Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

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The Can Dogs Eat It Team

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers
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Golden Retrievers are large canines with equally big appetites. Dog owners need to be careful when tailoring a feeding plan for these canines. Excessive feeding or a poor diet may contribute to the manifestation of breed-specific ailments. Avoid jeopardizing your pet’s health by knowing what to look for when finding the best dog food for Golden Retrievers.

Nutritional Needs of a Golden Retriever

golden retriever 8The Golden Retriever is a robust dog breed with high energy levels. To ensure that he remains active and healthy, pick the best dog food for Golden Retrievers rich in the following nutrients:

  1. Proteins

    Protein is essential for Golden Retrievers as it supports proper bone and muscle growth and development. Facilitating healthy hair growth and maintaining a strong immune system are also some of its many crucial functions.

    The Golden Retriever breed requires different amounts of protein according to its life stage. Golden Retriever puppies need around 22% of proteins in their diet. Adults should have approximately 30%, while older canines only require at least 18%.

  2. Healthy Fats

    The dense, long double coats of Golden Retrievers can benefit from a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These healthy fats work together to keep skin and hair healthy. They minimize shedding and promote glossy coats.

    Ideally, the best dog food for Golden Retrievers should contain around 12–18% of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

  3. Carbohydrates

    The ideal carbohydrate level for a Golden Retriever’s diet can vary depending on their age, activity level, and overall health. However, a typical daily carbohydrate requirement for adult Golden Retrievers is around 20-25% of their daily caloric intake. Puppies may require slightly higher levels of carbohydrates in their diet to support their growth and development. Feed high-quality carbohydrates like whole oats, barley, and brown rice.
  4. Other Nutrients

    The breed requires a variety of vitamins and minerals to live happy and healthy lives. The best dog food for Golden Retrievers must offer good amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins. Minerals, including iron, magnesium, and zinc, should be present too.

    These nutrients provide a wide range of health benefits to the breed, such as regulating hormone production, hastening the healing of wounds, and promoting proper heart functions.

What to Look for in a Golden Retriever Dog Food

golden retriever 9Not all dog food is made up of high-quality ingredients. Here are a few pointers that will help narrow down your choices of the best dog food for Golden Retrievers:

Go for chemical preservative-free brands.

Check the ingredients list for dangerous additives that can make your Golden Retriever sick such as:

  • BHT and BHA
    Butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxytoluene are carcinogenic compounds.
  • Ethoxyquin (EMQ)
    EMQ is a chemical found in pesticides, but it is also used to create dog food.
  • Propyl Gallate
    This is a substance that imitates the hormone estrogen and has been linked to different types of cancer.
  • Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
    Although considered an antioxidant, TBHQ is found to cause cellular DNA damage and intestinal tumors.

Dog foods with natural preservatives are safer options for your dog. They commonly use vitamins C and E and rosemary as additives.

Choose a meat-based dog food.

The best dog food for Golden Retrievers must have meat proteins such as chicken, fish, venison, and lamb as its first 7 ingredients. They are rich in protein as well as taurine.

Taurine is an essential nutrient for the Golden Retriever because the breed is predisposed to taurine deficiency. This condition is believed to be linked to a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy.

Unless your Golden Retriever has food sensitivities, avoid dog foods that have grains as top ingredients. They are likely insufficient in these nutrients.

Steer clear from dog food containing meat by-products.

Some companies do not specify the type of meat used in their dog food. They use ambiguous terms like “animal,” “poultry,” or “meat” by-products.

This indicates that they might be using slaughterhouse wastes like beaks or feathers. Or worse, roadkill or diseased farm animals.

Beware of Calcium and Phosphorus-Rich Puppy Food

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The Golden Retriever is at risk of musculoskeletal problems like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia at a young age. These health issues are prevalent in large dog breeds.

Due to these dangers, a low-calcium and phosphorus diet is recommended for Golden Retriever puppies. It prevents their bones from growing too quickly, which can cause misalignment of the limbs.

