Updated: May 5th, 2021
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Energetic, playful, and goofy golden retriever puppies burn a lot of calories and need highly nutritious food to grow and develop properly. The food you decide to feed to your puppy now can affect them as an adult and put their health at risk. Finding the best puppy food for golden retrievers is your best bet for preventing these problems from happening.
There are many high-quality puppy foods you can choose from, not all are formulated to meet your pup’s dietary needs. Choosing the wrong formula can be detrimental to your pup’s health and cause nutrient deficiency, musculoskeletal problems, heart disease, or cancer.
While these aren’t things you want to hear, you need to understand the full effect of unhealthy puppy foods. On the other hand, high-quality food that is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of a still-growing golden retriever puppy will give your pup a good start in life.
To help you do just that, I’ve found and reviewed the seven best foods for golden retriever puppies!
An Overview Of The Best Food For Golden Retriever Puppy
Take a look at the comparison table below where I’ve highlighted the key features of each retriever puppy food.
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product.
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*The above links lead to current prices and customer reviews on Chewy.
Keep on reading to discover why I chose these recipes and the included helpful tips and buying advice to ensure you get the right product for your golden puppy!
Table Of Contents
- 1 An Overview Of The Best Food For Golden Retriever Puppy
- 2 Top 7 Best Puppy Foods For Golden Retrievers: Reviews
- 3 Eating Their Way To Health
- 4 Different Dogs, Different Diets
- 5 Don’t Give Them Too Much Of A Good Thing
- 6 Nutrition For The Outside
- 7 Which Food Do I Choose?
- 8 FAQs About The Best Dog Food For Golden Retriever Puppy
- 9 Conclusion
Top 7 Best Puppy Foods For Golden Retrievers: Reviews
Below, you will find in-depth reviews of seven puppy foods that meet the nutritional needs of golden retriever puppies and are extremely tasty.
Want to feed fresh food to your golden retriever puppy but don’t have time to prepare fresh and wholesome meals? If this is the case, you’ll be happy to discover what Nom Nom has to offer!
The nutrition (and fun) begins when you choose which food you’d like to give your dog. There are several recipes to choose from, all developed by veterinary nutritionists and cooked at Nom Nom’s on-site kitchen using fresh, restaurant-quality whole-food ingredients.
Food is portioned based on your dog’s unique profile, including age, weight, health problems, and any goals such as weight loss. You get a free consultation with a veterinary nutritionist when you order, so your golden puppy gets exactly the right nutrients.
Once your dog’s weekly menu is ready, food is sealed into single-serving packages, after which it is delivered to your home under refrigeration for optimal freshness. Just like your own fresh food, you keep your dog’s meals in the freezer or refrigerator until mealtime. Simply open a pack, serve it up, and watch your pet enjoy every morsel. You can choose a single favorite or treat your dog to variety packs.
Convenience isn’t all this food has to offer. Like other brands that made it onto our list of the best food for golden retrievers, Nom Nom food is made with healthy meat-based proteins, easily digestible carbs such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, carrots, and green beans, and other healthy veggies.
- Suitable for all life stages from puppies to seniors
- Real restaurant-quality ingredients, no nasty byproducts or potential toxins
- Fresh food based on your dog’s unique needs
- Developed by a veterinary nutritionist, all recipes are expertly formulated
- Delivered weekly in convenient single meal portions
- Cost is above the market average
Read this in-depth Nom Nom review to learn more about this dog food brand and discover their top three dog food recipes!
Like Nom Now, Ollie also makes custom meal plans for dogs using fresh, human-grade ingredients. Once they are prepared, your golden’s meals are shipped straight to your door once per week and you can store them in the fridge or in the freezer.
Not only is this food convenient, but it’s also designed for all life stages, so you never have to switch your puppy’s food as they get older. There are quite a few recipes to choose from, including chicken, lamb, beef, and turkey. Most are grain-free, perfect for sensitive stomachs, and none of them have questionable ingredients that might not be good for your puppy.
Healthy carbohydrates come from veggies such as squash, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, and kale. A few recipes even include tempting berries to up the antioxidant level and treat your golden puppy to some interesting flavors.
