Best Diet for Golden Retrievers: Nutrition, Types, and More!


If you are adopting a Golden Retriever as your first dog, you might wonder, what do you feed your dog, what do they need to keep healthy, and what do they like to eat? And even if you’re an experienced dog owner, you might sometimes wonder what the best diet is for Golden Retrievers?

The best diet for Golden Retrievers is a high-quality protein-rich diet consisting of 18-22% protein. Dogs can also get nutrients from vegetables, fruits, and grains. However, they should have the right amount of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for optimum health and lifespan.

This article will explore:

  • The best diet for Golden Retrievers supported by science
  • Precisely what they can and can’t eat
  • Various types of dog foods, including pros and cons
  • How often to feed a puppy
  • How much food and water your Golden Retriever needs
  • Best bones and treats for your dog
Golden Retriever with a selection of healthy foods. What's the Best Diet for Golden Retrievers?

So, if you want to learn what the best diet for Golden Retrievers is, you’ll love this guide. Let’s get started!

Table Of Contents

What Nutrients Do Golden Retrievers Need?

As the variety of dog foods available continues to grow, you may wonder how do you know if you’re providing your beloved dog with all his nutritional needs? Golden Retrievers need many different kinds of nutrients to survive. These are:

  • Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Water

The nutritional profile of all commercial dog foods must be consistent with the guidelines established by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), which declares what can be used in pet foods.

The MSD Vet Manual also publishes profiles of dog nutrients. It has tons of detail and even lists all the different vitamins and minerals that your Golden Retriever needs (if you want to study them)! However, the main points below are as follows:

  • Protein is the main nutritional requirement of Golden Retrievers. Protein has several functions, such as building and repairing tissues, providing energy, and maintaining a strong immune and musculoskeletal system. The amount required of puppies and adult Golden Retrievers is different:
  • Growing Golden Retriever puppies require a minimum of 22% protein, while adult dogs need a minimum of 18%. Protein is measured on a dry matter basis, which means that all the water in the food has been removed. For example, fresh chicken contains 70-75% water, but the actual protein volume is between 10-20% after removal.
  • Fat is the second main nutritional requirement for your Golden Retriever. Fat comes from protein and generates energy. It is also necessary for the normal functioning and development of body cells, tissues, nerves, and muscles. Once more, the amount required for puppies and adult dogs is different.
  • The recommended fat content for growing Golden Retriever puppies is 8%, and for adult dogs, 5%.

The exact nutritional requirements will depend on many factors, such as the stage of life, breed, size, level of activity, and overall health of the dog. For example, an energetic and growing puppy may need twice the calories of an adult dog of the same breed. Elderly dogs may need 20% fewer calories than middle-aged dogs.

For instance, my well-exercised dog needs an entirely different diet and nutrition than a toy breed that likes to laze around all day, and a pregnant pooch needs many more calories than that same inactive lap dog.

So, what are the specific recognized life stages of dogs as defined by the AAFCO? These are:

  • gestation/lactation (pregnancy and nursing)
  • growth (includes puppies)
  • adult maintenance
  • all life stages

A diet designed for all life stages means one that meets both the nutritional requirements for growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. This diet is therefore suitable for Golden Retrievers of any age.

However, the “all life stage” diet tends to be greater in calories, so choose this diet only depending on your Golden Retriever’s circumstances.

As your dog grows and his body ages, his requirements for nutrients, vitamins, and minerals alter:

“Different quantities and ratios of nutrients, as well as different feeding rates, are ideal for different life stages. Calorie-rich foods designed for young animals may make a less active adult animal obese.

AAFCO

For example, if your Golden Retriever is a working dog or very energetic, you may opt for an “all-life” diet due to extra calories and nutritional needs. But if your doggo is senior, quite inactive, or overweight, then you’d choose an adult maintenance diet.

Here’s a Helpful Video on Canine Nutrition for Optimal Health…

Are Golden Retrievers Carnivores?

Many people presume dogs to be pure carnivores, but are they just meat-eaters?

Golden Retrievers are not carnivores but omnivores. While protein makes up most of a dog’s diet, the domesticated dog can digest and use plant-based foods for essential nutrients. They also have blunt molars capable of grinding up fibrous plants and have intestines that can digest non-meat foods.

