As a canine, the golden retriever is a carnivore so the main part of golden retriever food will include meat of some kind. However, they have the capacity to digest some grains and vegetables.
Wolves in the wild, eat the internal organs of their prey, and therefore ingest what their victim has previously eaten, which could often be vegetables and other plant material. Golden Retrievers are descended from, and closely genetically related to wolves, so they have similar abilities.
Most scholars agree then, that Golden Retrievers'food should include a diet that contains a substantial amount of meat proteins with a small amount of grains. All good commercial dog food should include these proportions.
Many articles have been written recently about the negative side of commercial dog food, indeed you can find some on this site, and some dog owners will only feed their dogs food that they have prepared themselves. This is great in an ideal world but sometimes commercial dog food is the only option so here are some of the things to look out for on the labels of the food you may find in your store.
Ingredients on both cans and bags of golden retriever dog food are usually listed in order of percentage of the total, but not individually.
Dry dog food showing chicken or lamb meal will usually have around 20-30% dehydrated meat protein. Preservatives will have been added in order to keep the kibble from spoiling while it sits on the shelf in the store. Some form of meat should be first on the list.
Next on the list may be a kind of rice. Brewer's rice is the cheaper version but ground rice is of a higher quality.
When you are buying golden retriever food look out for additives such as corn, wheat gluten meal or wheat flour. Some golden retrievers are sensitive to this and as a reaction, you may see goldens licking their paws, face scratching or biting themselves, so these ingredients should comprise of a relatively small proportion of the total.
Try to avoid dog food that have meat byproducts listed. These are the meat parts such as intestines, beaks, feet and neck that are not used for anything else.
Although there is much controversy over commercial dog food, and it could no doubt be improved, taking care to observe the contents on the list of ingredients will go a long way to ensuring that the golden retriever food you give your pet will help him live a long and happy life.