Do you want your golden retriever to live a long, healthy life? We’re sure you do. Every pet owner wants to ensure the overall health and well-being of their loyal companion.
The first step toward maintaining the good health of your golden retriever is to keep a daily check on their diet. The quality of food you give to your furry friend will definitely have an impact on their physical health.
High-quality food prevents golden retrievers from becoming victims of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, or orthopedic problems. But that’s not the only reason why you should be feeding good food to your loving pet. Good, nourishing food is also important when it comes to keeping them happy and satisfied.
While feeding your pet nutritious food every day sounds easy, it is only when you indulge in this activity that you begin to have questions regarding their feeding needs. For example, how much do golden retrievers eat, what kind of food is best for them, what type of food should you avoid feeding them, etc. This article aims to answer all those questions that you may have regarding your golden retriever’s diet.
What to Feed Your Golden Retriever
One of the basic issues that new pet owners face is deciding on the best dog food. There are plenty of dietary food choices for your golden retriever, but we’ve made the task easier by mentioning the best ones here.
1. Feed Your Golden Retriever Kibble
The most common kibble choice that pet owners choose is commercial dry kibble. When looking for this kind of food, you have to ensure that it offers “complete and balanced nutrition.”
Many golden retriever owners opt for a meat/protein kibble as opposed to the chow one. How can you differentiate between the two? Protein kibbles usually have protein as their basic ingredients. These ingredients include meat, bone meal, and chicken meal. On the other hand, chow kibbles consist of grains or cereals such as soy, wheat, and corn.
2. Consider a BARF diet
The next food option that you can consider feeding your golden retriever is a form of raw food. Before you feed your dog or puppy a raw diet, consider the following tips from expert breeders:
- Let the food stay out for 15 minutes. If your pet doesn’t eat it, store it in a refrigerator until the next mealtime.
- Freeze the raw food for at least two weeks prior to feeding.
- Thaw the food slightly before feeding it to your pet.
- Make sure that your pet consumes raw food in a closed area such as a crate or kennel.
3. Go for a Homemade Diet
Many people consider the raw diet the same as a homemade diet, but they are different. To prepare homemade food for your pet, you will need to take a veterinarian’s help. Doing so will ensure that your golden retriever is getting all the vital nutrients it requires in a sufficient quantity.
What Not to Feed to Golden Retrievers
Keep in mind that some types of human food are toxic to golden retrievers. Therefore, it is advised to avoid feeding your golden retrievers the foods that are mentioned below:
- Alcohol, sodas, milk, and coffee
- Walnuts, pecans, almonds, and macadamia nuts
- Avocados and grapes
- Onions, chives, and garlic
- Scallions and shallots
- Xylitol (sweetener)
- Salty food
- Bread or dough
How to Select the Right Commercial Food
Some useful tips that will help you choose the right dog food for your golden retriever are as follows:
- Choose a diet that comprises of a good amount of dietary protein, at least 30% of it. Less than that is unacceptable as it can cause skeletal and other issues.
- Opt for low calcium food. The maximum amount of calcium the food should contain is 1.5%.
- Avoid high-calorie food as it can lead to excessive weight gain. The ideal amount of fat that commercial food should contain is 12 to 18%.
- The addition of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is beneficial as they reduce shedding and increase the shine of your pet’s fur.
- The number of carbs should be between 30 to 35%
- Don’t go for nutritional supplements if you are providing wholesome and balanced commercial food to your pet. Use supplements only if there is a medical condition or if you are advised to do so by a vet.
- Make sure that the commercial food you pick consists of highly digestible fiber and protein.
How Much to Feed Your Golden Retriever
Once you have decided on the type of food you want to give to your golden retriever, the next step is to deal with the quantity of food. To answer that, it is important to consider how much golden retrievers eat.
It is crucial to note that golden retrievers need a different amount of food, depending on their build, size, and the stage of life they are in. In the case of a puppy, the meal quantity should be small, but the frequency of feeding should be more, considering their high stamina and energy. On the contrary, adult golden retrievers should have a limited feeding time.
Meal Frequency Based on the Dog’s Age
- Four meals a day until three months old
- Three meals a day until six months old
- Two meals a day until one year or older
Free Feeding vs Scheduled Feeding
Free feeding puts zero restrictions on golden retrievers in terms of the quantity of food they consume. In this way, it is hard to monitor the regular intake of food by your pet. Plus, if your dog develops this habit, it will be impossible to bring it back to a scheduled feeding routine. What’s worse is that your golden retriever can get obese this way. Therefore, experienced pet owners, buyers, and veterinarians mostly suggest keeping your dog on a scheduled feeding routine.
Even during scheduled feeding, pet owners sometimes can’t tell whether or not they are giving too much food to their pet. In times like these, place your hands on the back of the dog along the spine. You should be able to feel its ribs without putting pressure on its back. If you are unable to feel the ribs, it is a surefire sign that your golden retriever is overeating and getting fat.
Bear in mind that obesity doesn’t occur on its own; it usually happens when you feed your dear pet extra treats. The extra food spikes up calories that eventually lead to obesity.
At what time should you feed golden retrievers? Golden retriever puppies should be first fed in the morning around 6 to 7 am, then at noon around 12, in the evening by 4, and then at dinner time by 7 to 8 pm.
As golden retrievers mature and become adults, they should be fed once in the morning (at the time stated earlier) and then in the evening by 5 to 6 pm. It is strictly advised not to feed golden retrievers after dinnertime. Also, refrain from giving them water after 7 pm. If need be, you can give them an ice cube to chew on and then later at night (around 9 to 10 pm), you can take them for a walk.
Our Final Thoughts
Your golden retriever’s diet should be your first priority as an unhealthy diet can result in severe health issues. Keep in mind that how much a golden retriever eats depends on your dog’s particular nutritional needs and preferences. Therefore, before you choose a diet plan for your golden retriever, consult a vet.
Keeping your dog’s weight in check is supremely important as you don’t want your pet to be underweight or overweight. With a vet’s help, you can prepare a food chart for your golden retriever according to its health requirements. Listen to the vet and abide by their suggestions to prevent health concerns for your precious pet.