Top 10 Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
With so many dog food choices out there, finding the right food for your Golden Retriever can be difficult and overwhelming. This article was written by Dr. Traas, president of Golden Retriever Society and veterinarian, and includes input from our other staff veterinarians. We look specifically for foods that are formulated for large breed dogs and foods that are backed by science made by reputable companies that have spent considerable time researching each ingredient.
Here we share our top choices of dog food that will provide your Golden Retriever with a healthy and complete diet. We will also give details about the nutritious ingredients found in each food and how they will benefit your dog.
Do Golden Retrievers Need Special Dog Food?
- According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, adult dogs require a minimum of 18% protein in their diet, and puppies need at least 22%. Protein provides the building blocks for strong muscles in puppies. And in adults, it supports lean muscle maintenance. For most dogs, higher protein content is a good thing.
- Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy in the form of calories. It should make up at least 8% of the diet for puppies and 5% for adult dogs. This is where your Golden Retriever’s needs start to differ.
- Small dog breeds have a faster metabolism and need a higher concentration of calories in their diet. For large breeds like the Golden Retriever, however, excess calories can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Obesity increases the risk for other issues like bone and joint problems. As such, Golden Retrievers need a protein-rich dog food with low-to-moderate fat and calorie content.
What About Growing Puppies?
- A puppy’s needs for protein and calories are higher than an adult’s. However, large-breed puppies need to be kept on a calorie-controlled diet to prevent them from growing too quickly.
- According to AAFCO nutrient profiles, they also need lower calcium and phosphorus levels to reduce the risk of joint issues. So, yes, it’s good to look for a Golden Retriever puppy food that’s right for your growing pup.
What to Look for in a Good Golden Retriever Food
To ensure that your Golden Retriever’s basic nutritional needs are met, it’s 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:
- Limited fat and calorie content to control growth in puppies and maintain lean mass in adults
- Rich in lean protein from high-quality animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish
- Wholesome, natural ingredients with no fillers, byproducts, or artificial additives
- Nutritionally complete and balanced formulas, according to AAFCO nutrient profiles
- Controlled calcium and phosphorus levels with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
Besides making sure your Golden Retriever’s 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 once—bigger kibble means that your dog gets the same nutrition in smaller portion sizes.
Are Grain-Free Dog Foods Safe for Golden Retrievers?
Over the past year or so, there’s been a lot of debate surrounding grain-free diets for dogs. It began in July 2018 when the FDA announced that it had received several reports of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, related to grain-free diets.
In response to these reports, the FDA launched an investigation with the following results:
- Out of 300 reports of DCM, 90% of dogs eating a single primary diet were fed grain-free food
- Some reports involved multiple affected animals (both dogs and cats) in the same household
- These reports spanned a variety of breeds, not only large and giant breeds that are known to have a genetic predisposition to DCM
DCM is not a condition typically seen in Goldens, but Dr. Josh Stern, a vet at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who has a Golden himself, began seeing an increase. When studying DCM in the breed, he found many of the dogs were following a grain-free diet and had a taurine deficiency.
While the FDA has yet to issue an official statement, experts like Dr. Lisa M. Freeman suggest that the correlation between DCM and BEG (boutique, exotic, grain-free) diets could be due to the ingredients used to replace the grains, among other variables.
So what exactly does this mean for your Golden Retriever?
Feeding a grain-free diet is still a personal decision, but keep in mind that these diets are not inherently healthier than grain-inclusive diets. The exception is for dogs who are allergic or sensitive to grains, in which case a grain-free diet may be recommended.
The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
Though breed-specific dog food formulas might be fine for your dog, it’s better to understand your dog’s nutritional needs and make an informed decision based on that. Considering your dog’s age, breed size, and activity level will help you make the best choice.
With that in mind, these are our top picks for the best dog food for adult Golden Retrievers.
- Dogs are susceptible to the same health problems as humans when their diet is poor. Carbohydrate imbalances, unbalanced meals rich in carbohydrates and other macronutrients, and other factors can all increase a dog’s risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
- A poor diet not only puts your dog’s health at risk, but it can also result in the same symptoms of hunger and lethargy as a human eating poorly. As a consequence, your dog may have low energy levels, which might encourage them to eat more—leading to an unhappy and unhealthy pet.
- Fuel is made with all-natural, grain-free ingredients for optimum health and peak performance. Pupper uses grass-fed beef and real vegetables, which are loaded with nutrients.
Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Adult
- Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Dog Food is a great dog food for golden retrievers. It is made with deboned chicken, peas, and sweet potatoes. This food is grain-free and does not contain any artificial colors or flavors.
