What Is The Best Dog Food for a Goldendoodle?
The Ultimate Goldendoodle Food Buyer’s Guide
Goldendoodles are a cross between Golden Retrievers and Poodles. They are intentionally bred by breeders to be good family dogs. This kind of cross is known as a “hybrid” or designer dog. It’s not an actual breed because if you breed two Goldendoodles together they can produce puppies that look more like Golden Retrievers or more like Poodles, so they don’t breed “true” the way two dogs of the same breed do. (Two Beagles will always produce puppies that look like Beagles, etc.) However, dedicated breeders do work with multiple generations of dogs, crossbreeding Goldendoodles with Poodles, then breeding Goldendoodles to Goldendoodles, and so on, to achieve the kind of dogs they want.
There are many different designer dogs today but Goldendoodles were one of the first and they are one of the most popular. The cross may date to the early 1990s when breeders in the U.S. and in Australia both began breeding the dogs after the Labradoodle became popular. The dogs were originally bred in the hope of breeding guide dogs for blind people who had allergies to dogs.
Poodles come in several different sizes (Toy, Miniature, Standard) but the most common crosses with Golden Retrievers, which are larger dogs, are Standard Poodles. Miniature Poodles are also sometimes crossed with Golden Retrievers to produce a smaller Goldendoodle. Goldendoodles are known for being highly intelligent, as you would expect from two such intelligent breeds. Contrary to popular belief, not all Goldendoodles are non-shedding. Puppies produced in these litters can have several different kinds of coat types: wavy/shaggy; curly; straight. The curly coat produces the least shedding with the wavy/shaggy coat producing low shedding. Goldendoodles with the straight coat will have moderate shedding. The dogs do require moderate grooming. They come in a wide variety of colors like their Poodle parents.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Goldendoodles
|*New Formula* ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
Like their parent breeds, Goldendoodles are usually active dogs. They are good dogs for an active family and they do well with children. Most people are aware that Golden Retrievers are sporting dogs. They may not be aware that Poodles also originated as water retrievers. Some people still hunt with Poodles. Your Goldendoodle will need moderate daily exercise. Many of these dogs participate in obedience, rally, agility, flyball and other dog sports. They make excellent therapy dogs. As you might expect, most Goldendoodles are natural retrievers. They are usually easy to train.
Goldendoodles with a Standard Poodle parent (or grandparent) typically weighs 45 pounds or more. They may be about 24 inches tall at the shoulder. Goldendoodles with a Miniature Poodle parent (or grandparent) may weigh 30-45 pounds and stand about 20 inches tall at the shoulder. Please keep in mind that the Goldendoodle is not a breed with a breed standard so these measurements are estimates. They can vary greatly with individual dogs. Some large Goldendoodles can weigh up to 90-100 pounds.
According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Goldendoodle weighing 45 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 1212 kcal. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. For example, if you do flyball with your Goldendoodle (45-lb dog), you might need to feed him somewhere around 1347 kcal. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Goldendoodle puppy (4-12 months) weighing 30 pounds needs an estimated 993 kcal per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors.
Since Goldendoodles can vary so much in size, you should take your puppy or dog’s individual size and growth needs into consideration when choosing their food. Most Goldendoodles should be able to eat any good premium dog food for all life stages. They are not bred to be a large breed dog so Goldendoodle puppies shouldn’t require a large breed puppy food unless your breeder advises you that your puppy could grow to be very large.
Feeding Your Goldendoodle
According to the sources we found, most Goldendoodles seem to have good appetites. (One friend notes that they also enjoy eating books and Christmas decorations.) We didn’t find much to indicate that they have any special problems with obesity. Nor did we find information to suggest that they had any special problems with food allergies or food sensitivities. However, it’s always possible that individual dogs could have some of these problems.
We did find some Goldendoodle breeders online that recommend providing free choice food for puppies. Other breeders recommended feeding puppies 3-4 meals per day for the first few months then moving to two meals per day after six months. Adult Goldendoodles can eat two meals per day.
