Are you the proud parent of a Golden Retriever? If so, you know these lovable dogs need special care to stay healthy and active, including the right nutrition. But what kind of dog food is best for Golden Retrievers?
Some Goldies are allergic to corn and wheat, while others suffer from genetic joint problems. Keep this in mind when you choose their food – we’ll show you the best for your dog’s specific needs.
This guide will explore the best dog food for Golden Retrievers and the ingredients that should be included in their diet.
Some of these are easily digestible proteins (such as deboned chicken, lamb or turkey), vegetables, fruits, whole grain brown rice, and omega fatty acids. A word of advice – you should stay away from by-products!
So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 16 Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers
- 1.1 1. Best overall: Ollie
- 1.2 2. Best for supplemental nutrients: The Farmer’s Dog
- 1.3 3. Best for sustainability: Open Farm Wild Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food
- 1.4 4. Best for adult dogs: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Dry – Chicken and Brown Rice
- 1.5 5. Best for sensitive stomachs: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach – Salmon and Rice Formula
- 1.6 6. Best high protein: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Food – Salmon
- 1.7 7. Best for all life stages: Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Wet Dog Food – Variety Pack
- 1.8 8. Best for weight management: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult Large Breed Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe
- 1.9 9. Designed for Goldens: Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
- 1.10 10. Best for grain free: Orijen Dog Original Recipe High Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- 1.11 11. Best for immune system: Amazon Brand Wag Dry Dog Food – Salmon And Brown Rice
- 1.12 12. Best for energy: Solid Gold Wolf King Large Breed Dry Dog Food Whole Grain Kibble – Brown Rice & Sweet Potato
- 1.13 13. Best for flavor: Merrick Dry Dog Food – Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Grain Free Dog Recipe
- 1.14 14. Best for convenience: Nom Nom
- 1.15 15. Best for allergies: Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Recipe
- 1.16 16. Best premium option: Acana
- 2 Choosing the Best Food for Golden Retrievers
- 3 FAQs
- 3.1 What food should not be given to a Golden Retriever?
- 3.2 What is a Golden Retriever’s favorite food?
- 3.3 Is grain-free dog food good for Golden Retrievers?
- 3.4 What should I feed my two-month-old Golden Retriever puppy?
- 3.5 What meat is best for Golden Retriever?
- 3.6 Why do Golden Retriever puppies need vegetables?
- 3.7 Can I give my dog a bone?
- 3.8 What fruits are okay for dogs?
- 3.9 What food are dogs allergic to?
- 3.10 How do you figure out what my dog is allergic to?
- 3.11 What foods are dogs least likely to be allergic to?
- 3.12 Can dogs eat yogurt?
- 4 Dog Foods Conclusion
Top 16 Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers
Golden Retriever puppies usually reach their full size by the time they’re two. It’s important not to give these large breed puppies adult dog food before they are ready, as this will help prevent health conditions like hip diseases. Food that has too much calcium is not good for Golden Retriever puppies either.
Let’s take a look at the top 16 best dog foods for large-breed dogs that support healthy digestion, joint health, skin, and overall well-being.
1. Best overall: Ollie
Cue the drooling! Ollie is a customized dog food product that will save you time and give your Golden everything they need and more. Meal plans are the way of the future, both for health-conscious gym bunnies and their pets. No more thinking about what to add to their meals. These meals are delivered to your door, and there’s enough in each delivery to last two weeks.
Ollie has the freshest dog food for Golden Retriever puppies and adults, and you can choose between beef, turkey, chicken and lamb. If you don’t want the fresh option, choose from their two baked options, which are tasty and convenient. For the best of both, you can mix baked and fresh meals together.
This is hands down the EASIEST way to feed your dogs!
Firstly, you will fill out a quick quiz so that the team at Ollie can see what your dog needs. Your starter kit will include a scoop, feeding guide, and a puptainer (dog food container). Ollie also has supplements and treats which are membership extras but highly recommended.
- Not convenient for travelers, as you will need to freeze food
2. Best for supplemental nutrients: The Farmer’s Dog
Like Ollie, the Farmer’s Dog offers fresh pet food. This pre-portioned dog food is made from human-grade ingredients that are lightly steamed to keep their maximum nutritional value.
You can choose between a chicken meal, beef meal, and turkey meal, among others.