- The first ingredient in this food is deboned chicken, which provides your dog with high-quality protein. The second ingredient is peas, which are a source of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. The third ingredient is sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
- This food also contains flaxseed, which is a source of omega-three fatty acids. These fatty acids are important for the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
- This food is also enriched with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc. These nutrients are also essential for the health of your dog’s immune system, skin, and coat.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe is a great food for golden retrievers. It is made with real salmon, which is a source of high-quality protein. This food also contains sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
The first ingredient in this food is salmon, which provides your dog with high-quality protein. This is a necessary part of your golden retriever’s diet to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients that they need.
Nom Nom Fresh
There are only a handful of Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists in the United States, and this company has two on their team. They develop each Nom Nom recipe to the AAFCO food nutrient profiles’ nutritional criteria. They think that feeding dogs properly is the best method to avoid chronic illness.
To give dogs with all stages of life the essential nutrients they require, they combine high-quality proteins and vegetables with particular vitamins and minerals. There are no fillers or nonsense in this formula.
Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult
- Big dogs (50 pounds or more) require larger meals — and the bigger pieces of Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Adult Recipe are ideal for bigger mouths.
- A unique combination of probiotics, nutritious fiber, and digestive enzymes can help your dog’s gastrointestinal health. The delectable tastes are complemented with joint-supporting elements as well as other vitamins and minerals for a delicious, healthy meal that will keep your pet occupied all day long.
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is a high-quality food that’ll give your big breed adult dog everything she needs. Each Diamond Naturals dry formula is complemented with superfoods and guaranteed probiotics to aid in the development of your canine’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
Your dog will enjoy the taste of this high-quality food. It’s made with fresh cage-free chicken, whole grain brown rice, and real fruit and vegetables including kale, blueberries, and coconut to provide your canine with protein, minerals, omega fatty acids to improve skin and coat health.
Assist your buddy in obtaining a comprehensive and balanced holistic diet with Diamond!
Eagle Pack Power Adult Dog Food
- Eagle Pack Power Adult Dog Food is a great food for golden retrievers. It is made with real chicken, which is a source of high-quality protein. This food also contains sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
- The first ingredient in this food is chicken, which provides your dog with high-quality protein. This is a necessary part of your golden retriever’s diet to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients that they need.
Victor Purpose Nutra Pro Dog Food
Another option on this list of the best dog food for golden retrievers in 2022 is Victor Purpose Nutra Pro Dog Food. This food is made with real chicken, which is a great source of protein for your dog. This food also contains sweet potatoes and carrots, which are both excellent sources of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
The first ingredient in this food is chicken, which provides your golden retriever with high-quality protein. This is an essential part of their diet to ensure that they’re getting all of the nutrients that they need. The other natural ingredients in this best dog food are both great sources of carbohydrates and dietary fiber, which can help to keep your dog’s energy level up and their digestive system healthy.
Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck
Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck is a great food for golden retrievers. It is made with real duck, which is a source of high-quality protein. This food also contains sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
The first ingredient in this food is duck, which provides your dog with high-quality protein. Duck is a great source of protein for your dog and it is also a very tasty food. Your dog will love the taste of this food and you will be able to see a difference in their energy level and overall health.
Orijen Large Breed Puppy Food
Orijen Large Breed Puppy Food is a great food for golden retrievers. It is made with real chicken, which is a source of high-quality protein. This food also contains sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
The first ingredient in this food is chicken, which provides your dog with high-quality protein. This is a necessary part of your golden retriever’s diet to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients that they need.
The other ingredients in this food are all natural and are great sources of carbohydrates and dietary fiber, which can help to keep your dog’s energy level up and their digestive system healthy.
Iams ProActive Health Large Breed
- Iams Adult Large Breed Real Chicken High Protein Dry Dog Food is a nutritious dish to feed your big breed puppy. This adult dog food has been developed to meet the specific nutritional requirements of your large-breed pooch.
- The first ingredient is real farm-raised chicken, which aids in muscular strength. It’s also designed to help your pal stay active by supporting bone and joint health.
- It nourishes with a unique combination of whole fibers and prebiotics, which promotes proper digestion and a healthy immune system. It’s the nutritional boost your strong buddy needs to help him live bigger than life!
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Formula is a dry food that’s made with real chicken as the first ingredient. It also includes rice and oatmeal for easy digestion, DHA for brain and vision development, and calcium for strong bones.
This formula is designed to support your pup’s large frame and rapid growth, as well as his immune system, skin, and coat. The kibble is also extra-large and easy to eat, so your big guy can chow down at mealtime.
Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy
Wellness Complete Health Chicken, Salmon & Rice will get your tiny guy growing. This natural dry food is designed to give your big breed pup with complete-body nutritional support.
It’s made with high-quality proteins and healthy grains, as well as omega fatty acids—including DHA—vital vitamins, antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics.
