Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds out there. If you own one of these big, beautiful, and loving dogs, you need to look after them well to keep them in good health. And one of the best ways of doing this is by feeding them the proper diet and best-quality food. Different dog breeds have slightly varying nutritional needs, so to help you navigate the range of different options out there, we have selected some of the best food for Golden Retrievers. As well as an overview of the food, we have also looked closer at their key features.
The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
Real salmon is the number one ingredient in this dog food for Golden Retrievers, providing an excellent source of protein. Vitamins and minerals have been added, as well as fruit and vegetables as superfoods. The fatty acid blend helps your dog’s skin and coat.
As well as being nutrient rich, the food has been made to be highly digestible. No grain, wheat, fillers, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives have been added. There are also no eggs in this Taste of the Wild dog food, which is important for pooched who dogs who are sensitive to these.
Probiotics support healthy digestive and immune systems
No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Protein blend provides optimal amino acid profile
Antioxidants from superfoods
Proprietary probiotics survive and thrive in GI tract
- BrandTaste of the Wild
- Weight1 pounds
Second on the list, we have this grain-free food that features real chicken as a primary ingredient, helping to build and maintain your dog’s muscles, as well as giving them the energy they require for their active lifestyles.
Special LifeSource Bits are included, which consist of a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Healthy fruit and vegetables provide other nutrients as well. Strong bones and teeth are helped by the calcium and phosphorus.
No grain, wheat, corn or filler
Special LifeSource bits provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- BrandBlue Buffalo
- Weight1 pounds
Made with a real buffalo and sweet potatoes formula, this grain-free retriever dog food contains no gluten or grains, which is designed to make digestion more straightforward. Cooked in the USA, high levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin aid healthy joints and hips.
There are also leading levels Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which support the healthy skin and coat of your dog. Other main ingredients include chicken, turkey, and salmon meal.
70% protein and healthy fat ingredients
No gluten or grain ingredients
Fresh sweet potatoes provide nutrients
- Weight25 pounds
Based on the limited ingredient philosophy of Labrador dog food, there are no fillers included, so your pooch’s digestion is improved. This is also helped by the natural fiber in the recipe.
Premium protein and carbohydrates are provided by the fish and sweet potato formula. Complete and balanced nutrition is provided for dogs of all life stages, meaning that all essential vitamins and minerals are included.
Essential amino acids from fish
Sweet potatoes contain fiber for healthy digestion
All essential vitamins and minerals
- BrandNatural Balance
- Weight26.4 pounds
High-quality protein is what a dog needs for healthy functioning, and this large breed puppy food formula provides this with the real chicken primary ingredient. Supporting it are other healthy ingredients such as whole grains, garden vegetables, and fruit.
The trademark of the Blue Buffalo brand is the LifeSource bits, which are a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant. These have been carefully selected by animal nutritionists and veterinarians to provide support to the immune system and a good oxidative balance.
Protein from real chicken
Kibble specially suited for large breed puppies
Supports healthy muscle growth
- BrandBlue Buffalo
- Weight 30 pounds
Balanced with wholesome, natural ingredients, this Golden Retriever food is specially made for adults weighing more than 50 lbs. The core ingredients are made up of fresh Wisconsin duck, chicken, lamb, fish, oatmeal, barley, brown rice, potatoes, whole eggs and real cheddar cheese.
This holistic food has been enhanced with probiotics and prebiotics to boost the digestive system of your pup. Salmon oil has been added for your dog’s healthy coat and skin.
Formulated from range of protein sources
Added cartilage supports joint health
Viable probiotics and prebiotics
Free of corn, wheat, and byproducts
- Weight33 pounds
This adult large breed dry dog food consists of a lamb and rice recipe, offering energy from these sources. While lamb is the number one ingredient, it also contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
To support your dog’s healthy joints, glucosamine and chondroitin have been added. Some of the other core ingredients include Vitamin E, which helps to keep a dog’s immune system healthy.
Lamb is the primary ingredient
Made with non-GMO ingredients
Natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin
Contains essential antioxidants
- BrandNutro Core Dry Dog
- Weight30 pounds
Providing a high quality protein source from the pasture raised lamb, the optimal amino acid profile helps muscles to be strong and lean. Made for large breed puppies, superfoods provide antioxidants, while there are fatty acids for their skin and coat.
Rich in nutrients, there is DHA which helps with brain and vision functioning. Everything is highly digestible with proprietary probiotics included.
No corn, wheat, or filler
Enhanced with superfoods
Ideal protein and mineral content
Omega fatty acids and antioxidants
- BrandDiamond Naturals
- Weight40 pounds
Offering complete and balanced nutrition to your canine companion, the nutrition provided in this dry dog food is based on protein, which has been enhanced by essential vitamins and minerals, plus real vegetables.
This recipe consists of deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal. Some of the benefits that are promised include a leaner body mass and muscle tone and a healthy coat.
Infused with omega fatty acids
High quality protein ingredients
No meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Offers whole body health
- BrandWellness Core
- Weight26 pounds
The final one on our list is another grain free dog food that provides complete and balanced nutrition. Proteins comes from turkey and chicken, while it has all been enhanced with essential vitamins and minerals. All the ingredients in this Royal Canin Golden Retriever food are natural and there are no meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
No meat by-products or fillers
Supports a healthy coat
Provides lean body mass and muscles tone
- BrandRoyal Canin
- Weight30 pounds
Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers Buying Guide
We now move onto the buying guide and frequently asked questions section of the post. In this, we will cover some interesting points regarding Golden Retrievers and their dietary requirements. We will also take a look at some of the potential health problems that can affect the breed so you know what you should be looking out for.
