7 Best Foods to Feed an Adult and Puppy Labradoodle with Feeding Guide

Labradoodles were one of the first “doodles.” A cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle, they were intentionally bred, at least in the beginning, to be a guide dog for the blind. It was hoped that they would be non-shedding for people who are allergic to dogs. Like their parent breeds, Labradoodles are very smart and easy to train. Not all Labradoodles are non-shedding. Three coat types are possible so dogs can vary in appearance, even if they come from the same litter. Labradoodles make wonderful pets. They’re sweet, gentle, and usually great family dogs. They are active and they do require plenty of daily exercise.

What to look for in a good Labradoodle food

Labradoodles can vary in size depending on the size of the Poodle parent. They can be up to about 24 inches tall at the shoulder. Their weight can range from about 16 to 65 pounds. Most Labradoodles are crosses between a Labradoodle and either a Miniature or a Standard Poodle. You will have a better idea of how big your Labradoodle will grow to be by talking to the breeder, though there can still be some differences between individual puppies in a litter.

Whatever size your Labradoodle is as an adult, you should expect him to be active. He will need regular daily exercise. You should be able to feed your Labradoodle most good quality kibbles without needing a special diet. If your dog has a health issue, talk to your veterinarian about the kind of food your dog might need. You can also feed your Labradoodle canned/wet food though this can become expensive if you have a larger dog. Fresh and freeze-dried or frozen foods are also an option that some owners like.

Most Labradoodles fall in the medium to large size range. If your Labradoodle is very small (16-20 pounds), you may want to buy a food formulated for small breed dogs. Small dogs burn up a lot of energy and these foods have more calories and nutrients per ounce than regular dog foods. Labradoodles that weigh between 20 and 45 pounds should do well eating foods that don’t have a size designation. And, if your Labradoodle weighs more than 45-50 pounds, you may want to consider buying a food formulated for large breed dogs. These foods usually have added supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin which are supposed to be good for the joints of larger dogs.

Here are some things to look for in a good dog food for your Labradoodle:

Protein

Labradoodles need good sources of meat protein. When you’re considering which food to buy, check the ingredients to see what kind of protein is used. Good quality dog foods will typically have two or three meat or animal proteins in the first several ingredients. Meat, fish, and eggs are all good sources of animal protein for your dog. Some foods today use a lot of plant protein as a substitute for meat protein. This can make the protein percentage look higher but dogs are not able to use plant protein (various forms of corn, peas, lentils) as well as meat protein.

Fat

Dogs use fat as a source of energy. It’s also necessary for some fat-soluble vitamins. Look for named fats and avoid generic fats. For example, “chicken fat” is a better choice than “animal fat.” Named fish oils (such as salmon oil) are better than plant oils.

Carbohydrates

Despite what you may have read or heard, dogs can digest carbohydrates (starches) and they can provide some benefits to your dog’s diet. For example, carbs can keep your dog from being hungry again right after eating a meal. Fiber is a carbohydrate and dietary fiber such as chicory, inulin, oats, barley, and beet pulp (to name a few) are good for your dog’s digestion in small amounts. So, there’s no need to completely banish carbs from your dog’s diet. On the other hand, dog foods that have LOTS of carbohydrates are not good for your dog. Some dog foods can contain 40 percent or more carbohydrates. Dog foods that are very high in carbohydrates are usually lower in protein. Your dog may feel full after eating but he’s not getting as much good quality protein as he needs for optimal health. We recommend looking for foods that have low to moderate carb levels so the food won’t be full of filler ingredients and empty calories. If you really want to avoid carbohydrates you can choose wet/canned foods. These foods are usually very low in carbs. Some of them have zero carbohydrates.

Grains or grain-free?

Grain free dog foods have been very popular for the last few years but many veterinary nutritionists question the need for them. If your dog doesn’t have an allergy or sensitivity to corn, oats, or other grains, you probably don’t need to feed a grain free dog food. Even so, some people prefer grain free foods because many of these foods have good quality ingredients. We do recommend that you avoid dog foods that have a high percentage of grains or which use grains such as corn or wheat as a plant source of protein. Many lower quality foods use multiple sources of corn or wheat (ground yellow corn, corn, corn gluten meal, etc.) as a plant source of protein. This is called “splitting.” Added together, corn can become the single biggest ingredient in the food. You should avoid these foods. On the other hand, as a single ingredient among others in a list of ingredients on the label, there is nothing wrong with corn or other grains in a dog food. If grains don’t bother your dog, you can also consider a “low grain” food. These foods often use ancestral grains such as quinoa or less common grains/cereals such as oats and barley.

Artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, sweeteners

In general, you need to avoid all of these ingredients. Many of them have been linked to cancer in human studies. BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are preservatives to be avoided.

Labradoodle Feeding Guide

As we mentioned, Labradoodles can vary in size from small to large dogs as adults. We can generalize here for dogs in the medium-large size range in this feeding guide. If your dog is small or very large, you will need to tailor their calories as appropriate.

Grown Labradoodles that weigh 45-50 pounds need about 1200-1300 calories per day. As with all dogs, your dog’s calories will depend on a number of factors such as how much activity he gets, his age, and his individual metabolism. Two Labradoodles getting the same amount of exercise may need different amounts of calories/food. If your dog is spayed or neutered, he may need slightly fewer calories. If your dog is older, you may need to adjust his calories for weight loss or gain.

Labradoodle puppies, like all puppies, need plenty of calories so they can grow during their first year. A Labradoodle puppy that weighs 30 pounds between 4 and 12 months of age will need between 900 and 1000 calories per day.

Breeders generally recommend feeding a Labradoodle puppy 3-4 small meals per day for the first few months after you take your puppy home. As he grows, you can start feeding him three meals per day. By the time he’s a year old or considered an adult dog, you can feed him two meals per day. It’s recommended to feed adult dogs two meals per day.

