10 Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers (Updated for 2020)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Golden Retriever consistently makes it into the top three most popular dogs, and for good reason. These beauties are smart, friendly, loyal, and make the perfect companion.

They’re also highly energetic and love a good romp, chase, or swim … As well as to eat.

If left to their own devices, they can become a bit roly-poly. If you are the parent of one of these lovely dogs, exercise and a diet featuring one of the best dog food for Golden Retrievers will do wonders for their health.

The foods on this list have been carefully assessed to make sure they’re amongst the best. It’s simply up to you to decide which would work for you and your fluff.

Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 22.0 lb Bag
VICTOR Purpose - Senior/Healthy Weight, Dry Dog Food
Rating
Our Rating 92 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Great fat count for Retrievers
Great protein level for active dogs
Great protein and fat levels for seniors who may be less active
Pro 2
High in protein from quality sources
High levels of joint-strengthening supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints strong as they age
Best Overall
Rank
Ranked #1
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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
Rating
Our Rating 92 / 100
Pro 1
Great fat count for Retrievers
Pro 2
High in protein from quality sources
Best For Active Golden Retrievers
Rank
Ranked #2
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Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 22.0 lb Bag
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Great protein level for active dogs
Pro 2
High levels of joint-strengthening supplements
Best For Seniors
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
VICTOR Purpose - Senior/Healthy Weight, Dry Dog Food
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Great protein and fat levels for seniors who may be less active
Pro 2
Glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints strong as they age
Sources researched
16
Sources researched
Customer reviews
19,780
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

10 Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers

Wellness Core Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food

Premium Option

Overall Rating92%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count95%
Kibble Size90%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties95%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Great fat count for Retrievers 
  • High in protein from quality sources 
  • Good glucosamine and chondroitin levels 
  • Contains added vitamin E and A (beta-carotene) 

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain DHA, although the fatty acid levels are good 
  • Pricey

For the average, moderately active Golden Retriever, this food will provide a perfectly adequate fat count while still keeping a high protein content. There are added vitamins which will keep your pooch’s coat and skin healthy, and joint-strengthening supplements to keep them strong and agile.

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Good Fat & Protein Levels 

With a protein count of 34%, your pup will be getting enough to maintain muscle mass and keep them strong enough to do what they have to do during the day. The fat count is at 12%, which is on the lower side but should be great for Goldies who get moderate exercise. If your Retriever is one who loves to exercise and spends a lot of time being active, you may want to get them something with a slightly higher fat count for more easy-to-access energy during the day. 

Great Additions For Golden Retrievers  

The glucosamine and chondroitin levels in this food are good for providing a bit of support to joints. There is also added vitamin A and E, which is always helpful. Omega fatty acids assist in keeping your guy or girl’s golden locks sleek and flowing, so they always look as healthy as they feel.

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 

Best For Active Golden Retrievers

Overall Rating90%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count95%
Kibble Size90%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Great protein level for active dogs 
  • Higher fat count but still perfect for Goldies 
  • Fairly moderate calorie count despite the higher protein and fat 
  • High levels of joint-strengthening supplements 

CONS

  • A pricey option 
  • Doesn’t contain DHA 

The fat count on this food is on the higher side but that’s what makes it perfect for Goldies who are active and get plenty of exercise in their day.

The fat count will provide your Retriever a nice dollop of easily accessible energy for their daily activity, while the high protein count and added glucosamine will make sure their muscles and joints can keep up.

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Great Nutrients To Sustain An Active Lifestyle 

17% fat will provide them with enough energy to do their thing, while 38% protein will keep those muscles in prime condition for exercise. It also has higher levels than average of glucosamine and chondroitin, which will go a long way towards keeping their joints supple and ready for action at any time. 

Freeze-Dried Raw Bits Added 

This is also a tasty option for your pooch, as it’s a mix between dry kibble and freeze-dried raw meat bits. This is a great intro to raw food, and it will provide a little bit of difference in texture and taste, so it’s great to entice fussy eaters to get through their bowl of food.

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Best For Golden Retriever Seniors

Overall Rating90%
All-Natural Ingredients90%
Moderate Fat Count95%
Kibble Size90%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties95%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Great protein and fat levels for seniors who may be less active 
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints strong as they age 
  • Contains DHA, which will keep your senior’s brain healthy and bright 
  • Contains L-carnitine, which helps digestion and energy level regulation 

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain real meat (although meat meal is still a quality ingredient) 

As your Retriever gets older and starts slowing down a bit, they’ll need a food that has a lower fat level but contains enough supplements to keep them strong. This food provides all they’ll need to live their senior years being happy, healthy, and satisfied.

