Homemade Dog Food for Golden Retriever: Ultimate Guide

By Britt Kascjak

While there is no definitive evidence that making homemade dog food is better for your Golden Retriever, many dog owners prefer it. It’s a great way to control what your Golden Retriever eats and encourage picky eaters to dig into their meals.

Plus, it’s a good opportunity to bond with your Golden Retriever in a special, yet functional, way. But, if you’re new to the idea, you may not know the steps to get started. 

How to Make Homemade Food for Your Golden Retriever

Whether you have a Golden Retriever with food allergies or simply want to spoil him a little, homemade dog food is a great option.

It gives allows you to choose exactly what ingredients your Golden Retriever is eating. It’s also a great way to have full control over the quality of your Golden Retriever’s food.

But, it’s not as easy as just throwing some food in a dish.

A Golden Retriever’s food needs to be nutritionally balanced for each life stage. This means providing the nutrients needed for their best health.

What You Will Need

  • High-quality animal protein (e.g. chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, salmon)
  • Fresh vegetables (e.g. carrots, pumpkin, green beans, spinach, broccoli)
  • Plant-based oils and/or fish oil (e.g. soybean, canola, corn, or flaxseed oil)
  • Carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice, pasta, whole wheat, oatmeal, quinoa)

Step One: Consult with Your Vet and a Nutritionist

This is one of the most important steps when it comes to transitioning to a homemade diet. Yet, it’s one that is often overlooked.

There is a lot of information online about homemade diets, but it’s not all from a reputable source. For example a lot of Golden Retriever owners think a grain free diet is automatically better for their dog, but studies show that’s not exactly the case.

The best way to find out exactly what your Golden Retriever needs and how to meet those needs is with professional help.

A great way to start is by making an appointment with your regular veterinarian. They can give you some insight into your Golden Retriever’s unique needs beyond just his age and breed.

A nutritionist is a valuable resource. Whether your golden retriever is overweight and needs to slim down, he’s under weight, or has specific food allergies, a nutritionist can help you create recipes that are guaranteed to meet all your dog’s nutritional needs.

If you can’t find a nutritionist locally, try booking a virtual consultation. Another option is to use the website BalanceIT which is managed by veterinary nutritionists.

Step Two: Gather High-Quality Ingredients

To make the best quality food for your Golden Retriever, you need to start with high-quality ingredients.

The important components you will need to include for a balanced diet are: 

  • Protein
  • Fats and fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Each of these categories will need to be addressed before you can consider your dog’s diet to be complete. You can do this by choosing ingredients to meet their needs or through supplementation.

But, you don’t want to rely on supplements for all your Golden Retriever’s key nutrition.

Your Golden Retriever’s diet needs to include Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, and choline. These can all be met with specific animal proteins and fresh vegetables.

There are 12 essential minerals that should be included in your Golden Retriever’s diet:

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Chloride
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfur
  • Zinc

Each of these minerals is available in natural foods including organ meats, dark leafy vegetables, and eggs. But, you will need to be sure that your dog’s diet contains all 12.

Finally, don’t overlook the importance of water. This includes both incorporating hydration in your dog’s food and offering fresh, clean water at all times.

Step Three: Consider Added Supplements

After preparing your Golden Retriever’s base meal, you can add supplements to enhance the nutritional value.

Dog food supplements come in a variety of different forms. This includes powders, liquids, capsules, and chewable tablets.

But, more is not always better. As the old saying goes, your dog can have too much of a good thing.

If you are concerned that your dog is deficient in a key nutrient, contact your veterinarian. They can run tests to assess whether there is cause for concern.

You can then discuss the different options available and decide on the best choice for your Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever owners that are working with a nutritionist can work with them to improve recipes. Many nutrient deficiencies can be met by making a change to the ingredients used.

With Golden Retrievers, a popular (and safe to use) supplement is fish oil. This is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which can provide relief from joint pain and support heart health.

Step Four: Practice Proper Food Handling and Storage

When you are working with raw foods, it is important to consider food handling. This is to keep both you and your dog safe.

But, studies have shown that most pet owners fall short of the FDA’s guidelines.

Always wash your hands before and after handling pet food. This includes both raw ingredients (like raw organ meats) and the final meal.

Your Golden Retriever’s dish should also be washed following each meal.

Be sure to keep all ingredients and prepared foods safely refrigerated for storage. Use a sealed container to keep potential contaminants out.

Final Thoughts: Homemade Food for Your Golden Retriever

Cooking homemade food for your Golden Retriever doesn’t have to be difficult. But, you do need to make sure that your dog’s nutritional needs are met.

There are many great sources of each nutrient!

Don’t be afraid to change up the different options and have fun with your recipes. Especially if this is something that you enjoy doing.

Your Golden Retriever is sure to love all the high-quality and tasty meals that you prepare.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.