Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

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If you’ve ever known a Golden Retriever, chances are you fell in love straight away. These dogs are among the friendliest breeds, and if you could read their minds, you’d see they’re eternal optimists.

That, paired with their intelligence and trainability, is why they make great service and therapy dogs.

Goldens definitely have a retriever spirit, and they’re at their best when they have a job to do, so if you’re considering getting one of these wonderful animals, be ready to do some swimming and ball-throwing (tennis, preferably).

Don’t forget to pour on the praise — nothing makes a golden happier than to please their people!

A dog this loyal deserves the best food, and after sifting through lots of reviews from GR enthusiasts, Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is our top pick. Lots of goldens love the salmon flavor, and the mix of tender shreds and dry kibble makes dinnertime something special! It has all the nutrients a healthy GR needs, including Omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lots of fiber for healthy digestion, and much more.

The Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers Are…

ProductDetails
1. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult

  • Dry kibble/shredded texture
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Salmon and rice flavor
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2. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food

  • Dehydrated formula, mix with water to serve
  • Whole grain and chicken recipe
  • Formulated for all ages
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3. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated specifically for Golden Retrievers
  • Intended for adult dogs over 15 mos
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Comes in dry and canned formulas
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4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
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5. Iams ProActive Health

  • Formulated for large breed dogs over 50 pounds and giant breeds over 90 pounds
  • Intended for adult, large breed dogs 1 year and older, and giant breed dogs 2 years and older
  • Dry kibble texture
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6. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Farm-raised chicken recipe
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7. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Deboned chicken and brown rice recipe
  • Dry kibble texture
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8. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Formula

  • Formulated for puppies
  • Formulated for large breed dogs who will weigh over 50 pounds upon maturity
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken and rice recipe
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9. Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated for large breed dogs over 50 pounds
  • Formulated for senior dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
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1. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult

Real salmon is the first ingredient of this recipe, so it’s packed with vitamin A and omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin, and make that trademark golden coat shine.

Lots of antioxidants help support a healthy immune system, and naturally-sourced prebiotic fiber courtesy of wholesome wheat bran supports a healthy gut. Each ingredient is sourced and crafted carefully to nourish your golden, keeping him happy and healthy!

Purina brands have been around for over 85 years, and their blends are crafted with the help of nutritionists, vets, and animal behaviorists. Recommended by top breeders and vets, you’ll see doggie athletes and AKC competitors eating Purina Pro Plan to stay on top of their game.

Specs

  • Dry kibble/shredded texture
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Salmon and rice flavor

Pros

  • Purina Pro Plan formulas are made with quality sources of protein as the first ingredient.
  • Linoleic acid and vitamin A give your golden healthy skin and a beautiful, shiny coat.
  • Wholesome wheat bran provides the natural prebiotic fiber he needs for a healthy digestive system.
  • Contains rice, a great source of carbs to keep your golden up and running.

Cons

  • Some owners had to adjust their dog’s portions due to lower calories in this food.
  • Some fur babies didn’t think it was delicious.
  • Some more discriminating fur babies only ate the shredded bits and left the kibble.

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2. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen has packed this dehydrated formula with all the best non-GMO ingredients, including whole-grain barley, vitamin-packed fruits and veg, and free-range chicken.

Higher contents of fat and protein make this food great for puppies, mamas expecting a litter, and active doggies who need lots of energy for marathon sessions of fetch and lake swimming!

It’s made in the US without artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, fillers, and animal by-products.

Specs

  • Dehydrated formula, mix with water to serve
  • Whole grain and chicken recipe
  • Formulated for all ages

Pros

  • Whole-grain barley provides a natural source of fiber to support healthy digestion
  • Contains quality, free-range chicken to provide your sidekick with all the energy he needs to keep on playing
  • Quality, non-GMO garden fruits and veggies deliver a healthy serving of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for overall wellness

Cons

  • Some owners reported their dogs didn’t digest the dehydrated formula well.
  • Some owners reported it was too expensive for the amount they got in the bag.
  • Some owners reported the texture was unappealing, and their dogs didn’t like the taste.

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3. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

This breed-specific formula is tailored to the nutritional needs of your GR, from specific vitamins and nutrients, right down to the size and shape of the kibble.

Royal Canin is a brand trusted by veterinarians and breeders because of its rigorous scientific testing and cutting edge nutritional standards to ensure your dog gets nothing but the safest, most nutritious food available.

