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Hi there. I'm new here so bare with me!

My husband and I separated a few months ago (we're back together now thankfully) and while we were apart he invested in a "puppy". I say "puppy" because he was 7 months old when my husband adopted him and he's a boxer/labrador mix...so he's huge. When I arrived home with our son the dog was hyper, peeing everywhere, and my husband couldn't get control on him because of how much he works. Now, two months later I finally have the dog somewhat under control (he is STILL a puppy and comes from an abusive family so it's been quite a challenge) but his eating habits are leaving much to be desired.

When I got here he was out of food so I picked up some Purina Puppy Chow for Large Breeds. At first he liked it, but he didn't eat much of it. Eventually his interest in it tapered and he was really only eating out of complete starvation because he really didn't like the food. I did some research and we decided to try Blue Wilderness but I couldn't find it in our area so I picked up some Purina One Grain Free (dog food, NOT puppy food). All of our friends said due to his size and the fact that he's now 9 months there really is no need for him to be on puppy chow. He LOVES this new food...but he's constantly acting like he's starving. For example, just last night he was sniffing around every corner, every inch of our house trying to find any tiny bit of food he could. Because of this he's picking up random things and eating them. We have a two year old so who knows what the dog is going to find at any given time. We do our best to pick up but some things do go unnoticed. We've had to restrict his diet because anything out of the norm gives him horrible diarrhea, hence the grain free he's now on. He eats probably close to 4 cups of the Purina One Grain Free every day and I'm hesitant to give him more than that since the recommended amount has a maximum of 3.5 cups. We are willing to invest in a better, higher quality dog food, but we aren't rich by any means so we really can't afford to be shopping around 20 different stores and having him try a new dog food every other day. Help!!!

Thanks in advance!
 

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Labs are notorious for eating anything and everything and massive quantities! My friend's lab found a way to open the cupboard and ate his whole bag of dog food.

I'm not a huge fan of Purina, I just don't think the quality is there. But, paging @KayWilson and @SueM who both have lab or lab-mixes and can weigh in on what food works best for them. :)
 

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No matter the food you feed, your dog is going to act hungry. It has both labrador and boxer in it. My lab mix, for instance, would eat until she physically couldn't anymore then vomit and continue on like the trooper she is.

I personally feed her a high protein diet that is calorie dense and therefore helps her feeling full without feeding a lot - I give Tessa 1 3/4 cup of Orijen kibble per day, divided between breakfast, training, and lunch and 3 pucks of freeze dried Orijen at dinner. If she were to acting hungry after that, and she usually does, she gets low call, no salt canned green beans and various other fruit and veggies as treats throughout the day.

Personally, Purina has a lot of "filler" ingredients to make a dog "feel" full but not all day feeling. My best analogy is it's like people and white rice, it does make you feel full at the time, but then you're hungry again 15 minutes later. That's why I've chosen a calorie dense/high protein food such as Orijen, I also rotate in Acana. If I was on a budget I would use Taste of the Wild. I'm not a fan of Blue, but that's just me

Now that being said, Labs eat. They'll eat garbage, they'll eat poop, they'll eat crumbs, they'll steal, they'll beg. They're foodies. The best solution aside from what I feed, is training. A tired dog is too tired to snack. Because Tessa eats so fast, all her kibble is served in a food dispensing toy. This does 2 things, slows her down to make sure she doesn't vomit/choke, and works her mind. I also exercise her a lot, both mental and physical - because, well....bored labs eat things, even non-edible things. She also has a solid "leave it" and "drop it".

That doesn't stop the scavenging altogether, she stole a steak just last week, but it makes her more manageable :)
 
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. Because of this he's picking up random things and eating them. We have a two year old so who knows what the dog is going to find at any given time. We do our best to pick up but some things do go unnoticed. We've had to restrict his diet because anything out of the norm gives him horrible diarrhea, hence the grain free he's now on. He eats probably close to 4 cups of the Purina One Grain Free every day and I'm hesitant to give him more than that since the recommended amount has a maximum of 3.5 cups. We are willing to invest in a better, higher quality dog food, but we aren't rich by any means so we really can't afford to be shopping around 20 different stores and having him try a new dog food every other day. Help!!!

