The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers for 2022: Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: March 28, 2022

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Golden Retrievers are known for their wildly friendly personalities. But do you know what the best food for Golden Retrievers is? It’s easy to get caught up in their personalities. They are extremely affectionate with their family, great with other dogs, and even perfect to have around young children. They’re easy to train, they have moderate energy levels, and they have low barking levels. They do need significant mental stimulation but that’s always easy to provide when you’re dealing with such a friendly dog.

Your Golden has several different needs ranging from his health to his grooming to exercise and of course, training. But perhaps the most important are his nutritional needs because they lay a foundation for everything else. When you have a Golden, it’s vital he be fed high-quality dog food that is suitable for his life stage. Whether he’s a puppy, an adult, or a senior, he has a different set of nutritional requirements.

Goldens may become overweight if they’re being fed too much and they are not exercising enough. If you supplement with dog treats, you should only do so in moderation. Although treats are helpful during the training process, they should be used sparingly to avoid causing obesity in your pup. If you’re shopping for the best Golden Retriever dog food, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we share the top five foods for Golden Retrievers, no matter what life stage he’s in. You have options for Goldens in the puppy stage, adult stage, and senior stage—plus, we share a variety of flavors and include a wet food option too!

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Dog Food for Golden Retrievers

  1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever
  2. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever
    • Designed to meet the nutritional needs of Golen Retrievers
    • Contain essential nutrients to support his healthy skin and coat
    • Taurine, EPA, and DHA help to promote healthy cardiac function
    • Kibble is larger than usual, helping your dog to eat slower
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health
  4. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health
    • The kibble is crunchy and designed to support the special health needs of larger dogs
    • No meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives
    • More affordable than some prescription foods
    • Contains glucosamine for joint and bone health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. BLUE BUFFALO Blue's Hunter's Stew
  6. BLUE BUFFALO Blue's Hunter's Stew
    • The first high-quality protein ingredient is real duck
    • Support healthy muscle maintenance
    • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
    • Extremely palatable
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Puppy
  8. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Puppy
    • Golden Retriever puppies need specific nutrients, provided by this food
    • The kibble is designed specifically for your Golden Retriever’s straight muzzle and scissor bite
    • Contains essential nutrients to support healthy skin
    • High-quality proteins and prebiotics promote good digestive health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Adult 6+
  10. Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Adult 6+
    • Specially formulated for older dogs
    • Easily digestible ingredients
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
    • Added minerals to promote heart and kidney health
    Check Amazon

#1 Best Overall: Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food is the best overall food for Golden Retrievers on this list—and it was an obvious choice. This dog food was made specifically for Golden Retrievers and is designed to meet the nutritional needs of these gorgeous, friendly dogs 15 months and older. The specialized kibble is designed for your Golden Retrievers straight muzzle and scissor bite to encourage chewing (less gobbling up half-chewed food!). Additionally, this formula includes essential nutrients to reinforce your Golden Retriever’s skin barrier and support his healthy skin and coat. Your favorite pal’s heart health is supported with taurine, EPA, and DHA, which all help to promote healthy cardiac function. You won’t have to worry about your Golden gaining weight with this food because it has precise calories and fat content designed specifically for big dogs. This extra attention to the formula helps to support your dog’s weight management.

Royal Canin is known for partnering with pet experts to develop their unique recipes particular to each breed. They put forth the effort to study the breed’s lifestyle, life stage needs, and their tendency for health issues. Sometimes a dog may have distinctive facial or jaw structure needs while others may need extra support for skin and coat health. Royal Canin considers every detail so that your Golden can thrive. Our testers noted this food is a great investment, saving them on vet bills and medications. One Golden had hotspots and itching issues for well over a year and after trying a couple of different food brands, an elimination diet, and even prescription food, this food by Royal Canin was the catalyst for drastic changes. This Golden is not on medication for any itching anymore and she exudes a healthier appearance overall.

Testers also love the size of the kibble because it’s larger than usual, helping Goldens that inhale their food slow down, savor the flavor, and ensure adequate absorption of nutrients. If you haven’t tried this food for your Golden Retriever, it’s a must. Most Golden owners stick with this recipe for the rest of their pup’s life. In our experience, Goldens thrive on this dry dog food recipe. Just be mindful of the feeding guidelines when you switch over. Some testers have accidentally overfed slightly, and their older Goldens gained a little bit of weight. Keep a keen eye on your pet’s nutritional needs and ensure you’re only feeding the adequate amount for his age, activity level, and weight.

