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The 10 Best Dog Foods For Golden Retriever Puppies

What your Golden Retriever puppy consumes today will have a lasting impact on their health and longevity. Your developing dog needs several vitamins and minerals.

Otherwise, kids may be at a greater risk of having health issues such as hip dysplasia later in life. While good nutrition is important for all puppies, Golden Retriever puppies require it even more so.

As bigger dogs, these dogs are more susceptible to diet-related health problems. For example, if they grow too quickly or consume an improper ratio of calcium to phosphorus, they may develop hip dysplasia.

Nevertheless, selecting the best meal might seem practically difficult. There are several dog meals available. Choosing the right option for your Golden Retriever might be difficult.

Fortunately, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has completed a significant portion of the research for you. We've examined some of the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies below.


Purina Pro Plan Dog Food, Dry

We suggest Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula if your budget is tight. As the name implies, this formula is mainly intended for pups, however it is not exclusive to smaller breeds.

It is far less expensive than the competitors, while keeping good nutritional standards. Therefore, we believe it to be the most cost-effective puppy chow for Golden Retrievers.

This food’s primary component is chicken, which is suitable for most dogs. Golden Retrievers need an abundance of amino acids and other nutrients to grow normally.

Nonetheless, chicken is a frequent allergy, so keep this in mind when giving this to your dog. Since this dish contains grains, rice is also included. This rice is a convenient supply of carbs, which are a source of energy.

In addition, corn gluten meal is incorporated. This component may seem contentious, yet it is really one of the most easily digested protein sources. On a less positive note, by-products of varying quality are also present.


  • Inexpensive
  • Contains chicken as the primary component.
  • Grain-inclusive
  • Correct calcium to phosphorus ratio


  • Examples of by-products include

Orijen Incredible Grains Dry Dog Food

Compared to other available feeds, Orijen Amazing Grains Dry Puppy Food is much more expensive. However, it contains far more meat, therefore you are paying for high-quality components.

The first few components are chicken, turkey, and salmon, all of which are meats. All of these meats include the amino acids necessary for your puppy’s growth and development.

Due to the abundance of meats, this cuisine has a much greater protein level than others. Depending on your dog, this might be a good or bad thing.

Some dogs react negatively to high-protein diets, but others thrive on them. When selecting this item, bear in mind that high-protein diets may also be linked to a variety of health issues.

Moreover, this dish contains grains. However, grains do not appear on the ingredient list until considerably lower down.

This diet contains a considerable amount of DHA and EPA, thanks to its high fish content. Also included are probiotics and prebiotics, which assist balance your dog’s digestive tract.


  • Grain-inclusive
  • Abundant meat
  • DHA and EPA are present
  • Probiotics added


  • Expensive

Vet’s Choice Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Food

The first component of Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food is deboned chicken, followed by chicken meal.

Both of these components are rich in protein and fat, which are essential for your puppy’s development. Chicken meal has more protein than whole chicken since it is essentially concentrated chicken.

This formula also includes grains. It contains grains such as barley, oats, and brown rice. All of these nutrients are rich in fiber and carbs, which your dog need to maintain their high energy levels.

Omega fatty acids, DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin are incorporated to guarantee the proper development of your dog. These aid in the growth and development of your puppy, ensuring that they will mature into healthy adults.


  • Grain-inclusive
  • Containing omega fatty acids
  • Poultry as the primary component
  • Included Glucosamine and Chondroitin


  • Expensive

Large Breed Diamond Naturals Puppy Formula

As suggested by its name, Diamond Naturals Big Breed Puppy Formula was particularly formulated for large breed pups.

Therefore, it provides the ideal mix of components and nutrients to help your Golden Retriever develop without raising their risk for health issues later on.

Lamb is the key component in this dish. Therefore, this formulation may be effective for dogs who are allergic to chicken. In addition, a variety of grains are provided, which may assist avoid future issues.

