The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers in 2023

By John Myers / August 10, 2021

Golden Retriever with white backgroundCanine companions are beloved members of many families, and none more so than the Golden Retriever. These intelligent, loving, and devoted dogs are popular among households with children, but with age, certain health issues can arise. To safeguard your Golden Retriever’s well-being, feeding them high-quality dog food is essential.

The right food can provide your furry friend with vital vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and protein, all of which are critical to maintaining optimal health. However, with a plethora of dog food options available, selecting the best one can be a daunting task.

Fear not, for we have sifted through the vast array of choices and have narrowed down the list to present you with the best dog food options for Golden Retrievers in 2023. In this article, we will review each of these options and provide you with a buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision.

Golden Retriever puppy outside

Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin is one of the biggest names in the industry with several lines of food specifically designed for different breeds. This is dry food made for adult purebred Golden Retrievers that are at least 15 months or older.

The shape of the kibble is exclusive to Royal Canin and is explicitly designed for Golden Retriever’s straight muzzle and scissor bite. It encourages chewing and promotes dental health.

Its formula reinforces the skin barrier with the essential nutrients it contains. It helps your dog have healthy skin and develop a shiny and healthy coat.

The food contains EPA, DHA, and taurine for healthier cardiac function. On top of that, it’s easy to maintain ideal weight since all the calories and fats are precisely designed for the needs of your Golden Retriever.


  • Unique kibble shape
  • Promotes healthy cardiac function
  • Contains all the nutrients a Goldie needs


  • Not suitable for puppies

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Taste of the Wild Premium

If you want quality food for your pup, you might want to consider this TOTW Premium formula. It has real smoked salmon as the number one ingredient. As such, the formula is rich in amino acids and protein for lean and strong muscles.

On top of that, it also contains added minerals and vitamins from vegetables and fruits. It’s rich in superfoods, antioxidants and fatty acids for healthy coat and skin.

All the ingredients come from sustainable and trusted sources around the world. It contains no corn, wheat, grain, filler, or any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

One of the best things about this food is that it’s highly digestible. It’s also rich in probiotics that survive and thrive in the gastrointestinal tract. Another thing worth mentioning is that it contains no eggs, so it’s suitable for pups that have a sensitivity to eggs.


  • Promotes healthy coat and skin
  • Highly digestible formula
  • No eggs, wheat, corn, grain


  • Not for a sensitive stomach

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If you’re looking for complete dry food, you should check out this Eukanuba kibble. It’s suitable for all large breeds, which is excellent if you have another canine next to your Golden Retriever. It’s made for dogs that are 15 months or older weighing over 55 lbs.

The formula promotes lean muscle development as well as joint health, which are critical in adult dogs. It contains animal protein, chondroitin sulfate, and about 50% more glucosamine than previous Eukanuba kibble foods.

It has DHA and vitamin E for healthy brain function. Also, the formula contains optimal levels of carbohydrates and fats supporting your dog’s playful and active lifestyle.

With chicken as the first ingredient, the kibble is quite tasty and packed with protein. The food comes in packages of 16 lb and 33 lb.

To learn more about this brand, check out our Eukanuba review.


  • For active dogs
  • Rich in vitamin E
  • Chicken is the first ingredient


  • Contains corn

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Lucy Pet Formulas

Lucy Pet Formulas is high-quality food with protein and amino acids and fatty acids, providing everything your furry friend might need. It supports muscle development, healthy skin, and fur, as well as energy and general health.

Its first ingredient is wild-caught Alaskan Salmon as a source of protein for better coat, skin, muscles, and overall body function. It also contains chicken meal made in the USA with no artificial colors.

This is a probiotic formula rich in antioxidants and nutrients that help the entire body. The levels of Omega-3 fatty acids come from the Alaskan Salmon oil although the formula also contains flaxseed and vitamin E.

It features a combination of fiber coming from dried kelp, flaxseed, dried chicory root, as well as ground miscanthus grass. Each kibble has over forty essential nutrients that support a healthy and long life.