Specs

  • Formulated specifically for Golden Retrievers
  • Intended for adult dogs over 15 mos
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Comes in dry and canned formulas

Pros

  • Formulated with nutrients to support healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
  • Added DHA, EPA, and taurine support heart health
  • It’s fat to protein ratio is balanced specifically to help your golden stay trim and athletic.

Cons

  • The kibble was too large for some retrievers.
  • Some goldens didn’t like the flavor.

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4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formulas all contain added LifeSource bits that deliver premium, enhanced nutrition with it’s “super 7” package of ingredients.

Quality, real meat is the first ingredient, followed up by whole grains and garden fruits and veggies including apples, spinach, pumpkin, and blueberries to deliver a punch of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

What you won’t find is corn, wheat, meat by-products, or soy on the label, keeping your golden happy and well-fed!

Specs

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe

Pros

  • Antioxidants, chelated minerals, and an array of vitamins promote overall health as well as a robust immune system
  • Joint health supported by chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Omegas 3 and 6 maintain healthy skin and shiny coat
  • Essential vitamins, phosphorous, and calcium support strong bones and healthy teeth
  • Quality proteins and L-Carnitine promote lean, healthy muscle

Cons

  • Caused tummy upset for some sweet goldens.
  • Some doggies turned their noses up at their bowl.
  • Some owners reported the food seemed rotten upon opening the bag.

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5. Iams ProActive Health

A trusted brand for over 60 years, IAMS takes their pet nutrition very seriously, doing extensive research and testing to ensure each formula they produce meets the highest of standards.

This translates to quality nutrition and happy mealtimes for your golden. Eggs and chicken provide the balanced ratio of fats to protein your dog needs to stay active and trim, while antioxidants boost the immune system.

This formula is also made with a heart-healthy mix of vitamins and minerals to promote healthy cardiac function. Your dog’s tooth and gum health will benefit from the dry kibble texture, reducing plaque and tartar buildup with every crunch. No bad-breath doggie kisses here!

Specs

  • Formulated for large breed dogs over 50 pounds and giant breeds over 90 pounds
  • Intended for adult, large breed dogs 1 year and older, and giant breed dogs 2 years and older
  • Dry kibble texture

Pros

  • Contains naturally sourced prebiotics courtesy of a proprietary fiber blend for healthy digestion and a strong immune system
  • Vitamins B2, C, E, and A deliver support for his immune system and a healthy heart
  • Omegas sourced from fish oil keeps his coat gorgeous and skin healthy
  • Contains biotin, zinc, and copper — also great for skin health, but also optimal overall health

Cons

  • Some doggos didn’t like the flavor
  • Some goldens reported gas and indigestion after eating.
  • Gave some Golden Retrievers runny poops and an upset tummy.

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6. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Natural Dry Dog Food contains all the things your doggie needs to stay happy and healthy, and none of the things he doesn’t!

Rich sources of protein delivered by fresh, farm-raised chicken give him lean muscle, and lots of energy (And keeps him excited about mealtime!), while natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine support healthy joints so he can keep on running all afternoon.

Made with non-GMO ingredients in the US, this blend contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and is free from corn, wheat and soy proteins. You won’t find any meat by-products here, either!

Specs

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Farm-raised chicken recipe

Pros

  • Naturally sourced fiber from ingredients like beet pulp maintain great digestive health
  • Antioxidant-rich ingredients help support his overall health and a robust immune system
  • Contains natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine for optimal joint health
  • Omega-6 fatty acids sourced from sunflower oil help provide him with healthy skin and glossy coat

Cons

  • Some retrievers reported *explosive* belly distress that may just scar them for life.
  • Some owners reported their dogs’ coats felt oily and they smelled bad after eating this food.
  • Some goldens just plain old didn’t like the flavor.

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7. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health

Big dogs need big nutrition to help them maintain the energy they’ll need for all that swimming and running! With four sources of protein, he’ll build lean muscle, and phosphorus and calcium will support healthy teeth and bones.

Throw in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and you’ll have a happy, healthy partner. The larger, rounder kibble of this formula helps promote appropriate chewing for bigger dogs, and probiotics, prebiotics and naturally sourced fiber supports a healthy digestive system.

This formula also contains yucca schidigera, which neutralizes stool odor, keeping your backyard smelling better!