Ollie fresh dog food is carefully cooked to preserve all valuable nutrients and also has added vitamins, minerals, and tasty, healthy extras like natural fish oil. Being complete and balanced for daily feeding, Ollie fresh meals support your puppy’s growth and development at the proper rate.
Ollie’s recipes are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of different dogs, so you won’t have any trouble finding a fresh meal that will fulfill your pup’s individual dietary needs. Read our detailed Ollie dog food review to learn how to get a customized meal plan for your golden pooch.
- Superb nutrition designed just for your dog by veterinarians
- Choose the right recipe by creating a profile just for your puppy
- Delicious tastes; dogs never get bored
- Human-grade ingredients sourced from America and Australia; food is fresh-cooked in New Jersey and delivered weekly
- Portion scoop included so your puppy gets exactly the right amount at every meal
- Priced above average market cost
- Must have a subscription
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula is a nutritious golden retriever puppy food and a good option if you are on a tight budget. While more affordable than other foods from this list, this formula is made from high-quality ingredients and doesn’t contain artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers.
Featuring real lamb and lamb meal as the first two ingredients, this recipe has 27% crude protein that supports growth and development and helps build lean muscles.
Whole grain brown rice and cracked pearled barley are easily digestible carbs and provide energy. However, this food isn’t a good choice if your golden retriever puppy has a sensitive stomach or suffers from grain-related allergies. In that case, look for grain-free diets that won’t make your puppy ill and itchy.
Designed to deliver a blend of essential vitamins and minerals, this recipe also contains fatty acids that support healthy skin and coat. Besides supporting a soft and shiny coat, salmon oil is also a source of DHA, which supports brain and eye development in still growing puppies.
To ensure proper digestion and better nutrient absorption, Diamond Pets added a proprietary probiotic blend that supports good gut health. Added vitamins and antioxidants from real fruit and veggies support a strong immune system and improve your goldie’s overall health.
Being specially formulated for large breed puppies, this food has an ideal calcium-phosphorus ratio. Therefore, you can rest assured your pup won’t grow too fast and develop skeletal issues.
- A great choice for those on a budget
- Sound nutritional profile, no fillers or artificial ingredients
- Made in the USA by a family-owned company
- Added probiotic blend for better digestion
- Contains DHA, which supports brain and eye development
- Not grain-free for those that need it
- Kibble is harder than some other brands, so you may need to moisten it for your pup
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe stands out for its inclusion of freeze-dried raw meat, which provides a unique blend of nutrients. Formulated to meet the nutritional needs of all life stages, this formula has everything you should look for in the retriever puppy food.
Made with cage-free chicken as the main ingredient, this food contains bites of freeze-dried meat, which make it a good dog food for picky eaters. The high protein count will keep your golden retriever energized throughout the day and also help them build lean and strong muscles.
Being a grain-free puppy food, this formula contains peas, carrots, apples, cranberries, and blueberries as sources of carbs, fiber, and vitamins. The fresh fruit and veggies are also supplemented with all essential vitamins and minerals necessary for a strong immune system.
Nature’s Variety used chicken fat and salmon oil as sources of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to help support healthy skin and coat development. The added probiotic cultures support healthy digestion and can be extremely beneficial if your golden retriever puppy has a sensitive stomach.
This recipe is also perfect for puppies with potential allergies to grains and won’t cause tummy problems or itchy skin. Like many of the best large breed puppy foods on the market, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost is free from GMO ingredients.
Best of all, you don’t have to worry about switching your pup to food for adult goldens when they grow up. This is all-life stages dog food, so your goldie can eat it from puppyhood and well into their senior years.
- Contains real freeze-dried raw meat
- Added probiotics and antioxidants
- Completely natural and made without artificial ingredients
- Higher protein count for lean and strong muscles
- This food may cause loose stool and gas in dogs that aren’t used to high-protein foods
Blue Buffalo has an outstanding reputation as one of the best pet food companies on the planet, and their large-breed puppy food is ideal for golden retriever pups. This premium puppy food is high in protein, grain-free, and made without corn, soy, or wheat that can create potential issues.
Featuring deboned chicken and chicken meal as main ingredients, this food is high in protein that helps build lean and strong muscles. Complex carbohydrates are sourced from potatoes and sweet potatoes, along with carrots that double as an additional source of antioxidants.
Fresh fruits, including cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are full of vitamins and antioxidants that help support your puppy’s developing immune system. All essential vitamins and minerals are supplemented and will improve your pup’s overall health and well-being.
The included fish meal and flaxseed are sources of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids that support healthy skin and ensure a shiny coat with a soft feel. Blue Buffalo also included fish oil as a natural source of DHA and ARA that are essential for your pup’s brain and eye development.
This formula contains LifeSource Bits that provide a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your golden puppy needs to stay healthy and thrive.
- Higher protein supports muscle growth and development
- Small, puppy-sized kibble chunks
- Premium nutrition designed just for large breed puppies
- Full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- May need to be moistened for smaller puppies to handle
Made to fulfill the nutritional needs of still growing puppies, the Wellness Core Grain-Free Puppy Food is a great option for golden retrievers. The smaller kibble size is easier to eat and made without cheap fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients and the main sources of protein, which helps with the building of lean and strong muscles.
This formula contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, apples, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and bananas that are full of vitamins and minerals to support a strong immune system. Wellness also added probiotics to support healthy digestion and maintain optimal gut health.
Added DHA supports healthy eye and brain development, and a blend of antioxidants helps keep your puppy’s immune system working right. There are no fillers, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial ingredients in this recipe, nor are there any unidentifiable animal products from questionable sources.
- Balanced nutritional profile with real meat as the first ingredient
- Many specialized ingredients designed to support optimal health naturally
- Added calcium and phosphorus for healthy skeletal growth
- Omega fatty acids support healthy skin and coat
- Made in the USA, but some ingredients may be sourced outside the USA
- Some puppies develop stinky gas when switching to this food
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Formula is specially designed for pups who’ll weigh over 50 pounds when they grow up. As the best dog food for a golden retriever puppy, this formula contains all the essential nutrients your pup needs now to stay healthy in adulthood.
This high-protein recipe contains chicken as the main ingredient that will keep your pup energized throughout the day and build lean muscles. This isn’t a grain-free formula, so if your pup has a grain-related issue, this isn’t the recipe for you.
Purina added fish oil as a natural source of DHA that is essential for your pup’s brain and eye development. This food also contains all essential vitamins and minerals that support a strong immune system and live probiotics for optimal digestive health.
This flavorful kibble also contains glucosamine for optimal joint health and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your pup’s skin and heart health.
- Specially formulated for large breed puppies
- Supports easy digestion and better nutrient absorption
- Promotes joint health and mobility
- Optimal calcium-phosphorus ratio
- A few owners noted their puppies developed loose stool and gas after eating this food
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, the best food for a golden retriever puppy is packed with extra nutrition, things that adult goldens 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. Also, you may find puppy foods that contain glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility.
With proper nutrition, you 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 golden retriever puppy 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 puppyhood 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. Some will opt for the most expensive, while others 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, costlier dog foods usually have higher-quality ingredients. The scales will be tipped heavily in favor 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.
FAQs About The Best Dog Food For Golden Retriever Puppy
What Do Golden Retriever Puppies Eat?
The best food for a golden retriever puppy is made with high-quality natural ingredients and has high levels of protein. Make sure the food is complete and balanced for daily feeding and formulated to meet the nutritional needs of large breed puppies. Depending on your pup’s preferences and needs, you can feed kibble, canned food, or a raw diet to your pup.
What Should I Feed My Eight-Week-Old Golden Retriever Puppy?
At this point, golden puppies have already been switched to dry puppy food and you should continue feeding your pup the same type of food the breeder used. You shouldn’t change your pup’s food at this time unless you have major concerns. An eight-week-old puppy should eat around 1 ½ cup of kibble a day.
How Many Times Should You Feed A Golden Retriever Puppy?
From the day you bring them home until they are six months old, you should feed your golden retriever puppy three times a day. Ideally, your pup should have breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Create your puppy’s feeding plan based on your lifestyle and commitments but try to maintain a regular schedule of equally spaced meals.
Throughout your golden retriever’s life, you’ll be constantly striving to keep them happy and healthy. And it all starts with choosing the best puppy food for golden retrievers.
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.
High-quality puppy food might cost more upfront, 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 high-quality puppy food will lay the foundation for a long, and enjoyable life.