golden retriever adult and puppy

What Is The Best Food For My Golden Retriever?

LAST UPDATED 7 September 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Brittany Ward

There is nothing quite like the majestic and loveable Golden Retriever. They are an ever popular breed known for their sweet disposition and glowing smiles. They are often full of energy, and love outdoor play, the water, and, of course, their food! While it might be easy to find a diet your Golden likes, you also need to ensure you are offering a premium quality diet that keeps the smile on their face and the spring in their step throughout their lifetime.

Why is choosing the right food for your Golden Retriever important?

While owning a breed that loves food can have it benefits for training, it also means they can be prone to weight gain. So it is important to ensure your Golden Retriever is getting the right food to nourish them and satisfy their hunger without packing on the pounds.

As a large breed dog, choosing the right food can ensure they grow at the correct rate to avoid joint problems developing, and support their joints in adulthood and their senior years. Large breeds especially need a balanced and complete diet that is tailored for the nutritional requirement of their size, particularly for ingredients like calcium and phosphorus. The Golden retriever also has a gorgeous coat that benefits from a diet that offers nutritional supplements for their skin and coat.

Factors to consider when choosing a diet for your Golden Retriever:
  1. Health Conditions: When choosing a diet, it is essential to ensure you have considered any health conditions your pet may have been diagnosed with. If your Golden Retriever does have a health condition, then your veterinarian should be your first point of call for dietary recommendations. In some cases, there may be a prescription diet that is most suited to manage your dog's condition. For health support, there are a range of non-prescription, therapeutic options designed to prevent certain conditions or accommodate your Golden Retriever's specific needs.
  2. Complete and Balanced: After considering health conditions, the most important factor in deciding on the right diet is choosing an option that is nutritionally balanced and complete for your Golden Retriever's age. Ensuring that it meets AAFCO or FEDIAF pet food control guidelines is crucial to ensure that your dog receives all the nutrients they require in the correct ratios.
  3. Age: Dogs of different ages have very different nutritional requirements. Golden Retriever puppies require a high protein and energy diet with a carefully balanced calcium: phosphorus ratio to allow controlled growth and prevent joint development abnormalities. Senior Golden Retrievers are often less active, have a slower metabolism and are prone to joint disease, which means that they require fewer calories and less fat, but an easily digestible diet, to help them maintain good body condition alongside a good joint supplement.
  4. Quality: An essential factor to consider should be the quality of the ingredients and the digestibility of the nutrients provided by the diet. Premium diets are designed to be highly digestible (which means smaller, firmer stools) and do not change ingredients batch to batch like supermarket type brands, which means less tummy upsets. They also tend to contain higher levels of added beneficial nutrients, such as omega fatty acids for joint and coat health, and some are backed by testing to ensure they deliver the results they promise. Learning how to read pet food labels and knowing the ingredients in your dog's food is a crucial part of knowing what is the best food for them.


  1. Best Range for Golden Retrievers: Royal Canin Golden Retriever
  2. Best Adult Food: Advance Adult Retrievers
  3. Best Grain Free Adult Food: Wellness Core Grain Free Large Breed Original Formula
  4. Best Puppy Food: Pro Plan Puppy Healthy Growth and Development Large Breed
  5. Best Grain Free Puppy Food: Ivory Coat Grain Free Large Breed Puppy Lamb
  6. Best Senior Diet:Royal Canin Maxi Ageing 8 Plus
  7. Best for Joint Support: Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility
  8. Best for Weight Management: Eukanuba Adult Fit Body Weight Control Large Breed

How We Review Our Products

Our Pet Circle Vet Squad comprises 30 vets with over 120 years of collective, independent veterinary expertise. Our Vet team use their health and husbandry knowledge, along with their own personal and clinical experiences to evaluate each product and provide detailed, informative reviews, free of any commercial bias. We then collate this information into our 'best of' recommendations.

