Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers 2021/2022 – Buyer’s Guide

Golden Retrievers have some of the most iconic coats of fur in the dog world but can take some tender love and care to make sure that it stays that way.

Making sure that you feed your Golden Retriever a healthy diet with all of the key nutrients for the shine and density of fur will go a long way.

Our Top Choice

Runner Up

Best Value

Not only will your Golden Retriever be clearly happier with the right choice of kibble, they’ll also get other health benefits like improved immunity and joint health.

Here are just a few of the options that you should consider for your Golden Retriever.

NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice

Product Highlights

For your Golden Retriever, it doesn’t get much better than NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE. This dry kibble is made with large breed dogs at the forefront of the company’s mind and starts with high-quality protein (in this case chicken).

Supplements go into the dry food to bolster your dog’s immunity as well as promote healthy a coat for your adult Golden Retriever.


  • High-quality protein is the #1 ingredient
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients sourced by trusted farmers and suppliers
  • No chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy proteins
  • The formula includes natural sources of supplements for healthy joints and immunity


NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE does great with their labeling product so you know exactly what goes into making this dry food for your Golden Retriever.

They even tell you what purpose some of the more obscure ingredients, like the technical names for vitamin and mineral supplements, serve in the formula for the dog food. We rest easy knowing that feeding our dogs non-GMO ingredients is natural and safe.


The brown rice inclusion is great, but the formula still lacks some much-needed fiber in a dog’s diet. There are also some dogs that are allergic to the ingredients, like the chicken, which can give your dog things like bad breath.

NUTRO’s High Endurance formula was very similar to this one but higher in calories. Because this dry food is lower in calories, you have to feed your dog more to maintain his or her weight which can become costly.


  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Great for luxurious skin and coat


  • Lacking in fiber
  • Lower calories means feeding your dog more

IAMS Adult High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken

Product Highlights

Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient in this IAMS kibble that powers the strong muscles of active large dog breeds like Golden Retrievers. Prebiotics and fibers aid in proper digestion and increase your dog’s ability to fight harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

With this IAMS formula, there are no artificial preservatives, flavors, and no filler ingredients that a dog can be allergic to.


  • Smaller kibble size
  • Formula promotes bone and joint health
  • Prebiotics encourage a strong immune system
  • Veterinarian recommended

What We Like About IAMS

We like that you can almost get a pound of dog food per dollar spent on high-quality kibble that IAMS produces. The various whole grains and other included fibers are more beneficial to the dog’s gut than previously thought which means healthy digestion for your furry friend.

What We Don’t Like About IAMS

IAMS has been in the industry for a long time but their formula still includes things like chicken by-product meal, which may not appeal to your dog’s senses. They also use GMO ingredients, which we still don’t know the full impact of consuming.


  • Smaller kibble size makes it easier to chew for older dogs
  • Dog food is made in the USA
  • Plenty of fiber
  • Veterinarian recommended


  • Doesn’t use non-GMO ingredients in the formula
  • Uses chicken by-products which may be artificially treated

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken

Product Highlights

Blue Buffalo Wilderness proudly makes their dry dog food with high-quality meat, in this case, chicken, as the first ingredient. This grain-free version of their kibble is filled with meat and nutrients to satisfy a Golden Retriever’s primal instincts.

Vitamin and mineral enhancements ensure that your dog gets the support they need for their joints and bones for high-energy adventures.


  • Grain-free
  • Made with sweet potato and peas
  • Omega-3 and fatty acids support healthy skins and coats
  • Chicken builds lean muscle in active dogs

What We Like About Blue Buffalo

Picky dogs like ours love the food and will eat it up without any protest. The high protein diet and supplement blend used in Blue Buffalo also seems to help with some skin allergies in dogs. They stop itching hot spots and hair begins to grow back where it had fallen out before.

What We Don’t Like About Blue Buffalo

This bag of Blue Buffalo is pretty pricey for what you get. The kibble is high-quality but twice the price of the weight of the bag is not something to disregard lightly.

The quality has also been the topic of debate in recent years after General Mills acquired Blue Buffalo. There are many contradicting reports about the dry food making dogs sick and being various shades of brown with no consistency – it’s not something we would risk any more than needed for our dogs.


  • May help with skin allergies
  • High protein content loved by dogs
  • Grain and grain-free options
  • Made in the USA


  • Questionable quality control
  • More expensive than other quality brands
  • Doesn’t use non-GMO ingredients

Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula

Product Highlights

Specifically formulated for large dog breed puppies, the kibble is also suitable for all other life stages of Golden Retrievers and other large dogs. DHA omega-3 fatty acid included in the dry food promotes healthy brain and sight development.


