There’s no doubt that choosing the right dog food is a fairly difficult task. To top it off, you also need to make sure that it encourages good health for your Golden too!
That said, a good diet will help your dog live long and active and will also improve their immunity in the process. With all that taken into account, I put together a guided list to help you choose the best dog food for your Golden Retriever.
If you’re in a hurry, just check out the quick list below. However, if you got more time to read, then continue on to take a deep dive into dog foods (no pun intended).
Best Dog Foods To Buy This Year
How To Choose The Best Foods
Buying ay new random dog food just doesn’t cut it for the benefit of your dog’s health and well being. This means that you’ll need to follow a few simple steps to evaluate which foods are best suited for your pup.
Just below, I’ll take you through a few quick tips to help you choose the best food, and understand why its best suited to your dog. Let’s dig in!
Always Check Ingredients
Youll need to make sure that the food includes nutritional value and contributes to your dog having a healthy diet. A few things to look out for include;
- A named protein (Chicken, beef, lamb etc)
- Whole vegetables, fruits, and grains
- Look for a “meal” or “byproduct meal” as the second or third ingredient
Whilst there are many more complicated ways of reading ingredients. These are certainly the most important things to look out for before making a purchase.
Get to know the “Jargon”
If you see a dog food stating “chicken dog food” or “beef for dogs”, then this means the product has 90% protein, excluding water content.
Similarly, if a product has a “dinner” keyword like “food stew dinner”, then it’s an indication that the product has only 25% protein.
Consider Your Dog’s Breed, Age & Activity
Puppies need a higher calorie intake than adult dogs, whilst more active adult dogs need more calories than less active pups. Youll find that most companies sum it up by the size of breed, e.g. large, small, and medium dogs?
To calculate the exact calorie intake your specific dog requires, check out the ‘Calorie counter for dogs’ over on Pet Nutrition here: https://www.petnutritionalliance.org/dog.php
Allergies to foods
Try to seek professional advice on whether your dog is allergic to any foods. However, you’ll ultimately need to test to see. which foods work well and find the ones that don’t.
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include,
- Paw licking
- Dry itchy skin
- Excessive scratching or licking
Read the fine print!
To make sure that you are getting a quality product, you should check whether the product you are thinking to buy has a nutritional adequacy statement. This lets you know that the food has been approved by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).
It’s usually located with all the other nutritional information and it might say, “gives balanced for all life stage dogs or for puppies”. Always check for the AAFCO statement.
Now that you’re armed with how to make a purchase, you can now choose from y top 5 recommendations of the best dog foods below.
5 Best Dog Foods For Golden Retrievers
Now its time to get stuck into the most important part, the product reviews. each of the products in this list has been carefully selected to best suit a specific need listed in each of them.
That way, you can quickly navigate through the list to quickly find the most suitable product for your pup.
This has to be the best option on the list when it comes to organic ingredients. This product contains hormone-free meat and works well with dogs that have allergies.
The downside is that you don’t get a whole to for your money (in comparison to some of the others), so its recommend going large on the order.
Inside, you’ll find that the main ingredients are chicken, fish, and veg proteins which of course make this a good healthy option for your dog.
Heres some good and bad points I found with this product:
- Certified organic ingredients are used in this dog food
- The meat used is hormone-free
- Filled with chelated minerals and vitamins
- Some ingredients are not organic
Overall, this is the best product on the list which is why it made it to no1. Whilst there is still room for improvement, this product does a great job of providing a healthy, hormone-free experience to your dog.
Heres a plant-based product that is made with no grain, soy, corn, or wheat gluten.
Take note that this is only for dogs over 1 year of age that contains a whopping 34% protein diet.
Talking about protein, you’ll find a total of 5 in this food which are:
- Deboned turkey
- Deboned chicken
- Turkey meal
- Chicken meal
- Chicken liver
There’s also a good balance of fats against proteins, as each bag contains around 12% fats.
Youll find no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It’s just a good bag f food that provides a great nutritional value.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
- Plants and meat-based ingredients
- Chelated vitamins and minerals
- Chondroitin and glucosamine are present in the large breed formula
- Doesn’t contain any harmful additives
- USA made dog food
- As compared to others, it’s a bit pricey
This is a great product with no real concerns, but the fact that it’s for 1-year-old dogs and above . Sure it might set you back a little, but in this case, you’ll get what you pay for.
One great aspect of this product is the fact that you can rehydrate to bring it back to wet dog food. Just add water and wollah! you’re done…
You can feed this to both puppies and adult dogs, as it has no additives or hormones.
This product contains a variety of fruits such as broccoli, kale, apples, and blueberries. It honestly gives your dog all the nutrients of a fresh meal without having to do the hard work.
Let’s sum it up in a few bullets:
- Easy, simple a quick option for feeding
- Made up of high-quality plant and meat ingredients
- No added preservatives
- Organic veggies and fruits are present
- The protein percentage is too high, which is only good for active dogs
I would say this is a good option if you’re on the move quite a lot. It’s a great option if you need a product that you can order in bulk.
Due to the method of preservation, you’re able to store this food for a lot longer than its competitors. But of course, that comes at a price.
A larger percentage of protein in this dog food comes from eggs and chicken, which makes it a good option for dogs that have a sensitive stomach.
The highlight of this product comes down to the fact that it’s made with no GMO vegetables, which means it includes no genetically modified vegetables.
But, how does this stand up in the pros and cons?
