How long should Labradoodles eat puppy food? Labradoodles will reach their full size sometime between 10 and 16 months of age, depending on the size of the parents. Once your pet is 16 months old, it’s normally time to switch to adult dog food. But some dogs might benefit from staying on puppy food for a little longer. Today we’ll share tips for deciding when your Labradoodle puppy is at the right stage of their growth and development to benefit from adult dog food. And help you to make sure you are buying the right food for your dog’s age and stage.
How Long Should Labradoodles Eat Puppy Food?
Most Labradoodle puppies are ready for adult dog food around the age of 16 months. The dietary needs of growing puppies are different from that of adult dogs. For this reason, puppy foods are formulated specifically to support their rapidly developing bodies. Getting too much or not enough of certain nutrients can cause serious health problems and affect their development.
Labradoodle Puppy vs Adult Food
Labradoodle puppies need about twice as many calories relative to their body weight compared to an adult dog. They require more protein to support growing muscles and a different mineral balance for their rapidly developing bones.
Puppies also digest food and absorb nutrients differently. They haven’t developed the digestive enzymes that break down proteins and carbohydrates.
For all of these reasons, your Labradoodle puppy should not be fed adult dog food until he’s fully grown. Likewise, an adult dog should not eat puppy food. They contain too many calories for a full-grown Doodle and could lead to obesity or orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia.
Swapping Puppy Food for Adult Food
Once your Labradoodle has reached maturity, you can transition him to an adult formulated dog food. If you’re unsure when to make the switch, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. Do this transition gradually to reduce the chance of upsetting your Labradoodle’s stomach.
For the first two to three days, mix about 3/4 of the puppy food with 1/4 of the adult food. For the next few days, mix equal portions of each food. By day five or six, switch to 3/4 adult food and 1/4 puppy food. Finally, after several more days, serve only adult dog food.
How Much Should I Feed My Labradoodle Puppy?
The amount you should feed a Labradoodle puppy depends on their age, weight, genetics, and activity levels. Portion sizes also depend on the type of food and how nutrient- and calorie-dense it is.
Most commercial foods come with feeding recommendations on the label. Make sure to divide the total daily amount into multiple feedings spaced at regular intervals throughout the day. The recommended guidelines are a good place to start but monitor your dog’s weight during this crucial growth stage.
How Often Should I Feed My Labradoodle Puppy?
The smaller and younger your Labradoodle puppy is, the more often he needs to be fed. Puppies under three months are particularly at risk for hypoglycemia. Their blood sugar can drop to dangerously low levels if they don’t eat often enough at this young age.
Until they’re three months old, Labradoodle puppies should be eating four meals a day. From three to six months, this can be reduced to three meals, and this should continue until they’re at least six to eight months old. After this, you can change it to two meals. Remember, you’re still giving him the same amount of food but fewer portions.
How Long Should Labradoodles Eat Puppy Food If They’re Under Weight?
Underweight puppies can benefit from staying on puppy food for a little longer than average. But this decision should be made with your veterinarian’s advice, especially if they are approaching two years old. As there may be another underlying health issue contributing to their low weight.
Since the Labradoodle is a hybrid breed, it can be trickier knowing how big he’ll be as an adult, especially if he’s a first-generation mix. Most Labradoodles are a cross between the Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. But in some cases, the Poodle parent could be a Miniature or a Toy Poodle and will be considerably smaller.
The best way to determine if your Labradoodle puppy is the right weight is to run your hands down his sides. If the ribs are protruding, he may be too thin. On the other hand, if you can’t feel his ribs, he’s probably overweight. It’s a good idea to look to your veterinarian for guidance if you plan on changing your puppy’s diet.
Best Food for a Labradoodle Puppy
A Labradoodle puppy needs food that is high in protein and fat. Most people choose commercial dog food, but raw and homemade diets are becoming more popular.
Puppy nutrition requires a delicate balance. The benefit of feeding your Labradoodle a commercial food is they’re formulated with all of the nutrients your puppy needs in the right amounts and ratios.
If you decide to prepare meals, work with your veterinarian to ensure they contain everything a growing Labradoodle needs.
Feeding a Labradoodle Puppy Dry Food
Dry food or kibble is the most popular kind of commercial dog food. It’s convenient, inexpensive, keeps well, and there are numerous options. When choosing from the myriad choices available, select a high-quality formula made specifically for puppies.
Ingredients will vary, so it’s important to read the label. Choose a kibble that lists a quality meat protein as the first ingredient. Avoid brands that have large quantities of carbohydrates, such as cereals, corn, and soy, as well as any that contain artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors.
How Long Should Labradoodles Eat Puppy Food In Kibble Form?
Your puppy’s kibble will have a date on the packet for the age it’s recommended to be given until. This will differ a little between brands, but as a general rule for your Labradoodle around 16 months is the right age to switch. It’s the same guideline as for wet puppy food.
Feeding a Labradoodle Puppy Wet Food
While kibble is usually a better option for Labradoodle puppies, wet food does have some advantages. It contains more water content, and most dogs find it tastier than dry food, but it also costs more and doesn’t store as well.
There’s also an issue with wet food regarding your puppy’s dental health. Soft wet food won’t clean their teeth, which can cause plaque buildup and tooth decay over time.
Loose stool can also be the result of a wet food diet. It’s better to combine or alternate between kibble and wet food rather than giving your Labradoodle puppy wet food exclusively.
How Long Should Labradoodles Eat Puppy Food?
Labradoodle puppies require a diet formulated to support proper growth and meet their nutritional needs. Depending on the parentage, Labradoodles will reach maturity between 10 and 16 months. Once they are fully-grown adult dogs, they have different requirements and need adult dog food.
Find Out More About Feeding Your Labradoodle
- How to feed a Labradoodle
- Feeding your Labradoodle puppy
- 3 month old Labradoodle
- 6 month old Labradoodle
- 1 year old Labradoodle
References and Further Reading
- Weber et al. “Influence of age and body size on gastrointestinal transit time of radiopaque markers in healthy dogs.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2002.
- Riches-Tomei, JL. “Update on hip and elbow dysplasia schemes.” Veterinary Nursing Journal. 2011.
- Kiefer-Hecker et al. “Effects of low phosphorus supply on the availability of calcium and phosphorus, and musculoskeletal development of growing dogs of two different breeds.” Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. 2018.
- Daumas et al. “Evaluation of eight commercial dog diets.” Journal of Nutritional Science, December. 2014.
- Idowu et al., “Hypoglycemia in dogs: Causes, management, and diagnosis.” The Canadian Veterinary Journal, June. 2018.
- Watson, ADJ. “Diet and periodontal disease in dogs and cats.” Australian Veterinary Journal. 1994.