I feed my personal dogs with super-premium food, and all the puppies in the kennel are grown on them.
The age-old question for owners: what and how to feed their golden or Nova Scotia retriever?
There are two main types of animal feeding – homemade food (in the language of canine slang "natural") and industrial food (respectively, "dry").
In my opinion, both options are acceptable if it is a) of the highest quality, b) suitable for a particular dog. The term "suitable" means in this context that a dog that is being fed in one way or another is in excellent condition, healthy clear skin, shiny coat, clear eyes, normal stool.
If the dog has any deviations from the state of well-being: the coat turns pink (it is clearly visible in light goldens), there are skin rashes, it itches, her eyes “flow”, the molting period is delayed and the coat is in poor condition; redness, rash and excess ear discharge are observed in the ears; the stool is unstable, the dog is too thin, etc. – this is an occasion, firstly, to take tests, and secondly, to revise the diet in the direction of its change.
A bit from practice. Personal experience and recommendations for choosing food for retrievers
Retrievers, especially golden retrievers, sometimes require special attention when choosing food. Allergic dogs are found in the breed, as well as dogs with pancreatic insufficiency to one degree or another.
When choosing food for a retriever, it is advisable to focus on the following points:
The amount of proteins and fats in the food should not be extremely high – this is harmful to the liver and pancreas of an ordinary domestic dog leading a moderately active lifestyle. For a rough guideline, you can take values of 24-28% for protein and 10-14% for fat. Plus or minus, of course. In a good feed, the first place in the composition should be meat, and not fresh, but dehydrated.
It is advisable to avoid feeds with cheap grain "fillers" – they can cause food allergies and gastrointestinal disorders. These fillers include, first of all, wheat, as well as corn derivatives (namely, derivatives, in the form, for example, of corn gluten, and not corn itself). If they are in the composition of the food, especially if they are in the first positions in the composition, you should refrain from using such feeds. Rice is a good hypoallergenic source of carbohydrates.
Different dogs have allergic reactions to different meat components; most often – on a chicken. But, this is not necessary and is very individual. At the same time, there are meat ingredients that are the least likely to give any undesirable reactions. This is lamb, turkey, duck, etc.
In some cases, grain-free food options are best for the dog. Those that do not contain any grains at all. As a rule, the content of protein and fat in them is slightly higher than those indicated in paragraph 1, but not too much (within 30%).
Thus, when choosing food for a retriever, you can select it according to the following criteria:
1) not too protein 2) not greasy 3) on rice/oatmeal/potatoes 4) with turkey/lamb/duck
Or grain-free food with similar meat content
We have a lot of puppies in our house. And, as our personal experience has shown, – 6 times a day, as recommended by a number of authors, our puppies did not want to eat at any age, even very small ones. Trying to offer them such frequent feedings resulted in the puppies being reluctant to eat and more fiddling with the bowls. Or they ate what was offered, and then, not having time to digest it, they gave out diarrhea. Therefore, even for the smallest, we practice 4 meals a day. With age, the number of feedings decreases. We transfer puppies to 2 meals a day after 9 months on average. But there are puppies who do not want to eat three times a day and at an earlier age. For such, the transition to 2 meals a day occurs as early as 6 months.
Top 7 Best Food For Golden Retriever Puppy Review in 2023
For adults and absolutely healthy dogs, a single feeding is also acceptable – at night. First of all, it makes sense to choose such a mode for those owners whose dog leads an active lifestyle during the day: accompanies, trains, works, hunts, etc.
The transition from puppy food to adult food is carried out when the growth of the dog ends. And this is always related to the size:
▪ small dogs (weight of an adult dog up to 12 kg) – are formed early (up to a year),
▪ average (the weight of an adult dog 12-25 kg) – are formed, on average, up to 15 months
▪ Large (weight of adult dog 25-50 kg)-are formed until 18-24 months
▪ giant (the weight of an adult dog is more than 50 kg) – are formed the longest, up to 2-2. 5 years.
So, we will summarize all of the above with applies to the Novoshotlan retrievs (medium-sized dog) and for golden retrievers (large dog).
