Labrador Retriever Raw Dog Food Diet Guide: Recipes, Benefits & FAQs

raw diet for labradors

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You’re not alone if you’re considering a raw diet for your Labrador Retriever. Raw feeding has become a popular choice for many dog owners in recent years for various reasons. But, is a raw diet the right choice for your Labrador? And if so, what should you include in their diet? In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of raw feeding and outline the pros and cons of switching your Lab to a raw diet. By the end of this post, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what raw feeding involves and whether it’s suitable for your pup. Let’s get started!

Nutrition, Benefits & Risks
Jump to: Recipes & Cooking

What Is A Labrador Raw Dog Food Diet?

The raw dog diet, also known as BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), is designed to mimic a dog’s ancestral diet, drawing on the canine’s carnivorous and primal instincts. All ingredients in BARF diet recipes are uncooked to preserve enzyme content, minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. There are three types of raw dog diets: frozen, freeze-dried, and homemade. The BARF diet reflects what dogs consumed in the wild millions of years ago and typically consists of the following ingredients:

  • Raw meat protein
  • Bones, either whole or ground
  • Organ meats (i.e., livers and kidneys)
  • Raw eggs
  • Dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Some dairy, such as yogurt.
A variation of the BARF recipe is known as the “prey model raw (PMR)” food. The prey model excludes fruits, dairy, and vegetables.

Can Labradors Eat Raw Meat?

Labradors can thrive on a raw meat diet. Genetic and anatomical research shows dogs have noticeable carnivorous traits that allow them to digest raw meat protein more quickly while killing potential bacteria in decaying meat. Dogs also have a remarkable omnivorous capacity but are optimized for eating meat. Read our ‘Can dogs eat raw meat?‘ article to learn all the research that supports Labrador Retriever raw meat consumption.

Labrador Raw Food Diet Benefits

Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian, pioneer, and top advocate of raw feeding dogs, mentions raw food has several positive effects on canine health, including:

  • Shinner coat
  • Improved skin health
  • More energy
  • Lean, strong muscles
  • Smaller, firmer stools
  • Improved dental health
  • Stronger immune system
  • Lower risk for allergies
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased agility
  • Bright eyes
  • Faster nutrient absorption
  • Weight management

Why Feed A Raw Food Diet to Labradors

Increased lifespanThe most extensive study on raw-feeding dogs concluded that a raw diet could add as much as 32 months (almost three years) – to a dog’s life.[1] Dr. Peter Dobias, who has 30 years of veterinary experience and has advocated for raw pet diets since 1995, says, “A raw diet will increase a dog’s lifespan by 25 percent. Generally, raw-fed dogs are so much healthier. The changes are profound.”[2]
Balanced without supplementationA study showed it’s possible to make balanced raw dog food that meets the European Pet Food Industry (FEDIAF and Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines without additional synthetic supplementation.[4]
Sick dogs got better after switching to a BARF diet632 owners reported that their dogs, suffering from skin-related problems, gastrointestinal issues, eye-related problems, urinary tract issues, and various other diseases, experienced significant recovery from these conditions after switching to a raw dog food diet.[6]
Cancer preventionWhen it comes to cancer, raw dog food removes the highly processed food from the equation, which is often linked to cancer issues in dogs. Food processing has been shown to cause free radicals and carcinogenic chemicals to be released. With raw recipes, you no longer have to worry about oxidative stress due to processed food.[9],[10] There is also evidence that raw food decreases the odds of neoplasia development (abnormal growth of cells, cancer) when provided at a young age.[11]
Easy digestionHomemade raw dog food is easier to digest than those hard-kibble mystery balls. Feeding your Lab freshly made food puts less stress on their digestive system and liver, reducing the likelihood of bloating or other digestive issues.
Deemed healthyA study on feeding practices in the United States and Australia indicated that 98.7% (where 16.2% of 98.7% feed bones or raw food to their dogs) deemed their pet healthy.[3]
Health beneficialLisa M. Freeman Freeman, a nutrition professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, attributes the benefits of a raw dog food diet, such as a shinier coat, to the high-fat composition of the typical raw diet. Furthermore, For most animals, [raw diets] are more beneficial than processed foods,” says Dr. Doug Knueven, DVM, of the Beaver Animal Clinic in Beaver, PA.[5]
Fewer allergies and skin problems A study revealed that dogs fed a raw diet during puppyhood showed significantly less allergy and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood.[7] Feeding raw bones and cartilage to puppies has been associated with less chronic enteropathy (CE) in later life.[8]
Hip dysplasiaBARF diet showed a protective effect against canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and even if only a part of the Labrador Retriever’s diet is raw food, it could still help protect puppies from CHD.[12]
Avoid unsafe commercial dog foods BARF dog food recipes ensure your dog always eats fresh, wholesome, and chemical-free foods without additives, fillers, high-glycemic carbs, or colorants commonly found in kibble.
Excellent taste, smell & varietyDogs love the taste, smell, texture and variety of fresh ingredients.

Labrador Raw Dog Food Risks

Contamination

Raw ingredients pose a higher risk of contamination with harmful pathogens (i.e., Salmonella, E. coli) that can sicken you and your pet.

Choking

Feeding whole bones to dogs presents a risk of choking, broken teeth, intestinal obstruction, or internal punctures.

Unbalanced

Cooking nutritionally unbalanced raw food recipes can lead to malnutrition, obesity and other health issues.

Raw allergies

Dogs might be allergic to raw ingredients. An at-home dog allergy test can help you pick ingredients that won’t trigger allergies.

How to Reduce Raw Dog Food Risks

  • Washing. Wash all meats, organs, and other raw ingredients thoroughly.
  • Sourcing. Purchase human-grade, ethically sourced raw ingredients from reputable grocery stores or butchers known for high sanitary standards.
  • Raw bones. Feed only small or ground bones, avoid large or heavy ones, and never provide cooked bones as they can splinter when chewed. Remove any bones that may splinter, though this may become unnecessary as your Labrador grows accustomed to eating raw bones.
  • Freeze meats for at least 2 to 3 weeks to kill any parasites. Research found that Salmonella is highly sensitive to freezing and showed survival of 1% or less after 48 hours. E. coli proved less sensitive, showing a survival rate ranging from 10% to 30% during the first week of storage. However, after two weeks of storage, most samples declined compared to salmonellae.[13]
Always work with your vet before changing your Labrador’s diet.

You can get personalized nutritional advice from a registered vet nutritionist through Vetster anytime, anywhere. You can also chat with an online vet and ask them questions about your dog’s dietary needs.

How to Make A Balanced Raw Diet For Labradors

A Labrador’s raw diet should consist of 70% uncooked muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 10% vegetables and fruit, 5% liver, and 5% other organs. It must also include the six essential nutrients for a dog’s proper growth, body function, and health. These nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, fats, and water. It’s also important to consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.

Below is a detailed breakdown of each nutrient and its importance.

Labrador Raw Diet Nutritional Guidelines to Follow

Proteins

Protein plays a vital role in your dog’s diet, providing essential amino acids necessary for bodily processes, including the creation of blood glucose for energy. Protein also helps build and repair muscles and other body tissues. It’s needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones and enzymes. The proteins in your dog’s diet must have a balanced amino acid profile and are provided in appropriate amounts.

Protein dietary recommendations for a Labrador raw homemade diet:

  • Adult dog. 18% dry matter protein (45.0g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating dog. 22.5% dry matter protein (56.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Raw protein sources for Labrador homemade raw recipes include:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Pork
  • Eggs

Carbohydrates

Dogs need energy for daily activities, growth, pregnancy, lactation, and exercise. This energy, measured in calories, comes from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Omnivorous animals, including dogs, derive some energy from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates supply glucose needed by the brain, nervous system, and other critical organs for normal function in dogs. You can use our dog calorie calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight. Ensure you follow the 10% rule if feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats the remaining 10%.

Energy dietary recommendations for Labrador raw homemade food based on life stage, weight and activity level.

Type of Dog10 lb50 lb70 lb
Puppies990
Inactive Dog9891,272
Adult Active Dog1,3531,740
Pregnant Dog1,9402,570
Young Active Dog1,4511,876
Senior Active Dog1,0931,407
Energy Requirements for dogs | Nursing dog kcals vary depending on the number of puppies & weeks into lactation | Carbohydrates should also include 2.5-4.5% fiber

Carbohydrate sources for Labrador raw dog food recipes include:

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat
  • Pumpkin

Fats

Fats play a multifaceted role in a dog’s diet. They are a dense energy source, provide essential fatty acids for skin and coat health, enable absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, improve food palatability, offer insulation and organ protection, support reproductive health, are critical for nervous system function, and serve as a reserve for energy storage.

Fat dietary recommendations for Labrador raw homemade dog food:

  • Adult Dog. 5.5% dry matter fat (13.8g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating Dog. 8.5% dry matter fat (21.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Fat sources for Labrador raw dog food recipes include:

  • Meats fats
  • Fish oils
  • Olive
  • Egg yolk
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oils

Minerals

Minerals in a dog’s diet are indispensable for bone and dental health, nerve function, enzymatic reactions, fluid balance, oxygen transport, and maintaining the body’s pH level, making them essential for overall health and metabolic processes. Proper mineral balance is crucial and should be carefully managed to avoid deficiencies or excesses.

These 12 minerals are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

Mineral sources for homemade Labrador raw food include:

  • Spleen (Iron)
  • Raw bones (Calcium)
  • Eggshells
  • Pancreas and thymus (Selenium and phosphorus)
  • Stomach tripe (Zinc)
  • Trachea (Glucosamine and chondroitin)
  • Reproductive organs (Testicles & uterus)
  • Sweet potatoes and pumpkin (Magnesium)
  • Nuts and legumes (Copper)
  • Bananas and carrots (Potassium)
  • Seaweed (Iodine)
  • Celery (Manganese)

Vitamins

Vitamins in a dog’s diet are integral for maintaining overall health and bodily functions. They support vision, immune health, aid in energy metabolism and nervous system function, provide antioxidant benefits, reduce inflammation, prevent diseases and ailments and more. Dogs require vitamins, but only in small amounts, and excessive doses of certain vitamins, like vitamin D, can harm them.

These 12 vitamins are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, D, E & K
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folic Acid
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline

Vitamin sources for raw Labrador recipes include:

  • Liver (Vitamins A, D, and B)
  • Lungs (Vitamin B)
  • Kidney (Vitamins A, D, and E)
  • Brain
  • Eyeballs
  • Heart (Vitamin B12 and niacin)
  • Sweet potatoes and spinach (Vitamin A)
  • Broccoli (Vitamin C)
  • Kale and parsley (Vitamin K)
  • Squash (Vitamin E)
  • Apples, cranberries, and blueberries

Water

Water is vital in a dog’s diet to maintain hydration, support body functions such as digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste excretion, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, ensure proper organ function, and facilitate metabolic processes. Continuous access to clean water is as crucial as providing nutritious food for overall health and well-being. Generally, dogs should drink 2 to 3 times the amount of their dry food intake daily. However, dogs can naturally regulate their daily water consumption if water is readily available from various sources.

*If feeding the “Prey” model, this method typically consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs (half of which is liver.). No fruits or veggies.

Source: We compiled the data for the table above by referencing the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines and the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs Report by the National Research Council (NRC). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilizes the information from these reports to regulate and ensure the safety of pet foods.

Best Raw Dog Food For Labrador Retrievers

Best Raw Dog Food Delivery Subscriptions

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Who It’s For: The perfect raw dog food recipe if you don’t have time to cook for your Labrador or are unable to balance nutrients to provide a balanced diet.

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Recipes, Cooking Tips & More
Jump to: Benefits & Nutrition

Raw Dog Food Recipes For Labrador Retrievers

Here are our favorite Labrador raw dog food recipes. We’ve also included a special treat recipe for your Lab, enriched with the health benefits of our favorite ingredient, dog CBD oil. CBD oil might help with issues like seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, and overall wellness.

Note: Consult your vet before adjusting your dog’s diet. The recipes below don’t specify serving sizes since they depend on your dog’s breed, weight, age, activity, and health. As a guideline, consider feeding the equivalent amount you’d give in kibble, but always consult your veterinarian for proper portioning.

