When to Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food Golden Retriever?

Been having a reservation about when to switch from puppy food to dog food golden retriever? It’s totally normal and we understand your good question. It can be a tough decision to make but to be specific, golden retrievers need to switch from puppy food to adult food anywhere from 12-18 months.

One of the foremost reasons is that when your puppy starts to change his diet, it will be not enough for him to feed just puppy food. What they need is adequate nutrients in order to compensate for their nutritional needs as they grow bigger.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. This article will help you guide and walk through one of the toughest decisions that any dog owner has to make. Fret not, because we are here to give you in-depth details about the golden retriever’s nutritional needs during their transitional period.

Royal Canin
Dog Food
Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan
Dog Food
Taste of the Wild
Dog Food
Diamond Naturals
Dog Food

Why do we need to switch from puppy food to dog food golden retrievers?

There are actually many reasons why you may want to switch your golden’s kibble food. One of the reasons is that, as the puppy grows older, they will need more nutritional value because it’s what their body demand. They will need more high source of nutritional needs so they can stay healthy and preserve they well-being.

But the first few weeks of the transition period are not that easy. Your golden retriever might experience tummy issues. You got to make an extra effort to identify the right food for your puppy during his period of becoming an adult dog. That said, you need to regularly consult with your vet and strategize about the week of the transition period so your dog will become safe with no gastrointestinal tract issues.

How to tell if I’m about to switch from puppy food to dog food for a Golden Retriever?

At first, it may be hard to tell which can be mistaken for health issues or others. But these tell-tale signs are most likely that your puppy is no longer a pup but a developing adult reaching its maturity.

Although we, dog owners, hard to accept that they are becoming adult golden retrievers, we still need to prepare for those inevitable events. What we need is to support them and we need to identify these signs.

Puppy’s teeth are losing

This is among the first tell-tale signs that your puppy is reaching adulthood. Don’t be alarmed if your puppy’s teeth are losing. It’s completely normal, and it means that they are slowly turning into adult dogs. While those new teeth are coming in, you will need some chewing sticks or chew toys for your growing Golden puppy.

This is also the time where you need to consider switching from puppy food to dog food which can be done slowly and through a discussion from your vet.

He’s not in the state of destructive chewing

This is one of the best things that will happen to your growing puppy. If your puppy isn’t much destroying any of your precious things, this is a bigger step towards his adulthood. Meaning that your puppy is becoming more responsible and matured. He’s not bound to destruction any longer because he already knows what to chew and what not to chew. You should be happier with this sign because there’s no damage to your valuable things.

He’s becoming less playful

Puppies are cute and highly energetic creatures. They are comparable to any highly active dogs because of their endless energy which makes them want to play all day long. But over time when your puppy is beginning to become less playful, this may be a sign that he is leaning towards adulthood. He’s becoming more preoccupied with sniffing all-around at the park instead.

But some exceptions from dog breeds like Labrador retrievers whereas if they didn’t change their puppyhood attitude. They may want to play with you every five minutes. Generally, dogs will become less energetic and don’t frolic around the way they used to when they are a puppy.

He eats slower and eats less

Puppies are known for their being voracious eaters. They will gobble their food too quickly as if it’s just air for them. But when they hit their adulthood or while in their transition period to their full-grown dog, they will eat less and you will also notice how slower they eat than they are before.

The puppy begins to physically mature

Upon reaching 9 months of age, your golden retriever puppy is along its way to becoming mature. There are different kinds of maturity when it comes to dogs and they are largely affected through their gender. Male puppies ‘ behavioral changes can be seen when they started to mark their territory, becoming more sexually active when female dogs are in heat, and when they lift their leg to pee.

For the female dogs, they may have changes in appetite, may appear anxious than normal, and will experience a vaginal discharge of blood.

The puppy begins to become emotionally mature

For physical maturity, it’s fairly easy to identify because of the physical changes which is more obvious than emotional maturity. You may not see it happening in an instant, but by the time and as weeks go by, you will realize that your puppy becomes a dog. Usually, the signs are, they listen attentively and responds to you and the other dogs from social cues, they can read if you are angry or happy to them, and they can easily settle down. So watch out for these signs.

When he stops growing

When your golden retriever has fully grown both physically and emotionally, this is definitely the obvious sign that your dog turned into a full-grown adult dog. This happens when your dog is already 1 to 3 years of age. This is the time where your dog will be needing an adequate source of protein-based nutritional needs such as whole meat mainly with first meat as their main ingredients when buying an adult dog food. Also, you may want to match their type of activity to the dog food you are considering.

A general guide for feeding the golden puppy and adult

Puppies who are in their first months will develop a built-in timer. This prompts him to eat based on schedule because they are a creature of habit. You should give your golden puppy at least three times a day of meals for the first three months. Prior to that, by the time he reaches four months, feed him at least twice a day permanently.

