This page has guidelines and a chart with information on how much to feed a Golden Retriever. There is also info on how to keep your puppy and your adult at his or her optimum weight. Scroll down to find growth charts to make sure your puppy is growing at the proper rate and is within the right weight range for his age. If you are looking for information on what to feed, go to How to Choose a Dog Food.
Puppies Grow Too Fast BEFORE They Grow Fat
Most American dogs are overweight and many American large breed puppies are growing too fast, subjecting them to skeletal and joint problems, some of which may not actually show up until later in life.
Unlike with human children, a puppy that is overfed will grow too fast before they grow too fat. I’ve seen examples of this many times with two puppies from the same litter raised in different homes. A good example is where a smaller puppy at 10 weeks was overfed and his growth was compared to a puppy that was correctly fed.
Control the Growth of Your Puppy
If you have a puppy that doesn’t have especially large parents and he/she is growing into what you think is going to be a large dog, consider that you may be feeding your puppy too much (even if your puppy is not fat). The growth of your puppy needs to be controlled.
You Should Be Able to Feel Ribs But Not See Them
Don’t underfeed your dog either. You should be able to lightly feel your dog’s ribs. A dog shouldn’t be so thin that you can see his/her ribs, even when your dog is wet.
General Guidelines for Puppies
Below are some general guidelines on how much to feed puppies. Most dog food bags suggest feeding too much. I send our 8 week old puppies home eating about 1/2 cup of food 3 times a day. By 3 months, they will need a total of 2 cups a day and by 4 months, they should be eating about 2 1/2 cups a day. Increase to about 3 cups a day by 5 months for boys and by 6 months for girls. For boys, you will probably need to increase to about 3 1/2 cups (or possibly 4 cups) at 6 or 7 months.
Golden Retriever Puppies Are SUPPOSED to Look Lanky
As long as you cannot see the ribs on your puppy, he/she is not too thin. Golden Retrievers at this age are supposed to look lanky and all Golden Retrievers act like they are starving when fed the correct amount. If left to eat as much as they want, they will all grow too fast. In the wild, dogs do not have unlimited access to eat as much as they want. They work for their food.
Caloric Needs Greatly Decrease at About a Year
When puppies reach about 12-14 months, their caloric needs begin to decrease. Our full grown females eat about 2 to 2 1/2 cups a day when not pregnant or nursing. Our males eat about 3 to 3 1/2 cups a day. Some males might need 4 cups if active and are fed a less expensive food. Make sure you take into consideration the number of extra calories being fed as treats.
Monitor Your Dog’s Weight
Monitor a dog’s weight during their entire life by lightly feeling their ribs about once a month. You should be able to feel their ribs, but not see them (even when the dog is wet). If you can see the ribs, increase their food. Decrease the food if you cannot feel them. If your dog is getting a lot of exercise, they’ll need more food. I always tell people that it is better to underfeed than to overfeed, especially when feeding puppies.
Weight Range Charts
Following are charts of how puppies should generally grow in weight. Keep in mind that very few puppies need to be at the top of these ranges and if you cannot feel ribs, your dog is overweight even if she is in this weight range. If your dog is still a puppy and she is over these weight ranges, you are feeding her too much. Even if you can feel his/her ribs, he/she is growing too fast if over these ranges.
Female Golden Retriever Weight Chart
Here is a chart of how girls should generally grow in weight:
2 Months – 10-14 pounds
3 Months – 15-21 pounds
4 Months – 22-30 pounds
5 Months – 30-38 pounds
6 Months – 38-46 pounds
7 Months – 43-52 pounds
8 Months – 48-56 pounds
9 Months – 50-59 pounds
10 Months – 51-60 pounds
11 Months – 53-62 pounds
12 Months – 55-65 pounds
18 Months – 55-68 pounds
2 Years – 55-70 pounds
Male Golden Retriever Weight Chart
Here is a chart of how boys should generally grow in weight:
2 Months – 10-15 pounds
3 Months – 15-22 pounds
4 Months – 23-32 pounds
5 Months – 30-40 pounds
6 Months – 40-50 pounds
7 Months – 45-55 pounds
8 Months – 51-60 pounds
9 Months – 53-61 pounds
10 Months – 55-64 pounds
11 Months – 56-67 pounds
12 Months – 60-70 pounds
18 Months – 62-85 pounds
2 Years – 65-90 pounds
Amount of Food
We used to have feeding amounts included on our chart. However, the amounts can vary tremendously from dog to dog and even with the same dog, the amount needed will vary depending on daily exercise.
Nevertheless, here are a few guidelines. On average, our adult Golden Retriever females eat about 2 cups per day of the TLC dog food linked below. Our boys will eat on average about 3 1/2 cups per day. We have had larger boys who have eaten close to 4 or even 5 cups per day during periods of heavy activity. We’ve also had smaller girls who were relatively sedate to eat only about 1 1/2 cups per day. Especially during times that we are traveling and the dog is spending less time exercising, the caloric needs drastically decrease, perhaps by even half.
Our Favorite Dog Food
To read more about our favorite dry dog food and why we recommend it, see our page entitled Best Dog Foods. Our primary recommendation is to feed raw, but for those wanting to feed dry food, this one best meets our criteria in choosing
See our page on How Much to Feed Your Golden Retriever Puppy for more information on how to tell if your puppy is growing as he should.