Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are many dog lovers’ favorite breed. Puppies are usually nurtured by the mothers until seven weeks old, but they can start eating soft food when they reach three weeks.

As dog owners, you always want to keep your dog healthy.

While it might not be possible to control their health and illnesses completely, the best thing you can do is to make sure they eat nutritious food.

Here are some tips on getting the best dog food for your golden retrievers.


Best dog food for golden retrievers

Royal Canin BREED HEALTH NUTRITION Golden Retriever Adult

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Golden Retrievers are an intelligent, versatile breed that loves the water. This brand supports Golden Retrievers cardiac health. It also gives it the necessary nutrients to maintain healthy bones and muscles.

The Royal Canin formula provides a specific combination of nutrients to help support a healthy heart. It does so with taurine, EPA, and DHA.

Royal Canin dry dog food ingredients provide a balanced source of protein and fats which give your pup a good source of energy.

One of the main concerns of Golden Retriever owners is skin issues. Their skin can be more sensitive than other breeds. Royal Canin Golden Retriever dry dog food is made to reduce sensitivity and food allergies that can increase irritation.

One of the best things about this dry food is any dog with sensitive skin can benefit from using it. Many have seen improvement after just a couple of weeks of using the product. It reduces scratching, itching, and hot spots created by sensitive skin.

Royal Canin has also designed the kibble to work with the breed’s straight muzzle and jaw. This encourages better chewing and absorption of the nutrients.

Yes, it’s a little more expensive but provides excellent benefits and quality for your Golden Retriever.

The only downside is a recent change in formula moving rice to be the primary ingredient instead of protein.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Puppy

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Royal Canin Healthy Nutrition Golden Retriever is for puppies up to 15 months old.

The kibble size and shape are designed for this breed to encourage proper chewing. It also helps with easy absorption for your puppy to get the nutrients needed for healthy growth.

Golden Retrievers can have cardiac issues. This food is rich in Omega 3 and fatty acids to support healthy skin, coat, and heart in your puppy.

Your Golden pup is an intelligent breed that loves the water. It can also have sensitive skin, so this dry dog food can help reduce sensitivity.

Good food plays a crucial part in healthy growth. Some puppies have a digestive issue causing more concerns for their owners. Since their systems may not be fully developed, Royal Canin has added enzymes to help maintain balanced intestinal flora.

This product can help to reduce these issues after a couple of weeks of use. Since there is an adult version of this product, it will be a smoother transition to adult food once your puppy is ready.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural

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Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural dry dog food is made with every ingredient intended to have a purpose. Ingredients have been carefully selected. They are all high quality and natural to provide the best nutrition for your Golden Retriever.

Farm raised beef is the first ingredient. It has natural prebiotics to support healthy digestion. This gives your Golden Retriever the protein needed to support healthy bone and muscle growth.

Nutrish Natural dog food is made with wholesome meat, rice, vegetables. It also has added vitamins and minerals which support digestion. Plus, it has a great taste dogs will love.

Golden Retrievers can have sensitive skin. With no artificial flavors or artificial preservatives in this food, your dog will have less sensitivity.

A grain-free diet relates to better cardiac health. Nutrish Natural dog food avoids using grains in its formula. This makes it a good option for Golden Retrievers since they can suffer from cardiac problems.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Loaf

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This dog food helps maintain digestive health and cardiac health. Keeping a healthy weight is essential. Royal Canin is tailor-made nutrition to help support ideal weight in a Golden Retriever.

Since Golden Retrievers can suffer from cardiac issues, Royal Canin is made with crucial nutrients like sodium, taurine, L-carnitine, and essential amino acids.

They help support heart health while providing complete and balanced nutrition.

Supporting healthy skin and coat is important especially for a Golden Retriever which can be prone to sensitive skin. ALA, EPA, and DHA offer support for the breed’s coat and skin health.

Golden Retrievers have a dense coat with a thick undercoat. Their skin can be more sensitive than other breeds. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition loaf in sauce provides a smooth texture that will support a good healthy coat.

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend

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This brand is made with high-quality protein. It includes real chicken as the first ingredient and guaranteed live probiotics to support digestive health.

It contains rice which is used to help fuel energy to keep going all day.

Purina Pro Plan Savor offers a sensational mealtime experience with crunchy kibble. It also has tender, meaty pieces which provide outstanding taste and texture.

Real meat is the primary ingredient in Purina Pro Plan Savor dry formulas to help promote total health of your dogs. Plus, it is made to provide the optimal protein-to-fat ratio to maintain your pets’ ideal weight.

Full of vitamin A and linoleic acid and an omega-6 fatty acid to promote a healthy coat and skin.

It also has natural prebiotic fiber sourced from wheat bran supporting digestive health.

Each time you feed your this to your dog, you are providing your pup with wholesome goodness plus a great taste.

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free High Protein Natura

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Taste of the Wild Grain-Free has real meat as the primary ingredient. It also has optimal amino acid profile, protein-rich for lean, strong muscles in your Golden Retriever.

