While all dogs are technically called “man’s best friend,” it cannot be denied that the golden retriever is one of the friendliest of them all. A rather large dog with an even larger personality, golden retrievers are energetic pets that cannot fail to please their owners.
As big and lively pets, golden retrievers have to be taken care of properly and while this includes providing them adequate shelter and enough exercise, it also means that you have to feed them correctly. Now you might be wondering if you are, in fact, feeding your dog correctly, so read on and see to it that your pet is getting what it deserves: the best.
Overview of the Top Products
Price (approx. per pound)
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
What is great about the Royal Canin dog food is that they create food perfectly tailored to specific dog breeds. This food, unlike other brands which are targeted to a variety of breeds of large dogs, is appropriate for golden retrievers specifically.
Many golden retriever dogs are prone to cardiac sensitivity, so this dog food has nutrients which are tailored to keep your cardiac functions working and it also contains nutrients to help with skin and coat health, as well. Many dogs have been found to enjoy this formula and its kibble size and shape has been found to encourage chewing.
Many golden retriever owners love this brand especially because even ones who are usually picky eaters gobbled it all up. Even the sick dogs still love eating this dog food, resulting to them getting healthier and happier.
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
You want what is best for your pooch and Wellness Core knows that - this dog food is unlike others, as it has 80% more meat than traditional dog foods which is an ideal diet for dogs - especially large ones.
Wellness Core also offers different flavors and options of dog food, all perfect for everyday use, so you can pick the one your dog will enjoy the most. There is the original dog food, one specifically tailored for large breed dogs, one for puppies and one with reduced fat which can all work for your golden retriever - depending on what they need.
This brand is beloved by many dog owners has it has not only made their dogs thrive, but it helped their dogs to heal faster from any diseases and illnesses - making their pups healthier than ever before.
Orijen Acana Regionals Appalachian Ranch for Dogs
You care about what you put into your body, so you should pay as much attention to what you give your dog. Acana’s dog food is about as natural as it gets with a simple ingredient list, mirroring a natural diet similar to one of a wolf.
Unlike other dog foods, the only supplement added is zinc and with the wholesome, natural proteins and nutrients coming straight from the meat in the food, no other additives are needed. This food is well-suited for large dogs and with its natural ingredients, you have no reason to be concerned about the chemicals your dog may be eating.
The fact that the ingredients are simple and natural are what the customers love the most about this product and we agree, as well. Dog owners find that it is definitely worth the price, especially since it has helped their dogs heal from any digestive issues.
Halo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Dog Food, Adult Dog
One important factor all dog owners know when it comes to buying dog food is how the food will affect your dog’s digestive system. Many foods on the market seem to not take into consideration how the food will affect your dog, especially when it comes out the other end.
Halo Spot’s Stew claims the ‘proof is in the poop’ slogan - using only real meat proteins and no meat meals, Halo dog food assures your satisfaction with a money-back guarantee. There are also three flavor options so you can choose the one that your dog will prefer the most.
Dogs and dog owners alike love this product as it as helped dogs with sensitive or an upset stomach. The owners, on the other hand, love that it’s healthy and reliable and they could see that their pups clearly loved it, too.
BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
This food remains to be one of the more popular choices among dog owners. Blue is a name brand for dog food, renowned for their ingredient comparison tools. Similar to some of the other ones, this food does not include any filler ingredients.
With only wholesome meats and nutrients that all serve a specific purpose for your dog, Blue Wilderness is a perfect choice for golden retriever owners. This food is grain-free which keeps your dog full longer than food with grains, while still being full of carbs. Moreover, it is very convenient for dogs with allergies, as well.
Dog owners who have bought this brand love the friendly ingredients and they can vouch that their dog is happier and healthier after eating this dog food.
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
This food comes in nine different flavors, all perfectly suited for your large adult dog. With options ranging from chicken to salmon beef, there is sure to be one your pooch will enjoy. One health struggle many large dogs face is with their joints - specifically in their hips. So, this food is ideal for golden retrievers as it has ingredients that support joint health as well as support healthy muscle tissue.
Merrick Grain Free dog food is also well-suited for your golden retriever as it has omega-3 and 6, which will help keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy. However, this food does contain a decent amount of meat meal, which is not as ideal as some of the other formulas containing only wholesome meat ingredients.
Nevertheless, a lot of dog owners love this brand for multiple and varying reasons: it has helped their dog’s allergies to go away and even dogs with sensitive stomachs seem to love it.
Fromm Family Foods Nutritionals Dog Food
Fromm Family dog food is perfect for your pooch, as it incorporates many of the aspects necessary for the golden retriever breed. It has salmon oils to help your golden retriever keep a healthy mane of golden fur and cartilage to support joint health.
It is a wholesome food with the necessary nutrients and probiotics needed for your dog’s health, specifically tailored to that of a large breed. The food is also created in the United States which can be rare to find.
The dog owners who have bought this are happy to say that their dog’s coat is way better now than before. What’s more, they love that the brand is family-owned and local, as well.
Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula
The smoked salmon flavor is perfect for picky eaters and as it comes from an ocean fish meal protein, your pooch is less prone to be affected by allergies. Additionally, it includes healthy fats from canola oils, unlike other foods that are high in saturated fats.
What really sets it apart is that the macronutrient breakdown is almost too perfect - most foods do not feel the need to brag about the macronutrient count, you probably did not even check to read it. However, the breakdown of the Taste of the Wild dog food is 25% protein to 15% fat, which is ideal for golden retriever dogs.
The customers love that this brand comes at a good price and some even say that their dogs are more energized after eating this dog food.
Hi-Tek Naturals Grain Free Lamb Meal and Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food
Hi-Tek Naturals’ dog food is another suitable option for your golden retriever. Being grain-free, with similar vitamins and minerals as the other foods, it is ideal for your dog’s digestive health.
However, what sets this food apart is the fact that the price is cheaper than the other options, coming at a grocery store price which is rare for grain-free dog foods - as it comes in bulk, in a thirty-pound bag.
Dog owners claim that their dogs love this dog food product and that they would never go back to the other brands. What’s more, one owner even said that it has cured their dog’s ear infection.
Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety
This dog food is filled with wholesome, raw ingredients, perfectly suited to help keep your dog healthy. There is no grain, artificial colors or preservatives, ensuring the food is perfectly safe for your dog.
One thing to note is this food does have smaller kibble pieces than most of the others. If your dog prefers smaller pieces, is a smaller dog, or enjoys all food types - as many golden retrievers do - this food is ideal for you!
Dog owners love it simply because of the fact that their dogs love it as well as the fact that the ingredients are natural and the price isn’t too bad.
Choosing the Right Dog Food
In the path to feeding your golden retriever correctly, the first agenda on the list is choosing the right dog food. As a pet owner, you have undoubtedly gone over to the pet food aisle and have been bombarded by the hundreds of different products the market has to offer.
What do you get? How do you choose? Well, there are certain aspects that you indeed have to consider in order to choose the right dog food for your golden retriever.
One of the first things you should consider when choosing the right dog food for your golden retriever is nutrition. Your pet is a large and extremely playful pet and that means your golden retriever is burning through a lot of fuel to stay its happy and wonderful self.
To sustain that, you have to make sure that the dog food you’re getting is packed with the nutrition your golden retriever needs. Most dog food brands formulate their products with the minimum amount of nutrition, but if there’s one thing you know about dogs, it’s that they cannot be generalized - a single trip to the dog park can confirm that.
All dogs are different, which means their nutritional needs also differ and you guessed it - our large golden retriever will surely be needing way more nutrition than a smaller dog. Regarding the nutritional contents of the right dog food, you will have to check the label in the back to see whether or not a product has sufficient nutrients for your best friend.
Firstly, is it the dry kind of dog food or is it the wet kind of dog food? Water is an important need for basically all life on Earth and you bet your dog is on that list, as well. If your dog food won’t get mixed with water, then just make sure your golden retriever has access to clean water all the time. This is because dogs, unlike humans, cannot sweat and if they are feeling hot, a drink of water can be a big help.
The next thing you should check in the label is the protein content. Protein is one of the most important biomolecules required in a diet because these are degraded by the body into amino acids that the dog will use to synthesize its own proteins.
A healthy dog is recommended to have at least 2.62 grams of good quality protein per kilogram body weight. Protein is so important that if your pet isn’t getting enough, you’ll be sure to see the effects of protein deficiency in no time.
Your golden retriever should also have a good amount of healthy fats in its diet. There is such a bad connotation to the word ‘fat’ but there is indeed a need for healthy fat in one’s body. Fats are mainly triglycerides with fatty acids and glycerol - and they are important in a diet because fats are necessary for synthesizing important biomolecules, as well.
Fats are wonderful agents for energy storage and that is a good thing for your energetic and playful pet. An estimate of 1.3 grams per kilogram body weight will be minimally sufficient for a healthy adult dog.
Speaking of energy, your golden retriever should also be having enough carbohydrates in its diet, as well. Carbohydrates are basically made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and they are simple compounds that are mostly just polymers of basic units.
However, carbohydrates are the first source of energy your pet’s body uses for most of its activities. Carbohydrates also include fibers which your golden retriever needs to maintain a healthy digestive system.
After all the prominent macromolecules are sufficient, also make sure that your golden retriever is getting enough vitamins and minerals. This is important because unlike the other components previously mentioned, your golden retriever is unable to synthesize its own vitamins and minerals and can only take them with their diet. Vitamins and minerals keep your pet healthy and growing along with a host of other health benefits.
You might be wondering why health is separated from nutrition and that’s because nutrition is the basic necessity all dogs should be having in their diet, while health is more specific. Your golden retriever might have a condition that would require a certain ingredient in their diet to stay healthy.
