HomeBreedsThe 5 Best Dog Food Brands for a Golden Retriever 2024

The 5 Best Dog Food Brands for a Golden Retriever 2024


Best Dog Food Brands for a Golden Retriever

Best Dog Food Brands for a Golden Retriever

The National Research Council of the National Academies suggests that an active adult Golden Retriever, weighing 70 pounds, should have an average daily caloric intake of 1740 calories. This breed also requires a diet that delivers complete and balanced nutrition, emphasizing rich proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support their active lifestyle.

Choosing the ideal dog food brand for a Golden Retriever involves navigating through a sea of options, each claiming superiority. After extensive research and analysis of over 1800 dog food brands to match the nutritional demands of a Golden Retriever, certain criteria were established to identify the best options for 2024. To be considered top choices, dog food brands must adhere to the following standards:

  • List real meat as the first ingredient to ensure high-quality protein sources.
  • Maintain a high protein content, with a minimum of 25.0% to support muscle health and energy levels.
  • Include a significant fat level, at least 12.0%, for energy and coat health.
  • Guarantee a 100% complete and balanced diet, providing all necessary nutrients for optimal health.
  • Exclude corn, wheat, or soy ingredients to minimize the risk of allergies and sensitivities.
  • Avoid by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives to ensure natural and wholesome nutrition.
  • Surpass the nutritional standards set by the AAFCO to ensure regulatory compliance and quality assurance.

Selecting the right dog food for your Golden Retriever demands careful consideration of these criteria to ensure that your furry friend receives the best possible nutrition tailored to their specific needs. Here are the 5 Best Dog Food Brands for a Golden Retriever for 2024.

Orijen® Original Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Dog Food for All Life Stages, Fresh or Raw Ingredients, 23.5 lb

Price: $105.99 ($4.51 / lb)

8 used & new available from $105.99 ($4.51 / lb)

Searching for the best dog food for Golden Retrievers? Orijen Original Dry Dog Food is a top-tier choice, celebrated for its ultra-premium, 16-ingredient animal source formula. Recognized among the elite dog food brands, Orijen Original sets itself apart by containing three times more meat than the standard offerings found online. Remarkably, two-thirds of the meats in this highly-rated dog food are either raw or fresh, avoiding any processed meats.

Orijen Original boasts an impressive minimum protein content of 38.0%, making it ideally suited for the energetic lifestyle of Golden Retrievers. Beyond its superior meat quality, this dog food is enriched with antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits like whole pumpkin, butternut squash, kale, spinach, and various greens, along with whole carrots, apples, and pears. For Golden Retriever owners seeking the finest nutrition for their pets, Orijen offers an unparalleled formula.

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail flounder, whole eggs, whole atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver, whole green peas, whole navy beans, red lentils, chicken necks, chicken kidney, pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils, alfalfa, chicken fat, natural chicken flavor, herring oil, ground chicken bone, chicken cartilage, turkey cartilage, dried kelp, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, apples, pears, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.

Caloric Content: 3940 kcal/kg, 394 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis
CRUDE FAT 18.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max
MOISTURE 12.0% max
DHA 0.2 min
EPA 0.2 min
CALCIUM 1.4 min

Chicken Soup for the Soul® Dry Dog Food

For those managing a dog food budget yet aiming to provide premium nutrition for their Golden Retriever, Chicken Soup for the Soul Dry Dog Food emerges as an excellent option. This brand balances affordability with quality, boasting nutritional levels tailored to the needs of a Golden Retriever. With a guaranteed analysis revealing a minimum of 26.0% protein and 14.0% fat, it aligns well with the dietary requirements of this breed.

The top ingredients showcase a commitment to high-quality protein sources, starting with chicken, turkey, chicken meal, and turkey meal. These protein-rich components support muscle maintenance and overall health. The inclusion of complex carbohydrates like barley, rice, oatmeal, and potatoes ensures sustained energy release, crucial for this active breed.

Beyond basic nutrition, the formula is enriched with antioxidants, supporting a robust immune system. It also includes DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid known for its benefits to eye and brain health, underscoring the comprehensive nature of this dog food. This blend not only meets the dietary standards for Golden Retrievers but does so in a way that’s accessible for owners looking for quality within a budget.

This approach to canine nutrition demonstrates that premium care doesn’t have to come at a premium price, making Chicken Soup for the Soul Dry Dog Food a standout choice for conscientious dog owners.

Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, peas, oatmeal, white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potatoes, natural flavor, tomato pomace, ocean fish meal, flaxseed, duck, salmon, egg product, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dried chicory root, dried kelp, carrots, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, thiamine mononitrate, yucca schidigera extract, zinc proteinate, L-Carnitine, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, niacin supplement, calcium iodate, riboflavin supplement, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, copper proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, cobalt carbonate.

Caloric Content: 3,560 kcal/kg; 350 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis
CRUDE FAT 14.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
ZINC 180 mg/kg min
SELENIUM 0.3 mg/kg min
VITAMIN E 150 IU/kg min

Taste of the Wild® High Prairie Dry Dog Food

For Golden Retrievers that enjoy an active lifestyle, selecting a high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs is crucial. Taste of the Wild High Prairie stands out as one of the top choices for this breed, thanks to its comprehensive and balanced formulation. The primary ingredient, real buffalo, along with lamb, chicken, and venison, offers a diverse and rich protein profile essential for muscle maintenance and overall health. This formula is further enhanced with a variety of vegetables and fruits, including sweet potatoes, tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to a well-rounded diet.

