9 Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers (Updated for 2021)

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

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Wellness Core Large Breed Dog Food
“Wellness Core Large Breed Dog Food will have a perfectly sufficient fat count for average, moderately active Golden Retriever while also maintaining a high protein content. Vitamins are added to keep the coat and skin of your pup healthy, and the joint-strengthening supplements to keep them strong and agile.”

Best Dog Food For Active Golden Retrievers: Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dog Food
“Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dog Food has great protein and fat count for your Golden Retriever. This kibble is made to sustain the active lifestyle of your pooch.”

Best For Seniors: Victor Senior Healthy Weight Recipe
“Victor Senior Healthy Weight Recipe provides super protein and fat levels for senior, less active Golden Retrievers. It also contains DHA to maintain healthy and bright brain and L-carnitine to regulate the energy level and help with digestion.”

Check Other Products on Chewy.com

Check Other Products on Amazon.com

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.

Golden Retrievers are 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 will do wonders for their health.

The Golden Retriever dog 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
Thumbnail
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 - 20.0 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
Thumbnail
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
Custom Button
Best For Active Golden Retrievers
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20.0 lb Bag
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Great protein level for active dogs
Pro 2
High levels of joint-strengthening supplements
Custom Button
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
Custom Button
Sources researched
16
Sources researched
Customer reviews
19,780
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers

Here are the best dog food for Golden Retriever!

Wellness Core Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food

Best Overall Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on Chewy.com

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

PROS

  • Great fat count for Golden Retrievers 
  • High in protein from quality sources 
  • Good glucosamine and chondroitin levels for support to joints
  • 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, the Wellness Core Large Breed Dog 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.

click to see more

Good Fat & Protein Levels 

With a protein count of 34%, your Golden Retriever 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 Golden Retriever and Catahoulas who get moderate exercise. If your Golden 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 dog food are good for providing a bit of support to joints to your Golden Retriever. There is also added vitamin A and E, which is always helpful. Omega fatty acids assist in keeping your Golden Retriever’s golden locks sleek and flowing, so they always look as healthy as they feel.

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 

Best Dog Food For Active Golden Retrievers

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20.0 lb Bag
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on Chewy.com

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

PROS

  • Great protein level for active Golden Retrievers 
  • Higher fat count but still perfect for the Golden Retriever 
  • 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 the Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is on the higher side but that’s what makes it perfect for Golden Retrievers who are active and get plenty of exercise in their day.

The fat count will provide your Golden 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.

click to see more

Great Nutrients To Sustain An Active Lifestyle 

17% fat will provide your Golden Retriever with enough energy to do his 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 Golden Retriever, 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

VICTOR Purpose - Senior/Healthy Weight, Dry Dog Food
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on Chewy.com

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 Golden Retriever gets older and starts slowing down a bit, they’ll need a dog food that has a lower fat level but contains enough supplements to keep them strong. The Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food provides all they’ll need to live their senior years being happy, healthy, and satisfied.

click to see more

Super Protein & Fat Levels For Aging Pups 

The protein and fat levels are lower than average, which is to cater for aging Golden Retriever 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 Golden Retriever 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 Golden Retriever 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 Dog Food for Golden Retrievers With Hypothyroidism

american-journey-salmon-1

Check Price on Chewy.com

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 Golden 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 dog food you feed your Golden Retriever can make a difference, both in the development of the disease and in managing symptoms.

The American Journey Grain-Free Dog 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.

click to see more

Ingredients To Help Hypothyroidism 

One of the most important things in dog 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 Golden Retriever dog 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 Your Golden Retriever  

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 Golden Retriever’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

Freeze-Dried Training Treats from Pupford - 475+ Treats Per Bag, Low Calorie, The Perfect High Value Training Reward (Comes in Beef Liver & Sweet Potato) (Chicken)
Check Price on Amazon

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 Golden 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. The Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats fits the bill as it’s low in calories and packed with only natural stuff, as well as being very limited ingredient.

click to see more

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

ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 13lb
Check Price on Amazon

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 to help puppy eyes develop

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 the Orijen Puppy Large – puppy-perfect protein and fat counts, a great calcium/phosphorus ratio for optimal growth, brain and eye development supplements, and joint-fortifying fatty acids.

click to see more

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.

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Recipe

Best Value For Money

Diamond Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food with Wild Caught Salmon 30lb
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on Chewy.com

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 

The Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Recipe is the highest quality “cheap” dog 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.

click to see more

Great For Retrievers 

Not only are the protein and fat counts right in the middle of the range for Golden Retrievers, but this dog 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 Golden Retriever 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

ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Duck & Pear, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
Check Price on Amazon

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 dog 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.

click to see more

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 Dog Food Option

Tylees-Human-Grade-Beef-Recipe-Frozen-Dog-Food

Check Price on Chewy.com

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 Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food is health-packed, tasty, and low calorie, so it would suit your Golden Retriever very well. 

click to see more

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.


Things to Consider When Buying Dog Foods

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. 

Moderate Fat Count

Fat count is 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.

Kibble Size

You may be surprised to find that kibble size can make a bit of a difference. Bigger dogs 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. 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.

Bone & Joint Strengthening Properties

You can help your Golden Retrievers avoid hip and knee problems right from the start by making sure your puppy’s food has appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio.

A dose of glucosamine and chondroitin is also essential, to fortify joints and ensure the smallest chance of joint dysplasia. It’s a health-promoting fatty acid that can only benefit your dog.