Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers, A Complete Buying Guide

March 31, 2022 // 8 minute read

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If your Golden is like mine, they are highly driven by food. And, finding the best dog food for Golden Retrievers is just as important as finding the best food for other members of your family! In this article, we’ve reviewed 5 great dog food options, perfect for your Gold Retriever!

Golden Retrievers are one of the top large breed dogs for families. They are well known for their intelligence, energy, and loving nature. Golden Retrievers are loyal companions and enjoy socializing with their humans. This breed originated from circus dogs and is highly compatible and easy to train. The Golden Retriever quickly grew in popularity throughout Europe in the 1800s and has become a favorite large breed worldwide.

Golden Retrievers are excellent sporting dogs due to their high physical activity. They enjoy swimming, hiking, playing fetch, walking, and running. This breed is frequently used as search and rescue dogs and adapts well to many climates and outdoor spaces.

Since Golden Retrievers are naturally athletic, it’s vital to provide them with a well-balanced dog food diet high in protein, minerals, fiber, vitamins, and natural ingredients for best results. Protein is one of the essential nutrients required for your dog’s health, strength, and overall development.

Our top 5 best dog food choices are based on the quality of each product’s main ingredients, how well the formula supports your pet’s nutritional needs, protein quality, and overall satisfaction from dogs and humans. These top picks are rated on the following characteristics, including price, quality of ingredients, nutrients, product size, and pet satisfaction.

5 Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Best Dog Food Formula With Probiotics for Golden Retrievers

Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dog Food With Probiotics for Dogs, Shredded Blend Lamb & Rice Formula - 47 lb. Bag

Editor’s Comments:

Purina Pro Plan with Probiotics offers a robust blend of high-quality ingredients, including protein and nutrients, to support a sensitive digestive system and an active lifestyle.

Price
92%
Quality of ingredients
96%
Nutrients
96%
Product size options
94%
Pet satisfaction
93%
  • Manufacturer: Nestle Purina Pet
  • Size:75 x 20 x 33 inches, and a weight of 47 lbs.
  • Ingredients: Lamb, rice, soybean, whole grain wheat, barley, dried beet pulp, fish meal, wheat bran, salt, potassium chloride, zinc, vitamins B1, B12, K, E, B7, D3, C, B5, A, B3, garlic oil

Overall Score:

94

The Bottom Line:

Purina Pro Plan with Probiotics provides a high-protein formula rich in natural ingredients. This dry food product offers exceptional quality for your adult dog, supporting a well-balanced diet.

What’s Good

  • Small-sized hard kibble with a tender center, which provides excellent texture and flavor for dogs
  • Quality protein ingredients sourced from natural meats, with the option of lamb with rice, beef with rice, and salmon with rice.
  • This formula is fortified with live probiotics to improve and support immunity and healthy digestion
  • One of the best food formulas for all adult dog breeds
  • Purina Pro Plan is a well-established and reputable dog food brand
  • Available in several sizes, including 6, 18, 35, and 47 lb. bags
  • Supports healthy skin and a shiny coat

What’s Bad

  • This formula is not recommended as puppy food
  • Some flavor blends and bag sizes may not be consistently available

Summary

Purina Pro Plan with Probiotics is a great formula that lives up to this brand’s excellent reputation. It’s one of the best food options for your large breed dog and ideal for Golden Retrievers.

Each ingredient is naturally sourced, including vitamin and mineral-rich meats and vegetable-based nutrients to support your dog’s nutritional needs. Purina’s line of pet food is often a dog owner’s favorite, providing both quality and a reasonably priced line of puppy and adult food options.

This dog food formula is ideal for dogs with a sensitive stomach or food sensitivities. It’s a great brand that supports the athletic lifestyle of Golden Retrievers.

Related article: Best Dog Food For Golden Retriever Puppy

Best Adult Dog Food, Large Breed Formula for Golden Retrievers

Royal Canin Health Nutrition

Royal Canin Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 35 lb bag

Editor’s Comments:

Royal Canin Large Adult Dry Dog food for large breeds supports overall health and digestion. This Royal Canin Golden Retriever blend is ideal for your adult pet, with a rich balance of quality protein and nutrients.

Price
92%
Quality of ingredients
96%
Nutrients
95%
Product size options
90%
Pet satisfaction
95%
  • Manufacturer: Royal Canin
  • Size: 25 x 19 x 5 inches, and 35 lbs.
  • Ingredients: Deboned chicken, wheat, brewers rice, dried plain beet pulp, brown rice, vitamins A, B6, B1, B12, E, copper, zinc, potassium, salt, fish oil, corn gluten meal, calcium.