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Super Protein & Fat Levels For Aging Pups 

The protein and fat levels are lower than average, which is to cater for aging dogs who are less active than they used to be. 27% protein is super for maintaining muscle mass as they grow older and get less use, and 11,5% fat is great as none will go to waste as your pooch spends less time bouncing around and more time chilling out. 

Supplements For Seniors 

Joint-strengthening supplements are even more essential as your pet ages, and the glucosamine and chondroitin counts are at a great level here. L-carnitine is a wonderful thing to see in a senior dog food, as it assists in converting fats into energy and help with regulating energy levels. 

DHA is also a fantastic senior supplement. It’s a staple in puppy foods as it helps the brain and eyes to develop, but for seniors, it helps keep their aging brain sharp, and helps prevent their eyes from deteriorating too quickly.

American Journey Grain-Free Dog Food 

Best for Goldies With Hypothyroidism

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Overall Rating90%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count90%
Kibble Size85%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties95%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Contains kelp, which is a great nutrient for hypothyroidism 
  • Great quality ingredient list & is quite affordable
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin levels are great 
  • High protein level and moderate fat count, perfect for Retrievers 

CONS

  • High calorie count could contribute to weight gain if not careful 

Hypothyroidism is one of the common conditions found in Golden Retrievers.. The food you feed your pooch can make a difference, both in the development of the disease and in managing symptoms.

This food is a great choice for pups who suffer from hypothyroidism, and will help your pup live their healthiest life possible. It’s packed with premium, antioxidant-rich ingredients, contains kelp to stimulate the thyroid, and avoids beef, which can be a problem ingredient for pups with this condition.

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Ingredients To Help Hypothyroidism 

One of the most important things in a food for hypothyroidism is the quality of ingredients. Fruits and veggies bring a dose of vitamins and minerals that are super helpful, and chelated minerals help with digestion. Beef can be a problem for pups with this condition, so it’s best to avoid it. 

This food (in particular, the salmon and sweet potato recipe) is great for dogs with hypothyroidism as it contains a variety of fruits and vegetables including sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas, carrots, and blueberries (which are great antioxidants). It also avoids beef entirely, which is great. You’ll also find a nice dose of kelp, which is a fantastic addition as it stimulates the thyroid to do its thing. 

Other Helpful Ingredients For Goldies  

In addition to the things that are helpful for hypothyroidism, you have a splash of joint-fortifying supplements to keep those joints strong and supple, and high Omega fatty acid levels to make sure your Goldie’s coat and skin stay soft and hydrated, and DHA to promote eye health and prevent eye problems.

Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats

Best Training Treat

Overall Rating90%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count90%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties95%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Up to 600 treats per bag makes this fairly affordable 
  • All-natural, pure ingredients 
  • Super low in calories, which is great for pups who gain weight easily 
  • Low calorie count also means you can feed your  pooch many in a single training session without worrying 

CONS

  • They may be too small for your Retriever – you will have to figure this out as you go 

Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent and easy to train, and it’s essential to have a great quality training treat. This treat fits the bill as it’s low in calories and packed with only natural stuff, as well as being very limited ingredient.

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High-Quality Ingredients  

These treats only have two ingredients each, with the exception of the sweet potato treats which contain only sweet potato. The two meaty flavours consist of only two – chicken and mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), and beef liver and pea protein (a binding agent with antioxidant properties). With between 450and 600 treats per bag, you’ll be getting your money’s worth! 

Low Calorie 

With less than one calorie per treat, these are perfect to use as frequently-fed training treats, or simply a good-boy treat between meals. Because Golden Retrievers can gain weight easily if they aren’t exercised enough, a low-calorie treat is a fantastic thing to have a stash of. You can feed your fluff a multitude of these during a day, guilt-free. 

Orijen Puppy Large

Best For Golden Retriever Puppies

Overall Rating90%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count90%
Kibble Size90%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties95%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Good protein and fat counts for growing puppies 
  • High-quality ingredient list 
  • Great calcium/phosphorus ratio and added glucosamine & chondroitin 
  • Contains DHA and EPA 

CONS

  • A little expensive 

Puppies need slightly higher nutrient counts than adults, as well as some specific supplements to help them grow the way they should.

