This article is all about the 13 commercial diets we think represent the best food for Golden Retriever puppy dogs.
There are plenty of wet and dry recipes to choose from, depending on your Golden pup’s individual nutritional needs, and tastebuds!
But there are also some tried and tested cult classics, which have been the favorites of generations of puppies!
Top 5 Golden Retriever Puppy Foods
These are five of the very best Golden Retriever puppy foods, according to legions of happy dogs:
- Dry food – Blue Buffalo large breed puppy food
- Wet food – Hill’s Science Diet wet puppy food
- Best brand with follow-on recipes for all life stages – Royal Canin
- For pups for allergies – Canidae grain free limited ingredient diet for puppies
- For pups with sensitive tummies – Instinct Raw Boost grain free large breed puppy food
Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers – Dry Foods
Dry puppy foods are popular because they are easy to store, have a long shelf life once opened, and are simple to measure into portions.
They also help to keep your puppy’s teeth clean!
These are our favorite dry foods to support safe growth and healthy development in Golden Retriever puppies.
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Dry Puppy Food
Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever puppy dry food is part of their specially tailored Breed Health Nutrition range.
This kibble is specifically formulated to support Golden Retriever growth between 8 weeks and fifteen months old.
Even the shape of each kibble is carefully thought out, to promote proper chewing instead of gulping.
The recipe is rich in protein and supplemented with vitamins and minerals for joint and muscle development.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food
Hill’s large breed dry food for puppies is designed to meet the growing needs of any puppy likely to weigh more than 25kg as an adult.
Perfect if you have more than one young dog in your household!
This trusted, vet-recommended recipe is based primarily on chicken, but with pork liver, apples, broccoli, carrot and cranberries for flavor.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Food
This highly-rated large breed puppy food is specially because it start with real deboned chicken as its main ingredient.
Furthermore this kibble has no corn, wheat or soy. Ideal if your Golden’s vet has identified sensitivity or intolerance to any of these ingredients.
The ingredients are balanced in calcium and phosphorus for healthy bone and joint development, and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Best Food for Golden Retriever Puppies – Wet Food
Wet foods are frequently more palatable for dogs, and a reliable way of keeping your puppy hydrated too.
We’ve got some notes on choosing between wet and dry foods at the bottom of this page.
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Puppy Food
Hill’s tins of chicken and barley or chicken and vegetable wet food are tried and tested choices.
This food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of puppies in a gentle, easy to digest recipe.
With whole ingredients and plenty of vitamins and minerals in a protein-to-fat balanced formula, this food can help your puppy grow at the right pace for large breed dogs.
Merrick Classic Grain Free Puppy Food
Merrick’s ‘Puppy Plates’ wet food contains deboned turkey, chicken, duck, and colorful fruit and veg.
There are no artificial ingredients in this food and whole protein is the first ingredient.
It is grain-free, which can be helpful for your puppy’s still-developing digestive system.
Best Golden Retriever Puppy Food With Follow On Option
Your Golden Retriever puppy will be ready to make the transition to adult food sometime between their first and second birthdays.
The change should be made gradually to avoid upsetting their tummy.
Some breeders and veterinarians prefer Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever puppy food above, while others recommend their Maxi puppy food.
Whichever you choose for your puppy, you can make a nearly seamless transition to Royal Canin Golden Retriever adult dry dog food.
IAMS Proactive Health large breed puppy kibble contains chicken as the number one ingredient, plus a wealth of health-boosting supplements.
It’s free from wheat and soy, and when your puppy is ready you can shift up to IAMS Proactive Health large breed adult dog food.
Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppy with Food Allergies
While reputable breeders make every effort to guard against puppy food allergies, you just can’t completely control a puppy’s luck.
Identifying which ingredients trigger a pup’s food allergies can be a lengthy process of trial, error and elimination.
Your vet is likely to recommend that you start by adjusting your puppy to a limited ingredient diet.
These simple recipes are as gentle as possible on your puppy’s digestive and immune systems.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food for Puppies
Chicken is a surprisingly common allergen among dogs, but Natural Balance’s limited ingredient kibbles are based on lamb or duck.
Both have smaller pieces for puppy mouths plus vitamins and minerals for a healthy nervous system, immune system and overall development.
We especially like that this brand is also transparent about exactly how much DHA and Omegas 3 and 6 their recipes include.
Canidae Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet for Puppies
Texan dog food manufacturer Canidae are a cult brand with legions of loyal customers.
Their Natural Balance’s limited ingredient kibbles is based on 9 key ingredients and omits grain to help puppies with suspected food allergies feel better fast.
