Because every dog is different according to breed, age, health needs, allergies, and weight regulations, it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose dog food. To help our readers, we evaluated eleven commercial branded pet foods available on the market. Our goal is to provide you with the best puppy food for Goldendoodles. Our research showed that the number one product is Merrick Classic Healthy Grains.
Designed as a small, medium, or large breed dog food, Merrick is versatile. It contains real meat. In fact, it is the first ingredient listed on the label. Protein is a significant factor in the growth and proper nutrition of canines. Merrick’s multiple flavor choices mean that pets will keep coming back for more.
1. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains – Best Overall
Merrick’s whopping 28% crude protein equates to plenty of energy and is available in meat, poultry, or fish. Also in the mix are a variety of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and grains to keep your dog ready for play. Packed with many ancient and whole grains, Merrick Classic Healthy Grains offers optimal digestion for Goldendoodles. It is uniquely made with no fillers, corn, soy, or wheat to accommodate even the pickiest stomachs.
Goldendoodles are prone to weight issues which leads to joint and bone problems. Merrick features ingredients such as Glucosamine and chondroitin to support strong joints and bones. Healthy Grains’ unique recipes are developed with a generous helping of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin.
Merrick’s lineup of dog foods includes all life stages and comes in dry or wet food as well as treats. Its only drawback is the price tag, which may be prohibitive for some consumers. The Merrick company was founded 30 years ago by Garth Merrick. Garth set out to develop a formula that would provide healthy, nutritional home-cooked food for his dog, Gracie.
From there, the company grew and boasts of its 5-Star Promise: Real foods, higher quality ingredients, visible health, excellent crafting, and giving back to the community. The foods are still to this day produced in the original kitchen in Hereford, Texas, the beef capital of the world!
2. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy – Best for Eye and Heart Health
Nutro Ultra features nine dry recipe formulas. The large breed puppy option is loaded with 15 superfoods, including blueberries, kale, chia, and coconut. Your Goldendoodle will consume 26% crude protein in this robust meal. With chicken, lamb, and salmon, your pup will grow lean, solid muscles and experience a healthy immune system.
This puppy recipe includes taurine to ward off eye disorders such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy and protect the heart. Taurine is a multi-functional amino acid that protects eye health, cardiac function, and immune system development. This trait is especially important for Goldendoodles as they are vulnerable to eye and heart issues.
As pioneers of pet nutrition, the Nutro company has been around since 1926. They produce a line of foods from puppy to senior in chicken, salmon, lamb, and venison flavors.
3. ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free – Best for High Protein Needs
This grain-free puppy chow comes packed with a high crude protein of 38%. The first five ingredients are raw or fresh and come from Wholeprey animal sources. This means your furry friend receives only the best parts of the protein.
Grain-free helps to protect pups that are allergic to grain products. Replacing the grains with such fresh or raw ingredients like butternut squash, collard greens, pears, apples, cranberries, lentils, and peas makes this brand of puppy food almost a raw diet.
One unique feature of ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free is the freeze-dried coating. This yummy addition equates to an empty bowl at feeding time, as pups will love the delicious taste!
With 30 plus years of experience, ORIJEN endeavors to produce biologically correct nutrition in real kitchens and experts’ advice.
4. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed – Budget Friendly Quality Food
Readily available at my grocery stores, Iams dog foods are of higher quality with a lower price tag. Its label boasts 27% crude protein, real farm-raised chicken, and 22 essential nutrients. Included in the list are nutrients found in a mother’s milk.
While Iams is grain-inclusive pet food, its sources are whole grains. It also features antioxidants that are a great preventative for eye disorders often found in Goldendoodles.
In 1946, nutritionist Paul Iams started this pet food company, manufacturing one of the first protein-based dog foods. Through several transitions, Iams is now owned by Mars, Inc. With this transition, Mars strives to make high-quality pet formulas following its founder’s original intent.
5. Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe – Healthy, U.S. Made, and Sourced
Made and sourced in the U.S., Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe is a high-protein, omega-rich puppy food. Coming in at a crude protein of 27%, it is also filled with succulent ingredients like salmon oil, brown rice, blueberries, organic alfalfa, flax seeds, and carrots.
A grain-inclusive food that leaves off corn, wheat, and soy, Whole Earth provides plenty of high-quality protein and natural ingredients to keep your pet healthy and vibrant. This puppy recipe takes care of everything from a shiny coat on the outside to strong bones, muscles, and organs!
For over a decade, Whole Earth has strived to create a whole food formula at an affordable price. A team of pet nutrition experts and veterinarians work together to furnish science-based nutrition with wholesome ingredients.
The high-quality proteins and L-carnitine in Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy food guarantee your canine strong, lean muscles. Available in bite-sized kibble, your new Goldendoodle puppy gets good tartar removal at every meal, ensuring healthy gums and teeth.
Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits contain antioxidant-rich components for a nutritious feast mixed with various vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Protect your puppy’s eyes, heart, immune system, teeth, and bone health with this all-in-one recipe.
Since 2003, Blue Buffalo’s goal was to supply the best dog food possible, but that wasn’t the only objective. The company established a foundation to fight pet and human cancer. Additionally, they support several pet adoption initiatives.
7. Wellness Grain-Free Complete Health Puppy – GMO-free and Whole Body Health
Designed specifically to promote whole-body health, this GMO-free puppy food is perfect for Goldendoodle’s sensitive tummies. Fortified with premium protein and Omega fatty acids like DHA, antioxidants, probiotics, taurine, and Glucosamine, Wellness Grain-Free Complete Healthy Puppy food promises to take care of your young pooch from head to toe. Its grain-free goodness provides optimum energy, healthy skin, coat, eyes, teeth, gums, and immune system.
Breed-size and life-stage specifications make this puppy food an all-around nutritious option for your Goldendoodle. Wellness contains no meat by-products, artificial preservatives, or fillers, so you can feel good about feeding your beloved pet. The Wellness company was started in the 1990s but shows great promise for such a young organization. Their mission includes a movement to promote adoption and more ethical breeding situations.
8. American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Puppy – Grain Inclusive
American Journey features a myriad of life stages, both grain inclusive and grain-free. The Life Formula Large Breed Puppy is an excellent choice for Goldendoodles as they grow and mature. With deboned chicken as the first ingredient, puppies will develop lean muscles. Full of calcium and phosphorus, this formula will build strong bones so your canine will stay active for the long haul.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, kelp, and blueberries, are just a few of the nutrient-rich elements that make up the mixture in this puppy food. Puppy parents can rest assured that their furry friend receives everything necessary for a happy, healthy pup.
American Journey foods are owned and produced by Chewy. Chewy was founded in 2011 and has a history of dedication to safe and quality production.
9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy – For Sensitive Digestion
Made with real chicken, brown rice, and yummy peas, Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or fillers. Coming in at a high crude protein level of 28%, canines will enjoy the delicious taste that also supports strong muscles and healthy organs.
While specially formulated for puppies, Bright Puppy is appropriate for all life stages. Pups with sensitive digestion will enjoy this gentle, wheat and gluten-free product. Fortified with EPA and DHA to assist with brain and vision development, Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy is a contender among all of the brands.
Part of the J.M. Smucker Company, Rachael Ray Nutrish foods donates a portion of every sale to the Rachael Ray Foundation. The Foundation helps animal charities with routine care and medical expenses.
10. Purina ONE Natural High Protein +Plus Large Breed Formula Dry Puppy Food – Budget-Friendly
With a friendly price tag, Purina ONE puppy foods are known for their plethora of from-nature-only ingredients. The company mantra is ‘100% nutrition and 0% filler’. Manufacturing occurs in the U.S. at well-known Purina facilities.
Filled with good-for-puppy elements like antioxidants (for building a robust immune system), DHA (found in mother’s milk to support healthy vision and brain growth), and Glucosamine (promotes good joint health), Purina ONE is high in crude protein at 28%. Keep your Goldendoodle prepared for sustainable development and full-on energy with this delicious puppy food.
As one of the oldest pet food companies globally, Purina started in 1894 as the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company. Since then, the company has improved pet foods in many ways, with many firsts. Ralston Purina acquired by Nestle in 2001. The idea was to expand throughout the world. The most recent accomplishment in 2014 is the first-ever customized dog food called Just Right.
11. Royal Canin Medium Puppy – High-Quality Life Stage Specific
Royal Canin Medium Puppy food is an excellent option for your Goldendoodle if you can afford it. Keep in mind it is only geared towards dogs that expect to weigh less than 55 lbs. The good news is that it is also available in a Large breed option for pups over 55 lbs.
With 30% crude protein, this food is tailor-made for the growing needs of puppies. The proteins are highly digestible and create a healthy environment in the gut. Packed with vitamins and minerals, your furry friend gets all they need to obtain and maintain healthy joints, bones, and immune systems.
Royal Canin’s team of nutritional pet experts works together to ensure that every dog’s needs are met in their unique formulas. Since 1968, the company has worked tirelessly to supply tailored nutrition for all pets.
All puppies have distinct nutritional needs according to size, breed, activity level, and any present medical conditions. For the most part, Goldendoodle puppies are medium to large breeds and have lots of energy.
Things to consider when making a food choice:
- Keep in mind that not all foods are for all pups. What upsets one dog’s stomach may work perfectly for another one. Goldendoodles are known for allergies and digestive issues, so if you try one formula and it causes extreme diarrhea or bloating, try something else. Changing foods should always be done gradually unless your fur baby has an allergic reaction. The most common allergy is chicken. Grain-free foods are safe as long as the diet is approved by your vet and is recommended by the AAFCO Nutrient Requirement for Dogs.
