Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers: The Ultimate Showdown

Best dog food for golden retrievers the ultimate showdown

High-Quality food for Goldy

Golden Retrievers are the Madonnas of the dog world. Not just because of the matching hair, but because of their widespread popularity. 

These gorgeous canines are family dogs that are not difficult to train. They are great with children and never let go of their inner-puppy behavior. Golden Retrievers are intelligent, loving, and eager to please.

They are known for their lustrous, golden coat after which they got the name—Golden Retriever. Their popularity is well-earned as they are handsome dogs with excellent temperaments.

In this article, you’ll find the best food products for your Golden sweety. Remember that all the information you read is based on our thorough research, as well as the genuine and overwhelming love we have toward these canines.

The Alpha Paw team is not affiliated with any dog food manufacturer, and we don’t get paid to promote any dog food brand. Golden Retrievers require proper nutrition that can support their energy and zest for life.

Short History on Golden Retrievers

Historically, these pups were bred as hunting dogs. They originated in Scotland in the 1800s as a mixture of Spaniels, the Irish, and the Newfoundland setter. The Golden Retriever is a vigorous, medium-sized pooch, able to handle rainy climate and rugged terrain.

They come from the Scottish Highlands, where their main task was to retrieve birds for the Scottish estate owners, from both the water and the land. Those owners searched for more than just practicality in their canines. They wanted to find good-looking dogs with lots of energy and above-average intelligence.

The hunting of wildfowl mastered their skills of searching and sniffing. Their strong sense of smell has made them great rescue dogs. The retrievers we have and love today are descendants of these hard-working beauties. In 1925, this breed received an official American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition.

The Golden Personality and Appearance 

Although they look similar, these pups come in three different shades—golden, dark-golden, and light-golden. A typical Golden canine has a tapered muzzle and dropped ears.

These medium-large gun dogs are great fans of exercise and outdoor activities. They have a natural tendency towards the water, so they’ll enjoy swimming in the sea or pool. You should not consider taking these beauties as pets in case you’re planning on confining them to small places. The Golden Retriever thrives on playing and exercising with their owners. 

Patience and a fun approach are the keys to their training. These Golden beauties are not difficult to train, and they are considered obedient dogs.

It seems that their favorite hobby is chewing. Whenever they feel bored, they’ll chew your slippers, cables, or your fingers, if they find you tasty. Now, this doesn’t mean you should continuously put food under their muzzles. Kill their boredom by spending time with your lovely pooch. As for their nutrition, the best you can do is follow expert nutrition advice we are about to present to you. 

How We Evaluated the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

We at Alpha Paw adore dogs and everything about them. We try hard to find verified data on all dog-related subjects. One of the things we feel strongly about is helping the dog owners find the best information related to their pup’s diet. To help you find the best dog food for your Golden Retriever, we sought help and assistance from reliable sources. 

  1. Five veterinarians
  2. Dog lovers community
  3. Our experience

Five veterinarians shared their medical knowledge on this beautiful breed. They gave us an insight on all the nutrients that should find their way into your Golden’s bowl. These experts also warned us of a few health issues that the Golden Retrievers are prone to. We are going to share the gathered information on beneficial and harmful ingredients that could affect your canine’s health.

Dog lovers community shared their personal stories on raising these gold-buds. They recommended several food products that they have been using for a long time with positive outcomes. Their pups can’t wait to see this food in their bowls, and they are growing healthy and strong. 

And finally, there’s us. As dog owners ourselves, we know how important it is to see your pup thrive and eat food that meets all their nutritional needs. So, we tested some products on our pets, and we’re ready to present to you the ones we liked the best.

How We Chose Our Top Picks

We compiled a list of the best dog food products for Golden Retrievers on the market with the help of our vets and dog lovers community. We had several mandatory requirements while testing these products. They needed to:

  1. List specific meat sources as the leading ingredient
  2. Avoid the presence of meat or vegetable by-products, as well as grain
  3. Fulfill the requirements of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)

Remember that our results are not biased. We don’t have any benefits from promoting these products. According to our research and honest opinion, these formulas will be highly useful for your pooch.

What Food Should Golden Retrievers Eat

Unfortunately, these pups will eat whatever you serve them. They don’t seem to have any food preference and could win a pie contest any day of the week. They have an insatiable appetite and, even when full, they’ll behave as if they were on the brink of starvation. This means you are entirely in charge of their nutrition, as well as its quality.