A unique feature of Taste of the Wild High Prairie is its proprietary K9 Strain Probiotic blend, which is tailored for breeds like Golden Retrievers. This probiotic addition is designed to support digestive health and bolster the immune system, with 80 million live, active cultures per pound of dog food. Such a feature is particularly beneficial for active dogs, as it helps maintain their health, allowing them to thrive and stay energetic.

Moreover, this formula’s grain-free composition makes it an easily digestible option for dogs, including those with sensitive stomachs or grain allergies. By excluding grains, by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives, Taste of the Wild High Prairie offers a pure, nutrient-dense food choice without common allergens or fillers that could detract from its nutritional value.

Ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, egg product, roasted bison, roasted venison, beef, natural flavor, tomato pomace, potato protein, pea protein, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid. Contains a source of live, naturally occurring microorganisms.

Caloric Content: 3,719 kcal/kg, 370 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis
CRUDE PROTEIN 32.0 % min
CRUDE FAT 18.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
ZINC 150 mg/kg min
SELENIUM 0.35 mg/kg min
VITAMIN E 150 IU/kg min min
TAURINE 0.12% min

CANIDAE® All Life Stages Formula Dry Dog Food

For families with multiple dogs, including Golden Retrievers, CANIDAE All-Life Stages Dry Dog Food emerges as a highly recommended choice. This formula, developed by a family-owned company based in Texas, is scientifically crafted to meet the nutritional requirements of Golden Retrievers across all life stages.

The formula kicks off with three high-quality protein sources: chicken meal, turkey meal, and lamb meal, ensuring your Golden Retriever gets the essential proteins needed for muscle development and energy. It’s complemented by complex carbohydrates sourced from rice, peas, potatoes, oatmeal, and barley, which provide sustained energy for active dogs.

Understanding the importance of skin, coat, and immune system health, CANIDAE incorporates additional amino acids and antioxidants into this formula. Digestive health is also a priority, with the inclusion of probiotics and prebiotics to support a healthy gut flora.

One of the key benefits of CANIDAE All-Life Stages is its commitment to using ingredients that cater to dogs with food sensitivities. The formula is free from common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy, making it an excellent option for dogs with specific dietary needs.

By offering a balanced diet that addresses various aspects of a dog’s health—from digestion and immunity to skin and coat care—CANIDAE All-Life Stages stands out as a versatile and nutritious choice for Golden Retrievers and other dogs in multi-pet households.

Ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal, brown rice, white rice, rice bran, peas, potatoes, oatmeal, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat, millet, tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, oceanfish meal, choline chloride, suncured alfalfa, inulin (from chicory root), lecithin, sage extract, cranberries, beta-carotene, rosemary extract, sunflower oil, yucca schidigera extract, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), mixed tocopherols (a preservative), papaya, pineapple.

Caloric Content: 3,600 kcal/kg, 3.6 kcal/g, 1,636 kcal/lb, 468 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis
CRUDE FAT 14.5% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
VITAMIN E 200 IU/kg min
GLUCOSAMINE 700 mg/kg min

Nature’s Variety® Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food, 4 lb. Bag

Price: $24.99 ($0.39 / Fl Oz)

3 used & new available from $24.99 ($0.39 / Fl Oz)

When evaluating the cost against the quality of ingredients, Instinct Original by Nature’s Variety emerges as an outstanding dry dog food choice, especially suitable for active Golden Retrievers. The formula boasts a remarkable minimum of 37.0% protein and 20.0% fat, providing the necessary energy and nutrition for this energetic breed.

The ingredient list of Instinct Original is impressively rich in high-quality protein sources, including chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, salmon meal, chicken eggs, and menhaden fish meal. These protein-packed ingredients are crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass in active dogs. Beyond proteins and fats, the recipe is enhanced with an array of wholesome vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits, contributing to a well-rounded and nutritious diet.

This 5-star formula is distinguished by its flavorful and nutrient-dense composition, ensuring that your Golden Retriever not only enjoys their meals but also receives comprehensive nutritional benefits. Instinct Original prioritizes natural ingredients, free from grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial colors, and preservatives, aligning with the preference for a more natural diet for pets.

By integrating such high levels of premium proteins with essential vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, Nature’s Variety Instinct Original caters to the dietary needs of Golden Retrievers, supporting their active lifestyle with a balanced and delicious diet. This grain-free formula is particularly appealing for dog owners looking to avoid common allergens and fillers, ensuring that their pets are fed a clean, wholesome diet.

Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Salmon Meal, Chicken Eggs, Tapioca, Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Menhaden Fish Meal, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Montmorillonite Clay, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Potassium Chloride, Freeze Dried Chicken, Choline Chloride, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract

Caloric Content: 4,250 kcal/kg, 499 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis
CRUDE FAT 20.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 3.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
VITAMIN E 100 IU/kg min
Hi! I'm

Dr. Janet Evans

it's my pleasure to welcome you to our series on the Dog Food Network. With a deep passion for canine nutrition and years of experience in veterinary medicine, I've dedicated much of my career to understanding what makes a healthy diet for our furry friends. The journey towards optimal health for our dogs begins with the right nutrition, and it's this belief that has motivated me to share my knowledge and insights with you through these articles.

Dr. Janet Evans