Feeding a Golden Retriever can be quite tricky. With their size and high energy, it’s normal to expect that they have a strong need for food.
That said, knowing a thing or two from a Golden Retriever feeding guide will come in handy.
No matter how challenging it may get, your dog’s proper diet should always be one of your top priorities. Having an adequate feeding plan will also help your Golden Retriever prevent any weight problems and health issues.
Because of this, we prepared this comprehensive feeding guide to help you out. Read on to know more about picking the right dog food for the GSD breed, their ideal feeding times, and more!
Golden Retriever Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Golden Retriever?
The amount of food a Golden Retriever needs will be based mostly on its age. Naturally, Golden Retriever puppies need around 2 to 4 cups, adult ones need around 2 to 6 cups, and senior Golden Retrievers need less.
But there are other factors to consider as well. Don’t worry, as we included a feeding chart for each different life stage of your Golden Retriever. You can take it as a reference to assess your pooch’s most suitable feeding plan.
While this serves as a helpful guide, it should also not be the sole basis for the amount of food you provide your Golden Retriever. Instead, look closely into your dog’s needs and food preferences as well as your vet’s advice.
Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
The nutritional demands of a Golden Retriever puppy during its first four weeks of life should be fulfilled by its mother dog’s milk. But in case there’s no maternal milk accessible, the pup can have a puppy milk replacer.
An ideal transition from maternal milk to solid puppy food should be when the Golden puppy reaches its first month. This time, introduce your pup to a good starter puppy food that meets its dietary needs during the weaning phase.
Generally, Golden Retriever puppies require more calories for the puppy’s growth as well as weight and development. The feeding chart below shows the feeding requirement of your Golden Retriever puppy:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|2 months||2 – 2.5||649 – 1294||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|3 months||2.88 – 3.25||863 – 1667||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|4 months||3.13 – 3.5||1100 – 1843||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|5 months||3.25 – 4||1115 – 2070||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|6 months||3.5 – 4.38||1294 – 2016||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|7 – 8 months||3.13 – 4.13||1344 – 1875||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|9 – 10 months||2.75 – 4||1350 – 1875||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
|11 – 12 months||3.13 – 4||1456 – 2260||25 – 30%||12 – 18%|
Protein is the main nutritional requirement of a Golden Retriever puppy, followed by fats. Both are essential in maintaining a strong musculoskeletal system and immunity, among others.
Adult Golden Retriever Feeding Chart (1 to 7 years)
Golden Retrievers typically reach their full size at 12 to 24 months. The Golden Retriever’s full-grown size may vary depending on several factors such as gender, variations, types, health, and activity level, to name a few.
Usually, their caloric needs decrease when they reach 12 to 14 months. As they grow, their nutritional requirements for vitamins and minerals also alter. Besides protein and fats, omega 3 fatty acids are vital for their growth as well.
Here’s a feeding chart showing the daily adult food consumption of your adult Golden Retriever:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 7 years||2.63 – 6.25||1300 – 1700||30%||15 – 20%|
A diet rich in protein will help your pooch build a lean muscle mass. As energetic and active dogs, they also need the right amount of fats as an energy source; unsaturated fats also help with the health of their skin.
For adult Golden Retrievers at 15 months and above, the protein content enhances their endurance and bone density. At this age range, they also need fats to bring back the radiance of their coats. Fats also help reduce shedding.
You will also need to add a substantial amount of carbohydrates to your dog’s diet for more energy sources. Omega fatty acids will also be essential to boost your Golden Retriever’s overall mobility.
Senior Golden Retriever Feeding Chart (8 years and above)
As Golden Retrievers mature and reach their senior age of eight years, their activity level dials down. It gets more tricky compared to their younger years as older dogs can also be more vulnerable to weight issues like obesity.
Nourishing a senior dog with a diet that has fewer calories is highly recommended.
This will keep its ideal weight and not put much pressure on its joints. Make sure to tweak your senior Golden Retriever’s diet and consult your vet for a tailored plan.
As a guide in feeding a senior Golden Retriever, you can refer to the table below:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|8 years and above||2 – 2.5||900 – 1000||20%||10%|
Due to the reduced exercise level of older Golden Retrievers, they tend to have a slower metabolism.