This company believes in serving whole muscle meat, organ meat, fresh vegetables, fiber-rich foods and supplemental nutrients (fish oil, for example).
- Contains supplemental nutrients
- If your dog prefers dry food, this may not be for them
3. Best for sustainability: Open Farm Wild Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food
The Open Farm Wild Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food is made of wild-caught Pacific salmon, oats, whitefish meal, chia seeds, coconut oil, pumpkin, turmeric, and sorghum. Its ingredients are 100% traceable and the food has no peas, potatoes, or legumes.
Open Farm also sells turkey and beef meals for Golden Retrievers. On top of that, they stock hip and joint supplements, dehydrated dog treats, and wet dog food. You needn’t look anywhere else for your pet’s food!
They do a bestsellers “bundle deal” if you want to try a few products at once (from $135.96).
- 100% traceable ingredients
- Contains superfoods
- Sustainably sourced
- A bit pricey
4. Best for adult dogs: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Dry – Chicken and Brown Rice
Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula always contains real meat as the first ingredient – a vital ingredient in dog food! High-quality protein from real chicken helps build healthy muscles in your dog.
It is a first-rate dry food that is designed to meet the needs of adult dogs. The formula includes chicken, garden vegetables, whole grains, and fruit.
The Life Protection Formula contains LifeSource Bits; a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support immune system health.
These ingredients were chosen by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, so you can see why this is one of the best dog food options on the market. All in all, it contains everything your dog needs and nothing that it doesn’t.
- Zero artificial flavors and preservatives
- Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- Real meat
- Not suitable for dogs allergic to grains
5. Best for sensitive stomachs: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach – Salmon and Rice Formula
Like all dogs, a Golden Retriever can suffer from sensitivities to certain ingredients in their food.
That’s why it’s important to choose a special dog food that is tailored to their specific needs, like Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach – Salmon and Rice Formula.
This food is made with real salmon as the first ingredient, which is a great source of protein for your Golden Retriever.
The food also contains rice, which is easy on their stomachs and helps to soothe any sensitivities they may have.
Oatmeal is another ingredient found in this high-quality dog food, and is easy to digest and suitable for dogs with gastrointestinal issues.
Purina Pro Plan contains sunflower oil, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids to help your Golden have healthy skin and a healthy coat. Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support joint health and mobility.
- There is no wheat, soy, or corn in this food
- Rich in omega-6 fatty acids
- Easy on the stomach
- Not suitable for dogs allergic to grains
6. Best high protein: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Food – Salmon
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness high protein dog food is perfect for a Golden Retriever thanks to its natural ingredients. This food contains wholesome grains, which help support an active canine lifestyle.
The food also contains omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, which are great for dogs’ coats and their skin health.
A blend of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins keeps dogs’ immune systems strong and helps to maintain a healthy oxidative balance.
- High in protein
- Rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids
- No wheat, soy or artificial flavors
- Not suitable for dogs allergic to grains
7. Best for all life stages: Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Wet Dog Food – Variety Pack
If you’re looking for a premium, natural option, you can’t go wrong with Rachael Ray Nutrish’s Premium Variety Pack of wet dog food.
The Variety Pack comes with two hearty beef stew meals, two chicken paw pie meals, and two savory lamb stew meals. Each tub is eight ounces.
Each recipe in this pack is made with real ingredients, like chicken or beef, and packed with nutrients and antioxidants to help keep your dog healthy and happy.
- Variety pack – not boring
- Contains antioxidants
- It’s ideal for a gluten-free diet
- It’s food for all life stages – adult dog food and puppy food
- Not suitable for dogs allergic to grains
8. Best for weight management: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult Large Breed Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult Large Breed helps with weight management. This healthy food for Golden Retrievers (and other dogs) contains L-carnitine. This ingredient not only helps with getting your pet to a healthy weight, but also supports mobility and keeps your dog’s heart healthy.
This formula is designed for large breeds and contains chicken meal and barley as the primary sources of protein and carbohydrates. Hill’s also stocks a range of wet dog food for sensitive stomachs and skin.
You can choose from turkey and rice stew, salmon and vegetable, chicken and vegetable, or get a variety pack and try them all. You never know which one your furry friend might like!