  • 26% chicken protein, 16% fat
  • Crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque
  • Selenium and vitamin E for antioxidant nutrition

What We Like About Diamond Naturals

Natural ingredients like cage-free chicken make up the majority of the kibble’s formula. Diamond Naturals’ proprietary blend of probiotics that guarantees each pound of dry food to supply 80 million colony-forming units (CFU) means that your dog’s gut microbiome stays healthy and balanced.

What We Don’t Like About Diamond Naturals

The price for a single bag of this dog food fluctuates quite a bit on Amazon which is troublesome when buying it consistently. There also seems to have been a quiet change to the formula in recent years such that it is no longer appealing to many dogs.


  • Family owned and operated company
  • Cage-free chicken is #1 ingredient
  • Made in the USA with global quality components


  • Doesn’t use non-GMO ingredients
  • Unlikely that one dry food can fulfill all the different needs at different life stages

Halo Dry Dog Food For Small Dogs, Chicken & Chicken Liver

Product Highlights

Suitable for Golden Retriever puppies, the Halo brand promotes superior digestibility which means that the nutrients are used more and less poop is generated. Premium ingredients like non-GMO fruits and vegetables come with a 14-day money-back guarantee if you and your dog aren’t satisfied with the kibble.


  • Made in the USA
  • Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certified cage-free chickens
  • Non-GMO fruits and vegetables
  • Whole meat only, no meat meals

What We Like About Halo

Halo not only claims to use non-GMO ingredients and cruelty-free farming techniques, they back it up with third-party associations that certify they follow everything they say they do.

Dog safe and healthy grains are included along with whole meat which increases how much gets digested and decreases the size of doggy bowel movements. We could get used to picking up less poop!

What We Don’t Like About Halo

Sustainable practices and superior quality, all made within the USA means that the price goes up significantly. Even larger bags can be up to three dollars per pound.

The bags are also small in size, especially for large dogs, and don’t come in weights higher than 10.5 pounds.


  • Non-GMO components
  • Gut healthy probiotics
  • Good for even picky dogs


  • Expensive for what you get
  • Company focuses mainly on small breeds and puppies

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Southwest Canyon

Product Highlights

Taste of the Wild focuses on providing the nutrients that wild wolves would have needed before domestication and selective breeding was done before mankind. It includes superfoods with antioxidants keep your dog in top condition.


  • Wild boar is the #1 ingredient
  • Family-owned, made in the USA
  • Designed without corn, wheat, and other allergens like artificial flavors and colors

What We Like About Taste of the Wild

The customer service does well at answering people’s questions. A great variety of breeds, including Golden Retrievers with skin allergies, thrive when fed this diet.

What We Don’t Like About Taste of the Wild

The kibble begins to disintegrate in the bag pretty quickly, making a lot of mess and inedible dust. This also causes a mess that can attract pests. Salt is also pretty high in the ingredients list which isn’t good for dogs on a sodium-restricted diet or for blood pressure in general.


  • 29% protein content
  • Pre- and probiotics support gut health
  • Good customer service


  • Doesn’t contain grain for a balanced diet
  • Expensive dry food

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food

Product Highlights

This dog food has a lot of raw ingredients that are high in protein and contain beneficial nutrients. It also doesn’t contain a products that are common in other, cheaper dog foods that can be harmful such as grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product, artificial colors, or preservatives.

The ingredients, especially the plant material, is freeze-dried to lock in nutrients.


  • Grain-free kibble
  • Coated in raw ingredients that have been freeze dried
  • 70% animal components, 30% fruits and vegetables

What We Like About Instinct

We like the raw approach to dog food that is still in the form of easy dry kibble. The benefits that can be had by having a minimally processed diet are immense. THe high-protien diet plan is also much better for dogs than what some other dog foods provide.

What We Don’t Like About Instinct

They mix some of their protein meals into what they claim to be a single flavor that can trigger dog allergies but they don’t advertise this. It is also grain-free, which can be harmful for dogs if it is all they are fed.


  • Made in the USA
  • Cage-free chicken is #1 ingredient
  • Raw coating for better digestion and more
  • Chicken, beef, rabbit, and salmon options


  • Expensive kibble option
  • Not good for limited diets
  • Grain-free can be harmful to dogs

VICTOR Super Premium Dog Food – Grain Free Active Dog & Puppy

Product Highlights

Powered by a community of dedicated trainers, breeders, and outdoorsmen, VICTOR receives high praise for its nutritional content. A seal of approval from the independent online DogFoodAdvisor lets you know you have a quality product for you dog’s food needs.


  • 33% protein composition
  • Gluten-free option
  • Made in the USA

What We Like About Victor

We found VICTOR’s proprietary blend of supplements to be especially beneficial for our dogs’ health, their coats looked shinier and signs of stress like hair loss filled back in quite quickly.

What We Don’t Like About Victor

VICTOR does well in almost every category but we weren’t prepared for the smell when opening up the bag. When swapping our dogs onto the VICTOR kibble, it did make them more gassy for a while but we found that this went away with time.


