What is the Best Food for My Goldendoodle Puppy?
Congratulations! You now have an adorable, teddy bear-like bundle of energy and cuddles known as a goldendoodle puppy, who has inherited intelligence, friendliness, and sociability from both of its parent breeds (golden retriever and poodle).
Obviously, you want a high-quality dog food, so you’re probably wondering, “What is the best puppy food?” After all, there are many brands of dog food out there, both for dry dog food and wet food, all of which claim to be the top pick.
Not all dog foods are created equal, nor is it a one-size-fits-all situation. What might be good for an adult dog isn’t the best choice for a puppy, and senior dogs have different nutritional needs than either of these. Different dog breeds can also have different nutritional needs. Finally, what is best for large breeds isn’t necessarily best for smaller breeds and vice versa. Unless you have a mini goldendoodle, your goldendoodle isn’t going to be considered to be a small breed.
How can you make sense of it all? It can be difficult to know which options are high-quality dog foods, let alone what is best for your goldendoodle puppy. After all, you want your little doodle puppy to grow up and lead a long and healthy life.
Read on to learn more about the best dog food options for your goldendoodle!
When you’re searching for the right dog food for your goldendoodle puppy, there are a number of factors to consider. You should think about:
- Your puppy’s weight and size
- Your puppy’s nutritional needs
- Ingredients in the dog food
- Any health issues or food allergies your puppy may have
Though it is a lot to consider, this guide will help to clarify some of the things you need to consider so that you can evaluate some dog food choices for goldendoodle puppies.
You’ll also need to consider whether to feed your puppy wet food or dry. Wet food can be good for very young puppies. It is soft on teething mouths and it has a stronger scent, which makes it appealing to picky eaters.
However, as your puppy gets older, hard food is better for their teeth. Soft food can stick to teeth, causing tartar build-up, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Hard food does not stick to teeth. It can scrape away plaque, rather like a toothbrush. A mix of the two is good for transitioning from wet food to dry dog food.
Ideal Weight and Size
Puppies do a lot of growing in the first year of their lives, and good nutrition during this period is especially important. Goldendoodle puppies hit a big growth spurt between 3 and 12 weeks of age. Around 3 weeks, they may only weigh a few pounds, but by the time they are 12 weeks (3 months), they can weigh up to 25 pounds.
Goldendoodle puppies hit another growth spurt between four and six months of age. They will likely be hungry a lot at this age and should have several meals a day as their body needs lots of energy to grow.
By the time they are six months old, goldendoodle puppies should weigh around 45 pounds — but keep in mind that they aren’t finished growing yet!
By the end of six months, the dramatic growth spurts should mostly be over and you can feed your puppy about twice a day. However, you should still be feeding them puppy food at this point.
By about seven months, healthy goldendoodle puppies weigh about 50 pounds, and by nine months, they should be around 55 pounds.
By 10 months, goldendoodle puppies won’t be growing quite as quickly as they were before and should weigh about 60 pounds. Between 10 and 12 months, they may not gain a lot of weight. The final weight of goldendoodle dogs varies — a lot depends on the size of their parents. Some goldendoodle dogs can weigh up to 90 or 100 pounds; others top off around 70.
Up until they hit their first birthday, goldendoodle puppies should be on puppy food. After your doodle pup’s first birthday, you can start the transition to adult dog food. However, your goldendoodle may well continue to grow through its second year.
To know how much to feed your puppy, start with the recommended serving and frequency on the package of puppy food. Over time, you can adjust it up or down so your puppy can reach an ideal weight.
A good rule of thumb is to seek out 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight. For instance, if your goldendoodle puppy is 10 pounds, 300 calories a day will help your puppy maintain a healthy weight (10 x 20 = 300). You can also calculate your puppy’s food needs by following the rule of 1 cup of food per 15 pounds of weight.
To avoid obesity — which can result in disastrous and severe health problems for your goldendoodle puppy — your or your vet should regularly check your puppy’s weight. If you have questions or concerns about your goldendoodle puppy’s weight as they grow or how much and how often to feed your doodle puppy, it’s a good idea to check with your vet. A reputable vet can monitor your puppy’s weight and make sure they are on track for the benchmarks they should be hitting.
