Without a doubt, one of the most important contributions you can make to your Golden retriever’s health is providing them with healthy and balanced meals regularly. Since dogs have different nutritional needs in comparison to humans, many dog owners have questioned what they should and shouldn’t feed their furry friends.
If you want to ensure that your Goldie always has plenty of energy and gets excited about mealtime, learning in-depth about what Golden retrievers like to eat as well as the best practices for feeding them is a step in the right direction. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you work toward carefully curating your dog’s diet.
What Do Golden Retrievers Eat for Optimal Health?
One best practice that you should adopt is always reviewing the first five ingredients listed in your dog’s food. This is the minimum, generally speaking, but the first five ingredients are typically the ones that have the highest usage within your dog’s diet.
Therefore, you should aim to select dog foods that have recognizable proteins, amino acids, minerals, etc. Ideally, it would be best if you chose an option that utilizes whole foods; these are ingredients that have not been significantly processed and have, therefore, retained most of their nutritional value. Dog foods with fruits and vegetables in them, for example, usually include unrefined dietary fiber that is naturally present.
While there isn’t anything precisely wrong with feeding exotic proteins to your Goldie, this is generally unnecessary as long as he or she is healthy. Exotic proteins are preferable for Goldies that are sensitive to the more common proteins or those that have specific health issues that require a strict diet. If your Goldie can tolerate common proteins and doesn’t seem to have any problem digesting them, most vets will recommend that you continue to feed them on these instead of the exotic alternatives.
Snacks are often a topic of controversy among dog owners because they can be overused. Then there’s also the reality that dog treats don’t offer much nutritional value as much as they do calories and fillers. While some dog owners prefer to use well-known brands of snacks, others would prefer to feed their Goldies on more natural foods such as raw vegetables and fruits that are safe for dogs. If you’re willing to spend some time researching and browsing both locally and online, you will find that organic dog snacks are a great alternative to the more mainstream options commonly sold in stores.
Avoid Dangerous or Questionable Dog Food Ingredients
Although there are numerous brands available in your local supermarket, not all of them are nutritious or ideal for supporting optimal health in your Goldie. Just as you need to read ingredients on the food that you buy for yourself and your family, you must learn to do the same for your Golden retriever.
Although cheap dog food is pocket-friendly, it doesn’t always offer much nutritional value to your dog. Most low-cost dog foods come with numerous fillers, by-products, additives, preservatives, and unnecessary ingredients that are detrimental to your dog’s overall health. Depending on the types of fillers and by-products used, most cheap dog food may even contribute to issues with your dog’s health in the future.
Proteins and fat sources are essential in your dog’s diet and should always come directly from an animal-based source rather than an artificial alternative. If you cannot identify the source of the fats, proteins, or meats listed in the ingredients, you shouldn’t feed it to your Goldie.
Since most dog foods nowadays are outsourced from companies overseas, you may be unable to trace the exact source of some of the ingredients used. In such a case, you should be wary of purchasing such products as they may be harmful to your fur baby.
Similarly, this rule also applies to by-products. When reviewing ingredients, you will notice that some brands only state the meat source, i.e., fish or chicken, but won’t specifically reference the species or animal history. It’s best to take this as a warning sign that the brand may be using alternative sources or low-quality artificial options. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t feed your Goldie on any dog food brand that doesn’t explicitly list the origin of the ingredients.
You may also notice that some dog foods have included additives such as sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and other similar ingredients. These additives are often unnecessary, as most dogs are not particularly concerned about the sweetness or color of their food.
Typically, these types of components are harmful to your dog’s health and could even lead to behavioral problems. Some fur parents have even admitted to having trouble convincing their Goldies to switch from artificially flavored snacks to the healthier varieties. This is because their dogs had become so accustomed to these artificial flavors that it becomes difficult to get them interested in eating natural foods.
Should Your Golden Retriever Eat Grain-Free Dog Food?
The question of whether to feed your pup on grain-free dog food is often shared among most dog owners, regardless of the breed. Grain-free food brands have become particularly popular since many dogs are nowadays sensitive to specific types of grain. Grains are generally used in dog food to act as fillers of some sort.
Most dog food companies find it cheaper to buy large volumes of grain in bulk as compared to the same quantity of meat. Although grains are also commonly used in most kibble’s composition, there are other alternatives available in the market.
The decision to feed your furry companion on a grain-free diet is ultimately up to you as the parent. However, it would be best if you remembered that grains do not provide any significant nutritional value to your pup. As you continue to search for healthy dog food alternatives for your Goldie, you should target options that have minimal grain in the ingredients. If you choose to feed your dog on food that includes grain, look for brands that don’t list grains as part of the first five ingredients on the package. Brands that list them afterward are highly likely to be using meat ingredients as their protein source.
You can also consult your veterinarian for recommendations on the most reputable grain-free brands that will provide your pup with a balanced combination of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. If you are not too keen on grain-free foods, your vet can still provide you with alternative recommendations for dog food brands that include grain, albeit in minimal quantity in comparison to the other key ingredients.
What you feed your dogs daily can have a profound effect on their health. Being proactive about meeting dietary requirements and ensuring that your dog is always receiving adequate nutrition is essential regardless of your Goldie’s age.
Considering the wide range of dog foods that are available in the market today, there’s no doubt that you’ll find an ideal brand that’s suitable for your canine companion. In cases where you’re concerned about some of the ingredients in your dog’s food, you should spend some extra time researching and consulting with your veterinarian for guidance.