Golden Retriever holding in his mouth a bowl

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers (2022 Edition)

• Updated on November 16, 2022

  • This review contains affiliate links. Read more here.
  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best dog food for your Golden Retriever is, then we recommend the Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice Life Protection Formula as the best one.

A dog’s diet is essential to helping them live a happy and healthy life. With so many different brands and formulas for dog food on the market, however, finding the best option while shopping can feel overwhelming. Golden Retriever owners can rest easy, though, as we’ve gathered up our favorites for when it comes to the best dog food for golden retrievers!

Top 5 Golden Retriever Foods

Let’s take a look at a few of our best choices.

Our pick

Love them like family. Feed them like family.
BLUE Life Protection Formula contains the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals.

Blue Buffalo is another reliable brand that focuses on using natural ingredients to get your golden retriever the nutrients they need. Aside from the chicken in the name, you’ll also find lamb and fish as the core sources of protein. Pumpkins, blueberries, apples, and spinach help provide additional nutrients that are good for your dog’s health.

This formula is also free of soy, wheat, and corn, which can help with dietary restrictions. I also like this food for older golden retrievers, since it’s low on phosphorus that can agitate existing kidney issues. The inclusion of omega acids helps with boosting your pup’s immune system.

The inclusion of brown rice in the ingredients does mean this formula isn’t wholly grain-free. Also stay aware that, depending on your dog, it may cause some digestive issues.

  • Pros
  • No soy, wheat, corn, or chicken and poultry by-products
  • Good for older golden retrievers
  • Helps boost the immune system
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  • Cons
  • Can cause some digestive issues in some dogs
  • Good for older golden retrievers
  • Helps boost the immune system
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Runner-up

Specialized Nutrition for Sensitive Systems.
Help nourish your dog’s sensitive systems with gentle nutrition to help him thrive.

Purina is a well-known brand in the dog food arena, so it’s not surprising that they’re a contender on our list of best golden retriever foods. Since this breed can develop skin allergies, this formula can help out by providing essential nutrients. Additionally, it’s a good match for dogs that have sensitive stomachs, and it can also help alleviate diarrhea issues.

There are no artificial ingredients in the formula. Additionally, there’s no soy, corn, or wheat involved, which can make it a good choice if your dog needs to have dietary restrictions. Take note that part of the easily digestible aspect of this formula does come from the oatmeal and rice included, so it’s not wholly grain-free.

While Purina does make puppy food, this specific sensitive skin and stomach formula is only suitable for adult dogs.

  • Pros
  • Excellent for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin allergies
  • Easily digestible
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No soy, wheat, or corn
  • Cons
  • Only suited for adult dogs
  • Easily digestible
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No soy, wheat, or corn

Also great

Whole grain dog food.
Hearty and delicious recipe made with organic, non-GMO grins like oats, barley and quinoa.

A well-made kibble is a perfectly acceptable option for meeting your dog’s nutritional needs, but some owners prefer to take a “human grade” approach. If this describes you, then Honest Kitchen provides excellent options in their dehydrated dog food products. Rather than a frozen product, you mix the meal with warm water and wait a few minutes before you serve it to your golden retriever.

In addition to free-range chicken, you’ll also see organic carrots, potatoes, celery, oats, bananas, peas, and barley among the ingredients. Many picky eaters enjoy this food, and there are a few additional flavor choices to account for your dog’s tastes. This option is also a good pick for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

This food isn’t grain-free, so it’s not the best choice for dogs who have that restriction. Additionally, you can only serve this food to adult dogs, not puppies.

  • Pros
  • Organic ingredients
  • Easy to prep
  • Suited for picky eaters
  • “Human grade” meal option
  • Cons
  • No puppy option available
  • Easy to prep
  • Suited for picky eaters
  • “Human grade” meal option

Also great

Tailored nutrition for pure-breed dogs.
Royal Canin knows what makes your Golden Retriever puppy magnificent is in the details. Golden puppies are lovable, large breed pups prized for their playful personalities, trainability, and soft, gorgeous coats. They can benefit from the right growth formula to help provide immune system support, maintain a healthy skin and coat, and aid digestion as they take on puppyhood.

