Golden Retrievers are one of the friendliest, most beautiful dog breeds out there, and every pet parent wants their beloved golden to have only the BEST dog food out there.
Also given Golden Retrievers special physique and relatively high weight that comes with such a large build, Golden Retrievers require a special kind of diet which we will be talking about in this article.
That's why it's so important for dogs like yours to get good, wholesome food.
Our Top 5 List of Dog Foods For Golden Retrievers
Top Pick: Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Pick #2: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Adult Dog Food
Pick #3: Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
Pick #4: Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Pick #5: Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Wellness Core Natural Gain-Free
Our Top Choice
Most Affordable Grain-Free
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy
Best Puppy Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Best for Increased Energy
Zignature Limited Ingredient Grain-Free
*Note: The links in the table above, as well as several links in the remainder of the article below, will take you to over to Chewy.com where you can find out more information about the products, such as current prices and customer reviews.
Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers
Even though this is by no means a completely exhaustive list for the best Retriever dog food we did consider 37 different options.
We've done our best to save you all the research work and have hand-picked the top 5 best dog foods.
The top choices are filler-free, take into consideration some of the health issues that Golden Retrievers are prone to suffering from (more on that below), and are free from cancer-triggering ingredients like artificial coloring, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and harmful preservatives.
This dog food is available in a whole host of formulas, ranging from large breed formula to small breed formula, all the way to low-fat formula and other options as well, so there's an option for you to go with no matter what.
In the first few spots on the ingredient list, you'll notice protein sources such as chicken, turkey and salmon (depending on which bag you choose for your Golden), all of which meet our criteria of high-quality protein.
You'll also find high-quality, complex carbohydrates such as peas and vast amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which will go a long way in preserving your Golden's beautiful fur.
This dog food is dominated by high-quality meats that ensure your Golden Retriever gets all the protein they need in a day's time, and doesn't come with any of the useless filler that you never want to see in any dog food.
Just have a look at the first 3 ingredients on the list: Deboned Duck, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. Need we say more? This is top-notch stuff!
As for carbohydrates, your dog will be getting the complex carbohydrates they need from vegetables such as peas, sweet potatoes, and whole carrots, as well as fruits such as blueberries and cranberries, all of which are approved in a Golden Retriever's diet.
What we love about this dog food is the existence of chondroitin and glucosamine in order to help your lovely Goldens with proper, stable bone growth and promote excellent joint health (which will come as very handy for senior Golden Retrievers, due to the fact that they are very prone to suffer from arthritis and hip/elbow dysplasia.
As we'll be talking about in this article below, it's important to feed your growing Golden Retriever puppy a dog food made from large breed puppy formula, which is exactly an option that Diamond Naturals have given you and me with this dog food. Making this, our pick of the best dog food for Golden Retriever puppy.
And, the first ingredient on this food's list is lamb, one of the best sources of protein you could find in any dog food.
This Retriever dog food is also loaded with additional vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, L-carnitine, and DHA for proper development.
Merrick is certainly no stranger when it comes to the top dog food lists, for many different dog breeds, and the same holds true for Golden Retrievers.
The first ingredient on the list of this dog food is Deboned Chicken (always love to see that), while the second and third are meat-meals, which are Chicken Meal and Turkey Meal (respectively).
If you want to make sure your Golden Retriever maintains that shiny, beautiful blonde coat of theirs, there's a Salmon choice you should go with, as that contains tons of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
It's also rich in Flaxseed oil, which is a great added bonus to those looking to make sure their Golden Retrievers are getting the high-quality fat they need from their diet.
Last but not least, and certainly not taking anything away from this dog food (as it did come 5th on our list from more than 100s and 100s of different dog food out there) is the Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.
Protein for this variant comes from venison and venison meal, and take up 27% of this food. The carbs come from chickpeas and peas. It also has 15% crude fat has 5% crude fiber which goes a long way in helping keeping your Golden Retriever's digestive system and bowel movements going smoothly.
Other fruits and veggies provide your golden with powerful antioxidants to keep them youthful and happy.
Golden Retriever Nutritional Needs
An average Golden Retriever will weigh anywhere between 55-75 lbs and stand at a height of anywhere between 21-24 inches tall, with male Golden Retrievers usually being larger in size than their female counterparts.
An average Golden Retriever weighing between 55-75 lbs is going to need around 1500-1700 calories per day, as recommended by experts in this field.
Of-course, there are a whole host of factors that could bring that number of calories required per day way down or propel it upwards, such as age, activity levels and metabolism.