You can use the feeding recommendations on the label of the food you buy as a starting point for how much to feed your Labradoodle but they are only a general guideline. These recommendations are prepared for all dogs so you may need to adjust the amount you feed your Labradoodle. You will need to pay attention to whether your dog is gaining or losing weight on the portions you are feeding and make changes as necessary. Puppies should be slim and active. With adult Labradoodles you should be able to feel – but not see – your dog’s ribs. If your dog is waddling or he huffs and puffs when he runs and plays, he’s probably overweight.

We recommend measuring the portions you feed your dog so you know how much he’s eating. Free feeding or leaving a bowl of food down all the time tends to lead to dogs becoming overweight or obese.

Best Value Food to Feed a Labradoodle

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes

Since Labradoodles do come in various sizes, our pick for the best value food is a food that you can feed to dogs of all sizes: American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain Free Dog Food. This is Chewy.com’s private label house brand. This American Journey food is high in protein and it has no corn, wheat, or soy. The first three ingredients are salmon, chicken meal, and turkey meal so it has lots of meat protein. Salmon and salmon oil are great sources of Omega-3 which keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. No glutens, artificial colors, or preservatives. This food has 430 kcal/cup. Good for dogs of all sizes and it’s sold at a very reasonable price. The 24-pound size is priced at $39.99; $35.99 on autoship. Chewy offers 30 percent off your first bag. If you’re not sure which food to try for your Labradoodle, we suggest giving American Journey a try. American Journey has several other recipes your dog might like.

3 Best Foods to Feed a Puppy Labradoodle

Labradoodle puppy food requirements are similar to feeding an adult dog with a couple of exceptions. Puppies need more calories while they are growing. They also need more protein. Look for puppy foods that have DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) since this compound has been shown to help with a puppy’s brain development. Good puppy foods will also have the right calcium and phosphorus ratio )(1.2 parts of calcium for each 1 part of phosphorous – 1.2:1).

Wellness Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe Dry

Make with small pieces of kibble so it’s easy for puppies to eat, Wellness Complete Puppy formula features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients so you know your puppy is getting good meat protein. Salmon provides Omega-3 to help nourish your puppy’s skin and coat. Also has DHA for healthy brain development. Added Taurine is good for the heart. No corn, wheat or soy. This formula has 450 kcal/cup. Chewy has the 30-pound bag for $53.19 or $50.53 with autoship.

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula with Chicken Limited Ingredient Diet Dry

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula with Chicken is a limited ingredient diet so you can feed it to puppies with sensitive digestion. It’s also great for any puppy. The first two ingredients are fresh chicken and menhaden fish meal. No corn, wheat, soy, or glutens. No antibiotics or hormones in these ingredients. The food has optimal levels of DHA and a special mix of probiotics for good digestion. This food has 520 kcal/cup so it’s dense in calories and nutrients. A little food goes a long way. Chewy has this Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula for $64.99 for a 24-pound bag or $61.74 with autoship.

Merrick Real Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry

This grain-free puppy formula from Merrick has deboned beef and lamb meal as the first two meat proteins. DHA supports healthy brain development. Merrick makes food in small batches in their kitchens in Texas for better quality control. No corn, wheat, soy, or glutens. Poultry-free. No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. This formula has 377 kcal/cup so it has slightly fewer calories than some other puppy foods if you have a puppy on the plump side. Chewy has this food for $59.99 for a 25-pound bag or 56.99 with autoship.

3 Best Foods to Feed an Adult Labradoodle

Since Labradoodles can range from small to large in size, we’ve selected foods that are suitable for dogs of all sizes. If you have a very small dog, you may want to look at foods made for small dogs. Likewise, if your Labradoodle is very large, he might do well eating a food made for large dogs. The foods here are good for most medium-sized dogs.

Castor & Pollux PRISTINE Grain-Free Wild-Caught Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe with Raw Bites Dry

If you like organic dog foods, you are probably familiar with Castor & Pollux. They have a new line of foods called PRISTINE. We like their PRISTINE Grain-Free Wild-Caught Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe with Raw Bites Dry Dog Food. This is a complete line of pet food made with responsibly-sourced ingredients. The wild-caught salmon is caught by a certified sustainable fishery. Real organic produce is grown without synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. The first ingredients in the wild-caught salmon recipe are salmon and lamb meal. This formula is grain-free and poultry-free with no corn, soy, wheat, or glutens; no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It has freeze-dried raw bites that your Labradoodle will love! It has 365 kcal/cup. Chewy has this dog special dog food for $73.67 for an 18-pound bag; or $69.99 with autoship.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry

Always popular, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Debone Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food is a good choice for Labradoodles. Featuring lots of meat protein, the first three ingredients are deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal. Made with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics, this is a nutrient-dense food so your dog is getting lots of good nutrition in each bite. No meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, glutens, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. This food has 421 kcal/cup. Chewy has this food for $62.99 for a 26-pound bag; or $59.84 with autoship.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry

Always a bestseller, Taste of the Wild dog foods are good grain free foods at a moderate price. The High Prairie formula features buffalo, lamb meal, and chicken meal as the first three ingredients. The formula also includes novel proteins such as bison and venison. No grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. A proprietary K9 strain probiotic helps your dog digest the food. This formula has 370 kcal/cup. Chewy has this food for $48.99 for a 30-pound bag; or $46.54 with autoship.

Conclusion

Labradoodles are cute, smart, and affectionate. They make wonderful family pets. Try some of the foods suggested here. We think you will like these foods. Most of these foods also have formulas for small dogs and larger dogs so if your Labradoodle is a little dog or a big one, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right food.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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