Best Overall
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever
  • Designed to meet the nutritional needs of Golen Retrievers
  • Contain essential nutrients to support his healthy skin and coat
  • Taurine, EPA, and DHA help to promote healthy cardiac function
  • Kibble is larger than usual, helping your dog to eat slower
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#2 Best Dry Food: Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health, Chicken & Rice

Wellness has developed a large breed dry dog food recipe that contains high-quality protein alongside wholesome grains like rice. The very first ingredient listed for this dog food is chicken. The texture of the kibble is crunchy, and it’s designed to support the special health needs of larger dogs through nutrient-rich, whole foods. Additionally, this recipe contains glucosamine which offers excellent support for joint and bone health. You know your Golden Retriever needs that extra assistance, especially as he moves into adulthood and into his senior years. The inclusion of this ingredient makes this a complete formula that considers exactly what your Golden needs.

You won’t find any meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives in this dog food. It’s made in the USA using only the finest globally sourced ingredients. Wellness is a brand you can trust when looking for natural dog food. Not only do they offer specific breed recipes, but they also offer several options for a puppy, adult, and senior dogs as well. Our testers noted that this specific formula by Wellness has a larger kibble size that’s perfect for big dogs. It’s also more palatable and more affordable than some prescription foods. One Golden we tried this with had itchy skin and after transitioning him to this recipe, his skin issues subsided. He enjoys the flavor of the food, and he eats significantly slower because he has to slow down to chew it.

Best Dry Food
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health
  • The kibble is crunchy and designed to support the special health needs of larger dogs
  • No meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives
  • More affordable than some prescription foods
  • Contains glucosamine for joint and bone health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#3 Best Wet Food: Blue Buffalo Blue’s Stew Natural Adult Wet Dog Food

Many dog owners pair dry dog food with wet food as a special treat for their beloved furry friends. If that’s the case for you, you have to try Blue Buffalo Blue’s Stew. In this recipe, the first high-quality protein ingredient listed is real duck. This formula is made specifically to help support your Golden Retriever’s healthy muscle maintenance. Mix it with your dog’s dry food, feed it as a standalone meal, or use it for special occasions as treat! All the Blue Buffalo canned dog foods are made with superior, natural ingredients, and their formulas are enhanced with vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition. You won’t see any chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, or artificial flavors and preservatives. In fact, you should keep in mind that many wet canned foods use wheat as a thickening agent, which is unnecessary. It’s always better for your dog’s food to be packed with wholesome, nutritious ingredients.

You can purchase Blue’s Stew in a case of 12 cans, with each can containing 12.5 ounces of wet dog food. Our testers noted that their Golden Retrievers took to this food right away. They were surprised to see that their dogs are more attracted to this recipe than some of the homemade food they usually love. The quality is fantastic, and the can is always full to the brim, with large pieces of meat blended in with vegetables and gravy. For dogs that are having a hard time meeting their daily caloric requirements, this food is a godsend. It has an alluring aroma, soft texture, and is extremely palatable for even the pickiest pups. Overall, we love how easy it is to incorporate this nutritious recipe into any Golden’s diet and consider it one of the best food for Golden Retrievers.

Best Wet Food
BLUE BUFFALO Blue's Hunter's Stew
  • The first high-quality protein ingredient is real duck
  • Support healthy muscle maintenance
  • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
  • Extremely palatable
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#4 Best for Puppies: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Puppy

Do you have a Golden Retriever puppy? Since Golden Retrievers are considered a large breed, they have a different set of nutritional requirements than a smaller dog like a pug or Boston Terrier. Although they’re small at the beginning of their lives, in order for Goldens to grow into their full size with healthy bones and lean muscle mass, Golden Retriever puppies need specific nutrients. This dry dog food contains a special complex of antioxidants, including vitamin E to support your pup’s immune system development. The kibble size is distinctive because it’s designed specifically for your Golden Retriever’s straight muzzle and scissor bite. With this kibble, your puppy is encouraged to chew through his food thoroughly. The formula contains essential nutrients to support healthy skin and make his coat head-turn worthy. High-quality proteins and prebiotics in the food also promote good digestive health.

