One of the most important things you can do for your retriever is to feed them well. Not only is food quality important, but so is your feeding schedule. As your retriever grows up, their dietary needs are going to change as well. Finding the right balance between too much food and not enough food can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. So today, we’ll figure out the best feeding schedule for a golden retriever puppy!
What To Feed Your Golden Retriever Puppy
As I’m sure you know by now, not all dog food is created equal. While any basic dog food will work, you want to make sure that your dog is getting all of their necessary vitamins and minerals. Because of this, most dog food seen on store shelves is not going to be your best option. While all dog food will have some nutrients, only a few have everything your retriever needs. Below, we’ll discuss the three main forms of dog food.
This is what most people think of when they think of generic dog food. It is the hard food that can be found in most grocery or pet stores, and it is not the best option for your dog. While there are many good brands of kibble, most are full of fillers and additives that do not support your dog.
If you decide to buy kibble, you should look for brands that are vitamin and nutrient rich. This information will usually be on the front of the bag. In addition, you’ll want to stay away from “Chow”, which Dogs Naturally Magazine names as one of the worst dog foods on the market.
“Chow” is a term that describes dog food where the first ingredient is corn. Corn does not provide any nutrients to your golden retriever, so you will want to find a dog food with meat listed as the first ingredient.
By checking the first listed ingredient in your dog’s food, you can know if you’re buying quality food or not. The first ingredient listed is the most-used ingredient, so you’ll want to make sure that this is some type of real meat and not corn or rice.
Golden Retrievers & The “BARF” Diet
BARF, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, is by far the healthiest diet for your golden retriever. The diet consists of completely raw foods, including meat and vegetables. Non-processed foods have a higher bio-availability than processed foods. What this means is that your retriever will have an easier time digesting and absorbing the nutrients in raw foods than in processed dog food like kibble.
There many brands out there that base their recipes off of raw foods, but you can also prepare these foods yourself. When preparing this food, include a meat, such as chicken, fish, or beef, as well as fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, oranges, and strawberries.
While those are a few examples of what to include, the sky really is the limit. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and see what meat and vegetables your retriever likes the most. However, you should avoid feeding your retriever onions, mushrooms, garlic, avocado, rhubarb, grapes, or corn. These foods have potential allergens that will harm your dog, so it’s best to avoid them.
Homemade Food Diet
Unlike the BARF diet, the homemade diet includes entirely cooked foods. While raw foods do provide better nutrients for your dog, there are two major drawbacks. First, raw meat has a small chance of carrying E. Coil and/salmonella, while cooked meats will kill these bacteria. Second, raw food has a tendency to cause excessive gas and frequent pooping, which can be inconvenient for you.
The cooked food diet will consist of the same food as the BARF diet. Be sure to include plenty of meat and mix up which vegetables you include to ensure your golden retriever puppy gets plenty of nutrients. In particular, you’ll want to make sure your puppy gets enough calcium and phosphorous, which will promote healthy bone development.
How Much Food to Feed a Golden Retriever
As mentioned earlier, the amount of food you food your retriever will play a direct role in their overall health. When they’re young, golden retrievers do not require a lot of food, but because they are an active breed, they will quickly start to need more food to stay healthy. While these numbers are not set in stone, your retriever will generally eat:
1 1/2 cups of food per day at 2 months old
3 – 4 cups of food per day at 6 months old
1,300 – 1,700 calories per day as an adult
900 calories per day after 8 years old.
Factors Around How Much Food Your Golden Retriever Needs
Just like with people, each retriever is different in the amount of food they’ll need daily. While the above numbers give you a general idea of how much food to give, there are several factors that will influence those amounts. These include:
- Activity level – If your retriever is very active, you may want to feed them more than the recommended amounts.
- Current weight – If your retriever is under or overweight, you’ll want to adjust the amount of food you feed them until they are within their weight range.
- Gender – Male golden retrievers are bigger than females, so they will require more calories.
At the end of the day, your best bet is going to be to adjust your golden retriever feeding needs as you go along. If you notice weight gain or weight loss, then you’ll know you need to adjust the amount of food accordingly. Male golden retrievers should weigh 65 – 75lbs, while females should weigh 60 – 70lbs. For more golden retriever breed info, click here!
Feeding Schedule For a Golden Retriever Puppy
For the most part, you don’t have to worry about an exact schedule for feeding your golden retriever puppy. Ideally, you will want to feed golden retriever puppies (2 – 7 months old) 3 times per day, with meals that are spaced out throughout the day. This is because your retriever will need a constant flow of energy in order to grow.
After 7 months old, however, your retriever’s development will start to slow down. Because of this, many owners will switch to only feeding their retrievers 2 times per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Of course, you can feed as many times per day as you would like, as long as the total daily calories fall within the guidelines above.
How To Tell If Your Golden Retriever is Actually Hungry
Even if you ensure that your retriever is getting their daily food needs, chances are that they will still beg for food when they do not have it. In fact, this is a major reason why some golden retrievers are overweight. So, you don’t want to give in every time your retriever begs for food.
If your retriever is begging for food, you can give them a small handful of food as a snack. In most cases, this will calm your retriever down enough and stop them from whining. While you don’t want to make a habit of this (To avoid excessive weight gain), it is perfectly okay to give your retriever snacks in between meals.
The best way to determine if your retriever is under or overfed simply comes from tracking their weight. Ideally, you should weigh your retriever every couple of feeds until you nail their exact food needs. If, however, your golden retriever cannot seem to lose or gain weight, it may be time to consult a vet. If simply changing around the amount of food they eat doesn’t work, there may be a bigger issue factoring into their weight.
So… What’s The Best Golden Retriever Puppy Feeding Schedule?
As mentioned earlier, golden retriever feeding has more to do with the amount of food you give your retriever than how often you feed them. Most vets recommend to feed pups 3 times per day, and to feed adults 2 times per day. Remember, your retriever’s food needs will grow as they get older, so you will need to monitor their weight regularly.
If you stick to the recommended feeding amounts, and check your retriever’s weight regularly, you should have no issues with your golden retriever puppy feeding schedule!
We hope this article has answered your questions. If it hasn’t, don’t hesitate to comment below or contact us directly – We’ll be happy to help!