The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever Waiting for the Best Dog Food

What’s the best dog food for a golden retriever?

When choosing food for your golden retriever, it’s super important to consider your dog’s age.

That’s because…

Goldens are considered large breed dogs.

Which means…

Even though adult goldens benefit from eating better quality brands… choosing the right food for your puppy can be absolutely critical.

That’s because…

Golden retriever puppies have a greater risk of developing a crippling form of hip disease… if they’re fed a diet that contains too much calcium. They must eat a food that’s specifically designed to be safe for large breed puppies.1

Keep in mind…

Golden retriever puppies don’t stop growing until they reach 12 to 24 months of age. So, to keep the risk of diet-related hip disease low, avoid switching to an adult recipe too soon.2

Our Top Recommendations

To help you choose the best food for your dog’s age

The Dog Food Advisor recommends the 10 top-rated brands below. Each contains an amount of calcium and other nutrients3 considered safe for golden retrievers. Recipes are marked as “best for” adults… or puppies.

In addition…

We’ll also answer the 5 most frequently asked questions we get about feeding golden retrievers.

The dog foods listed below are in random order. Each was chosen because it meets our stated selection criteria. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a referral fee. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.


Editors Choice Logo for Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers Page

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
October 2020

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s top 10 best dog food brands for golden retrievers for October 2020.


Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult

Rating:

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, barley, peas
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, barley, oats, oatmeal)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult derives the bulk of its animal protein from chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 13% fat and 50% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

The classic, grain-inclusive, large breed design contains no meat by-products and no BHA or other cancer-causing synthetic preservatives. Easily recommended for adult goldens.

Sample buyer review… “Our dog had developed a bit of a gas issue with another leading brand that featured mostly red meat, so I wanted to go back to a food with mostly chicken. After a lot of research, I settled on Wellness Complete, and we’ve been very happy with it. Our dog readily goes for the food, and for the first time with any kibble, she will eat a few pieces out of our hand as a treat. I am impressed by the nutritional balance and the glucosamine and chondroitin since she is 80+ pounds, and it seems to have eliminated the gas problems.”

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Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon

Rating:

Southwest Canyon is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Taste of the Wild product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, peas, garbanzo beans, lamb meal, canola oil
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Golden retriever adults and puppies

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon acquires the bulk of its animal protein from fresh beef and lamb meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 32% protein, 17% fat and 43% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Southwest Canyon also contains salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs. They help deliver better joint health and a lustrous skin and coat. A super popular brand. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Taste of the Wild makes both me and my dogs very happy. I have a pack of three that all love it and have beautiful coats that I can only attribute to their diet. As for me, it’s cost-efficient and doesn’t stink like other dog foods. I’d recommend it to any of my friends.”

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Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Adult Kibble

Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Dog Food

Rating:

ProActive Health Large Breed is one of 14 dry recipes covered in our review of the Iams ProActive Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, corn, sorghum)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Iams ProActive Health Large Breed derives the majority of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 25% protein, 14% fat and 53% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

This classic, grain-inclusive, large breed design has been offered by Iams for many years. It’s especially popular with professional breeders. We like the fact that it’s also 100% free of BHA and other high-risk chemical preservatives. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “All the pets in the household love Iam’s. My puppies just switched to adult food and this has been a quick an easy switch. Would recommend Iam’s to anyone.”

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Chicken Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken

Rating:

Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken is one of 18 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal (source of Glucostamine), peas, pea protein, tapioca starch
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken obtains the majority of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 17% fat and 38% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

This recipe also includes zinc amino acid complex and other chelated minerals, ingredients which deliver superior nutrition for larger breeds. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I get a few different flavors, but the dogs love it and they have no digestive issues and are very healthy. Their coats shine like they have been oiled. No dental issues. Blue Buffalo wilderness has been a favorite with us for a long time.”

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American Journey Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato for Golden Retrievers

American Journey Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato

Rating:

Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato is one of 14 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the American Journey product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), turkey meal, peas, chickpeas
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Golden retriever adults and puppies

American Journey Large Breed Chicken acquires the majority of its meat protein from poultry. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 13% fat and 45% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 40%.

This large breed formula also contains a prebiotic. Prebiotics can help support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine for better digestion. An exceptional, budget-friendly option. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I have four furry children from small to extra large, all picky in their own way : Treats, bones, & obviously food. All four of em’ absolutely loved this brand! They’ve been on it for only a week, & I can already tell how healthier their coats look, & a bit of needed weight loss.”

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Royal Canin Golden Retriever Dry Kibble

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy

Rating:

Golden Retriever Puppy is one of 16 dry recipes rated in our review of the Royal Canin product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat gluten, chicken fat, wheat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (corn, wheat)
  • Profile: Growth
  • Best for: Golden retriever puppies

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy derives the bulk of its animal protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 16% fat and 46% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

We also note the inclusion of taurine, an amino acid supplement believed to help prevent dilated cardiomyopathy in large breed dogs.4

A time-proven formula containing just the right amount of calcium considered safe for golden retriever puppies. Recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “My golden retriever absolutely loves this food, the previous food he ate he didn’t like very much but once I got this puppy food the first time I opened the bag he got excited just by the smell. Every time he eats now he jumps around and moves his tail like crazy. Great food I will definitely buy the adult food when he grows!!!!”

