Golden retreiver with a bone in its mouth

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers 2021 – Top 10 Reviewed

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds today, probably because of how active and friendly they are.

Therefore, show your golden some love by giving them the right food. And, finding the best dog food for your golden’s age is far more important than it is for other dogs.

That’s because golden retrievers are considered a large breed dog. And, large breed dogs tend to come with certain health risks at different ages. For example, golden Retriever puppies have an increased risk of developing crippling hip dysplasia, due to their size and activity level, while older goldens are more prone to suffering from different diseases of the heart…unless they’re fed a diet that’s specifically designed for their age and size.

For this reason, Dog Food Care has selected and listed below the 10 best dog foods for golden retrievers… so you can pick which one best suits your golden retriever according to their age. 

Note: Want to treat your dog to the very best? Get 50% off your first box of human-grade dog food when you try Ollie. Paws down, Ollie is the easiest way to feed your pup fresh, nutritious food. Learn how it works here!

Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers 2021 – Top 10 Reviewed – Overview

Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for more details and picks 6-10).

Overview
BEST OVERALL
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30 Pounds. Bag
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20 lb. Bag
LOWEST PRICE
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe High Prairie Puppy Premium Dry Dog Food, 5lb
Title
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete High Protein Real Meat Recipe
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Chicken & Turkey Recipe
Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Recipe
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free High Prairie Puppy 
Price
$95.84
$45.99
$71.99
$69.99
$16.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐
BEST OVERALL
Overview
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30 Pounds. Bag
Title
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
Price
$95.84
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
Title
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete High Protein Real Meat Recipe
Price
$45.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
Title
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Chicken & Turkey Recipe
Price
$71.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20 lb. Bag
Title
Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Recipe
Price
$69.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐
LOWEST PRICE
Overview
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe High Prairie Puppy Premium Dry Dog Food, 5lb
Title
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free High Prairie Puppy 
Price
$16.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐

1. Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30 Pounds. Bag
1,004 Reviews
Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30 Pounds. Bag
  • Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult dry dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred Golden Retrievers 15 months and older
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, corn gluten meal, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain inclusive – brown rice, oatmeal
  • Profile: Maintenance 
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

This formula is designed to fit the unique dietary needs of golden retrievers exclusively.  It addresses common health issues in the breed such as heart problems, skin irritation, and the need for lots of fuel to sustain energy levels. It contains 23% protein and 10% fat for a fat-to-protein ratio of 43%.  And, it has an estimated 46% carbohydrates.

Why we like this brand:

  1. Designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of golden retrievers 
  2. Kibble size designed to fit the bite-size of golden retrievers
  3. High in heart-healthy taurine
  4. The first ingredient is high-protein chicken meal
  5. Has a full 5-star review from buyers on Amazon

Check price at an online retailer!

2. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete High Protein Real Meat Recipe

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
917 Reviews
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
  • Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Adult Dog with Chicken and Rice dry dog food; includes REAL CHICKEN; high-protein (32%) and specially formulated to support the needs of HIGHLY ACTIVE and SPORTING...
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley
  • Type: Grain inclusive – white rice, barley 
  • Profile: Maintenance 
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

This formula was designed for only the most athletic dog breeds, including golden retrievers.  It is very high in protein and fat to ensure that your dog’s body keeps up with its energy levels while helping them properly recover from long days of activity.

It contains 32% protein and 25% fat for a fat-to-protein ratio of 78%.  And, it contains an estimated 26% carbs.  Considering the excellent protein content and high-quality ingredients, we highly recommend giving this formula to your hyperactive golden retriever.  

Why we like this brand:

  1. Designed to sustain high activity levels in ultra-active goldens
  2. 91% of the protein comes from cage-free chicken and eggs
  3. Has optimal levels of both protein and fats
  4. Contains probiotics to support digestion and absorb nutrients
  5. Has no corn, wheat, filler, or artificial flavors and colors

Check price at an online retailer!

3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Chicken & Turkey Recipe

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
392 Reviews
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
  • ADVANCED NATURAL NUTRITION TO FUEL YOUR LARGE BREED DOG'S BEST LIFE: Premium protein expertly balanced with nutrient rich superfoods for a complete and balanced dog food, with guaranteed levels of the...
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, lentils, peas
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance 
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

This formula by Wellness CORE is one of our top picks for golden retrievers due to its excellent ingredients and high-protein content. Not only is it very high in protein, but it also contains many antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries and kale. 

