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8 Best Puppy Foods for Goldendoodles in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

8 Best Puppy Foods for Goldendoodles in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks Featured Image

puppy eating

How you feed your puppy matters. Right now, your dog is growing and developing. Having the proper nutrition during this time is essential for avoiding health issues later on. Puppies need a specific diet formulated for their life stage, so they cannot eat the same foods as adults.

To ensure that your puppy receives the proper nutrition during this time, we reviewed many puppy foods suitable for Goldendoodles. We’ll also go over some essential nutrition guidelines you need to keep in mind when choosing the best dog food for your pup.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • High-quality meat included
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Whole grains included
  • DHA from fish
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • 76% of protein from animal sources
  • Joint-health nutrients included
  • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
  • American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Plenty of animal products
  • Salmon and flaxseed oil both included
  • Free from corn
  • wheat
  • and soy
  • Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Includes DHA and probiotics
  • The 8 Best Puppy Food for Goldendoodles – Reviews 2021

    1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Taste of the Wild is one of the better brands on the market. The Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food is no different. It includes buffalo as the first ingredient, followed by lamb meal. Sweet potatoes are included as well, which are a decently high-quality option. Egg product is the fourth ingredient and is another high-quality ingredient.

    However, next comes both pea protein and peas. This is a cheaper veggie that is exceptionally high in protein. Listing peas twice is an example of ingredient splitting, making it look like fewer peas in the food than there are. This food is already only moderately high in protein, and much of that protein likely comes from peas.

    This food does include added omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and is free from grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. It is nutrient-rich and includes probiotics to support your canine’s digestive health.

    Pros
    • No artificial ingredients
    • Made in the USA
    • High-quality meat included
    • Includes quality ingredients, like eggs
    Cons
    • High in peas

    2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    2Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy

    As a cheaper option, you may want to consider Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food. Chicken is included as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal. Brown rice, dried peas, and soybean meal are all included as well. While brown rice isn’t a harmful ingredient, peas and soybean meal aren’t precisely high-quality options. This food is only moderately high in protein as well.

    DHA from fish is included to support healthy brain and eye development. Omega fatty acids are also included to keep your puppy’s skin and coat soft and healthy. All of their recipes are made in the USA, though ingredients come from all around the world. This particular recipe is not made with any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

    Pros
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Whole grains included
    • DHA from fish
    • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
    Cons
    • Dried peas included

    3. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice

    3Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Consider Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food for those only willing to feed the best of the best to their puppies. Deboned chicken is included as the first ingredient. Chicken meal is the second, followed by sweet potatoes, potatoes, and salmon meal. Peas are included as well, but they are further down on the ingredient list and not split. Despite having so much meat included, this recipe is only moderately high in protein.

    Approximately 76% of the protein included in this recipe comes from animal sources. That number could be higher, but it is likely more than most other recipes could claim. Glucosamine and chondroitin are both included to support healthy joint growth—something that is particularly important for the Goldendoodle. Like many puppy foods, omega fatty acids are included as well.

    Pros
    • 76% of protein from animal sources
    • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
    • Joint-health nutrients included
    • Omega fatty acids
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

    3American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

    The American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food is another high-quality option on the market. This puppy food is a bit more expensive than most, but it is worth it for some puppies. Deboned lamb is the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal and turkey meal. All the meat makes this formula a bit higher in protein than most. However, peas are included as the fourth ingredient, which adds to the protein content substantially.

    This food is grain-free and also free from corn, wheat, and soy. A variety of fruits and veggies are included, though these are lower on the ingredient list. Salmon oil and flaxseed both work together to provide high amounts of omega fatty acids, supporting your dog’s coat and brain development.

    Pros
    • Plenty of animal products
    • Free from corn, wheat, and soy
    • Salmon and flaxseed oil both included
    • Includes antioxidants
    Cons
    • Peas included
    • A bit expensive

    5. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Goldendoodles are usually considered a large breed. These dogs have different dietary needs than smaller dogs, particularly when it comes to their joint growth. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food is specifically formulated for these larger dogs, which is why we decided to include it on this list. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal. Both of these are high-quality ingredients for most dogs.

