Golden Retrievers are undoubtedly one of the most popular breeds in the United States. They’re known for being easy to train, perpetually happy, and amazing family dogs, and if you’ve decided this breed is a perfect fit for your household, you should get to know their nutritional requirements before you bring one home.
Basic Golden Retriever Nutritional Needs
Golden Retrievers aren’t just happy; they’re very active. It’s possible you’ll get a dog that likes to lounge on the couch, but this breed naturally requires a decent amount of exercise. You don’t have to take your dog out on a run everyday, but Goldens thrive when they have a yard to play in and plenty of time to run or walk.
Before you purchase a brand of food for them, ask yourself what kinds of nutrients does a young, healthy, active Golden Retriever require to be properly nourished?
Golden Retriever Protein Requirements
All dogs require a majority of their diet to consist of protein. As carnivores, a dog’s diet in the wild would be made almost entirely of meat. Since your Golden isn’t going to go out and down an elk in the woods, you’ll need to provide a food that uses a quality source of protein. Chicken is the most common type of protein in commercial dog foods, but you can choose a variety of sources. Fish and lamb are great substitutes for chicken.
Golden Retriever Allergy Note
An important point to make is Golden Retrievers are particularly prone to allergies. Whether it’s genetic or not depends on the individual dog, but it isn’t uncommon for Goldens to have allergies. Not a lot of people know that chicken is considered a high allergen food. The dog food industry is quite focused on providing grain-free diets, and chicken is overlooked in terms of food allergies. If your Golden seems to have allergy symptoms (itchy skin/paws, dry skin and coat), talk to your vet about potential food allergies.
This doesn’t mean you can overlook other potential sources of allergies. A lot of dogs can’t tolerate grains in their food, and allergies don’t always present as itchy skin or constant licking of paws. Allergies do present as gastrointestinal upset. If your dog is nauseous a lot, having chronic diarrhea, or they seem to vomit frequently after meals, then you should talk to your veterinarian about the need for an elimination diet.
Omega Fatty Acids and Golden Retrievers
All Goldens have long, luxurious coats. Regular grooming and a quality diet are necessary for maintaining the beauty of their coats, but fatty acids are integral to maintaining hair that’s shiny, soft, and healthy. Commercial food brands often contain a small amount of fatty acids, but it isn’t enough for some dogs.
High-quality foods have higher quality ingredients, but it isn’t always possible to pay $10 per pound for dog food. In these instances, you can talk to your veterinarian about supplementing their diet with additional fatty acids. A dog with a sleek coat that essentially glistens in the sun probably isn’t lacking for fatty acids, so their diet is sufficient in everything they need.
If your vet agrees additional fatty acids are necessary, then you can have a discussion about appropriate supplements. Flax and fish oils are excellent ways to supplement your dog without negative side effects.
How many Carbohydrates do Golden Retrievers Need?
Active dogs need carbohydrates! Like humans, poor quality carbohydrates like processed wheat and corn aren’t going to supply much energy, and excess carbs lead to weight gain. Your Golden absolutely needs a balanced ratio of protein and carbohydrates. A typical maintenance food for adult dogs has the right amount of carbohydrates. However, you need to look at the types of carbs in their food.
Stay away from foods where the main ingredients are things like corn and soy. Meat should always be the first ingredient. Look for quality carbs like barley, brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potato.
A balanced diet for your Golden Retriever requires a good source of protein, whole grain carbohydrates, and an appropriate amount of fatty acids to maintain skin and coat health. If you’re ever doubtful about the type of food you’re providing your dog, you should have a talk with your veterinarian. They’re the best source of information for deciding what the right diet is for your dog’s unique needs.