BestForPets is reader-supported. Your purchases via our links may earn us an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Our Affiliate Disclaimer

The 15 Best Foods For Golden Retriever Puppies

Congratulations on your purchase of a Golden Retriever puppy! You are now one of the 69 million households in the United States that have a dog.

Choosing the appropriate food for your dog is a crucial decision. In the food section of your local pet store, you will discover an abundance of options. It might be challenging to determine which product to purchase.

Our guide contains all the information you need to make an informed purchase. We'll discuss what components and nutritional values to look for when comparing prices and brands.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) also provides comprehensive assessments of some of the best foods for golden retriever puppies. With this information, we hope to make it easy for you to find the finest food for golden retrievers.


Purina ONE Healthy Puppy High Protein+Plus – Best Value



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 397 calories
  • 8 pounds and 16.5 pounds

High scores were given to Purina ONE High Protein +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula as the most cost-effective food for Golden Retriever puppies.

The nutritional profile is remarkable, meeting all of the recommendations of nutrition experts. You may transfer your pet to its first solid diet with this food. We appreciated being able to immediately provide our dogs with high-quality food.

According to the manufacturer, you may wet kibble to make it simpler for your dog to chew. We would add that the food should be collected within thirty minutes to prevent spoiling.

Chicken, meat, and grains are the main sources of protein. It is a nutrient-dense diet, so you may feed your dog less without diminishing its nutritious value.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Possibility to provide it dry or wet
  • Excellent protein content


  • Includes peas


Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy Meal Formula Dry



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 338 calories
  • Sizes: 30 pounds

Royal Canine Breed Nutritional Health Golden Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Meal was deemed the finest food for Golden Retriever puppies overall. The breed-specific recipe distinguished it from its competitors.

This is something the company has done for several breeds in order to meet their distinct nutritional requirements. We loved that it is suitable till your dog becomes an adult at 15 months.

Chicken and grains are the main sources of protein. Taurine, an important amino acid for heart health and other necessary processes, is also included in the diet.

We appreciated that the manufacturer’s feeding suggestions are based on the optimal weight of an adult. If you have a decent notion based on the size of the parents, this is beneficial.

This will guarantee that you are feeding your puppy a enough quantity to achieve its target weight.


  • Excellent nutritional profile
  • Not wheat-free
  • Breed-specific recipe
  • Added taurine


  • Spendy
  • Just one size available


Royal Canin Dry Dog Food with Hydrolyzed Protein



  • Protein: 5%
  • Fat: 5%
  • Calories per cup: 332 calories
  • 7 pounds, 17.5 pounds, and 25.3 pounds

The formulation of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food makes it simple to digest for both puppies and adults. The nutritional profile satisfies the criteria for a healthy diet.

The product’s principal proteins are chicken and grains, not peas. It is extremely appealing to picky eaters and people with delicate stomachs.

Even though it is not specifically created for Golden Retrievers, this food meets the breed’s special nutritional requirements. It does require a prescription, however this is not a major issue.

However, the food is expensive as well. However, it is important to measure the expense against the health advantages and comfort it will bring your dog. Additionally, we appreciated that it could be fed to mature dogs as a long-term remedy.


  • Easily digestible
  • Perfect for dogs with delicate tummies
  • Added taurine
  • For canines and grownups


  • Pricey
  • Prescription necessary


Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken and Rice Formula for Dry Dog Food



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 456 calories
  • Sizes: 6, 18, 34 pounds

You may also use Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Puppy Food to ease your pet towards maturity. The manufacturer gives feeding guidelines for all sizes of puppies. Chicken, meat, and grains are the principal sources of protein.

The diet also contains protein from fish and eggs to cover all bases. The sole disadvantage is for pets with dietary sensitivities, despite the presence of prebiotic fiber.

We appreciated the availability of three sizes, which will facilitate the transition to adulthood and a larger bag. All food portions are fairly priced.

The diet has a sufficient amount of both insoluble and soluble fibers. The diet is nutritionally sufficient, however taurine is not added.


  • Source of complete protein with grains
  • Three sizes are offered
  • Excellent nutrition


  • No added taurine


The Hill’s Scientific Diet Dry Puppy Chicken Meal and Oat Dog Food



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 394 calories
  • 5 pounds and 30 pounds

The Hill’s Scientific Diet The high protein content of Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal & Oat Dry Dog Food promotes a dog’s healthy development into adulthood.