Overall Score:

94

The Bottom Line:

Royal Canin Large Adult Dry Dog is an exceptional dog food formula that offers a rich blend of omega fatty acids, high-grade protein, and quality ingredients.

What’s Good

  • This formula specializes in providing all the high-quality protein and nutrients needed for large dog breeds
  • It offers a pleasant chicken flavor
  • Supports bone and muscle tissue growth and development
  • Kibble size is textured and easy to pick up, chew, and digest
  • Promotes a healthy coat and skin with omega fatty acids
  • Royal Canin is a reputable brand that prepares formulas specially designed for specific dog breeds, including your adult Golden Retriever
  • No artificial flavor or ingredients

What’s Bad

  • This product doesn’t offer a wide selection of flavor options
  • Limited size options, and maybe more expensive than other adult dog food options
  • While this formula offers exceptional ingredients for adult dogs, it’s not recommended for Golden Retriever puppies

Summary

Royal Canin Large Adult Dry Dog is one of the best dog food formulas designed for specific breeds and the best dog food for Golden Retrievers. While this blend isn’t ideal for your Golden Retriever puppy, Royal Canin offers a line of puppy pet food formulas that support your pet’s development in the first year. This formula’s fish oil and omega fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat while providing essential nutrients for your pet’s well-being.

Royal Canin’s dry dog food blend for large breed dogs offers a mild yet pleasant chicken flavor mix. Pet owners find this brand is a favorite among Golden Retrievers as a regular part of their diet and nutritional needs.

Best Natural Grain-free Dry Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag

Editor’s Comments:

Wellness Core Natural Pet Food is a grain-free dry dog food formula beneficial for Golden Retrievers and large breed dogs with food sensitivities and allergies.

Price
97%
Quality of ingredients
97%
Nutrients
98%
Product size options
91%
Pet satisfaction
95%
  • Manufacturer: Wellness Natural Pet Food
  • Size:5 x 15 x 4.5 inches, and a size of 26 lbs.
  • Ingredients: Deboned chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, pea fiber, dried ground potatoes, peas, lentils, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, vitamins A, B12, C, D3, copper, manganese, ground flaxseed, kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, parsley, blueberries, chicory root, folic acid

Overall Score:

96

The Bottom Line:

Wellness Core Natural Pet Food is a protein, fatty acid, and nutrient-rich dry dog food formula that offers everything you need for your Golden Retriever’s balanced diet.

What’s Good

  • This formula supports a leaner body mass, bone, and muscle development, which is excellent for active, large breed dogs
  • Provides an impressive level of fruit, vegetable, and meat-based nutrients that include probiotics and antioxidants
  • Available as a grain-free or whole-grain formula
  • Includes flaxseed and fish oil to support a healthy coat and skin
  • No artificial flavor or ingredients
  • Available in turkey and chicken flavors
  • Supports your dog’s cardiovascular system and heart health

What’s Bad

  • Not available in many sizes
  • The cost is more expensive than other dry dog food brands, though it’s a worthwhile investment for your dog’s health and physical fitness

Summary

Wellness Core Natural Pet Food is a premium dry dog food brand that features quality turkey and chicken flavors for your Golden Retriever. It’s a top contender for the best dog food for Golden Retrievers and other large breed dogs that are frequently outdoors and physically active.

Wellness Core is a grain-free formula that’s an excellent option for pets with sensitive digestive systems and gluten and grain ingredients allergies. This natural dog food is a bit more costly than other products, though you’ll find the price is a worthwhile choice for promoting exceptional health and development in young adult dogs.

Best Wet Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)

Editor’s Comments:

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Wet Dog Food is a high-quality topping for your Golden Retriever’s dry food or as a single-serving meal.

Price
96%
Quality of ingredients
95%
Nutrients
94%
Product size options
90%
Pet satisfaction
92%
  • Manufacturer: Blue Buffalo
  • Size: 12 x 9 x 4.1 inches, with a weight of 9.4 lbs.
  • Ingredients: Chicken, brown rice, peas, carrots, chicken liver, chicken broth, cranberries, iron, sweet potato, barley, oatmeal, flaxseed, blueberries, vitamins B1, D3, B6, B9, B3, A, B2, B7, E, copper, manganese, iron

Overall Score:

93

The Bottom Line:

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Wet Dog Food is the perfect dry food topper for your Golden Retriever’s meal, offering a rich serving of nutrients, including multiple protein sources from meat and vegetables.

