Owning a Golden Retriever is a blessing, but it is also a great responsibility. Golden Retriever will certainly bring happiness and laughter to your home. However, we must not forget that this is a breed that is genetically weak and susceptible to many nasty and dangerous health issues. The most common health problems in Golden Retrievers include cancer, obesity, joint issues, and DCM. A combination of genetics, poor quality food, lack of exercise, and an unbalanced diet is causing these health issues in Golden Retrievers. Therefore, it is important to pick the best possible food for Golden Retrievers to keep them healthy and happy.
Today we will talk about how to choose the food that perfectly suits the needs of your Golden Retriever.
However, we won’t recommend or promote any brand. We believe that dog owners should make that decision on their own.
In this article, we will provide guidelines, advice, and results of relevant researches, so that you as an owner can make an educated decision on which food brand is best for your dog.
Also, in this article, we are only analyzing commercial kibble food, so we won’t go deeper into raw food diets or any similar diets. To learn more about them, you can read this article.
How To Pick The Best Food For Golden Retrievers
To pick the best food for your dog, you need to take several factors into consideration.
The nutritional needs of the dog will depend on these factors:
- Dog’s breed
- Activity level
- The overall health of the dog
Adult Golden Retriever Nutrient Needs
When picking a food for your Golden Retriever you need to check if that food formula follows the food pyramid for dogs.
Dog’s food pyramid contains six essential nutrients your dog needs. Each of these nutrients has a specific role in the functioning of the dog’s body. Lack of these nutrients in your dog’s diet will cause health issues.
These are the essential nutrients for dogs:
Proteins play a crucial role in the functioning of the dog’s body. They are the building blocks of the body and they build organs together with amino acids.
Proteins are a big part of a dog’s internal organs, skin, muscles, hair, and blood. They also function as antibodies, enzymes, and hormones.
Dog’s diet should contain between 17 and 30 percent of proteins. Timberwolf Organics advises pet owners to regularly rotate their dog’s protein sources every few weeks.
We know how crucial are vitamins for our health. Well, vitamins are also extremely important for dogs.
Vitamins are responsible for some of the most important functions within the dog’s body.
Some of the most important functions vitamins perform are:
- Blood clotting
- Bone development
- Releasing energy from nutrients
- Maintaining cell structure
- Transmission of nerve signals
- Synthesis of the DNA
Dog’s diet should contain less than one percent of vitamins.
Minerals play a massive role in guarding the health of your dog.
The most important functions of minerals in the dog’s body are:
- Contributing to nutrient metabolism
- Blood clotting
- Proper muscle function
- Nerve transmissions
- Promote healthy bones and teeth
Dog’s diet should contain between two and four percent of minerals.
Fat is a source of energy for dogs. However, this is not the only role fat has within the dog’s body.
Fat also helps:
- In the development of vision, joints, and brain
- Improving immune system
- Maintaining a healthy coat and skin
- Absorbe soluble vitamins and fatty acids
A proper dog diet should contain between 5 and 20 percent of fat.
Carbohydrates give energy to your dog and they are also a source of heat for the dog’s body.
Type of carbohydrate called fiber plays a big role in obesity and weight management and maintenance of colon health.
A proper dog diet should contain between 28 and 55 percent of carbohydrates, including 5 percent of fiber.
Palatants also have a role in the dog’s diet. However, their role is somewhat different from other dog pyramid nutrients.
While vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, and fat make a dog’s food nutrient-rich, palatants make his food tasty.
Nutritional Needs Of A Golden Retriever Puppy
The nutritional needs of a Golden Retriever puppy will differ from those of an adult Golden Retriever. Puppies have enormous amounts of energy, but they also spend it quickly every day. Therefore, Golden Retriever puppies will need more fat, carbs, and proteins in their diet to satisfy their needs.
For example, an adult Golden will need a minimum of 18 percent of protein in its diet, while a puppy will need at least 22%. Adult Golden needs about 5 percent of fat in the diet while puppy needs 8 percent.
Puppies also need more protein and calories to help their growth process. However, you need to keep an eye on and control the calorie intake in Golden Retriever puppies to prevent rapid growth.
When a puppy grows too quickly, there is a considerable risk of the development of joint issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia.
One more thing to consider is phosphorus and calcium levels in your puppy’s diet. You will need to reduce their percentage in our dog’s diet to reduce the risk of joint issues.
Things To Consider When Buying Food For Golden Retrievers?
When picking the best food for Golden Retrievers, don’t rush and buy based on the commercials, recommendations, and myths. Do the research, check if the food you are planning to buy is compatible with AAFCO nutrient profiles.
Also, research the food brand. Is it a reliable brand with years of experience in making high-quality food for dogs? Were there any cases of poisoning or food-related deaths in dogs regarding that particular food brand?
What To Look For
Best food for Golden Retrievers should have:
- Natural, organic ingredients only
- High-quality proteins from animal sources (fish, meat, poultry)
- The proper ratio of fat and calories
- The proper ratio of phosphorus and calcium (very important for joint health of puppies)
- Passed the AAFCO feeding trial testing method
Besides a regular diet, your dog may benefit from certain food supplements.
These are the supplements you can use:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Coconut oil
- Omega-6 fatty acids
- Chelated minerals
- Olive oil
What To Avoid
The quality of food and ingredients is vital for the health of our dogs.
Therefore, don’t buy:
- Cheap, low-quality dog food from shady companies
- Dog food that contains artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors
- Overly processed food
- Dog food that contains steroids or hormones
- Food that contains meat from unnamed sources
What About Grain-Free Diets?
In July 2018 the FDA announced that it received several reports regarding the correlation between grain-free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.
Ever since there is a heated debate among dog owners whether grain-free diets are dangerous for dogs. FDA took into consideration these reports and launched an investigation.
They have gathered the following results:
- In 90 percent of reports, the affected dog was fed a grain-free diet.
- There were multiple cases of DCM in the same household and even multiple affected animals(dogs and cats)
- FDA investigations took into account a variety of dog breeds
So, should you feed your Golden Retriever a grain-free diet?
Well, we leave this decision to you. However, you need to understand that a grain-free diet is not healthier than regular dog diets.
On the other hand, some dogs are allergic to grains, and these dogs will benefit from a grain-free diet.
When picking the food for Golden Retrievers, pick the best possible food. Be meticulous as you would be when picking food for your kid or yourself. Research the brand and the ingredients in the food. Check if the ingredients are organic, and from reputable sources.
As we already said, Golden Retrievers are genetically predisposed to a wide range of dangerous diseases, and there is nothing you can do about that. However, when it comes to the quality of food your dog eats, you can do so much with a bit of effort.