  • VPRO blend of supplements, pre- and probiotics support healthy dog lives
  • Ideal for all life stages makes it simple


  • Very expensive
  • Pungent smell
  • Grain-free means dogs are missing out on some key nutrients

Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Rice

Product Highlights

Wellness is a family-owned company that curates its natural ingredients for the best health a dog like a Golden Retriever can have. Four flavors of high protein, quality dog food you can be sure about what you’re feeding your loveable pets.


  • No by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives
  • Made in the USA
  • Included grain for a balanced kibble

What We Like About Wellness Natural Pet Food

Wellness has a variety of prebiotics, probiotics and fiber to help your dog with digestion. The kibble is also designed in such a way to help to keep a dog’s teeth clean and strong.

What We Don’t Like About Wellness Natural Pet Food

Wellness claims to have natural pet food, but they still use GMO ingredients in their kibble. They also don’t say anything about their chicken sourcing methods, so we don’t know if the meat is sustainable or ethically sourced.


  • Wellness provides recipes for treats and wet food options
  • Desigend by veterinarians and scientists for optimum health


  • Particularly fishy smell from salmon meal
  • Doesn’t have non-GMO options
  • Lack of transparency about chicken

What to look for when buying dog food for your Golden Retriever

You can’t just feed your precious Golden Retriever whatever whenever to keep them healthy and happy. Below are some of the most important things to consider when looking at dry foods.

Natural Ingredients

Wholesome ingredients that are more raw in nature are ideal for feeding your Golden Retriever. Just like how non-GMO is better for us, it’s also better for your dog. Keep an eye out for non-GMO or organic certifications as well as seals of approval for how the meats were sourced (especially chicken).

Healthy Grains

Despite what many people think, grains are an important aspect of a dog’s diet that we are coming to understand more and more. Rice is usually the grain that companies go with, and brown rice will naturally provide more nutrients than white rice variants.

Also, many cheaper companies use corn and modified wheat products as an added grain in dog food, which is much worse for your dog’s health.

Just make sure that your dog isn’t allergic to some of the common grains and their associated proteins like corn and wheat.

Lean Protein Sources

Dogs can become overweight to the point that it negatively affects their health, especially the joints later in life. Making sure that the protein in your kibble is from a lean protein source like chicken breast is just one way you can make sure that your dog enjoys his or her best life for the longest time possible.

AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials and they have strict guidelines that dictate when a product contains the minimum amount of the necessary nutrients for healthy dogs at each stage of their lives.

In case you have questions that can’t be answered by the manufacturer’s analysis often printed on the packaging of the dry food, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association has a sheet of questions you can ask a company representative when you call them.

Reputable companies with your dog’s best interest in mind will be happy to answer all of your questions!


NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Our top pick is one of the cheapest on the list, but that doesn’t mean it is compromised in quality. The non-GMO ingredients are easy on the digestive system while the special blend of vitamins and mineral promote healthy skin, coats, and much more.

The lower calorie content of the kibble can be offset by simply adding more to your dog’s bowl, and supplementing your dog’s diet with more fiber is also a pretty straight forward ordeal.

Carrots and cucumber can be used as treats during training, and are especially high in fiber to offset the lack of that essential nutrient in your dog’s food.

Best Dog Food For Golden Retrievers FAQ

Is grain-free food good for my Golden Retriever?

Grain-free food is perfectly fine to feed your Golden Retrievers but keep in mind that you if choose to go with a grain-free kibble, you should supplement their diet with occasional meals including grains for their health.

How long will the 30 pound bag of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE last for one dog?

Some consumers reported there are approximately 132 cups of kibble in the 40 pound bag of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE dog food. With the recommended daily serving for a Golden Retriever sitting around a total of 3.25 cups, the whole bag should last about 40 days, or just over a month.

Is chicken or lamb better for my dog?

Both proteins are excellent choices for your dog but lamb has a slightly higher fat content which can lead to extra weight gain that may not be healthy for your dog’s breed. If your dog is allergic to chicken, however, lamb is still a good alternative.

Does NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE have taurine in it?

Taurine is not listed as being used in NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE as an ingredient. The manufacturer states that it naturally occurs in some of the other included components though.

Do Golden Retrievers need special dog food?

Golden Retrievers require about the same amount of attention to their dog food as the average breed to keep them healthy and happy.

Things like no fillers, high meat content, and minimal processing are important to look for. When in doubt, consult a veterinarian for advice on your unique situation.

How much protein is in NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE?

The guaranteed analysis for NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE states that the minimum protein content for each pound of food is 22%. DogFoodAdvisor finds the mean percentage of protein to be 26%.

When is a Golden Retriever considered a senior for dog food?

A Golden Retriever is typically considered as a senior dog when they reach eight years of age.

When is a Golden Retriever considered an adult for dog food?

Golden Retrievers mature and become adults around one or two years old.

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