What’s Good

  • Each natural ingredient is naturally sourced and provides a boost in nutrition for your dog’s diet.
  • It contains high-quality deboned chicken with a significant source of protein for your Golden Retriever’s bone and muscle development
  • This formula does not contain any corn, soy, preservatives, wheat, by-products, or artificial flavors
  • It’s a versatile wet food that blends well with dry dog food and semi-moist formulas
  • Blue Buffalo is a well-established brand, family-owned and specializes in creating formulas for dogs and pets with food sensitivities and health requirements
  • It’s a great wet food blend for all large breed dogs
  • Ranked as a best seller in the top 5 best dog foods in the canned dog food category
  • This canned food is available in a variety of flavors, including lamb, turkey, beef, chicken, fish with sweet potato
  • Reasonably priced

What’s Bad

  • This formula is available in limited case sizes (a pack of 12)
  • Some flavors may not be consistently available

Summary

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Wet Dog Food makes the ideal topping for quality dry food or as a serving on its own for your Golden Retriever. Blue Buffalo consistently features high-grade pet food products designed to meet dogs’ health needs with special diets, food sensitivities, and allergies. Blue Buffalo Homestyle wet dog food is compatible with all breed sizes.

Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppies

Purina Pro Plan Puppy

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food DHA Lamb & Rice Formula - 6 lb. Bag

Editor’s Comments:

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dog Food formula makes an excellent choice for a Golden Retriever puppy diet. This lamb with rice blend offers a mild, pleasant flavor for puppies with all the nutrients needed for the early stages of growth and development.

Price
92%
Quality of ingredients
95%
Nutrients
95%
Product size options
96%
Pet satisfaction
92%
  • Manufacturer: Nestle Purina Pet
  • Size:5 x 8.25 x 11 inches, and 6 lbs.
  • Ingredients: Lamb, rice, deboned chicken, chicken meal, corn germ meal, oatmeal, whole grain corn, fish meal, dried beet pulp, fish oil, salt, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, zinc, vitamins B3, B9, B7, B12, D3, E, K, garlic oil

Overall Score:

94

The Bottom Line:

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dog Food is a well-developed formula that provides a mild-flavored, nutrient-rich blend of nutrients and protein for your Golden Retriever puppy.

What’s Good

  • This formula contains DHA and fish oil for vital vision, brain, and cognitive development
  • Supports lean muscle development and growth
  • Ideal for energetic puppies that spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Available in three sizes, 18, 6, and 33 lbs.
  • High-quality protein sources from meat and vegetables
  • Prepared with natural lamb and high-grade ingredients, which offer a significant source of calcium, omega-six fatty acid, and antioxidants
  • Ranked as a best seller in the top 50 dry dog food category
  • Prepared and packaged in the U.S.A

What’s Bad

  • There is a limited variety in flavors available
  • May contain ingredients that cause allergic reactions

Summary

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dog Food is an excellent option for your Golden Retriever puppy, including all the required vitamins, minerals, and protein for your dog’s development. The main ingredient, lamb, is a protein-rich option that’s exceptional for your puppy’s growth through the first year and supports the development of your dog’s bones, muscles, and organs for optimal health and overall well-being.

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers: Buyer’s Guide

Golden Retrievers are one of the most physically active large dog breeds, requiring a nutrient and protein-rich diet to support their energetic lifestyle. When you choose quality dog food for your Golden Retriever, it’s essential to find a brand that focuses on naturally sourced meat and vegetable-based proteins.

If your puppy or adult retriever experiences digestion issues, or food sensitivities, you’ll find a great selection of dry dog food and wet food formulas that are grain-free, rich in probiotics, and multiple sources of protein and omega fatty acids.

It’s essential to provide meals twice daily, served at the exact times every day, and in the same portions. This will support a healthy eating routine that prevents excessive weight gain, especially as your dog grows into advanced age. Golden Retrievers thrive on a balanced diet of natural protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. So, finding the best dog food for Golden Retrievers is important!

Your Dog

Golden Retriever adults and puppies require a healthy portion of protein, fiber, and nutrients throughout their life. While some diets are moderate to low-fat, this typically isn’t an issue for this breed unless there is a decrease in physical activity, especially as your pet ages.

The best food for your dog is essentially any quality kibble, either dry or semi-moist, and wet dog food for adult dogs.