As with other breeds that can have problems with hip dysplasia, it’s important to make sure you do not let your Goldendoodle become overweight. Canine obesity leads to many health problems and it worsens any tendency toward hip dysplasia and arthritis. Keep puppies and adult dogs lean. While puppies may play enthusiastically, you should not allow them to injure themselves while playing or put too much stress on their joints and growth plates while they are growing. On the other hand, you should make sure that adult dogs get regular exercise so they maintain good muscle tone. This includes older dogs as they reach their senior years. This is also a good way to make sure dogs maintain a healthy weight.
As with any dog, you should feed your Goldendoodle a good quality dog food. Food that is high in animal protein is a good choice.
Goldendoodle Health Problems
Proponents of designer dogs like to point to the fact that these dogs are “hybrids.” Technically this is not true. Hybrids are the result of breeding two genetically different varieties or species such as a horse and a donkey to produce a mule. A designer dog breed is simply a crossbreed, although if the crossbreeding continues, a new breed can eventually be developed. The issue of “hybrid vigor” with designer dogs is also questionable since the resulting puppies can be subject to the same health issues that are present in the original breeds. The F1 generation (the first crossbred generation) may have some health benefits, but subsequent generations do not.
Goldendoodles can have the same health issues faced by Golden Retrievers and Poodles. These issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s disease, subaortic stenosis, sebaceous adenitis (SA), juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), luxating patellas, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, and ear infections. Both Golden Retrievers and Poodles are subject to hip dysplasia so this is an issue that breeders need to pay close attention to when selecting dogs for breeding. Eye problems in the Poodle can also be passed along to Goldendoodle puppies. Unfortunately, the ear infections found in Golden Retrievers seem to be relatively common in Goldendoodles, too.
Most of these issues are not affected by diet but hypothyroidism can be a contributing factor to food allergies and skin infections. It is easily diagnosed and treated but if your dog is not diagnosed he could display symptoms associated with allergies and skin infections. Common food allergens for dogs include: beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. Symptoms of food allergies include itching and scratching which leads to redness, hair loss, damaged skin, and skin infections. Dogs can also have food sensitivities which result in diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, and a generally upset stomach. Sometimes diagnosing and treating your dog’s hypothyroidism will get rid of most or all of these digestive problems – but sometimes it won’t get rid of an allergy or food sensitivity after it is already established. If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, it’s best if you work with your veterinarian to address it.
If you are thinking of getting a Goldendoodle you should talk to breeders about these health issues. Some issues are more common than others – some health problems are very rare. There are health and genetic tests available for many conditions. Good breeders take advantage of these tests for dogs that they plan to breed so ask about the results.
If your Goldendoodle is overweight or obese it can worsen joint and mobility problems such as hip dysplasia or arthritis so this is another reason to watch your dog’s weight.
Goldendoodles can also be prone to ear infections. They may or may not be related to hypothyroidism. Long ears can block off air flow to the ear canals, allowing any moisture in the ears to encourage the growth of bacteria. Clean your Goldendoodle’s ears regularly. If your dog goes swimming, make sure you dry his ears afterward.
Goldendoodles have an estimated lifespan of 13-15 years. Larger dogs with a Standard Poodle parent may have a shorter lifespan. Smaller dogs with a Miniature Poodle parent may have a longer lifespan.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
As with most dogs, when choosing a food for your Goldendoodle you should look for a food that has good sources of protein and fat.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Many dog foods today, even some of the most expensive and highly touted, use lots of plant proteins such as lentils and peas. These foods often have high protein percentages on the label. When you read the guaranteed analysis it’s important to consider how much of the protein in the food comes from meat and how much comes from plants. Your dog is able to digest meat protein more easily than plant protein. Meat protein is a much more natural source of protein for your dog than plant protein.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your Goldendoodle may still be able to eat an alternative grain such as barley or oats. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs that is low glycemic such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
If your Goldendoodle has a food allergy or food sensitivity, you may need to work with your veterinarian to identify the food triggers unless they are very obvious. There are lots of good foods with alternative meat proteins today as well as limited ingredient diets which we will discuss below.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult Goldendoodle
Goldendoodles should be able to eat most good quality dog foods. If your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity you will need to try to avoid foods with ingredients that are triggers for your dog.