One of our testers noticed that her Golden pup wasn’t thriving on the expensive food that her breeder had suggested. To give her puppy a fighting chance, she switched him over to this Royal Canin Golden Retriever puppy food and the changes she saw included a much more lustrous coat in about a week and her pup gained weight quickly. Another tester noted that her dog’s energy level shifted when she switched over to this puppy food. Additionally, she noticed that her pup’s stool was smaller, firmer, and more regular. It’s easy to recommend this puppy food because it’s healthy for your pup, easy on his tummy, and super tasty.

Best for Puppies
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Puppy
  • Golden Retriever puppies need specific nutrients, provided by this food
  • The kibble is designed specifically for your Golden Retriever’s straight muzzle and scissor bite
  • Contains essential nutrients to support healthy skin
  • High-quality proteins and prebiotics promote good digestive health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#5 Best for Aging Pups: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Adult 6+ Senior

Just as puppies have a specific set of nutritional requirements, aging dogs also need extra, specialized support. With this Hill’s Science Diet dry dog food, your Golden Retriever can enjoy a harmonious blend of easily digestible ingredients that help to support his energy levels and keep him feeling playful. Once your pup starts aging, his joint health becomes an even higher priority. This recipe includes natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin and incorporates a balanced set of minerals to promote heart and kidney health. Omega six fatty acids and vitamin E nourish your Golden’s skin and support that shiny coat he loves to show off.

Our testers immediately noted that their dogs don’t seem hungry all the time with this formula. They are satiated more quickly than with other food brands and they exhibit more happy energy instead of the sluggishness they were previously displaying. Even if your dog has a sensitive digestive system, this recipe is easy on the tummy. Older dogs need a little extra attention and a bit more love as their bodies change and when you incorporate this dry dog food recipe, you deliver just that.

Best for Aging Pups
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Adult 6+
  • Specially formulated for older dogs
  • Easily digestible ingredients
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Added minerals to promote heart and kidney health
Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

The dog food market is littered with different brands and products, most promising the world and failing to deliver. Having to sort through all the available products online can be overwhelming, especially if you are a new dog owner or you’re looking to switch your Golden Retriever to much higher quality dog food you can rely on. When you’re looking for the best food for Golden Retrievers, there are a couple of factors you should take into consideration. They include:

Ingredients

Ingredients are what make or break dog food. If you notice fillers, byproducts, or artificial colors and additives, try to steer clear. You want to aim for recipes that include wholesome, highly nutritious ingredients. Look for real meat as the first listed ingredient. This could be chicken, beef, duck, or fish. If you notice that the first ingredient isn’t real meat, the dog food you’re looking at is low quality. You also want to look for other ingredients that support your dog’s life stage. For example, if you are feeding an aging dog, look for glucosamine and chondroitin, which are ingredients that help to support his joint health. If you’re shopping for a puppy, look for limited fat and calorie content to make sure that his growth rate is appropriate, and that he maintains lean muscle mass as he moves out of puppyhood into adulthood.

Type

The type of food you feed is also important. Most dog owners tend to purchase dry dog food because it’s affordable, it doesn’t spoil easily, and it can deliver complete nutrition (so long as it’s high quality). However, if your dog is a senior, he may prefer a softer texture and could do well with wet dog food or wet dog food mixed in with the dry to help soften the texture. Wet dog food can also be used for dogs that have lost their appetite or are super picky. Because it’s more aromatic than dry dog food, it helps to attract your dog’s attention. Many dog owners find a good balance between offering wet food and dry food, so long as it suits their pup and their budget.

Formula

The formula you select is dependent on your dog’s age. Golden Retrievers are large breed dogs. That means an adult Golden Retriever needs a different type of food than a growing puppy. Golden puppies are at high risk for developing hip dysplasia if the foods they’re given early on contain too much calcium. This is why it’s so important that you select the right formula for your puppy. Your puppy needs to grow at an appropriate rate until he transitions into adulthood. Then, you can switch over to an adult formula. The same goes for aging dogs. They need extra nutrients as they get older, so be sure that you’re purchasing a formula that is suited for your Golden’s age.

Flavor

The flavor is super important because if your dog doesn’t like the flavor of the food you buy, he’s not going to eat it. If he doesn’t eat it, he’s not getting proper nutrients. If he’s not getting proper nutrients, you’re not supporting his optimal health. Just as you get to know your dog’s unique personality, you’re also going to be privy to his specific tastes when it comes to food. Some dogs may lean toward meatier flavors while others may prefer fish protein. Once you’ve determined what is more alluring for your dog, select flavors that complement his natural tastes. This ensures he’s getting the nutrition he needs and that he’s enjoying his food too!