Top Golden Retriever Diets in Australia

Best Range for Golden Retrievers: Royal Canin Golden Retriever


  • Uniquely tailored breed-specific diet with both puppy and adult formulations available
  • High content of omega fatty acids, EPA and DHA to support healthy skin and coat
  • Inclusion of Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support healthy joints
  • Adapted calorie content to prevent weight gain and support for cardiac function
  • Exclusive kibble shape and size that encourages dogs to chew their food and slow down eating


  • More expensive option than a large breed dry food
  • Only two, large bag sizes available
  • Currently no senior diet or wet food option available

The Royal Canin Golden Retriever range is tailored to the specific nutritional needs of Golden Retrievers. It takes into consideration the most common health conditions seen in the breed and the support their diet needs to provide to keep them looking their best. It utilises multiple sources of omega fatty acids, EPA and DHA to support the skin barrier, add shine to the coat and support joints, alongside glucosamine and chondroitin. Omega fatty acids, along with taurine, also provide support for cardiac function. They even considered the tendency of Goldens to guzzle their food and their propensity towards Bloat and GDV by designing a kibble shape and size that slows down their eating.

The Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy food has the added benefit of ingredients like beet pulp for healthy digestion and anti-oxidants for immune system support. The addition of Yucca extract is also included and beneficial for reducing faecal odour while improving consistency. The combination of both the puppy and adult foods allows for an easy transition and convenience of a diet range from birth to senior.

What our customers say: "My two goldies love this food and we love knowing we're feeding them the best nutrition. Nothing is more important than our pets' health. A small price to keep them happy and bouncy. We have it on auto repeat." - Catherine

Shop Royal Canin Golden Retriever

Best Adult Food: ADVANCE Adult Retrievers Chicken and Salmon


  • Tailored diet for adult Retrievers and large breed dogs including Goldens, Labradors, etc
  • Green lipped mussel powder included for joint support
  • Adapted calorie content and L-carnitine to support a healthy weight
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate and unique kibble shape to reduce plaque and tartar buildup
  • Enhanced Zinc and Linoleic Acid levels to nourish skin and coat
  • Australian made and source chicken and salmon based diet


  • Inclusion of chicken means it may not be suitable for dogs with food allergies
  • Cheaper breed specific diet option

The ADVANCE Breed Group Diets are a great diet option that tailors it's nutrition to the health requirements of a specific breed, while allowing the flexibility of application to similar breeds and crossbreeds. They use science based nutrition to provide support for a wide range of health conditions seen in Golden Retrievers and similar breeds, including joint support, healthy skin and coat and sensitive digestion. It even addresses less common health concerns like dental disease and heart disease. It also offers owners the reassurance of being an Australian made and sourced diet option.

What our customers say: "As a breeder of Golden Retrievers I highly recommend this product to my puppy buyers for when their puppy has reached adulthood, they don't get overweight and grow the most beautiful healthy gleaming coats" - Ruth

What our vets say: "ADVANCE Retrievers is a premium, Australian-made dog food that has been specifically formulated to support the nutritional needs of Retriever breeds. Its main benefits are the reduced calorie content, to support lean body weight, and the inclusion of Green Lipped Mussel, a supplement shown to help manage joint disease. This diet helps support the long-term health of your Retriever, with a tasty chicken and salmon flavour they're sure to enjoy!" - Dr. Kes

Shop Advance Adult Retrievers

Best Grain Free Adult Food: Wellness Core Grain Free Original Formula Large Breed


  • High quality, high meat content diet for large breed dogs
  • Hypoallergenic diet option using natural ingredients
  • No artificial preservatives, colours or flavours
  • Omega fatty acids and Vitamin E included to nourish skin and coat
  • Naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
  • Provides Probiotics to support a healthy digestive tract


  • Only available in one bag size (11.8kg)
  • Bag isn't re-sealable
  • Expensive diet option compared to other large breed diets
  • Turkey and chicken based, so may not be suitable for pets with allergies

Wellness Core is a naturally sourced, premium quality diet that uses a high animal protein, primal diet as the basis of their recipes. They provide nutritional balance through other natural ingredients like fresh fruit and vegetables, vitamins and minerals, but meat is always the first ingredient. To tailor their diet to larger breeds, like the Golden Retriever, there is added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, L-carnitine and lower fat for lean body mass and omega fatty acids, Zinc and Vitamin E for nourishing the skin and coat. As a somewhat uncommon inclusion, this diet has probiotics as well as prebiotics, helping to boost a healthy gut microbiome and improve overall digestive health.

