Should Golden Retrievers Eat Large Breed Food? [Vet Explains!]

When looking for a diet for your dog, there are many different options: large breed, puppy, adult, senior, and small breed. You may be wondering which food you need to feed to your Golden Retriever. We will cover all that you need to know to feed your Golden Retriever the best possible diet.

Should a Golden Retriever eat large breed dog food?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are considered large breed dogs and need to eat a large breed dog food.

Finding the perfect food for your Golden Retriever can be difficult at times, but following some of these tips and tricks will help make sure that you are feeding your dog the perfect diet to help them stay happy and healthy

Are Golden Retrievers considered medium or large dogs?

Golden Retrievers are considered a large dog breed. The average size of a Golden Retriever is 50 to 70 pounds. These are in the large breed category and should be fed a large breed diet. Giant breeds such as Great Danes and Mastiffs should also eat a large breed diet. Most dogs that weigh over 45 to 50 pounds should be fed a large breed diet too.

Should I feed my dog large breed food?

Golden Retrievers should be fed a large breed diet. These diets are specifically designed to meet the growing needs of Golden Retrievers.

What type of food should a golden retriever eat?

When feeding your Golden Retriever, there are two different types of diets that you can feed.  You can buy your dog commercial dog food, or you can make your own dog food at home every day. 

Many people will choose to feed a commercial dog food because it is way easier to ensure that your Golden Retriever eats a well-balanced diet and does not take a lot of time to prepare each day.

Commercial Dog Food

All high-quality commercial dog food is completely balanced.  This is the easiest way for you to feed your Golden Retriever.  There are many great dog food diets that you can feed to your Golden Retriever.  When trying to find a diet for your Golden Retriever, you will want to make sure that the first ingredient that is listed is a whole protein and not a protein meal or grains.

Dry dog kibble is the best to feed to your Golden Retriever.  This dry food is not only very easy to feed and for you to store large amounts but also great for your Golden Retriever‘s teeth. When your Golden Retriever bites down on dry kibble, the food will help remove any tartar that is present on their teeth.

Should Golden Retrievers Eat Large Breed Food [Vet Explains!]

Homemade Diets

A homemade diet can be fed to your Golden Retriever if you do not want to feed them a commercial diet.  This would require that you can cook for your Golden Retriever each day.  You will need to ensure that the diet that you are preparing for your dog will meet all of their dietary needs.

There are many great places where you can get recipes for your Golden Retriever.  One site many vets use for completely balanced recipes and even tailored for any disease that your Golden Retriever has is  On this website, you can pick what food you have at home, and it will make you a meal plan for your Golden Retriever.  This will also make sure that you are feeding the appropriate foods to meet your dog’s daily nutrient needs.

These are some foods that are nutritional and are very easily digestible for your Golden Retriever:

  • Proteins: Chicken, Lamb, Beef, and other white meats, Salmon or whitefish
  • Vegetables: asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Fruits: apples are great for senior pets with a slower metabolism; just make sure that there are no seeds.  Many dogs love to eat other fruits like apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe.

These are just some of the many fruits and vegetables that you may want to include in your Golden Retriever’s homemade diet.  You can even use this list and add in other approved human foods that you can give to your Golden Retriever as a treat.

When trying to find the perfect diet, make sure that you are feeding a high-quality diet full of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to help your Golden Retriever stay strong and healthy.

What Golden Retrievers Cannot Eat

 There are some foods that should be off-limits for all dogs.  This list contains many things that your dogs should not eat.  If your Golden Retriever does get a hold of any of these foods, it would be best for your Golden Retriever to see your vet. Some of these foods may cause a slight GI upset, but many can be toxic to your dog’s liver and kidneys. Some of these can even be life-threatening if eaten in large amounts. 

  • Prunes
  • Grapes or Raisins
  • Dairy in large amounts is very bad for your dog’s digestive system because they were never meant to process dairy. If your dog ate just has a small amount, they are usually okay.
  • Citrus fruits can cause your dog to have an upset stomach
  • Raw eggs and raw or undercooked meat can contain salmonella.
  • Soda: Dogs don’t handle carbonation very well.
  • Cherries: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Chocolate: especially dark or baker’s chocolate, is very toxic to dogs
  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Coffee
  • Salty foods
  • Foods that contain a lot of sugar
How often should a Golden Retriever eat?

How often should a Golden Retriever eat?

When your Golden Retriever is a puppy, you should feed them 2 to 3 times a day.  Your adult Golden Retriever should eat at least one time a day.  Many people will feed their Goldendoodle twice a day as their Golden Retriever tends to be fuller with the twice a day feeding. 

How much should a Golden Retriever eat?

It is best to start with the feeding guidelines that are found on the back of the bag of dog food.  Sometimes this can be a little more than your Golden Retriever needs, especially if they are not very playful.  One good rule to follow is 1 cup of food per 15 pounds of body weight a day.  So, a 60-pound dog should eat about 2 cups of food twice a day.

You can also monitor your Golden Retriever’s weight to know if you are feeding them the right amount of food. If your dog looks thin, you should increase the amount of food that they are eating. Once they start gaining weight, you will need to decrease your dog’s food to keep them from getting overweight.   

You will also need to consider their daily exercise.  Some Golden Retrievers’ will participate in sporting events like agility or dock diving.  During their training and competition months, you should increase their food intake to make up for any extra energy they are exerting in their training. During the off-season, you need to decrease the amount of food they eat to help keep your dog at a healthy weight.

What if My Golden Retriever is a picky eater?

If your Golden Retriever is a picky eater, these are some things that you can do at home to help entice them to eat their food.

Add Warm Water to Their food

You can add a little bit of warm water to their dog food.  This makes a gravy-like consistency on top of the dry kibble food.  It makes the dry kibble a little softer, and your Golden Retriever may like to eat it that way.  

Add in Some Can Food

Adding a small amount of canned food to your Golden Retriever’s dry food will help make their food a little more appealing.  Just a tablespoon full added to the food and fully mixed throughout the dry food will help. If you do not thoroughly mix the wet food in with the dry food, your Golden Retriever may just eat the wet food off the top and leave the dry kibble in their bowl.

Switching diets or Protein Source

Some dogs do not like the flavor of their dog food. There may be something in their diet that you are feeding that they do not like.  Try switching to a different brand diet or a different protein within the same brand to see if that helps.  If you are feeding beef and rice, then try switching to a lamb and rice or a salmon protein. 

See Your Vet

If your Golden Retriever has suddenly stopped eating their dog food, it may be time to see your vet make sure that there is not anything medically wrong with your Golden Retriever.  Some diseases will cause your Golden Retriever not to want to eat.  Your vet can examine your Golden Retriever and make sure that nothing is causing your dog to feel bad to cause them not to want to eat.

What Treats Can My Golden Retriever Eat?

Many great treats are available for your Golden Retriever.  Some of these treats also have added nutrients and supplements that have health benefits too.  If your Golden Retriever has joint or skin issues, look for a treat that will help with these problems. 

These treats have added calories that can quickly cause your Golden Retriever to become obese. Ensure that the treats you feed your Golden Retriever only account for 10% of your Golden Retriever’s daily food intake.

Final Thoughts

When looking for food for your Golden Retriever, ensure that your dog is eating high-quality large-breed dog food. Feeding your dog the wrong type of food can lead to many health issues such as joint and bone problems. The food that you feed your dog is very important for them to live a long and healthy life.

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