Puppy Labrador licking apple

The Best Labrador Food Australia -
A Puppy To Adult Diet Review

Our #1 Pick

Petzyo

The Best Value for Money

Petzyo Dry Dog Food Salmon & Ocean Fish

  • High-quality protein as main ingredient
  • Australian-made
  • Superfood additions boost the nutritional profile
  • Good value for money

The most popular dog breed in Australia for years in a row (1), the Labrador Retriever is a real star. They are great family dogs but also great working dogs, and their diet needs to be adapted to their lifestyle.

Regardless of your Lab’s specific requirements, we are here to help you find the best Labrador food available.


Labrador Diet: Everything You Need to Know

Are there any special requirements when it comes to dog food for Labradors? Well, not really. If you are getting high-quality food, it will probably do just fine for healthy adult Labs. However, if you want the best for your pooch, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when thinking about their diet.

First, the Labrador Retriever is a fairly large breed. As such, they have the dietary requirements specific to large breeds as opposed to small breeds (2). This is especially true when they are puppies. Large breed puppies grow very fast in the early stages of life which leaves them vulnerable to specific issues.

“Large breed puppies are prone to developmental orthopedic diseases like hip dysplasia. Feeding these individuals diets that are a little less energy-dense, contain slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorous, and have a very carefully balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio has been proven to reduce the incidence of developmental orthopedic diseases in large and giant breeds of dogs.” - Jennifer Coates, DVM for PetMD

In general, labradors are a fairly healthy dog breed, so there is no need to worry about anything specific as long as you follow the general guidelines for choosing quality dog food. If you want to do the best you can for the health of your Lab, choose food rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These have many benefits for dogs, the most visible of which is a shiny and healthy coat. As they age, Labs may also benefit from more glucosamine and chondroitin which help keep their joints mobile.

How Much to Feed a Labrador

Feeding recommendations are always individual. A good place to start is the feeding guideline on the back of your dog food package. The guidelines for each individual food type are different, so it’s difficult to make estimates. They are always based on the weight of your dog which you will use to calculate the recommended daily amount. Divide this amount into as many meals as your Lab is used to eating.

However, do keep in mind that these are just guidelines. The needs of each dog may vary. If you feel your dog is too skinny adjust the dosage.

“Energy requirements for dogs can vary depending on many factors. It is important to meet your dog’s specific energy requirement to sustain their daily lifestyle.” - Tiffany Tupler, DVM for PetMD

Labs are known to be high-energy dogs, so they often benefit from highly caloric foods. However, this will also depend on the lifestyle of your dog and how much exercise they get daily. Moreover, Labs are known to have healthy appetites, so overfeeding them is easy too. In the end, the right amount of food to feed any dog is something that has to be learned from experience.


Best Food for Labradors 2022: Our Top Picks

Petzyo

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • High-quality protein as main ingredient
  • Australian-made
  • Superfood additions boost the nutritional profile
  • Good value for money

Nutritional Analysis:

Protein

26%

Fat

12%

Fibre

4%

Petzyo - 5 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Salmon & ocean fish meal, field peas, lentils, sweet potato, salmon offal, sunflower oil, tomato, basil, spinach, broccoli, green lipped mussels, carrot, rosemary, oregano, parsley, salt, flaxseed oil, kelp, turmeric, fish oil, hemp seed oil, yucca extract, green tea + added vitamins and minerals
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Grain Inclusive.
  • Recipe Range: Kangaroo, Sweet Potato & Superfood Extras or Salmon, Ocean Fish & Green Lipped Mussels or Chicken, Turkey & Superfood Extras or Petzyo Raw Food Range.
  • Suitable For: Petzyo's recipe range can be suitable for puppy, adult and senior dogs depending on the recipe.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Australian Owned: Yes.