- Made with Omega-3 fatty acids
- Contains chelated minerals
- No rendered meat
- Dogs seem to love it (taste)
- Super expensive
- Small cans
Its clear that’s this is a great tasting food that provides a good nutritional value, but it’s super pricey for what you get which is a little bit of a let down for me.
5. CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog Food (multi dog family)
An immediate benefit to using this product is the fact that its made for all ages and most breeds.
If you have more than one dog at home whether they are at a different age or of a different breed, then this product will provide a one-stop-shop solution.
This product contains a mix of ingredients such as chicken, turkey, lamb, or fish. And includes whole foods, such as potatoes, brown rice, peas, lentils, and cranberries.
There are no fillers used and its made with no corn, wheat, or soy.
- Made for all ages and breeds (multi-dog families)
- No artificial contents
- Causes a bad farting issue with some breeds
- No consistency in quality of food
Thats right! the last bullet may have raised some concerns, but I found that some deliveries come from a good batch, whilst others come looking old and expired. Not sure if thats a warehouse issue, but I’m sure it ill be soon fixed.
So these were some of the best dog foods that you can buy. Though if you still have any confusion, then this buyer’s guide may help you. Here I have mentioned all the things you need to consider before buying any dog food.
Premium vs Budget
One of the common questions most people have is whether they should go for premium food or budget food. Well, the simple answer is premium foods. Budgets food may save you some money but they don’t have enough nutritional value.
Most people fall under the trap of buying cheap foods because they compare by the cost per kilo when you should compare by the cost per feed.
Premium foods are expensive but they can satisfy your dog’s hunger with a small serving. They also have a higher absorption rate, which means your dog’s body will absorb most of the nutrients and he will create less waste.
Wet vs Dry Food
The next thing you need to consider is choosing between wet or dry foods. However, both of them have their benefits and you should go for those that you think are right for your dog. For example- dry kibble is very popular among dog owners as they are easy to maintain and affordable.
They are durable and you can also transport them easily. Coming to wet foods, they slightly taste better and they are easy to chew. The good thing about the wet dog food is that it does not contain any chemicals as they come in airtight containers. So it depends on you, though some people mix wet dog food and kibble to create a perfect combination.
Dog Food Flavors
Just like humans, all dogs have different tastes and being a dog owner, you must figure out which flavor your dog likes the most. Each dog food contains different key proteins, which is done to give a specific flavor.
Due to the wide range of flavors, it can be confusing to choose the best one. To get the best product, you have to ask yourself three questions, which are will your canine like it, is it easily digestible, and what are its benefits. You should look for a product that has all three qualities.
Age is the main factor that plays a major role in determining which food would be best. You cannot give the same food to all the age groups because different ages require different nutrients. For example- puppies require food that has can enhance their body and mind growth whereas older puppies need foods that are beneficial for joint care.
Foods To Avoid
Dog foods are filled with different ingredients, some are very beneficial while some can be dangerous. The problem is that it is hard to find what is good and what is bad. As per some studies, some preservatives can harm your dog’s health, especially if you keep feeding them for a long time.
This is the reason why it is very important to have proper knowledge of ingredients you should avoid. Here are some of them:
• Butylated hydroxytoluene and Butylated hydroxyanisole – If you see these two compounds on any dog food, then you should avoid buying it because WHO has labeled these as carcinogenic
• Ethoxyquin– This compound is very harmful to the liver and also causes blood problems, says FDA. It is used as a hardening agent in rubber and also as a pesticide
• Propylene glycol– FDA has already banned this compound’s use in cat food as it was reported that it cause Heinz body anemia. In dog’s food, it’s the main purpose is to preserve the moisture content
• Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)– According to different studies, this preservative is very harmful to animals and consumption of this preservative can damage the DNA in cells and cause stomach tumors
• Propyl gallate– Xenoestrogens is present is this substance, which is believed to cause breast cancer in humans
However, it is not 100% guaranteed that these preservatives will cause problems but it is better to take precautions rather than regretting it later. Instead of opting for these harmful compounds, it is better to take the natural side.
The main role of preservatives is to keep the food from getting spoiled and natural preservatives can also do this. In short, you should go with dog foods that contain natural preservatives such as ascorbate or tocopherol.
So after discussing all the important things, it’s time to talk about some of the most frequently asked questions regarding dog foods.
What Is The Definition Of A Good Dog Food?
This is the most common question that most people have and the answer simply is that no dog is perfectly complete. A good dog is a combination of different nutrients and factors. Here are some things that a portion of good dog food should have:
- No chemicals and fake colors
- Balanced carbohydrate content
- Enough percentage of meat-based protein
- No unidentified ingredients
What Things You Have To Keep In Mind While Switch Foods?
Well, if you are thinking to switch your dog’s food then you should do it slowly, don’t just change the food overnight.
The best way to switch the food is by introducing new food in small amounts. On the first day, serve the new food in small quantities along with the old food and gradually increase the dosage.
How To Tell If The Dog Is Thriving On Their Diet?
It is very easy to tell whether the dog is thriving on their dog or not. A fully satisfied dog, who is getting full nutrients functions differently. You can tell it just by looking into these eyes. Here are some other signs that your dog is thriving on his diet:
- Sparkling eyes
- Healthy consistent weight gain
- Proper bowel movement
- Fresh breath
To keep your dog healthy and happy, choosing the right foods is very important. Dogs are a part of your family and you should pay proper attention to their health and needs. There are tons of dog foods brand available in the market but not all of them provide the same quality.
You should only go for those brands that have been in the business for a long time. Apart from this, only buy products that have a good absorption rate as it will make sure that your dog is getting the required nutrients.