Bringing home a new puppy is always an exciting event. You want the best for your new friend, including nutritious food that will help them grow. Choosing the best diet plan for golden retriever puppies is an important part of dog ownership, and this guide is aimed toward helping you achieve that goal.
Puppies have specific needs, which are different from adult and senior dogs. They have higher calcium and phosphorus needs at this life stage compared to older dogs. In order to select an appropriate dog food, you’ll need to make sure it is labeled specifically for puppies, or alternatively for all life stages.
What a Good Diet Should Have
Although there are thousands of brands of dog food, there are a few things every good quality bag of dog food should have in their ingredients list. Ingredients are listed by weight, so the ideal bag of dog food should have a named source of animal protein as the first ingredient.
If the animal source is not named, (Pork or beef as compared to meat or animal) it means that the meat source could be any animal—in any state of decomposition. Named animal sources of protein will always be better quality than unnamed sources, because they have more laws around their safety and quality.
Our Top Picks
There’s a lot more that goes into a good dog food besides the first ingredient on your dog food. DHA content, the type of starch if any, and where the ingredients are sourced from all matter. If you’d rather not do the legwork on these ingredients, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites, with a style to match every feeding plan.
Orijen Puppy Food
If you are looking for a high-protein dog food packed with a broad variety of animal proteins, Orijen puppy food is an excellent choice. Orijen Puppy Food comes in both canned and dry form, so you can choose what style of food you prefer.
Canned dog food is better for keeping your pet hydrated, but kibble is often more cost-effective for a rapidly growing puppy. With Orijen, you can choose one or both while still keeping your puppy healthy.
Acana Wholesome Grains Puppy Food
There’s some concerns about grain-free dog food, such as Orijen, being linked to a heart condition called DCM. This is a very recent development, and there isn’t enough information right now to determine what is causing this problem in dogs.
If you want to make sure grains are included in your dog’s diet, Acana is made by the same company as Orijen, but offers wholesome, high quality grains in its ingredients. Acana also has a grain-free canned variety.
Stella and Chewy’s Raw Coated Puppy Food
Stella and Chewy’s major focus is fresh pet food for adult dogs, but they also have a kibble for puppies. This kibble is coated with their famous freeze-dried raw, which is both safe from bacteria because it is freeze dried, and extremely appetizing for picky eaters.
Stella and Chewy’s is made with love by a manufacturer that genuinely cares about dogs and their well-being. It’s a great food if you need dog food from a manufacturer you can trust.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Puppy Food
Golden Retrievers are not a giant breed like Great Danes or Mastiffs, but they are considered a large breed. Large breeds are vulnerable to hip dysplasia and other issues if their puppy food has too much calcium.
If you’re concerned about this for your puppy, choosing a large breed puppy food can be beneficial to your pet.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Puppy Food is especially designed with balanced calcium and phosphorous levels to reduce the risk of getting too much calcium at a young age. It also has DHA and other antioxidants for healthy brain development. After all, we’d all like to have a smart puppy!
Wellness Complete Health Puppy
Wellness Complete Health Puppy is another high-quality food packed with DHA for brain health. It also features GMO free chicken, salmon oil for healthy joints and brain, probiotics for healthy immune systems, and more.
This puppy food has whole grains such as oats in it, and also prebiotics. This food comes in both canned and kibble form, so you can switch it up for your pet if you like.
Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Food
Some dog fanciers believe that raw is the best way to feed your puppy. Others worry about bacteria in the food spreading to people or making the dog sick. Instinct Raw Boost is a kibble with freeze-dried raw in it.
The freeze-dried bits are preserved to leave all the nutrition of raw food intact, with none of the bacteria. It’s a safe way to explore raw feeding without harming your dog.
This puppy food also features whole grains on the kibble side, free-range chicken, as well as fish and chicken eggs for DHA. The result is a well-balanced and delicious food your Golden Retriever puppy will love.
Fromm Puppy Gold
Fromm is a beloved manufacturer that has been producing high quality dog food for years. Fromm has only ever had one dog food recall in 2016, for improper vitamin D levels. In a world where dog food recalls are common and pets can even get sick and die, few to no recalls are a great sign in a dog food.
Fromm Puppy Gold includes carefully selected whole grains, high quality meats such as chicken and lamb, and anti-oxidants for brain development.
This dog food also has natural sources of collagen in it, which is important for good joint development in your growing puppy.
Lotus Puppy Food
Last but certainly not least on our list is Lotus Puppy Food. The Lotus dog food company is relatively new. It got its start much like Stella and Chewy’s, with a dog owner hoping to make the best dog food possible for their special pet.
The Lotus company is family owned and run, and the ingredients going into the dog food are human grade. That means before it was made into kibble, it was a wholesome ingredient you would recognize.
Lotus Puppy Food contains wholesome grains, a gently baked processing technique that keeps most of the nutrition intact, and chicken as the first 3 ingredients. The grains are ancient grains which are healthier and more digestible for your pet, and it has salmon oil for health brain development.
All of these dog foods are great choices for your golden retriever. They offer a variety of different styles of feeding, with healthy options for every different point of view. If you’re looking for the best diet plan for your golden retriever puppy, one of these foods could be it.