For simple allergic reactions, you have to make sure that you’re feeding your golden retriever with food lacking known allergens. As a pet owner, you should know if there are certain foods that negatively affect your pet. If your dog has cancer, then a high fat-low carb diet is recommended.
Cancer cells use carbohydrates for energy and a low-carb diet can help treat your pet’s condition by essentially starving the cancer cells. Also, be aware if your dog has any metabolic disorders specific with certain foods. This just means that there might be food that your pet cannot digest properly and you should steer clear from those kinds of food.
Under health, the dog food you choose for your golden retriever should also be specific to your dog’s general lifestyle and condition. You have to adjust a diet for dogs with very active lifestyles compared to dogs with a much more sedentary lifestyle.
Age is also a factor to consider because puppies are actively growing so their diet should compensate for that, while adult dogs should have a diet aimed to maintain their health. The diet should also be adjusted if your golden retriever is pregnant and lactating or especially when your golden retriever is sick.
Yes, even in an article for golden retrievers, you are still important because you are the pet owner. Classified as human factors - these are factors that affect you and not the dog. What can these be, you ask? These are factors such as cost and availability. Although you want only the best for your dog, that doesn’t mean that you should always get the most expensive thing available.
As a responsible pet owner, you should be able to develop a budget that is suitable for balancing healthy and nutritious dog food without breaking the bank. Availability, on the other hand, is also a major human factor. Especially if you frequent online forums, the dog food recommended by other similar pet owners may not be available in your area as it is in theirs.
To compensate for this, just compare the nutritional contents of the recommended dog food with the dog food available in your area. It doesn’t matter if they are from different brands as long as your pet is getting the nutrition it requires.
This may not be the most important aspect in choosing your golden retriever’s diet but it sure is important. It doesn’t matter if the dog food you bought for your pet is the healthiest in the world because if your dog doesn’t like the taste of it, then it might not eat it anyway.
For the best nutritional delivery, you have to experiment with different kinds of dog food flavors to find out what your golden retriever loves the most. Good food means that your pet will gobble up all the food you put out and that means it’s getting all the nutrients you’re providing. Remember, you don’t just want a healthy dog, you want a happy dog, as well.
A Golden Retriever’s Diet
Now to the important matters: a golden retriever’s diet. There is no specific diet for golden retrievers but there are a few notes for you to take down when preparing your pet’s diet plan.
Firstly, stay away from dog food with complicated ingredients. A golden retriever’s digestive system is quite sensitive, so it is much better to just stick with the basics. Dry dog food is also a preferred product for golden retrievers compared to wet dog food, especially when it comes to your dog’s dental care.
One thing to note about a golden retriever’s diet is that your dog likes routine. It doesn’t enjoy change very much, especially when it comes to their food. This being said, it’s best to stick to a single product or a routine and just maintain it; your dog will appreciate it.
One thing to look out for is that you can actually visually notice if your dog’s diet is doing its job. If the diet is working, then your dog will look healthy and act happy - but if the diet isn’t working, then expect to see some adverse effects like a lackluster coat and no energy.
What to Avoid
Just as humans have certain things to avoid, your golden retriever also has a few things it shouldn’t eat. The first thing on this list of foods to avoid is also the first item on every other dog’s list: chocolate. Even though chocolate is delicious, dogs just cannot metabolize chocolate, making it lethal for them in high doses.
Now that chocolate is out of the way, let’s add more items on the list that are less known such as grapes and raisins. Grapes and raisins should be avoided because they can cause kidney failures and macadamia nuts are also prohibited because they’re toxic to your pet.
Always check the dog food labels because preservatives are not conducive for a healthy dog. These preservatives include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, tertiary butylhydroquinone and propyl gallate.
When you finally have all the food and ingredients perfected for a nutritious and tasty meal for your golden retriever, then there’s the matter of actually feeding it. Luckily for you, there are a few tips and tricks when it comes to feeding your golden retriever.
Scheduled feeding is better than free feeding
A pet is a responsibility above all else, so even if free feeding is an easier method for you, it may not necessarily be the better option for your pet. Free feeding makes it difficult to keep track of how much your dog has been eating and a diet that’s not monitored will likely lead to overeating and obesity.
Don’t even start free feeding your dog at all because habits are difficult to break and it will just be harder for you in the long run to train your dog into a scheduled feeding. Also, veterinarians recommend two feedings a day, so don’t feed your dog the same time you eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What’s the right time to switch to adult dog food?
This question does not have a single correct answer because as previously mentioned, all dogs are different. Veterinarians recommend switching your puppy to dog food at one year of age but this can vary from puppy to puppy. If you feel your puppy is ready, then you can switch to adult dog food as early as 4-6 months.
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Your golden retriever will live its life trying to be the best dog in the world to make you happy, so the least you could do is make him or her happy, too. Although there is a lot to consider for your dog, the most important part is really nutrition - because a healthy dog is a happy dog. We hope our guide on the Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers will help you in keeping a healthy, happy pooch.