You’ll find all a developing puppy needs in this food – puppy-perfect protein and fat counts, a great calcium/phosphorus ratio for optimal growth, brain and eye development supplements, and joint-fortifying fatty acids.

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Puppy-Perfect Nutrition 

With 16% fat and 38% protein, your puppy will get enough fat to give them the energy to explore and do puppy things, and enough protein to build those little muscles into strong, supportive ones. The calcium/phosphorus ratio is great to help bones grow at the rate they should, so they grow tough and not brittle. 

You’ll also find DHA and EPA, which are fatty acids that help puppy eyes develop as they should, as well as brain tissue growing in the right way. The other Omega fatty acid levels are super for sleek, shiny coats, and the glucosamine and chondroitin numbers are great to prevent bone and joint problems.

Earthborn Holistic Natural For Large Breed Dogs

Runner-Up Option

Overall Rating89%
All-Natural Ingredients90%
Moderate Fat Count95%
Kibble Size85%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Super protein and fat levels for the average Golden Retriever 
  • Contains DHA and good Omega levels 
  • Great calcium/phosphorus level and added glucosamine & chondroitin 
  • Added L-carnitine, which not many dog foods have 

CONS

  • May be slightly too little fat for a very active Retriever

This grain-free food contains near-perfect numbers for the average, moderately active Golden Retriever, as well as containing everything else a happy pup would need.

Moderate protein and fat numbers provide energy for the day, and the Omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and joint supplements mean your pooch won’t be missing out on anything.

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Amazing Nutritional Content 

26% protein and 13% fat is right in the zone for Golden Retrievers. If your Goldie is on the very active side, you can still use this food – just find a great, high fat treat to feed them in between to ensure they get enough energy during the day. 

It also contains all the essentials for a healthy large breed dog – DHA, a good calcium/phosphorus ratio, added vitamin A and E, a dash of L-carnitine, high Omega fatty acid numbers, and glucosamine and chondroitin. 

Meat Meal & Dried Fruits & Vegetables 

There is no whole meat in this food, but meat meal is just as good and is even higher in protein. Chicken meal and whitefish meal provide the protein, and the carbs come in the form of various fruits and vegetables, some of which are dried to preserve their nutrient value. These include peas, blueberries, cranberries, apples, carrots, and spinach. 

Fruits and veggies are great, wholesome ingredients, and also add plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as having antioxidant properties which is super for Golden Retrievers as they are susceptible to certain cancers.

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Recipe

Best Value For Money

Overall Rating89%
All-Natural Ingredients90%
Moderate Fat Count90%
Kibble Size85%
Bone Strengthening Properties85%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Avoids chicken and beef, which is great for both food allergies and hypothyroidism 
  • The most affordable option on the market 
  • High Omega levels to keep your pup’s skin and coat happy  
  • Contains superfood ingredients for an extra antioxidant boost 

CONS

  • “Fish meal” is a little vague 
  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine, so you will need to supplement 

This is the highest quality “cheap” food you’ll find on the market, and it’s on-par with the top-level, most pricey ones out there.

It contains the same premium quality, whole food ingredients, as well as extra supplements to protect against hypothyroidism and keep your Golden Retriever’s skin and coat healthy.

The only thing you’ll need to do is buy a separate glucosamine supplement, but for this price, you should be able to do that comfortably.

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Great For Retrievers 

Not only are the protein and fat counts right in the middle of the range for Retrievers, but this food also avoids both chicken and beef, which is great for dogs who suffer from food allergies and hypothyroidism. It also contains kelp, so if your Goldie does have low thyroid function, this will give it a bit of a boost. 

Pros & Cons 

You’ll find a nice dose of DHA in this food, as well as high levels of Omegas. This is a skin and coat recipe, so the Omegas are the focus and will help your pup to look and feel great. 

The only downside is the lack of glucosamine, but it’s readily available as a supplement. You’ll just need to find a supplement that your pooch will eat without fussing!