If your Golden is having issues with their skin, you can always add a little salmon oil to its food. Hill’s makes Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, which is a perfect liquid supplement – and tasty! This is a great alternative for dogs who don’t like taking tablets.
- Contains omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E for skin health and coat health/shiny coat
- Available in a variety pack
- It’s ideal for weight management
- Not suitable for dogs who need to pick up weight
9. Designed for Goldens: Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever Adult dry dog food is tailored to meet the specific nutritional needs of mature Retrievers (older than 15 months). It’s one of the few dog food options designed exclusively for purebred Golden Retrievers, so you can be sure it will meet their needs.
It contains a perfectly balanced blend of proteins, fats, and fiber. The precise calorie and fat content have been specifically formulated for large breed dogs, and the food is moist and tasty.
This large breed formula helps reinforce your Golden Retriever’s skin barrier with the essential nutrients that it needs to remain healthy.
- It helps maintain healthy skin and coat
- Helps your Golden Retriever maintain ideal weight and high energy levels
- The kibble is perfectly shaped for a Golden Retriever and encourages chewing – fancy, right?
- Not suitable for puppies
10. Best for grain free: Orijen Dog Original Recipe High Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Orijen Dog Original Recipe is a high protein, grain-free dry dog food that is perfect for Golden Retrievers. This food is made with fresh, free-range chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs.
The fresh ingredients are regional and get delivered straight to the Orijen Kitchen by local suppliers.
There is also a Six Fish Recipe that your dog might love! This recipe has mackerel, silver hake, herring, monkfish, flounder, and Acadian redfish. Sounds almost good enough for us too, right?!
For puppies, there is also large breed puppy food. The recipe includes raw ingredients, organ meat, cartilage, and bone.
Orijen also makes dog treats which you can buy as a combo together with the food. The treats are freeze-dried with ranch-raised beef, and are nutrient-dense and high in protein – ideal for training Golden Retriever puppies. The company only uses natural preservatives for these yummy treats.
- Fresh and regional ingredients
- Inside are 85% of quality animal ingredients and the food is made from succulent parts of the “prey”
- Combo purchases available with dog food and treats (two in one)
- Not suitable for puppies
11. Best for immune system: Amazon Brand Wag Dry Dog Food – Salmon And Brown Rice
Salmon and brown rice are great options for a healthy, balanced diet. Amazon Brand Wag Dry Dog Food is a high-quality food that contains all the nutrients your Golden Retriever needs to stay healthy and happy. This dry dog food recipe is made to strengthen the immune system, and maintain healthy teeth, bones, and joints. The nutrients also promote brain health – an all-round win, in our opinion.
Salmon provides a lean protein source, while brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that provides essential vitamins and minerals.
This high-quality food is made in a family-owned facility with the help of pet nutritionists and veterinarians.
There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. There is also no corn, wheat, or soy in this food.
- Contains sustainably raised salmon
- Phosphorus and calcium have been added in for bone and teeth health
- Antioxidants are added to support the immune system
- Not for dogs allergic to grains
12. Best for energy: Solid Gold Wolf King Large Breed Dry Dog Food Whole Grain Kibble – Brown Rice & Sweet Potato
As one of the largest dog breeds, Golden Retrievers need food that will give them sustained energy throughout the day. Solid Gold Wolf King dry dog food is formulated with whole-grain kibble and brown rice to meet their nutritional needs. This formula helps support the gut, keeps their coat healthy, and their immune system in tip-top condition.
What does this food have that makes it special? Antioxidants, probiotic support, cleansing superfood support, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids. The salmon fish oil supports healthy skin and coat for this large breed dog.
It is said that this food is fit for a king – and we’re sure many dogs will agree!
- There are around 90 million probiotics per lb. to help with digestive health and balance the gut flora
- The “cleansing superfood support” includes carrots, blueberries, and cranberries
- Not suitable for puppies
13. Best for flavor: Merrick Dry Dog Food – Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Grain Free Dog Recipe
Merrick Dry Dog Food – is specifically tailored to meet the needs of Golden Retrievers. This is a high-protein dog food made with real Texas deboned beef and sweet potatoes, which are both rich in essential nutrients. In addition, this food is grain free, which means that it helps to avoid weight gain and the consequent joint problems.
