Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever (the Good, the Bad, and the Greatest)

The American Kennel Club defines the Golden Retriever as one of America’s most common dog breeds. They say it is friendly, smart, and dedicated. These characteristics make it ideal as a guide dog and when not working as your family pet for search and rescue job. But you should feed him or her well to make it work and achieve the best performance, health, and temper of the pup. Just like us on a lousy diet, your four-legged buddy might get sick and cranky. So let’s attempt to find out how to avoid that from occurring and select the best possible dog food for the requirements of your golden.

Are you interested in a particular food for your Golden? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Golden Retriever nutrition guide

Golden Retrievers are big, friendly, and active dogs with a ravenous appetite. To meet the nutritional requirements of your canine, and guarantee that the golden hair stays lustrous, feed a high-quality diet. The one that offers all the nutrients your dog requirements to thrive in the right balance.

Look for more protein and reduced fat formulations when picking the food for your Golden Retriever. Animal protein is best because it includes the amino acids that your dog requires. Nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus are essential for puppies and vitamin B, A, and E for all phases of life.

Look for EPA, ALA, and DHA as they are useful for the brain and nervous system, heart and lungs, and immune system.

Look for a commercial dog food that lists the first components of meat or meat meal such as chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, or fish. According to the FDA, ingredients on dog’s food labels are identified by dry weight in order of amount. The food may also comprise good whole grains such as whole oats, barley, or brown rice. Fruit and vegetables provide edible fiber.

Animal and vegetable fats, such as chicken fat or safflower oil, provide power and maintain the golden skin shiny. Natural preservatives, called blended tocopherols offer a source of vitamin E and, according to the FDA, are less contentious than foods such as ethoxyquin.

Observe your dog on the diet you choose. If you switch to new food and your dog develops flatulence or loose stools that don’t subside for a few weeks, consider changing menu again. Your Golden Retriever may be allergic to a dietary ingredient.

Can food fix Golden Retriever’s Health Issues?

Golden Retrievers tend to have joint issues. Chondroitin and glucosamine are often suggested as useful to healthy joints. Digestion and the immune system, as in humans, are helped by adding probiotics to the diet.

An underactive thyroid issue can lead to an unaccountable weight gain. This may not react to decreasing the calorie consumption of your golden retriever. Get veterinary tips, but more can assist with EPA, DHA, fiber, ALA, and probiotics. Besides, overweight pups are more prone to suffer from these issues. Watch the consumption of calories.

Later they are at danger of blood and lymph system cancers. Proper nutrition can assist in decreasing the probability of this disease. Narrowing the aortic valve that restricts blood flow and causes blood congestion of the core is another danger for your Golden Retriever. Fiber and omega-fatty acids are useful for prevention.

Also, eye complaints such as cataracts and central progressive retinal atrophy are not unusual for the breed. Look for vitamin A and DHA in foods for dogs.

How much to feed Golden Retriever?

Adult Golden Retrievers usually weigh between 55 and 75 pounds. Based on the average weight of this breed, the National Research Council of the National Academies advises between 989 and 1,272 calories per day for sedentary golden retrievers. And between 1,353 and 1,740 calories per day for active animals. Older retrievers suffering from joint issues typically involve fewer calories than their younger, more active counterparts. And we’ll talk about puppies in a bit.  

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 24%
  • Crude Fat: 11%
  • Crude Fiber: 3%
  • Calories:  394 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins A, E, C, B12, D3, Omega-3, Taurine, Niacin, DHA, Calcium, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline, Zinc, Riboflavin, etc.
  • Ingredients:  Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Pea + minerals, and vitamins.

Chicken Meal & Oats Recipe by Hill’s Science is a well-balanced dietary formula for big breed puppies, including golden retriever. It includes excellent calcium concentrations for the growth of the bone of the pup and glucosamine for the healthy development of muscles and joints.

The reality is that all puppies are distinct, and the formula that might work for some might not work for others. This product has proven to work for quite a large amount of puppies out there. The list of ingredients is sound, it is well priced and produced with the physiology and biology of your pup in mind.

So we would highly suggest that we try it. But don’t forget to maintain it slow when you bring something fresh to your pet’s diet, no matter how old it is.

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .

How much food should I feed my puppy golden retriever?

Apart from the suggested serving size per particular era, you may need to maintain the optimal weight of your pup. If you feed your fluffy buddy according to the food packaging guidelines, but it gets too heavy or lighter than it is supposed to be, then you may be over (or under) feeding the pet. You should be able to sense the ribs of your dog lightly.  A dog shouldn’t be so thin that even when your dog is moist, you can see his / her ribs.