While most Golden Retrievers thrive well on most quality dog food formulas, there are some key factors to consider when choosing a brand for your pet:

  • Your dog’s activity level, which requires a higher protein content, ideally from quality sources, such as local ranches, farms, and suppliers
  • Your Golden Retriever’s age, size, and health are critical factors in choosing a dog food. Senior dogs are typically less active and may benefit from a low-fat diet
  • There are specific health conditions, chronic illnesses, and allergies to common ingredients, including soy, grains, gluten, and corn.

It’s essential to select a large breed puppy or adult dog formula that suits your Golden Retriever’s essential needs for a long and healthy life when searching for the best dog food for Golden Retrievers. While most dogs respond well to dry kibble and wet food brands, the quality of the ingredients, especially the source of protein, fish oils, and vitamins, are crucial for supporting healthy growth and development.

Vet Recommended

If you’re concerned about the quality of dog food formulas or find that your dog requires a special diet, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for recommendations. While most formulas offer all the essential nutrients your dog needs for optimal health, some pets require a boost in specific vitamins, minerals, or protein. For example, additional probiotics, a grain-free formula, and all-natural ingredients may improve your dog’s digestive system and activity level.

Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers

When should I switch my Golden Retriever’s diet from a puppy formula to adult dog food?

Golden Retrievers grow from a puppy into adulthood between 12 to 24 months. You can safely switch to an adult formula after one year, though this should be done gradually to ensure your dog’s digestion adjusts to the new formula.

If you switch too quickly, there may be an increased risk of food sensitivity reactions and possible delays or issues with hip or bone development. Your veterinarian can recommend the best dog food options, including puppy food with high-grade nutrients and mild-tasting, easily digestible foods such as brown rice and chicken meal.

When is my Golden Retriever considered advanced in age?

Your Golden Retriever is considered a senior between five and six years of age. While you can often continue feeding your adult dog the same formula until age six, it’s vital to consider a quality senior adult brand of dog food for your aging pet.

Which human-grade foods are safe to feed a Golden Retriever?

If you want to treat your puppy or adult Golden Retriever to a snack, there are plenty of human-grade foods that are healthy for your pet. The best foods to consider are carrots, white or brown rice, apples, popcorn, peanut butter, cooked meat such as chicken, turkey, pork, beef, blueberries, cucumbers, watermelon, bananas, and dairy.

While dairy products are safe for your dog, it’s best to offer small, limited servings and stick to low-fat options such as cottage cheese, skim milk, or mozzarella cheese. Low-fat, unsweetened, plain yogurt is also a good choice. Too many dairy snacks can interfere with your dog’s digestion and may cause an allergic reaction.

Which foods should I avoid feeding my dog?

There are a few foods you should avoid feeding your dog, as they may cause harm to their health. Cherries and fruits with a stone or pit contain toxic ingredients to dogs if they are swallowed.

Avocado contains person, which can cause food poisoning resulting in illness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other foods that should be skipped are raisins, citrus fruits, foods containing caffeine or alcohol, cinnamon, onions, garlic, nuts, ice cream, coconut, excessive salt, and raw meat and eggs.

If you feed your Golden Retriever cooked eggs and meat, this is a great choice, provided they are thoroughly cooked. Snacks or foods high in sodium should also be avoided, as they can result in excessive thirst and possible poisoning. Bread is a safe choice, though raw bread dough isn’t a safe option for dogs. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is highly toxic and should be avoided altogether. It’s essential to check the ingredients of peanut butter and other treats to ensure the ingredients do not include xylitol before feeding your dog.

However, with all that being said, it is best to feed your Golden the best dog food for Golden Retrievers from one of the options listed above and minimize feeding your pup too much human food.

How often should I feed my dog?

Between one to two cups in total, twice daily is recommended for most dogs. Depending on their physical activity level and nutrient requirements, it may be suitable to feed your Golden Retriever a bit more. It’s essential to feed your dog at the same time every day, so they become accustomed to a schedule, and they are less likely to undereat or overeat.

Which human-grade foods do dogs love to eat?

Every dog’s preference varies, and over time, you’ll find which foods your Golden Retriever looks forward to for a snack. Generally, the most common favorites include apples, cooked eggs, green beans, carrots, and peanut butter.

If you regularly feed your dog snacks during training, you can choose a good quality brand from your local pet food store or treat your pet to canned pumpkin or watermelon. Fruits are also a great way to keep your dog hydrated in the summer.

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Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers
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