Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: November 2019​

Category: Best Dog Foods

golden retrieverGolden Retrievers are inarguably one of the most popular dog breeds in America. This dog breed is famous for its gentle temperament, making it the ideal family pet or service dog.

As a large breed dog, Golden Retrievers are susceptible to a myriad of health problems, including skin conditions, cancers, cataracts, hip dysplasia, arthritis, and a variety of chest problems. They need regular exercise, healthy food, and extra supplements as part of their daily diet to keep them in optimal health.

To help you find the best dog food for your Golden Retriever, we’ve rounded up the top options and put together a comprehensive feeding guide.

Best Dog Foods for Golden Retriever 2019 - Reviews

1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food with Chicken and Rice

  • Protein: 26%
  • Fats: 12%
  • Fiber: 5%
  • Calories:  340kcal/cup

Just as the name implies, this dog food promotes the wellness of large breed dogs that weigh over 50 pounds. It is made from all-natural ingredients and does not contain any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Wellness Complete provides balanced nutrition for the whole body. It takes into account digestive, joint, and bone health, and also supports the general vitality and energy needs of your Golden. Wellness Complete further aids in the optimal absorption of nutrients into your dog’s body.

Crucially, this dog food doesn’t compromise on taste, and your dog is guaranteed to wolf it down. It does not contain any allergens like wheat and soy and is enriched with chicken meal and whitefish to promote muscle development.

As your dog transitions from puppyhood, try to combine Wellness Complete with your puppy’s initial food and gradually phase it out.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Rice, 30-Pound Bag

Pros

  • Gentle on your dog’s tummy as it’s easily digestible
  • Ideal for dogs that have food allergies and sensitive stomachs
  • Affordable, given that large breed dogs can eat quite a lot
  • Improves dog heart health

Cons

  • May be unsuitable for very active dogs, as it’s a little bit low on carbs
  • Doesn’t contain healthy veggies and fruits

2. Diamond Naturals Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food With Real Cage-Free Chicken

 

  • Protein: 23%
  • Fats: 13%
  • Fiber: 4%
  • Calorie Content:  329kcal/cup

Sustaining a large breed dog isn’t easy! Your dog food needs to have a balanced protein, carb, and fat level to have all the energy they need while building muscle.

Thanks to its high-quality protein made from real cage-free chicken, Diamond Naturals is ideal for the development of strong and healthy muscles. This dog food is also rich in vitamins and minerals essential for the development of your dog.

It has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat, as well as chondroitin and glucosamine, which are essential nutrients for healthy joints, crucial in large dogs susceptible to joint conditions. Diamond Naturals is also rich in superfoods and probiotics that aid digestion and help to maintain the optimal nutrition and gut health of your Golden.

Just like all other natural dog foods, it does not contain the allergens wheat, soy, or corn, and does not have harmful artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors in its formulation. This dog food’s low caloric formula also helps to keep obesity at bay. 

Diamond Naturals Adult Large Breed Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken 40Lb

Pros

  • Affordable—ensures that your dog eats healthy food without having to break the bank
  • It is ideal for active, playful dogs due to its high carb content
  • Promotes a shinier coat
  • Ideal for picky eaters
  • Helps relieve skin conditions
  • Formulated to help curb obesity

Cons

  • May result in diarrhea at the onset, but this eases away with time
  • It contains salt—a not so desirable ingredient in dog food

3. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Protein: 23%
  • Fats: 11%
  • Fiber: 5.7%
  • Calories:  276kcal/cup

Royal Canin is specifically designed to meet the nutritional requirements of purebred Golden Retrievers 15 months and older. Its kibble shape design is exclusively made for the Golden’s characteristic straight muzzle to facilitate natural chewing.

This dog food contains EPA and DHA fatty acids that promote your dog’s heart health, making it the most popular choice for veterinary cardiologists.

Royal Canin contains 276kcal/cup, which is the recommended calorie and fat content for Golden Retrievers. This feature helps to stabilize your dog’s weight and prevent obesity.

Goldens also tend to shed a lot, and this dog food contains the necessary nutrients to maintain a shiny coat and healthy skin. To ensure that your dog achieves a healthy water intake, you can mix water with this dog food.

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30 lb. bag

Pros

  • Contains EPA and DHA which aids in keeping your dog heart-healthy
  • Kind on the digestive system
  • Contains taurine, an essential nutrient for a healthy heart
  • Guarantees a luxurious, healthy coat for your dog
  • Maintains your dog’s ideal weight with its precise calorie and fat formulation

Cons

  • Unpleasant smell
  • Some owners complain it gave their dog gas

4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food

  • Protein: 28%
  • Fats: 13%
  • Fiber: 6%
  • Calories: 382kcal/cup

Purina needs no introduction as a dog food brand, and this dog food contains high-quality protein as its number one ingredient. It is recommended for pups that will weigh over 50 pounds at maturity.