As mentioned above, puppies have differing nutrient needs as they grow, which means they need different food. Many brands have puppy food, but Royal Canin has a specific formula for golden retrievers. This aspect is excellent since it means you know that your pup will have all the nutrients to grow up healthy.

The food itself is easily digestible, making it a great fit for still developing stomachs. The ingredients also help boost your golden retriever pup’s immune system. The formula is also wholly wheat-free, making it a good choice if your puppy ends up having dietary restrictions early on.

Naturally, there are lots of benefits to this puppy food, but it does come at a higher price point than some other options out there. We think it’s worth the quality, but it may fall out of the reasonable range for your budget.

  • Pros
  • Specifically geared for golden retriever puppies
  • Helps boost the immune system
  • Easily digestible
  • Wheat-free
  • Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • Helps boost the immune system
  • Easily digestible
  • Wheat-free

Also great

Nutrition for Healthy Growth & Development.
Give your puppy the nutritional building blocks they need for healthy growth and development with Purina Pro Plan puppy formulas.

Another puppy food option out there is Purina’s Pro Plan Focus kibble. The formula contains high levels of protein and fat, which are excellent for development without being at unhealthy levels for your dog. So long as you’re paying attention to the portions you give out and let your pup get regular exercise, then you’ll be in good shape.

This food is also a great choice for helping with bone development. Since golden retrievers can potentially develop hip issues, these nutrients are something you’ll want to introduce early in your dog’s life. You also won’t have to worry about stomach issues cropping up, making it a strong contender for a top choice in golden retriever puppy food.

On the downside, this formula isn’t a grain-free option, so you’ll need another choice if your puppy ends up needing a stricter diet. The carbs are a bit on the high side, but we find that the other ingredients balance that out. If you don’t have any concerns in that range, though, Purina’s formula will serve you just fine.

  • Pros
  • Suited for puppies
  • Contains high levels of protein and fat
  • Helps with bone development
  • Doesn’t cause stomach issues
  • Cons
  • Is a little bit high on the carb side
  • Contains high levels of protein and fat
  • Helps with bone development
  • Doesn’t cause stomach issues

Everything we recommend

Our Pick
Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice Life Protection FormulaPurina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice FormulaHonest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Dehydrated Dog FoodRoyal Canin Golden Retriever Dry Puppy FoodPurina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food
Love them like family. Feed them like family.Specialized Nutrition for Sensitive Systems.Whole grain dog food.Tailored nutrition for pure-breed dogs.Nutrition for Healthy Growth & Development
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Table of Contents

How to Choose the Best Golden Retriever Dog Food

golden retriever looking at bowl

Each breed of dog has its own nutritional needs, and golden retrievers are no exception. While many dog food brands break up their products by the size category your furry friend fits into, that’s not enough to tell what’s the best fit for the breed of your dog. Here are some areas to keep in mind to narrow down your choices.

Ingredients

What goes into the food will determine if it meets your dog’s nutritional needs. Golden retrievers are active dogs with more enormous appetites, and they need proteins and carbohydrates. Calcium is also helpful, as this breed can develop hip dysplasia as they grow.

Some ingredients you want to see are:

  • Named animal proteins and meats
  • Healthy fats, like Omega-3 and Omega-6
  • Prebiotics, like soybeans and raw oats
  • Vegetables, fruits, and grains

On the other hand, you want to avoid certain ingredients, which can just be filler that adds no health benefits for your dog. Added sweeteners can entice dogs to eat more, but they’re not suitable for their diet. Other ingredients that you don’t want to see are any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Puppy vs. Adult

two puppies golden retriever eating

While growing, puppies have different nutritional needs than their full-grown counterparts. Naturally, you’ll want their diet to match these needs, so you’ll need to pick out food accordingly.

Golden retrievers can start to eat adult food around eighteen months old. You can also base your decision to switch their food on when they achieve their adult weight. Male golden retrievers are at their adult weight between sixty-five to seventy-five pounds, while the female weight range is between fifty-five and seventy-five pounds.