Price

Since you’re financially responsible for ensuring your dog has proper nutrients throughout his life, considering the price of the dog food you purchase is vital. Make sure you create a budget forecast, with the understanding of how much dog food you need to purchase on a regular basis. When you combine all these factors and consider your budget as well, you position yourself to best provide for your pup not just in the short term, but also in the long term.

The Different Types of Golden Retriever Dog Food: Pros and Cons Compared

Dry Food: A great staple food for dogs of all ages that supports dental health.

PROSCONS
Affordable formulasNot as palatable as wet food
Doesn’t spoil easily 
Multiple flavors to select from 

Wet Food: Soft texture with high palatability for supplementing or encouraging picky dogs.

PROSCONS
Alluring aromasUsually more expensive
Highly palatable 
Easy on aging teeth 

Puppy Food: Specifically formulated for this critical growth stage.

PROSCONS
Perfectly formulated for the growing stageN/A
Unique kibble designs 
Supports an appropriate growth rate 

Food for Aging Dogs: Supplemented with additional nutrients to support joint and bone health.

PROSCONS
Age-specific support for joint healthN/A
Balanced formulas 
Multiple flavors to select from 

Verified Review: User Experience

When switching over to Royal Canin Golden Retriever adult dry dog food, one user noted “This is great stuff! My 18-month-old Golden had some serious gastrointestinal problems, and this was suggested by my veterinarian. Bailey loved this food and unlike most other dry dog foods that we’ve tried in the past, she gobbled it up. The waste from this high-quality food is nice firm and easily picked up. She’s gotten a much shinier coat as well. I won’t be changing her food again. It’s a little pricier than what I’ve used in the past, but the vet bills were horrendous until we got on this food. Bailey and I would both recommend it for your Golden.”

Blue’s Stew by Blue Buffalo, the wet food on this list, also makes a lasting impression. Even during difficult life circumstances, the formula is easily praised. A second user shares that “Gus has nasal sarcoma with not too much time left to live. He quit eating his dry food because cancer started pushing down onto the roof of his mouth. He ended up losing 10 pounds in 1 week. I got this for him to try and he started eating again! He regained his energy and his immune system started replying to everything better. I am able to hide his pills in this food and he has no clue! He takes 7 capsules and 1 half tablet of meds. Now it’s like any other day for him once more. In a way, he has gained a normal life back a bit by not having to have meds shoved down his throat. He looks forward to eating time again. It’s so great!”

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Products for This Review

About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

The Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers for 2022: Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which dog food is best for Golden Retrievers?

The best dog food for your Golden Retriever is dependent on his age. Life stage is a crucial consideration when selecting dog food for your pup. If your Golden is in the puppy stage, he needs a formula specific to large breed puppies. If he is in the adult stage, then he should be consuming a formula made for large breed adult dogs. If your Golden is in the senior life stage, he should be consuming large breed senior dog food.

What is the healthiest diet for a Golden Retriever?

The healthiest diet for a Golden Retriever includes high-quality protein. As we mentioned above, you should be looking for dog food that has real meat listed as the first ingredient. Wholesome grains can be included along with essential nutrients and omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health. Consider age-specific requirements when selecting the healthiest diet for your golden as well.

What is a Golden Retriever’s favorite food?

That’s up to your Golden to decide! Although Goldens are of the same breed, just as each of their personalities is unique, so are their flavor preferences. While one Golden may be highly attracted to chicken or beef, another May love duck or even fish flavors. Keep an eye on what makes your dog salivate the most and that’s how you’ll be able to determine what his favorite food is.

Do Golden Retrievers need grain-free food?

No, your Golden does not need grain-free food. In fact, grain-free foods may contribute to taurine deficiency in Goldens. When your pup has a taurine deficiency, heart problems are likely. Therefore, if you do feed a grain-free food, be sure that it’s balanced with other, more nutritious options, so your dog doesn’t experience any type of nutrient deficiencies.

Is Royal Canin good for Golden Retriever?

Yes, and it’s why it’s at the top of this list and also as the top recommendation for puppy food. Royal Canin has done a fantastic job of developing breed-specific food. We can’t recommend them enough!