The recipe includes only whole food products plus vitamins, minerals and probiotics.
Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food for Puppies
This limited ingredient recipe for puppies from Nutro features whole lamb with brown rice, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calcium and phosphorus for strong bone development.
It also contains a blend of vitamins and minerals for immune system and digestive health.
Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppy with a Sensitive Stomach
There may be times in a Golden puppy’s life when the digestion is just a bit “off.” Sometimes, sensitive stomachs can even stop dogs from eating!
Sometimes this is due to illness, sometimes to stress. Sometimes your vet isn’t sure why it is happening and more information is needed.
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Large Breed Puppy Food
This exceptionally popular large breed puppy food is free from grain, soy, wheat, potato, by-products, meal or corn.
It features minimally-processed pure freeze dried chicken in small, easily digestible bites.
There’s a Wet Option Too!
You can also pair it with Instinct’s wet food for puppies if you’re worried that an entirely dry diet is proving too tough on your puppy’s delicate digestion.
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Recipe
This grain free puppy food is flavored with chicken, turkey and salmon, and includes freeze dried pieces of real meat.
All ingredients are organically sourced, and the recipe includes added probiotics for a healthy gut.
Choosing the Best Golden Retriever Puppy Food
Your baby Golden Retriever will pack on more than fifty times their birth weight during the first year of their life.
This kind of growth trajectory demands a careful diet – because overfeeding can cause too-fast growth.
Weighing too much at a young ages places excess pressure on still-developing joints, muscles and bones.
Which may cause permanent orthopedic problems later.
Feeding the wrong kind of food can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, even if your puppy is the right weight.
If you’ve got any doubt about the suitability of a commercial pet food, chat to your vet about it.
Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers – Wet or Dry?
This is really a matter of individual choice so long as the food you choose is created with large breed puppies in mind and is nutritionally balanced.
Dry foods are:
- easy to store
- have a long shelf life
- helpful for cleaning dogs’ teeth
- easy to use as training aids
However, many dog owners worry that a continual diet of kibble can be boring and monotonous for puppies.
Wet foods are:
- tasty and palatable
- good for keeping your puppy hydrated
- and often come in more than one flavor by the same brand.
However, they don’t store as long once opened. Your puppy might also be more inclined to pick through them pulling out the most appetising bits and leaving the rest.
Feeding a mix of wet and dry food is a fun way to add variety and interest your your puppy’s diet. It also gets them used to a variety of textures and flavors.
Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppy – Supplements and Super Ingredients
With so many puppy foods suitable for Golden Retrievers on the market, you’ll notice brands making a big effort your attention.
And three things manufacturers especially like to boast about are Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids, and DHA.
But what are these, and what can they do for your puppy?
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are compounds which contribute to healthy joints, brain development, cognitive function, and heart health.
DHA stands for docosahexanoic acid – a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid.
Several studies have confirmed that DHA plays an important role in eye and brain development in dogs, and improves cognitive function. It has also been linked to increased trainability.
Many dog foods these days contain fish oils, which are a rich source of DHA and other Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Schedule
Puppies have small tummies, which means they can’t eat their whole day’s ration in one sitting without being sick.
Planning a schedule of several small meals also helps to regulate their blood sugar through the day.
Most puppies will be eating four equal-sized meals a day when they’re old enough to leave their breeder.
At four months old, this can be reduced to three meals a day. And by six months most puppies are ready to thrive on just two.
To work out how much food should be in each meal, use the manufacturer’s guidelines on the packet to work out how much they should eat for the whole day (this will be based on their age and estimated adult weight), and divide it between the number of meals.
If you think your Golden puppy is receiving too much or too little food this way, ask your vet’s opinion before you adjust their diet.
Best Dog Food for Golden Retriever Puppy – Which Did You Choose?
We hope you have found this in-depth exploration of the best food for Golden Retriever puppies useful and informative as you care for your own sweet Golden pup!
Which recipe do you think is the best puppy food for Golden Retrievers? Drop us a comment to share your story!
References and Resources
- Golden Retriever Club of America
- Yuill, C., DVM, MSc, CVH, “Panosteitis in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospital, 2018.
- Wynn, S., DVM, “Feeding Large Breed Puppies,” Integrative Veterinary Care (IVC) Journal, 2013.
- Kelley & Lepine, Improving Puppy Trainability Through Nutrition, WSAVA, 2005.
- Tal et al, Dietary imbalances in a large breed puppy, leading to compression fractures, vitamin D deficiency, and suspected nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2018.
- Lauten, Nutritional Risks to Large-Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years, Veterinary Clinics Small Animal Practice, 2006.