5 Best Dog Foods For Labradoodles
Labradoodles are one of the most popular crossbreed or designer dogs.
They are a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever.
The Poodle parent can be a Miniature Poodle, a Toy Poodle, or a Standard Poodle so a Labradoodle comes in a range of sizes.
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Both Poodles and Labradors are exceptionally intelligent breeds so Labradoodles are usually very smart dogs.
Many people like the Labradoodle in the belief that they are “hypoallergenic” or non-shedding because of their Poodle heritage but this is not always true.
Labradoodles can have wiry, soft, straight, wavy, or curly coats.
Some are low-shedding but some of them do shed. In Australia, Labradoodles are being bred to create a breed that will consistently breed “true to type.”
However, in other countries, Labradoodles can vary widely in appearance. In general, Labradoodles are friendly, energetic, and make good family dogs.
Feeding a Labradoodle can be tricky because of their range of sizes but we can help you choose the best dog foods for Labradoodles.
We try to follow the recommendations of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association when selecting the best dog foods for Labradoodles. We look for foods that meet the following criteria as much as possible:
- Foods that are AAFCO-approved, preferably with food trials.
- Nutritional research and testing is paramount.
- We prefer dog foods that are formulated by staffs of veterinary nutritionists.
- Good quality control is essential.
- A food’s nutrition is more important than ingredients that sound appealing to a dog’s owner. Marketing should not be the deciding factor in the food you buy for your dog.
We also take into consideration the recent warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about a possible link between grain free dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. This investigation is ongoing. It has now been expanded to include exotic meats used in dog foods.
You can read the latest research in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
At this time, we suggest that you feed your dog a food that is grain-inclusive (not grain free) unless your veterinarian recommends a grain free dog food for health reasons.
If your dog is diagnosed with a specific health problem, such as a food allergy or food sensitivity, please work with your veterinarian to select the right food for your dog.
For these reasons, we are not recommending many of the most popular dog foods today which are often grain free foods.
However, we are recommending what we think are the best dog foods for Labradoodles.
These dog foods are nutritious, formulated by veterinary nutritionists, produced with strict quality control, and backed by sound nutritional research.
What kind of diet should you feed your Labradoodle?
Most Labradoodles should be able to eat a normal diet for dogs. Most dogs require similar nutrients in their diet.
While dogs are not obligate carnivores, like cats, they still require plenty of protein in their daily diet, and meat protein is preferable to plant protein.
Your adult dog needs a minimum of 18 percent protein for daily maintenance.
Pregnant/nursing dogs and puppies need a minimum of 22 percent protein. Most dog foods today have higher protein percentages than these figures. This doesn’t mean that your dog needs enormous protein percentages.
Many grain free dog foods have huge protein percentages but much of the protein comes from plant sources such as peas, legumes, and lentils – the ingredients that the FDA is investigating because they may be linked to dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.
We recommend, instead, that you feed your Labradoodle a food with a more moderate protein percentage that relies mostly on meat protein. Most dogs, such as Labradoodles, will do well eating a food with a protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent.
Fat is essential to your dog’s diet. It provides energy; fatty acids that are essential for your dog’s skin, coat, and for the development of organs; and they make food taste more appealing to your dog.
If you’re not sure about the taste, try feeding your dog a food with reduced fat and you’ll likely find out how much he appreciates the taste of fat in his food.
Adult dogs need a minimum of 5 percent fat in their diet. Pregnant/nursing dogs and puppies need at least 8 percent fat per day. Practically all dog foods have much higher fat percentages than these figures.
We suggest a fat percentage of about 12-16 percent for most dogs such as Labradoodles. If your dog is overweight and needs to lose weight, you can aim for the lower end of this spectrum but don’t cut fat out of your dog’s diet drastically or try to make him lose weight quickly.
Your dog will notice the difference and he won’t be happy about it. Any weight loss should be done slowly, along with exercise.
If your dog is extremely active and the two of you engage in activities such as agility or sports like hunting, you can feed a food with a slightly higher fat percentage. Many performance dog foods have a fat percentage of up to 20 percent.
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not filler ingredients or empty calories. Carbs often get a bad reputation because humans try to avoid them but they are good for your dog.
They provide your dog with energy, fiber, and nutrients. Simple sugars and starches keep your dog’s brain functioning.
Fiber helps regulate your dog’s gastrointestinal system. And complex carbohydrates help keep your dog’s glucose levels steady and avoid blood sugar spikes.
They keep your dog from feeling hungry all the time.
Fiber can be soluble or insoluble and your Labradoodle needs both.
Soluble fiber can be found in chicory, inulin, and beet pulp, which are common dog food ingredients.
