How to Make Homemade Dog Food for Labradors

How to Make Homemade Dog Food for Labradors

Labrador Retrievers sure can eat, and a homemade diet should keep their joints healthy and nourish their thick, waterproof coat. Learn how to make a great meal at home for your beloved pet.

Labrador retrievers are intelligent, gentle dogs who love their food. Eukanuba Breed Specific dog food for Labradors is ideal dog food for grown-up labrador retrievers.

Labrador retrievers love their food. Currently the most popular breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club's registration statistics, the Lab is a gentle, intelligent, and family-friendly dog. However, they can manipulate their owner into providing extra portions and frequent dog treats and need a healthy diet and exercise to avoid obesity. A homemade diet should include the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep the dog's joints healthy, promote the growth of a sturdy frame to carry their muscle weight, and nourish their thick, waterproof coat. However, Wellness Core dog food is an exception when considering a healthy diet for big breeds like labradors.

Step 1

Cook food for your Labrador retriever that contains a suitable combination of foods. A healthy diet should include approximately 50 percent animal protein, 30 percent complex carbohydrates, and 20 percent fruit and vegetables. For example, combine 1 pound of lean meat with approximately 9.5 ounces of carbohydrates and 7.5 ounces of fruits and vegetables to make 2 pounds of food. Mix everything with just enough water to swell any rice, barley, or quinoa to avoid discarding the excess liquid containing essential nutrients. However, if you feel tired of cooking around so many ingredients, you can opt for this Rachael Ray Nutrish dog food, which includes chicken, brown rice, fruits, and veggies in advised proportions and fit for your dog.

Step 2

Choose protein such as human-quality meat, fish, and poultry. Include muscle meat, a small percentage of rich organ meats such as liver, heart, and kidneys, and fish that are high in omega-3 oils, such as salmon. However, you can also use salmon oil for dogs to substitute salmon in food. Suitable dairy products include low-fat, natural yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs.

Step 3

Select complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potato, and include vegetables and fruits such as green beans, carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower, apples, and pears. Processed foods from Natural Balance Delectable Delights are also a good option to add to your pet's diet, as it includes tuna, turkey, sweet potato, and green beans. Avoid corn, which is difficult for dogs to digest and contributes to weight gain. For older Labs with conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, avoid grains altogether.

Step 4

Add vitamins and minerals to the food. For example, adult Labrador retrievers need between 800 and 1,000 mg of calcium daily to support and maintain bone strength. Make your calcium supplement using ground eggshells by drying them overnight in the oven and then grinding them in a coffee grinder.

Step 5

Ask your veterinarian to evaluate your Lab's diet regularly to ensure that you feed sufficient quantities of essential nutrients. For example, young Labs need phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and iron in addition to calcium, while adults with joint problems may need home-cooked pet food that includes glucosamine and chondroitin. 

Step 6

Avoid raisins, grapes, and macadamia nuts, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested regularly, according to veterinarian Sarah Abood of the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Also, never feed your dog anything that contains chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, avocados, yeasty dough, onions, garlic, chives, salt, or milk products. Finally, cook all meat, eggs, or bones before feeding it to your Lab, as raw meat can contain bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.

Step 7

Include a spoonful of vegetable, flaxseed, or olive oil in each home-cooked fresh dog food for your adult Lab. The oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for the healthy condition of the breed's thick, waterproof coat. Use only fresh oil, as oils kept too long or exposed to air can turn rancid.

Things Needed:

  • A pot
  • Protein - meat, fish, or poultry
  • Cottage cheese or yogurt
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Vegetable oil

Are you wondering what you would do if you had a smaller breed like Lhasa Apso? Well, we have got you covered. Below you can find the details for the same.

Homemade Baked Dry Dog Food for a Lhasa Apso

Many fillers, such as excessive grains, goes into many dog food brands. That filler has little nutritional value for your Lhasa apso. Baking your dry dog food enables you to know what food your dog is eating and will probably save you a bit of money. If you're feeding your Lhasa apso homemade food only, you must get it tested to ensure it meets the minimum nutritional requirements to keep your dog healthy.

Basic Ingredients

The essential ingredients remain the same regardless of what meat and vegetables you add to your dog's food. They consist of flour, eggs, powdered milk, oil, and water. Each ingredient's amount depends on how many cups of food you wish to make. To keep food fresh, make enough for about two weeks' worth of feeding. According to, Lhasa apsos eat about one cup of food per day. To make 14 cups of dry homemade food for dogs, use about 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup powdered milk, two eggs, 2 cups of water, and two tablespoons of oil. If the end mixture is too soupy, add flour or cornstarch.


The American Feed Control Officials have set 18 percent as the minimum protein requirement that adult Lhasa apso needs in their diet. If your Lhasa apso is a puppy, that number increases to 28 percent. Protein comes from milk, eggs, and meat. To achieve 18 percent protein in 14 cups of food, add about two cups of meat, such as fish, chicken, or beef. For a non-meat treat, add peanut butter as the protein. Find out what your dog likes best by incorporating different meat each time you make the food. Always cook and puree the meat. To puree the meat, cook the meat in a slow cooker. Remove once it's cooked through and place it into a blender. Take the juices from the slow cooker and pour them into the blender and press the "puree" button until the end product appears finely chopped.