- According to the AAFCO Nutrient Requirement for Dogs, puppies require at least 22% crude protein with 8% fat for optimum growth and health. These needs change once a dog reaches adulthood, at which point, the requirement drops to 18% and 5%, respectively.
- Whole grains mean a less processed ingredient and ensure that your pup experiences quality stools and easy digestion.
- Fiber is another factor in digestion. Your pup’s food should contain vegetables and brown rice to make certain your pup’s digestion stays in line.
- The calcium and phosphorus ratio should balance to ensure proper bone development and health.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are vital to skin and coat health and aid brain and eye development.
- Dry food is the best option for puppies and adult dogs. It acts like a toothbrush, removing bacteria and tartar that leads to decay, gingivitis, and gum disease.
- Since Goldendoodles are at risk for hip and elbow dysplasia and joint disorders, your puppy’s food should include Glucosamine and chondroitin. Controlling weight will also aid in protecting your pet’s joints.
While nutrition is an essential part of your Goldendoodle puppy’s upbringing, if the food isn’t enjoyable, you may have an unhappy pup on your hands. A few things to keep in mind:
- It may just be the flavor. If you are feeding your puppy a chicken flavor, try fish, lamb, or one of the more exotic choices like duck.
- Check the ingredients in your pet’s food. Food sensitivities are not always apparent. Chicken, soy, wheat, and other ingredients could cause gas and bloat. Since your dog can’t talk, it is up to you to figure it out.
- Limit the number of treats you give during the day. Your fur baby might be losing his appetite due to too many special rewards.
- Goldendoodles are an intelligent breed and require stimulation. If your pet is left alone too much, he may need more activity. Long walks, fun toys, and playing fetch are all ways to get your pup moving and more motivated.
- Stress can lead to a decreased appetite. A vacation, family move, loud children, or even a new person in the house can disrupt your Goldendoodle’s interest in food. This can take several days and up to a week or more to change.
- Overfeeding or offering food too often leads to disinterest in eating. Make certain you are following the feeding chart on your dog’s food bag.
- Dogs tire of certain foods just like people. Changing up the diet is advisable, but not too often as this can create upset stomach. Another option is to keep the current food and add a topping. Toppings are available in the dog food section or simply adding pureed plain pumpkin or raw veggies are good options.
- If none of these ideas work, consult with your vet. It is possible that your puppy is sick or has an intolerance that you haven’t noticed.
How Much Should I Feed My Goldendoodle?
Goldendoodles come in a variety of sizes. Additionally, many puppy foods require more or less food based on the nutritional value of the food. You can locate a feeding chart on the back of the puppy food bag.
In general, a Goldendoodle’s weight is determined by the type of poodle used to breed. There are Toy (10-25 pounds), Miniature (25-50 pounds), Standard (50-90 pounds), and Giant (90+ pounds). Your vet can assist with figuring out the expected weight of your pup.
There is no straight answer for how much to feed your furry friend as it depends on weight and age. As puppies age, the amount of food increases, and the number of times they need to be fed per day decreases. You should expect to fill your baby’s bowl 2-4 times a day at a rate of 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups each feeding.
Over or Under Feeding
Some puppies will eat whatever you give them and then get sick from overeating. A young dog that gobbles up the food aggressively may just be acting like a puppy or he may actually be very hungry. That is why it is essential to feed a puppy under six months 3-4 small meals a day.
Check his ribs to determine if your pup isn’t getting enough nourishment. You should be able to feel them but not see the individual ribs. If you follow the recommendations based on expected weight and the current age, your puppy will get exactly what he needs.
Finding the perfect puppy food for your Goldendoodle is an overwhelming task without accurate information. This guide provides a comprehensive comparison that includes the nuances of various options. Our number one pick is Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe as the best puppy food for Goldendoodles.
For 30 years, Merrick has strived to make high-quality, healthy pet foods. With such fiber-rich ingredients as brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal, dogs are sure to enjoy optimal digestion with Merrick. The number one ingredient in these formulas is real meat, and a guaranteed balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids means your puppy is protected from skin, coat, and joint issues.
Goldendoodles are sometimes prone to allergies to foods and upset stomachs. Merrick Healthy Grains contains brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal, with no potatoes, peas, or lentils. This provides a more easily digested product for your Goldendoodle.
Each state’s government handles the regulation of pet food. The Association of American Feed Control or AAFCO is a non-profit organization that uses volunteers from local, state, and federal agencies. These volunteers define the ingredients used in pet foods so that consumers can better understand them. The AAFCO also provides training and develops uniform language for the industry.
Every life stage availability equates to choices for your canine friend throughout his life in the Merrick food line. That is why 90% of reviewers recommend Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe.
Are you looking to give Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe a try for your Goldendoodle? All of these puppy foods are excellent choices for various reasons. The good news is consumers have lots of great options!