As a pet owner, one of the most important things you need to do to keep your golden retriever fit and healthy is to ensure that your dog receives a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Feeding your canine friend a high-quality dog food is a great way to do this, but when it comes to choosing a dog food, the options are almost endless.
Golden retrievers are large active and playful dogs that, depending on their age, have weight and activity levels, and unique dietary needs.
To help you decide on the best dog food for your dog, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of reviews of the best dog food for golden retrievers.
A Quick Comparison of our Favorites in 2022
The 10 Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers
1. Ollie Fresh Lamb Dog Food Recipe – Best Overall
Golden Retrievers need a lot of energy to keep going, and Ollie’s Lamb Recipe is the overall best dog food for Golden Retrievers. Unlike traditional canned or dry food, Ollie’s Lamb Recipe is made from fresh ingredients and delivered straight to your door so your dog can have the best nutrition possible. This is a high-protein, high-fat food, ideal for active Golden Retrievers. Adjusted for moisture, this food is approximately 37% protein and 30% fat. This means that it isn’t ideal for some older or overweight dogs, who would do better with a moderate-protein, low-fat diet.
The food’s ingredients are what really makes this choice stand out, though. It starts with premium lamb, a healthy protein that’s great for dogs with allergies or digestive issues. The other main ingredients—butternut squash, lamb liver, kale, rice, chickpeas, and cranberries—make a great mix of healthy vitamins, grains, and macronutrients that will keep your dog going all day. One thing we wish this recipe has is probiotics, which can be a great aid for dogs with digestive issues.
2. Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog – Best Value
If you are looking for a breed-specific dog food that won’t empty your wallet, you should take a close look at Eukanuba’s Breed Specific – Labrador Retriever Dry Dog Food. It has been specially formulated to deliver the essential vitamins needed by Golden Retrievers and other large retriever breeds.
With a protein-rich formula, this product contains high-quality, animal-based products that will help your dog to build strong, lean muscles for an optimal body condition and is, in our opinion, the best dog food for Golden Retriever for the money.
3. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy Dog Food – Best for Puppies
Are you searching for the best food for Golden Retriever puppy dogs? Considered to be one of the best dog food brands on the market, Royal Canin has a formidable reputation for providing superior quality and nutritious dog foods. Many top dog breeders and veterinarians recommend their dog food blends, and it should come as no surprise that three of their products have made our list of reviews.
Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever Puppy is a breed-specific formula that has been designed to give you pup the best possible start in life. It contains a nutritious blend of chicken, grains, and vegetables and is best suited for your dogs between the ages of 2 months to 1 year.
4. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
After giving your dog the best start in life, with Royal Canin’s puppy food (see above), you may want to consider transitioning him to their Golden Retriever Adult dry dog food when he is about 15 months old.
This fantastic breed-specific dog food has been specially formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of Golden Retrievers. Made with a quality mix of products that includes meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables, you will be hard-pressed to find a more wholesome dry dog food for your adult Golden Retriever. The only downside you’ll find with this food, and the main reason we haven’t rated it higher in the list is the price. Royal Canin is renowned for its top-quality pet foods. Unfortunately, though, they’re not cheap.
5. Blue Buffalo Life Formula Dry Dog Food
According to the American Kennel Club, the best dog foods contain a combination of meat, vegetables, grains and fruit, and that is precisely what you’ll get with Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula dry dog food.
Featuring a protein-rich chicken and rice formula, Life Protection Formula has been specially prepared to cater for large dog breeds like golden retrievers. As well as deboned chicken and brown rice it also contains a variety of grains, vegetables, and fruits, to ensure your pet gets all the vital vitamins and minerals he needs to stay fit and healthy.
Available in 15, 24, and 34-pound bags, Life Protection Formula is an ideal choice of owners of active adult golden retrievers.
6. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Dog Food
Nutro Wholesome Essentials’ Large Breed dog food is an excellent food for large, active adult dogs. While not explicitly formulated for golden retriever’s this dog food does contain the right mix of nutritional ingredients that will provide your pet with a well-balanced diet.
One of the major selling features of this product is that it contains no by-products, corn, wheat, or soy protein, and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It does, however, have a slightly higher fat content than some other dog foods, and this may be something to watch as golden retrievers are a breed known to have issues with weight and joint problems.
7. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food
Most golden retrievers will eat anything you put in front of them, but if you have one that is a little fussier with its food or is getting on in years, you may want to consider feeding your pet wet dog food. If that’s the case, you will be hard-pressed to find a better wet food for your retriever than Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever Loaf in Sauce.
This bread specific canned food is considerably easier for a dog to chew than dry foods, yet will still provide them with a complete and well-balanced diet.
We particularly like that this product derives most of its protein from animal-based sources, rather than plants, as meat proteins contain a lot of essential amino acids.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet’s large breed dog food with chicken and barley is a non-breed specific dry feed that may be a good choice if you are after dog food that doesn’t use by-products. As suggested by its name, the top two ingredients in this recipe are chicken and barley. However, it also contains a good mix of other grains and vegetables that will ensure your dog has a wholesome and nutritious diet.
9. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This grain-free dry dog food from Wellness CORE could be a great choice if your golden retriever suffers from a food allergy or sensitivity. Its high protein recipe has been specially formulated to ensure that despite containing no grains will provide your dog with all of the necessary nutrients he needs.
Importantly, this dog food has a mix of potatoes, peas, and other vegetables to ensure your dog still receives the carbohydrates it requires to have an active and energetic lifestyle.
10. Pedigree 10083901 Adult Dry Dog Food
Pedigree is one of the more well-known brands of dog food on our list of reviews, and one of its main selling points is that it is readily available almost anywhere.
From a nutritional perspective, Pedigree’s Adult Dry Dog food will provide the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although we not that it is not specially formulated for large dogs, nor is it a breed-specific product. It is available in a range of different flavors and sizes and compared to most other dog foods on our list is quite inexpensive.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
Choosing the best dog food for your golden retriever can be difficult. There is an overwhelming variety of dog foods available, and every manufacturer will tell you that they have the best dog food on the market. Your Golden Retriever’s food is important. So, how do you decide what’s best for your dog?
Well, the first thing we suggest is to take a look at the detailed reviews we’ve provided in this article. All of the products we’ve listed are from reputable dog food manufacturers and, depending upon your circumstance, could be a good choice. However, you may also want to consider the following when choosing the best food for Golden Retrievers.
Dog food labels can be confusing
Take a look at any dog food online or in-store, and you’ll immediately notice that there is a considerable amount of confusing information shown on the packaging.
In the US, there are guidelines that have been established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to govern the claims that pet food companies can make on their labels:
Read the ingredients
When looking at the dog food label, the listed ingredients are displayed by order of weight. That is to say, the ingredient that has the highest percentage by weight is listed first on the ingredients list, and the second-highest ingredient is listed second and so on.
As a result, ingredients such as meats that contain large amounts of water will generally be listed first, but you should read further down the list as many other ingredients that provide vital nutrients for your dog may weigh less.
Be sure to consider the grains
Most dog foods contain grains, and you should consider them when you trying to identify the best food for your golden retriever. Grains are a very good source of carbohydrates, which are essential for active dogs as they will provide your pet with plenty of energy.
Of course, if your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to grain, you will need to choose a grain-free dog food, and in that case, you’ll need to look for a food that includes carbohydrate-rich vegetables like potatoes.
A word on by-products
Many people will avoid dog foods that list animal by-products in their ingredients, mistakenly believing that the manufacturer has used sub-standard meats; while in fact, the opposite is actually the case.
A reference to by-products does not mean that the manufacturer has used such things as horns or hooves. Rather, by-products in pet dog foods include many highly nutritious organs such as livers, lungs and kidneys in their product. These are quite digestible parts of the animals, and although less frequently used for human consumption they are very good for your dog.
Consult your veterinarian
Don’t forget that your dog’s vet may be the best source of information that is tailored explicitly to the needs of your pet.
Your vet can tell you if your dog’s weight is too high or low, has a good understanding of any health problems your dog has had and will be able to provide valuable information on nutrition.
Hopefully, having had a chance to consider the various dog foods that we have suggested, along with the individual needs of your golden retriever you have a clear idea of which dog food is right for your dog.
To recap the results of our reviews, the winner of our tests are:
Featured Image Credit: Berkay Gumustekin, Unsplash