Best Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Food

Best Dog Food for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers : 15 Healthy Recipes Reviewed by Budget, Diet and Life Stage

Vet-Checked • Pet-Tested • Owner-Approved

Sean Green

Researched & Written by

Sean Green

At EasyPet, we are committed to presenting the most accurate and up-to-date information to assist you in your pet care journey. When appropriate, we consult licensed and practicing veterinarians to fact-check our professionally written articles.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is one of the only US native dog breeds. The breed descends from two Newfoundland dogs who were brought upon a boat headed for England in 1807. The ship ended up sinking, but the two dogs survived and got taken to the US.

In 1918 the Chesapeake Club was founded, and this breed was initially known as the Chesapeake Bay Ducking Dog. They are well-known for their oily skin that protects them in the cold waters.

Chessies are a courageous breed that is both loyal and intelligent. This breed makes an excellent guard dog because they are always on alert for suspicious activity from their hunting days.

Caring and training a Chesapeake Bay Retriever can be a challenging task and is best left to experienced pet owners or dog trainers, but with the right upbringing, this dog can become a great house pet for the entire family.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:

  • The Best Dog Foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers : We break down the healthiest choices by budget, diet, and popularity.
  • What Makes a Great Chessie Dog Food : We analyze good and bad ingredients and inform you about breed-specific heath considerations.
  • FAQs : We answer feeding, nutrition, and growth questions commonly asked by Chesapeake Bay Retriever owners.

Understanding a Chesapeake Bay Retriever Diet Requirements

While training and socializing your Chessie at an early age is critically important, you also want to pay close attention to your choice of Chesapeake Bay Retriever food. The right food will fuel your pup and give them the energy they need to play and stay active, while low-quality food will lead to a poor mood and a sedentary lifestyle.

The best diet will consist of an ample balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from the right sources. We put a lot of emphasis on the source of these components because most dog foods contain them, but they are not ideal for your dog. You always want to choose foods that use real meats, fruits, and vegetables for your pup’s nutrition.

In addition to making sure your Chessie gets a well-balanced diet you also want to make sure they receive food that gets geared towards their stage of life. There are different formulas for dogs depending on their current age be it, puppies, adults, seniors. Each of these contains the right nutrients for your pup at their point of life.

The best Chesapeake Bay Retriever food will cater to your pups’ unique needs throughout the many stages of life.

  • Puppy Chesapeake Bay Retriever Diet – During the puppy stage it is essential to feed your Chessie a diet rich in protein and fat that will help them while they are growing most rapidly. Generally, it’s best to feed them around 2000-2500 calories during this time and food that contains at least 20% protein and 10% fat.
  • Adult Chesapeake Bay Retriever Diet – When growth slows down during the adult stage it is okay to decrease your Chessies calorie intake based on their current weight. A daily calorie count of about 1500 is a good benchmark with high-quality food rich in protein and fat. Approximately, 20% protein and 8% fat is a general guideline.
  • Senior Chesapeake Bay Retriever Diet – During the senior stage of life, you want to make sure to cater to the unique needs of your dog. If you notice your Chessie is gaining weight as their activity goes down, you should decrease their calorie intake. Around 1200-1500 calories is standard at this age. Be sure to feed your Chessie food that contains high-quality protein sources from real meat.

Special Dietary Considerations for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

As with any breed of dog, they all have their own unique health concerns that require attention. Some of them are impacted by diet while some are entirely hereditary. No dog is perfect, but you should always do whatever you can to change their health positively. It all comes down to what we put in their body, and that is a factor you can control.

Here are some common health issues concerning Chessies that you want to pay attention to.

  • Hip Dysplasia – This inherited condition affects many different dog breeds including Chessies. This occurs when the thigh bone does not fit properly into the hip joint. As a result, slippage is possible where the joint slides out of place causing temporary pain and discomfort in your pup.

These symptoms are sometimes unnoticed in inactive dogs, but you should notice it immediately in your energetic Chessie. While there is no way to prevent the disorder from occurring, feeding your dog a premium diet is a great way to keep their weight down. Obesity is the leading cause of pain from Hip Dysplasia.