Through thousands of years of domestication, dogs have adapted to a starch-rich diet. They’ve developed into omnivores, showing that they can survive on a wide range of foods, many of which are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The domesticated dog is known to be a direct progeny of the grey wolf. This research revealed that wolves were adaptive true carnivores, while modern dogs have many digestive and metabolic traits associated with omnivores.

What Foods Can Golden Retrievers Eat?

Now you know precisely what nutrients dogs need, but exactly what foods can your Golden Retriever eat?

Golden Retrievers can consume a wide variety of foods that are both healthy and nutritious. Proteins – beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and salmon; grains – wheat, oats, corn, and rice; dairy such as plain yogurt and cheese; vegetables; peas, pumpkin carrots; fruits such as apples and berries are just a few examples.

The above are only a few general examples; let’s take a closer look at the main foods your Golden Retriever can consume. I’ve organized them for you in the tables below, but there are a few caveats you should be aware of, so keep reading!

PROTEINSGRAINS
BeefWheat
TurkeyRice
ChickenOats
VenisonOatmeal
PorkRye
LambMaize
DuckCorn
KidneyQuinoa
LiverBuckwheat
HeartBarley
FishTeff
SalmonAmaranth
TunaBulgar
MackeralSpelt
EggsMillet
NUTSDAIRY
AlmondsCheese
CashewsCream
PeanutsMilk
ChestnutsYoghurt
HazelnutsIce-cream
VEGETABLESFRUITS
ArtichokeApple
AsparagusApricot
Bell PeppersBanana
BeetsBlackberries
Broccoli & Brussels SproutsBlueberries
Cabbage & CauliflowerCoconut
CarrotsCranberries
CeleryCucumber
CornDates
CucumberKiwi Fruit
EggplantMango
Green Beans & PeasMelon
Lettuce & KaleNectarine
ParsnipsPeach & Plum
PumpkinPersimmon
Potatoes (cooked)Olive
Rutabaga & TurnipPear
SpinachPineapple
Sweet PotatoRaspberries
SquashStrawberries
ZucchiniWatermelon

So, here are the caveats to feeding the foods mentioned above:

  • Meats should be as lean as possible, with all fat removed. Processed foods, such as bacon and sausage, are high in salt and seasoning, so avoid them.
  • To aid digestion, most vegetables should be cooked first, but raw carrots and green beans are perfect. For loads more info on veggies for dogs, check out this post; 28 Vegetables Golden Retrievers Can Eat? And 8 Toxic Veg!
  • Both pits and seeds should be removed from fruits because they pose a choking danger. They also contain cyanide, which can be dangerous to dogs if ingested in significant amounts. You may like this article; What Fruits Can Golden Retrievers Eat? 29 Dog Friendly Fruits to learn all the safe fruits for your doggo.
  • Don’t feed raw eggs or raw fish because of the risk of salmonella or listeria.
  • Nuts aren’t a good idea because of their high fat levels, which can cause nausea and diarrhea. They can also cause choking.
  • If your Golden Retriever is lactose intolerant, him away from dairy foods.

What Foods Can Golden Retrievers Not Eat?

A variety of foods are toxic to dogs and can result in severe consequences if consumed. Even a tiny amount of poisonous food can cause death in some cases. If your Golden Retriever ingests these foods by mistake, you should seek urgent veterinary help. So, what foods are off-limits?

Golden Retrievers should not eat chocolate, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, raisins, alcoholic beverages, unbaked bread dough, and xylitol-sweetened products. These are the most popular foods that have resulted in dog poisoning in recent years. Other examples include raw potatoes, moldy food, salt, and caffeine.

I can’t imagine someone giving a swig of beer, a margarita, or some candies to their Golden Retriever! Poisoning episodes in dogs are often caused by a lack of public awareness about the food or by pets having unintentional access to it.

Key Foods that Golden Retrievers Shouldn’t Eat…

AlcoholGrapesGarlic
ChocolateCocoaCaffeine
HopsConkersMacadamia nuts
CandiesRhubarb LeavesOnions
LeeksChivesRaisins
NutmegWild mushroomsCherries
XylitolYeast doughBlack walnuts
StarfruitRaw PotatoesSalt
AvocadoTomatoes (green)Rotten food

If you’re worried that your Golden Retriever has eaten something toxic, the Pet Poison Helpline is a great place to start. It has a long list of foods, poisonous plants, household products, and medications that you can check if you’re unsure whether something is dangerous. You can also call your vet as the quicker you treat a pet poisoning, the easier and safer it is to treat.