We suggest a variety of foods here for Goldendoodles. Most of the foods we have selected do not contain corn, wheat, or soy, unless noted. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your dog. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s dietary needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to suit him.
Best Dog Foods for Goldendoodle Adults
|*New Formula* ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, and Potatoes. This recipe is an all life stage food with 460 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It has 70 percent meat ingredients, 30 percent vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It is grain free – no corn, wheat, or soy. No gluten. No ingredients from China. It has 38 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat, with 3.5 percent crude fiber. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin added, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Merrick uses local growers from Texas, where the food is made. We think this food has good quality protein and other ingredients for dogs that need good nutrition for an active lifestyle. Not everyone will like a protein percentage this high but if you do, give this food a try.
Exciting news if you like Acana. Champion Pet Foods has completed their new kitchen in Kentucky and they are now reformulating some of their dog and cat foods to reflect what is now “regional” to the Kentucky area. So, it’s still the same award-winning company, but Acana will be made in Kentucky. We’ve had a chance to review the Acana dog and cat foods and there are some changes in the meat proteins but the foods still look good. If you visit the Acana web site you can view the old and new formulas to see the changes (we really like being able to compare the formulas). The current (old) Grasslands formula, for example, is heavy on lamb, duck, whitefish, and lentils. The new formula (due any time) will feature goat meal and catfish meal, in addition to the lamb and duck. The current formula has 31 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. The new formula has 33 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 6 percent crude fiber, and 12 percent moisture. The food has 70 percent animal protein ingredients and 30 percent vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. No grains, potatoes, or tapioca. If you’re looking for a good grain free dog food for your dog that is low in carbohydrates, we think that the Acana foods are a good choice.
Victor dog food has something of a cult following. It’s made by Mid America Pet Food – a company that co-packs for some other well-known brands. Mid America is a family-owned and operated company located in east Texas. According to the company, more than 80 percent of the ingredients used in their foods come from a 200-mile radius of their facility. They currently have seventeen formulas available. They have foods that are free of corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and grain by-products. They use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The Yukon River Salmon formula has 32 percent crude protein, 15 percent crude fat, and 34 percent crude carbs. Seventy-six percent of the protein in the food comes from fish. We think that active dogs would do well on this food. Or you could check out one of Victor’s other foods. People who feed Victor are devoted to this brand. Considering the ingredients, their foods are very reasonably priced.
If you would like a food with a little less protein, we also like Fromm Adult Gold. This formula has duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the first three ingredients. It has 24 percent crude protein, 16 percent crude fat, and 3.5 percent crude fiber, with 408 kcal/cup. It is AAFCO-approved for growth and maintenance. The food includes salmon oil – a great source of omega-3 fatty acid for healthy skin and coat; probiotics, and prebiotics. No corn, wheat, or soy. The food is also made at the family’s own facilities in Wisconsin. The Fromm family has been making dog food and dog products for over 100 years and they have a great reputation. The food includes brown rice and pearled barley in the first five ingredients. It does contain oatmeal and potatoes so if you are trying to keep the carbs very low you may not like this food. However, we think the ingredients are good quality and many dogs will do well on this food. You can see the technical analysis for the food, with the dry matter basis figures on the site.
Best Dog Foods for Goldendoodle Puppies
Goldendoodle puppies can usually begin eating a puppy food after they are weaned or they can eat a good all life stage food. Some people like to feed a puppy food for a few months and then switch over to an all life stage food when their puppy is a few months old. If you have questions about how to feed your puppy, we recommend talking to your puppy’s breeder. They usually have the most experience with raising their puppies and can guide you, especially when it comes to avoiding hip dysplasia.
Puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1.2. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth. If you are feeding your puppy a food that is properly formulated, you should not add any extra calcium, such as milk, cottage cheese, or other calcium supplements. Doing so can lead to serious health problems such as OCD (osteochondritis dessecans) – painful bone spurs that may require surgery – and other orthopedic problems.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Goldendoodle puppies. Note that an All Life Stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is a limited ingredient food with nine ingredients plus vitamins and minerals and probiotics. It’s grain free with probiotics to help digestion; antioxidants for a healthy immune system; and omega 3 and 6 to support healthy skin and a beautiful coat. The first five ingredients are Chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes. The recipe is supposed to be especially good for puppies with sensitive digestion. The food has 30 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. This food checks in at 520 kcal/cup, so it’s high in calories but active, growing puppies can usually burn them off. Just remember that you don’t need to feed a lot of food with these very nutrient-dense foods. If your puppy does well on this puppy food, Canidae has some good adult foods – both grain free and foods with grains.
This grain free, high protein food can be a good choice for puppies. No grain, corn, soy, wheat-gluten or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. No meat by-products or fillers. It has DHA for brain and eye development, antioxidants, and probiotics. And it has the proper calcium level for puppies. The first three ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. It has 417 kcal/cup.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Goldendoodle
It’s not unusual for many Goldendoodles to live into their teen years. This means that you will probably need to consider what kind of food to feed your dog as he gets older. As your dog ages it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older dog’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
On the other hand, some very old dogs often start to have some problems metabolizing nutrients, including protein. It can become hard for them to keep good muscle tone and weight as they age. For this reason, you may wish to avoid many dog foods labeled “senior.” These foods are often formulated for older dogs that have gained weight. Instead, look for a senior dog food that we like which has lots of protein. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys or with phosphorus, there is no reason to avoid higher protein levels.
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older dog. This food features free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 80 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your dog’s joints healthy. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It checks in at 445 kcal per 250ml/120g cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older. (We know Orijen is expensive but this food really stands out for senior dogs.)
Another senior food we like a lot is Bright Mind 7+ from Purina. Whether you normally like Purina foods or not, we have heard nothing but positive comments about this food, especially for elderly dogs that might be slowing down and starting to withdraw. The food addresses some of the cognitive issues that older dogs can have.
Best Dog Foods for Goldendoodles with Skin Problems/Allergies
As mentioned earlier, individual Goldendoodles can have some allergies and skin problems. If your dog needs to avoid common proteins, you can try this food.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your dog has a food allergy, he may benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Best Dog Foods for Goldendoodles with Sensitive Stomachs
If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different from a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food
We recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The first five ingredients are: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Salmon Meal, Canola Oil, and Potato Fiber. It has 21 percent crude protein, 10 percent crude fat, 4.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 380 kcal/cup and it’s an all life stage formula. If your dog can’t eat some of the ingredients in this food, Natural Balance has lots of other LID recipes that you might check.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Goldendoodles
If your dog becomes overweight, it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your dog lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your dog needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a dog that needs to lose weight we recommend Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe. We like the fact that this food has 32 percent crude protein. The crude fat percentage is between 8 and 11 percent with 5 percent crude fiber so your dog should not feel like he’s starving. It is AAFCO-approved for a maintenance diet. The food has 3,210 kcal per kilogram or 360 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It is grain free and made from 55 percent beef and poultry. And it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and no ingredients from China. The first five ingredients in this food are: Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week.
Goldendoodles are sociable, playful, loyal dogs. They make great family dogs. They are smart and easy to train. Plus, they can be a good choice for many people concerned about allergies and shedding. If you are interested in a Goldendoodle, talk to a breeder and ask about the different coat types. Let the breeder know how important shedding (or non-shedding) is to you. Ask questions about health testing. Many people really like Goldendoodles but you need to make sure you are dealing with a good breeder.