What to Look for When Buying Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
It is best to look for a formula that is specifically made for large-breed dogs and designed for their stage of life. You should be looking for food that is made from wholesome, natural ingredients – not food that contains fillers, artificial additives, or by-products. Lean protein should make up a big proportion of the food from meat, poultry, and fish sources. Fat and calorie content should be limited as Golden Retrievers have slower metabolisms and you don’t want your pooch to be at risk of becoming obese.
Look for food that has that label of complete and balanced nutrition as this ensures that they are getting the right stuff for a healthy lifestyle. Also, consider factors like the kibble size as Golden Retrievers are better able to eat food a bigger size and this helps to stop your dog eating too much too quickly, which can lead to serious issues like bloat.
Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers can sometimes develop food allergies. Grains such as corn, wheat, and soy are common, so look for food that doesn’t contain any of these if you want to be especially cautious. Also, you should look for natural ingredients and avoid anything artificial like colors, preservatives or flavors. You should also be careful of food that contains too high a sugar content. These are often common in semi-moist dog food. While many of the dog foods listed above contain ingredients we often find in human food, there are some foods that we eat that are not safe for canines. These include garlic, onions, chocolates, grapes, and raisins, so always be wary of what you are offering to your dog if you ever feed them off your plate.
Nutritional Needs of Golden Retrievers
Like all dogs, protein should form an essential component of the diet of your Golden Retriever. As a guideline, they should have at least 18% protein in their diet, whereas puppies need slightly more at 22%. This is why protein is so prominently featured in the foods discussed above. This is essential in supporting the muscular bodies of these large and active dogs.
Concentrated energy is provided by fat in Retriever dog food, and this should form 5% of your adult dog’s diet and 8% of your puppy’s. However, fat and calorie content should still be low to moderate compared to smaller dogs with faster metabolisms. Look for specific types of fat like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids as these can help to reduce shedding, as well as adding gloss and shine to your dog’s coat.
Carb levels should depend on the age of your dog and their regular activity levels. The more active your dog is, the higher their carbohydrate needs will be.
Potential Health Problems for Golden Retrievers
Golden Retriever dogs have a high risk of cancer, which claims around 60% of their lives and has cut their average lifespan by a few years. It is certainly worth taking your dog into the vet for regular checkups, as it always helps to get treatment starts as early as possible if it is required. Of course, keeping your dog in good health with the right diet and regular exercise is important.
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
Both of these forms of dysplasia are common in Golden Retrievers. You can see hip dysplasia if your dog appears in pain and struggles to move in one or both of their rear legs. This can turn into arthritis as your pooch ages. Elbow dysplasia also leads to painful lameness in your dog’s legs. If your dog seems to be stiff or struggling to move, you should have them checked over and get treatment started at the earliest possible opportunity.
Some Golden Retrievers suffer from epilepsy, with symptoms that usually come in the form of seizures. If your dog suffers one of these, you should clear away any dangerous objects that your pooch can hurt themselves on. You won’t have to perform the same action as humans in keeping their tongue out of their mouth as dogs don’t have this choking risk.
As Golden Retrievers have relatively slow metabolisms, you don’t want to overdo it in terms of the number of calories they consume. Treats are often a big contributor to your dog’s waistline, so you should follow an 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of your dog’s food should consist of their regular food while the other 20% can come from treats.
- Separation anxiety
Your dog’s mental health is also important, and Golden Retrievers are a breed who can suffer from separation anxiety when they are away from their owners.
Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers FAQ:
Q: How often should I feed my Golden Retriever?
A: During the first month of their life, Golden Retriever pups should only consist of their mother’s milk. By the time they are five weeks old, this is the time that you can add in some solids. Until they reach their 9th week, you can feed your pup four times a day, but you can then reduce this to three times a day in the third month of life. The next reduction will be at the fourth month when you feed them twice a day, and this is the number it can stay as your pooch advances into adulthood.
If you are worried that your dog is gaining weight, you can give them a simple ‘hands-on’ test. This involves putting your hands on their back with your thumbs down their spine and your fingers spread downwards. You should be able to feel their ribs without needing to press down too hard.
Q: How much should I feed my Golden Retriever?
A: The amount that you should feed your Golden Retriever depends on its size, activity levels, and metabolism rate. Check the back of the packaging of the food you buy. It may take a bit of experimentation before you get it right. Speak to your vet if you are struggling with the right amount. As some general guidance, 70-pound Golden Retrievers need roughly 1700 calories per day, which is why dry foods are often favored as they are an economical choice, while still being one that can contain complete and balanced nutrition.
Q: What is the best dog food for Golden Retriever with allergies?
A: If your Golden Retriever has allergies, it is best to feed them a limited ingredient dog food. Avoid any grains like wheat, soy, and corn, and also steer clear of any artificial flavors, colors, or additives. Some dogs are allergic to beef, so you may have to look for alternative protein sources. Others have sensitivity to eggs. If the allergies don’t clear up, you need some further advice from your vet. They will be better placed to help you put your finger on what is causing the issue.
Our Top Pick
Going back to our number one choice on the list of best dog food for Golden Retrievers, we have this one from Taste of the Wild, which contains real salmon as the number one ingredient. Vitamins and minerals have been added, alongside superfoods and a fatty acid blend that all offer health benefits to your pooch. As well as being nutrient rich, the food is also highly digestible with proprietary probiotics that can thrive in the GI tract.