17 Best Dog Food For Golden Retriever (Puppy & Adult) : Dry & Canned

We know that one of the best ways to give our pups a healthy and fulfilling life is by caring for their diet.

When we are seeking out the best dog food for golden retriever pup, we want only top-quality products.

Golden Retriever Dog Breed Information, Pictures

To help you source the food that is right for your Goldie, we have scoured the internet and identified the optimal diets and kibbles.

You want your pup to have everything they need and the best way to do this is understanding the nuances of the golden retriever’s nutritional needs.

 

Specific Golden Retriever Requirements

Dietetic nuances are usually the result of health-related predispositions.

If we are prone to anaemia, our diet will call for more iron.

 

Golden retrievers are no different.

Optimum feeding is, by design, meant to mitigate common health problems.

 

Hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as other joint-related issues are common.

Cataracts and retinal failure frequently occur, along with heart issues.

 

Slow metabolisms caused by a lagging thyroid, as well as several sarcomas (cancer types) are often seen with these dogs.

Proper feeding addresses these concerns prophylactically (ahead of time) and lets us pup-parents know we are doing everything we can to promote healthfulness.

 

Main Nutritional Needs

Generally, nutritional needs break down into two categories: micronutrition and micronutrition.

While all mammals require the same base set of these nutrients, the ratios vary drastically.

 

Micronutrition refers to particles required in miniscule amounts; things like vitamins and minerals.

Macronutrients consist of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

 

Golden retrievers (like all other canines) require a high protein diet– complemented with healthy fats and the right kind of carbs.

 

High Protein Diets

Protein is a composite of amino acids.

There are nine amino acids which mammals are unable to produce our own (and therefore need to eat). Canines benefit from meat sourced proteins.

 

Each meat has different values.

Red meats are generally higher in iron, but also have a higher saturated fat content.

 

White meat has less fat altogether, though in breaking down the proteins in chicken, many canine constitutions are upset.

Fish typically boasts a lot of unsaturated fat and high protein, with a different set of minerals than other meats.

 

Find the source that your pup prefers and integrate it into the diet as much as possible.

 

Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats

A quick test to identify saturated fats is checking whether they are solid at room temperature.

If they are, you have a saturated fat.

 

These fats are tricky for the body to digest and tend to clog blood vessels.

Unsaturated fats are fluid at room temperature and drastically easier for your pup to metabolize.

 

A diet that focuses on these ‘healthy fats’ will improve cardiovascular function (simply by giving the heart less work to do).

 

Complex Carbohydrates

Simple carbs (also known as sugars) process quickly, resulting in a fast spike in blood sugar (followed promptly by a crash).

Complex carbohydrates do not cause this effect.

 

Because they groups of sugars, it takes more effort and time to break them down.

This results in longer lasting energy that keeps your pup full between meals.

 

Vitamins and Minerals

Even though we need very little of them, vitamins and minerals are key factors in mammalian health.

Our canine companions will likely not seek out salad, so it is up to us to source them the supplements they need.

 

Vitamins of particular importance to Golden Retrievers are Vitamin A (eye function) and Vitamin K (heart function).

Minerals of particular significance include calcium and phosphorous (bone health).

 

Fruits and Vegetables

While supplements help fill in gaps in our doggy diets, it is always best to provide nutrition as close to its natural form as possible.

Bodies take in resources best when they are recognizable, and food-based vitamins and minerals are a great example.

 

Eating a carrot is preferable to consuming a powder containing 10000 IUS of Vitamin A.

Since our canine companions will not reach for fruit, finding a kibble that incorporates these materials is very beneficial to their health.

 

How Much to Feed Your Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers meet all the requirements of a medium to large dog breed.

Their size and metabolism match the criteria of both categories.

 

Adult dogs of this breed require anywhere from 1 ½ to 3 cups of food a day.

The higher amount is for dogs of a healthy weight who undergo frequent exertion.

 

The lower end of the spectrum is for pups who have slower thyroid function and are less exercised.

Feedings should split into two meals.

 

Generally, we like to serve the first meal in the morning and the second in late afternoon/early evening.

Always follow the feeding guidelines of your pup’s kibble.

 

What Makes A Good Golden Retriever
Dog Food?

When it comes to picking a good food for a golden retriever, it is important to understand the criteria that must be met.

Firstly, we must consider the quality of the food.

 

This means high quality ingredients that are reliably sourced.

Next, ensure that the food has sufficient inclusion of necessary nutrition.

 

Is the food balanced? Is the calorie count appropriate?

Are there added benefits like probiotics and antioxidants? Is the food accessible over the long term?

 

There are many things you need to factor in so as to find the right food.

We have broken down these necessities here:

 

Sufficient Meat-Based Protein

All protein has value, so long as it is complete (a full set of necessary amino acids).

The best way to ensure this is to feed your pup meat as a protein source.

 

This guarantees a ‘perfect protein’.

Since canines evolved eating meat, it stands to reason that they do best when we keep meat in their diets.

 

Reasonable Carb Content

Carbohydrates have significant value in keeping creatures full.

They create an energy reserve that can process via insulin throughout the day.

 

That said, there is such a thing as too much starch.

Since golden retrievers are prone to slow thyroids, foods high on the glycemic index can be problematic.

 

Stick to high fiber, low starch materials while avoiding grain and corn whenever possible.

 

Avoid Controversial Chemicals

Chemicals are controversial for a reason- usually because they offer no nutrition and pose a number of health risks.

These range from preservatives to flavoring agents.

 

Usually, these chemicals are towards the end of the ingredient lists.

Food science innovations have given us things like freeze-drying and dehydration technology.

 

These mitigate the need for additives in our food.

 

No Artificial Colors

Coloring ingredients are especially problematic, since they offer no value at all (I know my pups don’t care about the hue of their food- just the flavor).

Avoiding unnecessary ingredients keeps pups healthy and stops their systems from being bogged down.

 

If you are looking for vibrant food, try natural coloring agents like those found in beets.

 

Fat to Protein Ratio >75%

Since food needs vary from pup to pup, one of our best tools for assessing nutrition requirements is by ratio.

Fats and proteins are both caloric powerhouses with which canines are well acquainted.

 

While both are healthy- moderation is key. To achieve this moderate intake, make sure that the ratio of fat to protein never exceeds 75%.

For pups with slower metabolisms, the ratio should be as low as possible.

 

No Generic Animal Fats

When ingredients are a specific, I tend to assume the worst.

The best dog foods are proud of their contents and do not try to hide them behind generalities.

 

Fats tend to store toxins, so when fat comes in, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Seek out unsaturated fats and omegas with a specific animal of origin.

 

It is always best to know the source of your dog food’s ingredients.

 

No Unidentified Meats or Other Ingredients

Though generally an ingredient list will not list material as unidentified- the phrase ‘by-product’ is in effect the same.

By-products are a culmination of offal, bones, and meat scraps.

 

These are typically low-quality ingredients used as filling agents.

Though they may test as having the same amount of protein/fat, the quality of those macronutrients is significantly less than of meat itself.

 

Ingredients to Avoid

Problem ingredients include any food stuff (or chemical) that does not actively help the dog.

At best, this matter takes up space that would be better filled with healthy ingredients.

 

At worst, they cause health problems for the dogs.

To keep your pup safe, steer clear of anything that does not add clear value to their diet.

 

Troublesome and Toxic Ingredients

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)- often added as preserving agents for fats though are known to cause renal and hepatic damage
  • Ethoxyquin- a common fat preservative that is also used as a pesticide
  • Propylene Glycol- added for sweetness but is, in fact, the active chemical in antifreeze
  • Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)- adds to shelf life though is fatal when ingested in large doses
  • Propyl Gallate- prevents oxidation of fatty acids though also has carcinogenic properties

 

Best Dog Foods for Golden Retriever
Adults & Seniors

 

#1 Royal Canin Breed Health Golden Retriever

(https://www.amazon.com/HEALTH-NUTRITION-Golden-Retriever-30-Pound/dp/B0033XQF8C/)

 

For pet-parents looking for breed-specific nutrition, this is a great option.

It is reassuring for us to know that the exact needs of our dogs receive the care of their kibble.

 

This food is for adult dogs; which, for this breed, means fifteen months and older.

A great example of breed-related nuances is in the shape of the jaw.

 

The specific shape of the kernel is not always factored in, but it makes a big difference.

A bite too small can be hard to ingest and a large shape can cause excess air to enter into the stomach (causing gassiness).

 

The kernels of this kibble are specifically for the shape of the golden retriever’s mouth.

I really like this food because, unlike many other adult foods, it contains DHA and Taurine.

 

These supplements mimic ingredients found in canine breast milk.

It is more often seen in puppy food.

 

Nonetheless, their healthiness does not stop after puppyhood.

Adults benefit from the cognitive edge that these ingredients offer as well as a help for the heart.

 

Another key factor in choosing food specific to golden retrievers is the caloric specificity.

Not dog breeds are alike, and the calorie count on this food acknowledges just that.

 

Pros:

  • Specific to golden retrievers in their adult years
  • Includes DHA and Taurine for cardiovascular health
  • Ideal bite size for this breed’s jaw and digestion

 

Cons:

  • Lacks probiotics for internal flora
  • Does not avoid GMO ingredients
  • Only suitable for adults over 15 months old

#2 Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Retriever Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/EUKANUBA-Specific-Labrador-Retriever-Pounds/dp/B00IIZ3JR0/)

 

Every pet parent worries about different things.

For those of us whose concern is dentistry, this is an ideal choice as a dietary staple.

 

Canine teeth are an often neglected part of grooming.

The ‘out of sight, out of mind’ nature of dental hygiene is the root of the problem.

 

Add to this propensity of golden retrievers to resist getting their teeth cleaned and tooth problems can quickly get out of hand.

To avoid this risk, finding a food that focuses on dental health is a great solution.

 

While this kibble will not replace the need for regular brushing, it adds value through the structured tartar removal system.

The food itself (through its porous shape) abrades the tartar from the teeth.

 

Over time, tartar buildup leads to cavities (or worse, abscesses).

Avoid these troublesome health pitfalls by choosing a food that keeps dentistry as a priority.

 

Of course, teeth cannot be the sole benefits in a healthy kibble.

This food also includes quality proteins that come from animals.

 

This facilitates strong muscles and keeps the lab in fighting fit shape.

Another reason I am a fan of this diet is that it includes a great deal of calcium.

 

Since retrievers are so prone to bone-related illnesses, including this mineral in their daily diet lets me know that I am doing all I can to keep their skeleton strong.

 

Pros:

  • Keeps the golden retriever’s teeth healthy
  • Uses animal-based protein for strong muscle
  • Works to keep bones and joints in good shape

 

Cons:

  • Low vitamin count compared to other foods
  • Does not include probiotics or antioxidants
  • Does not avoid filling agents (contains corn meal)

#3 Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/Iams-Proactive-Labrador-Retriever-Chicken/dp/B07CHN2RLG/)

 

This food is an ideal option to meet the specifics of retrievers. It’s design focuses on keeping the Labrador’s health in optimum balance.

One of the reasons we adore this food is its inclusion of prebiotics.

 

So much of nutritional science is a moving target. By including healthy bacteria, it gives the intestinal tract a chance to maintain an ideal environment for digestion.

Fiber is another major draw of this food. There is not a mammal alive who is exempt from the need for hydration.

Fiber (or roughage) is a major necessity to keeping the pup’s water supply where it should be.

This food gears towards dogs with sensitive metabolisms.

 

Since this breed is so prone to hypothyroidism, if you suspect your pup may be suffering from a slowing digestive system, this is a great kibble to consider.

It avoids filling agents like wheat and soy.

By so doing, it allows the kibble to contain only beneficial ingredients- particularly white meat chicken for a high protein count.

 

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for the Labrador breed
  • Features quality meat as the primary ingredient
  • Includes prebiotics and fiber content

 

Cons:

  • Chicken has been known to irritate sensitive stomachs
  • Does not feature significant vitamins and minerals

#4 Hill’s Science Diet Weight Management Recipe

(https://www.amazon.com/Science-Diet-Perfect-Chicken-Management/dp/B015ZMI0XQ/)

 

As with all feeding set-ups, the nuances of finding a balanced weight is never simple.

That said, this food works to keep your pup in fighting fit shape through its weight management system.

 

Most pups who consumed this food pursuant to the guideline reduced their weight in just a few months.

The focus is on high quality ingredients, so when your dog is eating, it is only things that are needed for health. Thankfully, the recipe steers clear of by-products (troublesome filling agents). Instead, it focusses on nutritious, diverse protein sources (from meat).

These include salmon, lamb, and chicken.

 

I am a fan of the medley since it diversifies the source of the protein, allowing the body to glean all possible benefits from all three meats.

Lamb is great for iron, chicken is a wonderful low-fat protein, and salmon has a lot of omega fatty acids.

 

Together, the ingredients of this food cover the basic nutritional needs of our pups.

Because it meets the essential needs of healthy dogs, this food makes a suitable staple for golden retrievers.

 

Pros:

  • Diverse source of proteins (coming from meat)
  • Avoids filling agents and by-products
  • Focus on keeping a healthy weight

Cons:

  • Does not include pro or prebiotics
  • Relatively low in fiber count
  • Suited primarily to dogs with weight control issues

 #5 Weruva Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/Weruva-Caloric-Harmony-Chicken-Resealable/dp/B017HZG2Y8/)

 

The healthiness of food is as much about exclusion as it is inclusion.

Avoiding by-products is as important as what takes their place in the kibble.

 

If the replacement is a high-quality meat protein, the food is a viable option.

Weruva is a great choice for avoiding the negative ingredients and replacing them with more beneficial food sources.

 

This food has a well-rounded set of nutrition that focuses equally on protein and vegetable sources.

I favor this kibble since it features diverse protein without neglecting fiber and vitamins.

 

In fact, the choice of meat and veggies matches perfectly with the needs of the Labrador retriever.

Turkey, chicken, and salmon feature as protein sources in this food.

 

Each meat adds value in its own way.

Chicken is a lean source of protein.

 

Turkey is also lean, though it favors the amino acid tryptophan (one of the essential amino acids to consume.

It facilitates the creation of serotonin, a neurochemical that helps induce a state of calm (great for temperament).

 

Salmon promotes healthy fats by its natural inclusion of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Pumpkin is the vegetable of choice in this recipe.

 

The value is that this gourd adds complex carbohydrates for energy without forgoing fiber content.

In addition, this vegetable is a naturally powerful source of Vitamin A (great for retrievers who are prone to eye troubles).

 

Pros:

  • Includes turkey, chicken, and salmon for balanced protein
  • Features pumpkin as a healthy vegetable source
  • High in fiber and necessary vitamins

 

Cons:

  • Slightly higher on the price spectrum
  • Chicken is a possible irritant to some pup’s digestive system

#6 Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend with Probiotics

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001QCKS4O)

 

This cost-effective choice lets us health conscious pup-parents provide a quality diet on a budget.

One of the reasons our family favors this food option is its unique inclusion of rice as a carbohydrate source.

 

This high in fiber, yet low on the glycemic index, carb option provides long-lasting energy for your pup.

Keeping energy sustained is key in weight management.

 

The food also features probiotics (healthy bacteria) to promote easy digestion.

Dogs favor this choice for its texture, since the kernels are crunchy yet also contain tender, shredded components.

 

The food provides easy to access nutrients.

That said, comparably to other golden retriever diets, it is relatively high on the caloric spectrum.

 

To ensure proper weight management of your pup, always check the feeding chart.

This food is one of the options that is suited to both early adult and senior-aged retrievers.

 

Glucosamine and chondroitin feature as ingredients to help joint health.

A plethora of other vitamins and minerals are supplemented into the diet, while the overall food remains low in sodium.

 

As an option to cover all bases and sure up overall health, this is a great choice.

 

Pros:

  • Features rice as a carbohydrate source for long-lasting energy
  • Includes significant vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Features probiotics for healthy internal flora

 

Cons:

  • Chicken is a protein source (possible irritant)
  • Includes soybean oil (a potential allergen)

#7 Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/Canidae-Stages-Chicken-Turkey-Formula/dp/B001D9JC0G/)

 

The key ingredients to avoid in dog food are bulking agents.

Not only do they detract from resources appropriated towards health, they also hold a number of side effects when consumed.

 

Soy is a little-considered danger.

Due to its naturally high presence of phytoestrogens, it has the potential to directly impact the temperament of pups.

 

In males, this can result in overcompensation of testosterone.

In females, it can present in issues with mood and behavior.

 

Thankfully, this food avoids soy altogether- instead featuring healthy ingredients like lamb, fish, and poultry.

Lean meat sources balance with fattier inclusions (like salmon).

 

The red meat provides easy access to dietary iron.

Iron itself facilitates the uptake of oxygen from the bloodstream.

 

It is essential for every function from breathing to thinking.

Salmon features omega fatty acids, which improve mental function as well as providing a glowing coat for the dog.

 

Another benefit of these unsaturated fats are the draws they feature for the dog’s eyes.

Retrievers, especially as they age, face a number of challenges to their ocular systems.

 

This recipe lets us give them the best chance to keep ideal eye health over time.

 

Pros:

  • Balanced sources of protein
  • Avoids additives and by-products
  • Healthy inclusion of vitamins and minerals

 

Cons:

  • Not specific to life phase of the dog
  • Not breed specific food design

#8 Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Wet Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZDK3MZW/)

 

Food contributes to mood; so, while it is critical to find a staple that suits the needs of your golden retriever, it is also important to provide ‘comfort food’.

Since wet food is best when it is a supplementary source of calories, it is a great addition to add taste, texture, and keep the pup’s interest.

 

The food itself avoids all troublesome filling agents.

These include wheat (and its propensity towards gluten), corn (sugary filler), and soy (phytoestrogen).

 

In their stead, this food features chicken and chicken liver as primary protein sources.

In addition, it boasts cranberries which are ideal for the urinary tract system and overall renal function.

 

Blueberries act as antioxidants to improve the overall health.

Antioxidants are chemicals which are recognized for their ability to prevent cancer (by facilitating normal cell growth).

 

Since golden retrievers have higher levels of sarcomas (a type of cancer) than other dogs, they stand to benefit from the addition these free-radical fighters.

Our family adores this option because it provides dietary sources of nutrition.

 

While there is value to supplements, there is more benefit when micronutrients can be reached dietarily.

 

Pros:

  • Flavorful food that holds the dog’s dietary interest
  • Well-balanced nutrition featuring vitamin E
  • Supplements included with food to cover mineral bases

 

Cons:

  • Features peas as a vegetable ingredient (potentially problematic due to theobromine)
  • Wet food, and is therefore not a dietary staple
  • Added salt content (ensure hydration when giving this food)

#9 Wag Dry Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/Wag-Food-Salmon-Lentil-Recipe/dp/B078VTQHGL/)

 

Golden retrievers evolved in a very specific fashion.

These dogs come from a proud line of swimmers.

 

Much of the retrieving work performed by these dogs was in the water.

Largely, they retrieved fowl from the water.

 

Since they were so close to water, it stands to reason that the bulk of the meat in their diet was fish.

Salmon is a great fish option.

 

The protein quality is high, yet the saturated fat content remains low.

This food features American salmon as the primary ingredient.

 

Not only does this add flavor that our furry friends love, but it adds nutrition in the way of unsaturated fatty acids and high-powered protein.

It is important to know the source of ingredients, and this food has the added value of oversight (being made entirely in California).

 

Oversight is an important component when it comes to nutrition.

It prevents things from being missed; so, the fact that this recipe received consult from veterinarian professionals, adds reassurance to the quality and balance.

 

Another great value is that the food includes DHA in its recipe.

The proverbial cherry on top of this food’s value, DHA improves cardiac function and cognition while still being suitable for all life stages.

 

Pros:

  • Healthy diet suitable to all life phases
  • Quality protein source focussing on salmon
  • Sufficient inclusion of micronutrients

 

Cons:

  • No probiotics or prebiotics featured
  • Lacks taurine to balance DHA supplementation
  • On the higher end of the cost spectrum

#10 Sojos Complete Natural Grain-Free Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/Sojos-Chicken-Recipe-Adult-Food/dp/B07BRBNMMW/)

 

One of the reasons that us picky pup-parents have the option of avoiding preservatives is the development of modern food technology.

At one time, the choice was between preservatives and mold.

 

The salty, chemically products we now avoid, were at one point critical to preventing mildew since food would not store for very long and was less accessible for purchase.

Now, thanks to techniques like dehydration and freeze-drying, we do not have to forgo our furry friends’ health for them to have food.

 

Sojos is a favorite option for fans of modern methods.

The kibble option comes in a variety of protein choices from chicken to goat.

 

Our family favors it because it uses freeze-drying techniques to include raw source meat kernels.

In addition to the easily accessed meat sources, it features a number of vegetables and fruits for fiber and vitamins.

 

Coconut adds healthy fat and fiber, kale incorporates iron and magnesium, kelp promotes selenium, and cranberries improve renal function. Taken altogether, this food provides balanced caloric intake with high quality nutritive value.

 

Pros:

  • High in vitamin and mineral content
  • Features raw protein bites for easy access to amino acids
  • Avoids by-products and filling agents

 

Cons:

  • Includes peas (a potentially problematic ingredient)
  • Relatively high on the caloric spectrum

#11 Vital Essentials Limited Ingredient Entrée

(https://www.amazon.com/Vital-Essentials-Premium-Freeze-Salmon/dp/B07QG3WVB2/)

 

Sometimes the best way to avoid trouble is to avoid troublesome ingredients.

This food limits the ingredients in the recipe to promote health through dietary exclusion.

 

Through freeze-drying technology, the sole ingredient remains in its purest form.

When protein cooks, it undergoes a process called naturation.

 

This fundamentally alters the chemical presentation of the meat itself (much like boiling an egg changes the nature of the whites).

Freeze drying lets the pup eat the protein in its original form (much like their ancestors ate).

 

Salmon is the only ingredient in this food, making it a great choice for pups who are sensitive to carbohydrates altogether.

It is naturally low in sodium and high in micronutrients like B vitamins and zinc.

 

Especially for dogs with allergies, this food source is a great option since it avoids entirely all problem ingredients.

Salmon is an ideal protein choice since it is generally friendly towards canines with allergic tendencies.

 

By using this food, it adds a factor of control over the doggy diet; so, even though it is likely to need to be supplemented, it gives the pup-parent full knowledge of their furry friend’s food.

 

Pros:

  • Features salmon as the sole ingredients
  • Free of all by-products, additives, and filling agents

 

Cons:

  • Off balance unless specified by a veterinary professional
  • Does not contain sufficient fiber
  • Requires supplementation with other ingredients to achieve balance

#12 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Dog Food

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000XZBXP8)

 

For pup-parents who are looking for a kibble to serve as a dietary staple that requires minimal (if any) supplementation, this is a great choice.

The first value is that the recipe entirely avoids additives and by-products.

 

These filling agents can cause a number of digestive problems and allergic issues.

The recipe includes instead brown rice as a binding agent in the kibble.

 

It serves to incorporate fiber and provide a carb that is low on the glycemic index.

By including vegetables and fruits as key ingredients, the food makes accessing vitamins easier for the dog.

 

Another key draw is that it features kernels made specifically to be supplements.

We’ve all experienced the cumbersome task of trying to give our dogs medicine or brush their teeth.

 

So the idea of them taking a one-a-day vitamin is unrealistic.

Nonetheless, we want out pups to have the benefit of any added nutrition we can offer them.

 

By including kernels fortified for immune success, we can offer our dogs the same benefit of a vitamin without the tedium of the task.

 

Pros:

  • Contains antioxidants and digestible vitamins/minerals
  • Avoids problem ingredients like additives and preservatives
  • Great for chicken-sensitive stomachs

 

Cons:

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum
  • Does not include probiotic ingredients

When the Diet is Right and your Golden Retriever is Thriving

You, as a devoted pet parent, know your pup better than anyone.

The goal of healthy eating is to provide the building blocks for your dog to be their best self.

 

Do they have enough energy? Are they full between meals?

Is there behavior where it should be? Does their coat shine?

 

If the answer to these questions is yes, and there are not other current concerns for the pup’s wellbeing, then your retriever is thriving.

