Is Purina puppy Chow good for Golden Retrievers

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Golden eating dog food for Golden Retrievers
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The Golden Retriever is consistently ranked among the top dog breeds in the United States, according to AKC registration statistics. These dogs are known for their soft golden coats, gentle temperaments, and goofy personalities. But do they need special food? Whats the best dog food for Golden Retrievers?

Though all dogs are prone to certain health issues, Golden Retrievers have a few specific ones. This breed often suffers from genetic joint problems, various forms of cancer, and allergies. Choosing a high-quality dog food for your Golden may also reduce her risk for health problems.

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dry FoodHalo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dry Food

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dry Food

This holistic crunchy dry dog food features real chicken as its main ingredient.

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Unfortunately, many of these conditions are undetectable in growing puppies, which is why responsible breeding practices are so important. Golden Retriever puppy food wont necessarily eliminate these risks. However, starting off with quality nutrition will help set your dog up to face potential issues.

Keep reading to learn more about the unique dietary requirements of Golden Retrievers. Well also help you pick the best food for your adult dog and puppy with our roundup below.

Do Golden Retrievers Need Special Dog Food?

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, adult dogs require a minimum of 18% protein in their diet, and puppies need at least 22%. Protein provides the building blocks for strong muscles in puppies. And in adults, it supports lean muscle maintenance. For most dogs, higher protein content is a good thing.

Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy in the form of calories. It should make up at least 8% of the diet for puppies and 5% for adult dogs. This is where your Golden Retrievers needs start to differ.

Small dog breeds havea faster metabolismand need a higher concentration of calories in their diet. For large breeds like the Golden Retriever, however, excess calories can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Obesity increases the risk for other issues like bone and joint problems. As such, Golden Retrievers need a protein-rich dog food with low-to-moderate fat and calorie content.

What About Growing Puppies?

A puppys needs for protein and calories are higher than an adults. However, large-breed puppies need to be kept on a calorie-controlled diet to prevent them from growing too quickly.

According toAAFCO nutrient profiles, they also need lower calcium and phosphorus levels to reduce the risk of joint issues. So, yes, its good to look for a Golden Retriever puppy food thats right for your growing pup.

What to Look for in a Good Golden Retriever Food

To ensure that your Golden Retrievers basic nutritional needs are met, its best to choose a large-breed dog food formulated for her life stage.

Here are some other things to look for when choosing a good dog food for your Golden Retriever:

  • Wholesome, natural ingredients with no fillers, byproducts, or artificial additives
  • Rich in lean protein from high-quality animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish
  • Limited fat and calorie content to control growth in puppies and maintain lean mass in adults
  • Controlled calcium and phosphorus levels with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Nutritionally complete and balanced formulas, according to AAFCO nutrient profiles

Besides making sure your Golden Retrievers food meets these requirements, you should also check to see if it comes in a bigger kibble size. Large and deep-chested breeds have a high risk for bloat which is exacerbated by eating too fast or eating too much at oncebigger kibble means that your dog gets the same nutrition in smaller portion sizes.

Are Grain-Free Dog Foods Safe for Golden Retrievers?

Over the past year or so, theres been a lot of debate surrounding grain-free diets for dogs. It began in July 2018 when theFDA announcedthat it had received several reports of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, related to grain-free diets.

In response to these reports, the FDA launched an investigation with the followingresults:

  • Out of 300 reports of DCM, 90% of dogs eating a single primary diet were fed grain-free food
  • Some reports involved multiple affected animals (both dogs and cats) in the same household
  • These reports spanned a variety of breeds, not only large and giant breeds that are known to have a genetic predisposition to DCM

DCM is not a condition typically seen in Goldens, but Dr. Josh Stern, a vet at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who has a Golden himself, began seeing an increase. Whenstudying DCM in the breed, he found many of the dogs were following a grain-free diet and had a taurine deficiency.

While the FDA has yet to issue an official statement, experts likeDr. Lisa M. Freemansuggest that the correlation between DCM and BEG (boutique, exotic, grain-free) diets could be due to the ingredients used to replace the grains, among other variables.

So what exactly does this mean for your Golden Retriever?

Feeding a grain-free diet is still a personal decision, but keep in mind that these diets are notinherently healthierthan grain-inclusive diets. The exception is for dogswho are allergicor sensitive to grains, in which case a grain-free diet may be recommended.