What Type of Dog Food is Best for Golden Retrievers?

We all want what’s best for our dogs, and we like them to eat the best diet possible to keep them happy and healthy. People typically feed their Golden Retriever either dry food (kibble) or canned wet food, but there are several different kinds of dog food, and it can be daunting knowing where to start! So, what type of dog food is actually best for Golden Retrievers?

The best type of dog food for Golden Retrievers is dry foods, such as kibble or cold-pressed. Dry foods are more practicable for medium-large breeds, provide more nutrients per bite than wet food, and are less costly. Even if you choose a premium brand, it will still work out less expensive than wet food.

Golden Retriever Eating from a Bowl

Having said that, depending on your Golden’s needs, fitness, health, and lifestyle, you should choose the diet that best suits him. You must, however, also meet your own needs and beliefs.

Most Popular Types of Dog Foods to Feed Your Golden Retriever…

Complete Dry FoodsCanned Wet Foods
A Mix of Dry and WetHome Produced Diet
Complete Raw DietDehydrated and Freeze-Dried

If you choose commercial dog food, it should be COMPLETE and BALANCED, according to AAFCO guidelines. This means that the food must contain all of the requisite nutrients in their appropriate proportions.

The AAFCO also offers detailed instructions about how to read and understand dog food labels. There is a lot of particulars here, but the following are the things to look for:

  • The food’s ingredients should be specified in descending order of weight predominance on the packaging.
  • Relevant nutrient details should be prominent.
  • Feeding instructions must be provided.

Therefore, when selecting dog food, you should check both the ingredients used AND the food’s nutritional content. All dog food should also display “The Nutritional Adequacy Statement” for the life stage the product is suited for.

This statement is intended to help dog owners, veterinarians, and nutritionists determine the nutritional value of their pets’ food. If you want to feed your Golden Retriever a dry or wet food diet (or a combination), always review the package to ensure that it meets all of your Golden’s requirements.

Premium protein sources (beef, poultry, lamb, pork, fish, etc.), as well as high-quality grains, vegetables, fruits, fiber, and fats, should be prioritized, as well as important vitamins and minerals.

Superior dog foods will also include additional protein sources, such as eggs and plant-based proteins, such as vegetables, grains, and legumes. 

In the next section, we’ll look at the various types of food you can feed your Golden Retriever. This information will help you to decide what kind to feed your dog.

Dry Foods

A Selection of Dog Kibble (Dry Dog Food). Best Diet for Golden Retrievers

One of the most popular types of dog food is dry food. Complete dry dog food comes in two varieties. These are KIBBLE and COLD-PRESSED DOG FOOD, respectively.

So what exactly is kibble? Kibble is essentially ground-up ingredients shaped into various shapes and sizes of pellets. It’s made either through an extrusion process or through oven baking under high pressure or temperatures.

All kibble is produced the same way by using the same kind of machinery. Even premium kibble made with the best quality ingredients is made using the same process. 

What is cold-pressed dog food? Cold-pressed dog food is currently only available in the United Kingdom and Europe, where it has recently gained popularity. It’s considered a higher-quality kibble because of how it’s prepared, using a unique cooking method. The food is produced at a much lower temperature which retains higher nutritional value, vitamins, and flavor.

Here are the main points to consider when contemplating feeding your doggo dry food:

  • Since kibble and cold-pressed food contain less moisture, they have more nutrients per bite than wet food. This means you won’t have to feed your Golden Retriever as much to keep him happy.
  • When comparing dry food to wet food, dry food is less expensive per meal and can result in less waste because it can be left in your dog’s dish for longer periods, while you must return wet food to the refrigerator.
  • Dry food can also aid Golden’s with dental issues because it helps to clean their teeth and gums.
  • For a medium-large dog, such as a Golden Retriever, dry dog food is the most sensible option; however, kibble and cold-pressed dog food come in all shapes and sizes, so smaller breeds can choose from a smaller range.