The following balanced, nutritious dry dog food is created to support teeth and bone development, general health, energy and vitality, optimal nutrient absorption, and healthy muscle growth.
It’s made without GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or preservatives, so Rover will always get the right nutrients.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Food
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice is a dry food that’s made with real chicken as the first ingredient. It also includes DHA for brain and vision development, calcium for strong bones, and whole grains for easy digestion.
- This formula is designed to support your pup’s large frame and rapid growth, as well as his immune system, skin, and coat. The kibble is also extra-large and easy to eat.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed dry dog food is tailored to support your puppy’s skeletal & joint development. This premium pet food features an ideal blend of ingredients for large breed puppies, including DHA from fish oil for healthy brain & eye development.
- This recipe includes natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support your pup’s joints as he grows, calcium for strong bones, and a clinically proven antioxidant blend for a healthy immune system.
- Plus, it’s made with no artificial flavors or preservatives.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Wet Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Wet Dog Food is a delicious, meaty feast that your furry friend is sure to love. Made with real chicken and turkey, this grain free wet food also includes potatoes, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Plus, it’s packed with essential vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s overall health. This dog food is also free from artificial flavors and preservatives.
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach
With Purina Pro Plan Senior dry dog food for Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach 7+ Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food, you can help your senior dog meet his or her special requirements.
Salmon is the #1 component in this high-protein dry dog food, which also has specific nutrition designed to meet your pup’s needs. An easily digested combination of oatmeal and rice is included in this dog food for sensitive stomachs.
Zinc, selenium, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), plus glucosamine and EPA to aid with joint health and mobility. A biologically active prebiotic fiber is also included to nourish good intestinal flora. We add antioxidants to this dry dog food for dogs for immune support.
This salmon and rice dog food also includes omega-6 fatty acid-rich sunflower oil for skin health to help soothe your dog’s sensitive skin. There are no eggs, corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meal, or any other additional colors or tastes in this Purina Pro Plan adult dog food recipe.
Every bag of this dry dog food is made in Purina-owned U.S. factories using salmon.
Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ground Wet Dog Food
Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ground Wet Dog Food is a delicious, meaty feast that your furry friend is sure to love. Made with real chicken and turkey, this grain free wet food also includes potatoes, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Plus, it’s packed with essential vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s overall health.
Wag Dog Food
- Real poultry comes first in Wag Dry Dog Food Turkey & Lentil Recipe because that’s what dogs require to thrive. Protein aids in the maintenance of your dog’s bounding energy levels.
- Veterinarians develop their recipes, which contain the greatest balance of protein and fat without including any grains. Each serving has 35% protein to keep your canine co-pilot active and robust.
- For quality control and each batch being tested to verify that it meets high standards, the best ingredients are sourced in the United States.
Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon
With Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, you can provide your canine companion with a nutritious diet that is tailored to his or her specific health needs.
This grain-free recipe, which is formulated with novel proteins like wild boar, includes nutrient-dense legumes such as peas and garbanzo beans that provide highly digestible energy to your active dog, as well as natural antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion.
For complete and balanced nutrition with a taste of the wild your furry companion will constantly desire, essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to improve absorption and assure optimum benefit!
How do I keep my golden retrievers coat shiny?
- The most important thing you can do to keep your golden retriever’s coat shiny is to feed them a high-quality diet. Golden retrievers are prone to allergies, so it’s important to find a food that doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial ingredients.
- You should also make sure that the best dog food for golden retrievers that you’re feeding them has plenty of omega-fatty acids, as these will help to keep their coat healthy and lustrous. Finally, regular brushing will also help to remove any dead hair and promote new growth.
Do Golden Retrievers need special food?
- No, Golden Retrievers do not need special food. However, they may benefit from a diet that is higher in protein and fat than the average dog food. This is because Golden Retrievers are active dogs who need the extra energy to maintain their activity level.
- The best dog food for Golden Retrievers will contain high-quality ingredients that are easily digestible. The food should also be formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of Golden Retrievers.
How will I know if my golden retriever likes their food?
There are a few ways to tell if your golden retriever likes their food. The first is to simply observe their eating habits. If they seem to be gulping their food down without chewing, this could be a sign that they’re not getting the nutrients they need.
If you’re looking for a food that will help your golden retriever maintain a healthy weight, you should look for one that is high in protein and low in calories. You should also make sure that the food you choose has plenty of omega-fatty acids, as these will help to keep your dog’s coat healthy and lustrous.
When it comes to choosing the best dog food for golden retrievers, there are a lot of options out there. However, not all of them are created equal. It’s important to do your research and to choose a food that is high in protein and low in calories.
We hope that our list of the best dog food for golden retrievers has helped you see just how many options your furry friend has available. Evaluate our list and information above before selecting your favorite brand to try today.