Best Dog Food For a Golden Retriever – Don’t Be Fooled By Cheap Imposters!

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Here is a quick glance at our top picks of quality dog food in order:

Product name

Features

Rating

- Using only proteins found in the wild-meats
- Supplemented with vegetables and fruits

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- Made in the USA
- Contains 38% protein

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- Using wholesome grains (no corn, wheat or soy fillers)

- No added colors, flavors or preservatives​

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- 70/30 split between identified meat proteins and fresh produce

- Adding Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids​

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- The ingredients and the manufacturing is done in the USA

- Contains 80% more meat than other brands

- Has a wet and chunky food available​

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Product name

How to Select the Best Dog Food For a Golden Retriever? This is What Your Dog Needs to Be Healthy

First and foremost, dogs need a loving environment with a safe place to grow, play and sleep. Most pet parents already have this covered, but they may not know what ingredients dog food needs to contain to keep their canine companions in optimal health.

Here is a list of the top ingredients that should be listed (in order) in a quality dog food (according to Dr. Karen Becker DVM).

  • Meat
  • Meat meal
  • Vegetables/Fruits
  • Carbohydrates

Carbs get a bad rap in both the human and pet's diet. However, carbohydrates are essential for providing our pets with energy.

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Carbohydrates provide your dogs energy

The good carbs in a quality dog food will be listed as "whole grain," such as whole grain brown rice. Grain-free formulas will use a potato-starch as their binder.

AVOID: Pet foods that use corn, wheat or beet pulp. These are cheap fillers that bulk up the food with little to no health benefits.

Other Ingredients to Avoid

Pet food manufacturers use a number of poor quality ingredients to keep the cost of making their pet food down. Avoid these ingredients:

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Soy is one of the ingredients that should be avoided

  • Soy can wreck havoc on your pet's endocrine system
  • Artificial colors/flavors can be cancer causing in pets and are labeled as BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin and propyl gallate.
  • Splitting is when one ingredient is labeled several times such as brown rice, white rice, rice gluten meal, rice bran. This takes up the bulk of the food and may be replacing the protein content.

References:
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/10/21/selecting-the-best-cat-pet-and-dog-pet-food.aspx
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/about-meat-meal/

​How to Select the Best Dog Food For a Golden Retriever? Should it Be Wet or Dry Food?

The debate over dry dog food versus wet dog food as been going on for ages. There are both advantages and disadvantages of both these products. To help you decide which form of dog food is best for a Golden Retriever, we've put together a list of the pros and cons of each type.

Dry Dog Food

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Via Best Bully Sticks

Wet Dog Food

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Via sheknows.stfi.re

PROS

  • Easy to feed
  • Has a longer shelf life once opened
  • More convenient to travel with
  • Easier to clean up after
  • Many brands and pet-specific options to choose from
  • Can be used in training and puzzle toys
  • Offers a higher moisture content compared to dry kibble
  • Good kick of protein (providing it's high quality)
  • More palatable to pets
  • Comes in many different flavors for picky pets
  • Good alternative when pet is sick
  • Good alternative to dogs that are missing teeth, are old or have smaller mouths

CONS

  • Offers only 25% moisture content
  • Cheap brands offer no nutritional value
  • Can be easily filled with corn and other cheap fillers
  • Can be easily filled with cheap meat fillers
  • It is loosely regulated by the government food standards
  • Fancy packaging lures trusting consumers
  • Can have many recalls due to contamination
  • Shorter shelf life
  • Can cause tooth decay if it is used as a steady diet
  • Not as economical
  • Dog may not want to eat dry kibble once introduced to wet food
  • More difficult to clean up after

Some pet parents opt for both a dry and wet combination by mixing the wet food into their dog's dry kibble. This not only adds all the benefits of both forms of food, but it gives your dog a higher taste-profile.

References: http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_dry_versus_wet_food

Should It Be Grain Free?

There's a lot of talk about grains being bad for dogs. However, just like protein, not all "grains" are the same. Healthy grains for dogs include whole brown or wild rice, whole millet, quinoa (actually a seed) and whole oats.

These ingredients will give your dog a healthy boost of carbohydrates for energy and some other added vitamins and minerals. Common poor quality grains used in many dog foods include corn and wheat.

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Not all grains are good as well as bad for your dogs (Via yuki)

Although, these can be used in its whole-grain nature, they are less healthy and can put extra weight on your dog. Too much grain in your pet's food can also lead to:

  • Food allergies
  • Bloating
  • Diarhea
  • Poor quality coat/skin
  • Rash
  • Excessive gas

Finding the perfect balance between protein and grains can make all the difference in your Golden Retriever's health and well being.