Specs

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Deboned chicken and brown rice recipe
  • Dry kibble texture

Pros

  • Healthy joints provided by chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride
  • Contains chicken as the very first ingredient, supporting the optimal balance of fat and proteins he’ll need to stay active and trim
  • Contains mixed tocopherols to support eye health
  • Added omegas support healthy skin and beautiful coat
  • Calcium and phosphorus support healthy teeth and gums

Cons

  • Some owners reported their dogs didn’t like it
  • Some owners reported this formula gave their dog skin allergies
  • Caused gastric distress for some dogs

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8. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Formula — Best Food for a Golden Retriever Puppy

Feed your growing baby the best with Purina Pro Plan Focus Large Breed Formula for puppies! The chicken and rice formula will make his little puppy belly happy, and it has all the nutrients a growing boy needs.

Quality sourced protein helps him grow the lean muscle he’ll need to be nice and strong, and omegas and DHA sourced from fish oil supports his developing brain and vision.

A trusted brand for decades, Purina is widely recommended by veterinarians and breeders, and they carefully create their formulas with each dog’s optimal health as the number one priority.

Specs

  • Formulated for puppies
  • Formulated for large breed dogs who will weigh over 50 pounds upon maturity
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken and rice recipe

Pros

  • Chicken is the first ingredient in this high-protein recipe
  • Fish oil delivers the omegas and DHA he needs for optimal vision and brain development
  • Contains live probiotics to support his digestive and immune health.
  • Kibble sized specifically to scrub those little teeth with each crunch

Cons

  • Some puppies had tummy problems after eating this food.
  • Some owners weren’t happy when the formula was changed without notice.
  • Some goldens reported itchy allergies upon eating this food.

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9. Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food — The Best Dog Food for Senior Golden Retrievers

Your aging bestie deserves all the best nutrition to keep him active and healthier longer, and Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed formula fits the bill.

He’ll receive extra nutrition for those well-used joints and bones with naturally-sourced glucosamine. Iams proprietary DHA Gold formula supports a healthy brain and keeps your old friend sharp and alert.

He’ll also benefit from prebiotics for a healthy gut, and a great immune system. A diverse blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants helps him stay healthy overall so you’ll have plenty of days at the park and evenings on the sofa together!

Specs

  • Formulated for large breed dogs over 50 pounds
  • Formulated for senior dogs
  • Dry kibble formula

Pros

  • Chicken and egg delivers the healthy protein he needs for strong muscle and energy
  • Contains prebiotics for healthy digestion and a robust immune system
  • L-carnitine helps keep his weight in check
  • Joint health supported by glucosamine, chondroitin and omega fatty acids
  • Iams DHA Gold formula is specifically crafted to promote a sharp, alert mind

Cons

  • Some older goldens had a hard time with the large kibble size.
  • Some dogs weren’t too happy with the taste.

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The Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers — A Buying Guide

Golden owners know there’s nothing too good for their loyal besties, so when it comes to dinnertime, finding a food that they love and provides the best quality nutrition you can get is so important.

While a generally healthy, robust breed, GRs do have a few breed-specific health issues we need to consider when choosing the best nutrition for them.

We’ll look into those in a minute — but for now, we’ll look at a few things to consider when choosing the best nutrition for every dog:

General Nutritional Requirements For A Healthy Canine Companion

  • Read the labels carefully! Just as you would when looking for quality foods to feed the rest of your family, finding the best for your furry family members depends on what’s in the bag. Choose foods without artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or meat by-products.
Unnecessary fillers should definitely be avoided — as they provide zero nutritional value. Their only function is to make your dog feel fuller longer, not to give them the wholesome nutrition they need.
  • Be sure that your dog’s food is packed with a balanced ratio of fats and protein, meat should be among the first three ingredients, if not at the very top. An array of garden fruits and veggies are important as well to deliver the natural fibers, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals they need to stay in top form.
  • Look for foods made as locally as possible with carefully sourced ingredients. There are countries that produce pet foods that don’t have regulations on what goes into pet food, and all kinds of stuff you don’t want can end up in it. Look for ingredients sourced from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Europe, etc. Avoid foods mass-produced in countries like China where there is zero to no quality control.
  • Make sure the food you choose meets AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) nutritional standards.

Specific Nutritional Requirements For A Healthy Golden

Golden Retrievers are a delight, and you’ll find even though you may have to put in a little extra homework to find a food that fits their specific nutritional requirements, it’s well worth it.