This is a natural formula with added vitamins and minerals. It offers fruits and vegetables as superfoods for natural antioxidants. Its fatty acid blend helps give great skin and coat in your Golden Retriever.

It has highly digestible kibble proprietary probiotics. These survive and thrive in the GI tract to help support digestive health.

Made with no grain, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, it supports a healthy coat and skin.

Its grain-free formula provides lots of energy and great nutrition. It is made with real roasted meat and a blend of protein sources. Your dog will truly enjoy this hearty formula.

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free High Protein formula offers a taste sensation that your dog will crave while licking the bowl clean.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Grain Free

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Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Grain Free dry dog food is made from farm-raised turkey with the #1 ingredient. It is grain free, gluten free with no fillers. This will support your Golden Retriever’s sensitive skin issue.

Natural dog food with added vitamins and minerals, no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives support healthy coat and skin through proper nutrition.

Every ingredient has a purpose and was carefully selected. You can expect high-quality proteins with wholesome veggies and essential vitamins and minerals.

Real turkey is a lean, easily-digestible protein that is rarely used in dog food. This may make it less likely to aggravate food sensitivities that can cause sensitive skin.

Turkey meal, the second ingredient, provides essential amino acids and B vitamins. This helps maintain lean muscle and healthy organs to keep your healthy active Golden Retriever. It is also a natural source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. These help support joint health.

Whole potatoes, tapioca, and peas are easily-digestible alternative carbohydrates. These vegetables and starches are gluten-free and gentle on the digestive system.

Beet pulp is a wholesome fiber source that provides prebiotics to maintain your Golden Retriever’s digestive health.

Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural Grain Free

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This is a nutrient-dense recipe to satisfy your Golden Retriever’s cravings.

Farm raised beef is the #1 ingredient. It is a high-quality protein kibble with no poultry by-product meal, artificial flavors, colors, or artificial preservatives.

It includes proteins like chicken, beef and seafood. Your dog will also love the wholesome veggies, essential vitamins and minerals. These help to support healthy muscles and bones while maintaining ideal weight management.

It has peas and sweet potatoes. These are easily digestible alternative carbohydrates. They are gluten-free and gentle on your dog’s digestive system but also support cardiac health.

Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Grain-Free Classic Ground

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This Purina ONE formula is made with real poultry as the #1 ingredient.

Real venison and other high-quality ingredients support healthy muscles and bones in your Golden Retriever.

Four antioxidant sources are included to help support a healthy immune system. Highly digestible and nutrient-dense, your dog will enjoy this blend.

The tender, meaty texture gives your Golden Retriever something to sink his teeth into happily. The grain-free formula lets you feel good about feeding him.

It is grain-free and has no fillers. This means that each high-quality ingredient serves a purpose and causes fewer sensitivity issues for your canine.

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Adult Wet Dog Food

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This is made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient. It is made with high-quality ingredients, 23 essential vitamins, and nutrients. These offer your Golden Retriever nutrition to support healthy bones and muscles.

Purina Pro Plan Savor is taste without compromise. Flavorful, nutrient-rich meals are available in a variety of forms to meet your dog’s unique taste preferences.

High-quality ingredients will help to reduce the risk of skin sensitivity that Golden Retrievers can have.

All of the wet formulas are made with real pork, turkey, salmon, chicken, beef, ocean whitefish, or lamb that your pup will crave at every meal.

Pro Plan Savor is formulated to support your dog’s protective systems: immune, digestive, and skin and coat. The high-quality ingredients provide energy and vitality for your healthy dog.

Feeding Your Golden Retriever

Feeding schedule

Design a feeding schedule based on the age of your golden retriever. The younger they are, the more frequent they will need to eat.

If you worry about over or under feeding your dogs, you might take the following as a reference: For golden retrievers that are over 1 year old, they should be fed once a day.

If they are between 6 months to 1 year old then they should be fed twice a day; while those who are 6 months old or younger some recommend to feed 3 to 4 times a day.

You might have heard of the term free feeding, meaning free choice. In fact, free feeding makes it difficult to monitor how much your dog eats.

Once free feeding has become a habit, it is difficult for you to change and establish a new protocol. This breed is a fast growing breed and their meal frequency should be closely monitored.

Similar to any kinds of training that you do with your pet, you should not force your dogs to adapt to a new feeding schedule immediately.

It takes time for them to learn and practice any new habits.

Keep them hydrated

All golden retrievers need to stay hydrated, so make sure they have easy access to a bowl of fresh water.

In order to keep the water clean, you should change the water at least once a day and use a stainless bowl.

Stainless bowls are more durable and they are less likely to foster bacteria when comparing to plastic or ceramic ones.

Quality matters

When feeding them, you should make sure that they get a complete and balanced diet, which provides all the nutrition they need. There are dog foods that are made for specific breeds.

It is important to look at the nutrition label on the packaging. A good product should have meat as an ingredient.

Wet vs Dry Food

Dry food

Dry food gains popularity among dog owners because it is so convenient to get and they are very affordable.

Also, having your golden retrievers bite on hard kibbles helps scrape your dogs’ teeth and prevent plague from building up.

