Labradors are friendly, playful, and energetic, we know all that and those are the reasons we love them too. But, we also know that Labrador retrievers tend to eat more, even after a full stomach. Generous treats by loving parents and the presence of the POMC gene in Labrador’s DNA contribute to their weight issues and obesity.

Thus, it is of utmost importance to establish healthy eating and snacking habits in your Labrador Retrievers. Unfortunately, pet parents lack detailed knowledge of what foods will suit their Labs the most. It is true that giving them scraps off the table is absolutely not healthy for them, and so are certain human foods that must never be given to them. Along with certain special dog foods, many other human foods can also be offered to Labs so as to prepare a wholesome diet for them.

What food a Labrador can eat?

Humans have been petting dogs for centuries now. It has only been a few decades that dog food companies have cropped up and shelves at supermarkets are stuffed with a variety of dog foods. Ever wondered what dogs ate before that!? Below are some healthy natural foods that a Labrador can eat as a part of a meal or as treats:

Fruits

Labrador Dogs can eat many fruits in moderate quantities. Fruits are loaded with many essential nutrients and fiber. However, small bite sized pieces from which seeds have been removed should be given to Labrador dogs and puppies.

Apples

You can give apples to Labradors in moderation, in small pieces without seeds. Apples are packed with vitamins A and C, calcium, as well as fiber. It has antioxidants that keep many illnesses at bay and keep the heart healthy. All in all, the nutrients found in apples are helpful in aiding in healthy bones and internal organs of your dog. Apples are also helpful as natural teeth cleaner for dogs.

Bananas

You can give bananas to Labradors for their high vitamin content. For its high sugar content, it is always suggested to give bananas in moderation to dogs. It can be a good snack, or a replacement to treats, but it should not be a part of the daily meal. Bananas have low sodium levels and high potassium levels, thus, always better than those treats you purchase. Also, it has vitamin C and B6, and a good amount of fiber. It can help in GI issues and aid in digestion.

Mangoes

Mangos, the king of fruits, are not only tasty, but are loaded with essential vitamins, potassium, carotenoids, and minerals. You can give mangoes to Labradors in moderation, essentially as a snack, because of its high sugar content. Also, never give the mango seed pit because it cannot be digested and can cause internal blockages. Likewise, mango pit can also be toxic for dogs.

Oranges

Juicy oranges can make anyone drool. Most dogs do not like citrus fruits and will not eat them. You can try introducing oranges to your dog in small quantities to see their reaction and any side effects of the acidic nature of the fruit. You can give oranges to Labradors because they contain several vitamins, and are naturally loaded with vitamin C.

Pears

Pears also contain vitamin C, an essential nutrient to boost the immune system and maintain the bone health. Additionally, pears contain vitamin K, which aids in formation of blood clots in case of an injury. Pears also offer moderate quantities of iron, fiber, and copper. Like apples, pears have seeds with traces of a toxic substance called, cyanide. Therefore, give pears to your Labradors in small pieces after removing the seeds.

Pineapple

You can give pineapples to your dogs in moderation. Though they are a wonderful powerhouse of several essential nutrients, they are also high in acidic content. It can be given on an as need basis. For example, a dog with acidity problems should not be given pineapples. However, a healthy dog may be sometimes fed pineapples to aid in the digestive process. Moreover, they are high in sugar content and a diabetic dog cannot best derive its benefits.

Pineapples are packed with zinc, folate, and several vitamins and minerals. Its high water content means it has hydration properties. Pineapples can keep a dog healthy because they contain antioxidants and vitamin C. Pineapples contain vitamin B6, which is essential to maintain normal brain functions and protein building.

You must not give the skin of pineapples, but the flesh part. Dice them in small bite-sized pieces and then offer it to your dog. Try to avoid those canned, preserved pineapples chunks as they contain high amount of sugar.

Strawberries

These little berries do not only look good, but also contain vitamins C, K, and E. They have iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. A small wonder fruit, strawberry can be a delicious snack for your Labrador. Various researches have concluded that strawberries can help the body in fighting cancer, bringing blood pressure to a normal level, and even controlling bad cholesterol.

Watermelon

A juicy watermelon can be an instant refreshment on a hot sunny day. Watermelons are made up of water (92%) while also containing vitamins like A, B6, and C. Give your Labrador a slice without the peel and seeds to help them beat the heat. It is advisable to give it in moderation to older Labradors who are at a higher risk of diabetes.

Peanut butter

Avoid giving dogs peanut butter with added sugar or sweeteners. Xylitol, a sweetener commonly found in packaged food is toxic for both dogs and cats. You can give unsweetened and unsalted peanut butter in moderation. One interesting way to give it is adding a dollop in their kong toy. Peanut butter is rich in Vitamins E and B, healthy fat, and protein.

Popcorn

Who does not like crunchy and chewy popcorn! While we humans have unlimited flavors and addons for our popcorn treats, our furry friends may not be at that advantageous disposition. IF you want to give popcorn to dogs, keep it moderate in quantity, without sugar, salt, or butter, and fully popped. In fact, it can be nutritional treat option for them if given with proper care. Popcorn are termed healthy for their natural content of zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Dairy Products

Milk is one of the favorite foods that we like to give to our dogs. Though small quantities of milk and milk products are safe for Labradors, too much of dairy can cause stomach troubles. Dogs’ digestive systems cannot easily break down the milk and its substitutes and may develop intolerance to it. If your Labrador starts having loose motions and/or vomiting after having any milk product, it is a sign of lactose intolerance. Consult your vet to understand this issue and to make amends in the diet of your Labrador.

Fish

Fish is considered to be a good source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. You can offer your Labrador tuna, shrimp, and salmon.
Salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep a dog’s immune system, coat, and skin healthy. Remember that you must give properly cooked fish without the bone.

Chicken

Boiled chicken pieces or chicken broth, both are a good diet idea for your Labrador. Chicken enhances the immunity of the dog and forms an important part of their diet. It is a good source of protein and Omega-6. Cook the chicken well and do not garnish the chicken with any salt, spices, ginger, or garlic. Give boneless chicken to dogs, specially puppies.

Pork

Some dogs may not be able to easily digest pork because of its higher fat proportion. It is advisable to give them pork in small to moderate quantity. Give them pork pieces that are properly cooked without any salt, sugar or spices. Uncooked pork may cause pancreatitis or internal inflammation in dogs.

Turkey

Just like pork, if you want to give turkey to your dog, you can give it in small quantities. It should be properly cooked without any salt, sugar, spices. Turkey contains protein and fat in abundance. So, it is important to give it basis the dietary needs, or after removing excess fat.

Important:

Pet parents must note that that they should never give grapes, nuts, seeds, onions, garlic, or chocolates to their dogs. All these foods can prove to be toxic to animals. You can get a longer list of human foods tha dogs can eat, here.