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Best Food To Feed Golden Retriever Puppy

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Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers In 2021


This is our review of the best dog food for Golden Retrievers in 2021.

The best dog foods for this breed feature concentrated nutrition that supports heart health.

Goldens are beloved for their friendliness, intelligence, and confidence. But they are especially sensitive to dietary concerns that may cause health issues.

Im a former veterinary technician who researched the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers to help you find the best food for your dog.

I found that Wellness Large Breed Adult Complete Health Dog Food is the best overall dog food for Goldens.

Every dog is an individual. So, Ive included reviews of the best brands for every category of dog food for Golden Retrievers.

Lets get started.

Feeding Your Puppy A Raw Diet

Some breeders, veterinarians and puppy owners swear by a raw food diet right from puppyhood.

Here, it is important to be meticulous about sanitation, both for you and your familys safety and for your puppys health.

If this is your first time feeding your golden retriever a raw diet, here are some helpful raw food safety tips from breeders:

  • Leave the food out for 15 minutes only. If your puppy doesnt eat it, refrigerate it until the next meal.
  • Feed in the same enclosed area every time so you can keep kids and other pets away from the raw meal.
  • Always clean up right away with a safe sanitizer like white vinegar and water.
  • Freeze the raw protein for at least 10 to 14 days prior to feeding.
  • Only thaw partially prior to feeding .
  • Throw out thawed, refrigerated, raw meats after two days in the fridge.

Feeding Golden Retriever Puppies

Since Golden Retriever puppies are naturally busy and require fuel to nourish their vital developmental periods, they require a diet that is calorie-rich and based on lean proteins.

The ideal diet for a Golden Retriever puppy should have a minimum of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat. The best foods for Golden Retriever puppies place a high emphasis on ease of digestibility and antioxidant-rich ingredients. The packaging will include a rough guide of how much to feed your Golden Retriever puppy at their particular stage of growth. This should be spread across 3-4 meals a day to minimize hunger.

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Should I Feed My Golden Retriever Table Food

Feeding your Golden Retriever table food is not the best practice but can be done in moderation. Some table foods are healthy for them such as blueberries and plain yogurt.

Just be aware that feeding them too much table food can throw their entire diet out of whack. They may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals like they do from their dog food.

Best Dog Foods For Golden Retrievers Reviewed

The Best Golden Retriever Diet Plan

All dog foods included on this list meet the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. Always consult your veterinarian before making changes to your dogs diet.

  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas
  • Key Feature: Comprehensive formula meets the specific needs of large breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 340 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Overall

The complete health formula features a 26% crude protein content from four animal sources. This helps build lean muscle in athletic dogs like Golden Retrievers. Chicken is the first ingredient, and this recipe does not contain any by-products.

Mixed tocopherols help prevent eye problems in predisposed breeds by protecting eye tissues. Plus, this dog food also contains additional glucosamine to help ease joint discomfort in Goldens.

Added omega-3 fatty acids help promote a shiny coat, brain function, and cardiac health. Healthy fats and taurine are essential for limiting the risk of heart problems in Golden Retrievers.

Whole food ingredients include sweet potatoes and barley as sources of complex carbohydrates. The formula does not contain any common allergens or fillers that may cause reactions in sensitive dogs.

  • Life Stage: Growth
  • Best For: Golden Puppies
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best For: GoldenSeniors

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How Many Grams To Feed A Golden Retriever Puppy

They require more calories and frequency at this young age. You have two options for how to feed golden retriever puppy food:

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Should You Give Your Golden Retriever Dry Kibbles Wet Food Raw Diet Or Homemade

Dry kibble

Its the top choice for feeding dogs, simply because it is convenient. But be careful as low-quality kibbles are often packed with fillers, which can cause health problems.

Look for dry kibbles with different recipes that will suit your Golden Retrievers breed size, age, and lifestyle.

Wet food

Although theyre generally more appealing for dogs, its also more expensive even if they have about the same nutritional content as kibbles do.

Its usually suggested for dogs that have trouble eating, like older canines whose teeth have been removed. It can also be given to a dog recovering from an illness or surgery.

Be wary of canned dog food that claims to be all meat because your pet needs more than just meat to stay healthy. This type of food has a limited shelf life and doesnt offer the same benefits that kibbles do, like dental health.

You can choose to mix the two if you have a picky dog who refuses to eat plain kibble.


Its believed that a raw diet can help minimize human food waste because it usually uses organ meat that humans generally dont consume.