What our customers say: "My dog has never looked better and he has tons of energy. You can see how much he gets out of this food. Also it looks expensive but I need to feed less kibble and he maintains a great weight." - Soledad

Shop Wellness Core Grain Free Original Formula Large Breed

Best Puppy Food: Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed


  • Highly digestible, quality ingredients tailored to the nutritional needs of large breed puppies
  • Glucosamine and omega fatty acids for joint and skin health
  • Live probiotics included for healthy digestive system and less tummy upsets
  • Inclusion of colostrum and proven antioxidants for immune system support
  • More cost effective premium quality brand


  • Only available in one bag size (15kg)
  • Not all Purina products are Australian made

Pro Plan is the premium nutrition, science backed food range from Purina. These diets are a cut above with premium quality, traceable ingredients and tailored nutrition for breed sizes and health conditions. The Large Breed puppy food uses chicken as the number one ingredient with the inclusion of Glucosamine and omega fatty acid for joint health, a carefully balanced calcium and phosphorus ratio for controlled bone growth and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Pro Plan places a heavy focus on digestive health, knowing that puppies are prone to gut upsets, with easily digestible ingredients and live probiotics to boost the microbiome. Pro Plan also includes colostrum to boost your growing puppy's immune system.

What our customers say: "My 32kg puppy seems to be thriving on Pro Plan large puppy. He is very healthy and happy and his coat is shining. I loved the prompt delivery service and the price was very competitive. Much easier than buying from a pet shop." - Mrs Carol Crosby

What our vets say: "As a large breed, Goldens require a specific balance of minerals and nutrients to ensure optimal musculoskeletal development throughout puppyhood. The Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy diet is one of my favourite diets for Golden pups. It's a large puppy diet formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints, beneficial omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat, and as tummy upsets can be common in puppies, it's also a highly digestible formula that features probiotics for healthy digestion." - Dr. Antonella

Shop Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed

Best Natural Puppy Food: Ivory Coat Grain Free Large Breed Puppy Lamb


  • All natural, grain free diet with Lamb as the primary ingredient
  • NZ Green Lipped Mussel to support joints
  • Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Highly digestible ingredients with the inclusion of pre-biotics and fibre for health digestion
  • Provides immune support through antioxidants
  • Australian-made and sourced diet
  • Available in a variety of packaging sizes from 2-26kg


  • Contains chicken fat so may not be suitable for pups with allergies
  • Relatively small kibble size for a large breed food

Ivory Coat Large Breed puppy strives to provide an all natural, Australian made, nutritionally balanced and complete, grain free diet that is free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. It contains a high volume of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, as well as brain development. Antioxidants from superfoods like Kale and Blueberries are used to boost the immune system, while natural prebiotics and fibres, alongside high quality ingredients promote healthy digestion. Being a Large Breed Puppy food, it also includes Green Lipped Mussel to support joints. As an added bonus Yucca extract was incorporated to control that all important faecal odour!

Ivory Coat also offers a natural, holistic diet option that is not grain free: Large Breed Puppy Turkey and Brown Rice and a Puppy Lamb and Brown Rice Loaf wet food.