Thanks in advance!
This is where there is a huge differences in food Orijen has way more protein which it the thing that will satisfy your hungry dog. I know labs are foodies but this will help. Also the fact that is it low glycemic, that means the blood sugar wont be going up and down to increase need for food.
You will also feed less food over all.
Orijen
Crude protein (min.) 38%
Crude fat (min.) 16%
Crude fiber (max.) 8%
LOW GLYCEMIC Is more filling and more satisfying.
Your puppy’s natural diet contains few carbohydrates. That’s why ORIJEN is potato-free and contains less than half the carbohydrates found in conventional puppy foods.

Purina grain free
Crude Protein (Min) 27.0%
Crude Fat (Min) 16.0%
Crude Fiber (Max) 5.0%
 

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i feed my lab acana light and fit only because he needs to lose the weight! the other lab my brothers will be fed correct amount and still get in the garage and eat the food in the food bin till he gets such bad stomachache he will poo and poo and vomit or just need to poo alot!
 

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@KayWilson is correct as in @Dawnben purina is full of fillers and not real meat, you want real meat and ingredients like this INGREDIENTS Chicken meal, deboned chicken, whole potato, steel-cut oats, peas, whole egg, deboned flounder, sun-cured alfalfa, chicken fat, oat flakes, chicken liver, chicken liver oil, herring oil, pea fiber, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary.

Thats the new zealand version of acana chicken and burbank though i hear they going totally grain free from @KayWilson but thats a good idea

orijen ingredients

Boneless chicken*, chicken meal, chicken liver*, whole herring*, boneless turkey*, turkey meal, turkey liver*, whole eggs*, boneless walleye*, whole salmon*, chicken heart*, chicken cartilage*, herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, yams*, pea fiber, chickpeas, pumpkin*, butternut squash*, spinach greens*, carrots*, Red Delicious apples*, Bartlett pears*, cranberries*, blueberries*, kelp, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, Enterococcus faecium.
 

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There is nothing wrong with feeding Purina if your dog does well on it. They at least produce a consistent product. I'm skeptical of grain-free diets because it seems like a marketing gimmick to me, but again, if the dog does well on it, then great! It's important for the dog's health that food be palatable enough that he'll consume the needed nutrients.

I would not be concerned about the feeding recommendations on the bag or about the dog's acting like he's starving. The feeding recommendations on the bag are just that - recommendations. Every dog is different, so just base the amount you give him on his body condition. There are bazillion of these charts out there: Body Condition Scoring Chart | Veterinary Medical Center

Every dog acts like he's starving. Well, okay. Maybe not every dog. But it's completely normal. It doesn't mean he's underfed, so you don't need to worry. :)

Nine months seems young for adult food to me. You might check with the vet on that one. The only reason I mention this is because if it is a large breed dog (sounds like it) the vet might want them to stay on a large breed puppy formula to make sure the Calcium levels aren't too high. From what I understand, there's some evidence to suggest that joint problems are more common in large breed dogs that get too much Ca before 1 year of age. I can check my sources on that, but, again, the vet would know best.
 