This food for Golden Retrievers has a 65% protein content and healthy fats and 35% produce, minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
- Rich in nutrients
- It contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support hips and joints
- High protein content
- Not for puppies
14. Best for convenience: Nom Nom
Nom Nom has an in-house veterinary nutritionist who ensures that their food is of the best quality. Nom Nom also offers treats and probiotic supplements. They even have an at-home testing kit to test your dog’s gut health (which can tell a lot about what’s going on beneath their fur).
If you want to get your hands on this food, you must first tell Nom Nom about your dog. Their team will make recommendations and build a meal plan for your Golden. Your meals will be packed so they stay fresh.
Food options include beef mash, chicken cuisine, pork potluck, and turkey fare. The website shows you the ingredients and calorie content in detail of each of these meals.
- The beef mash meal consists of beef, potatoes, eggs, carrots, and peas.
- The chicken meal consists of chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, and spinach.
- The pork potluck consists of pork, potatoes, green beans, squash, kale, and mushrooms.
- Turkey fare has turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, and spinach.
- Convenient meal plans
- Fresh food
- Gut health testing kits are also available
- Balanced nutritional meals
- Not for dogs who prefer dry food
15. Best for allergies: Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Recipe
Holistic Select Natural Dry food for large breed dogs and giant breeds is formulated to keep hips and joints in good condition and support digestive health. It is made in the USA, and many dog owners find it a good all-round food that keeps their canine companions in good shape.
The recipe supports healthy hips and joints with added calcium, phosphorous and chondroitin. Vitamins A and E are also present in the food.
The recipe supports the whole body with antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine.
There are no grains in this recipe, so it’s ideal for Goldens who are allergic or sensitive to grains.
- Made in the USA
- Supports digestive health
- Supports healthy hips and joints
- Not for dogs who are allergic to chicken
- Not for puppies
16. Best premium option: Acana
Any Acana product is going to be one of the best food options on the market. Choose between Wild Atlantic, the Beef and Pumpkin Recipe, the Lamb and Apple, or Duck and Pear.
Acana sources its ingredients from regional farms in Canada and the United States, so you can be sure that your dog is getting fresh, quality ingredients. Acana uses a unique freeze-drying process that helps to preserve the nutritional value of the ingredients
This means that the food is not only nutritious, but also flavorful – just how your dog likes it.
Acana produces small-batch food products to maintain quality control and ensure that each batch meets its high standards.
Acana offers a wide variety of food products, so you can find the perfect food for your pup.
- High-quality food
- Fresh ingredients from Canada and United States
- Not for dogs who prefer dry food
Choosing the Best Food for Golden Retrievers
Golden Retriever adult food
Adult Goldens need about 18% of protein in their food – one of the essential nutrients for maintaining strong muscles and staying lean.
The protein must come from high-quality animal sources.
There needs to be 5% fat in their food to provide them with a source of energy in the form of calories. The food formulas need to be balanced and nutritionally complete.
Obesity in dogs increases the risk of developing health issues, such as joint and bone problems.
Large-breed dogs also have an increased risk of bloating, so a bigger kibble size helps prevent them from eating too fast.
When to use a grain-free diet
Feeding a grain-free diet is typically not healthier than a grain-inclusive diet. These diets are specifically for dogs who are allergic to corn and other grains. Some dogs aren’t allergic, but are sensitive and should also be on a no-grain diet.
If your dog is overweight or has diabetes, a no-grain diet may help them to lose weight and regulate blood sugar levels. If your dog has intestinal issues, such as diarrhea or constipation, switching to a no-grain diet could provide some relief.
Golden Retriever puppy food
Large breed puppies need around 22% of protein in their food. Protein is where puppies get the building blocks for strong muscles. They also need around 8% of fat in their food as a source of energy.
You need to purchase food specifically formulated for large-breed dogs, as their dietary requirements differ from those of smaller breeds in a few ways. The large breed formula is lower in fats, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D.
This may sound a little strange to you, so let’s explain why large breed puppies need less of these macro- and micronutrients…
Larger breed puppies can’t adapt their bone growth to how much calcium is being absorbed. Basically, puppies’ bodies can’t regulate how much dietary calcium they absorb from the intestinal tract. Sometimes they absorb too much. Too much calcium can lead to skeletal problems at a later stage in their lives. It’s harmful in excess.
