5 Best Dog Foods For Golden Retrievers

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for Golden Retrievers.
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 Retrievers?

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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 Dog Food Reviews

Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Grain-Free Great Plains Red Recipe Big Game Recipe with Beef, Lamb & Rabbit Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Beef
    2. Lamb Meal
    3. Salmon Meal
    4. Sweet Potatoes
    5. Potatoes

  • Type: Freeze dried raw and dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 392 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 38%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw is a diet that Golden Retrievers love. Its primary protein is derived from lean, deboned beef; a meat which is included in its whole form to provide maximum impact. This food, considered to be one of the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers, is formulated to include both freeze-dried raw meat as well as kibble to increase eating satisfaction.

Merrick Backcountry is grain-free. It is also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Glucosamine and chondroitin have been included to encourage healthy joints.

Pros

  • Owners report their dogs love this diet and look forward to every meal. Though the freeze-dried meat is typically the favorite of all dogs, they also eat and enjoy the kibble.
  • Dogs that previously struggled with gastrointestinal distress found relief from their symptoms after a regular diet of this food.
  • This Merrick food offering is available in several different protein options, allowing owners to provide the variety their dogs need to enjoy full eating satisfaction.
  • The grain-free recipe makes this diet a good choice for dogs with allergies.
  • This diet contains added taurine to support overall cardiac health in the Golden Retriever.

Cons

  • A few owners remarked that on occasion the bags of food they purchased had low or no pieces of freeze-dried meat pieces in them. This is simply a packaging error.
  • Some owners expressed that the freeze-dried meat pieces were all at the top of the bag, making it difficult for them to give their dogs an appropriate mix of meat and kibble with each meal.
  • A few dogs would not eat the kibble, choosing to pick out and eat only the freeze-dried meat.
  • In rare cases, some dogs exhibited mild symptoms of gastrointestinal distress after being fed this food for a short term. This may be the result of transitioning too quickly from the old diet to the new one.
  • Some owners commented that the size of the freeze-dried meat pieces varies with each bag they purchase.

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Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Adult Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Liver
    3. Dried Egg Product
    4. Oatmeal
    5. Pearled Barley

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 403 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 5%

Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Adult Dry Dog Food packs a powerhouse punch when it comes to high-quality nutrition for the Golden Retriever. The basis of this diet is whole chicken and chicken liver, two high-quality protein sources.

This grain-rich food formulation takes its carbohydrates from antioxidant and fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and blueberries. Halo’s recipe does not include the addition of any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

This diet, rated among the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers, is enriched with a proprietary supplement blend known as DreamCoat to support healthy skin and hair.

Pros

  • Dogs reportedly love the flavor of this food, cleaning their bowl with every meal. This makes this diet an excellent choice for picky eaters.
  • Owners report that dogs fed this diet on a regular basis have soft and shiny coats.
  • Some owners relate that their dogs had better quality stool when fed this diet consistently.
  • Some owners comment that their dogs had an increase in energy when fed Halo Holistic Adult as their primary diet.
  • Owners love that this diet is grain-free, assisting dogs with allergies to foods containing whole grains.

Cons

  • In rare cases, some dogs do like this formula and will not eat it. This is likely due to the dog’s personal preference and not any fault with the food.
  • Owners have expressed that this food is quite expensive, making it difficult for them to afford.
  • Some owners remarked that the price of this food changes fairly regularly. The price increases make this product unaffordable for some.
  • Some people have indicated it is very difficult to find this food in stores. It is, however, available online and can be delivered.
  • Some dogs saw an increase in the number of their bowel movements with a switch to this diet.

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Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken Meal
    2. Rice
    3. Oatmeal
    4. Oats
    5. Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 453 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 4%

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult is a food designed specifically with the nutritional needs of large breeds in mind. This diet includes a unique supplement blend which lays a foundation for optimal digestion.

Holistic Blend, among the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers, combines whole grains and nutritious fruits and vegetables in their formulation to ensure ease of digestibility and a high concentration of important dietary fiber. Glucosamine has been added to this food to ensure proper support for hips and joints, an important help for this athletic breed.

Pros

  • Dogs love the taste of this high quality diet, consuming every meal with hearty enthusiasm.
  • Owners report improvements in their dogs’ coat and skin quality with a switch to this diet. Coats are shiny and soft and skin is healthy and well-hydrated.
  • Dogs with issues with poor digestion saw an end to gastrointestinal distress when fed a steady diet of Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult.
  • Owners noted a big improvement in stool quality in dogs fed this diet on a regular basis.
  • Dogs with allergies found relief from their symptoms once fed Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult as their main food.

Cons

  • Some owners feel that the kibble pieces are too small for large breed dogs.
  • A few owners mentioned that the kibble crumbles very easily, and their bag of food contained a lot of crumbs instead of whole kibble pieces.
  • Some dogs like this food so much that they consume it too rapidly, a concern for dogs prone to bloat like the Golden Retriever. Making use of a slow feeding bowl can help solve this problem.
  • In very rare instances, some dogs will not eat this food. This is most likely simply a personal preference.
  • Some owners indicated they felt this diet did not have a strong enough fragrance to entice their dogs to eat.