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When I got here he was out of food so I picked up some Purina Puppy Chow for Large Breeds. At first he liked it, but he didn't eat much of it. Eventually his interest in it tapered and he was really only eating out of complete starvation because he really didn't like the food. I did some research and we decided to try Blue Wilderness but I couldn't find it in our area so I picked up some Purina One Grain Free (dog food, NOT puppy food). All of our friends said due to his size and the fact that he's now 9 months there really is no need for him to be on puppy chow. He LOVES this new food...but he's constantly acting like he's starving. For example, just last night he was sniffing around every corner, every inch of our house trying to find any tiny bit of food he could. Because of this he's picking up random things and eating them. We have a two year old so who knows what the dog is going to find at any given time. We do our best to pick up but some things do go unnoticed. We've had to restrict his diet because anything out of the norm gives him horrible diarrhea, hence the grain free he's now on. He eats probably close to 4 cups of the Purina One Grain Free every day and I'm hesitant to give him more than that since the recommended amount has a maximum of 3.5 cups. We are willing to invest in a better, higher quality dog food, but we aren't rich by any means so we really can't afford to be shopping around 20 different stores and having him try a new dog food every other day. Help!!!

Thanks in advance!


...I'm not a huge fan of Purina, I just don't think the quality is there. But, paging @KayWilson and @SueM who both have lab or lab-mixes and can weigh in on what food works best for them. :)
A few things came to mind as I read the OP.

#1- you're still dealing with a puppy. Labs (and I believe Boxers as well) are notorious for behaving like puppies for years.

#2- dogs go through two teething stages- one when the puppy teeth come in, and another when the adult teeth come in. Even tho all his adult teeth are probably in by now, he could still be chewing because of it. Plus, when over excited or stimulated, dogs tend to chew more.

Link to teething in dogs. How Long Does Puppy Teething Last? - Pets

Eating and food-

#1- it is recommended that med & large breed dogs be switched to adult food around 6 months, so you're OK there. Some people don't feed puppy food at all, but rather a good quality All Life Stages food instead.

#2-while Purina isn't as good a food as it used to be, the ONE and, especially, Pro Plan lines are decent. A lot of Lab people who show and/or compete in field and performance events have found that their dogs do the best on Pro Plan. The Lab mix we had before Caleb started out on Puppy Chow (he was born in Dec 1990), then ate ONE and Pro Plan for almost his entire 15 1/2 years (there was a time of about 2 years that I fell for the guilt about feeding Purina and tried higher quality foods, which all resulted in ear infections and hot spots). Caleb would have gotten Pro Plan if he hadn't had issues with beef and grains.

#3- don't worry about the recommended amount on the dog food bag. The manufacturers are notorious for recommending too much food. Instead, go by your individual dog- can you feel his ribs? Does he have a waistline? Four cups sounds about right for a pup his age and size (the amount listed on the bag is for adults). Once he's done growing, you'll find you'll probably be able to cut back on the amount you feed. You could try adding some green beans to his meals to make him feel fuller. Just make sure they are either frozen or, if canned, that you rinse them real well to get rid of the salt.

Someone recommended Orijen. If you're dog is having issues with his digestive system, I'd be hesitant to feed Orijen. It's too rich for some dogs, and for some reason, Labs are the breed I've heard of having the most issues with it.
 

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I adopted my lab as a senior, we don't know her age but we think she's in the 7 to 9 range. Never having had a dog before, she was a lot of trial and error. Tho I understand labradors are pretty obnoxious until they're at least 3 to 4.

We settled on Eukanuba for her kibble. I also supplement occasionally with Natural Balance dog food rolls and the refrigerated dog food rolls, various brands like Vital and Freshpet.

Couple things we've found helped. As someone said, training. Whoever had her before as far as we could tell from her behaviour, just stuck her in the back yard and didn't do anything with her. To keep her out of the trash, we just banned her from kitchen, period.

Also she really needs things to chew on, so she gets raw bones every 2 to 3 days (she refuses to even look at a dog toy or chew).

Setting a schedule with her feeding - she gets fed twice per day, a routine she's come to expect. We feed her around 6 to 7am and around 4 to 6pm.

As for routine, she gets either walked then fed, or fed then walked. She's come to expect that too. Even if it's just a 10 minute walk around the block.

Hope this helps, even if just a little. Have patience with your lab, he'll turn into a very cool dog in about 5 years.
 
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