A skeletal problem consists of a developmental bone disease. This means their bones could grow too fast and could lead to arthritis, joint problems, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia. Their bones could also grow too thin or too thick.
What food should not be given to a Golden Retriever?
Foods to avoid include chocolate, coffee, avocado, tea, grapes, raisins, corn on the cob, macadamia nuts, cooked bones, onions, garlic, chives, and alcohol. Consuming these can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious health problems in dogs.
If you’re not sure whether a food is safe for your dog, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
What is a Golden Retriever’s favorite food?
A Golden Retriever’s favorite food is typically high in protein and easy to digest. They don’t have a “favorite food” per se, but enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables, meat, and grain products like brown rice. This combination is great for optimal health.
Is grain-free dog food good for Golden Retrievers?
Grain-free diets have become popular, but should only be given to your Golden Retriever if they are allergic to wheat or other grains like barley or rice. Grains provide vitamins and minerals that are essential for their health, as well as fiber that helps with digestion.
What should I feed my two-month-old Golden Retriever puppy?
The food you choose for Retriever puppies needs to consist of 30% protein, 18% fat, and must contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. A Golden Retriever puppy should eat three times a day and will need a total of around 2200 calories a day! Check out our homepage for more information about how much to feed your dog as they grow up.
Royal Canin Maxi Starter is a good quality puppy food for a Golden Retriever. Another excellent puppy food for these large breed dogs is Hill’s Science Diet Puppy – Chicken and Barley.
What meat is best for Golden Retriever?
Chicken, turkey, or lean ground beef are the best meats for Retrievers. Make sure you always cook the meat well and avoid fatty cuts such as bacon. Never feed your dog spoiled meats that are old or moldy.
Why do Golden Retriever puppies need vegetables?
Vegetables provide Golden Retriever puppies with vitamins and fiber. You can serve vegetables raw, chop them up, or grate them. Vegetables you can feed your dog include carrots, cucumbers, green beans, celery, broccoli, asparagus, squash, and cauliflower. Do not feed them avocados.
Adult Retrievers also need vegetables, just like us!
Can I give my dog a bone?
Chicken bones and turkey bones are not safe for dogs. Cooked bones can splinter, and large pieces of the bones can break off and puncture their digestive tract or cause another internal injury. It’s safer to give them chew toys.
What fruits are okay for dogs?
Most fruits are okay for dogs, except for raisins and grapes. You can try sliced bananas, sliced apples, watermelons, blueberries, and oranges. Just remember not to feed your dog the apple pips.
What food are dogs allergic to?
Grain allergies refer to intolerance of wheat, corn, and rice. Dairy allergies will be from milk, cheese, and yogurt. Shellfish allergies will be from shrimp, lobster, and crab. Tree nut allergies will be from almonds, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts. There are also beef, chicken, lamb, soy, and egg allergies.
How do you figure out what my dog is allergic to?
To identify the allergen, your vet may recommend a food trial or an allergy test. A food trial involves switching your dog to a limited-ingredient diet for 8-12 weeks to see if their symptoms improve.
If they do, your vet will work with you to slowly reintroduce other ingredients one at a time until you identify the trigger. An allergy test involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for testing. This will identify which substances your dog is allergic to.
What foods are dogs least likely to be allergic to?
Potatoes, fish, fatty acids, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are all foods they are less likely to be allergic to. Rabbit and duck are two of the proteins dogs are less likely to be allergic to.
Can dogs eat yogurt?
Yes, dogs can eat yogurt as it’s not toxic to them. You should not feed yogurt to a dog that is lactose intolerant. Many puppies have issues with digesting food that contains lactose, such as milk and yogurt.
Dog Foods Conclusion
There are three factors to consider when choosing the best dog food for your Golden Retriever: their age, activity levels, and health issues, such as allergies, sensitive stomachs, cancer, and joint problems.
Make sure your dog food has vegetables and fruits to support healthy digestion, high-quality proteins, such as chicken or lamb, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to maintain healthy skin and joints, control inflammation, and support wound healing. Read our other blogs to find out more about Retrievers, such as are Golden Retrievers vocal?
Overall, there is no one perfect food for all Golden Retrievers but we sure do love Ollie. By considering the individual needs of your dog, you can find the right food for your Golden Retriever. A healthy life starts with healthy food.