You should also consider your dog’s age once they start to get older. Older dogs can become less active, which means they need fewer calories. Their stomachs can also become more sensitive over time, so they may need different food than they enjoyed previously. If you’re unsure about what’s best for your dog’s stage in life, you can discuss options with your vet.

Allergies

Dogs can develop allergies, just like humans do. In some cases, their diet can be the cause. If your golden retriever has skin allergies or reactions after they eat, they may need food that has different ingredients. You should always discuss the best options with your vet first, and we’ve included some choices suitable for dogs with stricter dietary needs than others.

Food Types

Even looking outside the ingredients list, dog foods come in various types.

First up are kibbles, which are easily one of the most popular. You can easily buy these products in bulk, and they’ll keep a while. Serving is easy since you just need a portion to go in the bowl. The rough texture of the kibble is also a bonus since it can help clean your pup’s teeth while they enjoy a meal.

Canned, wet foods are also popular. Most dogs, in general, tend to enjoy these foods, as they can be moist. Often, the gravy-like dressings also add a bit of flavor. While you can certainly feed these to your golden retriever, they’re a breed that needs a little bit more calories to make it through the day. Rather than being the entirety of their diet, these work best as a treat.

Lastly, “human grade” food options are also becoming more popular. These dog food choices emphasize fresher ingredients. Depending on the manufacturer’s choices, fresh dog foods may need storage space in the fridge, while others take a little prep. If you’re worried about artificial preservatives, you’ll hardly find them in this category of food.

Digestibility

golden retriever eating

Aside from paying attention to nutrients, you should also be sure your golden retriever’s food is easy to digest. While some formulas are generally easier for dogs to digest than others, this is a process that will ultimately depend on your dog.

This process can take a bit of experimentation and paying attention to how often your dog defecates. If they’re constipated, then that’s a sign that you’ll likely need to switch out their food for something else. If this has been an issue for you, we’ve included some easily digestible choices to help out your dog.

Cost & Subscription Availability

Golden retrievers need to eat multiple times a day, so you’ll be regularly purchasing their food. While this is just an expected part of being a pet owner, the numbers can still add up over time. We’ve included the best options for your money, so you can give your furry friend the nutrients they need without breaking your budget.

Similarly, you may choose to get a subscription to your dog food of choice. This feature allows for automatic delivery of dog food to your home, which can give some additional convenience to your routine—and you also won’t have to worry about running out if you time your supply right. While not an essential feature, it’s a benefit to consider.

With these core factors covered, it’s time to delve into our choices for the best dog food for golden retrievers!

Still Trying To Decide On The Best Dog Food For Your Golden Retriever?

puppy golden retriever eating

On the adult golden retriever food options, we give our top pick choice to Blue Buffalo.

There’s plenty of variety in the ingredients to give nutrients, and it’s free of other potentially harmful by-products. While the rice in the formula means it’s not fully grain-free, but it’s still good for even older pups.

On the puppy end of the spectrum, Royal Canin’s specifically made golden retriever formula gets our vote. The formula has all the nutrients you could want for your growing dog, and it’s also helpful for developing bone structures. The fact that this formula is wholly grain-free is what helps it win our top spot since even puppies with dietary restrictions will be able to eat it.

In the end, though, you should emphasize your dog’s specific preferences and needs as you go. You may need to pick out a different option then, whether it’s because of dietary restrictions or even just your golden retriever doesn’t like the flavor.

Your dog’s nutrition is essential to its health, and the food they eat is just one part of how you can help them be as healthy as they can be. We have our top choices, but any of these should do the trick.

About Alex Vicente

Dog Lover, Founder & Chief Editor at Paws Insider

I’ve been rescuing dogs since a very early age. I got my first dog when I was 9 years old and I remember how he, out of a litter of 6 puppies, started running towards me. He’d just chosen me. Ever since then, my love for dogs only grows stronger and I want what’s best for them. My mission is to let our readers know about the best products in the market for our best friends, as well as providing guides and tips on how we can take better care of them.