There are many things that impact the health of your puppy, some controllable, some not.
One major contributing factor is nutrition. In fact, proper nutrition can impact nearly every aspect of your puppy’s health. Luckily, this is something you have total control over. (Though many a Golden has served himself from the trash!)
Finding the right kind of food for your puppy can be a daunting task, so we’ve done some research on your behalf.
Read on to learn about feeding, nutrition, and some of the best brands of dog food on the market.
Quick Links: Our Picks for Best Pupy Food for Golden Retrievers
- Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Puppy Food
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Chicken Meal Large Breed Puppy Food
- Dr. Tim’s Premium All Natural Pet Foods All Life Stages Grain Free Dog Food
- Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
*The above links lead to current prices and customer reviews on Chewy.
Carry on reading to discover why we made these choices, and lots of tips and buying advice to ensure you get the right product.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Eating Their Way To Health
- 2 Different Dogs, Different Diets
- 3 Don’t Give Them Too Much Of A Good Thing
- 4 Nutrition For The Outside
- 5 Which Food Do I Choose?
- 6 Totally Goldens Recommends…
- 7 Summary & Conclusion
- 8 Further Reading:
Eating Their Way To Health
Puppies have their own unique nutritional requirements. They are growing quickly, so while they eat smaller quantities of food than adult dogs, they need to extract far more nutrients, like protein, minerals and vitamins, to sustain their growth and development.
As such, puppy food is packed with extra nutrition, things that adult dogs don’t need.
Be sure to feed your puppy food that is specifically made for their age bracket and check the label to be sure you’re getting the right formula.
Different Dogs, Different Diets
Of course, nutritional needs vary from breed to breed. One only needs to look at a Golden Retriever to know they require a different diet than a Chihuahua!
Large breeds have special requirements, and it’s important that they be met. For example, joint and bone problems are much more common in big dogs than little ones, but choosing the right puppy food can reduce the risk.
Large-breed puppy food has reduced amounts of calcium and phosphorus, which helps control the rate of skeletal growth.
Proper nutrition can lessen your dog’s chances of developing conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Don’t Give Them Too Much Of A Good Thing
Overfeeding your puppy can undo all the benefits of breed-specific food. By consuming too much food, your puppy will have elevated levels of the very nutrients that should be limited.
Additionally, overweight puppies may develop other health issues such as diabetes, and heart disease. Good eating habits developed during puppy-hood, will lead to a healthy mature dog in the years to come.
Nutrition For The Outside
One of the most visible components of your dog is its fur.
You’ve probably noticed that a nice, shiny coat gets a lot of attention from dog lovers! Nutrition plays a vital role in this area.
A large percentage of the protein your puppy takes in goes towards maintaining the coat. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for healthy skin and fur.
Which Food Do I Choose?
Ask 10 different dog owners for their opinion on what the best dog food is, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers!
There will always be those who buy the cheapest brand on the market. Others will opt for the most expensive, while others still will simply go with a brand-name they recognize.
The truth is, there is no single “best” food for puppies (or adult dogs) in general. The key is to find the right food for your particular puppy.
Things To Look For In A Dog Food
Having said that, there are some general guidelines one can follow.
For instance, less expensive dog foods typically have lower quality ingredients. The contents are often inexpensive, low-grade protein sources, like animal by-products, and fillers.
Fillers are frequently things like corn meal, rice flour, or seed hulls.
Beware Of Fillers
Fillers literally fill your puppy’s belly, but offer little in the way of nutrition. For this reason, they’ll need to eat more food to get the nutrients they need.
This can lead to obesity, and will certainly cause increased defecation. The latter of these two issues will make house training more difficult than it already is.
Does High Cost Mean High Quality?
By contrast, more costly dog foods usually have higher-quality ingredients. The scales will be tipped heavily in favour of high-grade protein sources and fillers will be few and far between.
Price is not, however, a guarantee of quality. Check the ingredients list to see what’s inside before you make your decision.
How Much Am I Really Paying?
When it comes to price, remember that your puppy won’t need to eat as much food if they’re getting the nutrients they need.
You might find that expensive dog foods are a better bargain in the long run than they might seem at first, since you’ll need to feed less and hence buy less often than you would a cheaper brand.
Totally Goldens Recommends…
This list is based on recommendations found around the Internet, among the Golden Retriever community, and the personal experience of we here at Totally Goldens.
Wellness Core Dog Food – Our Top Recommendation
Wellness Core is available in a variety of formulations, but Totally Goldens readers will be most interested in the Puppy and Large Breed Formulas.
This is our top pick as the best puppy food for golden retrievers.
The major sources of protein in this brand are chicken and turkey, with both raw and concentrated meat (chicken meal, and turkey meal) being used.
Other beneficial ingredients include:
- Peas, which provide protein and fibre
- Potatoes, for digestible carbohydrates
- Flaxseed, a source of Omega-3
- Chicken fat, a source of Omega-6.
- Chicory root, which is rich in inulin, a prebiotic that aids in the growth of healthy digestive bacteria
- Chelated minerals; these are minerals that have been attached chemically to proteins, so they can be absorbed more easily
Naturally, there are many other excellent choices on the market, and not every brand is available to every consumer.
With that in mind, here are 3 additional recommendations:
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Blue Buffalo has an extensive product line but Golden Retriever owners will be pleased to know they offer a Large Breed Puppy formula.
Chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal are the key sources of protein in this formulation, and egg also contributes.
Other notable ingredients include:
- Chicken fat
- Chelated minerals
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost
There are numerous varieties in this product line including one specifically for large breed puppies.
The unique feature of these blends is the combination of dry kibble with freeze-dried raw meat.
Protein is provided by chicken meal, raw chicken, freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried turkey, and salmon meal.
You’ll also find:
- Chicken fat
- Salmon oil, a great source of Omega-3
- Chicory root
- Apple cider vinegar, which seems to have many health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels
Dr. Tim’s Grain-Free Formula
Dr. Tim’s uses chicken meal exclusively for the primary source of protein.
Being such a high source of protein, though, this should not be viewed as a drawback.
Additionally, Dr. Tim’s contains:
- Beet pulp (good for the intestines and blood sugar)
- Chicken fat
- Herring meal, which is rich in iron and B-12
- Whole dried egg
- Menhaden oil, made from a fish rich in Omega-3
- Chicory root
- Chelated minerals
Diamond Naturals – For Those On A Tight Budget
If, like many of us, you have both a puppy and a strict budget, all is not lost!
Here is a good compromise for your bank account that still provides good nutrition for your puppy.
In this brands line-up you’ll find a large breed puppy formula that’s good for your growing Golden puppy, providing all they’ll need including balanced omega oils for healthy skin and coat.
The protein source is lamb, a go-to meat for allergy-prone dogs.
Summary & Conclusion
Throughout the life of your dog, you’ll be constantly striving to keep him or her healthy. And it all starts with choosing the proper nutrition for your puppy.
Avoid low-cost foods that are more filler than substance, and look for better foods that are packed with nutrients to help your puppy grow. In particular, consider trying a large breed formula to meet the specific needs of your Golden Retriever puppy.
A high-quality brand might cost more up front, but in the long run, you’ll spend less than you thought because you’ll go through it more slowly than cheaper food.
Good nutrition is an essential part of any health regimen, and providing a high quality puppy food will lay the foundation for a long, and enjoyable life.
Canine Nutrition Basics – The Bark
Product images: © Amazon.com
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