The puppy must be fed:
From 2 to 4 months-4 times a day
From 2 to 4 months-4 times a day
From 4 to 6-9 months-3 times a day
From 4 to 6-9 months-3 times a day
From 6-9 to 15 months-2 times a day
From 6-9 to 18 months-2 times a day
After 15 months-2 times a day
After 18 months-2 times a day
▪ The dog is always supposed to feed only after a walk
▪ The dog should always have free access to water.
The amount of food
More often than one could assume, I am faced with the fact that the owners feed a puppy or adult retriever so that it is as a result in improper condition. That is, it is either too thin or too thick. Details about what the condition of the dog is, and what options can be considered normal and which are not very – you can read in the article on the site. Here, let's talk about why incorrect condition occurs. We will not consider the options when the dog is sick, and exhaustion or obesity is a consequence of the disease. We will consider the causes of improper condition in healthy dogs. And the reasons are commonplace – underfeeding or overfeeding. As a rule, the owners say: "We give as much as it is written on a storage container of food" or "We give as much so that the dog weighs as it is written in the book. "After that, you have to jointly analyze this question to indicate two main thoughts: 1) The approximate amount of food is indicated on the bags with food, designed for the average dog, 2) you need to focus not on the "book" weight, but on the condition of a particular dog.
And now a little more.
A real dog is necessarily different from the average. Age, metabolic characteristics, the number of walks and the degree of activity on them, different life periods – all this must be taken into account when choosing the amount of food. There are dogs that tend to be overweight and not inclined to refuse food – you always need to stick to a diet with them and in no case overfeed. Bitches often gain weight before littering – and during this period it makes sense to reduce their diet (obesity leads to an increased risk of false pregnancy after littering). For many owners, the dog leads a more active lifestyle in summer than in winter, which means that portions need to be increased. Pregnant bitches in the second half of pregnancy are fed on average 1. 5 times more than usual. And I don’t restrict food at all for my lactating bitches. And I would also like to highlight the issue of feeding puppies: a growing puppy needs more food than an adult dog will eat later. It would seem – an obvious thing. In fact, it turns out that not always. But in about the first 9 months of his life, the puppy should grow in size almost to an adult dog! Therefore, for growing puppies, I review the diet at least once every 2 weeks. Upward, of course.
The Golden Retriever standard does not say anything at all about the correct weight (only about height), and the New Scotland Retriever standard says that the weight of an adult male should be 20-23 kg, an adult female – 17-20 kg. First of all, you need to pay attention to the fact that the weight is given as an interval – "from" and "to". Because dogs can differ in height within the standard, they can also differ from each other in bone structure. And therefore, when choosing the amount of feed, it is necessary to evaluate not so much the weight as the condition. In normal condition, the retriever should have good fatness, strong muscles and a small layer of fat, as if smoothing out the shape of the dog. In this case, the ribs should not be visible, but should be palpable with light pressure. But if the ribs are visible or easily palpable, or vice versa, the ribs cannot be palpated, even if you run along the ribs with force, this means that the amount of food was chosen incorrectly. And the dog is either thin or fat. At the same time, one must always remember that the normal condition for a retriever and the normal condition for, for example, a greyhound are two different stories. You should always focus on what is normal for a particular breed.
Feed additives for retrievers
Whatever the dog’s excellent food is given, but due to climatic features, poor water quality, individual needs, a lack of vitamins and minerals may occur in her body. To prevent this, it is advisable to supplement the diet with mineral-vitamin additives from time to time, consisting with the needs of the dog.
Periods when a dog may need an additional cottage of vitamin-mineral additives are:
▪ Tooth change (4-7 months) – the need for calcium and phosphorus is increasing (mainly in puppies on a natural)
▪ Active growth in puppies (up to 12-15 months) – glucosamine and chondroitin can be needed for joints and ligaments
▪ Pregnancy and lactation in bitches – specialized complexes are needed
▪ molting – you can give various wool additives
▪ Elderly age – we need additives for joints, complex vitamin additives
▪ Rehabilitation period after illness – complex vitamin additives are prescribed
Mineral-vitamin additives of the Kanina, Kanwit, 8 in 1, Polidex, and others have proven themselves well.
