part of a tennis ball
dog leash
dog bone

Choosing the Best Dog Food for White Labradors and English Cream Golden Retrievers

Dog food can be extremely overwhelming for anyone due to the plethora of options available. Is grain-free, grain-inclusive, corn/wheat/soy-free, or chicken-free the best option for your White Labrador or English Cream Golden Retriever? With over 500 dog food brands and multiple lines within each brand to choose from, it’s easy to see why people often grab what “looks” best or what their friends feed their dogs. This article will help you understand how to read dog food ingredients and nutrition panels, decide what is best for your pooch, and determine how much to feed. If you still have questions or concerns about what food to choose, consult with your veterinarian.

What Ingredients Should You Stay Away From

As humans, we like to read our ingredient labels to see what we are eating, but have you stopped to see what your dog is eating daily? Some ingredients are not ideal in dog food. Here are some of those ingredients and why we choose to avoid them:

  • Artificial Colors (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6): These are strictly for looks, provide no nutritional value, and are linked to allergies and some hyperactivity in dogs.
  • Artificial Flavors: These provide no nutritional value and can be made from harmful chemicals, such as Monosodium Glutamate, Diacetyl, and BHA.
  • Sweeteners: Ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, or xylitol can lead to obesity, dental problems, and increased insulin release.
  • Fillers/By-Products: By-products are animal parts not typically eaten by humans, such as beaks, feet, and undeveloped eggs. These ingredients are not easily digestible and provide lower quality protein. They may be labeled as chicken/beef by-product/by-product meal and corn gluten/soybean meal.

What Ingredients To Look For

With all the choices and great marketing out there, it’s important to focus on the ingredient and nutritional breakdown when choosing food for your White Lab or English Cream Golden Retriever. Essentially, you want to focus on the back of the bag rather than the front! Here are some things to look for:

  • Solid Protein Sources: These should be listed as the first ingredient and are high-quality, easily digestible proteins great for muscle maintenance and overall health.
  • Named Meat Meals: Unlike by-product meals, named meat meals like chicken, beef, lamb, or salmon meals are concentrated protein sources made from meat with the moisture removed. As long as they are clearly identified, they can be great protein sources as well.
  • Healthy Fats: These provide fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, which are great for maintaining healthy skin and coat, along with helping the dog maintain overall energy without hard crashes. Some of these fats can be chicken fat or fish oils.
  • Whole/Ancient Grains: There is a trend of grain-free foods, but without some grains, your dog could struggle to digest the food properly without the fiber they provide or crash without the carbs to provide long-lasting energy. Healthy grains include brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. It’s best to avoid legume-based carbohydrates high up on the ingredient panel, such as potatoes, peas, or lentils, as they have been linked to heart issues in dogs.
  • Fruits and Veggies: Dog-safe fruits and veggies are great additives to top your dog’s food with, but it’s even better when the company does it for you. These are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health and create immune support. You can replace up to 20% of your dog’s kibble with fresh fruits and veggies!
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin is high in fiber, which is great for digestion. If your dog food doesn’t have it, you can add a tablespoon to each meal to soothe the digestive system, help in transitioning to new foods, or firm stool in the case of diarrhea.
  • Pre/Probiotics: These are great to have and can be easily bought and added to your dog’s meals to increase nutritional value. They improve digestion and feed beneficial gut bacteria to promote a healthy digestive system.

Overall, choosing an ingredient list that prioritizes high-quality proteins, fats, and grains ensures you are covering your dog’s nutritional needs depending on their current stage of life!

Different Lines in Dog Foods

When shopping for dog food, you may notice that specific brands have many different bags available. This is due to the varying lines within that one brand. They may have grain-free lines, puppy, adult, all life stages, performance, or senior formulas available, among others. This can be more overwhelming than anything.

When looking at food, start with foods that fit within your budget, as dog food can range from $20 a bag to $100+ a bag. Once you have narrowed down your budget and brand, consider your dog’s dietary needs. If you have a puppy, make sure it’s all life stages or a puppy-specific formula. White Labs and English Goldens will be over 50 lbs as adults, so this puts them into the large breed formulas. If your dog is over 7 years old, look at all life stages or a senior-specific formula.

To ensure you select the correct line with the right nutrition profile, look for the AAFCO statement on the back of the bag. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets nutritional standards. Look for a statement indicating the food meets AAFCO standards for complete and balanced nutrition. An example of this statement would be, “This product is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages, including growth of large size dogs (70 lbs. or more as an adult).” This assures you that the food will support your dog throughout its entire life.

Choosing the right dog food for your White Lab, English Cream Golden, or other dogs is a crucial step in ensuring their health, happiness, and longevity. Understanding your dog’s specific nutritional needs and ingredient labels will help you make the best-informed decision for your furry best friend.


Are you thinking about getting a White Lab puppy? Come visit Snowy Pines White Labs at our Ozark home or view our puppy live stream to see healthy dogs in action.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About the Author


Tom Massey

Tom Massey has owned and operated Snowy Pines Labradors for over a decade. They have become the leaders in English Labradors in the US. He and his team serve customers all over the US and Europe. They house their "dog family" in a state of the art facility on a large farm in the Ozark Mountains. With an obsession for genetics and temperament they raise and train dogs known across the globe for health and personality. Tom serves the pet industry in many forms campaigning for ethical breeding, training, and pet ownership.


Calm Tempered, AKC Purebred, and Certified Genetics.