What our customers say: "My puppy Billie loves this food! We made the switch to Ivory Coat as she had really itchy skin, after a few weeks the itching has reduced, her coat is shiny and healthy, and she's happy and healthy! She's growing nicely and loves her meal times (but she's a lab so that's not surprising). Would definitely recommend this food." - Steph

Shop Ivory Coat Grain Free Large Breed Puppy Lamb

Best Senior Diet: Royal Canin Maxi Ageing 8 Plus Senior Food


  • Highly digestible ingredients and added fibre support for healthy digestion
  • Sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
  • Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • EPA, DHA and antioxidants to fight ageing
  • Unique kibble shape and flavour to tempt fussy eaters


  • A more expensive food
  • Only one packaging size
  • Not made in Australia

This is a premium quality, highly digestible diet specifically designed for large breed seniors. It has added ingredients to support joint health, a healthy skin and coat and the inclusion of antioxidants to back the immune system and fight cognitive decline in ageing dogs. The kibble shape is uniquely designed to encourage larger breeds to chew and the texture and flavour are designed to tempt even the fussiest eaters. The high digestibility and increased fibre levels are designed to support the slower metabolism in senior pets.

The Royal Canin Maxi Ageing 8 Plus is preceded by the Royal Canin Maxi Adult 5 Plus to offer a better range of diets suitable for large breed dogs, who may start to show signs of ageing sooner. Large breed dogs are often considered senior after 5 years of age, and Royal Canin has broken this senior phase into two diets to tailor to their needs throughout their life. Royal Canin Adult 5 Plus includes joint support, omega fatty acids and high fibre content like Ageing 8 Plus, but also has added ingredients for dental health by binding salivary calcium to prevent tartar.

What our customers say: "My girl absolutely loves it! And I love the kibble size, she was always choking on the smaller nibbles cause she wasn't chewing. But with these she has to chew it! 10/10 would recommend" - Madi

What our vets say: "Royal Canin Maxi Ageing 8+ is an excellent choice for senior Golden Retrievers. It delivers highly targeted nutrition by including a range of ingredients that help to reduce the impact of the most common age-related ailments in large breed dogs. These ingredients include glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, and EHO, DHA and antioxidants to help combat the effects of ageing. You can be sure that your Golden will be getting everything they need and more!" - Dr. Katelyn

Shop Royal Canin Maxi Ageing 8 Plus

Best Joint Support Diet: Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility Large Breed


  • Includes multiple joint support ingredients: Omega Fatty Acids, Glucosamine, Chondroitin
  • Balanced minerals for bone strength
  • L-carnitine to aid with lean muscle mass
  • Antioxidants for immune support
  • Lower fat option to support weight loss


  • A more expensive food
  • Velcro seal may not be reliable
  • Limited packaging sizes

The Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility Large Breed is designed specifically for joint support and has been proven in clinical trials to improve mobility in 30 days. Hills back all their diets and ingredients with scientific testing to assure the food is achieving exactly what it claims to do. This diet is packed with multiple joint supplements, including omega fatty acids for inflammation reduction, glucosamine and chondroitin as the building blocks of healthy cartilage and balanced minerals, like calcium to keep bones strong. Knowing that obesity is linked to joint problems and the two are commonly seen together, the formula is also low in fat and contains L-carnitine to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. This is all bundled up with premium quality ingredients in a nutritionally balanced and complete diet.

What our customers say: "Love this product, my two 10 yo golden retrievers have been transformed on this diet. Thank you Hills for this amazing product, my dogs love you for it!" - Michael

What our vets say: "Hill's Science Diet Healthy Mobility Large Breed is an excellent, premium quality dog food formulated to support joint health and mobility in larger breeds. It is important for dogs prone to joint disease to maintain ideal body weight and support them with ideal nutrition. This diet is ideal in that it contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate for joint support, omega-3 fatty acids for reduced inflammation, and L-carnitine for a healthy metabolism. The controlled caloric content helps manage weight." - Dr. Nicole

Shop Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility Large Breed

Best Weight Management Diet: Eukanuba Fit Body Weight Control Large Breed


  • Premium quality, highly digestible, more cost effective diet option
  • Low fat diet with 27% less fat that adult diet
  • L-Carnitine included to support weight control
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint support
  • Omega fatty acids and DHA for healthy skin and coat
  • DHA and antioxidants for healthy brain function
  • Higher fibre content to promote a feeling of satiety


  • Only two bag sizes available
  • Packaging isn't re-sealable

The Eukanuba FIt Body Weight Control Large Breed is science-backed, premium quality diet option for a Golden Retriever prone to weight gain or that is a little bit on the chubby side. They provide opportunity for weight management by offering a low fat, high fibre diet with added L-carnitine for lean body weight. There is added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support knowing that additional weight increases the likelihood of arthritis. They also provide omega fatty acids, DHA and antioxidants for healthy skin, coat and brain. Combined with Eukanuba's DentaDefense kibble design which has Veterinary Oral Health Council approval for tartar prevention makes it a complete food option that covers all bases.

