Close this search box.

35 Healthiest Human Foods For Golden Retrievers

Last Updated: December 29, 2023

It’s natural for you to want to share everything with your Golden Retriever, including your meals. But when feeding our furry friends, what’s safe and what’s not?

While it’s tempting to slip a piece of your dinner under the table, it’s crucial to know which human foods are safe for your Golden Retriever to eat.

Golden Retrievers can enjoy human foods, including cooked lean meats like chicken and turkey, omega-3-rich fish like salmon, and vegetables like carrots or green beans. Fruits like apples or blueberries and whole grains, such as cooked brown rice and oatmeal, are also beneficial.

Navigating the world of canine nutrition can be a maze, especially for Golden Retriever owners. These lovable pups are known to pack on pounds, a habit that the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention warns could lead to a host of health woes.

But fear not! This isn’t just another bland diet guide.

We’re here to spice things up with a list of 35 human foods that are not only Golden Retriever-approved but will keep your furry friend’s tail wagging and waistline in check.

Plus, we’ll throw in some savvy feeding tips and highlight those no-go foods that could spell trouble. Get ready to transform mealtime into a fun, healthy adventure for your four-legged companion.

Vegetables, fruits and meat laid on a table

Can Golden Retrievers Eat Human Food?

We mustn’t forget that dogs historically ate “people” food long before the invention of dog food…

As dogs began to live alongside humans thousands of years ago, they shared food.

Their diet was much like their owners, and they got what could be spared, such as scraps of bone with leftover meat and cartilage, horsemeat, cabbage, potatoes, and stale bread.

As society progressed and dog ownership grew, there were never enough table scraps and leftovers to feed our dogs, and so in the 1850s, the first dog biscuit was created by businessman James Spratt.

The biscuit made of wheat, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood was the first commercially available dry dog food. Horsemeat was the main ingredient of canned wet food when it was introduced in 1922.

Why does this matter?

It doesn’t because, in a nutshell, nothing has changed! You can buy dog food with meat, fish, berries, and vegetables these days, but IT’S JUST HUMAN FOOD IN DOG PACKAGING!

Learn More on the Science of Why Dogs Can Eat Human Food…

What Human Foods Can Golden Retrievers Eat?

Let’s now dive into the complete guide to the human foods your Golden Retriever can eat and learn everything you need to know.  


3 Apples

Apples are high in fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C, among other nutrients. The vitamins in apples are important for preserving bone and tissue health.

Apples have a crunchy texture and a sweet flavor that most Golden Retrievers love. They even aid in the cleaning of their teeth and the freshening of their breath. Remove the seeds and cores first and cut them into small pieces.


Multiple bananas on a table

Bananas are quite edible to Golden Retrievers. They’re rich in potassium, which helps their kidneys and heart, and vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. Bananas are also low in sodium.

However, since they’re high in sugar, feed them sparingly and avoid giving your dog the peel, as it may be difficult for him to digest. During a long walk, my dog loves a few slices of banana, which also serves as a source of energy.


Two slices of beef

Golden Retrievers need a high-protein diet to maintain their energy levels. Beef is a high-quality protein source with essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Beef keeps your dog’s joints, muscles, and skin strong, as well as giving him a bright, healthy coat.

Unless your Golden Retriever is used to a raw diet and the food is prepared hygienically, all meats you give him should be cooked. The meat should be lean and unseasoned. A few shredded bits are always a hit with Golden Retrievers and can be included in their healthy and well-balanced diet.



Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all good for your Golden Retriever to eat, and they’re perfect in the summer. However, you may need to experiment because some dogs may dislike the taste while others will enjoy it.

Berries are high in antioxidants, which help protect and improve the immune system by preventing or slowing cell harm. They’re high in vitamin C and fiber, and they’re low in sugar, so they’re also kind to teeth.

In hot weather, frozen berries can be a refreshing treat to keep your Golden Retriever cool and hydrated.