    Peas are included as the third ingredient, though. This is a lower-quality option that likely brings up the protein content of the food quite a bit. However, the protein included will come from plants, making it a worse option for our dogs. Ground brown rice is also included, though this does have some nutritional value.

    This food included many of the added nutrients you would expect, including DHA and probiotics. It is made with no GMOs or artificial preservatives.

    Pros
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Formulated for large breed dogs
    • Includes DHA and probiotics
    Cons
    • Lots of peas included
    • May upset the stomach of sensitive dogs

    6. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo is often considered a high-quality option. However, we found their Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food a bit lacking and far too expensive for what it was. Chicken is included in the first ingredient. However, peas and pea flour appeared separately on the list, another example of ingredient splitting.

    DHA is added to help support your puppy’s growing brain and eyes. This is an essential nutrient for cognitive development and helps ensure that your puppy correctly develops. As a wet food, this can be served as your dog’s complete meal, or you can add it on top of kibble for particularly picky dogs.

    This food does not contain any corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

    Pros
    • Includes DHA
    • No corn, wheat, or soy
    • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Lots of peas included
    • Expensive
    • Doesn’t agree with all puppies

    7. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food may seem like a cheaper option. However, it is also one of the lower quality options on the market. The recipe includes chicken as the first ingredient. However, many grain options are included after this. In the end, this means that there are probably many more grains per bite than there is meat, which may be a problem for some dogs. Peas are also included further down the ingredient list.

    This food isn’t exceptionally high in protein or fat, likely due to its lack of meat. It does include probiotics, which can support your dog’s digestive and immune health. DHA from fish oil is also added, similarly to other brands.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Includes chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Processed grains in abundance
    • Peas included
    • Not high in protein or fat

    8. Natural Balance L.I.D. Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Natural Balance L.I.D

    The Natural Balance LID. Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is quite expensive. It includes duck and duck meal as the first two ingredients. This may be particularly helpful for canines who have sensitive stomachs or allergies since dogs are rarely allergic to ducks. A few moderate-quality veggies are included as well, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes.

    However, this food is the lowest in protein and fat that we reviewed. It also includes potato protein, which means much of the protein included isn’t from an animal source. It does not include peas, which is always a plus.

    This food is considered “limited ingredient,” which makes it better for puppies with allergies. It includes some DHA to help with brain development but none of the other common additives in puppy food.

    Overall, it is an okay option, but we don’t recommend it due to the high price and low protein. If your puppy has severe allergies, this may be your only option, though.

    Pros
    • Duck as the main ingredient
    • Limited Ingredient
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Low in protein
    • Potato protein included

    Buyer’s Guide

    Choosing puppy food for your canine is a big decision. Your puppy is developing and changing every day—and he needs nutrients to do just that. We are in complete control of our puppy’s diet, which also means we’re in charge of ensuring that our canines get everything they need to thrive. Most of the time, this is in the form of high-quality dog food.

    In this section, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about dog nutrition to ensure that you can make the best decision for your pup.

    Macronutrients and Puppies

    Dogs are carnivores, but they are also opportunists. Often, they will eat whatever they can find, including veggies and fruits. Many dog foods include everything from grains to veggies to plant-derived vitamins. While these can be important for a complete diet, studies have found that dogs thrive most when eating a diet mostly containing protein and fats.

    Therefore, you should aim to choose a food that is high in protein and fat. This can be difficult with the current market, as many recipes are full of cheap fillers like processed grains. These ingredients significantly increase the carbohydrate content of the food, driving the fat and protein down.

    Puppies need more protein and fat than adult dogs, as they need the extra energy to grow. Therefore, many puppy foods will contain more protein than adult dog foods. Still, you should aim to purchase food that is as high in protein and fat as you can reasonably afford.