Labrador’s Raw Delight

Labrador raw dog food recipe

Labrador’s Raw Delight

This is a carefully crafted raw recipe, designed to meet the nutritional needs of your Labrador Retriever while ensuring all ingredients are safe and beneficial. This raw meal is packed with high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and essential vitamins, offering a natural and satisfying dining experience for your furry friend.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Calories 500 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs boneless beef (like chuck roast or sirloin)
  • 1 lb chicken hearts
  • 1/2 lb beef liver
  • 1/2 lb green tripe
  • 2 whole eggs (including shells, finely crushed)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (plain, no additives)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1/4 tbsp kelp powder

Instructions
 

  • Chop Meat: Cut the beef, chicken hearts, beef liver, and green tripe into bite-sized pieces suitable for your Labrador.
  • Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the chopped meats, crushed egg shells, and whole eggs. Stir well.
  • Add Supplements: Add the pureed pumpkin, blueberries, ground flaxseed, fish oil, and kelp powder to the meat mixture. Mix thoroughly to ensure even distribution of all ingredients.
  • Portioning: Divide the mixture into meal-sized portions appropriate for your Labrador's size and dietary needs.
  • Serving: Serve immediately, or store portions in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for longer storage.
Keyword labrador raw dog food recipe

Blueberry-Banana CBD-Infused Dog Treats

Treat your Lab with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD treats. They are made with bananas, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6). Banana also aids with digestion and energy. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion and helps reduce allergic reactions.

Remember to consult your vet to ensure CBD is safe for your Labrador and that you are giving the correct dosage. Alternatively, you can buy commercially available CBD dog treats so your pup can experience CBD’s benefits without the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 120 mg of the best CBD oil for dogs
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional, for a hint of sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Oven preparation. Preheat oven to 350ºF and brush a dog biscuit baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Banana preparation. Mash a ripe banana until smooth, ensuring no large chunks remain.
  3. Dry ingredients. Blend gluten-free flour and oats in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg until beaten. Add coconut oil, water, mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, and fresh blueberries. Mix well.
  5. Combining ingredients. Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients, stirring until even. Drizzle in CBD oil, stirring again for even distribution.
  6. Mold filling. Scoop portions of the mixture with a tablespoon and press firmly into the dog-treat baking mold.
  7. Baking. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the treats are firm to the touch and slightly golden.
  8. Cooling and storage. Let the treats cool before transferring them to an airtight container for storage.

Beefy Bark Gourmet Patties

This raw meat food recipe for Labradors is among our favorites. Easy to digest and packed with all the essential nutrients Labradors need.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs of ground beef
  • 4 oz chicken livers
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • 2 whole eggs (including shell)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

Directions

  1. Prepare the veggie and fruit mix: Place the carrot, apple, and spinach in a food processor. Process until the mixture is finely chopped.
  2. Create the liver blend: Add the chicken livers to the food processor with the veggie and fruit mix. Process until fully mixed.
  3. Combine with wet ingredients: Transfer the liver and veggie mixture to a large bowl. Add and combine the reaming ingredients, whole eggs (with shells), plain yogurt, ground flaxseed, and olive oil.
  4. Add the beef: Add the ground beef to the bowl. Use a large spoon to mix everything until the beef is evenly distributed.
  5. Form the patties: Scoop out portions of the mixture and form them into palm-sized patties. Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Freeze for storage: Transfer patties to a storage container to keep them frozen.
  7. Serving: The night before you wish to feed, remove the patties from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw.

Wholesome Chicken and Heart Harmony Blend

If you want to make a simple recipe that can last you well beyond a week, or perhaps you have more than one dog at home, this recipe will make 11 pounds of raw food, which is 6-7 days’ worth of food for a 50-pound dog, or two smaller dogs.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken heart
  • 1 pound beef liver
  • 5 pounds 95% lean ground turkey 
  • 7 pastured eggs without shells (only 3 yolks)
  • 8 ounces of Swiss chard
  • 8 ounces (2 stalks) of broccoli
  • 8 ounces (4 chopped cups) of dandelion greens
  • 12 ounces (2 small clamshell packages) of blueberries or mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries)
  • 6 tbsps bone meal (seaweed calcium can be used for adult dogs)
  • 3 tbsps of ground pumpkin seed powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina

Directions

  1. Prepare the proteins: If you have a grinder, grind the chicken hearts and beef liver together until well combined. If you don’t have a grinder, chop the heart and liver into small, bite-sized cubes.
  2. Egg preparation: Crack 7 eggs, keeping only 3 yolks. You can either whisk them lightly in a bowl or keep them whole to be blended with the vegetables.
  3. Vegetable and berry puree: Chop the Swiss chard, broccoli, and dandelion greens and place them into the food processor along with the blueberries or mixed berries. Add the eggs (with three yolks), bone meal (or seaweed calcium), pumpkin seed powder, sea salt, and spirulina. Puree the mixture until it’s smooth and the ingredients are well integrated.
  4. Mix everything together: In a large mixing bowl, start with the lean ground turkey. Add in the ground or chopped chicken hearts and beef liver. Gradually stir in the veggie and berry puree.
  5. Serving and storage: Place the mixture into smaller containers and place them in your freezer. It’s best to freeze your food in 1-3 day portions.

Hearty Health Organ Patties

This Labrador homemade raw dog food recipe should be served as a tasty treat or a variety of feed options once or twice a week. Make it with any excess organs. This recipe doesn’t include bones and cartilage, so don’t use it as a regular meal, but as a raw treat your pet can enjoy now and then.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces of beef hearts
  • 4 ounces of kidneys
  • 4 ounces of gizzards
  • 4 ounces of lamb liver (replacing beef liver)
  • 2 tablespoons of precooked leafy greens
  • 1 raw egg

Directions

  1. Prepare the organs: Chop the organs or use a food processor for a more uniform mince.
  2. Prep the greens: Choose nutrient-rich leafy greens like spinach or kale. Ensure they are precooked, cooled, and finely chopped or processed to enhance digestibility.
  3. Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the minced organs and leafy greens. Crack the raw egg into the mixture, including the shells
  4. Form patties: Form the mixture into palm-sized patties suitable for your dog’s size and dietary needs.
  5. Freezing and serving: Freeze the patties until you’re ready to give them to your dog. Thaw the patties in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Chicken Delight with Garden Greens

This is another easy homemade raw dog food recipe for Labrador to add to their menu. It uses raw chicken with a veggie mix. It’s full of nutrients and vitamins.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 pound Chicken hearts and liver
  • 1/2 pound Ground chicken bone
  • 7 lightly boiled chicken eggs (only 3 yolks)
  • 8 ounces Organic broccoli (rich in vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients)
  • 8 ounces of organic celery (a good source of dietary fiber and water)
  • 8 ounces of organic spinach (high in vitamins and minerals)
  • 8 ounces of organic carrots (rich in beta-carotene and fiber)
  • 2 tbps of alfalfa meal

Directions

  1. Prepare the chicken: Chop the chicken thighs or breasts into bite-sized pieces suitable for your dog. Clean the chicken hearts and liver, trim excess fat, and chop into small pieces.
  2. Egg preparation: Lightly boil the eggs to reduce the risk of bacteria.
  3. Vegetable prep: Chop the broccoli, celery, spinach, and carrots into small pieces, or use a food processor to puree for easier digestion.
  4. Mixing: In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, organ meats, ground bone, chopped vegetables, and alfalfa meal.
  5. Storing: You can serve one portion fresh immediately. Store the remaining food in airtight containers or freezer bags and place it in the freezer.

More Raw Food Recipes For Labrador Retrievers

Cookbooks can be useful if you want more raw dog food recipes for your Labradors. Our favorite recipe book for raw homemade dog food is A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs.

How to Cook Homemade Raw Dog Food For Labradors (DIY Video)

Watch this video and learn to make Labrador raw dog food recipes.

Best Raw Dog Food Cooking Practices

  • Understand your Labrador’s nutritional needs
  • Do not use inadequate or dangerous recipes
  • Ensure your dog’s meal is balanced
  • Do not use toxic ingredients
  • Understand the impact of food and dietary changes
  • Do not neglect your dog’s health conditions
  • Switch to raw gradually
  • The diet must be based on your dog’s life stage nutritional needs (puppies, adults or seniors)
  • The liver and other organs might be slimy. Be cautious and cut into bite-size pieces to avoid choking
  • Feed the leanest ground products possible
  • Find a broader variety of cheaper organ meats by visiting your local Mexican, Asian, or farmer’s market. Alternatively, you can have frozen organ meats packed in ice and delivered directly to your door.