This recipe provides a significant quantity of protein because to the large proportion of lamb. However, it may not be as high as some of the other formulae we’ve examined so far.

This recipe also contains a high quantity of probiotics and prebiotics to aid with the digestive health of your puppy. These two substances improve your Golden Retriever’s digestion and avoid stomach issues.


  • Lamb as the first component
  • Reasonable amount of protein
  • Included are probiotics and prebiotics
  • Specifically designed for huge breed puppies


  • Expensive

Formulation for VICTOR Purpose Active Dog & Puppy

Compared to other puppy formulas, the protein content of VICTOR Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Formula is high. The protein level is 33%, which is more than the majority of formulas on this list.

However, a significant portion of this protein does not originate from meat, thus we ranked this dish lower on the list. While beef meal is the first (and most healthy) component, peas are listed as the second.

Peas are often used in grain-free dishes such as this one, and they are rich in protein. Therefore, they considerably increase the protein content of the diet. According to a recent FDA research, however, peas may also trigger some cardiac issues in dogs.

This meal has every nutrient your dog needs to flourish. You may continue to give this food to your dog well into maturity if he or she is active, but less active canines will need less protein and fewer calories.


  • Beef dinner as the primary component
  • High in protein content
  • Designed for energetic adult dogs and pups


  • Contains a great deal of peas.
  • Grain-free

Formula for Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dogs

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula is one of the market’s most popular foods. It consists of lamb meal, water buffalo, and other meats.

The recipe boasts that it contains both venison and bison. While these meats are on the list, they are extremely far down. Therefore, pay close attention to the components listed on the label, not those marketed.

This dish has a substantial amount of beef, as well as pea protein. This concentrated type of protein significantly increases the protein content of this dish.

However, this protein may not include all of the amino acids your dog needs to flourish, and as previously indicated, peas have been linked to a number of health issues. This food’s protein level is relatively high. However, a significant amount comes from peas.

We appreciate that this formula is produced in the United States and that Taste of the Wild is a family-owned company. It also lacks cereals, maize, and wheat, as well as several chemical additives.


  • Alternative meats for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Somewhat high levels of protein
  • Not made with artificial tastes or colors.


  • Grain-free
  • Pea protein included

Natural Balance LID Food for Dry Dogs

You may wish to investigate Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice Puppy Recipe for pups with allergies. This recipe has few chemicals, reducing the likelihood that your dog may have an allergic response.

In addition, lamb is the sole source of protein and is not a common allergen. The amino acids your dog needs to flourish are found in lamb.

Brown rice is the second component mentioned. This grain contributes fiber and carbs to the diet of your dog. This fiber helps control the digestive function of your dog.

This formula has neither soy or gluten, making it more suitable for dogs with food allergies. This recipe contains DHA and omega fatty acids from fish oil, which contribute to the health of your dog’s hair and skin.

Even though this meal isn’t intended exclusively for big breed dogs, it has everything that larger pups need to flourish. Consequently, it is appropriate for Golden Retriever pups.


  • Omega fatty acids include
  • Included brown rice for additional fiber
  • Lamb as the sole source of protein


  • Expensive
  • Not specifically built for huge breeds

Ultimates Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Dog Food for Puppies

In comparison to other brands on the market, Ultimates Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Puppy Dog Food is much more expensive. Therefore, we ranked it lower on the list, particularly because you aren’t gaining much for the extra price.

The first component is incredibly healthy chicken meal. This component consists only of chicken, but the moisture has been removed, making it incredibly concentrated. As the second ingredient, brown rice contributes fiber and carbs to the recipe.

Consequently, peas are the third component mentioned. This component contributes a significant amount of protein to the dish, yet this protein may not be easily digested. In addition, peas may be linked to some health issues in dogs. Consider this if you choose to buy this formula.

In addition, L-Carnitine is added to this recipe. This vitamin enhances your dog’s capacity to burn fat and build lean muscle. Additionally, it contains DHA for brain development.