A low-calorie diet is enough for an older dog, but it should still be full of nutrients. Moderate protein and fat content are still needed.
At this stage, a diet with lower carbohydrate content will help keep your dog’s healthy sugar level. Moreover, you should also add natural fiber for your senior Golden Retriever’s optimum digestive health.
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Golden Retriever Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Golden Retriever?
Typically, Golden Retriever puppies need to be fed at least three times daily. Meanwhile, adult and senior Golden Retrievers are satisfied with two meals per day.
A Golden Retriever puppy should be fed three times a day at scheduled intervals until it reaches six months. You may divide the three meals into breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A Golden Retriever puppy needs a higher caloric intake, but it has a small tummy, so you’d need to strictly follow a feeding schedule in giving the three meals.
When your Golden Retriever puppy turns six months, you can begin feeding it twice a day until it reaches adulthood.
For adult Golden Retrievers, the most ideal feeding schedule will be twice a day with equally spaced meals. You can give it high-quality food in the morning and evening. The same goes for senior dogs but with fewer calories.
For an easier routine, you can create a customized feeding plan based on your daily schedule or commitments. Just make sure that it’s also the appropriate schedule for your dog. A proper routine also prevents under and overfeeding.
It’s best to stay as consistent as you can. As Golden Retrievers have a ravenous appetite, you might be tempted to feed your dog often. But you should be firm and watchful to avoid any weight-related problems.
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Optimal Feeding Times for Golden Retrievers
It’s easier to stick to a feeding schedule for your Golden Retriever if you have established the exact feeding times. Your lifestyle and household routine can also affect how you plan and dedicate time and attention to your dog’s needs.
Here, we provided the optimal feeding times you can follow for your Golden Retriever:
- 2 to 6 months: 6:00 am – 7:00 am, 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm
- 7 months to 8 years and above: 6:00 am – 7:00 am, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Ideally, you should not feed your Golden Retriever puppy after 6:00 pm. On top of this, it’s also recommended not to give Golden Retriever puppies water after 7:00 pm. Instead, give your pup an ice cube to chew on when it gets thirsty.
Your Golden Retriever puppy should also be fed in the same area daily without distractions. This way, your young puppy can focus on eating its puppy food. Allot around 20 to 30 minutes for your Golden puppy to finish its meal.
If your Golden Retriever puppy doesn’t get to finish its puppy food at that time, pick up the leftover dog food.
Don’t add the leftover food from the last meal to the next meal, and provide your pup with the same amount of dog food every meal.
Remember that some Golden Retrievers like to gorge on more food while some are finicky. If you notice that your pooch is going through eating spurts or having less appetite at certain times, be observant and don’t worry right away.
It’s more concerning when your pooch is putting on so much weight. Keep your pooch lean with the right feeding schedule, feeding amounts, and proper physical activity. You can also consult your vet for more insights.
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Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers
Once you’ve settled on the most suitable feeding amount and schedule, the next step is figuring out the best dog food for your Golden Retriever.
Picking the right dog food can be time-consuming when there’s a lot to choose from.
But don’t fret, as we’re about to give you a list of options for your pooch. Whether it’s commercial dog food or a home-cooked one, your pup’s meals should be filled with the nutrients it needs.
Here’s a list of the best dog food choices for your Golden Retriever:
- Dry Food: Dry food is known as the best type of dog food for Golden Retrievers as it is practical and less costly. You may give your pooch kibbles or cold-pressed dog food. Both are packed with necessary ingredients that are filled with nutrients!
- Canned Wet Food: Though canned wet dog food contains fewer nutrients, you can still include it for your Golden Retriever’s balanced diet. Choose a high-quality wet food that doesn’t use thickeners like wheat flour. It can be a bit costly, but wet dog food is still a better choice for Golden Retrievers that are picky eaters and for senior Golden Retrievers, too.
- A Mix of Dry and Wet Food: Another food option is to combine dry and wet food in your Golden Retriever’s diet. You may either mix them or alternate the two at every meal. Just make sure that when you take this approach, your pooch is getting the right food with proper calorie and nutrition requirements.