Feeding "Natural" (home diets)
There are many options for feeding "natural". At the moment, for the owners of the most familiar scheme and at the same time it is quite easy to implement – it remains to feed the "natural" with heat treatment. And on this option we will dwell in more detail.
General rule when feeding "natural":
▪ 1/2 of the diet – meat products (at the rate of 10-20g per 1 kg of weight of an adult dog; in puppies, the need is higher),
▪ 1/4 of the diet – cereals,
▪ 1/4 of the diet – vegetables.
Meat foods are beef (not clipping, but meat with veins and cartilages, meat cutting, pashin, etc.) and beef offal (liver, light, kidneys, scar), lamb, turkey, chicken, rabbit. But not pork. One or two times a week meat is replaced by fish
Groups – rice, buckwheat, wheat, Hercules. Vegetables – cabbage, carrots, turnips, beets, zucchini, greens, etc.
Also, fermented milk products (cottage cheese, kefir, fermented), eggs, olive oil can be added to the diet.
The easiest way to cook is to cook a thick stew from all components. Or, as an option, thick porridge is cooked from the cereals, and the vegetables and dilute meat are added to it immediately before feeding. If the dog is prone to fullness, then cereals are removed from the diet.
There are other feeding schemes for natural products. For example, those in which meat, fish, and vegetables, and eggs are given to the dog in raw form. And only sometimes they add to these components steamed cereals or bran.
Whatever option is chosen – it is important that it suits the dog and ensures its healthy and flowering look.
A little theory of dry feeds (industrial diets)
Industrial production can be divided into three main categories: economical (Economy), ordinary (regular), first-class (Premium and Super-Premium).
Feed "economical" is made of raw materials of the most affordable and cheap. Manufacturers of these feeds do not always ensure the correspondence of feed by the physiological needs of animals in different periods of life. “Economical” feeds include: Chappi, Pedigrines, etc.
Feed "ordinary" have an inconsistent composition of the ingredients. Some ingredients (table salt, calcium phosphate, etc.) are standard, and the content of others (fish, meat, offal, cereals, bone flour) varies depending on their availability. This circumstance may affect the quality of food. The “ordinary” feeds include: Friskies, Darling, Dog Chow, etc.
Form “first-class” are completely balanced in accordance with the optimal needs of animals and adapted to certain age periods and the physiological condition of animals. When preparing them, only high-quality ingredients are used. In the annotations to "first-class" feeds, it is always described in detail which components and in what percentage ratio are part of the food. These feeds are more or less enriched with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
“First-class” feeds are divided into 2-level feed: Premium and Superpremium.
Premium level feeds are Top Winner feed, Stout, etc. There is a division into feed for puppies and adults, feed for large, medium or small breeds, different variations in composition (on chicken, on the lamb, etc..). At the same time, in the composition, as a rule, you can see inexpensive grain "fillers" in the form of corn and wheat.
Super premium foods include Now, Go, 1st Choice, Biomill, Arden Grange, Purina, Royal Canin and many more. In the lines of such feeds there are a variety of food options – for dogs of different ages, different conditions, different activities, and even different breeds; they are also diverse in composition (chicken, lamb, duck, fish, venison, etc.), while inexpensive grain "fillers" are usually not included in the composition.
There are series of "first-class foods" that combine both premium and super-premium food lines (for example, Pronature, Happy Dog, Bosch).
Currently, among super-premium feeds, a separate group of feeds is distinguished: "holistic feeds". Holistic dog food is not just a fully balanced super-premium dog food, but also made from ingredients that can be consumed by humans. This means it uses meat instead of meat meal, whole rice instead of waste products, etc.
Approximate daily diet of a golden retriever puppy when fed with natural products
(Based on the data of M. Kirzhner, from the book Breeding dogs of popular breeds. Rostov-on-Don, published by Phoenix, 2002)
Please note that this is just one of the options, and this is an approximate daily ration,
Designed for dogs whose adult weight is 30-35 kg.