Figuring out how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy isn’t an easy business.
In fact, adding to the complexity, it’s not just an issue of how much food, but what kind and when.
Not only this, but as your puppy matures, the answer to this question of how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy is going to change!
Maybe several times throughout their journey to maturity.
But don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Here’s our complete guide to Golden Retriever puppy mealtimes.
Golden Retriever puppy feeding guide
There are so many Golden Retriever puppy facts to keep up with when getting a new pet.
In this Golden Retriever puppy feeding guide, we’ll walk you the three steps in finding the optimal diet:
- knowing the various diet options
- focusing on moderation and preventive health
- paying close attention to your puppy and how it’s faring with its diet
How much should I feed my Golden Retriever puppy?
So let’s begin with the broadest and simplest question, of how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy.
The key here is that you should avoid overfeeding at all costs.
Research suggests that as as a general rule, we humans aren’t very good at doing this.
Obesity is a growing epidemic among all canines.
So when it comes to how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy, there’s one simple rule of thumb: start out as you intend to continue.
Are treats OK?
Yes, they are.
But it’s important you think of them as just that—the occasional treat to brighten your puppy’s day.
If using treats for training, you may want to subtract that amount from mealtime.
Here’s a great guide to the Golden Retriever puppy food amount you should be aiming for.
What is in the best Golden Retriever puppy food?
The issue of composition is another factor to consider.
While there’s some debate on the quantities, generally speaking, a healthy puppy will benefit from a diet that is high in both protein and healthy fats.
Both fat and protein are needed to promote healthy growth, and puppies have a lot of growing to do!
For more information on the ideal composition of your Golden Retriever puppy food, click here.
Pros and Cons of Different Foods
Kibble is one of the most common dog foods, but how good they are varies significantly across brands.
It’s therefore important to do your research.
The Dog Food Advisor website is a great place to start.
Orijen and Nature’s Variety are two great Golden Retriever puppy food recommendations to look at.
They avoid corn and wheat, which is generally considered a poor additive for dogs, opting instead for lentils to provide fiber.
The big advantage of kibble, of course, is that it’s available everywhere.
It also stores well and (provided you get the right brand) is a great way to guarantee your puppy is getting all the nutrients it needs.
A disadvantage of kibble is that it’s dry.
This means you’ll need to make sure your puppy is getting enough water.
Again, there’s a huge range of quality levels in wet food.
The Dog Food Advisor website will be your friend in researching suitable brands.
While they are convenient and provide a higher water content than kibble, research suggests that retrievers tend to respond less favorably to wet foods than other large dogs.
It will be important to watch your puppy closely to be sure they can tolerate it.
When it comes to raw foods, how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy is a big topic.
For a detailed guide on raw food for retrievers, check out our Raw Feeding Guide.
Broadly speaking, the advantage of a raw food diet is that it’s providing food in a form that suits a canine’s natural state of chasing, catching and killing prey.
Raw food replicates the kind of food a canine would eat in a completely natural state.
The disadvantage of a raw food diet is that it’s a bit like being a vegetarian as a human.
It’s possible to do it healthily but it requires more effort and attention to detail.
If you’re considering a raw food diet, it’s a really good idea to grab a quality guide.
This book is a great option.
Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Guidelines
Here are our general guidelines for feeding a Golden Retriever puppy, to help you menu plan for your little dog:
- Adult dogs actually need less to eat than puppies.
- Puppies benefit from a high fat, high protein diet. More so than adult dogs.
- The best Golden Retriever puppy food will provide a complete balanced diet and be aimed at larger breeds.
- Don’t give supplements unless your vet recommends them.
- Puppies eat three to four times a day, but adult dogs only eat once of twice in the same period.
- Puppies need access to fresh water all day, even between meals.
- Many owners decide to swap from puppy to adult dog food at around six months.
Preventing Obesity and Other Health Conditions
Retrievers are predisposed to obesity.
Not only will obesity lower a pup’s quality of life, it can also shorten their lifespan.
Right from the beginning of your puppy’s life, it’s important to prevent obesity.
If you are finding your puppy’s weight is creeping up, you may wish to move toward a higher protein and fiber diet.
Studies indicate this is particularly effective in improving satiety and lower appetite in dogs.
Commercially available weight loss foods are also demonstrably effective in helping a dog lose weight without loss of quality of life.
Preventing Hip Dysplasia
This further reinforces the importance of keeping the weight off your insatiably hungry puppy.
While no specific diet is proven superior to the others in preventing hip dysplasia, feeding a puppy as and when it wants has been correlated with weight gain and hip problems.
While it is rare, your puppy may have an allergy to one or more ingredients.
Common allergy offenders include chicken, beef, dairy, egg, and fish.
If you notice swelling, lethargy, rashes, or drooling after eating, it’s important to carefully remove dietary ingredients to isolate the cause of the problem.
For any severe symptoms, you should immediately consult your vet
Here’s our complete guide to dealing with your pup’s food allergies.
How much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy isn’t just decided by dietary issues.
It’s also important to take some behavioral issues into account, dealing with them appropriately.
Some puppies struggle with eating in front of humans and other animals.
They may be afraid their food will be taken away, leading to aggressive behavior such as nipping and growling.
When this occurs, the most important thing is to avoid punishing.
Instead, focus on helping your puppy feel relaxed.
One useful tip is to add food while they’re eating.
If you’re dealing with a growly eater, you might want to look at our page which focuses on this subject.
It’s quite common for a puppy to struggle with moderating its food intake.
This is an important issue to manage, because the data tells us that lifespans of diet-restricted dogs are considerably longer.
If your puppy has a tendency to binge on food, it’s important to only place small portions into the feed bowl at any time.
The reverse side of the coin of bingeing is begging.
Once your puppy figures out that you’re the key to food happening, they may fall into a habit of constantly begging for food.
The key here is discipline.
Be sure you set a feeding schedule and stick with it.
This schedule needs to work for you!
Realize that if you set an expectation that breakfast time is 6 am, you’re likely to have an anxious puppy on your hands very early in the morning.
There’s no single answer to the question of how much to feed a Golden Retriever puppy.
If you know your food options, focus on good preventive health, and pay close attention to how your puppy is doing, there’s a good chance you’ll have a lean, healthy friend for years to come.
Be sure to communicate with your vet about when to switch Golden Retriever from puppy food to an adult diet and any other questions you may have about feeding your puppy.
Your vet is also your best source of help if you think your Golden Retriever puppy is eating the wrong amount.
We hope this guide is a good starting point to setting your puppy on a healthy path.
Do You Have a Greedy Golden Retriever Puppy?
Getting feeding right for a new puppy is an anxious business for anyone.
Please share your stories and experiences in the comments box!
If you love Golden Retrievers, check out our article on the English Cream Golden Retriever!
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Lonsdale, T, 2005, “Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones.”
Mankowska, M et al., 2017, “Polymorphism and methylation of the MC4R gene in obese and non-obese dogs,” Molecular Biology Reports
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