  • Prebiotic Balanced Fiber blend
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Contains wild-caught Alaskan Salmon


  • Might be too much for sensitive stomach

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Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural

This is super-premium food for dogs containing US farm-raised beef as the first ingredient. It comes in a 6, 14, 28, and 40 pounds packages depending on how many Golden Retrievers you have to feed.

The formula contains natural prebiotics that helps with healthy digestion. Also, it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives that could potentially harm your pup.

It’s important to note that the food doesn’t have any poultry by-products, wheat, fillers, or wheat gluten ingredients. It contains beef with added minerals and vitamins that support your dog’s lifestyle and general health.

The kibble also contains peas, carrots and brown rice for fiber, vitamins, and carbohydrates for a stronger immune system as well as digestive health.

It’s suitable for Golden Retrievers of all ages, though the kibble might be a bit too hard to chew for senior dogs.


  • All natural ingredients
  • No fillers and artificial colors
  • Rich in vitamins


  • The kibble might be too hard for some

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Zignature Turkey Formula

The turkey in the formula comes from the American Midwest since it’s a natural prey of medium and large dogs in the wild.

The idea behind the formula was to mimic the food your dog would get in wild. In the wild, the prey and meals would vary and be limited at times. The Zignature turkey formula is limited-ingredient with low levels of saturated fat.

It’s rich in riboflavin, selenium, and phosphorus that are crucial for your dog’s healthy and active life. It’s grain-free, and as a result, the formula is considered a naturally hypoallergenic choice.

Also, it’s well-balanced with fruits and veggies providing antioxidants and fiber. This supports hound’s general health and the immune system. It contains no soy, dairy, corn, eggs, by-products or wheat.


  • Low in saturated fats
  • Contains fruits and vegetables
  • Hypoallergenic


  • Some dogs don’t like the flavor

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Ziwi Peak Dried Lamb

If you’re looking for quality food, you should consider this Ziwi Peak formula. Its first ingredient is the single-sourced lamb that’s grass-fed and free-range. The lamb comes from ethical and sustainable New Zealand farms.

It’s crucial to mention that the lamb used in this formula isn’t fed any antibiotics, hormones, or growth promotants. The air-drying process preserves and protects the nutrients of all the ingredients included.

This balanced and complete food contains 98% fresh meat, bones, organs, and green mussels as a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Such ingredients support healthy joint development.

It doesn’t include any corn, soy, grains, fillers, wheat, or preservatives. It’s up t 95% digestible and rich in protein and kilocalories. As a result, most dogs don’t require large quantities per meal since the formula is quite filling.


  • Great for bones and joints
  • Free of hormones and antibiotics
  • Fresh ingredients


  • Tends to crumble

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Victor Multi-pro

If you want big packs of food, you might want to consider this Victor formula. The largest bag it comes in weighs 50 pounds though smaller versions weighing 5 and 30 pounds are also available.

It’s a nutrient-dense recipe containing port, chicken and beef meals. It does contain grain, but unless your pup is allergic to it, it shouldn’t cause any issues. The food is made explicitly for normally active dogs.

It’s rich in minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, and protein. It also contains scientifically advanced ingredients that promote healthy digestive and immune systems. Though it includes grain, all the grains used are gluten-free, so it’s safe for dogs sensitive to gluten.

Golden Retrievers could end up with enlarged hearts due to peas, potatoes, and legumes, so this formula doesn’t contain any of that.


  • Gluten-free
  • Rich in minerals and vitamins
  • Comes in big packs


  • Contains some grains

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Iams Proactive Labrador Retriever Chicken

Iams is known for its series for Retrievers and German Shepherds. This chicken flavor comes in a bag of 15 lb and 30 lb depending on how many dogs you’re feeding.

This product is tailored specifically for the needs of Retrievers. It provides a balanced and healthy diet covering all that your dog might need.

It contains wholesome fiber as well as natural prebiotics that support a healthy digestive system as well as general health. With chicken as its first ingredient, it’s unlikely that your dog could resist the kibble.

It doesn’t have any wheat, soy, or fillers, so it’s entirely healthy for your canine. The formula supports firm and strong muscles as well as a healthy heart.

There’s a portion size chart on the back of the package that you should consult before feeding your pup.


  • Made specifically for Retrievers
  • Easily digestible
  • Comes in big packs


  • Contains corn

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Nutro Max

You can choose between a big or small pack of food, depending on how often your pup eats. It contains farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.

This formula is specially made to cover your dog’s nutritional needs. However, it’s only suitable for large breeds, so if you also have a smaller dog, you’ll have to buy a different formula for that pup.

The kibble is tasty and doesn’t have a strong scent that dogs usually don’t like. This contains quality chicken and whole grains for more fiber that’s important for your dog’s diet.

It’s also important to note that it doesn’t have any artificial colors, preservatives or fillers. It’s made in the USA and comes from sustainable sources.

Though it contains chicken, it doesn’t have any chicken by-products. It’s also free of corn, soy, and wheat that could potentially harm your pet.


  • Farm-raised chicken
  • Easy to chew
  • No preservatives or artificial colors


  • Contains some grain

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Wag Dry Dog Food

This formula has real American salmon as the first ingredient, so it’s delicious, healthy, and doesn’t smell too intensely.

It contains vegetables such as peas and lentils for added minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. It also has flaxseed and salmon oil for omega-3 fatty acids and DHA.

The food is made in the USA and comes from a family-owned brand. It contains no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, wheat, corn or grain. Instead, the brand worked with veterinarians to create this optimal blend of high-quality fat and protein without any grains.

However, it’s essential to let your dog adapt to this food, so make sure to give it at least 7 to 10 days. Mix it in with the old food your pet used to eat, gradually increasing the quantity of Wag in its bowl.


  • No grains or artificial ingredients
  • The optimal blend of useful nutrients
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals


  • Contains pea by-products

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Top Wet Food for Golden Retrievers

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Loaf in Sauce Dog Food

This wet food is specifically designed for Golden Retrievers and their unique nutritional needs. It’s suitable for Retrievers aging at least 15 months and older.

It’s soft food that includes loaf in a sauce that’s always tasty and attractive to Retrievers. Regardless of what your dog ate before this formula, it’s unlikely he/she will require any adapting period since the food is highly appealing to every dog’s appetite.

It’s formulated with DHA and EPA from fish oil, so it supports healthy skin and shiny coat. It also promotes heart health with its levels of taurine, sodium, and L-carnitine for better cardiac function.

If you’re looking for complete and balanced food, you might want to try this canned formula. The best thing is that you can use it on its own or mix it with Royal Canin Golden Retriever adult dry food.


  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Easy to chew
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals


  • Not for allergic dogs

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Pedigree Choice Cuts In Gravy Steak & Vegetable Flavor Adult Canned Wet Dog Food

This canned food contains cuts in gravy steak and veggie flavor. It’s a wet type of food, so it’s quite soft and easy to chew for all dogs.

It’s made with real beef, so it’s incredibly tasty and irresistible for all age groups from puppies to seniors. The appealing taste makes it ideal for picky dogs and those that don’t like dry food.

All the cuts are well-balanced and complete in nutrition, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They contain fatty acids and a variety of beneficial ingredients that support your dog’s general health.

For some extra flavor, you can even mix some Pedigree kibble with this wet formula. These are made in the USA and using the world’s finest ingredients for ultimate quality and taste.


  • Soft texture
  • Contains vegetables
  • Can be mixed with dry food


  • Dogs might not like the gravy

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Recommended Food for Golden Retriever Seniors

Blue Buffalo Protection Formula Senior

All Blue Buffalo food contains meat as the first ingredient. This formula contains high-quality protein coming from real chicken that helps your dog build healthy muscles. It also features wholesome grains, fruit, and vegetables.

It’s great for seniors because it contains chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy joint support. Thanks to the essential proteins and carbohydrates, the formula helps mobility and general health.

It contains LifeSource Bits, which is the brand’s precise blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals carefully selected by professionals, nutritionists, and holistic veterinarians. The team helped build a formula that helps your senior pet.

It doesn’t have any chicken or poultry by-products, corn, soy, wheat, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s completely natural and rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins coming from natural ingredients that are good for your dog.


  • Helps with joint health and mobility
  • No wheat, corn or soy
  • Contains vegetables and fruits


  • Not the best for sensitive stomach

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Hill’s Science Diet Senior Chicken Barley

This one is made specifically for old dogs that struggle with eating regular canine food. It contains chicken and rice in a recipe that’s recommended for adult dogs aged at least six years and weighing at least 55 pounds.

It’s a premium recipe with natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine for healthier joints and easier mobility. You’ll notice your dog’s general health is improving after a while of using Hill’s Science Diet formula.

All the ingredients support a healthy immune system thanks to the clinically proven blend of vitamins C and E as well as antioxidants. These ingredients are easy to digest and rich in amino acids, but they don’t contain any artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.

The chicken in the formula is appealing to all dogs and is especially suitable for those with sensitive stomachs.


  • Appealing taste
  • Rich in minerals and vitamins
  • Helps with joint support


  • Might cause gastric distress

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mountain Protein Natural Senior

If you’re looking for a high-protein food for your senior pet, you should consider this Blue Buffalo formula. It’s inspired by the Rocky Mountains and is a blend of red meat required for your dog’s lean muscle mass. This one comes in several different packages for you to choose from.

It’s grain-free and formulated with the best ingredients that help the dog’s healthy lifestyle and optimal weight. It contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for healthier skin and coat. Also, it contains chondroitin and glucosamine for stronger and healthier joints.

It’s a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are carefully selected by nutritionists and veterinarians to support your dog in this stage of life. The formula is well-balanced and doesn’t have any chicken or poultry by-products, soy, wheat, corn or artificial ingredients.


  • Supports joints and bones
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Rich in minerals, fatty acids, and vitamins


  • Some picky dogs might not like it

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Recommended Food for Golden Retriever Puppies

Royal Canin Nutrition Retriever Puppy Dry Food

Golden Retriever puppies are especially sensitive, so Royal Canin came out with this balance and complete formula for the first stage of their life. It’s made to meet the needs of purebred Retrievers 8 weeks to 15 months old.

It’s a kibble with an exclusive shape designed specifically for the dog’s straight muzzle and scissor bite. It encourages chewing and makes it easier for dogs to eat the whole portion.

Also, the formula protects the developing immune system that’s usually a bit fragile when the puppies are this young. The exclusive complex of antioxidants includes Vitamin E and supports natural defenses of your dog’s body.

It helps reinforce the skin barrier making the skin and fur healthy and shiny. Another thing it helps with is digestive health.


  • Easy to chew
  • Rich in protein and antioxidants
  • Healthy fur and skin


  • Might contain meat by-product

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Purina Pro Plan Puppy (chicken)

Purina is a well-known brand that makes food for all age groups. This formula is specifically made for Golden Retrievers with special nutritional needs required for their fur and skin. It comes in several bags for you to choose from depending on how many puppies you’re feeding.

It’s a chicken and rice formula made with high-quality protein. Chicken is the first ingredient, and as such, it delivers all the nutrients required for such young puppies.

The formula is a natural source of glucosamine that’s required for healthy cartilage and joint development. Also, it contains DHA from fish oil for vision and brain development that’s especially critical at a young age.

It doesn’t contain any legumes or grain that could potentially be too hard on your dog’s sensitive stomach.


