The Goldendoodle is a unique combination of two of the most popular large breed dog breeds in the world: the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. This combination makes for an adorable puppy that is highly intelligent, friendly, loving, and loyal. It’s easy to see why they are so popular.
Goldendoodles take the best of both breeds and often end up being more active and more playful than either of their parents would be, and that means they are also more maintenance. But that high maintenance is a small price to pay for a dog as amazing as a Goldendoodle.
The size of a Goldendoodle can vary considerably depending on whether a Golden Retriever breeds with a miniature, medium-sized, or large poodle, but regardless of size, these high-energy pups are going to require the right nutrition to keep them happy and healthy. A doodle puppy has different needs than a senior Goldendoodle or adult Goldendoodle. To help you figure out what puppy food is best, we’ve put together a guide so you can better understand the nutritional needs of your Goldendoodle pup as well as the top 5 best food choices for that growing pup.
A Balanced Diet as a Puppy Will Help Prevent Issues as an Adult
Goldendoodles are indeed far less likely to have health issues than many purebred dogs would be, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune to having any problems. It may surprise some to learn that many of these issues can be traced back to improper nutrition as a puppy. Goldendoodle parents don’t intentionally do anything that would negatively affect the health of their pup. Some of these issues may not be entirely unavoidable, but there are some things that the right diet can help reduce.
● Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
To an extent, most dogs can be prone to issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia, and the larger the breed, the more likely those issues become. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you as their parent can do about it, and it starts with the right diet as a puppy.
Issues like elbow and hip dysplasia tend not to show themselves until later in a dog’s life but can sometimes be traced back to when they were a puppy. The proper high-protein diet with the right amount of calcium and phosphorus will ensure that your pup is getting what they need while perfectly balancing growth.
There isn’t a dog breed in the world that is immune to allergies. The most common allergies in dogs, Goldendoodles included, are food allergies. There isn’t a lot a Goldendoodle parent can do to prevent allergies. If they have allergies, they have them, but you can not only reduce the chances with a good diet but help to ease symptoms by avoiding ingredients your puppy is allergic to.
Common food allergies for a Goldendoodle can include wheat, corn, and soy. It is rare, but a Goldendoodle can also be allergic to animal protein, like beef, chicken, and pork. It’s more likely that your Goldendoodle isn’t allergic to anything at all, but it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on what they are eating when they are young in case they are. You can help reduce the chance of triggering food allergies by feeding your pup high-quality food with limited ingredients.
● Gastric Dilation
Gastric dilation, commonly known as bloat, is a rare condition in Goldendoodles where their stomach fills with air and then begins to twist, cutting off blood flow and quickly becoming life-threatening.
Bloat is a condition that is more common in larger dog breeds, including standard-sized Goldendoodles. A high-quality food promotes good digestion, but bloat is also something you can control while they are puppies. Teach them to slow their eating and do not overfeed them.
What To Look for in a Good Food For Your Goldendoodle
Anyone with a new puppy understands all too well just how overwhelming it can be trying to find the right food. It’s not uncommon when bringing them home for the first time that puppy parents continue with the same food that the breeder was giving them, but that will quite possibly change. So, what should you look for when trying to find the right food for your Goldendoodle puppy? Well, there’s no simple answer to that question, but there are things that every puppy parent should look for.
All dog breeds are carnivores and therefore require protein. Protein is the most important nutrient that any dog needs. The larger the dog, the more essential the quality of that protein becomes. It is possible to get protein from plant-based ingredients, but these proteins are not as easy for your pup to absorb and use as meat-based proteins, like real chicken, are.
Good puppy food will have one or more meats listed as the top ingredients. The ingredients listed first are the most prevalent in the food, so you want to make sure that meat like chicken, beef, pork, or fish is one of the first ones on the list. Most foods will combine one or two meats with grains, but it’s even better if you can find one with an array of different meats as each one will provide its own source of amino acids that help to strengthen a puppy’s muscles.
Avoid foods that don’t have specific meat protein listed on the label. If the label doesn’t tell you what kind of meat is in the food, then the source could be questionable at best and possibly nothing more than filler with no value nutritional value.