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Eagle Pack Adult Large and Giant Breed Dog Food

Eagle Pack Adult Large and Giant Breed Dog Food

Rating:

Eagle Pack Large and Giant Breed is one of 7 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the Eagle Pack product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, pork meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, oatmeal, rice, barley)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Eagle Pack Large and Giant Breed Adult obtains most of its animal protein from chicken meal and pork meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 13% fat and 51% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

We like the inclusion of multiple probiotics to promote healthy digestion… and flaxseed to help deliver above-average omega fatty acid content for better joint health. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “We used grain free before, but the risks led us to go wheat/soy free instead. Eagle Pack is fantastic. Our 6 year old Lab loves it and her coat is shiny — she’s eaten nothing but Eagle Pack since she was 4. She is a very active dog who retrieves every day, yet she thrives on amounts at the low end of Eagle Pack’s recommendation. Of the super dog foods, EP is consistently less expensive and yet we find it fully equal in taste and performance to the most expensive brands. We are committed users.”

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Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Adult Kibble

Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Adult Dog Food

Rating:

Chicken Soup for the Soul is one of 7 recipes included in our review of the Chicken Soup for the Soul product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, brown rice, oatmeal, white rice, millet)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Adult acquires the better part of its animal protein from poultry. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 26% protein, 13% fat and 53% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

This formula also derives its antioxidants naturally from fruits and vegetables for healthy immunity… which supports greater resistance to disease. A top pick for golden retrievers and other breeds weighing more than 50 pounds at maturity. Another

Sample buyer review… “My lover boy is a Giant Breed so it’s important he get the nutrition he needs to support proper growth. At 22 Months we finally moved to Adult Large Breed from Chicken Soup’s Large Puppy formula. He’s had just about every “top” kibble out there, from Victor, Blue Buffalo, Diamond, Wellness Core, Royal Canin, Eagle Pack, even Costco’s and Purina ProPlan because Presa Canario Breeders recommended them (always with fresh veggies, meat added and a snack of raw). He would either have runny poop after transition or stop eating it. CS was the first he stayed on happily without needing extra dress up. He LOVES the adult formula. It’s priced right and I love the ingredients.”

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Earthborn Holistic Large Breed Adult Grain Free Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Grain Free Large Breed

Rating:

Earthborn Holistic Large Breed is one of 9 dry recipes contained in our review of the Earthborn Holistic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, peas, tapioca, chicken fat, ground flaxseed
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Earthborn Holistic Grain Free Large Breed obtains the better part of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 14% fat and 49% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Unlike most other large breed recipes, this Earthborn Holistic design is fortified with taurine to help prevent dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in goldens as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I have a large Labrador mix. He is a rescue and has a lot of missing teeth. The size of this kibble is much easier for him to eat than the smaller sized bites. He loves it. I also like that the bags can be recycled at my local pet shop, and the UPCs For Trees.”

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Holistic Select Grain Free Senior Health for Adult Golden Retreivers

Holistic Select Senior Health

Rating:

Senior Health is one of 11 dry recipes covered in our review of the Holistic Select product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, chickpeas, peas, lentils, dried ground potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult goldens

Holistic Select Senior Health obtains the better part of its meat protein from chicken fat. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 13% fat and 48% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

We also note this dog food contains no generic animal by-products, artificial colors or chemical preservatives. The recipe’s below-average fat content combined with its inclusion of both chondroitin and glucosamine make it an ideal option for senior goldens. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Good quality food. Good quality ingredients. Right balance of protein and fat for my senior dog, plus extra joint and digestive support. Most importantly, my senior loves it! I would recommend this brand and formula!”

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More Top Picks

To view more top recipes for your golden retriever… click the link below that best meets your personal feeding needs.


How can I switch to a new food… without making my dog sick?

In this video

Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help lower your golden retriever’s risk of getting sick when you switch to a new food.


Do golden retrievers need special dog food?

That depends on your dog’s age. Adult golden retrievers can eat almost ANY brand of quality kibble. But to lower the risk of permanent hip disease, puppies should eat a diet that’s specially designed to be safe for large breed puppies. View our best large breed puppy foods here.


How much food should you feed a golden retriever?

Since every animal is unique, it’s impossible to predict the exact serving size that’s “perfect” for every golden retriever. So, start with the feeding amount printed on the package. Then, over time, adjust that quantity up or down to reach and maintain your dogs ideal weight.


When is a golden retriever considered a senior?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they reach 5 to 6 years of age. If your golden retriever is over 6, you may wish to visit our best senior dog foods page here.


When can you safely switch a golden retriever to adult food?

Golden retriever puppies don’t stop growing and aren’t ready to eat adult food until they reach 12 to 24 months of age.2 Switching your puppy to adult food sooner than that may increase your golden’s risk of developing crippling and permanent hip damage.


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) when readers click over to their website from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Lauten SD, Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years, Vet Clin Small Anim 36 (2006) 1345–1359.
  2. IAMS: How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food, IAMS
  3. AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles, Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2018 Official Publication, pages 155-159.
  4. Kaplan JL, Stern JA et al, Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets, PLOS Journal, Public Library of Science, December 13, 2018
  5. IAMS: How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food, IAMS