9 Best Golden Retriever Puppy Foods with Our 2018 Feeding Guide

best puppy foods for golden retriever

Known for his golden coat and his friendly personality, the Golden Retriever is consistently ranked among the top 3 dog breeds according to American Kennel Club registration statistics year after year. These dogs make wonderful companion pets and they are very family-friendly. If you’re looking for a loyal friend and companion, this is the breed for you!

The Golden Retriever is a family pet in every way and he should be treated as such – that means feeding him a healthy and high-quality diet.

Choosing a puppy food for your Golden Retriever can be tricky because there are so many options to choose from. If you want to do right by your puppy, take the time to learn about his nutritional needs then select a product that will meet them.

Keep reading to learn more about Golden Retriever puppies including their nutritional needs and feeding requirements. You’ll also find our top picks for the 9 best Golden Retriever puppy foods.

Golden Retriever Puppy Diet Requirements

The Golden Retriever is a large-breed dog that stands up to 24 inches tall and weighs 55 to 75 pounds. They are not a hyperactive breed, but they do have high exercise requirements. These dogs are also incredibly smart, so they need plenty of training in addition to regular exercise to keep them happy. You should also make sure to feed your Golden Retriever puppy a healthy and balanced diet.

So, what should you look for in a Golden Retriever puppy food?

The first thing to look for is a high-quality source of animal protein. Golden Retriever puppies grow fast, so they need plenty of protein in their diet to provide the building blocks for healthy growth and development. Puppies need a minimum of 22% crude protein in their diet, though more is better, and it should come from quality animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish.

In addition to protein, your Golden Retriever puppy needs plenty of healthy fats. Fats provide a concentrated source of energy for dogs as well as DHA for brain development and essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Animal-based sources like chicken fat and salmon oil are best, though plant sources like canola oil and flaxseed can provide supplemental omega fatty acids.

To round out your Golden Retriever puppy’s diet, look for digestible carbohydrates and beneficial supplements. Whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables are all digestible options for dogs that provide carbohydrate energy as well as dietary fiber and essential nutrients. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source of vitamins and minerals, though synthetic supplements will likely be included for balance. You should also look for things like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support and probiotics for healthy digestion.

Now that you know the basics about your puppy’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for puppy food! Here are our picks for the 9 best Golden Retriever puppy foods:

Overall Best Golden Retriever Puppy Food

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Recipe

To start your Golden Retriever puppy off right, you need a high-quality recipe made with premium animal proteins, healthy fats, and digestible carbohydrates. That is exactly what this Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Recipe dry food offers. This product features high-protein kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw pieces for maximum flavor and nutrition. It is made with fresh chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and peas. This formula features plenty of healthy fats, including omega fatty acids for brain development as well as healthy skin and coat. It also contains a wealth of vitamin and mineral supplements for nutritional balance, including chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption.

  • Pros: High-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces, premium animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, expensive compared to other options

Our Most Popular Pick

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Recipe

Rich in protein and healthy fats, this Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Recipe is a great choice for your Golden Retriever puppy. This formula features novel proteins like real buffalo, lamb meal, and roasted venison as well as digestible grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas. This recipe is loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources of key nutrients, with chelated minerals and powerful antioxidants. It is also supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion and is completely free from low-quality fillers and artificial additives.

  • Pros: Rich in premium animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, probiotics for healthy digestion, no artificial additives or fillers
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), may be a little high in fat for some puppies

Our Most Affordable Pick

American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe

If affordability is one of your top concerns, you’ll love this American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe. In addition to being reasonably priced, it is made with high-quality ingredients in a nutritionally balanced formula. This recipe features real, deboned chicken as the main ingredient with chicken meal and turkey meal for supplementary protein. It is grain-free, made with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and peas, plus fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance. This recipe also contains plenty of omega fatty acids with chelated minerals and probiotics as well.

  • Pros: Real animal proteins as main ingredients, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients

Our Pick for Golden Retriever Puppy Allergies

Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey Recipe Puppy Food

If your Golden Retriever puppy suffers from food allergies, you may want to choose a limited ingredient diet made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate. This Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey Recipe Puppy Food is a good choice because it features turkey as the primary source of protein with grain-free carbohydrates like oatmeal, peas, and brown rice for digestibility. It contains 26% protein and 15% fat, so you can rest assured that it will support your puppy’s growth and development. This formula is rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus prebiotic fibers and probiotics for healthy digestion. You’ll also be glad to know that it is free from common allergens including corn, wheat, soy, eggs, chicken, beef, and dairy products as well as artificial additives.

  • Pros: Free from common allergens, novel source of animal protein, digestible carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, highly digestible, supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Our Pick for Golden Retriever Puppy with Sensitive Stomach

Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Turkey Recipe Puppy & Adult Food

If your Golden Retriever puppy has a sensitive stomach, you need a highly digestible formula made with a limited number of ingredients. This Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Turkey Recipe Puppy and Adult Food is a great option because it features a single source of animal protein with digestible grain-free carbohydrates. This formula contains 30% crude protein and 17% fat, so you can be sure it will fuel your puppy’s growth and development. It is rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus beneficial supplements like chelated minerals for nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion. Plus, it is formulated for both puppies and adults, so you don’t have to change your puppy’s diet.