2 loaves of French Bread

A small slice of plain white or brown bread would suffice for your Golden Retriever. It should only be offered as a treat occasionally and only if your dog isn’t allergic to wheat.

This is due to bread’s high carbohydrate and calorie content and its lack of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It has minimal nutritional benefits for dogs with a well-balanced diet.

Warning! If you bake your own bread, don’t let your Golden Retriever consume the uncooked yeast dough because it can rise in his stomach, causing anything from bloat to alcohol poisoning from the fermented yeast.


Fresh Broccoli

Broccoli is safe to feed to your Golden Retriever in limited amounts. It’s rich in fiber and vitamin C, and it’s beneficial for his immune system. Broccoli also aids in the prevention of heart disease and the maintenance of healthy skin and bones.

The only drawback is that it contains a chemical that in certain dogs, can trigger serious gas! As a result, you should try things out first because things could turn out to be very unpleasant! Make sure you cut the stalks into tiny pieces if you’re feeding them.


Fiber, vitamins, and potassium are all abundant in cantaloupe. Its high antioxidant content promotes good cell function and lowers the risk of serious illnesses like cancer and arthritis.

Melon (including honeydew and watermelon) is low in calories and has high water content, making it a tasty and refreshing treat for your Golden Retriever.

However, since some types of melon are high in natural sugars, feed it in moderation. Before feeding, always remove the seeds and rind.


A Golden Retriever with a bunch of carrots in its mouth.

Carrots, either cooked or raw, are an excellent human food to feed your Golden Retriever. They’re low in fat and high in fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A, which is good for the skin, bones, and immune system.

Carrots are beneficial for blood pressure and cardiovascular health, as well as cancer prevention. They are also important for the immune system and help with weight loss.

My dog enjoys crunching on a raw carrot, which helps to keep her teeth clean and healthy. Carrots are one of the best human foods you can offer your dog, in my opinion.


Cashews kept on a table

Cashews are generally healthy for your Golden Retriever to eat as a treat. They’re great for active dogs on a long hike because of their high protein and fat content.

Make sure they’re salt-free and steer clear of chocolate-coated cashews, as these are quite poisonous to dogs when consumed in large amounts.


This high-protein treat is a perfect human food that your Golden Retriever will enjoy, as long as it’s offered in moderation due to the high calories and fat content. Low-fat cheese or cottage cheese are healthier alternatives.

I enjoy giving my dog tiny slices of cheese as a well-deserved treat. It contains vitamins A and B12 and calcium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.

Owing to an inability to digest lactose, the key carbohydrate in dairy products, some dogs may be unable to eat cheese. As a result, you’ll have to experiment first. It is, however, one of the dairy foods with the least amount of lactose.

Warning! Blue cheese and other moldy cheeses should not be fed to dogs because the mold contains a mycotoxin that is toxic to them.


Chicken is used in a variety of dog foods. This high-protein food will provide plenty of nutrition for your Golden Retriever. It’s also high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which are good for your dog’s skin and hair.

Chicken also contains glucosamine and essential amino acids for strong bones. Ensure the chicken is boneless and skinless, as the skin contains a lot of fat.

Don’t feed raw chicken due to the risk of salmonella – unless your dog is already used to a raw diet.

Never feed cooked chicken bones to your Golden Retriever because they are fragile and can crack in his mouth, causing serious injury or choking. I always put bits of leftover roast chicken in my dog’s bowl – and it never lasts long!


Coconut fresh and scraped

Giving your Golden Retriever coconut is a tasty human treat. Did you know that coconut is technically a fruit? That can be confusing! But, as a result, it lacks most of the proteins that cause tree nut allergies or sensitivities, such as those found in almonds and cashews.

Coconut contains antioxidants, which help the immune system, reduce inflammation, and prevent viruses. The oil in coconut will improve your dog’s skin and coat. You can feed a small piece to your Golden Retriever to see if he likes it, but make sure the shell is removed first.