We encourage you to consult your veterinarian about what the best sources of nutrition are for your furry sweetheart, here are just a few of the things you’ll want to keep an eye out for when choosing a food tailored to your golden’s needs:

  • Look for foods with added taurine. Taurine is an amino acid shown to support optimal functioning in a few systems, but one of the most important for Goldens is the support it provides for healthy cardiac function. Since goldens are somewhat predisposed to having certain heart conditions (more about that in a moment), and some research has suggested they also have a tendency toward taurine deficiency, you need to be making sure your loyal bestie is getting the taurine he needs.
  • Goldens need all the vitamins and minerals they can get to support skin and coat health. They have a genetic predisposition to an allergenic skin condition called canine atopic dermatitis that can make them super uncomfortable and itchy. That’s why ingredients rich in EFAs are so important to look for in your golden’s food. Omega fatty acids, linoleic acid, and linolenic acids are all EFAs and can be found in sources like fish oil, lecithin, flax oil, hemp oil, borage oil, and currant oil.
Rule of thumb — the smaller the fish, the better the source of omegas, so if you see sardines or anchovy on the ingredients list of a particular dog food, add it to your cart.
  • Feed your GR food with ingredients that support brain and vision development. Pure-bred goldens are genetically predisposed to a disease called Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, a degenerative disease of the brain. Look for DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) listed in the ingredients. Good sources of DHA include fish, eggs, and organ meat.
  • Goldens are at a slightly higher risk for developing certain cancers than other breeds — so antioxidant-rich foods are essential to feed your beautiful baby. A rainbow is the standard, just as it is for humans — look for colorful foods like pumpkin, blueberries, kale, apples, and even kelp just to name a few.

Breed-Specific Medical Issues

Chances are, your golden will grow up healthy and happy — most do. If you’re looking for a pure-bred GR, be sure your breeder screens their breeding stock for some of the health conditions goldens can be susceptible to.

They need to know your baby’s family history in order for you to give your vet all the information they’ll need to help keep her healthy.

Here are just a few of the medical issues you should be looking to proactively treat in order to keep your golden in tip-top shape:

National Breed Club’s Recommended Health Tests:

How Much Should I Feed My Golden Retriever?

How much you feed your GR depends largely on his or her age, weight, level of activity, and advice from the vet. Here is a suggested guide for how much to feed your golden retriever:

Golden puppies should eat their RDA of calories divided between three meals a day. There are a few reasons why “grazing” is discouraged, pretty high on the list is the status of your carpet.

If you’re housetraining a puppy, it’s very helpful to keep him on a schedule of eating so you can keep him on a schedule of going out to use the potty.

Also, as cute as a roly-poly fat little puppy is (heart-meltingly cute), it’s not a good idea to let them eat whatever and whenever they want because that’s not actually how a healthy golden puppy should look.

Despite the fact that they’ll be acting like they’re starving ALL the time (this is completely normal)- a healthy golden pup should be relatively lanky.

We’ll state again for the record: do not be fooled! As long as he’s growing steadily and is active and vibrant, he’s not starving. And for the record, this won’t be a behavior limited to the youngsters. Goldens of all ages are big fans of eating. A lot.

Consult the weight and growth chart on the bag of whichever puppy food you choose to feed him, or consult your veterinarian about how much he should be eating daily. Depending on how rapidly he grows, your vet may want to adjust how much he’s eating every day.

An active adult Golden Retriever should be consuming between 1,300 and 1,700 calories per day, and his daily calories should be divided between two meals a day. This is a generalization, there are different standards for different goldens.

For instance, mamas-to-be and nursing mamas should have a higher caloric intake, as should working dogs. You should always consult your vet or breeder about your dog’s individual dietary needs.

For senior goldies who don’t get around as much as they used to, a reduction in daily caloric intake is a good idea to prevent them from becoming overweight.

Foods specifically tailored to a senior dog’s nutritional needs are often lower in calories, although not every senior dog transitions out of regular adult formulas, again, consult your vet about what is right for your old man (or lady).

A Final Word

Golden Retrievers are such a special breed: vivacious, upbeat, and gorgeous are just a few of the ways we can describe their amazing personalities.

Goldies love life, and they love their people just as much. Obedient, exceedingly trainable, and super smart- their sweet dispositions, loyal nature, and happy tails usually earn them the title of “the favorite” of every family they adopt.

Our Golden Retrievers deserve the very best- which is why we recommend Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food to fuel their awesome. It’s got a balanced blend of quality proteins and fats to keep him active and athletic, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a glossy coat, and naturally sourced fiber for healthy digestion.

A wide variety of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies deliver a generous dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for overall health.

With the playfulness of a puppy throughout their lives, goldens are eternally young at heart. That paired with their innate athleticism will have even goldie senior citizens wow-ing everyone at the dog park with their frisbee skills.

With the right food and lots of love, your golden will be around to share a long and happy life.

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