PRO TIP: Dry food may be fed completely dry, or you can occasionally make it into a tasty “gravy” by adding warm water. Some owners also like to add a topping to their Retriever’s food, such as cooked meats, fish, or vegetables, and this is exactly what I like to do with my dog’s diet.

I sometimes add a small amount of chicken, beef, or even a spoonful of Greek yogurt to her food to mix it up and change the flavor and texture. However, this isn’t needed if you choose a good quality brand. She also loves tuna, which leaves her coat and skin looking lustrous and healthy. When I add a topping, I reduce the amount of dry food she eats marginally to prevent her from gaining weight.

Canned Wet Foods

Chunks of Canned Wet Dog Food. What's the Best Diet for Golden Retrievers?

Canned wet dog foods contain around 75% moisture, whereas dry foods have about 10%. As a result, the higher the water content, the fewer nutrients, so your Golden Retriever will need to consume more to get all the nutrition he needs.

Here are some things to know about wet dog food:

  • Not every brand of canned food provides enough protein for your Golden Retriever. You should avoid lower quality wet foods since they commonly use thickeners such as wheat flour, white rice, or other grains.
  • A wet diet may be more costly, especially if your dog is the size of a Golden, but it may be ideal if your dog enjoys eating a more significant portion. A wet diet may also be preferable for smaller breeds.
  • If your dog is a picky eater or you have a senior Golden Retriever with a reduced appetite, wet food might be a better selection.

You can also buy semi-moist dog foods. However, these are not as popular as they offer the least nutritional value and can be expensive. Unfortunately, dog food manufacturers incorporate sugar and salts to extend the shelf life of their products. Artificial color, chemical preservatives, and chemical flavor enhancers are commonly found in semi-moist foods.

A semi-moist diet may not be suited to your Golden Retriever, especially if he is on the heavy side and needs to lose a few pounds.

On the other hand, if your Golden Retriever has trouble digesting other types of food, semi-moist food might be the best option. If he is a picky eater, he will appreciate the meaty flavor and find this kind of food more appealing.

If you’re thinking of feeding your Golden Retriever this sort of diet, consult your veterinarian to determine how many calories he needs and the best way to feed him.

A Mix of Dry and Wet

Some dog owners combine dry and wet foods in their dog’s diet. The foods may be mixed or alternated at each meal, such as wet in the morning and dry in the evening (or vice-versa).

I’ve even heard of Retriever owners who, while feeding dry food, use wet food as a topping in their dog’s bowl. If you take this approach, it’s safer to stick with the same brand if you’re combining the two to ensure you’re not raising your dog’s calorie intake, and, as always, seek clinical guidance to ensure your Golden is getting the proper nutrition.

Home Produced Diet

Some owners like to feed their Golden Retriever a home-produced diet (referred to as home-feeders). Because of the ease and variety of both dry and wet dog foods, I started to wonder why anyone would want to be a home-feeder?

Here are the main reasons people choose to feed a home-produced diet:

A bowl of Home Produced Dog Food.
  • Home-feeders sought alternatives to commercial pet foods as they were worried about the nutritional value of the ingredients used.
  • Home-feeders enjoyed the process of preparing the food and strengthening the relationship with their dog or satisfying their opinions.
  • Home-feeders fear their dog will merely not like or refuse to eat commercial dog food.
  • A home-prepared diet may be essential to help with a diagnosis (e.g., for a food elimination trial) or if a dog has several diseases for which no commercial diet exists.
  • Home-feeders sought comfort for dogs with a chronic or terminal illness.

There are several drawbacks to making dog food at home. It is possible, but it will take a lot of effort and hard work, and it may end up costing more than the highest-quality dog food available.

Home-made diets can provide total nutrition. However, you need to make sure your Golden Retriever gets the correct balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, and this is not easy to do every day.

It’s best to consult your veterinarian before preparing a home-cooked diet for your dog. Professional pet nutritionists accredited by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition can also help you customize a balanced diet for your Golden Retriever. Here is their directory that you may find useful.

You should cook all animal products to kill bacteria that could make your Golden sick – unless he’s accustomed to a raw diet. You should also cook vegetables and grains for easier digestion.