Wet food

For wet food, it is not as easy to store as dry food. If your golden retrievers cannot finish the food in one meal, you have to keep the rest in the fridge.

Wet food is usually considered a healthy option because it can come in airtight packaging which may not contain any chemical preservatives.

Besides, wet food are usually soft and easy, which can make eating more joyful for your older dogs. It is also considered a more nutritious and tasty meal for dogs.

The mixed approach

In order to make the most out of the dog food in the market, some dog owners will mix both dry food and wet food when feeding their dogs.  

Fighting Off Health Risks with Dog Food

There are some health risks amongst all kinds of dogs, including this breed. You can tackle the problem for giving the right food to your dogs.


When feeding your golden retrievers, make sure you take notes of their reactions. Some dogs are allergic to dairy, eggs, pork, beef, fish, soy and so on.

Sometimes, when your dog has been consuming the same type of protein for a long period of time. It is possible that an allergy will be developed.

Signs of allergies include swollen paws and eyes, digestive problems, coughing and nasal discharge.

After consulting a vet, you should also provide some allergy elimination meals for them. It is possible that you can detox your dogs and tackle the allergy.

Gastric dilation

Golden retrievers have a deep chest, making them easier to bloat or suffer from gastric dilation.

The bloat usually happens when gases are built up in the retrievers’ stomach, making them inflate. Once that happens, they should be taken to the vet immediately.

While the cause of gastric dilation for them is unknown, you can help reduce the risk by changing your dogs’ feeding schedule from once a day, to 2 to 3 times a day.

Additionally, the risk can also be reduced by avoiding vigorous exercise within an hour before or after feeding.


Pancreatitis means that there is a leakage of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, making the organ digests itself.

It could be chronic or acute, but it also happens when your dog eats too much processed food.

Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of hunger and pain in abdomen. If you see any of these signs contact your vet immediately. 

Oral health

Tooth decay is common for dogs that have a rich carbohydrates diet. Carbohydrates is an ideal substance that promote the growth of bacteria inside your golden retrievers’ mouths.

When the bacteria interacts with the starch remains in your dogs’ mouth, they will release an acid that dissolves your dogs’ tooth enamel.

Once the bacteria started to take their actions, other oral problems such as bad breath, rotting teeth, gum diseases or even tooth loss might happen.

In order to maintain your dogs’ oral health, you should pick a dog food that is not high in carbohydrates.

At the same time, you should also pay attention to the sugar in the food and keep the amount moderate.


Golden retrievers can eat a lot and they can suffer from different health problems such as diabetes and orthopaedic problems.

It is also common for them to have hip and elbow dysplasia or joint problems, which are easily affected and worsened by obesity.

If your golden retrievers are overweight, you might need to take them to the vet for a consultation and switch to a diet food.

It will be helpful for them to take food that contains more fibre but less calories.

The Nutritional Requirements of Golden Retrievers

Fat and protein

Fat is an important nutrients to your dog and 5% of the food should contains fat for your adult golden retrievers.

It serves as a good sauce of energy and can give thier skin a healthy and shiny look.

Your full-grown retriever needs at least 18% of protein in their diet, and a golden retriever puppy needs about 22% of protein, according to the Association Feed Control officials.


Based on the information provided by the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active dog needs about 1,350 to 1,750 calories a day. While golden retrievers that are not as active will need about 1,000 to 1,270 calories every day.

For older golden retrievers, they are likely to suffer from joint problems, so that they are less active and require fewer calories than their healthy and active counterparts.

How to Choose the Best Food for Your Golden Retriever

Read the label

When shopping for dog food, read the ingredients label carefully and pay attention to the top five ingredients.

It would be ideal to include some protein and fat from an animal source instead of a vegetable source.

You may also want to check if there are a lot of by-products in the product because that might not be good for your dogs’ digestive system.

For dog food in the market that has a label “complete and balanced”, it means that they are considered a nutritious diet based on the standards created by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

Getting food with this label implies that your golden retriever will have a balanced diet that contains most of the important nutrients and vitamins they need.

Stay natural

A healthy diet for your golden retrievers should be free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

Some common preservatives in  dog food include BHT, ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, sodium nitrate and BHA. All these additives are also known to be carcinogenic.

Give some varieties

It might seem easier for you to stick to the same brand and flavour of dog food, but it is actually a good idea to switch both brands and flavors every few months.

By doing so, your dogs will not get bored from what they eat. Most importantly, they will also be able to receive different nutrients.

Avoid dangerous food

You might feel tempted to give your golden retrievers some of the tasty food on your plate.

Food such as raisins, onions and grapes are poisonous for dogs. Hence, you should also make sure that these are not one of the ingredients in the dog food that you have chosen.


Golden retrievers is a large breed and they are sensitive about their feeding regime. You might be overwhelmed by thinking how to keep this large animal healthy at your house.

There are a lot of choices in the market and it can be confusing sometimes.

A quality diet will help improve the immune system of your golden retrievers, so start making a good choice for your golden retrievers today.

You will be able to make a difference to your golden retrievers’ diet and prevent health issues from happening in the future.

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