  • Poultry meal as the primary component
  • High fiber content
  • Contains DHA


  • Expensive
  • High on the ingredient list are peas

Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage Dry Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage Dry Dog Food is not specially formulated for pups of huge breeds. However, it meets the nutritional requirements of all pups, making it ideal for Golden Retrievers and the vast majority of other puppies.

It excludes peas, lentils, and legumes, which have been linked to a variety of health issues. Instead, brown rice is listed as the first component. This component is rich in fiber and several other nutrients.

Due to the inclusion of fish, this recipe has a high concentration of DHA for brain growth. However, we did found this formula to be much more costly than other available solutions.

In addition, it is not developed particularly for big breed dogs.


  • No peas, lentils, or legumes
  • Poultry meal as the primary component
  • Fish added


  • Exorbitantly priced
  • Not specifically developed for bigger breeds

Eukanuba Premium Performance Pro Puppy Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Premium Performance Pro Dry Puppy Food has a limited but fervent following. This firm purports to employ cutting-edge technology in the formulation of their dog food, which is one reason for their immense popularity.

However, they are also among the most costly dog meals available. In addition, their components are not of exceptional quality. Therefore, this item has little nutritional value. You pay more for less value.

The first component is chicken by-product meal. Although by-products are not necessarily undesirable, they may include low-quality substances such as feathers.

Therefore, they are not advised, particularly as the primary source of protein. Despite its name, brewer’s rice is incredibly healthy and is the second component in this dish. Probably the majority of the nutrients come from the brewer’s rice.

The addition of wheat gluten increases the protein level of this dish. However, wheat gluten is not easily digestive, so your dog may not get much nutrition from this diet.


  • Supported by scientific evidence
  • Brewer’s rice contains rice


  • Highly costly
  • Using byproducts as the primary component
  • Not only for huge breed dogs

Buyer's Guide

Purchasing dog food may be intimidating, particularly when attempting to determine your puppy’s nutritional needs.

Fortunately, with a tiny bit of background information, it is simple to determine the quality of the different dog meals on the market, enabling you to choose the finest choice for your dog.

We’ll cover all you need to know about this dish below.

Protein and Essential Amino Acids

Dogs need 22 distinct amino acids for survival. However, they can produce several of these on their own. There are ten that they cannot manufacture without assistance. Consequently, these amino acids must be present in their diet. If not, inadequacies will arise.

These amino acids are derived from the protein present in meat and plants. Both meat and plant sources are equally digestible to dogs, although the majority of plant sources do not contain all the essential amino acids. Additionally, meat-derived protein is more efficient.

Therefore, the protein content of your dog’s diet is crucial. Otherwise, your dogs would lack the essential amino acids and experience health issues.

Ideally, the primary supply of protein should be derived from meat. However, plant-based protein may be effective if it is supported by research and contains all essential amino acids. After consuming protein, your dog’s body does not care where it came from.

If meat is used, the source should be specified. “Beef” and “salmon” are excellent alternatives. However, neither “meat” nor “byproducts” are. Regarding chicken by-products, they are not recommended since they provide less crude protein than whole chicken. In addition, you do not know exactly what you are obtaining with by-products.

Lipid Acids

In addition to amino acids, fatty acids are essential for the health of your dog. These fatty acids are particularly important for the brain development of Golden Retriever pups. Fatty fish, entire eggs, plant oils, and nut butter all include essential fatty acids for your dog’s growth.

Frequently, dog meals include either fish flesh as the primary source of protein or fish oil. Some also include eggs and vegetable oils. Each of these substances contributes essential amino acids.


Carbohydrates, despite their negative reputation, are essential for your dog’s growth. These carbohydrates provide as a quick supply of energy, which your dog need for growth and development. In addition, carbs are rich in fiber, which aids in regulating your dog’s digestive tract.