You can see how your golden retriever pup should develop on the following graphs.  So if we’re speaking about girls, they should weigh anything from 10 to 14 pounds at 2 months of age up to 55-65 pounds at 12 months of age.

And ideal weight for boy retrievers would be anything from 10 to 15 pounds at 2 months to 60-70 pounds at 12 months of age.

When feeding your golden retriever puppy, don’t forget to keep an eye on its weight and adjust the size and amount of food servings to ensure that the measurements are within the standards. And of course, you have to begin with the food specially developed for puppies. Nutrition promoting muscle mass is often high in protein, with enhanced quantities of amino acids (protein construction blocks). Each amino acid, not just the total amount of protein, must be present in adequate amounts for optimum puppy nutrition.

Overall, puppy feeding rules are as follows: around week 5, you may start adding dry puppy food to the pet’s diet. At 7 weeks, the average Golden puppy polishes off about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dry food at each meal. You can experiment with the size of the serving.

Feed the pet about 4 times a day until it is 2-3 months old. Then gradually switch to 3 and then 2 feedings a day.

When can I move from puppy food to dog food golden retriever?

Depending on the breed, for the first year or two, most dogs will not stop growing. You can continue to feed them with a puppy formula until they have fully accustomed to their adult menu as long as they are not overweight. Usually, around the age range of 10-12 months, most races have reached their adult size and can reduce their calorie and protein consumption to an adult level as they have evolved almost completely.

 However, you need to work closely with a veterinarian to evaluate the body condition score of your puppy. This will ensure that at the ideal time, your puppy switches from puppy to adult dog food. As too many additional calories and nutrients can be dangerous, your veterinarian may also suggest how much adult dog food you have to give your dog.

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How do you move your puppy to adult food?

To transition your puppy, gradually switch from puppy food to adult food. This method requires to be slow so that the gastrointestinal (GI) system of the dog is not shocked. The tables are an excellent guide for switching from puppy to adult food.

Also, keep in mind that this table can be used to change the menu of any pet over time securely. For instance, if they turn picky eaters, or are put on a special diet for medical purposes.

Golden Retriever Feeding Choices Dry kibble helps keep your Golden Retriever’s teeth clean of tartar by scraping the teeth’s surface. Canned food provides additional moisture in your dog’s diet. And it can be mixed with dry food to attract your dog with its aroma if it is needed.

Calculate the caloric content of the mixed ingredients from data on the labels when adding foods. Thus you’ll guarantee that you keep to the recommended daily calories of your dog.

Commercial dog foods labeled “complete and balanced” meet the standards set by the Association of American Food Control Officials for a nutritious diet, according to the U.S. Administration of food and drugs. This guarantees that your golden retriever receives a correct equilibrium of all the nutrients and vitamins needed to flourish.

As we discussed earlier, specific types of food may also help solve your golden retriever’s individual problems-starting with his or her personal tastes to some nasty health issues. We did some digging and came up with the following list of best dog food for your golden retriever that can address all your pup’s possible needs.

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 24%
  • Crude Fat: 12%
  • Crude Fiber: 4%
  • Calories: 434 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins A, E, C, B12, Omega-3, Omega-6, Taurine, Glucosamine, Phosphorous, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, etc.
  • Ingredients: Chicken, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Tomato Pomace, Rye Flour, Canola Oil, Tomatoes, Rice Bran, Whitefish, Natural Chicken Flavor, Carrots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Ground Flaxseed, Ground Millet + minerals, probiotics, and spices.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Natural Chicken & Oatmeal Dry Dog Food by Wellness is intended for grown-up dogs from 12 months and older.

If you haven’t known the brand yet – it’s a family-owned company that strives to produce the best possible quality using the best natural ingredients-not only to promote your pup’s better well-being, but to make him or her seriously fall in love with the food. They are complete holistic nutrition for healthy animals as well as animals requiring a restricted diet for food sensitivities of any kind. And they never include possibly harmful ingredients: free of wheat, corn, soy, additives, and preservatives. And even some out – of-duty veterinarians recognize that no other food can match the quality and norms of Wellness products.

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 24%
  • Crude Fat: 9%
  • Crude Fiber: 5-13%
  • Calories: 291 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins A, E, C, B12, D3, Carnitine, Choline, Biotin, Riboflavin, Taurine, Copper, Zinc, Calcium, Niacin, Folic Acid,  etc.
  • Ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, Corn Gluten Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Oat Fiber, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Coconut Oil,  Apples, Broccoli, Cranberries, Green Peas + minerals and vitamins.