Before you dive into preparing a raw diet for your Lab, you must equip yourself with the right knowledge and skills. Our article, ‘Raw Dog Food for Beginners,’ is a must-read for anyone looking to make this important dietary transition.

Covering everything from cooking practices to safe handling, serving and more, this comprehensive guide ensures you’re fully prepared to provide the best raw nutrition for your Labrador Retriever. Read our guide now to ensure you make informed, safe, and healthy choices for your beloved pet.

raw dog food for beginners

How Much Raw Food to Feed Labradors?

Generally, feed your dog about 2% to 4% of his ideal adult weight. Consider his metabolism, activity level, lifestyle, health, and other factors to determine the perfect amount.

Labrador Raw Dog Food Feeding Chart

To calculate your Labrador’s daily raw food intake, multiply his weight by the percentage below that best fits him.

  • Weight maintenance: Feed 2% – 2.5% of their current weight in pounds daily
  • Active dogs (canine athletes, sport dogs, or highly active dogs): Feed 3% – 4% of their current weight in pounds daily
  • Senior, less active, or overweight dogs (weight loss): Feed 1.5% – 2% of their current weight in pounds daily
  • Underweight dogs (weight gain): Feed 3% – 3.5% of their current weight in pounds daily

For instance, for a Labrador that weighs 70 pounds, here is how much raw food you would need to feed him daily.

ScenariosRaw Food (lbs)
Weight maintenance1.4 to 1.75 lbs
Active dogs2.1 to 2.8 lbs
Senior, less active, or overweight dogs1.05 to 1.4 lbs
Underweight dogs2.1 to 2.45 lbs
Adult dogs typically eat two meals per day. So, break the total amount into two meals per day.

Raw Diet For Labrador Puppies

A Labrador puppy’s dietary requirements differ from those of an adult Labrador. Compared to adult dogs, puppies require higher protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus levels. Inadequate or excessive amounts of these nutrients can lead to deficiencies, hindered growth, or lifelong health complications.

  • 6 weeks to 5 months puppies. 3-6 meals a day
  • 6-12month puppies. 2-3 times a day
  • Do not skip meals. Skipping meals is not advisable during your puppy’s growth and development
  • Puppy feeding needs are unique. The science isn’t exact. Fine-tune their diet. If your puppy gets chunky, cut back a smidge and vice versa.

How Much Raw Food Should Labrador Puppies Get?

Labrador Retriever puppies need more calories than adult Labradors and should eat about 5% to 10% of their weight to support their growth.

Labrador Puppy Raw Feeding Chart

General raw feeding guidelines for puppies:

  • Puppies 2 to 3 months: 8% to 10% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 4 to 5 months: 6% to 8% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 6 to 8 months: 4% to 6% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 9 to 12 months: 3% to 4% of body weight daily

How to Transition Your Labrador to A Raw Dog Diet

Raw feeding your Labrador Retriever for the first time must be done progressively to allow his digestive tract to adjust and prevent stomach issues. Below is a general schedule for transitioning from kibble to a raw diet.

  • Week 1: 25% new food and 75% old food
  • Week 2: 50% new food and 50% old food
  • Week 3: 25% new food and 75% old food
  • Week 4: 100% new food

Don’t change your dog’s food abruptly. It can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. Monitor your dog’s health closely. If you notice any adverse reaction to the new diet, you should go back a week in the transition plan and proceed slowly.

Labrador Retriever Raw Diet Cost

The average cost of traditional kibble is $1.97 per pound, while premium kibble is around $3.47 per pound.[14] High-end raw commercial dog foods average $6.40 per pound, with cheaper raw options at $3.80 per pound. For reference, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists average prices per pound of beef, chicken, and turkey at $3.90, $1.50, and $1.28, respectively. Switching your Labrador to a homemade raw diet could be comparable to or cheaper than kibble. Commercial raw meat foods are slightly more expensive than kibble, but the health benefits and convenience may be worth the extra cost. Check out our ‘feeding raw dog food on a budget‘ guide for cost-saving tips.

