5 Best Dog Foods For Golden Retriever Puppies

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for Golden Retriever puppies.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppies?

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Golden Retriever Puppy Food Reviews

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Brown Rice
    4. Oatmeal
    5. Barley

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 386 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 5%

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula was specifically designed with the needs of large breed puppies such as the Golden Retriever in mind. This food contains many powerhouse supplements including DHA, ARA, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote optimal development of the Golden puppy’s developmental systems.

This diet, among the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies, contains the proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus to promote correct bone growth. The kibble pieces are of a suitable size for the Golden Retriever puppy to easily chew and swallow.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is free from corn, wheat, soy, and by-products.

Pros

  • Owners indicate their puppies love this food and clean their bowl with every meal.
  • Several owners remarked that this food did not have an unpleasant smell unlike some other brands they had used in the past.
  • Puppies fed this diet regularly did not suffer from gastrointestinal distress.
  • Owners report that puppies fed this diet have coats that are shiny, soft, and healthy.
  • Most owners feel this dog food offers excellent nutrition at an affordable price.

Cons

  • A few owners expressed that their puppies saw an increase in flatulence when fed a steady diet of this food. This may be from transitioning from the previous diet to this one too quickly.
  • In rare cases, owners reported that their puppy’s coat began to emit a strong odor. This may be as a result of the puppy being sensitive to an ingredient in the diet.
  • Poor stool quality was seen in a small number of puppies during the transitioning process to this diet. This is likely because the change was not gradual enough for the puppy’s system and will alleviate with time.
  • A few owners noted that the larger bags do not have a resealable closure, making it difficult to keep the food fresh.
  • Some puppies were uninterested in this food and would not eat it.

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Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Salmon Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Ground Brown Rice
    5. Salmon Meal

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 367 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 5%

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Recipe is a high-quality diet that hits all of the high points a Golden Retriever puppy needs from its food. Enriched with DHA to promote brain development and with the correct balance of calcium to phosphorus, this food formulation is a nutritional powerhouse that is optimized to support a puppy’s growth.

When it comes to high-quality nutrition, it is not difficult to see why Wellness Complete Health has been included on the list of the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies.

Pros

  • Owners share that they are pleased with the growth rate of their puppies when fed this diet on a consistent basis.
  • The stool quality of puppies fed Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy is considered to be excellent. Puppies digest this formulation very well.
  • Many owners report that this food is so tasty that they are able to use it as both a meal option and a training treat.
  • Several owners indicated that their puppies saw an increase in energy when regularly fed this diet.
  • Owners like that this food contains grains, giving them an excellent quality diet to assist their pup with ideal digestion and to help prevent DCM.

Cons

  • A few puppies had trouble with poor stool quality when fed this diet. This may mean this particular Wellness puppy food is a poor fit, and the pup may do better on a different food from the same company with another protein as its foundation.
  • Some puppies lacked enthusiasm for this food, eating it but not seeming to enjoy it. This is largely a matter of preference and not a fault of the diet itself.
  • A few owners mentioned they felt this puppy food was quite costly.
  • Owners remark that the kibble pieces are quite hard, and some puppies struggle to break them down.
  • This diet includes peas as one of its first five ingredients, a plant-based protein that comprises a portion of the overall meat content. This means that a smaller amount of the protein contained in this food is derived entirely from meat.

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Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Egg Product
    5. Tapioca

  • Type: Freeze-dried raw and dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 485 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 33.5%
  • Fat: 18.5%
  • Fiber: 5%

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy is one food that Golden Retriever puppies just love. A combination of freeze-dried raw meat and kibble, this diet tastes delicious and offers Golden Retriever puppies excellent nutrition to fuel their developing bodies.

A high protein diet, free range chicken is the primary ingredient, an animal-based protein that is easily digestible for the Golden Retriever puppy. This main protein source is reinforced by the addition of fish, other meats, and DHA to promote the development of the puppy’s brain and vision.

This diet contains no grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial colors, or preservatives, placing it as one of the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies with sensitive stomachs.

Pros

  • Owners report improvements in their puppies’ digestion and coat quality with a switch to this diet.
  • Several owners shared that their formerly picky puppies love this food and eat their meals with hearty gusto.
  • Owners love that the bag is resealable, allowing them to keep the food fresh for their puppies to enjoy.
  • The stool quality of puppies regularly fed this diet is excellent.
  • Owners remarked that they are pleased that this diet contains no grains, making it an excellent choice for puppies with skin and stomach sensitivities.

Cons

  • Some owners express that their bags of food contain only minimal amounts of the freeze-dried raw meat pieces.
  • Some puppies are uninterested in this food and will not eat it. This is most often just a matter of preference.
  • A few owners mention they feel this diet is expensive.
  • In some cases, puppies picked out the freeze-dried raw meat pieces to eat and ignored the kibble. This can be resolved by feeding the kibble alone and giving the puppy the meat morsels as a treat at the end of the meal.
  • A few owners noted a change in stool quality with this diet. Stools that were normally firm were now soft, sometimes runny, and of unusual color. This may be the result of transitioning too quickly or a sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the food.

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CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy Limited Ingredient Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Menhaden Fish Meal
    3. Lentils
    4. Peas
    5. Potatoes

  • Type: Freeze-dried raw and dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 520 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 4%

For an exceptional quality diet that supports the needs of growing pups, it’s hard to go wrong with CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy LID. A diet that is often recommended as one of the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies, CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy LID bases its recipe on only nine high quality ingredients to ensure this diet is a good choice for pups with sensitivities to the most common food allergens. Its recipe is free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

A powerful supplement blend known as HealthPLUS has been added to this diet, providing a boost for the immune system, coat and skin health, and ideal digestion.