We enjoy that it may be fed to your puppy for up to 18 months. Large breeds mature more slowly than little puppies, therefore this argument holds water. We merely hoped that the feeding instructions were more comprehensive and that the age disparities were less.

Chicken, pork, and grains are the main sources of protein. The selection of chicken as the primary ingredient helps maintain a reasonable fat content.

The diet includes a sufficient quantity of protein and fiber. Unfortunately, it contains peas, but at least they appear last on the ingredient list.


  • USA-made
  • Added taurine

Excellent fiber content derived from several sources


  • Includes peas


Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Puppy Dried Dog Food



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 373 calories
  • Sizes: 15, 30.6 pounds (available in two packs)

Iams Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Formulated to suit the nutritional requirements of huge and gigantic breeds, such as the Golden Retriever.

Chicken, grains, and egg provide the ideal amounts of protein and fat, respectively. We enjoy it when items contain eggs since they are such a great source of other nutrients. Interestingly, chicken fat appears low on the ingredient list in order to keep it under control.

We appreciate seeing entire chicken at the top of the ingredient list. This makes it an appetizing option for your pet. It also contains a sufficient amount of fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat in pristine condition.

You may feed this food to your puppy until it is completely grown, making it a fantastic bargain.


  • Excellent nutritional profile
  • Excellent protein content
  • USA-made
  • Highly palatable


  • No added taurine


Complete Puppy Food



  • Protein: 5%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 414 calories
  • 4 pounds and 32 pounds

Complete Puppy Chow is an acceptable name for this chow. It has a high nutritious content, which earns it the moniker. Despite the fact that maize is the primary component, this product also contains animal-based protein.

Chicken, beef, and pork are the only foods that provide all of the necessary amino acids. Additionally, the manufacturer’s ingredients are sourced from the United States, which we admired.

However, we were perplexed to find garlic oil on the ingredient list, as it is poisonous to dogs and many other animals. We can only assume that its purpose is to enhance the flavor of the dish. At least this is the final one.


  • USA-made
  • Completely nutritional


  • Large disparity between sizes
  • No added taurine


Wellness Complete Health Dry Poultry, Oatmeal, and Salmon



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 450 calories
  • Five, fifteen, and thirty pounds

Wellness Total Wellness Dry Puppy Chicken, Oats, and Salmon Meal Dog Food Food fulfills your dog’s protein requirements in several ways.

Probably, the first ones supply more than enough. The product comprises a variety of human meals, including sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples, to enhance its natural appearance. It also contains probiotics, which your pet may or may not benefit from.

We observed several red flags. The prominence of peas on the ingredient list is possibly troublesome. Additionally, the diet contained garlic powder, which we considered peculiar.

We found it peculiar that the label specified deboned chicken. We sincerely hoped that was a given.


  • Added taurine
  • Excellent protein content


  • Peas and sweet potatoes are prominent among the ingredients
  • Elevated fat content


Life Protection Formula Puppy Food by Blue Buffalo



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 400 calories
  • 3, 5, 6, 15, and 30 kg

Blue Buffalo Lifeguard Formulation The ingredient list for Puppy Food is one of the most extensive we’ve seen. Many of the ingredients, including carrots, vegetable juice, and alfalfa pellets, appeared to be filler.

Unfortunately, it also includes potatoes, peas, and pea fiber. Garlic is also included and ranks frighteningly high on the list.

Again, the label indicates deboned chicken, leaving us to question why. The diet is nutritionally complete since taurine has been added. It is also a rich source of probiotics and fatty acids. Notably, this brand was among those for which the FDA received complaints.


  • Added taurine
  • Excellent protein content


  • Peas and sweet potatoes are prominent among the ingredients
  • Inclusion of garlic in the ingredients


Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food for Puppies Grain-Free



  • Protein: 0%
  • Fat: 0%
  • Calories per cup: 415 calories
  • 5 pound, 14 pounds, and 28 pounds

The component of Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. We thought the name of the food was peculiar. Water Buffalo, a species endemic to Asia, is the first element.

Bison, which roamed the high plains, are included on the list. The other protein sources are also peculiar, including lamb, poultry, and ocean fish. It contains several filler components, including blueberries and tomatoes.

This diet has hazardous components, including pea protein. The extensive list contains probiotics and a reasonable quantity of fiber.

Despite the use of low-fat protein sources, the fat level is rather significant, especially considering that the food is also intended for adult dogs.