This recipe for chicken is only 2 distinct ingredients than the more expensive prescription food. But above all, on top of an excellent price and ingredients’ list, you will get the product that pups of all breeds, stomach issues and tastes seems to accept and appreciate.  Your puppy loving the flavor, maintaining a healthy weight, and producing healthy stool. Those are the dreams of a pet owner come true.

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 34%
  • Crude Fat: 16%
  • Crude Fiber: 4%
  • Calories: 421 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins E, A, C, B12, D3, Omega – 3, Omega – 6, GLUCOSAMINE, Zinc, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Taurine, Biotin, Riboflavin, Choline, Iron, etc.
  • Ingredients: Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potatoes  + minerals, spices, and probiotics.

We have already spoken about Wellness in the “Healthiest” food section. And yet they did it again-hitting the best list for your golden retriever. This recipe is healthy, 100% natural grain-free dog food for adult dogs produced with turkey, chicken, salmon oil and fruits and vegetables to assist in promoting the ideal health of your dog and fortified with antioxidants.

So why go free of grain?  Grains can irritate the stomachs of many animals. For fiber and carbs, you want vegetables, oats, and/or brown rice. If you see “brewers rice” on a tag, it should not be in the top five components (or at all). It is a processed carb that is cheaply acquired and a filler that will not do the best of your pup in the long going.

This recipe isn’t the cheapest, but you won’t be able to discover a better price for that kind of ingredients and formula-it beats a lot more “premium” products.  And as reported by breeders and pet owners, their dogs are noted continuously as being highly healthy by vets and trainers alike. Since changing to this formula, they have significantly softer coats and fewer skin problems. And even gassiness has been eliminated!

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .  

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 25%
  • Crude Fat: 12-14.5%
  • Crude Fiber: 5%
  • Calories: 348 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins A, C, B12, D3, Omega – 3, Omega – 6, GLUCOSAMINE, L- Carnitine, Choline, Biotin, Riboflavin, Copper, Zinc, Calcium, Niacin, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide,  etc.
  • Ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Beet Pulp, Brewers Dried Yeast, Flaxseed, Carrots, Tomatoes, Spinach, Peas,  + minerals and vitamins.

Golden Retrievers can create allergies to any dietary product, frequently including meat protein or grains such as maize, wheat, or soy. Such allergies often appear as skin problems. The hypoallergenic diet will involve one different protein such as fish, and a starch such as a potato. If the skin of your Golden clears up, ingredients can be reintroduced one by one until symptoms recur. This enables you to determine which foods should be removed from the diet of your Golden Retriever.

Besides speaking with your vet, we also have a food proposal for you.  This formula of Iams was reportedly a life-changer for many dog owners. For years, even those animals who suffered horribly from skin problems to the point of being bald from their shoulders back EVERY summer. And even though this recipe is not grain free Iams’s reputation and product’s price (especially taking into consideration the miraculous results it produces) both go a long way.

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 24.5%
  • Crude Fat: 14%
  • Crude Fiber: 4.5%
  • Calories: 432 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins B12, A, D3, C, E, Biotin, Riboflavin, Taurine, Glucosamine, Niacin, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Choline, Manganese, Potassium, etc.
  • Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Millet, Ground Grain Sorghum, Catfish Meal, Oat Groats, Canola Oil, Potato Protein, Tomato Pomace, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Chicken Fat,  Ground Cumin, Ground Yellow Mustard, Crushed Red Chili Pepper, Cranberry, Kelp Meal + vitamins, minerals and probiotics.

The Golden Retriever is a deep-seated breed that makes them vulnerable to bloat, or to gastric dilation and volvulus. This is a medical emergency that requires an immediate veterinary action to save the life of the dog. Bloat is caused by a buildup of gases that inflate the stomach of a dog. The stomach often twists, decreasing blood circulation to the stomach and blocking the release of the forming gases.

But how about offering the Blackwood Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula to your retriever something to bark about. This recipe is a flavorful, easy-to-digest meal that provides superior nutrition in every bowl. This recipe is slow-cooked in tiny batches, adding lots of supplements and probiotics to help digestion. It maintains your pup’s tummy as happy as their taste buds.  Small kibble, no maize, wheat, soy, high-quality ingredients and works with sensitive digestion even for SUPER picky eaters.

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 22%
  • Crude Fat: 7%
  • Crude Fiber: 11.5%
  • Calories: 227 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin C, B2, B1, B6, D2, B12, E, A, Copper, Biotin, Zinc, Potassium, Choline, Folic Acid,  etc.
  • Ingredients: Chicken, Whole Grain Sorghum, Split Peas, Rice Bran, Brewers Rice, Lamb Meal, Dried Sweet Potato, Dried Apples, Dried Blueberries, Dried Carrots, Chicken Fat, Dried Plain Beet Pulp + vitamins and minerals.