Acana Singles Range

Best Limited Ingredient

Overall Rating89%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count85%
Kibble Size90%
Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Various flavours available, so there’s something for every dog 
  • Limited ingredient helps reduce chances of allergies and intolerances 
  • Contains DHA and EPA & a good level of glucosamine 
  • Super calcium/phosphorus ratio 

CONS

  • Fat count may be a little high for less active dogs 

Although Golden Retrievers are not usually prone to sensitive stomachs, all dogs are different and it may be that yours is a little more sensitive than average.

A limited ingredient food is super for avoiding ingredients that may cause digestive upset, and when it comes to choice and quality, you can’t beat Acana Singles.

They pack a lot of nutritional punch for just a few well-chosen ingredients, as well as having an unrivaled flavour variety to keep your pup from getting bored with their food.

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Nutrition-Dense 

Considering there are far fewer ingredients in these than average, they still bring all of the nutrition your pooch needs to be healthy and bouncy. You’ll find real meat and a variety of fruits and vegetables on the list, with 31% protein and 17% fat in each recipe. 

Range Of Flavours 

You’ll be able to choose between five different flavours here – Beef & Pumpkin, Duck & Pear, Lamb & Apple, Pork & Squash, and Turkey & Greens. No matter what your pup’s preference, whether it’s due to allergies or intolerances or simply personal taste, you’ll find at least a few options here that will suit them.

Tylee’s Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food

Best Fresh Food Option

Tylees-Human-Grade-Beef-Recipe-Frozen-Dog-Food
Overall Rating87%
All-Natural Ingredients95%
Moderate Fat Count95%
Kibble Size85%
Bone Strengthening Properties75%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Human-grade, which means this is super healthy 
  • Contains muscle and organ meat for plenty of amino acids 
  • Fruits and vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants 
  • Low calorie, so your pup will get a good meal for fewer calories 

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey 
  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine or DHA 
  • May not last very long, as you’ll most likely need to feed your pooch a few cups at a time 

If you have been toying with the idea of raw feeding but you aren’t quite sure, fresh food may be a great choice for you and your fluff. Tylee’s is health-packed, tasty, and low calorie, so it would suit your Golden Retriever very well. 

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Human-Grade 

This means that if you forgot to go past the store to get dinner on your way home, you could make yourself a serving of this and be perfectly fine with it. That’s a clear indication that this food is super healthy and contains nothing it shouldn’t, so you can be sure your pup will be getting only goodness in every mouthful. 

Feeding It To Your Pup 

One cup of this contains 160 calories, 11% protein, and 5% fat. That’s not likely to be enough for any Golden Retriever, so you’ll need to feed your pooch a few cups of this at a time, which will up those calories and put them in the right range for protein and fat counts. 

Because you’ll be feeding them a good bit at a time, this food can become pricey as it won’t last as long as a bag of kibble. If you like fresh feeding though, you won’t find a better option.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – All-Natural Ingredients

The foundation of all great dog food is the quality of the ingredients it’s made of. If it’s filled with low-quality stuff, you can expect that it won’t do great things for your dog’s health. If, however, it’s packed with healthy, nutritious, whole-food ingredients, it can promote wellness, high energy levels, and all-round healthiness. 

Real meat is essential and provides a range of amino acids that are necessary for muscle building and immune support. Meat meal is acceptable, as it’s high in protein and fairly easily digestible. Foods that consist mainly of plant protein have not made this list. 

Grains are great carbohydrate sources as long as they are gluten-free, such as oats, rice, barley, and quinoa. Fruits and vegetables are wonderful additions and provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. 

You won’t find any low-quality fillers or artificial ingredients in the foods on this list. We’ve made sure they contain premium quality, real food ingredients, the best, healthiest meal possible.

Criteria 2 – Moderate Fat Count

The fat count you see on dog food labels is what your pooch uses for easy-to-access, quick-to-metabolise energy. It’s what keeps them going during their day, and so it’s a far more important nutrient than most pet parents realise.

Surprisingly, large breeds actually require a smaller amount of fat than small breeds do. A number below 20% is a good one, and will provide your pup enough energy without leaning towards the overweight category.

Golden Retrievers are a breed who love to eat, and if they eat too much they can gain too much weight, which puts them at risk for some serious health issues. Most pet parents make the mistake of only looking at the calorie count and protein count on food, while the fat gets neglected.

If your Goldie is quite active, they can make do with a fat count in the high teens. If they’re less energetic, one between 10 and 15% will be perfectly adequate. We’ve also made sure that that fat in these foods come from healthy sources. 