Foods Labradors Should Never Eat

Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients Labrador Retrievers must avoid.

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol

Here is the complete list of toxic ingredients dogs should never eat. Please print it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.

Raw Food to Never Feed Dogs

Never feed a raw potato to your dog. Potatoes contain solanine, a toxic compound to some dogs, says the AKC. Raw tomatoes also have solanine. Cooking them reduces the levels of solanine, but it’s better to stay on the safe side by avoiding them. Don’t feed salmon or salmonid species of fish. It can contain the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite, which causes salmon poisoning disease. This disease can be fatal. The small brittle bones can choke your dog or lodge in his stomach or intestines. Boneless fish (especially oily fish) are allowed only once a week. Never give fish with sharp spines and barbs. No wild pork, bear meat, or meats from wild animals are allowed, not even after freezing. Wild meats contain more parasites than farm-raised meats.

Labrador Retrievers That Shouldn’t Eat Raw Dog Food

Raw diets are not suited for all dogs. Dogs with kidney or liver problems should avoid eating raw. Raw foods are generally high in protein; excess protein can stress these organs, worsening either condition. Dr. Doug Knueven, a holistic medicine specialist who consults for Nature’s Variety (Instinct, a raw pet food brand), says that dogs on chemotherapy or immune-suppressing drugs should be restricted from eating raw food. For dogs suffering from pancreatitis or digestive problems, starting with a fresh dog food recipe diet before switching to raw is recommended.

Is A Raw Food Diet Good For Labradors?

Is raw food good for Labrador Retrievers? Here is what supporters and veterinarians had to say.

Labrador Retriever Raw Diet Supplements

A balanced raw diet shouldn’t require additional supplementation. However, poorly made raw diets by inexperienced dog parents, a dog’s unique dietary needs, or health conditions may require additional supplementation to specific nutrients. Always consult with your vet. Adding a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews ensures your dog gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals. Making balanced raw dog food recipes can be a tedious process. For more advice on BARF diet nutrition and benefits, check out Give Your Dog a Bone by Ian Billinghurst. This book is considered the Bible of healthy raw dog nutrition.

Monitor Weight And Health

A dog’s weight and gut health are essential indicators of their health, and you need to track them when switching to a new diet (i.e., BARF diet). If your Labrador weight increases or decreases rapidly, it might be due to food-related health issues. A healthy gut can confirm a smooth transition to your dog’s new diet, among other health issues. However, identifying a healthy gut is not an easy task. Fortunately, an at-home dog gut health test can provide insights into your dog’s gut health. Skin or coat issues, excessive tiredness, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, and obesity can be caused by unbalanced and insufficient meal plans. If you detect any of these symptoms while feeding your Lab meals, stop doing it immediately and seek expert advice.

Raw Diet For Labradors — Conclusion & Alternatives

best dog food for labrador retrievers

In conclusion, deciding whether to feed your Labrador a raw diet involves carefully considering various factors, including your ability to prepare the diet safely and your dog’s individual health needs. While raw diets have gained popularity and can offer certain benefits, they aren’t suitable for every Labrador, especially those with specific allergies or sensitivities. It’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your Labrador.

Remember, the best diet for your Labrador meets their unique nutritional requirements: a carefully balanced raw diet, high-quality dog food for Labradors, homemade food for Labradors, or even vegan dog food. Our guide aims to provide you with the knowledge and tools to make the best choice for your furry friend. The most important thing is ensuring your Labrador is happy, healthy, and thriving on whichever diet you choose.


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Sources

Canine Bible uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process and product review methodology to learn more about how we fact-check, test products, and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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Editorial Team at Canine Bible

Canine Bible authorship represents the unified voice of our entire editorial team and our in-house veterinarians rather than a single author. Each article, blog post, and review published under the Canine Bible name undergoes a rigorous review process, involving all team members to guarantee accuracy and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research. This collaborative effort is an integral part of our editorial process and aligns with our four pillars of content creation. This approach ensures our content is backed by expert knowledge and factual information, offering our readers reliable, actionable, and trustworthy content.

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