Petzyo is one of our all-time favourites when it comes to dog food made in Australia. Petzyo is a local company that puts a lot of attention into their recipes. Each of their recipes features an awesome source of protein. We chose the Salmon & Ocean fish recipe as our favourite for Labs due to the extra nutritious punch it packs, but all over their formulas are top quality. You won’t go wrong with any of them, depending on your dog’s preferences.

The main ingredient in this dog food is salmon & ocean fish meal. This is a great source of protein that’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which do a lot to support the skin & joint health of our canine companions. Fish skin also contains collagen which supports healthy bones, especially as dog’s age (4).

Besides the protein, this feed contains a well-thought-out combination of vegetables, herbs, and superfood additions rather than useless fillers. Every ingredient is full of health benefits: green lipped mussels, kelp, turmeric, and spinach are some of them - just to give you an idea of the level of ingredients used. Overall, a really great option that comes at a reasonable price too.

Verified Review - 01/12/2021
"My girl is a fuss pot and will often leave her kibble or not even eat it. She loves this and tucks right in. My boy is a bit of an eater and this is the only grain free food that has not made him fart all the time."

Pros

Cons

  • High-quality protein as main ingredient
  • Only a couple of recipes available
  • Australian-made
  • List Element
  • Superfood additions boost the nutritional profile
Cell
  • Good value for money
Cell

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Recipe for Dogs
  • Free-range New Zealand beef as the main ingredient
  • Offal and green lipped mussels provide valuable nutrients
  • Gently air-dried to preserve nutrients
  • No fillers or artificial flavours

Nutritional Analysis:

Protein

38%

Fat

30%

Fibre

2%

Ziwi Peak - 4.5 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast), Salt, Parsley, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Grain free
  • Recipe Range: Chicken or Mackerel & Lamb or Beef + more.
  • Suitable For: Ziwi Peak recipes are generally suitable for all life stages, although the dosage should be adjusted
  • Cost: $$$$$
  • Australian Owned: No (but NZ owned)

There has been a lot of talk about Ziwi Peak dog food lately, and there’s a good reason for this. The range of air-dried dog food from Ziwi Peak is a great example of what dog food should be. Lots and lots of meat + offal and green lipped mussels that provide extra nutrients, all of that gently air-dried to create a lightweight and nutrient-dense product that is super-convenient to use.

Well, that sounds too good to be true, one might think, but it is. On top of that, all of the meat is ethically sourced and raised in sustainable ways. The only drawback of this feed is the price. Especially for owners of larger dogs like labs, or even multiple dogs, the price of Ziwi Peak might be too high to be sustainable. If that’s the case, though, Ziwi might also work as an extra-tasty topping on top of your dog’s regular dry god food.

Verified Review - 4/01/2018
Great Product
"My dog loves this dried food. Her bowl is clean after 1 minute."

Pros

Cons

  • Free-range New Zealand beef as the main ingredient
  • High price point
  • Offal and green lipped mussels provide valuable nutrients
  • List Element
  • Gently air-dried to preserve nutrients
Cell
  • No fillers or artificial flavours
Cell

#3: Best Food for Labrador Puppies: Black Hawk Large Breed Puppy Food Chicken & Rice

Black Hawk Large Breed Puppy Food Chicken & Rice
  • Recipe designed for large breed puppies
  • High protein content
  • Balanced nutritional profile
  • No artificial flavours

Nutritional Analysis:

Protein

26%

Fat

16%

Fibre

4.5%

Black Hawk - 3.5 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Ground Rice, Oats, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols [source of Vitamin E], Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract), Field Peas, Fish Meal, Beet Pulp, Eggs, Canola Oil, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Brewers Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Kelp, Salt, Choline Chloride, Essential Vitamins & Minerals, Natural Antioxidants, Emu Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Tomato Powder, Carrots, Dried Blueberries, Dandelion, Peppermint, Rosemary, Cranberries.
  • Named Protein First: No (but chicken meal is ok)
  • Dog Food Type: Grain-inclusive (some grain-free options also available)
  • Recipe Range: Chicken or Australian Lamb or Tasmanian Salmon or Kangaroo or Ocean Fish + More.
  • Suitable For: Puppies (more recipes available for different life stages)
  • Cost: $$$
  • Australian Owned: No (owned by Masterpet New Zealand)

We often rave so much about top-of-the-line options like Petzyo and Ziwi Peak that we sometimes forget about the lesser-known Australian brands. Both foods mentioned above are suitable for all life stages, and that includes puppies too. However, if you need another option made specifically for puppies, we liked this recipe from Black Hawk.