  • Added taurine


  • Sweet potatoes and pea protein figure prominently among the ingredients
  • Elevated fat content

Buying Advice: Choosing the Finest Food for Your Golden Retriever Pup

The most crucial aspect of selecting dog food is purchasing a product that is suitable for the dog’s size and life stage. Because your pet’s nutritional demands change as it matures, puppy food and adult food are not identical.

As a general rule, puppies require more protein and fat to promote their growth. Additionally, the breed is significant since small and large dogs develop at various rates.

The mature size of a Golden Retriever classifies it as a big breed. While the specific divisions vary, this category often includes animals that weigh above 50 pounds as adults.

Numerous businesses will utilize these broad categories to develop and market pet meals. Other considerations while selecting puppy food include:

  • Protein content
  • Fat content
  • Ingredients
  • Sizes

Dog Food Protein Content

The composition of pet food labels is typically expressed as a percentage rather than a quantity. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the National Research Council (NRC) nutritional profiles are the gold standard.

Notably, the AAFCO employs percentages whereas the NRC uses grams. The minimum quantity of protein recommended is 22%, or 45 grams. The relevant amounts are 18% and 20 g for adult canines.

Complete proteins derived from animals contain all of the necessary amino acids. Grains are an additional good source of protein, however they may not include all of these building blocks.

It is essential that the puppy chow matches this basic need for optimum development.

Dog Food Fat Content

Fat is an essential macronutrient that provides an excellent source of energy and the building blocks for the production of healthy cholesterol. It is essential for cellular health and nutrition uptake.

The suggested quantities vary drastically between pups and adult dogs, making it imperative that you provide your pet with food according to their life stage. The levels are 8% for pups and 5% for adults, or 21,3 g for puppies and 13,8 g for adults, respectively.

Remember that puppies are more likely to burn off any extra fat due to their high level of activity. Obviously, they require it for growth and development as well.

While the AAFCO does not provide a maximum percentage, the NRC specifies a maximum of 330 g for pups and 82.5 g for adults.

Dog Food Ingredients

The mandatory labeling on pet food helps you pick the finest food for your Golden Retriever puppy. One of these needs is a statement of nutritional sufficiency.

This informs you about the product’s life cycle. You will also be provided with a guaranteed analysis of the food’s vitamins and minerals. If it satisfies AAFCO requirements, the label will indicate that the food is full and balanced.

Manufacturers must list the contents in their goods, beginning with the item that contributes the largest mass. Typically, an animal protein will come first.

Don’t be discouraged by terminology like by-products. Despite what marketers may attempt to convince you, this does not signify poor nutrition. It simply indicates that certain substances were not used in products intended for human consumption.

Similar statements can be made about so-called human-grade pet meals. There is no official meaning for the phrase. It does not imply that it is safer or superior. Unfortunately, natural is also a marketing phrase.

A Word Regarding Grains

There are certainly many items that promote their grain-free formulations. Notably, although dogs are carnivores, their metabolism has adapted to these meals as a result of their interactions with people.

The substitution of grains by manufacturers is a second problem. Typical examples include sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, and other types of legumes.

Recently, the FDA has seen an increase in occurrences of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This ailment prevents an animal from adequately pumping blood throughout its body, resulting in an enlarged heart and possibly organ failure.

Some research reveals a possible association between the altered substances and the disease in question. Golden Retrievers have a greater incidence of DCM, which can also be caused by low taurine levels.

These canines can produce taurine within their bodies. However, this breed has a tendency to produce insufficient offspring. The presence of taurine in the ingredient list is therefore something we constantly verify.

The FDA continues to investigate grains and taurine. If you are concerned about your puppy’s food and DCM, you should address the matter with your veterinarian.

Dog Food Sizes

Most producers provide dog food in various sizes. However, keep in mind that larger ones are often more cost-effective. In addition, your puppy will develop rapidly, as will its appetite. We recommend considering both variables while selecting a product.

You may also determine, based on the manufacturer’s feeding guidelines, how many cups a certain size may supply. It is a simple computation to determine the optimal option.


The one-place finisher was Purina ONE High Protein + Plus Healthy Puppy Formula. You may give it to your pups as soon as they are weaned because it includes no additives and has an excellent nutritional profile.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) would like to thank our readers for visiting our website to learn about and research the best foods for golden retriever puppies. We hope you’ve selected the appropriate food for your golden retriever.

Author Image

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


Rated 0 out of 5
0 out of 5 stars (based on 0 reviews)
Very good0%

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.

Related articles