Most dry dog foods have 40 to 55 percent carbohydrates. To achieve a percentage of about 40 percent carbohydrates, add 3 to 3 1/2 cups of vegetables, such as corn, peas, and sweet potatoes. Cook all vegetables and puree them just as you would with the meat. To puree vegetables, cook them through and add them to a blender. Add two teaspoons of water and hit the "puree" button. If your Lhasa apso is having difficulty digesting, substitute pumpkin for one of the vegetables.


Once the ingredients are ready, mix them and pour them onto a cookie sheet. Make sure the mixture is smooth throughout. Fourteen cups of food should cook thoroughly after 35 minutes at 300 degrees. As oven times can vary for different ovens, check the food every 10 minutes to ensure it doesn't overcook. Once the food is done, you may break it into various sizes and shapes after it cools. The smaller the kibble size, the better it is for your Lhasa apso. Because Lhasa apsos have long hair, it's sometimes challenging to maintain their shiny coats. Add about a tablespoon of flaxseed or fish oil to their food daily to prevent damage to their coats.

Guaranteed Analysis

Without the minimum nutrients in their food, such as protein and carbohydrates, your Lhasa apso will not lead a healthy life and may develop medical complications. Therefore, you must have your food tested to get a guaranteed analysis if you wish to use home-cooked dog food as your dog's primary source of nutrition. To receive a guaranteed analysis, send a sample of your dog's food to a lab. Your state's department of agriculture can tell you which labs accept samples. A fee is required for each sample, which varies for each state and Lab.

The minimum amount of nutrition your dog food must contain is the following: 18 percent protein, 9 to 15 percent fat, and 6 percent moisture. The guaranteed analysis will also include fiber, which should be no more than 4 to 5 percent. The carbohydrate percentage is not listed in the guaranteed analysis. However, adding between 3 and 4 cups of vegetables should easily reach 40 percent carbohydrates.

Ingredients to Avoid

Never add the following ingredients to your dog's food: grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, and garlic. Those ingredients can be harmful and fatal even if eaten in small amounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make homemade dog food for Labradors?

To make homemade dog food for Labradors, you will need to gather ingredients that are appropriate for the breed's dietary needs. This typically includes lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, or turkey, as well as carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potatoes. You will also need to include vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and green beans, and you may also want to add in a source of healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado. Once you have your ingredients, you will need to cook them and then mix them together in the appropriate proportions for your dog's size and activity level. It is also important to consult with a veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog's diet, especially if your dog has any health conditions.

What home food can I feed my Labrador?

You can feed your Labrador a variety of healthy, homemade food options. Some good protein sources include chicken, fish, turkey, beef, and eggs. Carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes are also good choices. Vegetables such as carrots, green beans, broccoli, and spinach are also a healthy addition to your dog's diet. You can also add healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado to their diet.

How much homemade dog food should I feed my Labrador?

The amount of homemade dog food you should feed your Labrador will depend on several factors, including their age, weight, activity level, and any health conditions they may have. In general, a healthy adult Labrador will require about 2 to 3 cups of food per day, split into two meals. However, it's important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of food for your specific dog. They can take into account your dog's unique needs and make recommendations based on their weight, activity level, and any health conditions they may have. It's also important to monitor your dog's weight and adjust the amount of food accordingly, if necessary.

What are the essential ingredients for homemade dog food?

The essential ingredients for homemade dog food include a source of high-quality protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Proteins are the most important ingredient in homemade dog food, as it provides the necessary building blocks for the growth and repair of your dog's muscles, organs, and tissues. Good protein sources include lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish, and beef, as well as eggs. Carbohydrates provide your dog with energy and are an important source of fiber. Good carbohydrate sources include whole grains such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa, as well as vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Healthy fats are an important source of energy for dogs and are necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil. Homemade dog food should also include a balanced ratio of essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. These can be added by using a supplement formulated for canines or by adding ingredients that are rich in these nutrients, such as eggs, fish, and leafy greens.

Do dogs live longer with homemade dog food?

There is no scientific evidence that suggests that dogs will live longer on a homemade diet. However, a homemade diet can be a healthy and nutritious option for dogs as long as it is balanced and complete, providing all the necessary nutrients for your dog's well-being. Homemade dog food can be beneficial for dogs with certain health conditions or food allergies. It also allows you to have more control over the ingredients and their quality. It's also important to keep in mind that there are other factors that can affect a dog's lifespan, such as genetics, environment, and overall health care. Feeding your dog a well-balanced homemade or commercial diet is important, but it's not the only factor that will determine the dog's lifespan.

More on Homemade and Natural Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food for Your Pet
Homemade Dog Food for Earth-Friendly Dogs
Diets for Dogs: What You Need to Know
Dog Treat Recipes
Natural Dog Food

References & Resources High Protein Foods for Dogs
PetMD: Raw Dog Food - Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks
Getting to Know Labradors: A Guide to Choosing and Owning a Labrador Retriever; Cathy Lambert
American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Labrador Retriever
Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide To Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, 3RD Edition; Richard H Pitcairn
Whole Dog Journal: Home-Prepared Cooked Dog Food Diets
WebMD Healthy Dogs: Homemade Dog Food
WebMD Healthy Dogs: Dog Nutrition for a Healthy Coat

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Labrador Retriever Facts

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