My final thoughts about whether or not to feed your dog a home-made diet are as follows:

  1. Do you have the time to prepare your Golden Retrievers’ daily meals?
  2. Your dog will need routine health tests, ensuring that he does not lack any nutrients.
  3. There are many high-quality commercial dog foods on the market that meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Raw Diet

A Selection of Raw Foods for Dogs. What is the Best Diet for Golden Retrievers?

It’s okay to start feeding your Golden Retriever puppy raw food after he’s three to four weeks old. Raw feeding is a controversial topic, but it’s based on the idea of feeding dogs diets that they would have eaten in their natural environment prior to domestication.

While sled dogs and racing greyhounds have long eaten a raw food diet, there is a trend every now and again for feeding dogs an all-raw diet that includes raw meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and some dairy.

When determining whether or not to feed your Golden Retriever a raw diet, there are two crucial things to remember. The first is to make sure your dog has a well-balanced diet that includes all of the nutrients he needs to stay healthy and disease-free. When feeding a growing puppy, this is especially necessary.

Diets made at home, for example, raw diets can be challenging because you must ensure that you are not under or overfeeding essential nutrients. This is especially important if your Golden Retriever is sick, pregnant, or nursing and therefore has different nutritional needs.

Food safety concerns about bacterial or parasitic infection in raw meat are the second most important issue. When feeding raw foods to dogs, food poisoning is a significant concern.

If you’re thinking of feeding your Golden Retriever a raw food diet, make sure you’re well-versed in the appropriate handling of raw foods, as well as all food safety concerns.

Many raw-feeders believe that eating a raw diet has numerous health benefits, including increased energy, improved digestion, a shinier coat, better skin, cleaner teeth, and healthier life in general.

However, there have been insufficient studies to measure the risk or benefits of feeding dogs a raw diet. Therefore, the majority of the believed benefits of feeding raw foods remain speculative.

Nonetheless, there is enough evidence to compel vets to discuss the human health consequences of raw diets with pet owners and the risk of disease to the pet, according to this study.

The American Veterinary Medical Association also discourage pet owners from feeding dogs raw or unprocessed meat and eggs due to the risk of disease:

The AVMA discourages the feeding of any animal-source protein that has not first been subject to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans.

As I would like to take a balanced view of this subject, I have to point out that advocates of raw food diets say that commercially processed dog food can also contain harmful bacteria. They argue that as long as proper hygiene procedures are followed, the whole “bad bacteria” issue is greatly exaggerated.

If you choose to feed your Golden Retriever a raw diet, you can do so either at home or buy commercial raw foodstuffs. These include whole foods, usually sold frozen or freeze-dried, which brings me nicely onto the next topic…

Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried

You can choose to feed your Golden Retriever a dehydrated or freeze-dried diet, and both have become increasingly common in recent years.

These diets are similar in that they extract moisture from the food to preserve it and eliminate the need for artificial preservatives, but they vary in several ways.

Dehydrated foods are partially cooked at low temperatures to extract most of the water. The food is heated but not fully cooked, so nutrients and enzymes remain whole. They are a complete diet and are frequently seen as a step-up from ordinary extruded kibble.

You need to add warm water to dehydrated dog food to make it edible. As a result, the food has a texture comparable to canned wet food but is much less refined. These foods are easy to store, prepare, and have a long shelf life because they do not need refrigeration.

A dehydrated diet is also a good option if your Golden has a sensitive stomach as the food is easier on the digestive system due to the gentle cooking method.

In a nutshell, freeze-dried foods are basically a raw diet that has been repackaged.

The raw ingredients in freeze-dried dog food are frozen first, then placed in a strong vacuum to turn the moisture into vapor. After that, the food is sealed in an airtight container. Unlike a true raw diet, this method reduces the number of bacteria such as salmonella.

Although freeze-dried food looks like kibble and does not need to be rehydrated before eating, your Golden Retriever will find it more palatable and digestible if some water is added first.

They are usually very high protein diets with fruits and vegetables occasionally added. Freeze-dried is a great alternative if you want to feed a raw diet but don’t like to handle raw food but want to feed a healthier and less processed diet.

They’re typically high-protein diets with a few fruits and vegetables mixed in for good measure. If you want to feed a raw diet but don’t want to handle raw food and feed a healthy and less refined diet, freeze-dried is a great option.