    Ingredients

    On top of checking the protein and fat contents, you should also check the ingredient list. These can be a bit tricky to read, especially when some companies try to confuse consumers.

    The first ingredient should be meat. The particular type isn’t essential unless your dog has sensitivity. In that case, avoid the meat your dog is sensitive to. Meat meal is excellent as long as it is named. You don’t want to feed your canine “meat meal,” as the meat could be anything. However, “chicken meal” is a high-quality option.

    Meal just means that the meat has been cooked down and dehydrated. This makes a denser product than whole meat, making it better for your canine per ounce than other sorts of meat.

    You should also check out the veggies included. Many foods contain veggies, though grain-free options often contain more than grain-inclusive. In moderation, most veggies are fine. They can add vitamins and minerals to your dog’s food that they need.

    However, some companies use inexpensive grains like peas and potatoes as fillers. While these do provide nutrients in moderation, many dog foods include far more than your dog needs. This is because they bulk up the food very cheaply.

    Sadly, some of these ingredients have been potentially connected to health problems by the FDA.

    Goldendoodle puppy on pier
    Image Credit: Matthew Yoder, Shutterstock

    Grain-Free vs. Grain-Inclusive

    Many pet owners assume that grains are not suitable for canines. Some dog food companies advertise their grain-free food along with this same reasoning. However, this is not necessarily the case. Genetic markers have proven that dogs can digest grain. They likely gained the ability after being domesticated to better survive next to people who ate plenty of grain.

    Therefore, dogs can digest grains just fine. Whole grains are pretty nutritious in moderation. Furthermore, grains have not been linked to any significant health problems in dogs.

    On the other hand, grain-free foods often do not contain extra meat. Instead, the grains are replaced with cheap veggies like potatoes and peas. As we previously discussed, these veggies have been linked to potential heart problems.

    Unless your dog is sensitive to gluten, there is little reason to avoid grains in food. It is likely better for your canine to feed a grain-inclusive food, mainly since most grain-free foods include high levels of peas.

    Specific Nutritional Needs for Goldendoodles

    On top of general dog nutrition, you also need to know about the nutrition Goldendoodles need specifically.

    Goldendoodles are considered to have at least one large-breed parent, making them easily a large-breed dog themselves. This is important because large breed puppies have particular health needs. For instance, large breed dogs can be at a higher risk of hip dysplasia if they are fed too much calcium while they are growing. This is a crippling and permanent disease that requires constant care. It often causes the dog considerable pain, so it is essential to do everything you can to prevent it.

    Your Goldendoodle should be on puppy food for the first 15 to 18 months of their life. As a mixed breed, the age that they stop growing can vary. When in doubt, wait until 18 months and speak to your vet.

    goldendoodle puppy
    Image Credit: Pixabay

    How Much Does a Goldendoodle Need to Eat?

    Puppies often act extremely hungry. However, it is essential not to overfeed them. This can result in the puppy growing too fast, which can cause health problems later on. It is best to feed them the exact amount needed to keep their body condition ideal. You may have to adjust the amount of food, especially as they grow.

    You should pass the food off their weight, firstly. However, you should feel free to reduce or increase the amount as necessary.

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    Conclusion

    For most Goldendoodles, we recommend Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food. It is made in the USA without any artificial ingredients. Most of the ingredient list is high-quality. It includes eggs, which include many of the nutrients puppies need to thrive.

    As a cheaper option, we also recommend Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food. It includes chicken as the first ingredient, as well as a variety of whole grains. It is a bit cheaper than many of the other options on the market as well. Omega fatty acids and DHA are all included to improve your dog’s development.

    We hope this article provided you with the information you need to choose the best food for your Goldendoodle puppy. Our reviews should help you learn about some of the foods available, while the buyer’s guide can help you learn how to shift through all the information out there.

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    Featured Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock