Feeding Basics

Feeding your new Golden Retriever will be the highlight of his day. Most Goldens are big eaters that will happily eat themselves into oblivion if you let them. These are not dogs that you can free feed (leave their food down all day). Instead, you must carefully measure out a small amount of food for each meal. Goldens should be fed twice a day as adults to help maintain a level blood sugar level and for optimum health.

You will have to adjust how much you feed your Golden Retriever according to his activity level. You may find this to be seasonal. In the winter months, he may not get as much exercise and therefore he needs fewer calories, but during the summer, he may get lots of exercise and be able to eat a bit more without any changes in weight.

The type of food you feed your dog will determine how much is too much and how much is enough. The higher the quality of food, the more calorically dense it will be, and the less you should feed. The lower the quality of the food, the more filler it contains and the more you must feed. Make a commitment to feed your dog at the higher end of the quality spectrum. Not all dog foods are created equal, and many health problems can be avoided by feeding a better quality food from the start. (See Chapter 12 for more details on canine nutrition.)

You should always use a measuring cup to measure out your dog's food. Vague measurement techniques, like a handful or a scoopful, are not an accurate way to make sure you maintain your dog's ideal body weight. In general, assuming that you feed a better quality food, you would give your female Golden Retriever two feedings of ½ to ¾ cup of dry food. Your male Golden needs ¾ to 1 cup twice a day to maintain his optimum weight. There are exceptions of course, but this is a very general guideline to help your Golden maintain a healthy weight.

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