PS: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
This is our review of the best puppy food for Golden Retrievers in 2023.
Golden Retrievers are very popular among many dog owners, they usually rank in the top 2 most in the United States, and that’s for a reason, they are playful, highly devoted, and they are very good around kids.
But, on the other side, Goldens are prone to many health issues and they require your attention especially when it comes to nutrition since the majority of these issues are related to that.
According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) has spiked in Golden Retrievers recently and it’s believed that it’s related to taurine deficiency and feeding Goldens a BEG diet (Boutique, exotic-ingredient, and grain-free).
That’s why you should be very careful with what food to feed your Golden puppy.
But, don’t worry, that’s where we come in. As a vet, I reviewed lots of brands to come up with a list of dog food that I believe is the best pick for a Golden Retriever puppy.
My personal pick is Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy Food. It’s the best puppy food for Golden Retrievers as it’s highly nutritious, includes the proper nutrients that Golden puppies need in the right amounts, and the price is completely reasonable.
However, your dog’s condition, budget, or preferences might vary; that’s why I’ve included more options.
Let’s get started.
Our Top Picks for The Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers
- Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy Food (Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers Overall)
- Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy (Best Premium Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers)
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Dry Dog Food (Best Food for Grain Allergic Golden Retrievers Puppies)
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food (Best Puppy Food for Strong Bones)
- Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food (Best Fresh Food for Golden Retrievers Puppies)
- Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food for Golden Retrievers Puppies)
- Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy (Best for Digestive health)
- Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
The 8 Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers Reviewed
Before we dive in, I want to tell you that all the dog food I included in this list meets the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for growing puppies.
Also, we recommend you consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your Golden Retriever puppy’s diet.
1. Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Poultry By-Product Meal
- Nutrient Content: 28% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy Food is the best puppy food for Golden Retrievers, it features real chicken as the first ingredient which will provide your puppy with high-quality protein to develop lean and strong muscles.
Also, chicken is a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin that promotes easy mobility and prevents hips and joint problems. And the included DHA from fish oil supports eye and brain development.
This formula also includes calcium and phosphorus along with other vitamins and minerals to help your growing puppy develop and maintain strong teeth and bones.
2. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Wheat Gluten, Chicken Fat, Wheat
- Nutrient Content: 27% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5.9% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: With Grain
If you want more premium nutrition for your Golden puppy, Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy is your best choice.
Featuring 27% crude protein as the first ingredient, this formula is high in protein which is exactly what Golden Retrievers puppies need to develop and maintain strong muscles.
This formula also features a special blend of antioxidants and vitamins that support your pup’s fragile immune system and help him develop his natural defense mechanisms.
The added taurine and DHA contribute to the healthy improvement of eye, brain, and heart health. Along with omega fatty acids from fish oil that promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
What I like most about this dog food is the kibble, it’s specially formulated for Golden’s straight muzzles which makes it very easy for them to pick and chew the food.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Peas, Tapioca Starch
- Nutrient Content: 36% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: High-Protein, Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Dry Dog Food is a great high protein diet for Golden Retriever puppies, it features deboned chicken as the first ingredient, a high-quality animal protein that contains all the amino acids that puppies need to build lean and strong muscles.
This formula includes taurine, a vital component that supports heart health for growing puppies, along with DHA and ARA which support brain and vision development and promote healthy growth.
It also includes an exclusive blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your puppy’s development system and help him build his defense mechanisms.
The added omega fatty acids will help your puppy develop healthy skin and a shiny coat.
This formula is grain free which may be great if your pup has a sensitive stomach, but even though it’s grain free, it makes up for it with high levels of taurine that aids in heart health.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice
- Nutrient Content: 24.5% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: With Grain
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food is the best choice if you want your puppy to develop strong teeth and bones, it features controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus that aids in the healthy development of your dog’s bones, and help him grow properly.
Featuring 24.5% crude protein from lamb meal as the first ingredient, this formula offers a lean source of protein so that your puppy develops strong muscles. It also features the right amount of fat to provide your little pup with the energy he needs to stay active all day long.
This formula includes a mix of antioxidants and vitamins C and E to support your puppy’s developing immune system.
The fish oil included in this formula is a natural source of DHA, an omega fatty acid that aids in brain and vision development.
Plus, it’s made in the USA, so rest assured that your dog will get high-quality, nutritious, and safe dog food.
5. Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food
If you want to feed your puppy fresh dog food, but you either don’t have the time or the know-how to prepare it yourself, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food is the best fresh food for Golden Retrievers puppies, it’s primarily made of an animal based protein, plus some natural sources of easily digestible carbs such as fresh veggies, brown rice, sweet potatoes, green beans, and other fresh ingredients.
What I like about Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food is that it’s totally customizable, once you opt-in you get a free consultation with a veterinary nutritionist so that he could determine what’s the best portion for him based on age, weight, and health issue.
So, if your little pal is having a health condition, they are going to take it into consideration and prepare a meal that best addresses his needs.
Once you get the package that has all the food, it’s best to put it in the refrigerator to keep the food fresh and healthy.
6. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas
- Nutrient Content: 9% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.3% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Type of Product: No Corn No Wheat No Soy, With Grain
If your puppy is a picky eater, I highly recommend feeding him a wet diet as it’s more appealing to dogs than a dry one.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food is the best wet food for Golden Retrievers puppies, it features real chicken as the first ingredient which will help your puppy develop lean and strong muscles.