Criteria 3 – Kibble Size

You may be surprised to find that kibble size can make a bit of a difference to these pups. Bigger guys and girls such as these can be susceptible to bloat, which may sound like a simple condition similar to the human one, but it’s actually a life-threatening condition for dogs.

Feeding your pet a smaller kibble may result in them gulping it down without actually chewing, which increases their chances of suffering from this. A kibble size that is appropriate for a larger mouth is definitely preferable, as they’ll most likely eat a little slower, crunch their kibble up, and not swallow too much air while they’re doing it.

They’ll also get more nutrition in a smaller serving, and as long as the food is a great quality one (and we’ve made sure to stick to those on this list), they’ll be able to make do with smaller portion sizes. 

Criteria 4 -Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties

Golden Retrievers are prone to hip and knee problems, which often includes arthritis or dislocation of the joints. This can start right from puppyhood, when the bones and joints develop too quickly and become weak.

This can be helped right from the start by making sure your puppy’s food has an appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio, which will make sure they don’t get a calcium overdose which will cause their growing bones to become too brittle.

A dose of glucosamine and chondroitin is also essential, to fortify joints and ensure the smallest chance of joint dysplasia. This is a good thing to see in both a puppy and an adult food, as it’s a health-promoting fatty acid that can only benefit your dog. 

We’ve made sure that the foods reviewed here are within the right calcium/phosphorus ratio and also, as far as possible, contain glucosamine and chondroitin. If a food doesn’t have a dose of glucosamine but is otherwise a fantastic choice, we’ve included it anyway – it’s a simple matter of getting a separate glucosamine supplement. 

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Golden Retrievers are feisty things, and you’ll most likely end up spending a little bit on food, treats, comfy bedding, training, and toys to keep them entertained, not to mention having to Retriever-proof your home. They’re highly energetic and require a good bit of attention (and money spent). 

While there are some amazing options out there that are closer to the top of the price range, we’ve made an effort to include something for everyone here – no matter your budget. We have a Best Value For Money option that is just as high quality as the rest of the foods here – we have made sure not to sacrifice quality for affordability. 

If you can afford the higher-end foods, go for it – they’re the best quality money can buy. If, however, you’d prefer something more wallet-friendly, we have those options too, and you can spot them at a glance and make your choice. We aim to please both pups and their parents, so this one is as important as the rest of the criteria. 


Questions & Answers

What are the key things to look for when choosing the best dog food for Golden Retrievers?

The ideal food for your Goldie will be an all-natural formula that contains premium quality, whole-food ingredients.

You’ll want to look for real meat as ingredient number one on the list, and the majority of the protein should come from animal sources. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of pea or potato protein in there, but you definitely want the main sources to be animal. 25% and upwards is good, depending on your pup’s activity level. 

A moderate to low fat content is best for Golden Retrievers. This usually also results in a lower calorie count, which is great as these fluffs can get overweight quite quickly. Fat should also come from quality sources, with at least one animal fat in there. 

A calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1:1 to 1:8:1 is right where it should be to build healthy bones, and pretty much all foods get this right, as they need to in order to be AAFCO approved. You’ll also need to look for added glucosamine and chondroitin, which is an essential fatty acid for strong and healthy joints. Other things that are super to see on the list include DHA (which assists in keeping eyes and brain cells heappy), EPA, and vitamin A and E.

What are the dietary requirements of a Golden Retriever?

An average adult Golden Retriever (of around 70 pounds) needs approximately 1700 calories a day. This will vary depending on the dog – a highly active pup could go up to 2000 a day, while one who doesn’t get much exercise may do better with 1500. 

AAFCO suggests that an adult will need a minimum of 18% protein, although we recommend going slightly higher than the absolute minimum – around 25%, or more for very energetic dogs. A fat count in the teens is best – lower teens for less active dogs, and higher for those who get more exercise. 

Puppies can do with a slightly higher calorie and higher protein and fat count than adults, as they are typically very high-energy and will use it to grow and develop properly and burn it off as they explore like puppies do. You can start feeding puppies kibble from about the age of 2 months, although you may need to moisten it slightly. 

Are there ingredients that should be avoided? 

Some dogs will be sensitive to certain ingredients, even whole food, healthy ones. You’ll only figure this out as you get to know your own pooch, but there are some ingredients that should be avoided from the start to ensure your fluff’s best health.