Choose From Our Top Picks!

To help you on the hunt for a high quality dog food, that includes all the healthy stuff we mentioned earlier, we've chosen these five brands for our top picks. Plus, we also included the pros and cons of each one.

5

This company has taken our dogs back to their ancient roots by using only proteins found in the wild-meats. These include: bison, venison, lamb, salmon, boar and wildfowl.

The meats are then roasted for flavor. This grain-free dog food also uses this highly digestible protein to support healthy muscle development and to provide those essential amino acids.

The wild proteins also provide your dog with more flavor options as well as being a diet that is dictated by its genetic-makeup, not by a laboratory.

Pros

  • Supplemented with vegetables and fruits
  • No corn or soy added
  • Chelated minerals for optimal absorption
  • Uses sweet potatoes as a starch, which is also a good carbohydrate for energy
  • Has a wet food line
  • Available from 5 to 30 pound bags

Cons

  • Not all ingredients are sourced in the USA
  • Wild proteins may be too strong for more sensitive tummies
  • May not be GMO-free
4

This protein-rich dry dog food will provide your canine companion with optimal health benefits. The meat is sourced from the USA, with the exception of the lamb which comes from New Zealand. The blend also uses apples, carrots, blueberries, peas and spinach for a boost of antioxidants and fiber.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Contains 38% protein
  • Does not use grain or gluten fillers
  • Includes many healthy vegetables and fruits
  • Includes many added vitamins/minerals
  • Has other recipes within the Earthborn line
  • Can be purchased from 5 to 28 pound bags
  • Has a wet food line

Cons

  • Uses identified meals instead of pure proteins
  • Does list garlic further down their ingredient profile
  • May not be GMO-free
3

Made in the USA, this quality dog food only uses fresh deboned proteins in their recipes. You won't find any by-products, meals or cheap fillers in Blue Buffalo.

It also includes Life Source Bits (a special blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients) for added health benefits. In addition, this blend includes many natural greens for added fiber like peas, dried kelp and alfalfa.

Pros

  • Uses wholesome grains (no corn, wheat or soy fillers)
  • Wholesome garden vegetables
  • No added colors, flavors or preservatives
  • This line has increased protein and good carbs for smaller breeds
  • Available in wet food formulae
  • Available from 4 to 30 pound bags

Cons

  • Life Source Bits tend to settle at the bottom of the bag. Be sure to mix thoroughly before serving it to your dog.
  • Since it is higher in carbohydrates, watch for weight gain in less active dogs
  • May not be GMO-free
  • Does list garlic further down the ingredient list
2

With no ingredients from China, this quality dog food uses deboned fresh meats as its first ingredient. In fact, it contains a 70/30 split between identified meat proteins (to support lean muscle development) and fresh produce.

In addition, this dry dog food also adds Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, as well as good levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.

Pros

  • Many different blends within the Merrick line
  • Cooked under strict FDA guidelines
  • Grain-free using sweet potatoes as a starch
  • Added vegetables and fruits
  • Has blends good for dogs with food allergies
  • Available from 4 to 25 pound bags

Cons

  • May be considered pricey
  • Kibble size may not be suitable for all dogs
  • May not be GMO-free
1

This is our number one top pick for a healthy dog food. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free dog food is setting the standards for other brands by only using fresh meats as their first ingredient.

The also include other added benefits of natural ingredients such as sweet potato, broccoli, kale, spinach, blueberries and pomegranates. In addition, all the ingredients and the manufacturing is done in the USA.

Pros

  • Available in different protein sources
  • Has a wet and chunky food available
  • Has dog treats available
  • Uses no wheat-gluten, corn, soy fillers
  • Does not have artificial colors or preservatives or flavors
  • Added fruits and vegetables for optimal health
  • Uses natural ingredients as preservatives
  • Added vitamins/minerals
  • Contains 80% more meat than other brands
  • Available in 4 to 25 pound bags

Cons

  • May be considered pricey
  • Not all recipes may be right for all dogs

Conclusion

Although, these five foods are top-notch, you can see why we've chosen the Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dog Food. The many benefits and low cons make this dog food a healthy quality choice for a Golden Retriever and other canine breeds.

However, not all dog foods may be right for all canines. Choosing the best dog food for your Golden Retriever may take some time, research and trial-and-error.

Don't be fooled by the packaging or commercials on any brand of dog food. Read the labels to know exactly what you're feeding your dog. It will be well worth the effort when your dog is happy and healthy.

​Bonus

What good is a healthy food if your puppy won't eat? This YouTube video gives us some helpful hints to get your pooch back to the bowl.

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