If there is something they are missing, address the concern as soon as possible to maximize time spent in health.

 

Best Dog Foods for Golden Retriever Puppies

 

#1 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Puppy Food

(https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Buffalo-Wilderness-Protein-Natural/dp/B01BDIPLEM/)

 

Puppyhood is a very impressionable stage in canine development.

In order to set the stage for a lifetime of health, it is critical that we provide all the essential nutrients for our young dogs.

 

This recipe covers all bases and is a great staple for the puppy years.

The food avoids all instances of preservatives and artificial additives (there is no need to bog down the dog’s system with these if we can avoid it).

 

Chicken is the key ingredient in the recipe.

Generally, for puppies of all breeds, this is a very easy to digest protein that agrees with the system.

 

The meal came to be with veterinarian consultation- particularly the kernels which feature antioxidants and vitamins for strong immune function.

This food is specifically for puppies, meaning it features all the essential ingredients for this life stage.

 

We favor this option because it kickstarts the doggy diet in a direction that is free from additives and filling agents.

While there is a lot of nutritive value, the food itself is fairly high in calories.

 

Keep to the feeding chart when administering meals to foster a healthy weight.

 

Pros:

  • Avoids additives, by-products and preservatives
  • Features meat as the primary ingredient
  • Includes antioxidants and balanced vitamins/minerals

 

Cons:

  • Higher on the pup food pricing scale
  • Does not feature probiotics or prebiotics

 

#2 Hill’s Science Diet Dry Puppy Food with Small Bites

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003YLHQ8Q)

 

It is a joy to watch a puppy grow.

Over the first dozen or so months, the size of retrievers skyrockets.

 

This is because most puppy energy and attention goes into gaining size (and play).

Because these dogs haven’t developed fully, their bite size and relative jaw strength have not reached their full potential.

 

In order to foster healthy dentistry when the dog ages, it is important to set the stage for dental development.

The small bite size of this meal is ideal for the puppy jaw and strengthens teeth through healthy chewing habits.

 

Another reason we favor this option is that it includes DHA.

This ingredient benefits puppies to an extreme degree.

 

It is present in the breast milk of the mothers; though, after the pup weans, it needs supplementation.

The chemical works to keep the dog’s cardiovascular system in strong shape, as well as set the stage for solid eye health.

The diet is well-balanced overall.

Since the food is simple by design, it is amenable to picky eaters with early dietary sensitivities.

 

Pros:

  • Small bite size ideal for puppies
  • Features high quality meat protein
  • Recipe made in conjunction with veterinarians

 

Cons:

  • No taurine to balance DHA content
  • Does not feature pre or probiotics
  • Includes chicken (a possible irritant for sensitive stomachs)

 

#3 Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe

(https://www.amazon.com/Instinct-Chicken-Natural-NatureS-Variety/dp/B06XDQFHJ7/)

 

The variety of meat protein options in this food is a huge draw for our family.

Retrievers have very strong senses- particularly their sense of smell.

 

This evolved into their genetic blueprint after hundreds of years seeking out waterfowl.

To this day they have very sensitive noses that are perceptive to the nuances in their food.

 

For this reason, our family likes to keep diverse protein options open to our furry family members.

Since it is so tricky to change the diet of dogs (especially switching kibble brands altogether), it is great to find a food where I can stick to the kibble recipe yet still have meat source options.

 

The different recipes range from lamb to salmon, venison to duck, and other taste choices.

We prefer to feed ducks, whenever possible, since it is so written into the pups’ histories.

 

The food is a well-balanced kibble that provides a firm base for the puppy to grow.

It’s grain free design also features the benefits of raw food (without sacrificing storage ability).

 

Freeze dried meat kernels top off the benefits of this dish.

 

Pros:

  • Features freeze-dried raw meat bites
  • Includes diverse protein options
  • Suitable for puppies of this breed
  • Contains probiotics for healthy flora

 

Cons:

  • Though raw boost lasts it has a comparably short shelf life
  • Not designed specifically for golden retrievers

#4 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Food

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0018CIRLI)

 

This food is especially suited to those living in warm climates.

An often-neglected part of the puppy diet is adequate hydration.

 

It is easy to assume that the pup will drink when thirsty, but young dogs tend to forget.