Good nutrition is important at each of your goldendoodle dog’s life stages; however, proper nutrition is crucial for growing puppies, particularly given their high activity levels. High-quality dog food includes moderate fat content and limited carbohydrates and a small amount of calcium and other vitamins. The protein content should not only be high; it should also be high-quality protein.
These are the percentages of four key nutrients components in puppy food:
- Protein content: 22% to 32%
- Fat content: 10% to 25%
- Calcium content: 0.7% to 1.7%
- Digestible carbohydrates: 20%
The percentages are based on dry foods.
If your pet food has the proper vitamins and minerals, you don’t need to give your puppy supplements. You also want to be careful not to give your goldendoodle too much calcium as a puppy because that can contribute to health problems. Treats are good for positive reinforcement, but shouldn’t compromise more than 10% of your puppy’s food intake.
With a high-quality dog food, your puppy’s coat will be soft and shiny, their muscles and bones strong, their immune system and skin healthy, and their brains and eyes sharp. Poor nutrition will leave your puppy with low energy levels and a dull coat. Puppies should not have adult dog food, either, because although the protein level might be adequate, the nutrients and energy content aren’t balanced for optimal growth.
Protein should be the first ingredient in the pet food you select for your goldendoodle puppy. Different dog foods contain varied protein sources: chicken, fish, beef, lamb, and venison. Among other functions, protein is essential for growing muscles. It is also important for processing energy and carrying oxygen throughout your puppy’s growing body.
By-product meals have a bad reputation because people incorrectly think they include feathers, hair, hooves, and other indigestible parts, which is why some brands exclude them from certain pet food products.
However, by-products are basically organ meats (liver, kidneys, lungs, and spleen), which are not only nutritious, but are actually the parts of an animal that dogs would eat first if they hunted for their food. They are not fillers; instead, they have vitamins, minerals, and protein. By-product meal is also a good source of glucosamine (good for cartilage) and protein. For instance, poultry by-product meal contains over 60% protein.
Simple carbohydrates come from sugars and they only provide energy for a short amount of time. They aren’t particularly good in large quantities for puppies or adult dogs. However, complex carbohydrates burn more slowly and provide energy over a sustained period of time.
Although too much fat can be unhealthy, some fats are necessary for your goldendoodle puppy’s health. Chicken fats can be good for your goldendoodle puppy’s skin and joints, for example. Fish oils contain DHA, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for your puppy’s brain and coat.
Fats also help your growing puppy to absorb necessary vitamins and minerals. Fats even provide energy; however, fat intake needs to be balanced because too much isn’t good for your doodle puppy. A tubby puppy may seem cute, but overweight puppies (and dogs) will be at risk for health problems.
Amino acids found in meats are important to your goldendoodle puppy’s growth. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and muscles. Taurine is an amino acid that helps with the functions of the cardiac and immune systems, eye health, and other things. Taurine is important to maintain good heart health.
Some people like the idea of feeding their puppy fresh, human-grade food rather than wet or dry dog food; however, this is expensive and requires a lot of planning and time. Furthermore, it should be done under the strict supervision of a vet; a number of human foods are bad for dogs, especially puppies. Because this also requires a detailed knowledge of canine nutritional requirements, it is probably best to go with a commercial food.
Make no mistake — dogs are meat eaters, and although they get some nutrients from veggies, they are not vegans or vegetarians. Human diet trends should not be applied to your goldendoodle, whether as a puppy or adult dog. For example, dogs need carbs, so carb-free options aren’t good for your doodle. Humans and dogs are different species that have different nutritional requirements.
Minerals are also important for your goldendoodle puppy’s development and growth. A good calcium to phosphorus ratio for a goldendoodle puppy is 1:1. Both are necessary for your puppy to grow strong bones.
If your dog food is on the AAFCO Nutrient Requirement for Dogs list, your puppy will be getting at least the minimum amount of nutrition to maintain health; however, the digestibility and quality of the food may vary. AAFCO is a nonprofit, private voluntary organization that establishes nutritional requirements and standard ingredient definitions for pet foods.
