Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are loyal, intelligent, and upbeat animals. Either as an addition to a family with small children or a companion. The breed is considered to be one of the best pet choices for many families around the country.

The breed is the most famous breed in America, and the reason is they are playful, smart, gorgeous, and adorable. You like your golden and want the best for him. However, there are so many options available.

In recent years, the pet industry has expanded a lot. It is so complicated when you look online or pet store to select a particular food for your special pup.

With their devotion and unconditional love, it is important that we contemplate expert nutrition opinions while choosing the best dog food for Golden Retrievers.

In this article, we have discussed the best dog food for Golden Retrievers to fulfill their nutritional needs.

Do Golden Retrievers Need Special Dog Food?

According to studies, adult dogs need 18% min. Protein in their food whereas, puppies need 22% at least.

 Proteins are considered as the building blocks for muscles growth and development in puppies; however, they support lean muscle development in puppies. A high ratio of protein is a good thing for most dogs.

Small breeds possess faster metabolism and require a higher ratio of calories in their diet. But for large breeds, including Golden Retrievers, higher calories cause unhealthy weight gain with increasing issues like joint and bone problems.

Because of this, Golden Retrievers require proteinous food with low-to-moderate calorie and fat content.

What about growing puppies?

The protein and calorie requirements of puppies are more as compared to adults. However, the puppies of large breeds need a calorie-controlled diet to hinder their quick growth.

According to studies, the puppies also require low phosphorus and calcium levels to minimize the risk for joint problems.

It is good to select the best food for the growth and development of Golden Retriever pup.

What to look for in a Good Golden Retriever Food

Make sure the basic nutritional needs of golden retrievers are met. It is best to select a large-breed dog food designed for his life stage.

Here are the things to look for in dog food for Golden Retrievers.

  • Use natural and wholesome ingredients with no by-products, fillers, or artificial additives.
  • Restricted calorie and fat ratio to control growth in puppies and maintain lean mass in adults
  • Enriched with lean protein from premium quality animal sources like meat, fish, and poultry
  • Controlled phosphorus and calcium levels with chondroitin and glucosamine for the health of joint
  • According to AAFCO nutrient profiles, nutritionally balanced and complete

Moreover, make sure the food of Golden Retriever meets their needs. You must also check if the kibble comes in a bigger size.

Deep chested and large breeds have a risk of bloating, which gets worse by eating too much or too fast at once.

Are Grain-Free Dog Foods Safe for Golden Retrievers?

There has been a lot of debate surrounding a grain-free diet for dogs over the past few years or so. In July 2018, FDA announced that several reports related to grain-free diets had been received.

FDA launched an investigation in response to these reports with the following results.

  • 90% of dogs eating a single primary diet were fed grain-free food out of 300 reports of DCM
  • In the same household, some reports show many affected animals (both cats and dogs)
  • These reports crossed a variety of breeds, not just large and giant breeds famous for genetic predisposition.

What does this mean for your Golden Retriever?

The FDA has a problem with an official statement, but specialists suggest the correlation with DCM might be because of ingredients used to substitute grains with grain-free diets however, it may be because of other common ingredients found commonly in BEG diets, like vegetables, fruits, and exotic meats.

It is still a personal choice to feed a grain-free diet, however, these food are not inherently healthier as compared to grain-inclusive diets.

This point is exceptional for dogs who are sensitive or allergic to grain. In such a situation, a grain-free diet is recommended.

How to switch dog food without getting your pup sick?

Transitioning your cat or dog into a different food is not a difficult thing. The pets generally are accustomed to eating the same thing every day, so if you change suddenly from something they are eating to a brand new thing.

This way, you are affecting their stomach like vomiting, diarrhea, and not wanting to eat just an unhappy cat or dog, so it is recommended to change food for any reason, and you know there is always a good reason to change food and provide nutrition.

The main thing is to change the food slowly to avoid any stomach issues. The picture below shows the feeding schedule of a Golden retriever puppy.     

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Top 8 Best Dog food for Golden Retriever

Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe for Large Breed 

It is the most favorite dog food for many owners of Golden Retrievers. There are many good proteins for your golden boy, as Deboned chicken is the first ingredient.

The ingredients are selected carefully to provide with the right amount of calories to the babies without increasing their body mass. The recipe provides premium-quality ingredients without any by-products or fillers.

Top 5 ingredients

  1. Deboned chicken
  2. Chicken meal
  3. Brown rice
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Barley

Health benefits

  • Good for overall health
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joints
  • Phosphorus and calcium for bones and teeth
  • Omega 3 & 6 for healthy coat and skin


LifeSource Bits Not recommended for dogs who need grain-free diets
Complete nutritional dietary requirements Not suitable for dogs intolerant to pea protein
No soy, wheat, or corn fillers Not good for dogs who are sensitive to chicken, fish, or lamb
All-natural ingredients  

Royal Canin- Best Golden Retriever Adult Dog Food

The recipe is designed with special attention to the dietary needs of Golden Retriever. The formula is one of the rear products that complete all the nutritional requirements with a healthy weight.

The recipe is famous and is known as one of the best dog foods for golden retrievers.