Corns kept aside

Corn is a starchy vegetable that will provide your Golden Retriever with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

However, since it’s rich in carbohydrates, you should feed only a limited amount. It’s not the best vegetable for your dog – as you’ve probably discovered, it passes through the gut almost completely intact!

However, I believe it is an excellent option if your Golden requires a fast energy boost during periods of high exercise. Don’t give the cob because it poses a choking hazard, and avoid canned corn, as it’s typically high in sodium.

So, what about popcorn?

You should not serve your dog popcorn that contains butter or salt. Plain popcorn is fine, but since the kernels might get caught between your Golden Retriever’s teeth, I wouldn’t recommend it!


3 Cucumbers

Although you may find cucumber amongst the vegetable display in the store, it is technically a fruit! Cucumbers, in any event, will provide a lot of nutrients to your Golden Retriever.

Calcium, magnesium, copper, and potassium are all present, along with vitamins K, C, and B1. Cucumbers are 96% water and make a healthy, low-fat, refreshing dog treat.


2 Eggs

Golden Retrievers can safely eat eggs. They’re a great source of protein because they’re high in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Eggs are known for providing a natural nutritional balance. Despite decades of debate, scientists have concluded that eggs’ high levels of dietary cholesterol are not linked to heart disease and that saturated fat has a much greater impact on blood cholesterol levels.

Since raw eggs carry a risk of salmonella, it’s best to cook them before feeding them to your Golden. But please note that this risk is minimal, and you can further reduce it by using free-range eggs and storing them in a cool, dry environment.

Green Beans

A cluster of fresh Green Beans

Green beans are delicious and nutritious for your Golden Retriever. The majority of dogs seem to like them. They are high in fiber, important vitamins, and minerals and have a low-calorie count.

To avoid choking and to aid digestion, break them up into small bits. You may also offer your dog canned green beans if they don’t contain salt or other additives.


Milk is quite safe for Golden Retrievers to consume. However, as with all dairy foods, the amount of lactose your dog can handle is something to consider. Once a week, my dog enjoys a small bowl of milk with no negative consequences.

Milk is rich in calcium, which is good for strong teeth and bones, and it also contains vitamin D, which is good for bone health.

It contains potassium, which is excellent for the heart, essential amino acids, and various vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

There’s no doubt your dog will enjoy a few tablespoons of either cow’s milk or goat’s milk.


A bowl of Noodles

For Golden Retrievers, a small treat of plain noodles is a nutritious human food. Iron, folate, manganese, and B vitamins are among the micronutrients contained in them.

Soft flour milled from traditional (bread) wheat is combined with water or eggs to make noodles. So, if your Golden Retriever is allergic to eggs, stay away from egg noodles! You should also avoid them if your dog suffers from a wheat allergy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that dried noodles frequently contain a lot of salt (sodium), so you’ll want to double-check. Japanese ramen noodles are high in sodium or have added soy sauce, and your Retriever should especially avoid them.


A tiny sack of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is safe for Golden Retrievers if fed sparingly. This staple food is high in fiber and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Linolic acid, which keeps your dog’s skin safe, is also present.

If your dog is allergic to grains or wheat, oatmeal is a perfect alternative, but contrary to popular opinion, food allergies in dogs are uncommon. This is attributable to grain-free dog food’s sometimes deceptive marketing.

Mix the oatmeal with the water and give it without butter or syrup. One or two spoonfuls added to your Golden Retriever’s food will make him happy. Remember that this is a carbohydrate with a lot of calories.


A bunch of Parsnips

Parsnips are an excellent vegetable for your Golden Retriever since they are high in potassium, folic acid, and vitamins C and B6.

They support a healthy kidney function as well as the nervous system. They’re even good for your dog’s metabolism and also contain cancer-fighting antioxidants.