  • Pros: Formulated for puppies and adults, single source of animal protein, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, probiotics for digestion, 30% protein and 17% fat
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), very expensive compared to many brands

4 More 5-Star Golden Retriever Puppy Foods

If the five recipes above don’t seem like the right fit for your Golden Retriever puppy, don’t worry! There are plenty of other great options out there – here are four more to consider:

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe

This Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe will nourish your Golden Retriever puppy’s body from the inside out. Specifically designed for large-breed puppies, this recipe is protein-rich with controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus as well as moderate fat content. It features lamb meal as the primary protein with chicken meal and anchovy & sardine meal for supplemental protein. This recipe contains brown rice and white rice for digestible carbohydrates and menhaden fish oil for omega fatty acids. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Formulated for large breeds, protein-rich lamb meal, digestible carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not grain-free, fairly expensive

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula

In addition to being an affordable option, this Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula is also nutritionally balanced for large breeds. It features fresh lamb and lamb meal as the top two ingredients, guaranteeing at least 27% crude protein. Digestible carbohydrates like ground rice, peas, and cracked pearled barley provide carbohydrate energy as well as 4.5% fiber and essential nutrients. This recipe is rich in healthy fats, including omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It also contains beneficial supplements including fresh fruits and veggies, chelated minerals, and probiotics.

  • Pros: Affordable option, two premium animal proteins, digestible carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and veggies, supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics
  • Cons: Not grain-free, contains some plant protein (potato protein)

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe

This Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe is designed to provide for your Golden Retriever puppy’s high protein requirements. It features farm-raised chicken as the main ingredient with digestible carbohydrates like rice, peas, and whole-grain sorghum. It is rich in essential fatty acids from high-quality sources like chicken fat and fish oil, with fresh fruits and veggies as natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to support your puppy’s growing bones and joints with plenty of fiber for healthy digestion. You’ll also love that it is completely free from fillers and artificial additives.

  • Pros: Formulated for large breeds, real chicken as the main ingredient, digestible carbohydrates, rich in essential fatty acids, fresh fruits and veggies, glucosamine and chondroitin, probiotics
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not grain-free

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Puppy Recipe

If you’re in the market for a high-protein recipe for your Golden Retriever puppy, try this Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Puppy Recipe. Featuring deboned beef and chicken meal, this recipe provides 32% crude protein along with plenty of omega fatty acids from fish ingredients. It features grain-free carbohydrates like peas and tapioca starch, with vitamin and mineral supplements for nutritional balance. This recipe features an optimal blend of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and joints, as well as DHA for healthy brain development. It also comes in small kibbles for smaller puppy mouths and plenty of natural meat flavor your puppy is sure to love.

  • Pros: High-protein recipe, rich in essential fatty acids, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, vitamin and mineral supplements, calcium and phosphorus balance, DHA for brain development
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains plant protein (pea protein) as a main ingredient

Our Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Guide – Frequently Asked Questions

Having learned the basics about your puppy’s nutritional needs, you’re finally ready to start shopping. Once you’ve followed our advice above to select a quality Golden Retriever puppy food, follow these tips for feeding your puppy:

  1. How Much Should I Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy? – When it comes to feeding your Golden Retriever puppy, you want to feed him enough to fuel his growth and development but not so much that he grows too quickly. Large-breed puppies need their growth controlled because if they grow too fast it could put excess strain on their bones and joints, predisposing them to musculoskeletal issues in adulthood. The best thing you can do is choose a large-breed puppy food and follow the feeding recommendations according to your puppy’s age and weight. Keep in mind that you may have to adjust his feeding every few weeks as he grows.
  1. How Many Times Should a Golden Retriever Puppy Eat a Day? – When your Golden Retriever puppy is less than 6 months old, it is recommended that you divide his daily portion into three meals spaced evenly throughout the day. This should be adequate to meet his energy needs without supporting excessive growth. Once he reaches 6 months of age, consider dropping him down to twice daily feedings that you will continue in adulthood.
  1. How Long Should I Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy Food? – It is important to keep your Golden Retriever puppy on a large-breed puppy food for the first 12 months. Puppy foods are formulated to meet the higher energy requirements of growing puppies without going too high in certain nutrients. Calcium and phosphorus, for example, need to be controlled in large-breed puppies to prevent musculoskeletal issues. Once your puppy reaches 12 months of age, you can switch him over to a large-breed adult recipe.

Golden Retriever puppies are friendly, easy to train, and always up for an adventure. To make sure your puppy has the energy he needs to be active and healthy, choose a high-quality puppy food like one of the 9 best Golden Retriever puppy foods we’ve reviewed above.

best golden retriever puppy foods

 

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