Top 5 Ingredients

  1. Brown Rice
  2. Chicken By-Product Meal
  3. Oat Groats
  4. Brewers Rice
  5. Wheat

Health Benefits

  • Good for a healthy heart
  • Maintains shine of the coat
  • DHA and taurine for visual and cognitive development


Taurine for a healthy heart Low-quality ingredients
Specially made for Golden Retrievers It contains corn and gluten
Maintains healthy weight Not enough premium protein sources
Omega 3 & 6 fatty acid Available only in chicken flavor, and the breed get bored with the same taste

Nutro — Wholesome Essentials Lamb & Rice Recipe for Large Breed Adult

Rice and lamb are the ingredients that your Retriever can’t resist. You need to get this recipe from Nutro Wholesome Essentials if you have a picky eater at home.

As this is a meat-first recipe, premium quality rice varieties add a lot of advantages to it. It has no fillers or by-products to cause any issue or allergy. You are unable to find this much Wholesome formula.

Top 5 ingredients

  1. Deboned Lamb
  2. Chicken Meal
  3. Brewers Rice
  4. Whole Brown Rice
  5. Split Peas

Health Benefits

  • It helps promote a soft, shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Support immunity
  • Healthy digestion with natural fiber


Grain-free options Difficult to digest in some dogs
For all life-stages   Contains meat meals
Hill’s Science Diet — Adult Large Breed Chicken and Barley

For large breeds like Golden Retrievers, chicken first formulas are usually preferred, however, mix it with the right grains, and you get a completely balanced meal for your pet.

This is the recipe you can get from Hill’s Science Diet large breed formula.

Top 5 ingredients

  1. Chicken meal
  2. Cracked Pearled Barley
  3. Pea Fiber
  4. Whole Grain Wheat
  5. Cracked Pearled Barley

Health Benefits

  • Aids immunity
  • Combination of omega-six fatty acids and other minerals and vitamins to provide glossy glow to the coat


An excellent option for dogs with health problems Filled with grains
Lean protein is the first ingredient Overall levels of protein are low  
Enhance a broad nutritional profile  

Wellness- CORE Grain-Free Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal

The brand has some large breed offerings, however, for many reasons, I prefer CORE grain-free deboned turkey formula. Firstly, goldies love the chicken and turkey combo. Secondly, it is a grain-free formula that makes good for tummy issues.

Whereas Golden Retrievers don’t have any problem with grains usually. It is good to have a single grain formula for sick days.

Top 5 Ingredients

  1. Deboned Turkey
  2. Turkey Meal
  3. Chicken Meal
  4. Peas, Potatoes
  5. Dried Ground Potatoes

Health Benefits

  • Probiotic for a healthy digestion
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin


Free from artificial ingredients  
Grain-free formula    
Formulated in the USA  

Nulo Adult Grain Free

The fur animal deserves the best dog food and possesses all the natural ingredients with enough carbohydrates and protein to provide the energy for the whole day.

The recipe is free from grains, soy, corn, wheat, artificial color, and flavor and is even free from chicken and egg.

This is perhaps the best food for the breed with allergies. Food allergies are common in the breed, and many dogs have chicken or egg allergies making this food the best for the allergic dog.

Top 5 ingredients’

  1. Lamb
  2. Turkey meal
  3. Salmon meal
  4. Yellow peas
  5. Chickpeas

Health benefits

  • Maintains healthy weight
  • Boosts immunity


No egg or chicken Grain-free, not suitable for dogs who can digest grains
Delicious chickpea and lamb Expensive  
No artificial ingredients Not easily available
81% animal protein  

Purina Beyond Grain Free Natural Recipe

The dog is likely to love a tasty and crunchy Golden Retriever feeding option. The recipe is grain-free and manufactured in factories 100% owned by the company-which guarantees top quality and full control.

The ingredients are easy to read from the list on packaging and are perfect for adult Golden Retrievers.

Top 5 ingredients

  1. Tuna
  2. Pea Starch
  3. Chicken meal
  4. Cassava root flour
  5. Canola meal

Health Benefits

  • Minerals and vitamins for a healthy mind and body


Versatile Peas the only veggie, but that’s still great
No animal by-product  
Meat as a first ingredient  

Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diets

It is always important to find the best dog food for Golden Retrievers if the breed has allergies. Skin allergy is a common allergy and is sometimes caused by food ingredients.

It is a limited ingredient formula and is easy to skip any ingredient your dog is allergic to. This recipe is a balanced and complete food with no grains, fillers, or preservatives.

First five ingredients

  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Salmon
  3. Salmon meal
  4. Canola oil
  5. Potato fiber

Health Benefits

  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Strong and lean muscles


Real fish as the first ingredient Grain-free dog food
Fiber for healthy digestion    
Allergy-friendly limited ingredients  
Healthy fatty acids  

Allergies in Golden Retriever

  • Frequent ear infection
  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Dull coat

Buying Guide

Feeding a dog is a confusing topic that any owner of the dog has to deal with it eventually. All you have to consider about preference and health requirements: the following points need to be considered before buying dog food for the dog.

  1. Age of the dog
  2. Types of ingredients
  3. Read a nutritional label

These points must be given importance before selecting and buying food for dogs.


It is easy to see why many people get overwhelmed by the process as there is a lot that goes with the nutrition of a dog. After picking the best food, feeding your dog simple means to maintain their weight by keenly monitoring their health.


What foods are bad for golden retrievers?

  • Avocado
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes, raisins, and nuts
  • Onions

Is salmon good for golden retrievers?

The simple answer is yes. It is the best source of omega-3 fatty acid, which is good for immunity, decreases inflammation, and maintains coat.

How long should a golden retriever stay on puppy food?

The puppies of all breeds have special nutritional requirements. The puppies of the breed take more time to get mature (till 18-2 years).

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