They are better cooked, but they can be eaten raw if cut into small pieces. I sometimes mash cooked parsnips and add them to my dog’s bowl because she loves the sweet flavor.

Since parsnips are very starchy, just feed them in moderation (like other root vegetables such as beets, sweet potatoes, and carrots).


Pasta is usually made with semolina flour milled from durum (hard) wheat. After that, water or eggs are added, and the mixture is mixed into a dough and formed into different shapes and sizes before being baked or boiled.

Pasta should also not be eaten by Golden Retrievers with a wheat allergy or a reaction to grains or eggs.

Pasta is safe for Golden Retrievers if it’s cooked and consumed plain. Once considered fattening and starchy, this staple food is now considered nutritious and high in energy.

Pasta sauces are bad for dogs, so go easy on the spaghetti bolognese! This is because garlic and onions, all of which are toxic, are often used.


A bunch of Peanuts

What if I told you that peanuts aren’t really nuts? Peanuts are legumes in the sense that they develop in pods that mature underneath the ground, similar to peas and lentils. However, they are classified as nuts for nutritional and culinary purposes.

Peanuts are high in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats and contain various vitamins and minerals. One or two plain unsalted peanuts are fine for your Golden Retriever to try.

However, remember that they are high in fat and may cause stomach discomfort because fat is more difficult to digest.

Peanuts are high in calories, and you should know the potential for choking. They’re safe for your Golden Retriever to eat because they’re not toxic, but they come with the risks I described earlier.

I’ve never fed peanuts to my dog, but I’ll leave it up to you to determine if you should!

Peanut Butter

A jar of Peanut Butter

Your Golden Retriever can eat peanut butter, but some brands contain xylitol (a sweetener) that he should not eat. Xylitol is extremely poisonous and can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop, causing seizures and liver failure.

Be sure to read the label carefully and select an organic brand with no additives.

Peanut butter is a high-value treat that is suitable for use during training. It’s also perfect for smearing into interactive toys and on dog licky mats.


Pea pods with some open

Peas are high in starchy carbohydrates, which help to increase energy levels. They are also gentle on the digestive system of your dog.

They are high in vitamins A, K, and B, making them beneficial to the eyes, heart, and skin. Iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and fiber are all contained in peas.

Peas are a fantastic food to add to your Golden Retriever’s bowl at mealtimes, in my opinion. Fresh or frozen peas are also fine, but your dog should avoid canned peas due to their high salt content.


Pineapple chunks

Pineapple is a sweet and tangy fruit high in vitamins and minerals. It also contains fiber, which benefits your Golden’s digestion and immune system, and bromelain, which aids protein absorption.

Feed sparingly unless your Golden Retriever needs a fast energy boost during intense activity, as it’s quite sugary. In hot weather, frozen pineapple chunks are a refreshing treat that will keep your dog cool and hydrated.

However, due to its high sugar content, you should avoid canned pineapple.


A serving of Pork

Pork can be enjoyed by your Golden Retriever as long as it is cooked and free of seasonings and spices. Many vitamins and minerals are abundant in this high-protein food.

Raw pork shouldn’t be eaten as it contains a parasite that can cause an infection – unless your Golden Retriever already eats a raw diet and is used to it.

All fat must be removed because too much can cause an upset stomach and possible pancreas inflammation. Because of their high salt content, processed pork meats such as bacon, ham, and sausage should also be avoided.

Warning! Never let your doggo have cooked pork bones, as they’re extremely fragile and can splinter into sharp fragments in your dog’s mouth or along his digestive tract. They can also cause choking.

Potato (Cooked)

Potatoes are starchy vegetables high in vitamin C, B6, iron, and magnesium. Since they are a high carbohydrate food, they provide a lot of energy, so feed them in small amounts. You may mash, roast, or boil them, but no butter or salt should be added.

As long as the potato is cooked and the skin is removed, you can feed it to your Golden Retriever. Be aware that solanine, a toxic compound, is found in raw or green potatoes. The cooking method, on the other hand, eliminates this risk.