The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Thoughbreed-specific dog foodformulas might be fine for your dog, its better to understand your dogs nutritional needs and make an informed decision based on that. Considering your dogs age, breed size, and activity level will help you make the best choice.

With that in mind, these are our top picks for the best dog food for adult Golden Retrievers.

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dog Food

Formulated for digestibility, this holistic natural dog food recipe features real chicken as the main ingredient, acting as both a lean source of protein and a natural source of joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin for your Golden Retriever.

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dry FoodHalo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dry Food

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Large-Breed Dog Food

This holistic crunchy dry dog food features real chicken as the main ingredient.

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Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large-Breed Recipe Dry Food

A nutritious blend of high-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw bites of real meat, this recipe provides the nutritional benefits of raw food with the convenience of dry food.

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large-Breed Recipe Dry FoodMerrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large-Breed Recipe Dry Food

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large-Breed Recipe Dry Food

This protein-rich dry dog food contains small freeze-dried raw bites of real meat mixed in with freeze-dried coated kibble.

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Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large-Breed Adult Lamb and Rice Recipe

Pasture-fed lamb is the protein-rich foundation of this large-breed recipe, balanced with whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal, and assorted vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure optimal nutrition.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large-Breed Adult Lamb & Rice RecipeNutro Wholesome Essentials Large-Breed Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large-Breed Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe

This large-breed recipe contains lamb as its main source of protein and glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.

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Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Formulated to support your dogs hip, joint, and digestive health, this nutritionally-balanced recipe will also help your dog maintain a healthy body weight. Fresh chicken and chicken meal provide a concentrated source of protein with wholesome grains for essential nutrients.

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health FormulaWellness Large Breed Complete Health Formula

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Formulated without meat byproducts, fillers, or artificial preservatives, this recipe features deboned chicken, whole grains, and a mix of fruits and veggiesincluding sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apples.

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Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Recipe

Not only is this large-breed grain-free recipe rich in lean protein, but its fortified with natural fibers, digestive enzymes, and probiotics to ensure healthy and regular digestion.

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal and Lentils RecipeHolistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal and Lentils Recipe

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Recipe

The large kibble size of this grain-free formula is ideal for large-sized (50+ pound) Goldens.

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Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

Large breeds like Golden Retrievers have a higher risk for obesity. Featuring lean chicken and 25% less fat, this healthy-weight formula is an excellent option to keep your Golden fit.

Natures Variety Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Chicken RecipeNatures Variety Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

This low-fat weight management dog food is grain-free and contains lean chicken as its primary source of protein.

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Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

If food allergies and sensitivities arent a factor, this dry dog food recipe is a protein-rich source of quality nutrition. It also contains limited fat and calories to help your Golden Retriever maintain their weight as they get older.

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food for Golden RetrieversVictor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

This weight management dry dog food is intended for senior-aged dogs and contains ingredients to help support their joint health.

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Best Food for a Golden Retriever Puppy

Quality nutrition sets your Golden Retriever puppy up for a long and healthy life. Here are our top picks for the best food for a Golden Retriever puppy.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

This dog food will support your Golden Retriever puppys growth and development without going overboard on fat or calories. The recipe features fresh chicken and digestible brown rice.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice RecipeBlue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

Featuring deboned chicken as its first ingredient, this puppy recipe offers a wholesome balance of protein, whole grains, and vitamins and minerals.

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American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food

If you already know that your Golden puppy is sensitive to grains, this chicken and sweet potato recipe is an affordable option specifically for large-breed puppies.

American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food for Golden Retriever PuppiesAmerican Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppies

American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food

If your puppy is sensitive to grains, this chicken and sweet potato recipe is a good choice, since its free of grains, wheat, soy, and corn.

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Nutro Ultra Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

Made with fresh chicken as a lean source of protein and chicken meal to provide glucosamine and chondroitin, this dog food for puppies will get your Golden Retriever off to a healthy start in life.

Nutro Ultra Large-Breed Puppy RecipeNutro Ultra Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

Nutro Ultra Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

This chicken-based puppy recipe is formulated to support the energy needs of young Goldens and other large breed puppies.

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All dogs have the same basic nutritional needs when it comes to protein, fat, and essential nutrients, but there are some disparities among breeds of different sizes.

To learn more about the nutritional needs of large dogs, check out our guide to the best dog food for large breeds.

Further Reading

  • Best Toys for Golden Retrievers
  • Best Dog Beds for Golden Retrievers
  • Golden Retriever Gear
  • Rover Golden Retriever Store

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