Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Golden Retriever

As a pet owner, one of the most important things you need to do to keep your golden retriever fit and healthy is to ensure that your dog receives a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Feeding your canine friend a high-quality dog food is a great way to do this, but when it comes to choosing a dog food, the options are almost endless.

Golden retrievers are large active and playful dogs that, depending on their age, have weight and activity levels, and unique dietary needs.

To help you decide on the best dog food for your dog, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of reviews of the best dog foods for golden retrievers.

A Quick Comparison of our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult
  • High-protein formula
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Available with chicken, fish or lamb
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult
  • Breed-specific
  • High protein formula
  • Best for Puppies
    Third place
    Royal Canin Puppy Royal Canin Puppy
  • Breed-specific
  • Age-specific
  • Great nutritional mix
  • Royal Canin Adult Dry Royal Canin Adult Dry
  • Breed-specific
  • Age-specific
  • Quality mix of products
  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Nutro Wholesome Essentials
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Contains no by-products
  • The 9 Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers – Reviews 2020

    1. Blue Buffalo Life Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food

    According to the American Kennel Club, the best dog foods contain a combination of meat, vegetables, grains and fruit, and that is precisely what you’ll get with Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula dry dog food.

    Featuring a protein-rich chicken and rice formula, Life Protection Formula has been specially prepared to cater for large dog breeds like golden retrievers. As well as deboned chicken and brown rice it also contains a variety of grains, vegetables, and fruits, to ensure your pet gets all the vital vitamins and minerals he needs to stay fit and healthy.

    Available in 15, 24, and 34-pound bags, Life Protection Formula is an ideal choice of owners of active adult golden retrievers.

    Pros
    • High-protein formula
    • Antioxidant-rich
    • Available with chicken, fish or lamb
    • Contains a variety of fruits and vegetables
    • Price
    Cons
    • None

    2. Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog – Best Value

    Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog

    If you are looking for a breed-specific dog food that won’t empty your wallet, you should take a close look at Eukanuba’s Breed Specific – Labrador Retriever Dry Dog Food. It has been specially formulated to deliver the essential vitamins needed by Golden Retrievers and other large retriever breeds.

    With a protein-rich formula, this product contains high-quality, animal-based products that will help your dog to build strong, lean muscles for an optimal body condition and is, in our opinion, the best dog food for Golden Retriever for the money.

    Pros
    • Price
    • Breed-specific
    • High protein formula
    Cons
    • Lacking in fruits and vegetables

    3. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy Dog Food – Best for Puppies

    Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Considered to be one of the best dog food brands on the market, Royal Canin has a formidable reputation for providing superior quality and nutritious dog foods. Many top dog breeders and veterinarians recommend their dog food blends, and it should come as no surprise that three of their products have made our list of reviews.

    Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever Puppy is a breed-specific formula that has been designed to give you pup the best possible start in life. It contains a nutritious blend of chicken, grains, and vegetables and is best suited for your dogs between the ages of 2 months to 1 year.

    Pros
    • Breed-specific
    • Age-specific
    • Great nutritional mix
    Cons
    • Price

    4. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

    After giving your dog the best start in life, with Royal Canin’s puppy food (see above), you may want to consider transitioning him to their Golden Retriever Adult dry dog food when he is about 15 months old.

    This fantastic breed-specific dog food has been specially formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of Golden Retrievers. Made with a quality mix of products that includes meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables, you will be hard-pressed to find a more wholesome dry dog food for your adult Golden Retriever.  The only downside you’ll find with this food, and the main reason we haven’t rated it higher in the list is the price. Royal Canin is renowned for its top-quality pet foods. Unfortunately, though, they’re not cheap.

    Pros
    • Breed-specific
    • Age-specific
    • Great nutritional mix
    Cons
    • Price

    5. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Dog Food

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Dog Food

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials’ Large Breed dog food is an excellent food for large, active adult dogs.  While not explicitly formulated for golden retriever’s this dog food does contain the right mix of nutritional ingredients that will provide your pet with a well-balanced diet.

    One of the major selling features of this product is that it contains no by-products, corn, wheat, or soy protein, and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It does, however, have a slightly higher fat content than some other dog foods, and this may be something to watch as golden retrievers are a breed known to have issues with weight and joint problems.

    Pros
    • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
    • Contains no by-products
    Cons
    • Not bread specific
    • High-fat content

    6. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food

    Royal Canin Golden Retriever Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food

    Most golden retrievers will eat anything you put in front of them, but if you have one that is a little fussier with its food or is getting on in years, you may want to consider feeding your pet wet dog food. If that’s the case, you will be hard-pressed to find a better wet food for your retriever than Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever Loaf in Sauce.

    This bread specific canned food is considerably easier for a dog to chew than dry foods, yet will still provide them with a complete and well-balanced diet.