You can also help prevent it from occurring by making sure to limit environmental factors like high jumps and slippery walking surfaces.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy – This eye disorder results in the loss of photoreceptors from behind the eye. This usually results in blindness but is detectable years before it causes complete blindness.

Luckily, blindness is not a massive issue for dogs because their other senses step up in place of their eyesight and Chessies can live a long and happy life while blind. Regular trips to the vet can help diagnose this health issue before it becomes a problem.

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease – This different blood disorder affects dogs and humans. It impacts your pup’s ability to clot their blood and a result your pup bleeds longer and more regularly. Dogs affected by the disease will suffer from nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and heavy bleeding during heat cycles.

Doctors diagnose this disease between age three and five, and while there is no cure, certain medications and transfusions can help limit the risks associated with the disorder.

  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat) – This possibly life-threatening condition affects a lot of larger breed dogs. The most common cause of it is overfeeding or irregular feeding patterns. If your dog eats one large meal per day or drinks too much water at one time their stomach can become distended with gas and twist.

When this happens, the gas gets trapped inside forcing their stomach to become inflamed and bloated. Your dog is then unable to belch or pass gas, and it slows blood flow to the heart forcing your Chessie into shock. When this occurs, it requires immediate surgery and could be life-threatening if not taken care of.

Pay close attention to your pup if you see them retching without vomiting or drooling excessively. The best way to prevent bloat from happening is by following a strict feeding pattern of small meals throughout the day and never leaving the food bowl out all day because they will continue to eat until the food is gone.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Feeding Chart

As we’ve expressed already, following a feeding chart is a great way to keep your pup lean and healthy while also preventing bloat. Consulting with your vet is the best way to find out how much and how often you should feed your Chessie but here are some general guidelines you can follow to help you along.

  • Puppy – ¾ cup, three times daily
  • Adult – 2-2.5 cups, twice daily
  • Senior – 2-2.5 cups, twice daily (dependent on weight and level of activity)

The Best Dog Food for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers: Out 2023 Top 15 Picks

In this section, we’re giving you real examples of what a good Chesapeake Bay Retriever food looks like. All the foods including in this roundup have the highest levels of nutrition through real meat-based protein along with fruits and vegetables.

For all the formulas on this list, you will not find by-products, artificial flavors, dyes, or anything low-quality.

Here are our top 15 picks:

Our 2023 Picks: Chesapeake Bay Retriever Food Recommendations:
RankDog FoodPriceRating




Super Premium





Most Popular


Best for Allergies


Best for Sensitive Stomachs


Grain Free




Sensitive Stomachs


Instinct by Nature’s Variety Grain-Free Raw Boost

Best Overall Food: This formula puts an interesting twist on regular hard kibble by including freeze-dried raw meat throughout. The food gets packed with protein from cage-free chicken which is the first ingredient. This protein source provides your Chessie with lean and strong muscles.

The food also includes probiotics for digestive health with a high level of omegas for a healthy coat and skin.

When you look at the ingredients in this food, you should immediately see a difference if you have been feeding your pup low-quality food. The first three ingredients consist of real meats with legumes following behind. This food has a high protein and fat content which is ideal for Chessies who require a heavy diet to maintain their weight and mass.

Pros: Contains raw bits for a nutritional boost, highly concentrated protein, high protein and fat good for active dogs, no GMO’s

Cons: Contains added salt, protein could be too much for some Chessies

NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Wow

Best Super Premium Food: NomNomNow typically knocks other dog food companies out of the ballpark with their foods. They use real human-grade ingredients in all their formulas and nothing else besides their nutrient mix. The food looks, smells, and tastes like human food because it is.

The upsides of feeding your dog a raw diet of human-grade ingredients is that they receive the most nutrition from the food because it doesn’t get cooked out during manufacturing. During the process of manufacturing kibble, the food is cooked at an extremely high temperature that eliminates a lot of the nutritional value, not with NomNomNow.

All of their food lines are sold raw in pre-packaged bags, so you know exactly how much to feed your pup. You fill out a form on their website when you purchase, and they portion everything for you based on your pups breed, weight, and age.

Pros: Human grade ingredients, pre-packaged, the website caters to your pup unique needs, more nutritional value per bite

Cons: Perishable, can only purchase from NomNomNow website

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe

Most Affordable Food: The Wilderness line from Blue Buffalo takes an approach that caters to your dog’s ancestral needs. They say dogs should eat a diet that closely mimics how they would eat as wolves in the wild. This means, high-protein foods with plenty of meat and no carbs.