If your Golden Retriever quickly gains weight without any change in diet or practice, bring your dog to the vet for a check-up. Golden Retrievers are susceptible to hypothyroidism, which can lead to weight gain and needs veterinary care. And surely, when it comes to getting back in shape (and maintaining it) nutrition is one of the most significant variables you need to take care of.  We have the whole guide on how to put your dog on a diet if you are interested in more reasons and health consequences of an overweight dog.

Nutro’s healthy weight dry food is one of the best choices to preserve these optimal breed parameters along with excellent energy rates and luster look.  I was amazed at both the quality of the ingredients in Nutro and the cost after doing studies and comparing food. The main component of the formula is the farmer-raised chicken. It created with the requirements of big breed dogs in mind, including golden retriever, of course, and fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin for better joint health. (And you can visit our glucosamine guide to find out for yourself if it really matters).

Check the current price and real experiences (and weight loss results!) from people and their pups who tried this product .

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 30%
  • Crude Fat: 20%
  • Crude Fiber: 3.8%
  • Calories: 535 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Zinc,  Manganese, Copper, Iron, Thiamine, Folic Acid, Omega 3, Vitamin C, A, E, D3, B12, Riboflavin, Biotin, Niacin, etc.
  • Ingredients: Chicken Meal,  Brown Rice, Menhaden Fish Meal, Ground Flaxseed, Pearled Barley, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat +vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.

If you notice that your Golden Retriever inexplicably loses weight, watch what and how your dog eats. According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, some Golden Retrievers create swallowing issues. Amongst the reasons might be enlarged esophagus or a disease known as cricopharyngeal dysfunction. Kidney disease, which also happens in this breed, also leads to weight loss. These are genetic conditions requiring surgical intervention. Take your dog to a vet for a better diagnosis.

 And think of some ideas on how to get that healthy weight back. So far, I found the only existing in that category option: super premium dog food by Bully Max. It works for all breeds and all ages (from 4 weeks and older). It offers a fairly remarkable number of calories-535 per cup-and its excellent formula is fortified with nutrients and probiotics for better digestion. And read on our guide on high-calorie dog food for more options.

Check the Bully Max’s current price and real experiences (including weight gain progress) from people and their pups who tried this product .

Numbers, Facts, and Figures:
  • Crude Protein: 23%
  • Crude Fat: 12%
  • Crude Fiber: 5%
  • Calories: 387 kcal/cup
  • More Vitamins and nutrients: Vitamins E, A, B12, D3, Omega – 3, Omega – 6, Folic Acid, Biotin, Calcium, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Niacin, Riboflavin, etc.
  • Ingredients: Turkey, Dried Chickpeas, Dried Lentils, Dried Peas, Dried Egg Product, Turkey Liver, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Duck, Pea Fiber, Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, Dried Blueberries, Dried Cranberries, Dried Carrots  + minerals, and probiotics.

Halo’s grain-free turkey and duck recipe was created with senior dogs’ lifestyle in mind. They way less active – so they need high-quality protein, to preserve their muscle tissues, lesser calories and fats, and more fiber to maintain a decent metabolism speed.

Halo’s founders have that philosophy that drives a holistic attitude to ingredient sourcing, recipes, dietary value, ALL animals ‘ welfare, and their overall mission to alter the way animals are fed, and farm animals are raised… for the better! This product is therefore produced from WHOLE turkey, turkey liver, non-GMO vegetables, duck, and lentils. (And you might want to read my post “Can dogs eat lentils?” to know why it’s so great for your pup).

And by the manner, this dog food utilizes only meats that are considered “approved for human consumption.” Most commercial dog foods use meats that are only useful for “animal consumption.” Pricy at first glance, but not at all if you consider the advantages and quality of your fur babies.

Check the current price and real experiences from people and their pups who tried this product .

Homemade food for golden retriever

Some dog owners prefer to feed their animals with homemade diets. In that case, it is vital to consult with a canine nutrition specialist to guarantee that what you serve offers all the nutrients in the right balance, ensuring the proper health of your dog.  

Check with your vet before feeding raw meat to your dog.

Any time you cook for the dog yourself be sure to carefully clean kitchen utensils and surfaces after handling raw meat to prevent any potential bacterial contamination.

But overall we recommend keeping “homemade” as a treat option (and you can check our section Dog Nutrition  for some inspiration and ideas of what those might be) and for regular dog diet stick with the products specifically designed with your pup’s health needs in mind.

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