A whole Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a good human food to feed your Golden Retriever, and the seeds are also fine. It’s high in insoluble and soluble fiber, making it suitable for constipated dogs or those who have dreaded diarrhea!

It’s nutritionally dense, with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, potassium, and iron, as well as a high concentration of the antioxidant beta-carotene.

Pumpkin is better served cooked; it will be difficult for your Golden Retriever to digest it raw. It can be mashed and added to your dog’s food as a topping.

It’s also great for overweight dogs because it’s low in calories. A good idea is to replace some kibble with pumpkin.


A bowl of white Rice

Cooked plain rice is a popular ingredient in dog foods, and it’s, therefore, safe for Golden Retrievers to eat. Brown whole-grain rice, on the other hand, is a healthier choice, so keep that in mind when selecting a brand. Calcium, fiber, iron, vitamin D, thiamine, and riboflavin are all abundant in rice.

Rice is starch, so it should be consumed in moderation. But, as long as your Retriever maintains a healthy weight, a small amount added to his meal now and then will not cause any harm.

A dog with diarrhea is given plain cooked white rice (not brown). It’s easy to digest, low in fiber, and binds stools together, which helps with runny poop!


A serving of Salmon

Salmon is one of my dog’s favorite foods. It’s one of the rare times she’ll come over to the table, lie down, politely wait, and hope for a taste if we have salmon for dinner!

Salmon is an excellent fish for Golden Retrievers to eat. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have various benefits for your dog, including keeping his skin and coat healthy, supporting his immune system, and reducing inflammation.

Salmon is a high-protein source used in many top-quality dog foods. Since raw salmon contains parasites that can cause poisoning, you should never feed it to your Golden. Always ensure it doesn’t have any bones, so if you’re giving your dog some of this delicious “people” food, go for a boneless fillet.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are safe for Golden Retrievers to eat, and they are a better choice than cooked white potatoes since they are more nutritious.

They are high in beta-carotene, which is beneficial for growth and vision. They also contain vitamins C, B6, E, and A and are a natural source of fiber. They are excellent for your dog’s general health and well-being.

On the other hand, sweet potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate that you shouldn’t feed if your Golden Retriever is overweight, inactive, or diabetic.

Before giving sweet potatoes to your dog, they should be cooked (and the skin removed). They can be baked, mashed, or pureed. They are a common source of carbohydrates in high-quality dog foods due to their nutritional value. 

Tuna and Mackerel

Tuna and mackerel are excellent human foods for your Golden Retriever, and they, like salmon, are my dog’s favorites.

They’re high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your dog’s heart and eyes and make his coat shiny. Vitamin D, B12, B6, iron, potassium, and magnesium are among the vitamins and minerals found in them.

Owing to the higher mercury levels in tuna and mackerel, there is some debate over whether dogs should eat them. However, as with most human foods, I believe balance is important when feeding your Golden Retriever.

If you’re going to feed a small amount of canned tuna, make sure it’s in water that doesn’t have any added salt. A few chunks of canned tuna scattered over her food are easily devoured by my dog.


Turkey is a high-protein food full of nutrients such as B vitamins, including thiamine and riboflavin. It’s also abundant in minerals such as zinc and phosphorous. Turkey also contains selenium, which helps in metabolism regulation.

It’s no surprise that this high-energy food is a common ingredient in commercial pet foods, and it’s also no surprise that cooked turkey, as long as it’s pure and free of seasonings, onion, or garlic, is delicious to feed to your Golden straight from your plate.

Since the legs produce more fat, turkey breast is healthier. Feeding the skin is also a bad idea because it’s too high in fat. As with pork bones, cooked turkey bones can quickly splinter in your dog’s mouth or become a choking hazard, so ensure no bones are in the meat.


Two jars of Yogurt

Your Golden Retriever can eat two different types of yogurt – Greek yogurt and plain, low-fat natural yogurt are his two options.