Pro Plan Puppy consists of small, crunchy kibble that your young Golden can comfortably chew. It is the best food for the development of strong bones and cartilage because of its high glucosamine content.

It also has DHA fatty acids obtained from fish oil and helps in the development of a healthy brain as well as proper vision. Additionally, you’ll find that this puppy food contains essential antioxidants needed for the development of the immune system.

Purina Pro Plan is also safe for gestating and lactating females, but you may have to double or quadruple the recommended serving.

To achieve the desired results, give your puppy one week to transition slowly from its initial food into Purina Pro Plan. Since puppies begin to nibble at food 3 – 4 weeks after delivery, allow your puppy to eat at will for the first 6 – 7 weeks before developing a strict feeding schedule.

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food, FOCUS Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag

Pros

  • Bite-sized kibble makes it easier for a small dog to chew
  • Contains probiotics to aid in digestion and immunity for your young, vulnerable pup
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight as your puppy grows
  • Aids in muscle development

Cons

  • Some users have found that it triggers diarrhea and vomiting
  • The high presence of grains reduces protein content

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for Senior Golden Retrievers 

  • Protein: 18%
  • Fats: 10%
  • Fiber: 7%
  • Calorie Content: 430kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo is a respected name in the industry when it comes to manufacturing dog food for senior dogs. The nutritional content is formulated for senior Goldens using protein-rich real chicken ideal for maintaining healthy muscles.

As large dog breeds like Golden Retrievers age, they tend to develop muscle stiffness, so high protein content in their diet is crucial. The plus here is that this dog food also contains fruits and vegetables that aid in digestion. Just wow—it could not get better for a senior dog!

Blue Buffalo dog food is all-natural and does not contain any artificial additives, preservatives, flavors, or color. It also doesn’t contain corn, soy, wheat, and poultry by-products.

This dog food has added minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants calledLifeSource Bits, which have been put together by top-notch animal nutritionists and veterinarians. These micronutrients help to support your dog’s immune system later in life.

Chondroitin and glucosamine help to improve cartilage and joint health, and aid in the movement of your senior Golden, while carbohydrates come in handy to boost their energy levels.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food – Natural Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs – Chicken & Brown Rice – 30 lb. Bag

Pros

  • Boosts the activity levels and vitality of older Golden Retrievers
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin levels take care of the joints and hips
  • The precise caloric formulation helps to maintain a healthy weight for your dog
  • Comes in handy for dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia, mitigating the effects
  • Improves the already slowing digestion of your senior Golden Retriever

Cons

  • High protein levels could pose a danger to senior dogs
  • Your dog may experience diarrhea and vomiting before adjusting to this dog food

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Your Golden Retriever

Choosing a dog food for your Golden Retriever may require some intense research given the sheer variety available. You must ensure that your pup gets the required vitamins, proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates and in the right amounts to yield optimal health for your dog.

golden retriever puppies

Things to Consider When Buying Food for Golden Retriever

Related: Best Large Breed Dog Foods

There are several essential factors you should consider before settling on dog food for your Golden, whatever their life stage. The most important factor is to look for foods with no fillers, artificial additives, or by-products, rich in lean protein, limited in fats, and balanced according to AAFCO nutrient profiles.

When selecting dog food, you should also consider the credibility of the manufacturer as well as establishing whether the company has strict quality control measures for its products. Recalls over the years will give you a good indication of the quality of the dog food.

It is also crucial to understand the specific health needs of your Golden Retriever to prevent them from developing the ailments known to afflict this particular breed.

Nutritional Needs of Your Golden Retriever

Proteins

Strive for at least 30% protein. Animal protein is essential for the development of healthy muscle in your dog due to the large body and dynamic nature of this breed. Make sure that animal protein is the first ingredient and is clearly stated as such on the label.

Carbohydrates

Goldens need not more than 20% carb content, which should be adjusted with size. A young Goldie requires carbohydrate-rich food because of its physical activity, unlike an old dog that is less physically active.

Fats

As much as too much fat might be deemed dangerous, it is essential in the right quantities and types to achieve optimum health levels. The perfect dog food for Golden Retrievers should contain at least 15% fat content. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids also help to maintain your dog’s endocrine system, as well as a shiny coat, for a healthy and beautiful glow.

Micronutrients and Nutraceuticals

Golden retrievers require essential minerals such as glucosamine and chondroitin, for strengthening their joints and hips. These dogs are susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia, as well as arthritis, so these minerals help to enhance your dog’s mobility.

Calcium and phosphorus also help in the development of a healthy nervous system, while iron helps in the oxygenation of red blood cells.

Vitamins are also very significant in improving eye and skin health, and in the growth and development of all cells. EPA, DHA, and ELA are essential fatty acids vital in maintaining healthy immune, neurologic, and cardiovascular systems in your dog.

Dietary Fiber

Dog food rich in fiber guarantees smooth digestion and alleviates constipation. Ensure that your dog food contains the necessary fiber to prevent this condition.

Life Stage of Your Golden Retriever

Puppy: As a Puppy, your Golden’s dog food should be delicious, preferably wet. Gradually you can transition to dry dog food with small size kibble to make it easy for your puppy to chew. Ensure that the dog food has plenty of proteins for muscle development, and increased carbohydrates to keep your pup energized for play. Also, checkout our recommended puppy foods if you are buying food for your Golden puppy.

Adult: Adult Goldens need a balance of moderate to high protein and carbohydrates to maintain muscle weight and provide energy. The fat content should be medium to low and should be controlled to prevent obesity.

Micronutrients and nutraceuticals help to promote healthy skin, joints, eye health, metabolism, and digestive function.

Seniors: As for senior Goldens, as they age, these dogs tend to slow down and develop certain breed-specific conditions.

Reduce carb intake and ensure your dog’s food has enough protein to strengthen worn-out muscles. Since your Goldie might also shed more than usual, go for foods rich in micronutrients to alleviate shedding and maintain a healthy and shiny coat. Read our best senior dog food post for more options.

Golden Retriever Health Conditions and Special Dietary Needs

Like all dog breeds, Golden Retrievers are prone to developing certain health conditions and need a diet that will help to prevent these conditions. These include:

Aortic Stenosis

In this condition, the valve exiting the heart tends to narrow, restricting the flow of blood to the rest of the body. Omega fatty acids and dietary fiber in your dog’s diet will help to lower the levels of bad cholesterol and lipids in the blood.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This condition causes your Golden to bleed profusely due to the lack of a specific clotting factor in his blood. While this disease is genetic, you may help your dog by supplying lots of Vitamin K in the food to improve the situation.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Large breed dogs tend to develop these conditions, especially later in life. Calcium, glucosamine, chondroitin, and phosphorus help to strengthen your dog’s bones and joints, thus alleviating or preventing the condition from developing in the first place.

Hypothyroidism

Golden retrievers are prone to hypothyroidism and may suddenly develop unusual weight gain without a change in their routine. This condition may be an indication of an underactive thyroid. Support your dog by giving them plenty of ALA, DHA, and EHA fatty acids, as well as high-fiber foods, antioxidants, and probiotics.

Cancers

Goldens suffer mostly from lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma cancers, which target the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems, respectively. Optimal nutrition is vitally important, just as in humans, to keep these severe diseases at bay in your dog.

Eye and Skin Health

Goldens are prone to congenital cataracts. Vitamin A and DHA fatty acids can help to mitigate the effects of this condition in your dog. Also, give your dog omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Much Dog Food Is Recommended for a Golden Retriever Puppy?

You should give your puppy three meals per day, from when it starts weaning all through the next 6 -8 weeks of life.

As much as food levels vary from one puppy to another, the recommended food intake for the Golden Retriever puppies is about ½ a cup of dry puppy food. Water should also be provided on the side.

How Much Food Should I Give My Adult Gold Retriever?

Vets and animal nutritionists recommend two meals a day, totaling 2-3 cups of dry food per day.

It is vital to keep track of the meal frequency and quantity. This action will prevent your dog from becoming obese or undernourished.

We don’t recommend feeding your dog once a day, as frequent small feeding helps to prevent bloating.

When Should Golden Retrievers Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food?

Your vet is probably the best person to ask this question. However, just to shed some light on the topic, it should be at the 10 – 12-week life stage. To achieve desirable results, consider sticking to one brand of dog food and transition gradually. A sudden change in dog food can bring about adverse health effects like excess gas and diarrhea.

Can I Make Home-Made Dog Food for My Golden Retriever?

Of course, you can! But you’ve got to be very careful when doing so. You must ensure that the food you make caters to the nutritional needs of your dog and keep the fat content low. The food should be rich in vitamins and minerals and contain moderate to high proteins, moderate carbs, and essential fatty acids.

Before you go down this route, though, consult your vet for the ultimate advice.

What Ingredients Should I Avoid When Buying Dog Food for My Golden Retriever?

In addition to allergens, artificial flavors, and preservatives, stay clear of additives like propylene glycol used to add moisture in dog food. This additive can cause anemia in pets. Also avoid TBHQ that causes irreversible DNA damage, and propyl gallate, a carcinogenic compound.

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