If you don’t want your hairy companion to become obese, you need to follow some feeding guidelines. You shouldn’t skip their meals, as it can have a negative impact on their development. However, extra meals pose a significant threat to their joins in the future. 

In the first three months, your Golden puppy should get three meals a day. After that, feed them two meals a day until the rest of their lives. As for the amount of food they should eat daily, take a look at the table below.

Age Per day
Two months One and a half cups
Three months Two cups
Four months Two and a half cups
Five–six months Three cups
Six–seven months Four cups
Eight months and older Four–five cups

Don’t let your pup eat at least one hour and a half before bedtime if you want to avoid night accidents. Give them 20–30 minutes for each meal. 

Golden Retrievers are susceptible to cancers, allergies, and joint problems. If you opt for high-quality food for your furry friend, you’ll reduce the risk of these health issues. 

Given that this breed is highly energetic, they need lots of carbs and protein in their nutrition. Protein can come from many ingredients, but not all are beneficial for your buddy’s health. 


Golden puppies require at least 22.5% of the protein in their diet, while adult canines need around 19%. Your dog is not just a meat-eater by nature. This belief comes from the fact that dogs are similar to wolves, who are carnivorous animals. However, dogs thrive on many other ingredients besides meat, such as vegetables, fish, fruit, and grains. Protein maintains your pup’s strong muscles.

The vets advise you to examine the quality of protein sources instead of looking for large quantities of protein. Sometimes, high-quality, meat-based formulas contain protein sources that your dog finds difficult to digest. The mix of animal-based and plant-based protein sources has proved to be the best nutrition for Golden pups. High-quality products usually use eggs, fish, or wheat and other grains. Be careful with products that use grains for a protein source, in case your dog suffers from allergies. 


Fat represents an energy source for dogs. Golden Retrievers belong to larger breeds, which means their nutrition needs to be protein-based rather than containing lots of fat. Fat leads to obesity, which can cause lots of health issues for our Goldy companions. The perfect fat-quantity for these gorgeous dogs is 11–17%. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in their diet promote healthy skin and coat, and it reduces shedding.


Carb intake depends on how active your pooch is. High-quality dog food needs to contain a minimum of 30-35% carbs. Given that Golden canines are usually energetic and active, they’ll require more carbs in their diet.

What is the Best Food for Golden Retrievers? 

In the table below, you’ll find the top five best food formulas for your Goldy. We chose these products based on our thorough research and advice from the experts.

Alpha Paw Picks Brand Rating
Best overall Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Field Dry Dog Food 4.9
Runner-up Nutro Max Large Breed Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food 4.9
Best for senior dogs VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food 4.8
Best for puppies Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe  4.7
Best for sensitive tummy Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food 4.6

Top Five Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Field Dry Dog Food

Best dog food for golden retrievers: the ultimate showdown

Source: best breed

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Field Dry Dog Food is a holistic formula made for active and energetic breeds, such as Golden Retrievers. Premium chicken protein, wholesome grains, and eggs provide your pup with both plant and meat-based protein, which are required for every balanced nutrition. 

It doesn’t contain any:

  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Artificial flavors
  • Corn 
  • Wheat

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids maintain a healthy coat and skin, while vitamin supplements strengthen the immune system.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 28.0% min
Crude Fat 13.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.0 % max
Moisture 10.0% max


Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat [Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)], Egg Product, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Chicken Flavor, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lecithin, Menhaden Fish Oil, Kelp Meal, Sea Salt, Flax Seed, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Canola Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, New Zealand Sea Mussel, Dl Methionine, Ascorbic Acid, Glucosamine, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Garlic Powder, Vitamin E Supplement, Biotin, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Citric Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Oxide. 

Nutro Max Large Breed Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

Best dog food for golden retrievers: the ultimate showdown

Source: nutro max dog food

Nutro Max Large Breed Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food is another product designed to meet the nutritional needs of large adult pups. Glucosamine and Chondroitin keep your dog’s joints healthy. The formula doesn’t have any artificial 

  • Flavors
  • Colors
  • Preservatives

Nutro uses natural ingredients for their formulas, without traces of corn, wheat, or by-product meals. Your Goldy needs to consume vitamins and minerals to be healthy, and this product contains lots of them. Amino acids are extremely useful in case your dog has dry skin!