It also features DHA that aids in brain and vision development, not to mention that chicken is a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin that support hips and joint health.
This dog food is made with chicken broth which I personally prefer. It’s more nutritious and offers so many benefits to your puppy compared to water.
However, wet food is expensive in the long run, that’s why I always recommend that you mix it with dry food so that you offer him the best of both, the appealing flavor from the wet one and the high nutrition from the dry one.
7. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy
- First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Grain Sorghum
- Nutrient Content: 27% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: No Corn No Wheat No Soy, With Grain
The 27% crude protein from lamb and lamb meal as the main ingredient promotes healthy muscle growth for your growing pal, while the 15% crude fat fuels him with the energy he needs to stay active all day long.
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy is formulated with precise nutrient content to promote healthy and optimal growth for your Golden puppy. It contains omega fatty acids to help your growing pup develop healthy skin and a shiny coat.
The added superfoods like oranges and blueberries add more vitamins and minerals for a balanced and complete diet, and whole-grain ingredients provide digestible carbohydrates for a quick boost of energy.
Also, this formula is high in probiotics, prebiotics, and antioxidants to support your pup’s fragile digestive system, immune system, and overall health and wellness.
And, it’s made in the USA completely free of corn, wheat, artificial preservatives, or colors, which ensures that your little pal will get clean, safe, and high-quality nutrition.
8. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal
- Nutrient Content: 27% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: With Grain
If you want to buy high-quality puppy food for your Golden puppy but your budget is tight, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered, Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food is the best pick for you.
Featuring 27% Crude Protein from real farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, this formula is high in protein which will help him grow strong and lean muscles, and at the same time provide him with glucosamine to support healthy hips and joints.
It also includes 22 nutrients that only exist in mother milk including DHA omega fat that aids in brain function. These nutrients will help your dog grow properly and at an even pace.
And the whole-grain ingredients provide easily digestible carbs for extra energy.
How to Buy The Best Puppy Food for Golden Retrievers
Choosing the best puppy food for your Golden Retriever puppy isn’t complicated or overwhelming as some people try to make. In fact, it’s very simple once you know what to look for.
That’s why I’m going to share with you all you need to know and all you need to keep in consideration so that you buy the best puppy food for your little pal.
Let’s get into it.
The minimum requirement of protein Golden Retrievers puppies is 22%, but in actuality, they need more than that, so when it comes to protein, the more the better.
The protein that comes from animal sources contains the building blocks and the amino acids that your puppy needs to develop and maintain strong muscles. That’s why I always recommend that you choose animal-sourced proteins instead of plant ones.
Low to Moderate Fat Content
Fats have a bad reputation among us, but they are vital for dogs as they are the main source of energy for dogs overall. It also supports proper cellular function and aids in nutrient absorption.
According to the AAFCO, the recommended portion of fat for Golden Retrievers puppies is 8%, but since puppies are more likely to burn any fat excess and there is no maximum fat content by the AAFCO, there is no harm in going higher.
Also, make sure that the dog food contains substantial amounts of omega fatty acids as they support shiny coats and prevent any skin problems.
Generally speaking, dogs don’t need carbohydrates, but since every dog food on the market includes them in one way or the other, you want to make sure that what you’ll feed your puppy is actually helping him.
Since they provide quick access to a boost of energy, you want to make sure that they are easily digestible, and come from natural sources instead of sugar.
Some of the best sources of healthy carbs are brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, and other healthy veggies.
Vitamins and Minerals
For a complete and balanced diet, your Golden Retriever puppy will need vitamins and minerals that will contribute to his healthy and proper growth.
DHA helps in brain and vision development along with improving cognitive function so that your puppy gets smarter and is easily trainable.
And since Golden Retriever puppies are prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, taurine will be a great addition as it supports heart health and prevents any related issues.
Calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones.
Glucosamine and chondroitin for easy mobility, these two components that are very important to support hips and joint health while preventing any related issues such as hip dysplasia. They are easily found in chicken, so if you choose a diet with chicken as the first ingredient, they will be there.
Antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamins C and E support your puppy’s fragile immune system and help him develop his basic self-defense mechanisms.
Here is a selection of the most asked question about the best puppy food for Golden Retrievers.
Should I Feed My Golden Retriever Puppy a Grain Free?
The FDA recently linked grain-free diets to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and heart problems in Golden Retrievers, that’s why I always recommend that you avoid grain-free diets.
In our list, there is only one puppy food that’s grain free, but we added it in case your puppy is allergic to grains, and there is no need to worry as it makes up for it with a considerable amount of taurine, a key nutrient that also supports the heart, so your puppy will be totally fine.
When to Switch From Puppy to Adult Dog Food?
Most vets and online specialists recommend that you switch when your Golden Retriever puppy reaches 12 months. But, at that age, Goldens are still puppies and you should only switch when they are fully grown.
The best age to switch is when your puppy is 15 to 18 months, that way you ensure that your puppy is no longer a puppy, and at the same prevent any development or growth issues.
Golden Retriever puppies have unique needs that must be met. Most of the time, they thrive on a high protein – preferably animal sourced, moderate fat content diet, and a considerable amount of easily digestible carbs.
My personal pick and the one I always recommend to my clients as the best dog food for golden retriever puppies is Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy Food, it features the right combination between quality, price, and nutritional value.
But, your puppy’s condition and needs might vary, that’s why I encourage you to make your choices accordingly. And, before you make any changes to your puppy’s diet, I recommend that you consult a vet.