- Home-Cooked Diet: Homemade diets can provide your pooch total nutrition if there’s a right balance of all the nutrients it needs. While this seems tough to do, it is not impossible if you’re committed to it! This may not be ideal for busy dog owners or those who can’t cook, but it’s a good alternative for those who want to be in control of their dog’s food and nutrients.
- Complete Raw Diet: Feeding your Golden Retriever raw food should be fine after it turns three to four weeks. However, feeding dogs with this option is linked to many food safety concerns. So it’s best that you consult your vet and make sure that you have in-depth knowledge of handling raw dog food.
- Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Food: This option is good for Golden Retrievers with a sensitive stomach as dehydrated dog food is easier on the dog’s digestive system. Meanwhile, freeze-dried dog food is also a raw food that has been repacked. Both have no preservatives added and are easy to store with long shelf lives.
When choosing the best dog food for your Golden Retriever, you should take into account the ingredients, nutrient details, and feeding instructions as well. It’s necessary that you read and understand dog food labels.
Based on the general guidelines, the nutrients you should be looking for besides meat products or animal protein and fats are high-quality grains such as brown rice. Fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals are also vital.
There are lots of options you can include in your dog’s diet, even grain-free food. This can be ideal for dogs that are sensitive to different types of grain. But grain-free food has been controversial due to its link with heart disease.
It’s also highly recommended that you discuss with your trusted vet, especially when choosing home-cooked or raw diets for your Golden Retriever. Your vet can also help you personalize a diet plan for your dog.
Curious to see what a homemade meal looks like for Golden Retrievers? Check out this video on Youtube:
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Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are known for their strong appetite, and on top of this, they are also curious. They tend to test things using their mouths and even eat human food or things they shouldn’t eat.
This is why it’s necessary to understand the foods that can cause them harm. While others aren’t as dangerous, it’s still essential to know them as you might be giving your pooch a toxic food unknowingly.
Several foods are toxic to Golden Retrievers, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. Alcoholic drinks and foods that contain xylitol are also dangerous for your dog.
Just like how alcohol affects humans, the same goes for your dog’s liver and brain function. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause severe issues to your dog, such as vomiting, and diarrhea, among others.
Meanwhile, xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is also unsafe for your pooch. If your Golden Retriever consumes too much xylitol, it can result in a dangerously low blood sugar level and even acute liver failure.
This substance is usually found in sweet candies, gums, cookies, and the like, so make sure that you check what treats you give your dog. Read food labels or buy organic brands instead.
Other vegetables that are harmful to your Golden Retriever are Brussel sprouts, kale, and wild mushrooms. Other vegetables aren’t toxic but can cause some strong complications like beets and eggplant.
Golden Retrievers shouldn’t also be fed avocados and cherries. The pits, skins, and leaves of avocados contain a toxin called persin. Meanwhile, cherries contain cyanide which can be extremely harmful to your dog.
Don’t be tempted to let your dog have a quick taste of human foods unless you are sure that they’re safe.
You may also consult your vet to check the safety of specific foods, especially if your pooch has allergies or sensitivities.
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How to Transition Your Golden Retriever to a New Food
During your Golden Retriever’s different life stages, you may need to change its dog food or its entire diet.
A proper transition will be beneficial as you don’t want your pooch to experience any stomach or appetite issues.
Avoid switching your dog’s food abruptly so that its system has enough time to adjust. These gradual transitions typically occur over 5 to 7 days. You’ll be able to include more of the new food slowly and moderately.
Here’s a transition chart that you can use as a guide for your Golden Retriever:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|1 – 2||75%||25%|
|3 – 4||50%||50%|
|5 – 6||25%||75%|
Monitor your pup’s response and eating habits during this transition as there are dogs that may have sensitive tummies or allergies that need a longer transition period. Watch out for any concerning signs, too.
If your Golden Retriever has appetite changes or experiences vomiting or diarrhea, it’s best that you consult with your vet. This way, you can determine if your dog has certain food allergies or intolerance.