  • Rich in minerals and vitamins
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Supports healthy development


  • Recommended portions are too big

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Buyer’s Guide

senior golden retriever on white floorBuying food for Golden Retrievers can be a bit tricky because many brands make food supposedly suitable for the breed. However, unless you know what’s good for your dog and what to look for, you’ll end up with bags of food your pet won’t eat.

Read below about some stuff that could help you choose the adequate food.

Foods to Avoid

  • Raw eggs
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee

raw eggs

  • Sodas
  • Raw meat
  • Undercooked meat

coca cola drink in glass

  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Bones

garlic on white background

  • Shallots
  • Grapes
  • Scallions

red grapes on wooden top

  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Xylitol

white plate of raisins

  • Hops
  • Bread dough
  • Macadamia nuts

macadamia nuts on white spoon

  • Moldy Food
  • Milk and dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Salty and seasoned food

Canned or Dry Food for Golden Retrievers

golden retriever puppy on pillowMany owners often wonder which of the two types of food is better for this particular breed. Though many people believe that wet food is better because it looks more like real food, that’s not always the case.

Feeding your dog with wet food only could be fatal for its teeth and cause a number of dental problems. Kibble is much better for most dogs, but you have to be careful about its quality. Because of its shape and consistency, it’s harder to notice if there are any potentially harmful ingredients in the dry food.

Angry golden retriever dogStill, canned food is often full of jelly and other such fillers that either have no nutritional value or is even harmful.

For this reason, make sure to buy only quality food regardless of whether you go for wet or dry. While dry might be a better option you should use more often, an occasional wet meal is also recommended.



golden retriever on grassThese dogs usually weigh somewhere between 55 and 57 pounds. Based on this information, the National Research Council of the National Academies recommends an intake of between 989 and 1,272 calories per day. This is for sedentary dogs, while those that are more active should intake between 1,353 and 1,740 calories per day.

They should eat meat or meat meal such as turkey, chicken, beef, fish, or lamb as the first ingredients. Food can also have healthy whole grains like barley, brown rice, and whole oats. It’s also good to feed them food containing fruits and veggies for fiber. Make sure that it also has vegetable and animal fats coming from chicken or safflower oil for a shiny coat.

Feeding Schedule

golden retriever laying downIn terms of how much your dog should eat, you should consult with the portion sizing chart listed on the package. Use this as a guideline and keep an eye on whether your dog eats the portion or not.

It depends on activity levels, size, and age of your pet. On average, vets recommend two to three cups of high-quality dry food for Golden Retrievers.

While puppies should eat three times a day, an adult dog should only eat once. The feeding schedule is recommended since it allows you to keep an eye over how much the dog eats.


Is Pedigree good for Golden Retrievers?

golden retriever on a walk

In most cases, dog owners and vets agree that Pedigree food isn’t harmful to Golden Retrievers. However, it might not be enough to meet the nutritional requirements the breed has, so make sure to observe your dog if you use this food.


When to switch from puppy to adult food?

2 dogs playing on grass

Make sure to switch from puppy to adult food when your dog is between 18 to 24 months old. Some large breeds are growing until they turn two years old, and for this reason, maturity is quite hard to predict. You might want to talk to your vet for some extra guidance.



white golden retriever chewing on stickYour Golden Retriever is a true family friend that’s loyal and loving. This is a unique breed that requires care and love to thrive and show its most gentle virtues.

One of the most important aspects of care is nutrition. Have you ever thought about what type of food is the best for your Goldie? Do you know how often the dog should eat? These are just a few essential questions you should ask yourself.

At this point, we’re sure you’ve decided on at least one of the foods we reviewed above. Though these are the top of what the market currently offers, you should still approach the matter with some care. We suggest you buy smaller packs at first, just to make sure your pup will adapt and love the food before you buy big batches. Allow a transition period and make sure to observe your pet as he/she adjusts to the new diet.

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About the author

John Myers

When I'm not working, you can find me spending all my time with my dogs. My dogs mean the world to me, and I do my best to give them the world. I'll do anything for them. I hope that my love for dogs can spread with everyone else that visits my site.

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