Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers – Is it Raw or Commercial Kibble?

Golden Retrievers are a very popular dog breed. They’re friendly and smart, which makes them great working/therapy dogs or companions for active families.

Since Golden Retrievers are sometimes prone to health conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and allergies, it’s important for owners to make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need.

As an owner, you might be wondering whether a raw diet or commercial kibble is best for your Golden Retriever. The truth is that both feeding methods have their merits and drawbacks. With a little research you should be able to decide which way is best for you and your furry friend. 

If you’re in a hurry check out Rachel Ray Nutrish Chicken & Veggies Recipe: This is the best commercial dry dog food to feed Golden Retrievers, because it is rich in protein, low in fats and calories and it’s 100% made in the USA.

Raw Feeding

Some people believe that commercial kibble is unfit for dogs because it’s processed and not fresh. Others believe that a dog’s natural diet is carnivorous. In this case, people say humans basically turned dogs into omnivores with commercial diets including grains which aren’t healthy for dogs. Raw diets are an option that some owners choose, but they can be expensive and time consuming to prepare.

One raw diet that many owners follow is BARF, the Biologically Approved Raw Food diet, which consists of raw meat, bones, vegetables, and select other ingredients. This type of diet can be made at home or purchased ready-made in various places like pet supply stores. A few potential health benefits of this diet are shiny coats, healthy skin, clean teeth, more energy, and smaller stools.

However, there’s a danger of salmonella and E. coli when feeding your dog raw meat.

To minimize the risk, the meat you feed your dog should always be fresh and locally produced. Owners should also be careful feeding their dogs bones so they don’t choke.

Recipes from canine nutritionists are the best way to ensure your dog’s raw diet is balanced and any changes should be discussed with your vet. 

Commercial Kibble

It’s recommended that Golden Retriever owners fed their dogs a high quality commercial dry dog food. Owners should look for a dog food formulated for large dogs, keeping in mind that as a young adult their Golden Retriever’s diet, “should be rich in highly digestible forms of protein and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals, for muscle-tissue growth, overall health, and high energy.”

Avoid foods that are high in cheap fillers like corn meal, meat by-products, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. As a rule of thumb, avoid bargain or grocery store brands and go for something a little more expensive. In the long run you’ll be paying the same because it takes more cheap food to give your dog the nutritional value it needs and less of the premium brands.

One way to tell if a commercial kibble is worth buying is if the company says they meet the recommended minimal nutrient levels set by AAFCO. If you want to keep your dog on the same food, look for one formulated for all life stages. For extra reassurance, look for proof of testing and feeding trials and check the first 3-5 ingredients for things like named meat and healthy sources of carbs.


What kind of food do Retrievers eat?

All dogs, including Golden Retrievers, require a diet consisting mainly of healthy protein sources for muscle growth and maintenance. Along with protein, Retrievers need digestible carbohydrates (usually in the form of starches) for energy and fats for things like nervous system and vitamin transport.

How much food do you feed a Golden Retriever?

Owners should feed their Golden Retriever using their weight and following the instructions on their dog food label, or per the diet they are following. Remember that you can adjust the amount of food you give based on your dog’s individual needs and energy levels. Don’t leave their food out all day, since this breed has high potential for weight gain.

What type of dog food is best for Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers should be fed a high quality commercial dry dog food to ensure that their nutritional needs are consistently being met. If you choose to feed a raw or home-cooked diet, do so carefully and with the advice of a vet or other dog expert.

What is the best brand of dog food for Golden Retrievers?

Several dog food brands, including Pinnacle, Rachel Ray Nutrish, and Zignature, are ideal for meeting the needs of Golden Retrievers.

Can you mix raw and dry dog food?

Raw and dry dog food can be mixed to supplement your dog’s food with more protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it should be done carefully. The best thing is to get the advice of your vet first. Be aware that feeding your dog both types of food together can cause digestion problems.

Golden Retriever Puppies/Adults/Senior Feeding Guide

Golden Retriever puppies need extra protein and fat to help facilitate growth. They also need to eat more often than adult dogs - four meals per day until they’re approximately ten weeks old. When they reach four or five months your dog can go down to two meals a day.


After analyzing what Golden Retrievers need in their diet to be healthy and comparing some of the top commercial dog food brands, it’s clear that Rachel Ray Nutrish stands out above the rest. The Real Chicken and Veggies Recipe is proudly made in the USA with the help of experts who have 80+ years in pet nutrition and it’s more affordable than comparable competitors.

One of the important things about this brand are the quality of the ingredients. The first five ingredients are chicken (raised on US farms), chicken meal, soybean meal, whole ground corn and dried peas. The first two ingredients used are quality protein sources and the next three are healthy carbohydrates. Another good point about this food is that it contains L-Carnitine for healthy weight and metabolism and low calorie count at 325 kcal/cup.

Nutrish is a natural dog food that doesn’t contain any poultry by-product meal, fillers, wheat, or wheat gluten that can cause allergies and sensitivities. Rachel Ray dry dog food has never been recalled and this dry food is certified by AAFCO, meeting the nutritional profiles adult maintenance. As a bonus, part of the sales of this dog food are donated to Rachel’s Rescue to help dogs in need. 


Golden Retrievers are fantastic dogs and loyal companions. They’re high energy, so you need to feed your Golden quality diet. Like a lot of pure breeds, Golden Retrievers can be susceptible to several health conditions so proper nutrition is very important. A premium commercial dry dog food like Rachel Ray Nutrish is generally best, but a carefully prepared raw diet also works for some dogs and owners.

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