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Feeding an Overweight Golden Retriever
Obesity has become one of the common conditions among Golden Retrievers. While others may find overweight dogs charming, these dogs can face serious health problems or risks. It may affect their quality of life and longevity.
One of the key things to help solve this weight issue is a proper diet. But before you proceed and take your pooch on a diet, you should be aware of what’s causing the weight gain.
It’s best that you visit the vet for a consultation for your pooch. Weight gain may be caused by fluid retention, parasites, pregnancy, or even a symptom from another condition.
In general, to help your overweight Golden Retriever lose weight, you can switch to healthier snack alternatives.
Opt for natural foods rather than pre-packaged dog treats. Raw fruits and vegetables are often lower in calories.
You may also cut out giving treats to your dog. Your Golden Retriever may not like this idea, but it can be enough to get its weight down. Stick to the meals that your pooch needs more than random nibbles.
When feeding your overweight dog, you may also need to lessen the amount of food you provide at mealtimes.
For instance, if you give your pooch one and a half cups of kibbles twice a day, reduce it to just one cup per meal.
Check him after about four days to see if there’s any difference in your dog’s body. Stick with the feeding routine and monitor your pooch closely.
You may repeat this until you notice visible changes in your dog’s waist and rib cage.
To maintain your Golden Retriever’s new weight, you will need to increase the food portions.
Of course, you don’t want your pooch to be overly thin! Make sure that your pooch is at a healthy weight while feeling happy and satisfied.
It’s highly recommended that you discuss with a professional before following a calorie deficit plan for your dog. This way, you won’t also worry too much about your dog’s weight loss journey.
Your vet can also help monitor your dog’s weight changes and suggest the best exercises that will complement its diet.
Your dog’s activity level can help with its weight loss and is also beneficial for its overall health and fitness.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Golden Retriever Not Eating?
As Golden Retrievers love food, skipping meals can be a rare issue for these dogs. But there can be various reasons as to why a Golden Retriever won’t eat. It can range from behavioral issues to health problems.
If your dog refuses to eat, it might be because your Golden Retriever is a picky eater or is bored with its current food. Age can also affect appetite, along with other factors such as response to medication and routine changes.
Your dog’s emotions can also be a factor. Typically, if a dog feels uneasy or stressed, it may also lose appetite. It can also be caused by separation anxiety or a change in its environment.
Do Golden Retrievers Eat a Lot?
Golden Retrievers tend to eat a lot. On top of this, they also eat fast as they usually get excited over their meals. Compared to other dog breeds, Golden Retrievers love food even more.
This is why they need a specific feeding plan to prevent any weight and health issues. Leaving them unattended with access to any kind of food will be risky, so make sure that you watch out for your pooch.
Can Golden Retrievers Eat Bones?
Just like other dog breeds, Golden Retrievers can eat raw meaty bones. Raw bones are a good source of minerals and nutrients that can help satisfy your Golden Retriever’s appetite.
However, many vets believe that giving your dog a bone isn’t worth the serious health risks. So if you prefer to do so, be careful enough to give your dog the right kind of bone. There are also bone alternatives that you can check out.
Can Golden Retrievers Be Vegetarians?
Yes, Golden Retrievers can be vegetarians. They can have a healthy life and thrive on a vegetarian diet as they are considered omnivores.
This means that they are capable of getting all the amino acids they need while avoiding meat.
Vegetarian options for your Golden Retriever are available as there are plant-based sources of protein that can be included in your dog’s diet.
Check with your vet for more insights if this can be the right diet for your pooch.
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Food is the foundation of growth, good health, and well-being. So it’s only important to know the ideal amount, feeding times, and kind of food your Golden Retriever needs and deserves.
Due to its size and energy level, it can be more demanding to feed a Golden Retriever than other large breed dogs.
You also need to factor in the foods to avoid and the weight and health issues to prevent in taking care of this dog.
But with the right feeding plan and help from your vet, you’ll be able to fulfill your dog’s needs and appetite. It may seem difficult, but seeing your Golden Retriever healthy and happy will surely be worth it!
Is this Golden Retriever feeding guide helpful for you? Let us know in the comments below.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.