When it comes to your growing Goldendoodle, fat equals energy. While it may be in a person’s nature to avoid fatty foods, it’s an essential source of vitamins for your puppy.
In any quality puppy food, your Goldendoodle pup should meet its healthy fat intake needs from the same meat that provides them with protein, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra. Avoid products with unnamed fats and look for ingredients that clearly state the fat source, such as chicken fat.
Carbs are another excellent source of energy for your young Goldendoodle. Not only will they provide energy, but carbs also play a role in controlling blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates should not be a huge part of their diet. A food with a lot of carbs is usually full of unnecessary fillers that have more dire effects on a puppy’s sensitive stomach.
There is a big difference between the basic carbohydrates that many cheaper foods use and complex carbohydrates found in more expensive foods, and you must understand that difference to ensure you are providing your Goldendoodle puppy with what they need.
While ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy will provide your puppy with carbs, they are carbs that will be quickly absorbed and used up, resulting in energy crashes between meals. Try to avoid the cheaper foods that use these ingredients as their source of carbohydrates.
Instead, find food that provides your puppy with complex carbohydrates like oats, beans, or sweet potatoes. Your puppy will absorb these carbs more slowly throughout the day and will therefore have a more controlled supply of energy and better-balanced sugar levels.
● Calcium and Phosphorus
The biggest difference between a food formulated specifically for a puppy and one for an adult dog is the inclusion of calcium and phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus are key in a puppy’s tooth and bone development, but these nutrients might not be something that you have to specifically look for in food as all puppy formulated food contain both calcium and phosphorus. These ingredients are what separates food formulated for puppies and those made for adult dogs.
The Right Feeding Schedule for Your Growing Goldendoodle Puppy
How much and how often you should be feeding your Goldendoodle puppy is be relative to your pup. While they can be quick to tell you exactly what they want, you shouldn’t let them be entirely in charge when it comes to feeding. Puppies grow at a sometimes alarming rate; therefore, it’s important to understand the right schedule and avoid any feeding-related issues.
Never free-feed your puppy. Free feeding means filing a bowl and letting your puppy have its way with the food as they please. Most, if not all, puppies have no control over when to stop. If left to their own devices, they will, without a doubt, overeat, which is a quick way to lead to obesity and health problems later in life.
How much you feed your Goldendoodle changes considerably as they grow. It’s the same for all dogs, so don’t panic if it seems as if you are constantly having to adjust the amount of food you are giving them. It is important to spread feedings throughout the day to provide the right balance. Most Goldendoodle puppies are good with being fed 3 or 4 times a day. As they grow and become adults, feeding will most likely change to 1 or 2 times a day.
The Top 5 Choices for the Best Food for Your Goldendoodle Puppy
Every puppy is different, even those of the same breed. Your puppy is going to be unique, and because it is, it will have unique tastes. While you still may have to go through some trial and error to find the right food for your Goldendoodle puppy, here is a list of the top five foods on the market today to help you get started.
1. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy
As a company that dates back to the 1940s, Hill’s is no stranger to providing quality, healthy food for any pet. Their Science Diet puppy food meets all the needs of your rapidly growing Goldendoodle.
Containing all-natural ingredients, Hill’s Science Diet uses chicken as a quality source of protein, as well as barley and fish oils that produce a higher fat content, providing your puppy with a healthy dose of essential fatty acids.
The food is also rich in Vitamins E and D and is full of antioxidants that boost a growing puppy’s delicate immune system. Include the fact that it is higher in both calcium and phosphorus than many others, and you’ve got a puppy food that will give your Goldendoodle everything he or she needs to grow up a healthy and happy dog.
What Customers Think: Hill’s Science Diet has one of the highest Amazon Ratings of any puppy food for good reason. Not only does it come highly recommended by many veterinarians, but puppies love its great taste. So much so that Hill’s has a money-back guarantee, and if your pup is a picky eater and doesn’t love this dry dog food, you can return any uneaten portion of a bag for a full refund.
Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars
- All-natural ingredients
- Perfectly balanced minerals to promote proper growth
- Small kibble is easy for puppies to chew
- Vet recommended
- Money-back guarantee
- Contains some fillers that may be hard on a sensitive stomach
2. Royal Canin Dry Puppy Food
The Royal Canin Dry Puppy Food is formulated specifically for medium-sized dogs that grow between 20 and 55lbs, containing everything that high-energy puppies need for a happy and healthy life.
Because they formulate their puppy food based on your Goldendoodles future weight, Royal Canin optimizes all of the ingredients, including the calcium and phosphorus needed for proper bone and muscle growth and the levels of DHA important in the development of your puppy’s brain.
With dry dog food kibble designed to be easy to chew with a precise number of probiotics, this puppy food is easily digestible, ensuring that your doodle puppy will get the maximum benefit without waste.
What Customers Think: It’s no secret that puppies can be fussy when it comes to the right dry food, and certain ones can upset their stomachs. But many customers found that switching to Royal Canin’s easy-to-digest formula has not only made their pups enjoy mealtime more but is easy on sometimes sensitive stomachs.
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
- Optimized protein levels for puppies up to one year
- Easy to chew and digest formula
- Precise calcium and phosphorus level
- Use of complex carbohydrates
- Added ingredients to promote a healthy, shiny coat
- Contains corn products
3. Purina Pro Plan Real Meat High-Protein Puppy Food
Purina is the choice of food for many breeders and veterinarians alike because they provide high-quality food that is often much more affordable than comparable brands.
Their Pro Plan Real Meat High-Protein Puppy food contains everything you would expect from a quality puppy food, including high protein levels from natural chicken, DHA for brain development, Omega essential fatty acids, and calculated levels of calcium. The food also contains a healthy level of probiotics to promote good digestion.
Purina’s mission is to help your pet live the best life possible through the best ingredients possible, and it shows in this food, and it’s no surprise that it is one of the most popular puppy foods available today.
What Customers Think: With the addition of probiotics, some customers reported that this food gave their puppy diarrhea, but it was no fault of the food but rather a sensitive stomach unable to handle the extra probiotics.
While many people will tend to shy away from cheaper foods, afraid that they may not provide the right nutrition, this puppy food is certainly an exception. Customers love the fact that they can get high-quality, vet-recommended food for a price that is often much lower than some of the other similar brands on the market today.
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
- Protein ratio higher than many other puppy foods
- Includes several vitamins and antioxidants
- Infused with probiotics
- Made with real meat
- Contains many different corn products
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein Puppy Formula
Like many other puppy foods on the market, Blue Buffalo uses chicken as its main protein source and contains no chicken by-products.
Blue Buffalo uses only the highest quality all-natural ingredients enhanced with a precise mixture of vitamins and minerals and fatty acids like DHA and ADA that are rich in antioxidants to provide your puppy with the best possible nutrition.
What sets this food apart from others is the small morsels that they call LifeSource Bits. These bits are mixed in with the kibble and made from natural plant-based ingredients like blueberries, cranberries, and alfalfa, providing the source for those extra vitamins and minerals.
What Customers Think: Not only does Blue Buffalo provide an all-natural, healthy, well-balanced puppy food, but dogs love the taste, making it easy for customers to be able to look past the higher price.
Amazon Rating: 4.6 Stars
- High in protein
- LifeSource Bits provide healthy plant-based ingredients
- Vet recommended
- No artificial colors or flavors
- No fillers or by-products
- High price
5. Nulo Freestyle Puppy Food
The Nulo Freestyle Puppy Food is a formula that is low on unnecessary carbs and high in protein. The perfect combination for your growing Goldendoodle dog. This puppy food contains none of the added fillers often found in cheaper puppy foods, and 80% of its protein is animal-based, something not a lot of other foods manage to accomplish.
Nulo has also added a healthy dose of probiotics to aid in digestion and promote healthy gut function. The all-natural formula also contains Omega fatty acids from real salmon that create a healthy coat and promote teeth and gum health.
What Customers Think: While this puppy food can be more expensive than others, its high-quality, all-natural ingredients make it well worth the extra few dollars. Customers loved the fact that this food is 100% grain-free and contains none of the fillers that can often result in stomach issues for young puppies.
Amazon Rating: 4.6 Stars
- High in protein
- Added probiotics for good gut function
- No harmful additives
- Most protein is animal-based
High price when compared to other puppy foods