Yogurt is rich in calcium and protein, and it can also serve as a probiotic, which is beneficial for his digestive system.

Check for artificial sweeteners (like xylitol), added sugar and fat in the yogurt, and just feed a tablespoon or two to avoid a stomach upset. I like to put a blob in my dog’s food, and it’s always a hit!

How to Feed Human Food to Dogs

There are a few significant safety guidelines to obey while feeding human foods to your Golden Retriever:

  • You should feed your Golden Retriever human foods in moderation. According to the general rule, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories.
  • Gradually introduce various foods. Any unfavorable side effects should be avoided as a result of this.
  • Cook all meats – unless your Golden Retriever is used to a safely prepared raw diet. Make sure the meat is lean, fat-free, and bone-free, as small bones can splinter and cause damage to your dog’s mouth or throat, choking, or a digestive blockage.
  • Avoid processed meats. Examples are ham, sausage, and bacon, which contain high salt or seasoning.
  • Dairy products should not be offered to dogs that have lactose intolerance. Since dairy foods contain varying amounts of lactose, your Golden Retriever may be able to handle some – but not all of them. My dog, for example, can eat cheese and yogurt, but even a few licks of heavy whipping cream give her the runs!
  • Cook all fish – due to the risk of bacteria. Remove all bones, and don’t add any extra oils or seasonings. Longer-lived fish species, such as mackerel and tuna, can contain high levels of mercury, so eat them in moderation.
  • Remove seeds and stones from fruits. Examples are nectarines, peaches, and plums. They can contain traces of toxic cyanide if eaten in large quantities, and they’re also a choking hazard. Check out my comprehensive guide, What Fruits Can Golden Retrievers Eat?
  • Cooked vegetables are better for digestion. However, some can be given raw, such as carrots and green beans. You can learn more about this topic in my article, 28 Vegetables Golden Retrievers Can Eat?

Toxic Foods all Dogs Must Avoid

Dogs can be poisoned by a variety of completely safe foods for humans, and poisoning episodes in dogs are usually due to a lack of knowledge by the owner.

So, as we learn what human foods Golden Retrievers can eat, we should also find out what foods they can’t eat.

Foods that Golden Retrievers can not eat range from the more well-known, such as chocolate, grapes, garlic, onion, spices, macadamia nuts, caffeine, and salt.

However, dogs can also not eat the less evident foodstuffs such as avocado, yeast dough, green potato, and products containing the sweetener xylitol.

Golden Retriever wearing sunglasses with bottles aside

Below is a list of the main toxic foods your Golden Retriever can’t eat. Some poisonings could result in severe illness or worse – depending on the amount consumed and the potency.

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, etc)
  • Cherries
  • Chocolate and cocoa
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts (Australian nuts)
  • Mushrooms
  • Nutmeg
  • Onions, Shallots, Leeks, and Chives
  • Potato (raw or green)
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt
  • Star fruit
  • Tomatoes (green)
  • Xylitol (sweetener)
  • Yeast dough
  • Walnuts (black)

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours a day for specialist assistance and guidance if you are uncertain about the toxicity of foods, plants, medications, or household products your dog has mistakenly eaten.

Alternatively, if you think your Golden Retriever has eaten something harmful, contact your veterinarian immediately. In severe cases of dog poisoning, timing can mean the difference between life and death.

Final Thoughts

Various foods are safe for Golden Retrievers, but it’s essential to consult your veterinarian about specific dietary choices for your unique dog.

While feeding high-quality dog food, introducing a range of flavors and textures can enrich your pet’s diet if you adhere to safety guidelines. My own experience with diversifying my dog’s meals has been positive and well-received by her

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

Leave a Comment

Image for Newsletter Signup

Rehabilitate. Repeat.

Get the best in dog rescue news, care, and health tips, and be a part of the rescue dog revolution.