The Best Dog Food for Goldendoodles: A Complete Buyer's Guide
Dog Food Guide for Goldendoodles
It can be tough to decide what the best dog food for your Goldendoodle is. There are so many options on the market, and it's hard to make sense of all the information out there.
Not all dog foods are the same, and some are downright dangerous. Some contain fillers and artificial ingredients that can harm your pup's health in the long run.
Other diets may not have enough of the nutrients that your Goldendoodle needs to thrive.
This guide will help you sort through the options and choose the best food for Goldendoodles. I'll cover everything from canned to dry food, toppers, treats and more.
Best Meal Topper
Best Grain Free
Best Beef Recipe
Best Wet Food
Let's go through each in detail so you can find the right one for you.
Best Dry Dog Food For Goldendoodles
The best dry food for golden doodles is Taste of Wild followed closely by Wellness Core and Merrick. And if you are looking for a dehydrated meal toper then go for Bluebird Provisions dog bone broth.
1. Best Overall: Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream Salmon Kibble
Taste of the Wild is a fantastic brand of dry dog food because of the 'wild' ingredients like: salmon, salmon meal, fish meal and sweet potatoes.
This brand has been a staple in my house for years with my two dogs (Atlas and Nitotem). For the longest time, we could not figure out what Nitotem was sensitive to. Turns out it was basically everything (chicken, turkey, beef, corn, soy, etc).
Finally we found this brand with a salmon and sweet potato based recipe, and he's not itchy or uncomfortable.
Taste of Wild is grain free, although they do have a version with grains as well. There's lots of protein with 25% and 15% fat.
If your goldendoodle is struggling with skin and coat health, this one is perfect for you. There's also a canine strain probiotic to help with gut health and digestion.
Overall, this gut friendly kibble is a fantastic option if your doogle has a sensitive tummy or allergies.
There are over 12,000 customer reviews on Amazon for Taste of the Wild, and they get a 4.7 star average. That is among the best I have ever seen for any dog product with that many reviews.
2. Best Meal Topper: Bluebird Provisions Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth
Bluebird Provisions makes the absolute best bone broth for dogs. I love the dedication to sourcing in the USA with grass fed and non-gmo sourcing. This bone broth is made in a human grade facility using the same bone broth that humans consume.
But why should we have all the fun?! Unlike other brands, Bluebird has 94% protein and only one ingredient: beef bone broth (filtered water, grass fed beef bones).
If you have a fussy eater, active or elderly dog in need of some joint boosting protein, give it a try. I have my two dogs using this as a meal topper and they absolutely love it.
Nitotem's coat is shiny to the point that we get comments at the dog park asking what we him the little guy. Anyways, you can find this on Amazon or on the Bluebird Provisions website.
3. Best Grain Free: Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey & Chicken Meal
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey and Chicken dog food is an excellent choice for Goldendoodles because of its high-protein and high-calorie formula.
The first five ingredients are deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas and dried ground potatoes. These are all things you would expect them to eat.
And from these ingredients your pup gets a massive protein blast at 34% per serving. This is the highest of any dry kibble on the list.
I love that this dry kibble doesn't have fillers or meat byproducts. It is also grain free, which is good for some while not so good for others. That discussion is beyond the depth of this article as it is a contentious topic for some.
The formula is also enriched with antioxidants, probiotics, amino acids, essential fatty acids and glucosamine to ensure a healthier body and mind for your dog.
Customer feedback is awesome (over 8000 verified reviews) with most reviewers saying that their dog's love the small, easy-to-nibble chunks.
4. Best Beef Recipe: Merrick Bison, Beef and Sweet Potato Recipe
Merrick Bison, Beef and Sweet Potato Recipe dry dog food is the highest protein option in this whole guide and is also grain free.
In my experience, it is harder to find kibbles where the primary protein source is deboned bison, which makes up 65% of each bag along with chicken meal, turkey meal and deboned beef.
The remaining 35% is made up of natural ingredients like sweet potatoes, peas, whitefish meal, and flaxseed.
Since this recipe uses bison and beef, it has naturally occurring omega-6 and omega-3 fats for healthy skin and coat. With 391 kcal/cup, this recipe is perfect for active and loving Goldendoodles.
5. Best Wet Food For Goldendoodles: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill is a high-quality wet dog food that is an excellent choice for Goldendoodles.
This grain and gluten-free formula is full of real turkey and chicken. I love the high protein in this one with 10% protein, 9% fat and 1.5% fiber. You have to keep in mind with wet dog food option that there isa lot of moisture at 78% (in case you were wondering what makes up the rest of it).
Blue Buffalo is free from by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives and is fortified with vitamins and minerals give you doodle what it needs to thrive.
I love that the first three ingredients are all meat with chicken, turkey and chicken broth. There are lots of benefits of chicken broth and bone broth in particular for coat health and digestion.
This meat centric option if great for muscle and joint health and also provides lots of good vitamins and minerals (B vitamins and vitamin D) to fuel an active lifestyle for mature dogs.
Customers love it too! As of the date of publishing, there are almost 8000 Amazon reviews with a 4.6 average.
Brand and Product
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food
Made with real salmon, 25% protein, no artificial preservatives.
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey & Chicken Meal
Grain-free, 34% protein, no artificial preservatives, no meat by-products.
Merrick Bison, Beef and Sweet Potato Recipe
High calorie, 35% protein, made with real bison and beef.
Victor Select - Beef Meal & Brown Rice
Made with real beef, 24% protein, no corn, wheat, or soy, Made in USA
Bluebird Provisions Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth
Made with grass-fed beef bones, helps with digestion and joint health.
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken dehydrated
Made with whole grains and real chicken, Animal Welfare Certified, dehydrated.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill
Grain-free, high protein, no meat by-products, no artificial preservatives.
Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Adult In Gel Canned Dog Food
Made with high-quality proteins, essential nutrients no artificial preservatives.
Diamond Naturals Adult Lamb Meal and Rice
Made with real lamb, 22% protein, no corn, wheat, or soy.
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice
Made with real chicken and brown rice, supports joint health, 26% protein.
Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient
Grain-free, limited ingredient, made with real kangaroo, supports digestive health.
6. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken is a top-of-the-line dehydrated dog food that is made with human grade ingredients in a facility used to make products for real humans.
This is an important distinction because it means that there is no risk of cross contamination from other dog foods that might use allergens or by-products.
I like that there are some independent 3rd party certifications including Animal Welfare Certified. This means that it is sourced from animals (chicken) that are at least treated with respect in low stress environments.
Happy animals make for happy food for your furry friend. This formula delivers concentrated nutrition, with a 10lb box making 40lbs of food. This makes it a convenient storage option and is likely more cost effective to ship than heavier, more bulky wet food options.
The formula has chicken, potatoes and whole grains like oats and barley. There's lots of protein (25%) and fat (14%), which is what canines thrive on. It is my go to for dehydrated chicken based food options for my two dogs.
7. Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Adult In Gel Canned Dog Food
Royal Canin is a vet-recommended diet specially formulated to help dogs with digestion issues. The food contains easily digested proteins, prebiotics and added omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) to improve digestive health and stool quality.
It is lower in fat than some of the other options on the list, making it a great option if your doodle is sensitive to fat. My older dog Atlas (he's 7) loved the taste of this one, and it helped make him regular again. He used to poo 3 times per walk, but after a month of Royal Canin, he got back to a regular schedule.
Royal Canin is a staple at veterinary offices for good reason. They ensure the highest quality ingredients and manufacturing methods.
Try some today and see how it works for your doodle!
8. Best For Large Golden Doodles: Diamond Naturals Adult Lamb Meal and Ancient Grains
Diamond Naturals Adult Lamb Meal and Rice formula is the best grain-inclusive recipe that is perfect for adult Goldendoodles.
