Here is a quick glance at our top picks of quality dog food in order:
- Using only proteins found in the wild-meats
- Made in the USA
- Using wholesome grains (no corn, wheat or soy fillers)
- No added colors, flavors or preservatives
- 70/30 split between identified meat proteins and fresh produce
- Adding Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids
- The ingredients and the manufacturing is done in the USA
- Contains 80% more meat than other brands
- Has a wet and chunky food available
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 meal
A good quality meat source should be the first ingredient in your pet's food. These can include:
- Fish (tuna, salmon...)
Meat is vitally important for your pet's muscle development and for the essential amino acids your dog's body cannot produce on its own.
AVOID: Meat by-products as these can come from anything such as beaks, feathers, bones, feet, hair and even tumors that have been pulverized in the process.
Meat meal found in dog foods are what is left over from cooking down the meat source. This provides a highly concentrated form of protein that is good for your canine.
However, not all "meals" in pet food are created equally. High quality "meals" will be listed as an identified meat source such as chicken or beef-meal.
AVOID: Meals that contain the words "by-products" or an unidentified meal source. These examples include "chicken by-product meals" and "meat meals."
These wholesome ingredients such as blackberries and carrots provide your pet with added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for overall health.
Carbs get a bad rap in both the human and pet's diet. However, carbohydrates are essential for providing our pets with 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:
- 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.
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
Wet Dog Food
- 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
- 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.
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.
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
- Poor quality coat/skin
- 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.
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.
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.