Do Golden Retrievers Need Grain-Free Food? Are Food Companies Lying?

With the endless amount of options, you get lost while trying to find the right choice to feed your golden retrievers; Dietary considerations are very significant when it comes to golden retrievers, and giving them high-quality nutrition will help them improve their health and immune system.

So, Do golden retrievers need grain-free food? Golden Retrievers do not need grain-free food; Many dogs that are on a grain-free diet have Low levels of taurine (an essential amino acid for heart health) which often leads to cardiomyopathy – a fatal heart condition. Grains are good for your dog, and only harmful for dogs with a grain allergy.

The myth that grain is bad for your dog is not supported by research, experts, or vets, but it is still, somehow wildly popular.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to grains in dog food, and some companies do use it in a bad way. To understand what this means for you and your dog (and how to choose the right and healthy food for them), keep reading.

Do golden retrievers need grain-free food? 

golden retriever eating to answer do golden retrievers need grain-free food?

While the advertisements seem to encourage you to go for a grain-free diet but that is a bit misleading.

Veterinary cardiologists have discovered that dogs with life-threatening heart illnesses have low taurine levels, which is an important amino acid for heart health.

The majority of these dogs eat grain-free diets, which raise taurine levels. Cardiomyopathy, a deadly cardiac disease in dogs, is frequently caused by taurine deficiency.

Do Golden retrievers need grain in their diet? 

Golden Retrievers need grain in their diet; grain-free dog food that contains legume seeds, lentils, potatoes, or peas as main ingredients contributes to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, according to an FDA study in 2019.

The majority of dogs with heart disease are found to be on a grain-free diet. These diets have been linked to the issue, particularly because they are heavy in legumes.

Certain vegetables, such as potatoes and lentils, are added to grain-free diets to satisfy your dog’s desire, improve the taste, and provide nutritional value.

Peas, beans, pea starch, legumes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, which have substituted grains in dog diets, have been proven to inhibit taurine activity in studies. 

Taurine, a sulfuric acid, is necessary for Golden Retrievers to have a healthy cardiovascular system. 

Taurine insufficiency in Golden Retrievers can lead to irregular heartbeats and, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), congestive heart failure, and even death if left untreated.

What makes for a balanced diet for golden retrievers? 

A balanced diet would provide all the nutrients your dog needs and would prevent deficiency or malnutrition, which means contain all the macro and micronutrients he needs, these include the following: 


Protein is a necessary nutrient for your pet’s health. It gives your dog enough calories to be healthy. Proteins also aid in the development and repair of bodily tissues, muscles, and organs, as well as the growth of new skin cells, hair, hormones, and enzymes in your dogs.

The protein level of your golden retriever’s food must be at least 30%. Meals including protein sources such as lambs, chicken, turkey, fish, meat, yogurts, and fried eggs should be considered.


A serving of high-quality dog chow should include 30 to 35 percent carbs. Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and potatoes are all good carb food for Golden Retrievers.


Lipids are necessary nutrients for both puppies and adult dogs, much like protein and carbs. 

The fat level of your dog’s food should be between 12 and 18 percent. 

Shedding can be reduced by include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in your dog’s diet. Instead, it helps your dog’s fur seem shinier, healthier, and more lustrous.


Mineral-rich food for your Golden Retriever includes calcium, phosphorus, potassium, salt, magnesium, zinc, iron, and others. 

These minerals are present in vegetables, fish, molasses, beans, wheat bran, bone meal, organ, and muscle meats.

they serve to maintain fluid balance within and outside the body cells as well as transport oxygen in the bloodstream.


Vitamins, like minerals, are essential for your goldie. It would be beneficial if you provided them a diet rich in Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.

Vitamins can help your pet’s bones and teeth grow stronger, especially when they’re young. It also maintains their skin healthy, improves their immune system, and speeds up healing and fur development.

Spinach, carrots, liver, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, fish oil, turnip greens, and eggs are all good sources of vitamins. You have the option of purchasing a multivitamin for your dog if he isn’t receiving enough vitamins.


Your Golden Retriever should drink one ounce (30 ml) of water every pound they weigh on a daily basis. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.

When it comes to dog food, I know how complicated, confusing, and outright annoying it can be to choose the right food for your dog. Not to worry, I have had goldens for more than 20 years, and I’ve made this guide to the best golden retrievers foods with literally everything you need to know, including the homemade recipes I use and the treats (both ready-made and homemade) that my dogs have loved the most over the years (plus Ice cream!), so check it out now.

Should dogs have grain in their diet? 

Grains are a good source of nutrients. Grains are nutrient-dense and include carbohydrates, fats, and antioxidants. That implies grains in dog food can help with skin and hair health, as well as immune system health and more.

Grain is a good source of micronutrients and is good for most dogs. That implies your dog’s chances of developing a grain allergy are slim. 

Less than 1% of dogs are sensitive to grains and must avoid them in their food, while 99 percent of dogs can benefit from the nutritional advantages of grain-based dog food.

What grain can I add to my dogs’ food? 

Whole Wheat, Brown Rice, oats, millet, barley, corn, quinoa, sorghum, rye, and other grains are only a few examples. Each one has its own set of nutrients, and many of them are easily digestible by dogs. 

Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat everything. Most grains are okay for your pet to consume.

Some grains are considered higher quality foods because they give more nutritional advantages. Instead of overly processed alternatives, seek dog food that incorporates whole grains.

Related Questions 

Is grain-free food bad for dogs? 

Grain-free food is bad for dogs as they inhibit taurine formation, Low amounts of taurine (an important amino acid for heart function) are fatal and can lead to cardiomyopathy, deadly heart disease in dogs.

Is grain-free food killing dogs? 

Grain-free food can kill dogs; grain-free dog food that is high in Peas, beans, pea starch, legumes, potatoes, to substitute grains in dog diets, have been proven to inhibit taurine activity in studies and correlates to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) – deadly heart disease in dogs.

Are potatoes bad for golden retrievers? 

Potatoes are bad for golden retrievers if they’re eating them raw: Solanine, a chemical found in uncooked potatoes, is harmful to some dogs. If you do give your dog a potato, make sure it’s baked or boiled with no additional ingredients.

You can check out all the foods golden retrievers should never eat here.

Is Chicken bad for golden retrievers?

No, Chicken isn’t bad for Golden Retrievers by any means, including chicken in your Golden Retriever’s meals are a great source of protein to keep their energy high and body safe, develop and repair bodily tissues, muscles, and organs, and the growth of new skin cells, hair, hormones.

Helpful Resources 

Is Grain Good For Dogs?

What Dog Owners Need to Know About the FDA’s Grain-Free Diet Alert and DCM

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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