Check the calorie content of the pet food you are considering for your puppy. Every brand differs, so compare the calorie content per cup with the label’s feeding recommendations.
It is best to avoid low-calorie dry dog food for puppies and in adult dog foods because your dog will need to eat more to meet the nutritional requirements for good health. Your vet can always advise you about a healthy weight for your goldendoodle.
Grain-free is also something that is not necessarily a requirement for your goldendoodle. Some people mistakenly think the only purpose grains serve in puppy food is to be a filler. However, whole grains in your goldendoodle puppy’s food can provide much-needed complex carbohydrates, fiber, and other kinds of nutrition.
Grain-free might be a necessary choice if your puppy has food allergies. If that is the case, you should consult your vet before deciding to go grain-free.
Ingredients to Look For
High-quality ingredients matter, especially in puppy food. Cheap dog food is cheap in part because companies use ingredients that are not necessarily quality ingredients. Here are some key ingredients to look for in your goldendoodle’s puppy food:
- Real animal protein
- Healthy animal fat (such as chicken fat)
- Digestible carbohydrates from whole grains and veggies
Animal protein should be the first ingredient (it is in the best dog foods); ideally, it should be two of the top three ingredients.
Different dog foods contain protein sources like chicken, fish, beef, lamb, and venison. Chicken and fish are lean proteins, and lamb, beef, and venison protein have a lot of iron.
Lamb and chicken protein are the most digestible proteins, followed by beef. Fish is a good source of omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids (so is flaxseed), which helps your puppy’s skin, brain, and coat.
To add to the confusion about dog foods, the way the ingredients are listed on the labels can be complicated. For example, deboned chicken is chicken without the bone. Seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? However, when most people read the term deboned chicken, they probably picture boneless, plump, real chicken breasts or thighs. While it can include these cuts, it can also include feet and organs, both of which are healthy and even considered to be delicacies by some people — however, it is probably not exactly what you picture when you read “deboned chicken.”
Whole grains provide complex carbohydrates. All grains, with the exception of wheat, rate relatively low on the allergy list for dogs; however, nutrient-dense brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal are good choices.
Prebiotics are fibers. They not only help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in your doodle’s gut, but they also help to promote and to support healthy digestion. Ingredients in pet food that contain prebiotics are:
- Raw oats or oatmeal
- Sweet potatoes
Puppies need dog-specific prebiotics, and high-quality puppy foods include these.
Some things should not be in your doodle’s puppy food, which include:
- Artificial additives (flavors, colors, and preservatives)
- Synthetic supplements
Top quality dog foods shouldn’t have these ingredients.
Possible Health Issues and How Proper Nutrition Can Help
Proper nutrition is not only essential for your goldendoodle puppy’s growth and development, but it is also important for their overall wellness.
Proper nutrition can help goldendoodles to avoid certain health issues and strengthen their immune system. There are several health problems goldendoodles can inherit through either their golden retriever or poodle purebred parents.
For instance, golden retrievers and poodles can suffer from joint problems, especially hip dysplasia (whereby the hip socket fails to form properly and causes pain and sometimes lameness). Goldendoodles are also prone to hip health problems.
Too much calcium in the diets of growing goldendoodle puppies can increase the risk of hip disease; however, chondroitin and glucosamine can help to protect puppy joints.
Goldendoodles are at risk for certain inherited eye diseases, too, including cataracts, retinal dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). However, nutrients such as carotenoids, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and vitamin A — from natural ingredients such as flaxseed, fish, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and eggs — can help your goldendoodle to have healthy eyes.
Like poodles, goldendoodles can have skin diseases, especially sebaceous adenitis, which causes inflammation, scaly and irritated skin, and loss of coat. Vitamins A, C, and E as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help alleviate symptoms and promote healthy skin and coat.
Another inherited health problem goldendoodles are prone to is aortic stenosis, a condition in which the aorta artery is too narrow and the heart must work harder to circulate blood. Though this condition is also incurable, pet foods with fish protein, taurine, and other amino acids, can be good for the canine heart, as can vitamins C and E and omega-3.
