Golden Retriever Foods 1

Top Golden Retriever Foods: What’s the Best?

You want your pup to live as long as possible, so you’re searching for the best dog food for Golden Retrievers. These fluffy goofballs are one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and for good reason! But they do have unique nutritional needs you need to consider when trying to decide what is the best dog food for Golden Retrievers.

Let’s learn all about this adorable dog breed as well as how to find the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retriever

History of the Golden Retriever

In the 19th century, Dudley Marjoribanks, (later known as Lord Tweedmouth), aimed to create a talented retrieving breed that would be loyal, even-tempered, and more attentive to their human hunting companion than the spaniels and setters most people used for retrieving at the time.

To reach this goal, Marjoribanks bought a yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever named Nous from a cobbler in 1865 and bred him with a Tweed Water Spaniel (a now-extinct breed) named Belle in 1868 and 1871. The resulting yellow puppies were then bred with other Wavy- and Flat-Coated Retrievers as well as a Red Setter and another Tweed Water Spaniel to eventually produce the Golden Retriever we love today.

Eventually, this breed was recognized as “Retriever—Yellow or Golden” by The Kennel Club in 1911 and then as the Golden Retriever in 1920. The breed gained recognition from the Canadian Kennel Club in 1925 and the American Kennel Club in 1932.

Golden Retriever

The Importance of Diet and Exercise for Goldens

While plenty of exercise and a healthy diet are important for all dogs, Golden Retrievers are one of the breeds most prone to obesity, so it’s crucial that these fun pups are kept on a strict, healthy, low-carb diet and receive plenty of exercise to help keep them in shape.

Why a low-carb diet?

Studies suggest that dogs lose more body fat and retain more muscle mass on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets than they do on high-carb diets with an equal calorie value. Carbohydrates seem to be a bigger contributor to obesity in dogs than fat.

Additionally, while dogs have evolved some ability to digest carbohydrates, they never evolved a NEED for carbs in their diet. Like their wolf ancestors, dogs are still biologically designed to get their nutritional needs met from a diet rich in animal protein.

Golden Retriever

How to Find the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

The best dog food for Golden Retrievers is high in animal-based protein, low in carbs, and nutritionally complete and balanced. We Feed Raw meets all these points.

Made from approximately 80% muscle meat (with associated fat and connective tissue), 10% organ meat, and 10% finely ground bone along with a small amount of added vitamins and minerals, our pre-portioned patties are highly nutritious, delicious, and easy to serve.

According to PhD Animal Nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton: “Pet owner buying decisions are based on three things: Economy, convenience, and nutrition. You can't have all three.”

Our complete and balanced patties provide the best nutrition you can give your Golden Retriever, and we make raw as convenient as possible: You simply thaw and serve. However, raw dog food alone is not cheap.

If you need to prioritize your budget, adding even a small amount of raw food to your Golden Retriever’s kibble can help them live a longer, healthier life.

Golden Retriever

Understanding Golden Retriever Nutritional Needs

Golden Retrievers thrive on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Additionally, Goldens are extremely prone to allergies. A naturally limited-ingredient raw diet like We Feed Raw makes it easier to avoid common dog food allergens, while our fatty acid-rich food also helps improve the skin and coat health of dogs who itch due to environmental allergens or dry skin.

In fact, Dr. Patton says, “A balanced raw diet is the first remedy to try for any skin condition.”

March photo

Evaluating Dog Food: Ingredients Matter

Just like when making food for yourself or your kids, the ingredients in your Golden Retriever’s food make a difference. Dogs are designed to get all the nutrients they need from animal protein, so the food they eat should be rich in meat and low in carbohydrates and other filler ingredients.

At We Feed Raw, we use only USDA-certified human-grade meats from animals raised in the United States or New Zealand. We don’t use any feed-quality ingredients (like you’ll find in most kibbles), fillers, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors.

We also use a cold-pressure process to inactivate potential pathogens without heating up the food, so you can be sure that it’s safe to feed your dog without risking making anybody in your family sick.

Golden Retriever

Should Golden Retrievers Eat a Grain-Free Diet?

Nearly 5 years ago, the FDA issued a Grain-Free Diet Alert that panicked dog owners and caused them to rush back to grain-inclusive kibbles out of fear of their pups developing a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

No research has ever proven a link between naturally grain-free diets and DCM. In fact, the most recent research seems to indicate a connection between the INCLUSION of lentils, seeds, legumes, potatoes, and corn and an increased risk of DCM. A lack of grains was never the problem.

A complete and balanced raw diet is naturally grain-free and is the healthiest, most species-appropriate diet you can feed your Golden Retriever.

Note that not all raw diets are created equal. Dr. Patton says: “A random mix of raw ingredients is not automatically a good diet. Ingredients must be balanced to provide the necessary nutrients in the needed amounts and ratios.”

We Feed Raw is made from the ideal ratio of approximately 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, and 10% bone. Plus, we add a small amount of vitamins and minerals to ensure our food meets AAFCO nutrition requirements for dogs of all life stages, including the growth of large breed puppies like Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Age-Appropriate Diets: Best Dog Food for Different Life Stages

Growing Golden Retriever puppies, active adult dogs, and slower senior dogs all have different nutritional needs, so they may need different types of dog food. Let’s look at the best dog food for different Golden Retriever life stages.

Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppy

Since Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and obesity, their diet must ensure they grow at a slow and steady pace. Growing too quickly can cause or exacerbate numerous joint problems.

Rich in muscle-building protein, We Feed Raw is perfect for Golden Retriever puppies. We have 6 different proteins to choose from, so you can offer rotational feeding and always keep your Golden interested in their food—not that Goldens are a breed known for being picky!

Adult Golden Retriever

Best Dog Food for Adult Golden Retrievers

Since Goldens are prone to obesity, you’ll want to feed a low-carb, high-protein diet to keep your adult Golden Retriever in prime shape. In a survey, 90% of our customers reported that their dogs maintained a healthy weight on We Feed Raw, making our food an excellent choice for adult Golden Retrievers.

Best Dog Food For Senior Golden Retrievers

As Golden Retrievers age, they tend to slow down and require less food to maintain their weight. It’s critical that the food they eat be high in protein to help them maintain their muscle mass without gaining life-shortening weight. Studies show that overweight or obese dogs die up to 2 1/2 years younger than dogs of a healthy weight.

Not only is We Feed Raw fantastic for weight control, but it’s also rich in fatty acids that may help your Golden Retriever’s joints feel better as they age.

We Feed Raw customer Lydia had this to say on Trustpilot:

“We have two senior dogs. They both love this food. For the 11-year-old, We Feed Raw helps his arthritis significantly. When we started the transition from kibble to We Feed Raw, he would limp around, but no longer!”

Golden Retriever

Special Dietary Considerations For Golden Retrievers

While not all of the health issues Golden Retrievers are prone to can be prevented, lessened, or managed by diet, allergies and weight management are two things that are highly influenced by diet.

Allergies And Sensitivities

Golden Retrievers commonly experience skin allergies and may struggle with food allergies. Dry dog food often contains dozens of ingredients, making it difficult to avoid food allergens. On the other hand, We Feed Raw’s recipes are made from only one or two meat sources with some added vitamins and minerals.

You can find our ingredient lists by selecting the protein you want to check from our Bulk page.

If your Golden’s allergies are environmental rather than food-oriented, We Feed Raw is still an excellent choice. Chock-full of fatty acids, our food is great for skin and coat health.

Dog weight

Weight Management And Obesity

Contrary to what diet culture has been telling us for decades, fat is NOT the enemy; at least not when it comes to our dogs’ diets. Carbohydrates are the true problem, and high-protein diets like species-appropriate We Feed Raw can help your Golden Retriever lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight. That, in turn, will help give you more years with them.

Feeding Practices And Portion Control

It can be hard to know exactly how much to feed your Golden Retriever because every dog is unique and has different needs. That’s why, when you sign up for a We Feed Raw meal plan, we ask questions about your dog’s age, breed, weight, body condition, and more. Then, we’ll tell you how much you should feed your Golden every day.

We’ll even show you how to portion the patty for your dog’s perfect daily dose of food, which you can break up into as many (or as few) meals per day as you would like. Some people like the convenience of once-daily feeding, while others break up their pup’s daily dose into two or more meals per day.

We Feed Raw is easy to feed when and how you want to. For high-energy, food-motivated dogs like Golden Retrievers, you can freeze part of their daily dose in a Kong, Toppl, or other enrichment toy to extend mealtime or keep them busy while you’re gone.

