on us to keep them healthy.

A well-fed Labrador is a happy one, but overfed can lead to a host of issues.

Keep an eye on the scale and those treats in check.

Your Lab will thank you with wagging tails and healthy years ahead!

Feeding Inappropriate Foods

Hey there, Labrador lover!

Ever hear the saying, "You are what you eat"?

Well, the same goes for your furry best friend.

Labs are notorious for gobbling down just about anything—but that doesn't mean they should.

Let's talk about some human foods that are a big no-no for your Lab.

First off, have you ever accidentally dropped a piece of chocolate and watched your Lab lunge for it like it's the last treat on earth?

It might look funny, but chocolate is a definite danger food for dogs.


It contains theobromine, which is toxic to them.

But how much is too much?

Even a small amount can cause problems, so it's better to keep it out of paws' reach altogether.

Here's another shocker: Those succulent grapes you love snacking on can lead to kidney failure in Labs.

Hard to believe, right?

Yet, it's best to avoid sharing even a single grape—or raisin—with your pooch.

Now, let's talk about the stealthy onion.

You might not think twice about a little onion in your dog's bowl, but even in small quantities, onions can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia in dogs.

This means their red blood cells break down, and that's as bad as it sounds.

Quick Checklist of Hazardous Foods:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes/Raisins
  3. Onions
  4. Garlic
  5. Macadamia nuts
  6. Avocado
  7. Alcohol
  8. Caffeinated beverages

If you're tempted to treat your Lab to some table scraps, ask yourself, "Is this on the safe list?" Stick to foods and treats formulated for dogs.

They can enjoy a wide variety of kibble, canned food, and doggie treats that cater to their nutritional needs without the health risks human food might pose.

Eating well is just as important for your Lab as it is for you, so keep their diet dog-friendly!

Ignoring Nutritional Balance

Hey there, Labrador lover!

Have you ever caught yourself questioning if your furry friend's bowl is chock-full of the nutrition they need?

It's not just about filling the belly; it's about what's entering that adorable tum!

Labs are cute, cuddly, and sure can eat, but without a nutritional balance, we might be doing more harm than good.

What does a balanced meal for a Lab look like?

Think of it like a pie chart but way tastier:

  • Proteins: the building blocks for those strong muscles.
  • Fats: a concentrated source of energy and essential for healthy coats.
  • Carbohydrates: Much-needed fuel for their daily zoomies.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Tiny heroes fighting to keep your Lab's body functioning flawlessly.

Each component has its spotlight in your dog's diet:

  • Proteins should come from high-quality sources like chicken, fish, or beef. Think lean and clean!
  • Aim for fats that are beneficial like omega-3 fatty acids, which can keep your pooch's coat shimmering.
  • Carbohydrates often come from grains or vegetables, steering the energy levels.
  • And don't forget those vitamins and minerals! They’re like the unsung heroes of your Lab's diet.

It's tempting to simplify feeding routines to just kibble or scraps, but would you thrive on cereal alone?

Mix it up!

Adding variety can ensure your Lab gets all the necessary nutrients.

Remember, too much of a good thing (yes, even protein) can be a bad thing.

Here's a fun fact: Did you know that Labs often have quite the appetite and can easily overeat?

Portion control is your best friend.

So, let's put down the table scraps and pick up a balance of nutrients.

A little tweaking can make a massive difference for your loyal companion and keep their tail wagging healthily for years to come!

Not Considering Age and Activity Level

Have you ever noticed how a puppy seems to have a never-ending energy supply, while your friend's older Lab prefers lounging over a strenuous game of fetch?

That's because age and activity level are huge factors when it comes to feeding your Labrador.

Let me ask you, would you feed a rambunctious toddler the same portions as a sedentary senior?

Of course not!

So why do that with your Lab?

Puppies, like toddlers, are growing at the speed of light and need more calories and nutrients to support their development.

What's the magic number here?

Puppies should stay on specially formulated puppy food until they are about 12-18 months old before making the switch to adult dog food.

Now, what about your ever-energetic adult Lab?

They need a balanced diet dense in calories and nutrients to keep up with their **"go-go-go!" lifestyle.

Aim for about 20-25% of their daily calorie intake to come from high-quality proteins.

But proceed with caution as your Lab ages or if they prefer the couch over the agility course.

The senior years usually start around age 9, and that's when you might want to scale back on calories to prevent weight issues associated with lower activity levels.

Remember, obesity is a sneaky thief that likes to rob our best friends of their vitality!

In a nutshell, feeding your Lab is not a “one size fits all” kind of deal.