You can also incorporate freeze-dried into your Golden’s diet by combining it with other types such as kibble or wet.

Freeze-dried foods are more expensive than regular kibble, but as the food has most of the moisture removed, they are more nutritionally dense, so you feed your Retriever less.

Pros and Cons of Different Dog Food Types

To help you decide on the best diet for your Golden Retriever, here’s all the above information in handy tables for you to easily visualize the pros and cons of each food type:

Dry Dog FoodCanned Wet Food (including semi-moist)
More practicable for medium-large breedsMore suited for smaller or toy breeds
Inexpensive and less wasteSome dogs find wet more palatable than dry foods
Denser providing more nutrients per bite than wetMore suited for picky and senior dogs
Convenient and easy to feedGood for hydration
No need to worry about nutritional deficienciesNo need to worry about nutritional deficiencies
Doesn’t require refrigerationDogs can enjoy a larger portion per meal due to the high water content
Ideal for “grazers” as can be left in the bowl longerIdeal for dogs who have trouble chewing
Can add “toppings” such as cooked meats, fish, or veg for added varietySemi-moist may be good for dogs that find foods difficult to digest
Water can be added to make a tasty gravyHas a longer shelf life than dry but there can be more waste if the food is uneaten
Comes in many shapes and sizesMore expensive than dry foods
Great for interactive feedersSemi-moist contains added salt and sugar
Good for the teethMay contribute to gum disease
Poor quality brands often add “fillers” and poor-quality ingredientsPoor quality brands often add “fillers” and low-quality ingredients
Mix of Dry and WetHome Produced
You get the best of both dry and wetYou are in control of your dog’s food and nutrients
Can mix in the same bowl or at separate feedsMay suit for picky eaters
Provides varietyCan help increase bonding
Recommended to keep to the same brandCan assist with a medical diagnosis or healing
Need to track calorie intakeExpensive and time-consuming
May require the advice of a vetRegular health checks are advised to ensure correct nutrition
RawDehydrated & Freeze-Dried
You control your dog’s food and nutrientsMost of the moisture is removed
Need to ensure proper nutrition is providedNo preservatives are added
May be unsuitable for sick or senior dogsNutrients remain intact
Risk of food contaminationFreeze-dried is fundamentally raw
No proven health benefits except for better digestionLong shelf life and easy to store
Expensive and time-consuming if preparing at homeConvenient
Regular health checks recommendedMore expensive

Before transitioning your Golden Retriever from one type of food to another, I recommended you talk to your veterinarian about the individual benefits and risks.

How Much Food Should Golden Retriever’s Eat?

Once you have settled on the type of diet to feed your dog, you now have the next hurdle! How much food should your Golden Retriever actually eat?

The amount of food Golden Retrievers need depends on their age, whether a puppy, adult, or senior. Activity level, overall health, serious illness, pregnancy, or nursing can also increase a dog’s energy needs. The key is to make sure you don’t overfeed or underfeed your dog.

Don’t worry; if you’re feeding commercial dog food, the packaging should indicate the recommended feeding guidelines for your Retriever’s age. On their websites, most brands often have valuable tables or calculators.

These must indicate how much food to offer per the dog’s weight, but you must also think about your dog’s activity level. Inactive dogs, for example, may need 10% less than what is recommended on the food label, while energetic dogs may need 20% to 40% more.

If you want to feed a home-made diet, raw, or a combination of dry and wet, as mentioned above, you can contact your veterinarian or a pet nutritionist to ensure your Golden Retriever is getting the necessary nutrients and calorie intake.

How Often Should I Feed My Golden Retriever Puppy?

Growing puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs, and they require more frequent feedings at different stages of development. Depending on age, here’s how much you should feed your Golden Retriever puppy:

AGE OF GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPYDAILY MEALS
6 to 12 weeks4
12 to 24 weeks3
24 weeks onwards2

Golden Retriever puppies get all of their nutrients from their mother when they are born. However, it’s safe to start the weaning process onto a new diet from three to four weeks old.

Puppies in the early stages of development need enough calories, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to support rapid growth and development and set them on the road to a healthy life.

Here’s a Helpful Video on How Often Dogs Should Eat, from Puppies to Adults…

Since Golden Retrievers are a medium-large breed, they should be fed large-breed dog food, even puppies. Large breed dog food is actually essential for your Golden’s health.