This dry kibble gets its protein from delicious lamb that Atlas (my doodle) loves. The balance of the recipe is from whole grain brown rice, barley, oatmeal and ancient grains to help with digestion.
I love that they include glucosamine and chondroitin in the formula. As Atlas gets older, he is slowing down a bit and needs all the help he can get for his joints. This way I don't have to buy these nutrients in supplement form.
Diamond Naturals doesn't have any artificial colors, flavors or and preservatives, making it a natural and healthy choice for your furry friend.
The formula is 22% protein, which is great for anxious dogs as I know many goldendoodles are. I learned this from a dog researcher / behaviorist my wife and I hired for Atlas.
He is so anxious and nothin helped. She mentioned that lower protein is better for anxious dogs because it helps to calm their brain down.
Try some today and let me know what you think!
9. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice is a grain-inclusive formula that provides whole-body nutritional support for dogs.
The first two ingredients are deboned chicken and chicken meal, making this a great source of protein and indidivual amino acids for your doodle to live a long and healthy life.
This is a grain based option with less legumes than some grain free versions. The protein is great at 26% with 12% fat and 5% fiber.
Th recipe also includes sweet potatoes, carrots, apples and other high-quality fruits and vegetables that support energy, skin and coat, immunity, digestive health, eyes, teeth and gums.
With guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorus, it is an excellent option for Goldendoodle puppies to support strong bones and muscle development.
Chicken / Poultry Free Options
10. Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient
Kangaroo in pet food? Sounds weird doesn't it? Bear with me and don't know it until your doodle tries it. I was extremely skeptical until I learned a bit more about kangaroo and how it is the lowest allergen protein on the market.
When trying different protein sources for Nitotem, someone recommended trying kangaroo. I thought they were joking but then I found Zignature at my local pet food store.
I checked the ingredients and saw the following:
KANGAROO, KANGAROO MEAL, PEAS, PEA FLOUR, CHICKPEAS, SUNFLOWER OIL, FLAXSEED, DEHYDRATED ALFALFA MEAL, LENTILS, NATURAL FLAVOR, PEA PROTEIN, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, VITAMINS
I also liked the 28% protein level.
It worked well and is packed full of protein for growing dogs of all life stages. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- This formula is free from common allergens like chicken, beef and turkey.
- There are a few vegetables and probiotics to help with gut health and digestion.
Overall, Zignature Kangaroo is a great choice for adult Goldendoodles as it caters to their unique dietary needs, promotes good health, and is free from problematic ingredients.
I would recommend trying it if you have a dog that is sensitive to other foods (ex is itchy, has soft poo or uncomfortable).
11. Victor Select Beef Meal & Brown Rice
Victor premium dog food Select - Beef Meal and Brown Rice formula is another great kibble option for active doodles of all sizes.
The formula is packed with premium-quality beef meal, which provides most of its protein, making it an ideal choice for dogs with allergies to other meat proteins like chicken or fish.
I love the single protein source, particularly as a dog owner of two dogs with sensitive tummies. Victor also includes their VPRO blend of supplements, vitamins, and minerals in every dog kibble formula. It is specifically made to 'maximize the genetic potential of every dog.'
I also love that it is made in the USA with ingredients sourced close to their East Texas manufacturing facility. It comes in a 40 lb bag and has great reviews.
My two dogs went nuts as soon as I brought this one into the house. They obviously love the smell as they were harassing me whilst I tried to carry it in.
My pups aren't the only ones excited about Victor, they have great reviews with a 4.6 average rating on Amazon. Try some today and your pet won't be dissappointed.
Why is the choice of dog food for your Goldendoodle important?
Choosing the right dog food for your Goldendoodle is crucial as it directly impacts their overall health and longevity. A diet with the right protein source, nutrients and minerals like Omega 3s can lead to a shiny coat, high energy levels and reduced risk of disease.
Goldendoodles are prone to allergies, so it is crucial you don't feed them something that harms their sensitive digestive system.
Key Vitamin and Nutrient Needs of a Goldendoodle's Diet
Crucial vitamin and nutrients you need to pay attention to for Goldendoodles are animal protein, essential fatty acids, carbs, omega 3s, fiber and extra nutrients. Let's go through each of these below.
As a Goldendoodle owner, you want to make sure that your furry friend is getting all the nutrients they need to thrive. This starts with quality animal protein. Goldendoodles require a minimum of 18% protein in their diet, but many experts recommend a higher percentage, around 25-30%.
Animal protein is the best source of protein for dogs for a few reasons:
- It has all the essential amino acids they need to maintain muscle mass, build strong bones and support their immune system.
- It is what their canine ancestors evolved to eat.
- It helps develop healthy teeth and strong jaw muscles.
Look for chicken, turkey, beef, fish and lamb and that the animal protein is the first ingredient.
Looking for dog food? Read my guide to find the best freeze dried dog food.
Omega 3 Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in a Goldendoodle's diet because they support brain health, promote that glowing coat and skin and aid in the development of the immune system.
Excellent food sources of Omega-3s include fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring and mackerel. Experts recommend a diet that has at least 1-2% Omega-3 fatty acids.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are crucial for a Goldendoodle's diet as they play a vital role in maintaining cellular health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are critical for a Goldendoodle's health. I have a whole section dedicated to Omega 3s below, but omega-6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, are important for healthy skin and coat and support the immune system.
Good sources of these fatty acids include fish (salmon), flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and organ meats like liver and kidney.
Carbohydrates play a crucial role in a Goldendoodle's diet as they provide energy for their daily activities. While some dog owners believe that a grain-free diet is best for their furry friend, it's important to note that carbohydrates from healthy grains like wheat are actually beneficial for dogs who can tolerate it.
Also, fruits and some vegetables (not all) give them vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support immune and digestive health. As a general guideline, carbohydrates should make up around 30% of a Goldendoodle's daily caloric intake.
Fiber plays a crucial role in the digestive health of your Goldendoodle. It aids in maintaining a healthy weight, preventing constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Dog nutrition experts recommend a daily intake of 5-10% fiber in a Goldendoodle's diet. Don't go too hard on fiber as high intakes will lead to digestive issues such as bloating and diarrhea. Basically the same thing as in humans.
Vitamins and Minerals
Some vitamins and minerals come from the food ingredients, but most companies add them to the food to make up for any nutrients lost from heat during cooking. Recommended daily intake varies depending on the vitamin or mineral in question.
It's important to note that every Goldendoodle's nutritional needs may vary depending on their age, weight, activity level, and health conditions. Therefore, it's recommended to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and nutrient intake for your Goldendoodle.
If you want to learn more about specific minerals, read my guide to electrolytes for dogs.
What to consider when choosing a dog food for your Goldendoodle
There are a few important things you need to consider before you choose a food for your doodle.
1. They can be at risk of hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a common condition that affects Goldendoodles, and it can be worsened by their weight, putting more pressure on their already-damaged hip joints.
Overfeeding your pup or feeding them food with too much calcium and vitamin D can increase their risk of developing hip dysplasia (1).
You could also look for a food that is specially formulated for large breed puppies and includes ingredients like bone broth, glucosamine or chondroitin, which can help target joint problems and improve joint health.
Finally, keep them at a healthy weight by exercising them appropriately with lots of walks, trips to the dog park, cuddles and love.
2. Some need large breed dog food
It is crucial to consider large breed dog food if you have a larger doodle. Since goldendoodles are genetically related to golden retrievers, they are considered large breed dogs.
Large breed dog food is designed to have controlled levels of calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus, which can help prevent hip issues. There are some great large breed specific options on the list above.
3. They are prone to food allergies
Goldendoodles are prone to food allergies, with common allergens including dairy, wheat, grains, chicken, beef, soy, eggs and lamb. Symptoms of food allergies can include gastrointestinal issues, skin irritation, itchiness, weakness, seizures and aggressive behavior.
If you suspect your Goldendoodle has a food allergy, consider switching their protein source, trying an at home allergy test and consulting with your vet. You can look for a limited ingredient formula from the list above or consult your vet for guidance.
How did I figure out my dogs allergies? I used the 5Strands at home pet tolerance test. It was super convenient to get everything mailed to our home and not have to spend lots of money at the vet.
4. They can inherit health issues
Goldendoodles are prone to inheriting several health issues from their parent breeds, including hip dysplasia, allergies, patellar luxation, epilepsy, Von Willebrand’s disease, retinal atrophy and bloat.
Choosing the right dog food can help prevent or manage these issues. I found that a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates can help manage allergies and itchy skin in my two dogs.
Finally, avoiding dog food that contains oils and fats as the first four ingredients can also help reduce the risk of bloat.
What nutrition do Goldendoodle puppies need?
Goldendoodle puppies need a high protein diet filled with nutrients, vitamins and carbohydrates to keep them healthy during this crucial life stage.
You want slightly more protein and fat at this life stage to support their development. But it's even more important to avoid harmful filler ingredients or allergens that upset your puppy.
What ingredients should be included in the best Goldendoodle food?
Look for animal protein first, followed by a mix of carbohydrate, fat and nutrient sources. Animal protein should usually be the first 1-3 ingredients. After this, it depends if you are looking for a grain free or grain centric food.
I say this because grain free options might have potatoes while gran based options may use rice, oats or barley. You want to avoid trendy ingredients or vegetables like kale and broccoli as dogs cannot digest these things.
Small-sized kibble is preferable for Goldendoodle puppies with smaller jaws and teeth. Finally, it is important to choose a reputable brand that produces high-quality dog food without any recalls.
What vitamins and minerals are important for Goldendoodles?
A Goldendoodle's diet should contain a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals to promote their overall health. Animal protein is important for maintaining their health, it is also what they were evolved to eat. Here are a few more things to consider:
- Animal fat provides a source of energy and adds flavor to their food to entice them to eat. Or if you have a picky eater, use a dog meal topper.
- Essential fatty acids are important for their skin and coat.
- Carbohydrates provide energy and fiber, which helps their gastrointestinal system function smoothly.
- Omega-3 fats are great for brain development and reducing inflammation.
- Bone broth, glucosamine and chondroitin are fantastic for joint health.
What types of proteins are best for Goldendoodles?
The best proteins for goldendoodles are chicken, salmon, turkey, beef and lamb. These proteins help to build and maintain muscle mass and keep their coats healthy and shiny.
If you want to get adventurous, you can try kangaroo (see above in the buyers guide section). Don't forget that this breed can have sensitive stomachs, so it's important that you monitor their diet to see how they react to whatever you are feeding them.
Are there any special considerations for feeding Goldendoodles with digestive issues?
If your goldendoodle has digestive issues, you'll want to try an elimination diet to see what they are specifically sensitive to. Some dogs are sensitive to dairy, corn, soy, chicken or even grains, while others are not.
It takes a few weeks of trying new foods to see what may be the problem. You can look for a dog food with limited ingredients or gut friendly ingredients like bone broth. But if you are having constant issues, you need to see your veterinarian to get some specific recommendations.
When it comes to Goldendoodles, the best dog food choice depends on their life stage (puppy vs adult), health condition, taste preference and food sensitivities. With those caveats aside, overall, I would recommend the Taste of the Wild dry food.
This food hits all the right marks for Goldendoodles: it's high in protein, lower in carbohydrates with lots of Omega 3 fats. Plus, it's made with real meat and vegetables, so you know your dog is getting the nutrition they need.
Or if you're after a dehydrated food topper, try the grass fed bone broth from Bluebird Provisions. If you have any questions about food choices, leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer asap.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to treat or supplement any pet's diet. Consult your veterinarian or animal health specialist if you have questions about anything related to their food, consumption or health. The statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, USDA or CFIA.