We've seen some Golden Retrievers with stoked-up metabolisms and high energy levels that need about 2,400 calories a day for maintenance purposes. The best way to know all these details about your Golden Retriever is having a quick conversation with your vet about it all.
Golden Retrievers with slower metabolisms are going to need fewer calories during a day's time than those with faster metabolisms, young Golden Retriever puppies are going to need more calories during a day's time than older Golden Retrievers in order to ensure proper growth, and Golden Retrievers that get more activity during a day's time (especially work dogs that are extensively trained to perform certain jobs) are going to need more calories than those that barely get any notable physical activity.
Similar to the recommendations you get for other dog breeds, the most important and vital part of a Golden Retriever's diet is the levels of high-quality protein that they get every day.
In general, it's advised that you feed your growing Golden Retriever puppy a diet consisting of 22% protein, while you feed your Golden Retriever adult dog a diet consisting of 18% protein.
Make sure that meat proteins dominate the first 3 spots on the ingredients list, as that's how you can be sure that the dog food you're looking at is high quality.
If you find a primary source of carbohydrates dominating the first ingredient, or the first few ingredients spots, put that dog food away as it won't do any good for your Golden Retriever.
Examples of whole meats you should be looking for in the first ingredient spot, or the first few on the list, are beef, chicken, fish (salmon is a fan favorite among many Golden Retrievers) and lamb.
Try looking to see if the dog food you're checking out has meat digests or meat by-products. If it does, put it back where it came from because that's a sign of low-quality dog food for your Golden Retriever.
The choice of dog food we've hand-picked for you in the list above has taken this factor into consideration very carefully.
Even though you might think that feeding your dog a diet that consists of a certain amount of fat levels will make your Golden Retriever overweight, because of the notion that some folks like to toss around that "fat makes you fat", this couldn't be farther from the truth.
Besides giving dog food (or any other food for that matter) special texture and good taste, fat is a vital macro-nutrient in your Golden Retriever's diet, giving them all the essential fatty acids they need to thrive during a day, coming from sources such as fish oil that contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Not to mention that they go a long way in improving your dog's coat and skin condition, keep cardiovascular diseases at bay and improve cognitive functions. And we all know and absolutely love just how fabulous Golden Retriever's coats are!
In general, you should aim to feed your growing Golden Retriever puppy a diet consisting of 8% fat and your Golden Retriever adult dog a diet consisting of 5% fat.
Again, the list of best dog food for Golden Retrievers that we mentioned above takes this into consideration, so you've got nothing to be worried about.
Carbohydrates should be the least of your worries when checking out dog food for your Golden Retriever, because if you've done your homework on the amounts of protein and fat the dog food has, then you've finished most of the battle.
All that's left in terms of doing research on the carbohydrates involved is making sure that the dog food you're looking at doesn't contain any useless filler such as soy, corn, wheat and excessive amounts of sugar, as these are the last sources of carbohydrates you'll ever want making their way inside your Golden's system.
If you find sources of complex-carbohydrates after the top-3 (or top 5) ingredients on the list, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and apples, then you're good to go.
What is the Life Span of Golden Retrievers?
The average lifespan of a Golden Retriever is 11 years. Giving your dog the best dog food for Golden Retrievers is an important way you can help them to live a long and healthy life.
Given their large physique, Golden Retrievers are prone to suffering from the same health and physical problems that other similar large-breed dogs suffer from.
Watch this video to learn more about health issues Golden Retrievers face:
Given these health concerns and problems that all Golden Retrievers are prone to suffer from during their lifetimes, it's extremely important that you meet your Golden Retriever's dietary needs day in day out so it can go on and lead a healthy, pain-free and problem-free life.
Tips About Golden Retriever Puppy Food
A very important thing that must be noted for you to consider is that given the fact that Golden Retrievers are more prone to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia during their lifetimes (given their large size), you can help minimize the chance of that happening by feeding your Golden Retriever puppy food that's specifically manufactured for large breed puppies.
The reason you're going to want to go with a large breed puppy formulated food (of which we mentioned multiple options in the list above) is because they often tend to have less amounts of calcium and phosphorus in them, which ensures slow and steady skeletal growth in puppies up until they mature.
What this will do is make sure that your Golden Retriever puppy grows slowly and steadily and doesn't encounter any sudden spurts in growth. Slow and steady growth will minimize the chances of your Golden Retriever suffering from hip and elbow dysplasia when they grow up. While sudden spurts in growth will greatly increase the chances of them suffering from this down the line.