What our customers say: "This food is great. My golden retriever lost weight and she looks great, so lean and healthy. We are so happy to find great food that keeps weight under control. For me, it's a bit expensive but it's worth it at the same time. I give this food 5 stars out of 5. :)" - Honey Golden

What our vets say: "Eukanuba Fit Body Weight Control Large Breed dog food is a well-formulated option for larger breeds struggling with weight management. The formula is designed to help these dogs maintain a healthy weight while still receiving essential nutrients. With carefully controlled calorie content and added L-carnitine, it supports a healthy metabolism, aiding in weight loss or weight maintenance. The formula includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. " - Dr. Nicole

Shop Eukanuba Adult Fit Body Large Breed

What to look for in Golden Retriever diets:

When looking for a diet for your Golden Retriever, you want to make sure you are meeting their nutritional requirements and energy needs, as well as providing prevention for the common health conditions they experience.

High Quality Protein Source

With their loveable nature, boundless energy and luxurious coats, Golden Retrievers need a high quality, easily digestible diet to suit their needs, without packing on the pounds. Premium diets use proteins that are easily assimilated into the body, meaning the maximum amount of usable protein is absorbed and can be transported around the body to where it is needed straight away.

Ingredients for Common Health Conditions

Golden Retrievers have specific needs and can be prone to a number of health conditions. As such, the ideal diet should reflect this and include ingredients to prevent these health problems. Some common health conditions to consider are:

Joint Disease

Golden Retrievers, like many large breeds, tend to be prone to joint problems like arthritis, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. As such, providing joint support from a young age is critical in aiding their joint health and delaying the development of arthritis. Common ingredients for joint support include: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Green Lipped Mussel and Omega Fatty Acids.

Sensitive Skin and Coat

Golden Retrievers are notorious for their thick, luscious, flowing golden locks. To keep their coats in peak condition, it is essential to ensure you are offering a diet with ingredients that nourish the skin and coat to create a coat that is soft and shiny. Some Golden Retrievers can also be prone to allergies or sensitive skin so may require diets tailored to skin health. For skin and coat support, look for ingredients like: Omega Fatty Acids, Zinc, Vitamin E and Linoleic Acid.

Obesity and Weight Gain

One of the downfalls of that thick luscious coat is that it can often conceal the body shape of these loveable and affectionate dogs. Not to mention they tend to be a breed known for their love of food. This can mean it is easy for these dogs to quickly gain excess weight. If these dogs do become obese this can further exacerbate joint disease and make them susceptible to many other illnesses. Diets can use highly digestible ingredients, added fibre to encourage satiety and L-carnitine to boost the rate of metabolism, all in aid of preventing excessive weight gain.

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus

Golden Retrievers are a breed that can be prone to GDV and Bloat. This can often result from overeating or eating too quickly. While the best way to prevent this is using a slow feeder, you can also look for diets with larger kibble that encourages chewing and slows down the pace of eating.

How Much Do Golden Retrievers Need To Eat?

It is recommended to feed Golden Retrievers twice daily. The amount of food required will depend on your individual dog, their specific size and the type of food you are feeding. The feeding guidelines on the packaging provide a great place to start, which can be adjusted as per your dog's needs. Otherwise the Pet Feeding Guide discusses how to calculate a feeding amount for your dog, or our Vet Squad are available 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have about your Golden Retriever's needs.

Further Reading

Golden Retriever Breed Guide

How To Spot A Good Diet

Breed Diets: Are They Worth The Hype?

How Much Should You Feed Your Pet?

What Is The Best Food For Skin Allergies?