We should be aware of the risks and benefits of raw food diet for dogs, though. It takes a lot of effort to prepare and can contract certain viruses. While salmonella wouldnt be a problem for your Goldie, it will be for you and the people in your home. Extra care should be taken to source for healthy and ethically farmed meat.

Home-cooked dog meals

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Calorie Needs What To Feed A Golden Retriever

Full-grown retrievers have a weight range between 55 and 75 pounds. Based on this average weight, experts recommend a calorie range between 989 and 1272 calories per day for Goldens who are less active. Increase these calories for active dogs. A calorie range between 1353 and 1742 per day is ideal. Senior goldens who are suffering from joint issues require fewer calories than their younger and more active counterparts.

Food choices

Kibble has many benefits and can keep your Goldens teeth free from tartar. Chewing kibble scrapes the teeths surface. Wet food gives added moisture to your dogs diet and can be combined with dry food to your dog with its tempting aroma. When you mix foods, calculate the number of calories based on information on the labels. It ensures that your dog will get the optimum number of daily calories. What to feed a golden retriever?

Dog foods that are commercially produced are often labeled complete and balanced. They meet every standard of a nutritious diet established by the AAFCO. It ensures that your Golden retriever will receive the full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins needed to be in their best health.


When you have selected a diet for a dog, observe its effect on them. If you transition to new food and your dog eliminates loose stools and flatulence, which do not mitigate over several weeks, you might consider switching to their regular food again. There might be something in the new diet your Golden retriever is allergic to.

Nutritional Guidelines To Follow

Golden retriever puppy eating royal canin food | Best food for Golden Retriever puppy | cute puppy

To ensure a homemade dog food diet will meet your Golden Retrievers dietary requirements, you need to take into account your Goldens weight, health condition, size, and activity level.

The best homemade diet for Golden Retriever will always have the six essential nutrients any dog meal should always have.

Protein Chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, yogurt and cooked eggs Builds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.
Carbohydrates Oats, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat
Fat From meats and oils such as olive or sunflower oil, fish oil, canola oils among others Responsible for providing quality energy. Necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues
Minerals Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. Common functions include the formation of bone and cartilage, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance regulation, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream and hormone production.
Water Water Hydration is critical in dogs. A dog that loses too much water can get very sick and even die. Ensure they have water available throughout the day.
Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K Keeps skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and gives them the overall energy that they need to function.

Its not advice to improvise when cooking for your pooch.

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Ingredients To Avoid When Buying Food For Golden Retrievers

Itâs certainly true that not all ingredients are created equal. But, unless youâre a nutritionist or a food scientist, it can be hard to determine whatâs what.

There may be some preservatives that could cause damage to your dog. They may be fine in the short run, but since youâd be feeding them to your dog every day for their whole life, the cumulative effect could be cause for concern.

Here are a few chemical preservatives you should try to avoid,

  • Butylated hydroxyanisole and Butylated hydroxytoluene : These compounds have been labeled carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.
  • Ethoxyquin: This is also used as a pesticide and a hardening agent in rubber. The FDA is investigating whether it causes liver and blood problems. And itâs already banned in Australia and the EU.
  • Propylene glycol: This is used to preserve the moisture content in some dog foods. The FDA already banned it for use in cat food, as it can cause Heinz body anemia.
  • Tertiary butylhydroquinone : Studies suggest that this preservative can cause stomach tumors in animals and damage the DNA in cells.
  • Propyl gallate: This substance contains xenoestrogens, which are linked to breast cancer in humans.

While itâs not 100 percent certain that these substances would cause significant harm to your dog, itâs better to be safe than sorry. There are plenty of foods that donât use these kinds of ingredients, so why not go with them?

What To Look For In A Good Golden Retriever Food

To ensure that your Golden Retrievers basic nutritional needs are met, its best to choose a large-breed dog food formulated for her life stage.

Here are some other things to look for when choosing a good dog food for your Golden Retriever:

  • Wholesome, natural ingredients with no fillers, byproducts, or artificial additives
  • Rich in lean protein from high-quality animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish
  • Limited fat and calorie content to control growth in puppies and maintain lean mass in adults
  • Controlled calcium and phosphorus levels with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Nutritionally complete and balanced formulas, according to AAFCO nutrient profiles

Besides making sure your Golden Retrievers food meets these requirements, you should also check to see if it comes in a bigger kibble size. Large and deep-chested breeds have a high risk for bloat which is exacerbated by eating too fast or eating too much at oncebigger kibble means that your dog gets the same nutrition in smaller portion sizes.

