Hello there! We have a 4 month old labrador retriever. When we adopted him from the Kennel the women who has been raising Lab's informed us to start with a IAMS Puppy food until the bag was done then to switch to Eukanuba Adult dog food. She explained that this particular dog food has the right amount of Protein and Calcium for Lab's joints. We feed him a cup of dog food3 times a day (which was recommended by our Vet), so here is my two questions.
1. Our dog eats super fast even with a slow feeder puzzle bowl, right after he wants to eat leaves and anything he sees on the floor. Am I under or over feeding him?
2. The dog food are so tiny and it seems like he doesn't even chew it, it seems he swallows whole. He threw up a couple of times and it was all solid pieces of his food, should I stay with this brand or should I get something different and if so any suggestions of a particular dog food?
Labs are basically always hungry, that's why it's so bad when people free feed them. They'll just eat and eat and eat.
Dogfoodadvisor is a good place to look for foods. If he's doing well on the Iams/Eukanuba, you can leave him on it if it works for you. However, there are definitely lots of foods out there that are regarded as 'higher quality'. While he is a puppy, you'll want to stick with an All life stages or Puppy food - these will have the right amount of nutrients for growth. Labs are large breed dogs but not giants, so while calcium and phosphorus ratios should be taken into consideration, it's not as essential as it is with giant breeds. When he is an adult, you may want to look for high fiber foods, or low-calorie foods that he can eat more of at a time with the same amount of calories so he feels fuller.
Adding some cooked green beans (no salt added, in water) can help him feel fuller without adding much in terms of calories. I also find that adding water to the food helps my dog feel fuller.
You want to be able to easily feel all of his ribs, and see the last one or two of them (depending on his coat, sometimes they aren't visible even when a dog is in good condition). As long as he isn't super skinny, you're feeding him the right amount, he's just a hungry guy. The leaner the better when they are young.
I remember reading about some dog food taste tests years ago and they mentioned that they couldn't use labs or beagles because they would just eat everything and anything indiscriminately in the order they encountered it. I've had both and I have no trouble believing that.
One of the best things you can do for your lab's future health - especially joint health - is to keep him on the lean side.
Read the reviews on dogfoodadvisor, make a list of the better foods, then visit your supplier and check on availability and price. Feed stores - the places that carry food for horses and chickens and all sorts of domestic animals - tend to have a better selection than the national pet stores.
If you make a switch, do it gradually by increasing the ratio of new food to old. For some dogs, a sudden change is jarring to the system and you might be rewarded with some combination of vomiting and diarrhea. For some reason, that usually happens at 3 a.m.
1. Lab puppies tend to be vacuum cleaners. Finishing their meals in seconds, and wanting to eat and/or chew on everything they see is normal.
2. Inhaling food and hacking it back up is also fairly normal. You might want to try a toy like a Kong Wobbler, which dispenses the food a few kibbles at a time, if you are worried about him choking.
As for the food itself, it's best to keep them on what the breeder was feeding for a while, even if you personally think it's a poor quality food. Dog Food Advisor is a good place to start comparing foods. I'm personally comfortable with a three start or better rating, but just because a food is highly rated doesn't mean it's the right food for your dog. The best food for your dog is one they do well on, like to eat, and that you can afford to feed.
As to the specific brands you mentioned, I've fed both of them in the past, and have had dogs do well on them.