Therefore, we strongly advise selecting a dish with an excellent supply of carbs. Whole grains are often the healthiest choice since they are rich in nutrients and fiber. Unless your dog has an uncommon allergy to grains, we suggest selecting a diet that contains grains.

Many people believe that grain-free dishes are superior because they include more meat, although this is seldom the case. Instead, several grain-free meals substitute peas for grains in their recipes. Peas are not suggested as a source of carbohydrates for dogs, since they may be associated with many health issues.

Life Stage

Make careful to get puppy food when feeding a Golden Retriever puppy. Adults and puppies have varied nutritional requirements. Consequently, pups cannot survive on adult dog food.

During their puppy years, large breeds such as Golden Retrievers must be fed with extra care. Otherwise, kids may experience health issues in the future. For instance, hip dysplasia is a prevalent condition that is often linked to nutrition.

There are several dog meals created particularly for pups of huge breeds. However, certain formulae are nutritious enough to be acceptable for all dogs. Ensure that the formula is labeled as suitable for big breed pups. Normal puppy chow will not enough for these pets.


1. How can I ensure that my puppy’s food is appropriate for his stage of development?

As you examined several types of dog food, you may have observed that some are advertised specifically for puppies or older dogs. Because a puppy’s digestive system develops and matures over time, your dog may have varying nutritional requirements at various stages of its life.

In general, your dog will benefit from puppy food between the ages of eight weeks and six to twelve months. Consult your veterinarian to decide when to move from puppy food to adult dog food, since recommendations vary depending on the size of your dog.

2. How Should I Transition My Pup or Adult Dog to a New Brand of Food?

Whether you are transferring brands or shifting your dog from puppy food to adult food, it is best to make the move gradually. Start by substituting one-fourth of the dog’s existing diet with the new food for several meals. After a few days, you may begin blending it with half-and-half.

During the changeover, keep an eye out for loose stools; if you find that your Golden is suffering with the new food, wait a few days before increasing the mix. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian!

3. How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog?

The majority of dog meals have specified volume measurements on the packaging. Check the food you are using to see how frequently you should be feeding your dog at various ages and life stages.

Overfeeding your pet may result in a number of health issues. When introducing a new dog food, it’s a good idea to see your veterinarian to assess whether your dog may benefit from a personalized feeding plan.

4. What is the most suitable diet for my Golden Retriever?

Check through 17 of the finest dog meals on the market for Golden Retrievers of all ages to discover which will be most suitable for your dog.

Consult your veterinarian to decide whether your Golden need specific nutritional restrictions. There’s a good chance you’ll discover at least a couple excellent solutions that fit their requirements on this list!

5. What foods cannot Golden Retrievers eat?

Macadamia nuts, chocolate, onions, garlic cloves, grapes, raisins, walnuts, alcohol, and any meal sweetened with xylitol are considered hazardous to Golden Retrievers. Avoid giving your Golden food that contains any of the following items.

6. Do Golden Retrievers require grain in their diet?

Grain is a vital part of a Golden Retriever’s diet. Taurine insufficiency has been linked to a lack of grains, which may cause cardiac issues in your golden retriever.

7. Is wet or dry food better for Golden Retrievers?

Dry food is healthier for your golden retriever’s teeth. Wet food may increase tartar and plaque accumulation on your dog’s teeth. Dry dog food will aid in preventing tartar accumulation on your Golden Retriever’s teeth.


Diet is essential for the long-term health of your Golden Retriever puppy. If these dogs do not get the correct nourishment, they are susceptible to a variety of health problems.

For instance, hip dysplasia has been linked to inadequate nutrition throughout a dog’s formative years. 

We suggest Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula if your budget is tight. Although this recipe contains certain substances of inferior grade, it is relatively affordable.

In addition, Purina is recognized for producing feeds that are scientifically shown to be very safe. 

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes that one of the best dog foods for Golden Retriever puppies we’ve examined is suitable for your Golden Retriever puppy.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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