Knowing how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy is a vital part of their care. Today we’ll share quantities, feeding guidelines and tips for your Golden Retriever puppy’s diet. Proper nutrition and good health depend on giving the correct amounts of food and the right now. We’ll let you know how to work out how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy at different stages of their growth and development. When to follow the instructions on the packet or can, and when to make adjustments for your own baby dog’s health.
- How much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy
- Choosing the right food for your Golden’s age
- Is my Golden Retriever puppy a healthy weight?
- Tips for using food during training
Golden Retriever puppies are playful, energetic pets with plenty of growing and developing to do over their first year of life. Goldens grow from being tiny puppies to large dogs! So, it’s important to choose a good puppy food and feed them the correct amounts to support this growth. But, guidelines for how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy vary from one source to the next. So, it can be a daunting task!
Feeding a Golden Retriever Puppy
Although Golden Retrievers share many traits, not all Golden Retriever puppies will thrive on the same amount of food at mealtimes. The right amount for one puppy could be way too much or way too little for another! There are a huge number of factors that can influence the amount of food your Golden Retriever needs at mealtimes. This includes:
- Their adult size
- Quality of dog food
- Amount of exercise
- Type of dog food (eg. dry, wet, raw)
- Amount of food used in training
And so on! So, it often takes a bit of time to get your puppy’s meal sizes perfect. Your veterinarian is a great source for helping with this, but you can figure it out at home too. And, a great starting point is a Golden Retriever puppy feeding chart.
How Much to Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy
Most puppy and dog foods will have a feeding chart somewhere on their packaging. They will usually vary slightly depending on the food’s nutritional value. And, they may measure the correct amount of food in slightly different ways. For instance, some will use your pup’s current weight, some will use their predicted adult weight, and others might simply use age.
Using your puppy’s current age is often the easiest way to figure out their starting meal size. This way, you avoid any inaccuracies with predicting their adult weight, and any wriggly weighing sessions! Here’s a general guide for feeding your Golden Retriever puppy based on their age after 8 weeks:
|Age:||Amount of food per day (1 cup = 128g)|
|8 – 8 weeks||1 – 1.5 cups|
|12 – 16 weeks||1.5 – 2 cups|
|4 – 5 months||2 – 2.5 cups|
|5 – 6 months||2.5 – 3 cups|
|6 – 12 months||3 – 4 cups|
Adjusting How Much To Feed A Golden Retriever Puppy
Golden Retriever feeding charts should be used as a guideline, rather than a strict rule. This is because every puppy is different, so there’s no one rule that fits them all. For some, the above amounts will be perfect, but for others, they’ll need some adjusting.
Start off by measuring out your puppy’s daily food allowance and then divide it into their meals. But, keep a close eye on your Golden Retriever’s weight and attitude. Golden Retrievers are very food motivated. So, just because they are acting hungry all the time doesn’t mean they actually are!
If your puppy seems to be getting fat, you may need to switch to the lower end of the above recommendations. Alternatively, if their ribs are becoming too prominent, you should work to the upper ends of the guidelines. We’ll take a closer look at how to recognize these signs in a moment.
How Many Meals Does a Golden Retriever Puppy Need?
Golden Retriever puppies have much smaller stomachs than adults. So, they won’t be able to hold as much food all at once. This means their daily food allowance should be split into smaller, more frequent meals. Rather than just feeding them once in the morning and once in the evening, as you might plan to do eventually, their food will need to be split into 3 or even 4 portions, like so:
- 8 – 12 weeks: 4 meals a day
- 3 – 6 months: 3 meals a day
- 6 – 12 months: 2 meals a day
However, like the feeding charts, this should only be used as a guide. Some puppies will take a little longer until they’re ready for larger but less frequent meals. And, many owners will actually use a lot of their puppy’s calorie allowance during training, rather than in set meal times.
There’s no problem with using your puppy’s food this way! But, you still want to ensure training sessions are spread evenly throughout the day to avoid overloading your Golden’s stomach. Feeding too much food at once can lead to cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and discomfort for your puppy.
Which Feeding Chart is Best?
There are so many feeding charts available to consider. In fact, every single dog food tends to have one on its packaging, and they’re often slightly different to one another. So, how are you meant to know how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy?
As we mentioned earlier, you should only use Golden Retriever feeding charts as a guideline, because every puppy is so different. So, ultimately, no single chart is better than another. Instead, the best feeding chart or guidelines will be the ones you create by making adjustments based on your puppy’s health and body condition.
How to Choose the Best Golden Retriever Puppy Food
Golden Retrievers are large dogs. As adults, they will stand between 21 and 24 inches tall, usually weighing between 55 and 75 lbs. And, a good quality puppy food will support this intense growth over their first 12 months. But, how do you choose from the many options available?
When you first bring your Golden Retriever puppy home, they will need to eat the same food they were eating at the breeder’s home. If you’re transitioning them to a new food, do so gradually over the course of a week. Changing abruptly from one food to another type can cause stomach problems and digestive upsets.