These natural antioxidants support the immune system while making the coat look shinier and healthier. The formula contains 34% protein and 12% fat for a fat-to-protein ratio of 35%.  Additionally, it has an estimated 32% carbs.

Why we like this brand:

  1. The chicken meal is naturally high in glucosamine
  2. The first 5 ingredients are all great animal and plant protein sources
  3. Contains several crucial mineral supplements including potassium chloride 
  4. Uses only natural preservatives to preserve animal proteins
  5. Designed to support lean muscle growth

Check price at an online retailer!

4. Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Recipe

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20 lb. Bag
151 Reviews
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20 lb. Bag
  • One (1) 20 lb Bag - Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

This formula is freeze-dried to simulate the ancestral, raw-diet of dogs long ago.  Additionally, it contains several animal protein sources, some of which are easily digested including both lamb and duck.  This combination allows your dog to absorb all of the food’s nutrients. This formula contains a very high 38% protein as well as 17% fat and an estimated 27% carbs.  That brings its fat-to-protein ratio to about 44%.

Why we like this brand:

  1. Freeze-dried kibble makes it easier to digest
  2. Has several animal protein sources including chicken, lamb, turkey, duck, and salmon
  3. Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint function
  4. Designed to build muscle mass and sustain energy 
  5. High in omega fatty acids

Check price at an online retailer!

5. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free High Prairie Puppy 

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe High Prairie Puppy Premium Dry Dog Food, 5lb
12,785 Reviews
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe High Prairie Puppy Premium Dry Dog Food, 5lb
  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food with ROASTED BISON and ROASTED VENISON dry dog food; REAL MEAT is the #1 ingredient; high protein (28%) to help support bones, joints and LEAN, STRONG MUSCLES
  • First 5 ingredients: Water buffalo, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, egg product, pea protein
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Golden retriever puppies

While the AAFCO profiles this dog food as good for all life stages including adult dogs, this formula was designed by Taste of the Wild as puppy food.  And, more specifically for puppies that need a lot of protein including golden retrievers and other large breed puppies.

Not only is it high in protein, but it also contains unique sources like water buffalo to mimic your dog’s ancestral diet.  It has 28% protein and 17% fat for a fat-to-protein ratio of 60%.  And, an estimated 35% carbohydrates.

Why we like this brand:

  1. The first 5 ingredients are all protein-rich
  2. It contains calcium to support growing puppy bones
  3. Contains species-specific K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics 
  4. Meets caloric needs for puppies while helping maintain a healthy weight
  5. Contains salmon oil – a great source of DHA for dogs

Check price at an online retailer!

6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
3,750 Reviews
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
  • REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient; High-quality protein from real chicken helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles; Plus they contain...
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive – brown rice, oatmeal, barley
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection line was designed to emphasize the importance of high-quality meat in dog food.  And, not only does it contain great meats, but it also has whole grains that are high in fiber.  Overall, the recipe is considered high fiber as it contains about 6% fiber.

The formula contains 22% protein, 12% fat, and an estimated 45% carbs.  That brings its fat-to-protein ratio to 54%.

Why we like this brand:

  1. Contains fish oil which is a great source of EPA for dogs
  2. High in amino acids to support joint health in active dogs
  3. Contains L-Carnitine to help develop lean muscles 
  4. Is considered to be a natural and holistic brand
  5. Real chicken is the first ingredient

Check price at an online retailer!

7. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Breed Chicken & Rice Formula 

Sale
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dog Food, Joint Health for Dogs Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 Pound (Pack of 1) (Packaging may vary)
3,980 Reviews
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dog Food, Joint Health for Dogs Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 Pound (Pack of 1) (Packaging may vary)
  • One (1) 34 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan High Protein, Digestive Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Rice Formula
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive – rice
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

This formula was designed to promote muscle conditioning in active dogs without causing weight gain.  It contains 26% protein and 12% fat for a fat-to-protein ratio of 46%.  It also contains an estimated 40.5% carbohydrates. The size of the kibble is also on the larger side. 

This is intentional, as larger kibbles are good for big dogs with big teeth and mouths.  In a way, this helps simulate a golden retriever’s ancestral diet. 

Why we like this brand:

  1. Fortified with live probiotics to support digestive health
  2. Contains fish oil which is high in both omega-6 and omega-3s for heart health
  3. A phosphorus supplement is high up on the ingredient list
  4. The first ingredient is real chicken
  5. Created to help maintain a large dog’s ideal body condition

Check price at an online retailer!

8. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

NUTRO ULTRA Adult Large Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken Lamb and Salmon, 30 lb. Bag
1,142 Reviews
NUTRO ULTRA Adult Large Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken Lamb and Salmon, 30 lb. Bag
  • Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of NUTRO ULTRA Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned salmon, turkey meal, peas, chickpeas, sweet potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult and puppy golden retrievers 

American Journey is a very high-quality grain-free dog food.  This particular formula is great for large breeds as it helps them get all of their essential nutrients.  Natural ingredients like sweet potato help them do that. Additionally, this formula contains several sources of omega fatty acids including salmon, flaxseed, and long-chain DHAs.

They help prevent potential heart problems while promoting proper brain functioning and healthy skin. It contains 30% protein and 12% for a fat-to-protein ratio of 40%.  It also contains an estimated 38% carbohydrates.

Why we like this brand:

  1. The high protein content is great for active golden retrievers
  2. Does not contain any ingredients like corn or soy that are common food allergies and tend to cause upset stomachs
  3. Both chickpeas and sweet potatoes are high in fiber to support digestion
  4. Contains several raw fruits and vegetables which provide many vitamins and minerals
  5. Real salmon is the first ingredient

Check price at an online retailer!

9. ORIJEN Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Food

ORIJEN Dog Puppy Recipe, 25lb, High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food, Packaging May Vary
707 Reviews
ORIJEN Dog Puppy Recipe, 25lb, High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food, Packaging May Vary
  • ORIJEN Puppy Large dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, flounder, eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Puppy golden retrievers

We highly recommend this dog food for your golden retriever puppy.  While the AAFCO does list it as appropriate for all life stages, including adults, it’s designed especially to meet the needs of puppies. This is considered a very high-protein dog food. That makes it great for not just puppies but particularly highly active puppies such as golden retrievers. 

Not only is it high in protein, but it contains quality protein sources including chicken, fish, eggs, and plant proteins. The formula contains 38% protein, 16% fat, and an estimated 25% carbohydrates. That brings its fat-to-protein ratio to 42%.  So, overall, we highly recommend this formula for your golden pup.

Why we like this brand:

  1. Contains chicken and turkey liver as well as chicken and turkey heart which are all extremely healthy for dogs
  2. 85% of the ingredients are animal ingredients
  3. The kibble is freeze-dried to help promote good digestion and flavor retainment
  4. Grain-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and soy-free
  5. Designed to mirror what a dog’s natural diet looks like

Check price at an online retailer!

10. Gather Free Organics Grain-Free Free-Run Chicken Formula

Petcurean Gather Free Acres Recipe Dry Dog Food - 6 LB. Bag
6 Reviews
Petcurean Gather Free Acres Recipe Dry Dog Food - 6 LB. Bag
  • Certified Organic, Free-Run Chicken Is The Very First Ingredient, And The Single Source Of Meat Protein, In This Highly Palatable Premium-Quality Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Organic chicken, organic dehydrated chicken, organic peas, lentils, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult golden retrievers

The Free-Run Chicken formula is another high-protein and all-natural dog food aimed at giving large breeds like golden retrievers lots of energy.  Not only are they a natural brand, but they are also certified organic. Their ingredient list is limited, meaning that they don’t have a super long list of ingredients. 

Rather, they only include a short list of ingredients that are high super high quality which eliminates the need for a bunch of additives. It contains 30% protein, 15% fat, and an estimated 35% carbs.  That brings its fat-to-protein ratio to about 50%.  We highly recommend this food for your golden.

Why we like this brand:

  1. Is great for a limited ingredient diet
  2. Is a certified organic brand
  3. Has a very high protein content 
  4. Contains unique ingredients like krill which are high in protein and omega-3s
  5. Free of antibiotics, added growth hormones, by-products, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Check price at an online retailer!

Final Thoughts

So, if you’re serious about your golden retriever’s health, then make sure you’re feeding them the right food that fits their specific age bracket..  Because they are so active and are prone to developing several different health issues, it’s essential that you pick a food that supports your golden the best!

 

Bonus tip: Golden retrievers need more protein in their diet than other breeds.  Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your golden the right kinds and right amounts of protein!

Note: Want to treat your dog to the very best? Get 50% off your first box of human-grade dog food when you try Ollie. Paws down, Ollie is the easiest way to feed your pup fresh, nutritious food. Learn how it works here!

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 2 Average: 5]

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.