• Feeding Your Labrador Retriever
• Finding A Labrador Retriever
• Teaching Your Labrador To Retrieve
|Feeding Your Labrador Retriever
Feeding Your Labrador Retriever
While deciding what to feed your Labrador retriever certainly is the top priority, how, when, and where are also vital aspects. Once you resolve all these issues, you should set the pattern for a healthful lifestyle for your dog.
It is important to set a specific location for feeding your Lab. In many households you will find him being fed right in the middle of the kitchen floor, probably at a time when the kitchen is in full use. People, thinking in their human way, naturally feel that the dog appreciates being part of the family scene and enjoys sharing meals with the family. But dogs are animals with pack instincts, not humans. They should be allowed to eat their meal in peace, without having to entertain thoughts of whether anyone is going to try to take their food away from them. Many dogs gulp down their food not as a result of hunger but out of a desire to finish quickly before they are disturbed. (They often vomit this food back up and eat it a second time, which is an unappetizing process for humans to watch but quite normal for dogs.) As mild mannered as Labrador retrievers are, they do not appreciate interruptions and will eat better if fed each day in a private area, out of the flow of traffic.
When to feed your Labrador is generally a matter of choice and the age of the dog. Young puppies require four and sometimes even five small meals a day. From about four to eight months, the growing puppy will need three meals a day: morning, noon, and night. Reduce the feeding schedule to two meals a day at about nine months of age, and finally to the adult diet of one large meal a day at 11 or 12 months of age. Most owners feed an adult dog his main meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and often augment this with a few biscuits or some kibble in the morning. Others just divide the rations into two smaller feedings. Use whatever suits you and your dog best.
How you feed your Labrador refers not only to the method but also to how much. There is no set amount that will apply to every Labrador retriever, and product-label directions should only be used as guides. Quite naturally, the size, age, temperament (active or lazy), and amount of daily exercise will dictate the number of calories needed. The primary indicator of how well a dog is being fed is its overall trim, A Labrador retriever should be firm, not plump. It is easy for today's dogs to get out of condition by not exercising enough and by being fed too much by well-meaning owners (we humans often equate food with love). Labradors will overeat if encouraged, so don't let Jake nibble to his liking from a perpetually full bowl. At the other extreme, if the ribs and hipbones can be easily felt upon running your hand down the dog's side, your pet may require additional calories. Telltale signs of undernourishment are a lack of coat sheen and an overall malaise. Labradors are normally peppy, so a physical slowdown should be carefully monitored.