Puppies need a balance of certain nutrients and vitamins to support their growth – not just as much food as possible. In fact, simply giving as much food as possible is linked to certain joint-related health problems. So, when searching for a high quality puppy food, there are a few key ingredients you might want to search for. This includes a real meat source, and the correct amount of nutrients like calcium and iron.
Commercial Food vs Homemade Food
There are pros and cons to every type of puppy food available. Dry food is long-lasting and easy to use during training, but can contain filler ingredients. Wet food is palatable and easy to serve, but can be more expensive and harder to use during training. Homemade food is often very appealing in terms of taste for our dogs, but is the most likely type to contain nutritional imbalances that can lead to serious health problems.
Homemade food can also be much more expensive and time consuming, as each meal is made fresh. Ultimately, the best food type should be one that fits your lifestyle. If you’re choosing a commercial option, make sure it is high quality, made for large breed puppies, and nutritionally balanced. If you’re choosing a homemade diet, work with your veterinarian to ensure you’re not leaving out any important nutrients.
Changing Food as your Golden Retriever Ages
Golden Retrievers are large breed dogs. So, they will continue to grow and develop physically until somewhere between 12 and 18 months. You should not transition them to adult food until this point, as puppy recipes are specifically designed to support their growth and development in a way that adult food won’t.
You may want to transition your puppy to a new food when you bring them home, rather than whatever your breeder was giving them. But, whenever you change your puppy’s food, you should do so gradually. Ideally, you want to make the change over the course of a week.
Replace a very small amount of their old food with their new food at mealtimes. Over the week, you can change these amounts by decreasing their old food and increasing the new. By the end of the week, they will be eating only the new food. This slow transition is designed to be easier on your puppy’s stomach. Changing abruptly can cause stomach upsets and symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
How Much To Feed A Golden Retriever Puppy By Weight
Monitoring your Golden Retriever puppy’s weight is the best way to ensure their meals are the right size. Your veterinarian may be able to provide specific weight goals to aim for, but in most cases the best methods are by using your hands and eyes.
Many Golden Retriever puppies you see online are chubby and adorable. But, Golden Retrievers should generally look lanky rather than chubby.
You should be able to feel but not see your Golden Retriever puppy’s ribs when they’re at their healthiest weight. If you’re unable to feel any definition around their ribs, speak to your veterinarian about safely reducing the amount your puppy eats. If your pup’s ribs are very prominent and you can see the definition even under their fur, your puppy may need to be eating more, or may be suffering from a nutritional deficiency.
How Much To Feed A Golden Retriever Puppy With Treats
Golden Retrievers thrive on positive reward-based training, since they are food motivated and eager to please their owners. But, the most successful rewards in this type of training are often food, such as kibble or small chunks or meat and cheese. And, giving all of these treats on top of your dog’s daily food allowance can quickly lead to excess weight gain and obesity.
So, it’s vital to subtract the calories in your training treats from your dog’s overall allowance. This is often easiest with kibble dog food, as you can simply use kibble pieces during training and then give whatever’s left for your dog’s meals.
But, it’s also important to spread out your training sessions when you’re using food rewards. Doing all of your training in the morning can lead to stomach upsets if your puppy ends up eating a large amount of their daily allowance all at once. Instead, try and complete shorter training sessions before each mealtime, and give whatever allowance is left for each meal after training is done. This can also benefit your training, as a hungry dog will be more motivated to work for those treats!
Working Out How Much to Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy
Learning the right amount of food for your puppy will be a gradual process. Feeding charts and guidelines can be a great starting point, but every dog is unique, and many will need adjustments. So, keep a close eye on your puppy’s weight, and adjust their meal sizes accordingly.
The best source for additional advice is your veterinarian, since they can take a closer look at your puppy’s body condition in person. But, if you’re ever unsure about the advice your vet gives, you can always search for a second opinion.
What’s your Golden Retriever puppy’s favorite treat? We’d love to hear your experiences and feeding tips in the comments!
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References and Resources
- Hall, G. (et al), ‘Severe Nutritional Deficiencies and Osteopenia in a Dog Fed a Homemade Raw Diet’, Vet Record (2020)
- Lauten, S. ‘Nutritional Risks to Large-Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years’, Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice (2006)
- Dammrich, K. ‘Relationship Between Nutrition and Bone Growth in Large and Giant Dogs’, The Journal of Nutrition (1991)
- Todd, Z. ‘Barriers to the Adoption of Humane Dog Training Methods’, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2018)
- Deldalle, S. & Gaunet, F. ‘Effects of 2 Training Methods on Stress-Related Behavior of the Dog (Canis Familiaris) and on the Dog-Owner Relationship’, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2014)
- Singh Preet, G. (et al), ‘Dog Obesity: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Management: A Review Paper’, The Pharma Innovation (2021)
- Munoz-Prieto, A. (et al), ‘European Dog Owner Perceptions of Obesity and Factors Associated with Human and Canine Obesity’, Scientific Reports (2018)
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