Artificial ingredients, whether that be colours, flavours, or preservatives, have no place in a dog food and offer zero nutritional value. Some names to be aware of that you should steer clear of include BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), which are known to be carcinogens, and ethoxyquin and propylene glycol, which are banned in certain places. Anything that appears to be an artificial colour, such as Red 40 or anything similar, should also be avoided. 

Low-quality fillers that contribute no healthy nutritional value, and animal by-products are a no-no. It’s also best to stay away from things that are vague, such as “animal meat”, “animal fat”, and so on. Full transparency is a thumbs up.

Should I feed my Golden Retriever a grain-free food?

To grain or not to grain, that is the question. It’s best NOT to assume that grain-free will automatically be better for your dog, because just like humans, dogs are all different and respond differently to certain ingredients. 

The bigger question is which grains are okay to feed your dog. Not all grains are equal, and there are some that are perfectly healthy, not to mention very nutritious, for your dog. Gluten-free grains like rice, barley, millet, sorghum, and quinoa are actually a great carbohydrate source that are easily digestible and healthy. 

When it comes to wheat, corn, and soy, though, you should be saying no. These are far less nutritious and are generally considered to be low-quality, cheap fillers. They are also some of the most common allergens and intolerances, so it’s best to avoid that from the start. 

There has actually been plenty of research lately about whether or not grain-free diets are healthy for dogs, as there have been reports of a heart condition known as DCM developing in otherwise healthy dog breeds that have no prior history of it. This prompted the FDA to launch an investigation into it, but there have been no conclusive findings. 

It appears that there is a slightly increased chance of your pooch developing it if they eat grain-free, but this is more likely due to a particular ingredient that IS in the food – not because of the absence of grain. If your dog has been diagnosed by a vet as having a grain allergy, then you may be better off going grain-free. Other than that, it remains up to you, but there’s no significant proof of a grain-free diet being dangerous. 

How should I transition my dog from one food to another if I decide to switch?

It’s best not to do a switcheroo all in one go, because your pup’s system may not know what to do with that. You should introduce the food slowly, mixed with their current food, to give them some time and space to adjust. 

Do this over a few days, up to a week. Simply replace about 10% of their old food with the new one, upping that number every day until you can replace the old food entirely with the new. 

How often should I feed my Golden Retriever? 

Puppies should be fed by their mother until they are about 5 weeks old when you can start adding solids in the form of a quality wet or canned food. By 2 months of age, you can feed them moistened kibble 4 times a day. 

At around 9 weeks of age, you can decrease this to 3 times a day, and by 4 or 5 months they should be eating two meals a day. Bear in mind that however many meals you are feeding your pup, you’ll need to stick to the correct caloric range for them, so you will most likely need to do a bit of maths to make sure you aren’t under or over-feeding them as they grow. 

What are some common health problems that Golden Retrievers can suffer from? 

As beautiful and fun-loving as these dogs are, there are some health problems that they tend to suffer from. The one that you are most likely to come across is joint issues – arthritis and hip, knee, and elbow dysplasia. This is common in large, active breeds, and can be worsened by extra weight, so be sure to keep your Goldie slim and trim. 

Golden Retrievers also seem to be more prone to developing cancer than other breeds, and the type of cancer affects the blood vessels or the lymphatic system. This is a matter for the vet, both in diagnosis and treatment. 

Hypothyroidism is something that can also affect these pups, and diet plays a huge role in the health of a dog with an underactive thyroid. The disease can also cause weight gain despite being on a controlled diet, which just puts your fluff at risk for joint problems too. The food your pet eats can help or worsen this disease, so it’s worth checking out the best foods for hypothyroidism to make sure your pooch is getting the best nutrition. 

These feisty, energy-bombs also tend to suffer from eye problems, which can put quite a damper on their energetic spirits. The addition of DHA in a dog food can help keep eye tissue healthy. 

Bloat is a dangerous condition that can affect large breed dogs. While not essentially life-threatening in itself, it can lead to something called gastric torsion, which is when the internal organs become twisted and blocked, and can only be fixed with emergency surgery. The chances of this can be lessened by feeding your pooch a bigger kibble and in smaller but more frequent meals. 

Other things that are more common in Goldies include Von Willebrand’s disease, which affects the way blood clots, and aortic stenosis, which is a heart condition that can cause restricted blood flow in and from the heart