    We particularly like that this product derives most of its protein from animal-based sources, rather than plants, as meat proteins contain a lot of essential amino acids.

    Pros
    • Easy to chew
    • Can be spread as a paste
    • Animal-based proteins
    Cons
    • Price
    • Less convenient than dry food

    7. Hill’s Science Diet Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Hill's Science Diet Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Hill’s Science Diet’s large breed dog food with chicken and barley is a non-breed specific dry feed that may be a good choice if you are after dog food that doesn’t use by-products. As suggested by its name, the top two ingredients in this recipe are chicken and barley. However, it also contains a good mix of other grains and vegetables that will ensure your dog has a wholesome and nutritious diet.

    Pros
    • Contains no by-products
    • Great nutritional mix
    Cons
    • Price

    8. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    This grain-free dry dog food from Wellness CORE could be a great choice if your golden retriever suffers from a food allergy or sensitivity. Its high protein recipe has been specially formulated to ensure that despite containing no grains will provide your dog with all of the necessary nutrients he needs.

    Importantly, this dog food has a mix of potatoes, peas, and other vegetables to ensure your dog still receives the carbohydrates it requires to have an active and energetic lifestyle.

    Pros
    • Grain-free formula
    • A mix of meats, fruits and vegetables
    Cons
    • Price
    • Not breed specific

    9. Pedigree 10083901 Adult Dry Dog Food

    Pedigree 10083901 Adult Dry Dog Food

    Pedigree is one of the more well-known brands of dog food on our list of reviews, and one of its main selling points is that it is readily available almost anywhere.

    From a nutritional perspective, Pedigree’s Adult Dry Dog food will provide the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although we not that it is not specially formulated for large dogs, nor is it a breed-specific product. It is available in a range of different flavors and sizes and compared to most other dog foods on our list is quite inexpensive.

    Pros
    • Price
    • Readily available
    Cons
    • Not breed specific
    • Not specifically for large dogs

    Buyer’s Guide

    Choosing the best dog food for your golden retriever can be difficult. There is an overwhelming variety of dog foods available, and every manufacturer will tell you that they have the best dog food on the market. So, how do you decide what’s best for your dog?

    Well, the first thing we suggest is to take a look at the reviews we’ve provided in this article.  All of the products we’ve listed are from reputable dog food manufacturers and, depending upon your circumstance, could be a good choice.  However, you may also want to consider the following.

    Dog food labels can be confusing

    Take a look at any dog food online or in-store, and you’ll immediately notice that there is a considerable amount of confusing information shown on the packaging.

    In the US, there are guidelines that have been established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to govern the claims that pet food companies can make on their labels:

    • If the package claims to contain only a single product, it must contain 95% of that product.
    • If the packaging uses phrases like dinner, platter, and entrée, the product must contain at least 25% of the named ingredient.
    • Where a package uses the term “with”, only 3% of the named ingredient needs to be included in the product.
    • When a package says a product has a “flavor”, it only needs to contain traces of that ingredient.

    Read the ingredients

    When looking at the dog food label, the listed ingredients are displayed by order of weight. That is to say, the ingredient that has the highest percentage by weight is listed first on the ingredients list, and the second-highest ingredient is listed second and so on.

    As a result, ingredients such as meats that contain large amounts of water will generally be listed first, but you should read further down the list as many other ingredients that provide vital nutrients for your dog may weigh less.

    Be sure to consider the grains

    Most dog foods contain grains, and you should consider them when you trying to identify the best food for your golden retriever. Grains are a very good source of carbohydrates, which are essential for active dogs as they will provide your pet with plenty of energy.

    Of course, if your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to grain, you will need to choose a grain-free dog food, and in that case, you’ll need to look for a food that includes carbohydrate rich vegetables like potatoes.

    golden retriever
    Image credit: Golden Retriever by Couleur, Pixabay

    A word on by-products

    Many people will avoid dog foods that list animal by-products in their ingredients, mistakenly believing that the manufacturer has used sub-standard meats; while in fact, the opposite is actually the case.

    A reference to by-products does not mean that the manufacturer has used such things as horns or hooves. Rather, by-products in pet dog foods include many highly nutritious organs such as livers, lungs and kidneys in their product. These are quite digestible parts of the animals, and although less frequently used for human consumption they are very good for your dog.

    Consult your veterinarian

    Don’t forget that your dog’s vet may be the best source of information that is tailored explicitly to the needs of your pet.

    Your vet can tell you if your dog’s weight is too high or low, has a good understanding of any health problems your dog has had and will be able to provide valuable information on nutrition.


    Conclusion

    Hopefully, having had a chance to consider the various dog foods that we have suggested, along with the individual needs of your golden retriever you have a clear idea of which dog food is right for your dog.

    To recap the results of our reviews, the winner of our tests are:

    Best Overall:                 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food

    Best Value:                   Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog

    Best for Puppies:          Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food


    Featured Image: Photo by Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash