Tips and Recommendations for How to Feed Your Golden Retriever Puppy

Pet Care


May 27, 2020

Golden retrievers have long been regarded as one of the most loyal and clever dog breeds around, often making them an ideal choice for individuals of all ages as well as families. Many people often aim to introduce a Golden retriever puppy into their family at a young age so that the dog can grow along with the children and the rest of the family as time progresses. Although getting a puppy can be an exciting experience, it can also prompt many questions if you’re navigating new territory as a pet owner.

If you’ve never had a puppy before or are unfamiliar with feeding guidelines for a Golden retriever, you may wonder how much you should expect to feed your new pup. This brief guide will provide all of the key points you need to know regarding how often and what to feed your new Golden retriever puppy.  

How Much Should You Feed a Golden Retriever Puppy  

As your Golden retriever puppy continues growing, the amount of food that you provide will need to scale to meet their developmental needs. In general, puppies need to have their food intake increased by half a cup for each month of their growth until they are around six or seven months old.

A two-month-old puppy would need one and a half cups of dog food per day, which would then increase to two cups per day when the puppy is three months old. You can use the following guidelines to aid you to gauge how much to feed your puppy as you become more familiar with their eating habits and preferences:

  • Two months old: one and a half cups per day
  • Three months old: two cups per day
  • Four months old: two and a half cups per day
  • Five to six months old: three cups per day
  • Six to seven months old: three and a half to four cups per day 

If you have a female Golden retriever puppy, you should limit her intake to three cups of food per day. Male Golden retrievers typically tend to weigh significantly more and stand taller in comparison to female Golden retrievers, so this difference in food allotment is to be expected. Likewise, it is crucial to keep in mind that the total amount of food you provide to your puppy may also vary based on how active they are and the overall quality of the food.

If you are feeding high-calorie dog food to your puppy, they may eat less compared to if you were feeding a lower calorie dog food. A puppy’s appetite can vary from day to day or week to week. Therefore, although you might need to increase your puppy’s food intake by a half a cup according to the guideline, your puppy might only have an appetite for one-third of a cup or may want a larger portion of food. 

How Often Do Golden Retriever Puppies Need to Eat?

Now that you have a basic understanding of how much food your Golden retriever puppy needs to eat per day, it’s time to consider how often feeding should occur. The common recommendation is that Golden retriever puppies less than six months old should be fed three times per day. When your furry friend is at least six months old, feeding can be adjusted to occur twice a day instead. If your puppy is not eating all of their food during the initial feeding session, you can attempt to offer the same food again later on or further entice them to eat by incorporating a few small treats into the meal. 

Keep in mind that any eating habits your puppy develops while they’re young will often carry over into adulthood. It’s important to be mindful of making every feeding experience consistent and ensuring your puppy knows what to expect in terms of when they’ll eat and how they should behave. If your puppy is having difficulty concentrating during different feeding times, consider what the environment is like during the feeding experience.

Is there something or someone distracting your puppy from the meal? Changing where feeding occurs and how it happens can greatly impact your puppy’s ability to focus on the meal. For example, some puppies can eat their meals more consistently when they have a slow feeder bowl, and other puppies benefit more from a quiet space that’s free from the sounds of television or other pets. 

Most dog owners will feed their puppies in the morning and then during the afternoon and evening. When your puppy is old enough to be fed twice a day, this should occur in the morning and in the evening. You can also provide snacks between meals. In most cases, the exact time that you feed your puppy does not explicitly matter and will be based directly on your schedule. 

Best Dog Foods for Your Golden Retriever Puppy 

Although Golden retrievers frequently rank within the top three dog breeds in the United States, they are not without their own unique nutritional needs and health concerns. Since maladies such as genetic joint disorders, allergies, and cancers are not uncommon among this breed, providing Golden retrievers with a high-quality diet is often essential to supporting their health.

Additionally, Golden retriever puppies need to receive adequate nutrition to prevent developmental delays, and owners must be mindful not to overfeed them. Overfeeding can contribute to weight gain, which can exacerbate joint disorders or contribute to the development of other common health concerns.

Maintaining nutritional balance and feeding within the appropriate guidelines can often be achieved simultaneously by feeding puppies food specifically formulated for large-breed dogs during their most pivotal growth phase. It is crucial to understand that determining the best dog food will not only depend on your research into your puppy’s nutritional needs but also on your puppy’s preferences towards specific types of protein and their ability to digest various ingredients. As a general recommendation, the following factors can also help you choose high-quality dog food for your Golden retriever puppy:

  • Carefully review the ingredients and research them to ensure that the dog food is comprised of natural ingredients instead of fillers or by-products. Be mindful that some dog foods may also contain additives or ingredients that have been genetically modified. 
  • Take note of dog foods that offer limited ingredients or calorie control. 
  • Spend some time researching different sources of animal protein. The most common types of protein are fish, poultry, and meat. Some owners prefer to use exotic protein sources, especially if their dog has a lot of sensitivities or allergies to common sources of protein. However, many owners feed their Golden retrievers with traditional protein sources as well, mainly depending on the dog’s personal preference. 
  • If you are interested in grain-free diets or have questions about the recommended nutritional profiles for Golden retriever dog foods, reach out to your veterinarian for guidance. 

Final Thoughts

Although it may seem as if there are a lot of factors to consider and remember when feeding your Golden retriever puppy, it’s important to understand that much of these aspects will become a matter of intuition as you spend more time with your new furry family member. More often than not, dog owners learn how much to feed their dog and when to feed their dog solely based on the dog’s behavior. They know when to make adjustments to the diet and the feeding schedule if their fuzzy friend is feeling unwell or if there seems to be any significant change in the dog’s weight.

As you spend more time with your puppy and watch them grow, you’ll also learn to anticipate their needs and make adjustments to match their development. If you have any questions, you can always contact your veterinarian for more insight and professional recommendations.