Puppies ages 12 months (more or less)

The above mentioned is the general rule. However, if we are going to be specific, a puppy’s dog food should be replaced when they are done growing. Yet, there are different cases of how puppies grow depending on their breed size. For golden retrievers, they belong to a medium-sized breed. Their age of maturity will hit by the time they are 9 months of age. While large breeds will hit their maturity when they are 18 to 24 months of age.

Transitioning from puppy food to dog food golden retriever

After you are completely aware and decided to shift your dog from puppy food to dog food. But be very careful to suddenly give your dog food. You don’t want your dog ending up having stomach problems which can cause vomiting or diarrhea. The key is to slowly introduce your puppy from puppy food to dog food. Let your golden retriever taste the dog food slowly so that he can get accustomed to the taste of the dog food.

Normally this transition process will take about 7 to 14 days. That said, you can start the transition period by giving 75 percent of puppy food and a 25 percent adult food formula for at least 2 to 3 days. Then on the 4th day, you can try having a 50/50 formula. After the succeeding days, you can try increasing the adult dog food ratio to 10 percent until it becomes 100 percent adult dog food.

As a result, within 10 to 14 days, your golden retriever will somehow liken the adult dog food. If not, you can just go slower with the kibble food ratio until your dog is fully satisfied with the taste.

Recommended dog food for transitioning puppy food to dog food for golden retriever

Now that you have settled that you are going to transition your golden retriever’s food from puppy to adult dog food, it’s time that you should also know what’s the best dog food solely for golden retriever on the market today. This is among the important process during their transition period.


OUR TOP PICK: Royal Canin Dog Food

Product Description: Our best pick, Royal Canin Golden Retriever Dry Dog Food. One of the best and appropriate dog food for your golden retriever is this particular Royal Canin. Because it's breed-specific. That said, its nutritional value is specifically curated for a specific type of breed. This is to ensure that what you are getting meets the standard diet of your Golden. There's more than that, this particular dog food has a heart-healthy recipe. And because golden retrievers are vulnerable to heart problems, this will help them prevent any heart disease. Added the fact that it's also made to reinforce the skin of the dog. One of the main ingredients includes Brewers rice, brown rice, chicken by-product, oat greats. It's also packed with adequate vitamins like taurine and DHA for strong vision and helps cognitive ability. All the more, each kibble has a different design and even shape and size which is suited for the dog's jaw structure and biting patterns.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock


Overall, why should we pick this? For the reason that it’s an excellent choice if you don’t have any specific idea on what to feed your newly transitioned dog from his puppyhood. This is well suited for a golden retriever because of specific nutrients and dietary needs added. Also, it supports some of the most health problems that the golden retriever commonly faces. So, this is actually worth buying for.


Specifically designed for golden retrievers Unique shape and sizes


None so far


Nutro Dog Food

Like any other premium dog food manufacturers, Nutro puts their meat first principle. Meaning, their primary ingredient is none other than lamb, venison, and other meat, then next to it comes various rich-filled nutrients such as brown rice, split peas, chicken meal to name a few.

In addition, the rich filled ingredients, are essential for the golden retriever’s growth especially when they are transitioning from puppyhood to doghood. This is an excellent option for dogs ages 1 year and above.

What’s more interesting is that all the ingredients are natural. The Nutro dry dog food assures that there are no existing GMO, by-product meat, wheat, corn, or soy. You know you are getting the finest source of nutritional value when these fillers and additives are excluded.

With that in mind, would you dare buy it? For us, definitely! Lamb and rice are some of the most irresistible food for golden retrievers. The flavorful taste of lamb plus the nutrients coming from rice. It’s actually what your dog needs. Plus, this can support your dog’s skin coat and even digestive issues. Worth the price and also it’s worth giving for your golden retriever pet.

  • High in protein content
  • Provides healthy digestion and boosts immunity
  • Not good if you dislike chicken meal

Purina Pro Plan Dog Food

If you are all out of choice and nowhere to look for when considering buying dog food, don’t hesitate to try this Purina Pro Plan. This dog food is a great option to fuel your golden retriever’s growth with no having health issues because this kibble food has it all.

Purina Pro Plan’s flavor is chicken. Not just any chicken, but made with real chicken and making it as their first ingredient. Also, this has a well-balanced diet that is fine-tuned to dogs like golden retrievers. That said, this contains 30 percent of protein and 20 percent fat which your dog really needs.

Also, this dog food is perfectly formulated for endurance and strength. We all know that breeds like golden retrievers are active dogs and they like to dig and bred for hunting out waterfowls as their day-to-day activity.

All in all, your dog is ready to eat that is adequate to their physical activity and matches their overall build. Considering your dog’s food and its source of nutrition is an excellent option to do. Made with real chicken plus there are various options to choose from. More options mean a great option to understand what your golden retriever needs.