Raw Food For Small Dogs

Common Questions About Feeding Golden Retrievers

After having read through all this information, you might still have some questions, so here are some of the most common questions about feeding Goldens and their answers.

What Is the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers Considering Breed-specific Needs?

Considering their propensity for obesity and tendency to have allergies, a limited-ingredient, species-appropriate, naturally carb-free raw diet like We Feed Raw is the best food for Golden Retrievers.

Golden retriever licking lips eating food from dog bowl

How Often Should You Feed a Golden Retriever to Maintain Health?

Some early research indicates that once-daily feeding may help dogs live longer. On the other hand, Golden Retrievers are prone to bloat, and feeding smaller meals two or more times a day may reduce the chances of a dog developing bloat. It’s up to you to decide what feeding schedule works best for you, your dog, and your family.

What Foods Can Golden Retrievers Not Eat?

Golden Retrievers should not eat (or drink):

  • •Alcohol

  • •Caffeine

  • •Chocolate

  • •Coffee

  • •Grapes

  • •Macadamia nuts

  • •Nutmeg

  • •Onions

  • •Raisins

  • •Xylitol

  • •Yeast dough

Happy Dog Body Language

Understanding the Unique Digestive Needs of Golden Retrievers

While some Golden Retrievers may have an iron stomach, others experience digestive upset at the drop of a hat. Either way, Goldens benefit from a fully balanced raw diet since dogs are biologically designed to derive nutrients from raw meat above anything else.

Resources And Expert Opinions

Where’s the proof that a raw diet is so healthy? Here are some of the latest studies:

Additionally, PhD Animal Nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton said:

“Given that raw means ‘meat based’ in the pet owner's mind, I am in favor of balanced raw diets for several reasons. Raw diets are low in soluble carbohydrates, the most glaring fault of kibble foods. Raw diets are very palatable and readily consumed. Being low in starch and sugar, raw diets promote beneficial gut bacteria not seen if kibble is fed.”

What To Expect

Switch Your Golden Retriever to Raw

As you can see, raw dog food is the best choice for Golden Retrievers, and We Feed Raw makes it easy with 6 protein choices that are all nutritionally complete and balanced as well as easy to feed. We deliver raw to your door; all you have to do is thaw and feed.

To find out how much it would cost to get your Golden started on raw, complete our quiz here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of food is considered the best dog food for Golden Retrievers?

The best dog food for Golden Retrievers is a complete and balanced raw diet. We Feed Raw takes all the guesswork out of feeding raw by sending you pre-portioned frozen patties. All you have to do is thaw and serve.

WFR Bowl and Packet (2)

How do I choose the best dog food for a puppy Golden Retriever?

Golden Retriever puppies thrive on a high-protein, low-carb raw diet. At We Feed Raw, we send you nutritionally complete and balanced meals and tell you how much to feed to ensure your Golden puppy grows at the perfect rate.

How can I find the best dog food for Golden Retrievers with allergies?

The best dog food for Golden Retrievers with allergies is a naturally limited-ingredient raw dog food. You can find the ingredient lists for all 6 of our proteins by clicking on each protein on our bulk page.


Are there specific brands that offer the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers?

We may be biased, but We Feed Raw offers the best dog foods for Golden Retrievers because we have high-protein, low-carb, species-appropriate recipes that are delicious and easy to feed.

Is there a difference between the best dog food for a Golden Retriever and the best dog food for a puppy Golden Retriever?

Sometimes. Some dog foods are only certified for adult dogs or puppies. However, We Feed Raw meets AAFCO nutrition requirements for dogs of all life stages, including the growth of large breed puppies like Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retriever

Which dog food should I choose for my senior Golden Retriever?

Since they are so prone to obesity and joint problems, senior Golden Retrievers do best on a low-carb raw diet that’s rich in fatty acids. We Feed Raw is nutritionally complete, delicious, and an overall excellent choice for senior Goldens.

How can I evaluate the healthiness of my Golden Retriever's dog food?

The best thing to do to evaluate the healthiness of your Golden Retriever’s dog food is to check the ingredient list. Protein from animal sources should be at the top of the list. Low-quality carbs such as corn, wheat, rice, and soy shouldn’t be on the list at all. Ideally, Golden Retrievers should eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate raw diet like We Feed Raw.

Raw food for dogs by We Feed Raw

Complete & balanced raw meals.

Portioned out, packaged up, and cold-shipped (for FREE!).