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Fatty Acids And Additives

Goldies are fairly hairy, which means that you also have to look for fur-friendly ingredients. Fish fatty acids can do wonders for your babyâs skin and fur.

Go for food without a filler that contains no artificial flavors or additives. These should also be your criteria for snacks and treats.

In addition to ensuring that your Golden Retrieverâs food meets these requirements, you must also check whether it comes in a larger lump size. Large and deep-chested breeds have a high risk of bloating, which is exacerbated by eating too quickly or overeating at once â larger chunks mean that your dog will get the same food in smaller portion sizes.

Dont Give Them Too Much Of A Good Thing

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers  Woof Whiskers

Overfeeding your puppy can undo all the benefits of breed-specific golden retriever puppy food. By consuming too much food, your puppy will have elevated levels of the very nutrients that should be limited.

Additionally, overweight puppies may develop other health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Good eating habits developed during puppyhood will lead to a healthy mature dog in the years to come.

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When Should I Switch From Puppy To Adult Food

While Golden Retriever puppies reach adult-size at about 9-12 months old, they only gain their full weight and growth at 18 months old.

Therefore, wait for your Golden Retriever pup to turn 18 months old before starting a food switch. This is because puppy meals have more proteins and fats to support a puppys growth. An early transition to adult dog food might result in inadequate nutrition leading to other complications.

How big do Golden Retrievers get, and how much can they weigh?

The Golden Retriever breed standard indicates that males are significantly larger than females. Males weigh between 60 and 80 pounds and stand 22 to 24 inches tall. Females are slightly smaller in size, weighing 5570 pounds , and are 2022 inches tall .

If your Golden Retriever is heavier than the standard weight, you may want to consider switching from a regular diet to a weight-control diet like the Solid Gold Holistic Weight Control Dog Food.

Nutrition For The Outside

One of the most visible components of your dog is its fur.

Youve probably noticed that a nice, shiny coat gets a lot of attention from dog lovers! Nutrition plays a vital role in this area.

A large percentage of the protein your puppy takes in goes towards maintaining the coat. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for healthy skin and fur.

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Best Food For Adult Golden Retrievers

Between the ages of 12 to 15 months, the Golden Retriever should be slowly transitioned to an adult food thats formulated to match their life stage. Keeping your Golden Retriever on a puppy food for too long, could have weight impacts as Golden Retrievers are known to eat excessively as they age.

Youll want to match your Golden Retriever with a Large Breed dog food as they turn the right age, and youll want to introduce the new food slowly so you dont deal with an upset stomach. Its also not a bad idea to consider a food that contains glucosamine as Golden Retrievers are also known for having hip and joint issues as they age. Golden Retrievers are not usually fussy eaters, so any of the brands below should be a great fit for your pup.

  • SPECIALIZED KIBBLE: Unique kibble is designed for a Golden…
  • SKIN AND COAT: Reinforces the skin barrier with essential…
  • HEART HEALTH: Taurine, EPA, and DHA promote healthy cardiac…

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

We love that this recipe is made especially for the Golden Retriever, so you can be sure that the high fiber content and the specific ingredients conform to the needs of the breed.

General Golden Retriever Puppy Food

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Because puppies need a diet specifically designed to meet nutritional needs for normal development, all puppies should be fed a puppy food. Feeding them adult food will not give them the adequate nutrients needed at this age.

Below is a general chart for Golden Retriever puppy feeding.

Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Chart

Puppy Age
Six to Seven Months Old 3 ½ to 4 Cups Per Day

This chart is just a general guideline for feeding your puppy. Be sure to ask the breeder what they were feeding the puppy and use that exact food. There is also a feeding chart on the back of the dog food bag that you can follow as well. Also, speaking with your veterinarian about this is a good idea.

Below are some other feeding charts that are from our top puppy foods article Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers .

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Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe

This Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe will nourish your Golden Retriever puppys body from the inside out. Specifically designed for large-breed puppies, this recipe is protein-rich with controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus as well as moderate fat content. It features lamb meal as the primary protein with chicken meal and anchovy & sardine meal for supplemental protein. This recipe contains brown rice and white rice for digestible carbohydrates and menhaden fish oil for omega fatty acids. Youll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Formulated for large breeds, protein-rich lamb meal, digestible carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not grain-free, fairly expensive

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