While there are some potential issues with Black Hawk food, we liked how their Large Breed Puppy recipe is formulated. Although Labradors are not huge, they are still considered large dogs and the nutritional profile of this recipe certainly won’t hurt them.

Maid with large puppies in mind, the main ingredient in the Black Hawk formula is chicken meal combined with rice. The food is enriched with fish meal as well as extra glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy one and joint development. That’s a very important point when it comes to large breed puppies and also a great feature for Labrador puppy food.

Verified Review - 4/01/2018
Black Hawk Puppy Food
"I have tried this food for a few weeks. Our puppy seems very happy with the food and is thriving. I was very pleased with the service and very quick  delivery."

Pros

Cons

  • Recipe designed for large breed puppies
  • There are higher-quality options than chicken meal
  • High protein content
  • Not for puppies with sensitive stomachs
  • Balanced nutritional profile
Cell
  • No artificial flavours
Cell

#4: Best High Energy Food for Labradors:  Meals for Mutts Duck & Turkey

Meals for Mutts Duck & Turkey
  • 30% protein content for extra energy
  • Duck and turkey meat as main ingredients
  • Balanced nutritional profile
  • No artificial preservatives

Nutritional Analysis:

Protein

30%

Fat

16%

Fibre

4.5%

Meals for Mutt - 4 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Duck & turkey meat, sweet potato, red lentils, seasonal vegetables, alfalfa, natural fats and oils, omega 3,6,7, coconut oil, turmeric, parsley, pre & probiotic, kelp + added vitamins and minerals. Preserved using vitamin e and rosemary extract.
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Gran-free
  • Recipe Range: Duck & Turkey; Kangaroo & Lamb; Salmon & Sardine; Bacon & Eggs and more + a range of single-protein formulas
  • Suitable For: Adult dogs
  • Cost: $$$
  • Australian Owned: Yes.

Many Labradors are very high-energy dogs. They often need a lot of activity to stay happy, not to mention some of them are working dogs on the job. And all this exercise needs food rich enough to support it. For such dogs, one of our favourites is this recipe from Meals for Mutts.

The reason why we picked this food for high-energy dogs is the high protein content. At 30%, this formula is richer in protein than most other dry dog food options. At that, it’s not just any protein but high-quality named ingredients: duck and turkey meat.

Besides the meat, this formula mostly contains vegetables (it’s grain-free). On top of that, Meals for Mutts added some extra health boosters like turmeric, coconut oil, and added healthy fatty acids to support skin and joint health.

Overall, we found this is a good option that is not overly expensive. We don’t love the fact that Meals for Mutts is weirdly unspecific about some of their ingredients. Namely, the least includes ‘seasonal vegetables’ and ‘natural fats and oils’ which doesn’t tell us exactly what the ingredient is. However, wholesome protein is there along with other well-picked ingredients, so one might be willing to look past this issue.

Verified Review - 4/11/2021
Meal for Mutts Duck & Turkey Dry Kibble
"Our staffy loves these dry biscuits. He has a cup of MfM dry biscuits each morning & a small handful (for crunch) with raw food for dinner. He is able to maintain a stable weight & has no skin issues."