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 22.0% min
Crude Fat 13.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.5 % max
Moisture 10.0% max
Glucosamine 100 mg/kg min
Chondroitin sulfate 350 mg/kg min


Chicken Meal (Source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Oatmeal,Vitamin D3 Supplement, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols),Choline Chloride, Chicken, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Whole Brown Rice, Peas, Chickpeas, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Selenium Yeast, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Best dog food for golden retrievers: the ultimate showdown

Source: victor

VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is formula limited in fat, which is essential for our grandpa Goldies. Senior doggos aren’t as active as they used to be, and if they eat food that’s rich in fat, they could get fat quickly. This nutrient-dense product contains glucosamine and chondroitin that promote your pup’s joint health and reduce pain. Protein stems from high-quality ingredients such as beef, chicken, pork meals, and fish.

The formula also contains L-carnitine, which transforms fat into energy for lean muscle development. These premium ingredients will keep your dog healthy.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 27.0% min
Crude Fat 11.5% min
Crude Fiber 4.5 % max
Moisture 9.0% max
Omega-6 Fatty Acids* 2.6% min
Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.4% min
DHA 0.1% min
Zinc 150 mg/kg min
Selenium 0.35 mg/kg min
Vitamin E 150 IU/kg min
L-carnitine 150 mg/kg min
Glucosamine 800 mg/kg min
Chondroitin 300 mg/kg min


Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Yeast Culture, Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Peas, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Blood Meal, Natural Flavor, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Potassium Chloride, Carrot Powder, Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Dried Seaweed Meal, Zinc Methionine Complex, Vitamin E Supplement, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Ferrous Sulfate, L-Carnitine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Selenium Yeast, Copper Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride,Spearmint Extract, Lecithin, Fructooligosaccharide, Folic Acid, And Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Powdered Cellulose, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Silicon Dioxide, Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, Vegetable Oil, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Best dog food for golden retrievers: the ultimate showdown

Source: blue buffalo

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe contains protein-rich deboned chicken. It doesn’t contain:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • By-product meals

Nutrition that your buddy receives in puppyhood makes the base for their future well-being. That’s why this formula has L-Carnitine and high-quality protein for lean muscle development. Essential vitamins and minerals promote healthy teeth and strong bones. Kibble is made for smaller jaws and easier chewing. 

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 26.0% min
Crude Fat 15.0% min
Crude Fiber 5.0 % max
Moisture 10% max
DHA 0.1% min
Calcium 1.2% min
Phosphorus 1.0% min
Choline 2,750 mg/kg min
Ara 0.04% min
L-carnitine 100 mg/kg min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids* 2.5% min
Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.75% min


Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Pea Protein, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Flaxseed (Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dicalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil (Source of Ara-Arachidonic Acid And Dha-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Salt, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Potassium Chloride, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Dl-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Carrots, Garlic, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipes

Best dog food for golden retrievers: the ultimate showdown

Source: hill’s pet nutrition

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipes helps your pup with digestive system problems and keeps your Goldy safe from gastrointestinal issues. The formula doesn’t consist of any:

  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors
  • Preservatives

Lots of minerals and vitamins strengthen your buddy’s immune system. High-quality protein stems from real chicken and eggs. It is rich in vitamins A, B, and D. Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids give your pooch a gorgeous and vibrant coat.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 25.9% min
Crude Fat 16.0% min
Carbohydrate / NFE 51.5% max
Crude Fiber 1.3% max
Calcium 0.95% min
Phosphorous 0.77% min
Potassium 0.74% min
Sodium 0.28% min
Magnesium 0.098% min
Vitamin C 242 ppm
Vitamin E 800 IU/kg
Total Omega-3 FA 0.51
Total Omega-6 FA 4.71

Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Egg Product, Chicken Fat, Soybean Oil, Brown Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Lactic Acid, Pork Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed, Iodized Salt, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Oat Fiber, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli.

Let’s Wrap Up All We Have Learned

Your lovely Goldy is a vigorous, lively, and dynamic beastie. This breed is famous for its intelligence and obedience. They thrive on human companionship and always bring joy to their owner’s life. 

To protect their bones from becoming brittle too soon, make sure you find the best product in the market for your pooch. They will be thankful and reciprocate with lots of love. 

The products we chose to present to you are some of the best formulas in the market today. In case you would like to expand the scope of your search, we advise you to try your luck with the best large breed dry dog food. Make sure you steer clear from the worst dry dog food brands. If you’re searching for canned food, we suggest scanning through the best canned dog food on the market.


  2. Kent, Michael S., et al. “Association of Cancer-Related Mortality, Age and Gonadectomy in Golden Retriever Dogs at a Veterinary Academic Center (1989-2016).” Plos One, vol. 13, no. 2, June 2018, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192578.
  3. That Golden Dog: Candice Sedighan: 9780990952992: Amazon …