Adjust their diet as they grow from a playful pup into a dignified senior, and always keep the playtime-to-snacktime ratio in check!

Feeding Table Scraps

Have you ever been tempted to slip your Labrador a little morsel from your plate?

While those puppy-dog eyes are hard to resist, handing over table scraps isn't always a treat for your furry friend.

Firstly, let's chat about the digestive drama.

Some human foods can really wreak havoc on your Lab's tummy.

Think about it, their digestive systems aren't like ours, and some things we eat can end up causing more than just an upset stomach.

Foods like onions, garlic, and chocolate are big no-nos, but did you know even a simple piece of fat from your steak can lead to issues?

Remember, Labs are notorious for their persuasive begging—but don't let them fool you!

When you give in, you're setting the stage for some top-notch drama at every mealtime.

Begging isn't a crowd-pleaser, especially when you have guests.

Here’s a little food for thought: less than 10% of your dog's diet should be made up of anything other than their regular food.

That's right, even those supposedly healthy scraps could be doing more harm than good.

You want to keep your buddy in tip-top shape, don't you?

So, what's the deal with nutritional imbalances?

Let’s say you toss your Lab a few french fries or a chunk of bread.

These items aren't offering the nutrients they need and could contribute to an unbalanced diet, potentially leading to obesity.

And did you know that just an ounce of cheddar cheese can be the caloric equivalent of one and a half hamburgers for a 20-pound dog?

Yup, that's a hefty snack!

Instead, opt for dog-friendly veggies like carrot sticks or green beans if you're keen on sharing.

But even with these safer options, keep it infrequent and always play it safe by checking with your vet.

Their tailored advice trumps a general rule of thumb any day!

Remember, treats and scraps are just that—treats.

They're not meals and should never become a regular part of your Lab's diet.

Stick to a balanced, nutrition-dense doggy diet and save the human food for yourself.

Your Lab will thank you for it, even if they pretend to sulk.

Not Providing Enough Water

Hey there, Labrador parents!

Ever wondered if your furry pal is getting enough H2O to go with their kibble?

Just like us, our Labs need plenty of water to chow down properly and keep their tails wagging. 🐶💦

Why water you asking?

Well, water is uber important for your Lab's digestion.

It helps break down food, carries nutrients to cells, and flushes out the yucky stuff from their body.

Not to mention, it keeps them cool as a cucumber on those dog days of summer.

But wait, there's more!

Labs are energetic (no shocker there!) and their water needs might be higher than you think.

They're not fussy about where they get their drinks from, but it's up to you to provide clean, fresh water.

Tip: Refresh it daily, and you'll have one happy pooch.

Let's break it down:

  • The Fresh Factor: Would you drink stale water? Nope! So keep it fresh for your best bud.
  • Keep It Flowing: Labs can get thirsty after exercise, play, or just existing – so make sure water is always on tap.
  • Monitor & Measure: Keep an eye on how much they gulp down. Too little could be a sign of health issues.

Remember, every Lab's different, so while a general guideline is fab, tailor it to your pup.

Got a super active Lab or live in a hot climate?

They’ll need more.

Bottom line: Be a hydration hero for your Labrador.

After all, a hydrated Lab is a happy Lab—and aren't those wagging tails just the best thing ever? 😄🐕💧

Ignoring Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Hey there, Labrador parents!

Ever noticed your furry friend scratching a bit too much, or maybe having occasional tummy troubles like vomiting or diarrhea?

Could be a sign of food allergies or sensitivities – yup, just like us, dogs can have them too.

Symptoms to Watch Out For:

  • Itchy Skin: Can lead to more sneaky scratches than a puzzle game!
  • Digestive Distress: Vomiting and changes in stool consistency are red flags.
  • Coat Quality: Lacklustre fur? Could be a clue.
  • Ear and Foot Infections: Frequent infections might signal an underlying food issue.

Now, before you go Sherlock Holmes on their doggy supper, know that identifying these allergies or sensitivities isn't always a walk in the park.

It's a bit different from digging for that last bone in the backyard.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Vet Visit: Chat with your vet if you spot these symptoms.
  2. Elimination Diet: Like a culinary detective, you might need to figure out the culprit by slowly removing and reintroducing foods.
  3. Allergy Tests: These can help pinpoint the problem.

Don't just shrug off the signs because, just like a bad haircut, ignoring the sensitivities won’t make them go away.

Plus, some issues might seem mild but can impact your Lab's health long-term.

Keep a keen eye on their health, and don't hesitate to fetch some professional help.

Your pup will thank you with more tail wags and fewer scratchy nights.