Here’s the deal…

Large breed foods have a higher protein content and lower calcium, phosphorus, and fat content. It is nutritionally designed to keep them from growing too quickly, leading to debilitating conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia.

While adult dogs can thrive on one meal a day, most Golden Retriever owners tend to feed their dogs twice a day. This makes it easier for the dog to digest the food, control hunger, and avoid life-threatening bloat (GDV). My dog would much rather eat twice a day.

Can Golden Retrievers Eat Bones?

Two large raw bones. Can Golden Retrievers eat bones?

You’ve probably heard the expression “give a dog a bone,” right? But can Golden Retrievers eat bones?

Golden Retrievers can eat bones. They are high in nutrients, especially calcium and phosphorus, and can help clean and strengthen your dog’s teeth. On the other hand, cooked bones must never be fed, as they can splinter and cause injuries or choking. The bone must also be larger than your dog’s muzzle.

Cooked bones soften and splinter instantly in your dog’s mouth or throat, causing choking. Beef or lamb bones are stronger and less likely to splinter than chicken or pork bones.

Give your Golden Retriever a bone appropriate for his size, such as a big beef shank bone. All bones should be wider than the length of his muzzle, making swallowing them whole impossible. When feeding your Retriever a bone, always keep an eye on him.

Best Treats for Golden Retrievers

Dog Biscuits

Many dog owners enjoy giving their dogs treats, but since they’re not expected to adopt AAFCO guidelines, like dog food, how do you know what treats are the best for Golden Retrievers?

The best treats for Golden Retrievers are those made with high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients, low in calories and fat. Artificial preservatives, colorings, or additives should not be used in dog treats. As an alternative, you can feed nutritious fruits and vegetables.

You can find high-quality treats on the market; however, they can be quite expensive, but I’m happy to pay more if it means my dog stays healthy and happy.

There are many different types of commercial dog treats, and you can pick the one that best fits your needs. Do you need training treats, dental treats, chew treats, or even natural calming treats, for example? I like to have a range of treats on hand for my dog.

Treats should make up no more than 10% of your Golden Retriever’s daily calories.

Make sure you buy healthy dog treats, particularly chew treats, that are suitable for large breeds. Here are some of Amazon’s top-rated healthy dog treats for large dogs. They’re mainly all best-sellers with tens of thousands of 5-star ratings.

Bully sticks made entirely of all-natural beef are my favorite treat for my dog. You may use them as a chew stick or break them up into smaller pieces. If you don’t like their naturally strong smell, you can even buy odor-free! Check out the best bully sticks on Amazon here.

How Much Water Should Golden Retrievers Drink?

Golden Retrievers should drink up to one ounce (30 ml) of water every day for each pound that they weigh. However, there are many other variables to consider, such as age, activity level, diet (wet food contains a lot more water than dry), temperature and humidity, medication, pregnancy, nursing, etc.

Make sure your dog’s water bowl remains full and that the water is changed every few hours. Dog water fountains, such as the PetSafe Drinkwell from Amazon, are one of my favorites. I love this one because it is perfect for Retrievers, and you can change the water flow to suit your dog’s preference.

Giving ice cubes, adding water to dry food, or making fun playtimes with a hose in warm weather are some other ways to keep your Golden Retriever hydrated.

Final Thoughts – The Importance of Nutrition

Many pet food companies have spent millions of dollars studying which ingredients have the highest levels of nutrients to achieve a nutritious, balanced diet that will help vital puppy growth and mental and physical development.

It’s your job to do your due diligence and select the right one for your doggo! As for supplements, there’s no reason to feed them if your dog is eating a complete and healthy diet unless a veterinarian recommends them. So here’s my best piece of advice:

Choose a diet that is appropriate for your Golden Retriever’s age, your lifestyle, and your beliefs – and invest in the highest-quality dog food you can afford. Your dog will enjoy a longer and healthier life due to this, and you will both be happier as a result.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and it’s helped you decide on the best diet for your Golden Retriever.

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Sharon Waddington

I am the owner of World of Dogz. I have a female German Shepherd named Willow, and I've worked with dogs for almost 30 years. I love spending time with her, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise of all things dogs on this site!

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