Pros

Cons

  • 30% protein content for extra energy
  • Unspecific entries on ingredient list
  • Duck and turkey meat as main ingredients
  • List Element
  • Balanced nutritional profile
Cell
  • No artificial preservatives
Cell

Applaws Beef with Pumpkin and Peas Dog Pate
  • Short but awesome ingredient list
  • Free-range New Zealand beef is the main ingredient
  • Good value for money

Nutritional Analysis:

Protein

7.5%

Fat

3.5%

Fibre

3.5%

Applaws - 2.5 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Pumpkin, Peas, Brewer’s Yeast, Lamb Plasma, Agar Agar, Guar Gum
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Grain-free wet dog food
  • Recipe Range: Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Salmon, or Kangaroo
  • Suitable For: All ages as complimentary food
  • Cost: $$
  • Australian Owned: No (but made in New Zealand)

The ingredient list of Applaws dog cans is surprisingly short, but that’s actually what we love about this food. The can contains beef meat, pumpkin and peas in beef broth, with some minor additions.

What is there not to love? Although it is a UK-owned company, Applaws makes their food for Australia in New Zealand. When it comes to the recipe we’ve chosen for this review (Beef), it contains mainly free-range New Zealand beef.

Now, the short ingredient list means this wet food is not suitable to be the complete diet of your dog. It is meant to be fed occasionally or in combination with kibble or another wet food.

Where we found the Applaws cans work the best is in convincing picky canines to eat. If your pup refuses to eat kibble, simply mix some of the Applaws pate with it. Dogs usually go crazy for this kind of food! Overall, the Applaws cans are a great way to convince picky eaters to eat, or just to add a bit of variety and flavour to your dog’s diet.

Pros

Cons

  • Short but awesome ingredient list
  • Not a complete diet
  • Free-range New Zealand beef is the main ingredient
  • List Element
  • Good value for money
Cell

Final Verdict

It’s time to end our Labrador feeding guide, but not without a final comment on choosing the perfect food. If you are not sure what to try, we recommend you go with Petzyo dry dog food. This kibble is reasonably priced with top-notch ingredients and most dogs seem to love it.

If you’d like an extra special treat for your dog, then perhaps also consider Ziwi. In any case, remember that every dog is unique, and they do have personal tastes, so sometimes you have to try out a few different brands before you find what works.

FAQ

How often should I feed my Labrador?

When it comes to large dogs, options vary. Some say they should be fed only once per day (with some threats in between), while others recommend two times. Free feeding where you leave the food out for your dog all day is also an option, but usually not the best solution for Labs as they tend to be real chowhounds. For this reason, you’ll probably want to control the portions. In the end, the exact number of meals doesn’t matter as long as you feed the right daily amount and your dog isn’t overly hungry between two meals. Puppies need to be fed multiple smaller meals.

When should a Labrador puppy switch to adult food?

It is usually recommended to switch Labradors to adult food once they are between 12 and 18 months old. The exact timing may vary. The cue for switching to adult food is when your dog stops growing - that is they reach their adult size. The exact timing is not overly important as long as you watch your dog and adjust the diet to their needs.

What type of food is best for Labs?

There is no specific type of food that is best for labradors. Generally, they will do well on any type of quality feed. No matter if it’s wet food or dry food, or perhaps freeze-dried or air-dried, what you are looking for is high-quality ingredients and lots of quality protein. That’s what makes all the difference. Labradors can eat both grain-free and grain-inclusive food too, unless they have specific allergies which are quite rare in this breed.

References

  1. MacSmith, J. August 17, 2021. “Australia’s most popular dog breeds”. Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 30, 2021. https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/home/pets/australias-most-popular-dog-breeds/news-story/44cd695b2ccf02de38b0ad90e3c03ab8
  2. Tupler, T. February 01, 2021. “Dog Nutrition: Guide to Dog Food Nutrients”. PetMD. Retrieved November 30, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_whats_in_a_balanced_dog_food#energy%20req
  3. Coates, J. February 03, 2012. “Nutritional Differences for Small, Toy, and Large Breed Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved November 30, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2012/feb/nutrition_differences_for_small_toy_large_breeds-12459
  4. Gilette, L. June 30, 2020. “Can Dogs Eat Fish?”, PetMD. Retrieved November 30, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_can-dogs-eat-fish
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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