  • Made with real chicken
  • Made in the USA
  • Suitable for any life stages
  • May experience vomiting at first try

Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is something that your dog truly deserves. This is one of the best and highly reputable manufacturers of kibble food on the market. What they have in their dog food is truly premium with carefully curated nutritional needs that are inspired by the wild dog’s diet.

You know you are serving your golden retriever well if you are giving him enough premium-quality dog food such as this one. If you want to see your dog’s physical features become leaner and have stronger muscles, this is really for your dog.

Made with real smoked salmon as their primary ingredient, this provides high in protein which your dog needs. Also, this includes nutrient-rich ingredients plus vitamins and minerals which are so beneficial to your dog’s health which prevent any potential diseases.

Overall, the brand itself is the hallmark of what a premium dog should be. This is a prime example of dog food that is made with the finest ingredients which definitely secures your golden retriever’s health for many years to come. Of course, this comes with the price because of the quality it provides. That said, it’s still a must-buy dog food during the transition period of your puppy’s doghood.

  • Grain-free
  • Salmon as the first ingredient
  • Superb quality
  • Offers high price point, but it’s definitely worth it

Diamond Naturals Dog Food

Diamond Naturals offers a nice price point. That said, this dog food brand offers a great nutritional punch that will surely knock out your golden retriever’s hungry stomach. Their meat source came from a pasture-raised beef, chicken, you name it.

What’s more awesome in these included ingredients is that they have added vitamins and minerals; vegetables and fruits which makes this a perfect meal for highly active dogs such as the golden retriever. These ingredients include chia seed, pumpkin, kale, and blueberries.

Mixed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, your dog’s immune system is completely covered. With these healthy vitamins, your dog can become a healthy and a full-grown dog with no health issues both
external and internal.

Apart from the premium ingredients, this brand is family-owned, so you know these dog food are well taken care of and has high quality with the assurance that the ingredients plus the brand cares for dogs.

All in all, this must be included in your option when you are buying your first adult dog food. Diamond Natural has nearly all the ingredients you are looking for for your growing golden retriever. It is rich in antioxidants, no fillers, and any preservatives. Buy this if you want to see your dog reach its full potential.

  • All natural ingredients
  • Pasture-raised
  • Great for medium to large-sized breed
  • None so far

So… What to look for when considering buying an adult dog food for your golden retriever?

Primarily protein based dog food

Because dogs like golden retrievers and even other breeds heavily rely on meat as their source of protein. It must be made from real meat like beef, fish, chicken, and venison. But see to it that your dog doesn’t have an allergy to the mentioned examples which can force you to select only what’s best for your dog that is completely free of allergens.

Grains and carbohydrate

Grains are the usual suspect for dogs who have food allergies. But carbs and grains are one of the important next to meat-based nutrition because they also supply energy for your dog’s high activities. Grains are also a big help for aiding your golden retriever’s digestion. Grains such as whole wheat, soy, and corn are okay, but they are considered low-quality ingredients. If you want a nice source of grains and carbs, you must look for ingredients with barley, oats, rice, and peas.


Yup. Even dogs need vegetables as a part of their overall balanced diet but they didn’t need to be overfed with so much vegetable because it can be harmful to them. Good thing that there are many quality brands out there that includes vegetables as one of their ingredients. The typical vegetables included is sweet potatoes which are a great source of vitamin B and potassium.


Fats have had negative connotations for humans, but there are good fats that provide support for cell function and digestion. These fats are Omega 3 and Omega 6, fish oil, chicken fat, and olive oil. These kinds of fats are very helpful to the dog’s overall health. They can replenish skin coats, allergies, and even infections. So better eye on this ingredient when looking for adult dog food.

Micronutrients or vitamins

Every dog food should contain micronutrients or vitamins. They are vital to your dog’s growth especially if they are just stepping on the stage of dog adulthood. Vitamins such as A, B, and E are great sources and micronutrients are also critical to a dog’s growth and dog food should contain calcium and phosphorus.

Key highlights:

  • Golden retriever dietary needs should depend on the level of activity.
  • The reason why we need to transition the puppy’s food to dog food is that they needed an adequate nutritional value that matches with the dog’s need as they stepped into an adult dog.
  • There are possible 7 tell-tale signs that it’s time to switch from puppy food to dog food golden retriever.
  • The feeding guideline, while your dog is in the transition of kibble, should be slowly until they are fully used to the adult dog food.
  • The foremost needed source of protein must come from meat especially when in search of dog food.

Final Thoughts

As I have pointed out earlier, the question of when to switch from puppy food to dog food for golden retrievers is a crucial step towards becoming an adult dog. Remember to not switch your dog’s food so suddenly as it can lead to vomiting and other stomach issues. Always bear in mind that you must take it slow. Follow the feeding guideline and the ratios when in transition. Feel free to use this article as your source.

Check this also: How to Tell the Difference between a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab Puppy? The Retriever Guide 2021

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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