Another health issue that goldendoodles get is a sensitive stomach or food allergies. If your puppy has a sensitive stomach, a high fiber content puppy food may be better. Some do better on lower-fat diets (though some fat is still necessary for good health). You should consult your vet if you think your doodle has a sensitive stomach or food allergies.
Your vet can help to screen for these diseases in your goldendoodle puppy. While many inherited diseases are not curable, they are manageable.
Going through a responsible breeder that screens and tests for health conditions in parent breeds and puppies can help reduce the odds that your goldendoodle will have these health issues. The Goldendoodle Association of North American can assist you in finding a reputable breeder.
What Foods Shouldn’t Be Eaten?
There are some foods that your puppy or adult goldendoodle (or any dog for that matter) should not eat. These foods can make your canine friend very sick. They include:
- Grapes, raisins, and prunes
- Chocolate and cherries
- Coffee and soda
- Citrus fruits or other acidic foods (like pineapples)
- Onions and garlic
- Sugary and salty foods
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw eggs or undercooked meat (because of the possibility of salmonella)
If you suspect that your goldendoodle has eaten any of these foods, contact your vet right away.
There are also things that may be found in wet or dry dog food, such as synthetics, artificial additives, artificial colors, and preservatives.
Artificial additives can include chemicals (such as butylated hydroxytoluene or BHT, propylene glycol or PG, and butylated hydroxyanisole or BHA) that can be bad for your goldendoodle’s health and can upset sensitive stomachs; a few are even linked to cancer. Some companies even use chemical additives instead of natural preservatives because they are cheaper.
Artificial colors for wet and dry dog foods are achieved through the use of certain dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, or Blue 2, for example). However, artificial colors are completely unnecessary because your goldendoodle doesn’t really care what color the food in the bowl is. Artificial flavors are similarly unnecessary.
Instead of synthetic foods and supplements, introduce whole foods and natural ingredients, like meats and veggies. These are a much better source of nutrition for your goldendoodle, and they have real vitamins and minerals (like calcium).
The best way to tell whether a pet food has synthetics in place of natural ingredients is to read the label; natural ingredients have recognizable names. They are not things like pycnogenols, irradiated ergosterol, menadione, or ethoxyquin (the last of which is illegal for human use in some countries, yet it is still in some American dog foods).
Best Goldendoodle Puppy Food
There are a lot of requirements and factors to consider when you’re selecting a pet food for your goldendoodle puppy. However, most high-quality puppy foods should be formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of your goldendoodle at any life stage.
Whether you are looking for wet or dry food, puppy food, adult dog food, or senior food, there are a number of high-quality pet foods, whether wet or dry dog food you can choose from (many of which are available through Amazon). Some of the best are listed below.
If your puppy has any special issues, such as a sensitive stomach or food allergies, make sure to talk to your vet about the best choice for your goldendoodle!
Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s Science Diet is often recommended by veterinarians. The recipes for Science Diet, including their puppy food, are backed by thousands of hours of research and hundreds of clinical trials.
The kibble size for Hill’s Science Diet dry puppy food is small, which is good for small puppy mouths and teeth. Made with natural ingredients, such as chicken meal and barley, this puppy food is balanced with vitamins, protein, and minerals, including phosphorus to promote wellness and health in growing puppies. Lastly, it is made with flaxseed and fish oil, which has DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to support a healthy brain and eyes.
The drawback to this puppy food is that the bags are small. At only 15.5 pounds, the largest bag won’t last long for a growing puppy!
If the vet has suggested a grain-free diet for your doodle puppy, this pet food isn’t a good option, as it has gluten.
Taste of the Wild Premium Puppy Food
Taste of the Wild puppy food is a high protein, easily digestible kibble made with real salmon, which provides amino acids, omega-3 and DHA; these are good for your doodle’s eyes and brain. The fish protein, a lean protein source, is good for lean muscle development. It also has probiotics, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that a growing puppy needs.