When in search of puppy food, look for products specifically formulated for large dog breeds. Check their calcium and phosphorus content. They should not contain over 1.5% calcium and 0.9% phosphorus.

Keep in mind that Golden Retriever puppies continue to grow until 1–2 years old. Avoid prematurely switching them to adult dog food to minimize the risk of diet-related musculoskeletal problems.

The Caloric Needs of the Golden Retriever

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The daily caloric intake of Golden Retrievers will depend on their age and energy levels. Here is a quick breakdown of the breed’s caloric needs according to the aforementioned categories:

Puppies over 6 months: 1,500 calories

Fixed active adult dogs: 1,300 to 1,740 calories

Old sedentary dogs: 1,000 to 1,300 calories

Nursing mother dogs: 2,000 calories

Note that this information only serves as a guideline. The caloric intake of a Golden Retriever may require some adjustments throughout his lifetime, especially if he has health issues.

How Much to Feed a Golden Retriever Dog

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How much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy? The amount of food you feed to a Golden Retriever puppy will depend on his age. Here is a simple guide you can use as a reference:

  • 2 months old: 2 to 2½ cups daily
  • 3 months old: 2 to 3 cups daily
  • 4 months old: 3 cups daily
  • 5–8 months old: 3 to 4 cups daily
  • 9–10 months old: 2½ to 4 cups daily
  • 11–12 months old: 3 to 4 cups daily

Once fully grown, male Golden Retrievers should be fed 3–3½ cups of dog food per day. More active males can be given up to 4 cups.

Female Golden Retrievers will require 2–2½ cups every day. On the other hand, nursing mother dogs must eat more food to produce adequate milk for their pups. Feed them around 5–6 cups a day.

Do Not Overfeed Golden Retriever Puppies

Some dog owners make the mistake of offering Golden Retriever puppies too much food, so they get plump. However, young Goldies are supposed to have a lanky build. Having lean bodies does not mean they are thin.

One easy way to check if a Golden Retriever puppy is excessively skinny or fat is to take a look at his physique. Prominent protruding bones on the hips, back, rib cage, and base of tail mean he is underweight.

If his ribs and waist are barely visible, then he is obese. There will also be obvious amounts of fat on his belly and around the neck.

Ensure that your puppy maintains a healthy weight by feeding them just the right amount of dog food.

Allowing him to overeat can easily result in obesity as the breed is predisposed to this health issue. Gaining extra pounds causes an early development of joint problems in Golden Retriever puppies.

Keep Golden Retrievers Safe from Dog Bloat

golden retriever 3Golden Retrievers are deep-chested canines with a big love for food. Both of these factors put them at risk of gastric dilation volvulus (GDV).

Also known as bloat, this health problem causes the stomach to twist itself, trapping liquids and gasses in the digestive tract. Without immediate treatment, this condition can turn fatal within a few hours.

Prevent your Golden Retriever from experiencing this life-threatening state by following these tips:

  1. No free feeding

    Placing unlimited amounts of food in your Golden Retriever’s bowl promotes overeating. So make sure to create a proper meal schedule and set a time limit.

    Give your dog at least 20–30 minutes of mealtime. Take the food away once the time is up. Do not leave it in his food bowl for him to graze on between meals.

  2. Feed him small meals multiple times a day

    Feeding Golden Retrievers in one go can fill up their stomachs too much, causing dog bloat. So always split their daily cup of food into small amounts.

    For Golden Retriever puppies, feed them 3–4 times per day. Full-grown Golden Retrievers should be fed 1–2 times each day.

  3. Swap his regular dog bowl with a puzzle feeder.

    Some Golden Retrievers consume their food in one gulp instead of taking their time to eat. This makes them inhale more air than necessary. This could lead their stomach to become distended. Encourage your Golden Retriever to slow down eating by using a puzzle feeder. As its name implies, this food bowl is designed to have puzzles that keep dogs from easily accessing their meals.