This kind of fiber will attract water and help turn your dog’s stomach contents to a gel, usually slowing the digestive process.
Insoluble fiber isn’t digested. Instead, it adds bulk to your dog’s digestive matter and speeds digestion.Most kibbles have between 3 and 6 percent fiber. If your Labradoodle is having loose stools, it’s possible that the food may have too much fiber for his digestive system.
You can try switching to a food that has less fiber.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Your Labradoodle usually needs probiotics and prebiotics for good digestion. Prebiotics are “good” bacteria that help your dog’s gastrointestinal system develop the kind of organisms necessary to digest food. Prebiotics are a dietary fiber.
You will often see them added to dog foods in the form of chicory or inulin. Probiotics are living microorganisms are are added to dog foods (sometimes after cooking) so they can “colonize” your dog’s digestive system with millions of good bacteria.
When they are established in your dog’s intestinal tract, they can improve your dog’s digestion.
It’s estimated that 70 percent of your dog’s immune system is located in his gastrointestinal system so prebiotics and probiotics can play an important role in your dog’s health.
Vitamins and minerals
Dog foods are cooked at tremendously high temperatures. Some of the food’s vitamins and minerals are lost at these temperatures.
For this reason, dog food companies usually add vitamins and minerals back into the food later to make sure the food meets all of the nutritional requirements.
What to look for when choosing the best dog foods for Labradoodles
We recommend looking for the following when choosing the best dog foods for Labradoodles:
- Look for a good quality kibble that is grain-inclusive;
- We recommend a food with a protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent;
- Choose a food with a fat percentage between 12 and 15 percent;
- Most dog foods have a fiber percentage between 3 and 6 percent; this is appropriate for most dogs;
- Feed a grain-inclusive dog food unless your veterinarian recommends a different food for a diagnosed health problem.
If your dog has a health problem, please talk to your veterinarian and take his or her advice about what to feed your dog.
There are cases where your veterinarian might recommend a grain free dog food if your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity, or another health problem that makes it difficult for him to eat a food with grains. But do, please, talk to your veterinarian.
Special considerations for feeding a Labradoodle
Both Labrador Retrievers and Poodles can have some joint problems such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia.
These problems can lead to arthritis and other health issues later in life. These joint issues can be passed along to their Labradoodle offspring.
This may be more likely to occur with larger Labradoodles, such as dogs from Labrador x Standard Poodle crosses. Some Labradoodles, regardless of the Poodle parent, can be quite large.
If you have a large Labradoodle puppy, whether it’s from a Standard Poodle cross or not, we suggest that you proceed as though you are feeding a large breed puppy. Choose large breed puppy foods that are designed to discourage rapid growth.
For adult Labradoodles that are larger in size, we suggest feeding a large breed dog food that is formulated for dogs that can develop joint problems.
If you have a small or medium-sized Labradoodle, it’s not necessary to feed this kind of food but you should watch for any signs of hip or elbow dysplasia or other joint problems throughout your dog’s life.
Talk to your veterinarian if you notice any signs of arthritis or problems with mobility as your dog gets older.
How much should you feed your Labradoodle?
Because they can have a Miniature, Toy, or Standard Poodle parent, Labradoodles can come in a range of sizes.
As puppies, their growth can vary. An adult Labradoodle with a Standard Poodle parent can weigh between 45-65 pounds.
A dog with a Miniature or Toy Poodle parent may weigh between 30 and 45 pounds. Your Labradoodle puppy’s size will depend on the size of his parents.
- If your three-month-old Labradoodle weighs 15 pounds, he would need about 886 calories per day.
- If your six-month-old Labradoodle weighs 30 pounds, he would need about 993 calories per day.
- And, when your Labradoodle is a year old, he could weigh about 50 pounds. At this age and weight, he would need about 1312 calories per day.
Remember that the Labradoodle is a crossbreed so it’s always a guess about how much a puppy or adult dog will weigh.
We couldn’t find any growth charts for Labradoodles that covered their entire growth period so this information is taken from message boards and owners that have Labradoodle puppies.
If your puppy is larger or smaller, you will need to adjust his portions.
5 Best Dog Foods for Labradoodles Reviewed
Labradoodles are smart, funny, friendly, and they make wonderful family pets.
Some of them are low-shedding but they can have different kinds of coat so talk to the breeder about coat type, especially if you have to have a dog that doesn’t shed.
Many people love these dogs and they are one of the most popular designer dogs.
We recommend that you feed larger Labradoodle puppies a puppy food made for large breed dogs to lessen the chance of joint problems later in life.
Otherwise, we don’t think you will have too many problems choosing the best dog foods for Labradoodles.