Your golden retriever pup probably strives to eat as much as possible, whatever it is. But feeding optimal amounts of the right foods at each life stage helps him stay strong and healthy, and may help him avoid breed-specific health issues later in life.
Extra Nutrition Needed for Growing & Maintaining Health
By the time your golden is grown, he'll still be your baby, but he'll weigh about 65 to 70 pounds and need around 1500 calories per day. If fed properly, he'll be more resistant to common golden issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, eye disease and cancer. His diet should be at least 60 percent protein. Accents like shrimp tails contain glucosamine to protect hips and joints, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can help combat cancer.
Needs Change With Time
Your golden's nutritional needs evolve as he does. Although he'll need around 1500 calories as an adult, his puppy self needs more. When he's half grown-around 40 pounds-he'll need 1.5 times the adult calories, or about 2250 calories. At 75 percent full grown-about 55 pounds-he'll need 1.25 times his adult requirement, or 1825 calories. As you design his meal plan, continue incorporating glucosamine-rich foods or supplements, along with antioxidant-laden foods to combat cancer.
When It Comes to Calories, Make It Count
Getting enough calories during puppyhood is important, but nutritional density and quality are more important. This means your golden's diet should focus on identifiable animal proteins like poultry, fish, lamb, bison, venison and eggs. Some dogs can't tolerate beef, so approach it with caution. If you're feeding commercial, make sure a known source of meat is the central ingredient. Whether commercial or homemade, meat should be followed by other healthy ingredients like vegetables, fruits and healthy oils.
How to Feed Throughout the Day
Feeding schedules vary depending on dog parents' schedules and preferences. A regular feeding schedule helps offer a sense of routine, and eases potty training -- he will likely need to go out after eating. Once potty trained, schedules may shift a bit. But feeding a few smaller meals throughout the day is more satisfying for your furkid, and helps reduce the chance of bloating, a known risk in big breeds. After all, your little angel is going to be big--someday.
- Dog Breed Info: Basic Feeding Guide
- Pet MD: How Much Do Golden Retrievers Usually Weigh?
- Schultze, Kymythy R.: Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats
- Golden Retriever Club of America: Health
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.