Pros

  • Puppies fed a regular diet of CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy LID saw improvements in their stool quality.
  • The coats of puppies consistently fed this diet are shiny, soft, and healthy.
  • Owners are pleased that this diet contains probiotics, an important supplement that is a great help with a puppy’s digestion.
  • Many owners express that the limited list of ingredients included in this diet gives them confidence that it is healthy for their pups and will help alleviate symptoms of allergies.
  • A few owners remarked that a change to this diet greatly reduced the amount of flatulence seen in their dogs.

Cons

  • Some puppies lack interest in this food and will not eat it. This is likely due to personal preference and is no reflection on the food itself.
  • A few owners report their puppies experienced some mild diarrhea when transitioned to this food. This may be attributed to a sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the diet or transitioning from the old food to the new too rapidly.
  • Some owners note that lentils play an important role in this diet, a controversial ingredient that may be connected to poor fertility in some dogs.
  • A few owners prefer a diet that includes whole grains in its recipe, believing their puppies had better digestion on a diet that is grain-inclusive.
  • Several owners felt this diet was costly.

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American Journey Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate)
    3. Turkey Meal
    4. Peas
    5. Chickpeas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 374 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 6%

Available at an excellent price point, American Journey Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy is a dry food that is both nutritious and delicious for the Golden Retriever puppy to enjoy. The food, consistently ranked one of the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies, is grain-free, taking its carbohydrates from easily digestible fruits and vegetables.

The primary protein source is chicken in its whole form. This protein is reinforced by the addition of chicken meal. The calcium and phosphorus ratio in this diet has been carefully calibrated to support correct growth. DHA has also been added to this food to encourage proper brain development.

American Journey is free from grains, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pros

  • Owners share their puppy’s stool quality greatly improved with a change to this diet.
  • Puppies displayed an eager readiness to eat this food, enjoying its flavor immensely.
  • Several owners shared that the kibble pieces in this diet are the perfect size for large breed puppies.
  • A few owners noted reduced itchiness in their puppies with allergies once transitioned to this diet.
  • Owners like that this diet contains no grains, making it a great choice for Golden Retriever puppies with skin and stomach sensitivities.

Cons

  • A few owners noted an increase in flatulence in their puppy when fed a steady diet of this food.
  • Some puppies found the smell and taste of this food off putting and would not eat it.
  • Some owners prefer feeding a diet that contains some whole grains. American Journey offers some grain inclusive puppy formulation that may be a better fit for puppies requiring this type of diet.
  • In rare cases, some puppies displayed signs of mild gastrointestinal distress after a steady diet of this food.
  • A few owners indicated they felt the kibble pieces were too small for large breed puppies.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppies

Is there anything cuter than a fluffy little Golden Retriever puppy? Golden puppies have lots of energy to spare and require a high-quality diet to keep up the pace with their developmental needs.

Golden Retriever puppies will thrive on a well-balanced puppy food comprised of excellent quality ingredients. One of the major requirements in a food for Golden Retriever puppies is the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus. When this important combination is out of balance, overly rapid growth can occur which may lead to future problems with the bones and joints. Owners should look for a food specially formulated for large breed puppies, as this will ensure the optimal calcium and phosphorus ratio for controlled, healthy growth.

Since Golden Retriever puppies require more calories than adults of the same breed, they should be fed a puppy food rather than an adult formulation. Puppy foods are more calorie-dense and are also specifically balanced to meet the unique needs of a growing puppy. Another reason to choose a large breed puppy formulation is that they tend to use bigger pieces of kibble which can help to prevent bloat from occurring.

Feeding Golden Retriever Puppies

Since Golden Retriever puppies are naturally busy and require fuel to nourish their vital developmental periods, they require a diet that is calorie-rich and based on lean proteins.

The ideal diet for a Golden Retriever puppy should have a minimum of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat. The best foods for Golden Retriever puppies place a high emphasis on ease of digestibility and antioxidant-rich ingredients. The packaging will include a rough guide of how much to feed your Golden Retriever puppy at their particular stage of growth. This should be spread across 3-4 meals a day to minimize hunger.

Dietary Requirements for Golden Retriever Puppy Foods

Golden Retriever puppies benefit from a diet that is rich in high-quality proteins obtained from lean meats. Whole proteins are preferable; however, meat meals are also excellent.

Healthy fats are the building blocks of a food that meets the needs of the Golden Retriever puppy.  Fats promote a healthy coat and skin and also provide the energy puppies need to grow and play. The ideal source for healthy fats is animal-based fats such as chicken fat or oils from fish such as mackerel or salmon. Some vegetable oils also provide beneficial omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

The best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies may also be enriched with supplements such as prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppies

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best food for a Golden Retriever puppy:

  • Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list

High-quality proteins are the foundation of any healthy diet for a Golden Retriever puppy. Whole meats are best, but meat meals also offer an excellent source of condensed proteins.

  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements

All foods benefit from enrichment from helpful supplements which can help the diet to be more balanced and effective. The supplements to look for in a puppy food for a Golden Retriever are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

DHA is also an excellent addition to a puppy food, assisting with brain development.

  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food

All foods appropriate for the Golden Retriever puppy should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.

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