Taste of the Wild comes in flavors like roasted bison and roasted venison, but they also offer a grain-free version. It is also made with sustainably sourced natural ingredients and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. However, this is a premium puppy food and priced as such.
Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan Dry Kibble Puppy Food is recommended by a number of vets. It has high-quality ingredients, including chicken. It also contains DHA omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from fish oil for healthy eye and brain development.
Moreover, this dry dog food has good antioxidants, a balanced volume of carbs, proper vitamins and minerals for a puppy (such as calcium and phosphorus), and a healthy fat-to-protein ratio, all of which can support a growing puppy’s nutritional requirements and activity level.
Purina Pro Plan supports healthy skin, as well as proper digestion and weight management. Purina Pro Plan also offers wet food for puppies.
Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Puppy Recipe
Merrick Backcountry offers grain-free puppy food. Merrick also offers a salmon option that is rich with omega fatty acids for healthy skin, brains, and eyes. Merrick uses premium natural ingredients and many organic ingredients.
The company also offers wet food and healthy treats. Though Merrick’s ingredients are very high-quality and many are organic, you will pay for that quality at the register.
Because it is rich in complex carbohydrates, it may not be the best option for puppies who need to drop a few pounds. Check with your vet before putting your puppy on a diet, including a grain-free one.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Food
Nutro’s puppy food is made from lamb and rice or chicken and rice; the company also includes a nutrient-rich sweet potato recipe in some formulas. This high-protein puppy food kibble has DHA and omega-3 for healthy skin, brain, and eyes. The ingredients, which include sources of DHA, taurine, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, are good for a growing puppy’s immune system and overall wellness.
Nutro doesn’t use artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. However, there have been reported inconsistencies in nutritional content between bags. Some of Nutro’s pet foods have reportedly been difficult for dogs with sensitive stomachs to digest.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Puppy Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness puppy food is high-protein kibble. It contains essential DHA and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many of their recipes are made with real chicken and they are grain-free.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness also contains a good blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is a great food for growing puppies, easily supporting their high activity level.
The “Life Source Bits” in Blue Buffalo Wilderness puppy food includes a selection of essential ingredients for optimal health that have been heated as little as possible along the way. While cooking some ingredients (such as meats) is essential for health and safety, higher heats can cook out vitamins and minerals. The lower heat of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Life Source Bits helps to reduce this loss.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness is the biggest all-natural dog food company in the world, and they have a number of recipes and protein choices, as well as a large selection of wet foods. This puppy food contains no artificial preservatives. The company avoids additives like soy or corn. Some products have been subject to recalls in the last ten years.
When you’re considering which puppy food to feed your growing goldendoodle puppy, there is a lot to consider. A number of brands all claim to be the top pick for puppies of any dog breed in general or for goldendoodle puppies specifically.
For your goldendoodle puppy, you’ll want to find a puppy food with a good balance of fats, carbs, and protein. A good puppy food will have vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and amino acids, too.
Make sure to read the labels. Real animal protein, such as real chicken, should be first on the ingredients list. Remember, some ingredients, like byproduct and deboned chicken, may not be what you think at first (but not necessarily as bad as you may think, either).
Check for things that shouldn’t be in your goldendoodle’s puppy food: artificial colors, preservatives, and artificial flavors. High-quality dog foods will use quality ingredients.
Goldendoodles can inherit certain diseases from their golden retriever and poodle parents. While the likelihood of disease can be reduced by going to a reputable breeder that tests and screens, some goldendoodles still end up with hereditary diseases. Though many of these conditions are incurable, they can be managed, and a healthy diet can help.
We’ve also suggested several high-quality puppy foods. In addition to being available in most mainstream pet stores, they are also conveniently available on Amazon. High-quality dog foods will have recipes with ingredients to meet your goldendoodle’s nutritional requirements.
Remember that your vet can advise you on any special dietary needs for your goldendoodle, such as grain-free food for puppies with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.
Providing your goldendoodle puppy with a high-quality puppy food will feed your puppy’s growing brain, eyes, and bones, while also maintaining a shiny coat, healthy skin, and a strong immune system. Then you can enjoy many happy years with the adult goldendoodle your puppy will become.