Meal Mixers provide a unique opportunity to rectify any potential dehydration.

 

Since they require reconstitution with water, it is easy to adjust the texture and water inclusion.

Another benefit of dehydration is that it provides all the benefits of the food without excessive processing.

 

The recipe includes organic vegetables and fruits for easy access to vitamins and minerals.

By featuring beef as a key ingredient, any iron-related worries abate.

 

I like this food, especially due to its maximizing storage space.

Us pup parents know how space-consuming having puppies actually is.

 

Anywhere we can add on an extra couple of square feet is a win.

This kibble is compact thanks to being dehydrated and so stores for a long time and with ease.

 

It accounts for all health aspects and provides a well-rounded diet.

That said, the food is best when prepared ahead of time, so the kibble choice requires an added investment the evening in advance of feeding.

 

Pros:

  • Stores excellently and not space consuming
  • Well rounded nutrition for pups
  • Allows control of hydration and texture
  • Includes fruits and vegetables

 

Cons:

  • Time consuming in preparation
  • A higher up-front investment for kibble
  • Not made specifically for puppies

 

#5 Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat Recipe

(https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Ultramix-Grain-Recipe-Bites/dp/B0123HC0V4/)

 

The two key features of this dietary option are the raw bites and the healthy balance.

The raw features keeps the meat supply as close to its evolutionarily familiar source as is possible.

 

Dogs did not evolve eating cooked meat, so it is best to keep their protein source as close to raw as possible (while being safe and healthy).

The balance comes from a high fiber content (necessary for hydration and nutritional uptake).

 

It supports healthy digestion in the dog, setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

By including antioxidants, we can give the dog the best chance at overall health- starting as early as possible.

 

Fatty acids are supplemented into the food in order to promote cognitive function.

The effects of these unsaturated fats are easiest seen by the sheen of the dog’s coat.

 

Because of the fur on retrievers, it is particularly noticeable when there is a significant amount of these fats in the diet.

When you see the shiny fur, you can know that you are doing what you can for the brain as well.

 

The food is great for worried pet parents, since it is so easy to see the fruit and vegetable inclusion in the kibble itself.

 

Pros:

  • High in quality meat protein
  • Avoids fillers like corn, wheat and soy
  • Supports digestion with high fiber content

 

Cons:

  • Not specific to golden retrievers
  • Includes peas (a potentially problematic ingredient in large doses)

Frequently Asked Questions on Golden Retriever Dog Food

 

Should You Go Grain-Free for Your Golden Retriever?

If you are raising your dog from puppyhood, there is no harm in steering away from grains.

It sets them up for a healthy system over time.

 

Otherwise, if your pup is eating grains and showing no issues, consider the possible stress of changing kibbles before making the jump.

 

What Should You Do If You Want to Switch Foods for your Golden Retriever?

Titration is key when adjusting foods for your pup.

A sudden change can shock the system and lead to stomach upset.

 

Avoid this by slowly adding the new food to the old.

Increase the new food and decrease the old food slightly with each meal.

 

When you finally make the switch, the system can thrive.

 

What Vegetables Can Golden Retrievers Eat?

Golden retrievers do not have trouble with vegetables in general (though don’t expect them to enjoy them on their own).

That said, there are some veggies that can pose issues.

 

Peas are a great example.

While they may be high in protein, they also include theobromine in trace amounts.

 

That is the same chemical present in chocolate that causes issues with canines.

 

How Long Should I Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy Food?

Golden Retrievers can technically be classed as puppies until they reach fifteen months of age.

During the last few weeks, it is a good idea to titrate in adult food.

 

This helps their systems adjust to the change.

Always consult sizing charts when portioning out your pup’s food.

 

Conclusion

Now that we’ve checked out dog food specifics for golden retrievers, we know exactly what our furry friends need.

From high protein to weight control, vitamin content to meat quality, the clear winner is Hill’s Science Weight Management.

 

The calorie count balances and the food itself serves as a great dietary staple for pups of this breed.

The goal of a quality diet is to maximize health and happiness.

 

You know your dog better than anyone; so, when finding the right food, focus on their needs and rest assured that there are a lot of great options.

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