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Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Herring Meal
    2. Peas
    3. Dried Eggs
    4. Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
    5. Tapioca

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 400 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 19%
  • Fiber: 4%

Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch earns top marks as one of the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers available for purchase today. A diet that is well-prized to meet the needs of active dogs, l-carnitine plays a starring role in this diet, providing a boost to the Golden’s metabolism to assist with healthy muscles. The proteins contained in this diet, herring meal, salmon meal, and whitefish meal, are chock full of the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids the Golden Retriever needs for optimal coat and skin health.

Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch contains no grains or gluten, making it a wonderful selection for dogs suffering from allergies.

Pros

  • Owners of dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs report an end to gastrointestinal distress with a change to Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch.
  • Stool quality dramatically improved in dogs fed this diet on a regular basis.
  • Dogs fed regularly with this diet displayed coat that was softer and shinier than on their previous food.
  • Owners love that the bag is resealable, allowing them to keep the food fresh for their dogs to enjoy.
  • Some owners noted that their dogs needed to eat less of this food to achieve full eating satisfaction, enabling them to easily achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Cons

  • A few owners noted that the amount of food in their bag has decreased, but the price remained the same.
  • Some people feel this food is pricey, making it difficult for them to afford.
  • Some owners feel their dogs’ digestion is better on a diet that includes some whole grains.
  • In a few cases, some dogs experienced mild diarrhea with a switch to this diet. This may be as a result of transitioning too quickly from the old diet to the new one.
  • Some owners remarked that this food is difficult to find in stores. However, it can be ordered online and can also be delivered.

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Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

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

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 340 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 5%

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health is a delicious and nutritious food that Goldens love. Well-balanced to support the needs of a large breed with high energy requirements, this diet, praised as one of the best Golden Retriever dog foods, contains the correct ratio of protein and fat to provide excellent nutrition without the fear of weight gain if fed in proper proportions.

Pros

  • Owners report that even their pickiest eaters love the taste of this food and look forward to their every meal.
  • Dogs fed this diet consistently had strong reserves of energy and beautiful coat and skin.
  • Most owners report the transition process from the old diet to Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult was seamless with no gastrointestinal distress seen in their dogs.
  • Owners like that there are several Wellness Large Breed Adult formulations, allowing them to switch flavors for more variety for their dogs.
  • Owners comment that their dogs have fewer bowel movements, and their stool is firm and small.

Cons

  • Some dogs dislike this food and will not eat it. This is often a matter of preference and not a reflection on the food.
  • Some owners expressed that the kibble pieces are too small for a large breed dog like the Golden Retriever.
  • A few owners have concerns that the formulation may have changed as their dogs have lost interest in the food or are not doing as well as they once were on it.
  • A few dogs had mild signs of gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, loose stools, and diarrhea when fed a steady diet of Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult. This may be as a result of too rapid a diet change.
  • Several owners note that the price of this diet changes frequently, leaving them feeling discouraged.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

The friendly Golden Retriever is one of America’s most beloved breeds. A dog renowned for its loyal, loving, and affectionate ways, the Golden Retriever is an active family companion that requires a high-quality diet to thrive.

Golden Retrievers can be prone to developing bloat, a condition that primarily affects large-chested breeds. Though the causes of this problem aren’t fully understood, experts recommend feeding a kibble that is comprised of large enough pieces to require the Golden to chew rather than gulp its food since bloat is associated with eating too quickly or too large a quantity.

Golden Retrievers love to eat and can be prone to weight gain. To prevent this from occurring, the best dog food for Golden Retrievers should be carefully measured and the dog’s body condition monitored to achieve and maintain an appropriate weight.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Golden Retrievers

The average adult Golden Retriever will require approximately 1300-1600 calories per day. Highly active dogs usually require a slightly higher calorie count and those that are less active a decreased amount. Spayed or neutered dogs also tend to require a lower calorie count that those that are entire or intact. The Pet Nutrition Alliance calorie calculator is an excellent guide but remember to consult your veterinarian for more detailed nutritional information. The dog’s weight and appetite will also serve as helpful guides in determining correct portion sizes.

The best dog foods for Golden Retrievers are nutritionally balanced to support optimal canine wellness.

Dietary Requirements for Golden Retriever Dog Foods

Golden Retrievers are an active, athletic breed, and thus, require a diet to help fuel their daily energy levels. The recommended amount of protein for the Golden Retriever is at least 18 percent with healthy fat levels comprising at least 5 percent of the diet.

Protein in the Golden Retriever’s diet should come from animal origins. Lean meats in whole form are best; however, meat meals also provide an excellent quality concentrated protein that dogs can easily digest.

Healthy fats also form a critical part of the ideal diet for the Golden Retriever. Animal-based fats such as chicken fat and oils from fish such as salmon and mackerel provide the most benefits. Some vegetable oils can also contribute important omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

There is no evidence to suggest that a grain-free or grain-inclusive diet is preferable for the Golden Retriever. Owners should focus on selecting the best dog food for Golden Retrievers that provides easily digestible carbohydrates, whether they find their basis in fruits and vegetables or whole grains.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

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

  • Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list

Proteins, preferably in the form of whole lean meats or meat meals, should be one of the first ingredients in any high-quality food suitable for the needs of the active Golden Retriever.

  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements

All foods can benefit from the addition of supplements and probiotics to help provide support for the Golden’s development and overall health. Prebiotics and probiotics may assist with optimal digestion.

Chondroitin and glucosamine may also assist with sustaining joint health, which is beneficial for active, athletic breeds such as the Golden Retriever.

  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food

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

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