Blue Wilderness uses chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients, and they provide calcium, phosphorus, and other vitamins to help your dog develop and maintain healthy teeth and bones.

In addition to the protein sources, you get carbs in this food from high-quality sources like sweet potatoes and peas, as well as antioxidants from blueberries and cranberries. This formula uses no grain, artificial preservatives, or colors.

Pros: High protein-based dog food, contains a well-balanced diet of protein, fat, and carbs, real meat throughout, works well for dogs with food allergies

Cons: The protein may be too high for some Chessies, occasional issues with the consistency of the food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free

Most Popular Food: If you are on the fence about what dog food you should choose for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever, it is sometimes helpful to go for the most popular food. This example has thousands of five-star reviews online, so it’s a safe bet.

The food is grain free containing high-quality proteins like buffalo and bison along with peas and sweet potatoes. The formula uses highly digestible protein sources to make it easy on your dog’s stomach with dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie has a protein content of 32% with fat of 18%.

Pros: High amount of protein, high-quality protein sources, helps regulate bowel movements, useful for pups looking to put on weight

Cons: A Large amount of protein and fat could cause weight gain, could be hard to transition pups to unique protein flavors

Earthborn Holistic Venture Rabbit Meal and Pumpkin Limited Ingredients

Best for Chesapeake Bay Retriever with Allergies: The ideal diet for Chessies with allergies is one that contains limited ingredients and one primary protein source as the first ingredient. Foods that contain multiple proteins like chicken, pork, and beef are known to cause allergies because you cannot identify where the allergies are coming from.

This limited ingredient premium dog food offers excellent taste without grain, gluten, corn, or other fillers. The food uses rabbit as its primary protein with pumpkin as its next ingredient. The food contains protein and fiber with essential vitamins like Vitamin E and Omega-6.

The formula contains a well-balanced 31% protein and 14% fat which is ideal for a deep-chested dog like your Chessie.

Pros: Limited ingredient diet, high-quality ingredients like pumpkin and sunflower oil, contains a variety of active bacteria for gut health, ideal for allergies and skin rashes

Cons: Formula has added salt, causes constipation in some pups

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe

Best for Chesapeake Bay Retriever with Sensitive Stomachs: If your Chessie has a hard time digesting a lot of standard dog foods it’s usually because they contain ingredients that are not highly digestible. This formula from Hill’s Science Diet includes elements that get specifically included for dogs who are not able to eat regular dog food.

The formula uses a unique blend of easy to digest ingredients like chicken and brown rice. The food contains 21% protein and 12% fat which is a modest nutritional balance so this food would also work well for dogs that are dealing with weight problems.

Pros: Simple list of ingredients is ideal for dogs with food sensitivities, balanced nutritional value, helps harden stools

Cons: Contains added salt and a few other undesirable ingredients like pea and potato protein, concerns over frequent formula changes

3 More Top Rated (5 Star) Chesapeake Bay Retriever Foods

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Deboned Turkey

Wellness CORE has a philosophy of keeping their foods simple and not over complicating things with fancy formulas and ingredients. They believe that real meat alongside fruits and vegetables is the purest and healthiest way to go.

This food is grain-free with protein from real chicken and turkey for lean muscles and healthy skin. It contains antioxidants, fatty acids, glucosamine, and probiotics for a well-rounded diet and nutritional balance.

Wellness also vows to always exclude low-quality ingredients like by-products, wheat, corn, soy, and artificial anything.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Venison

Here we have another limited ingredient diet that is useful for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. When your pup is scratching, biting at themselves, or vomiting frequently – it could be due to complicated foods with too many protein sources. The best way to control your Chessies health is by controlling their intake of food.

This grain-free formula only uses a few select protein and carb sources that are tested and proven to help dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. Along with that, your pup gets omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed to nourish and protect your dog’s skin.

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula

This premium dog food formula uses farm-raised turkey from American Midwest alongside peas, chickpeas, and flaxseed. The food is a great option for pups dealing with food sensitivities and allergies because it is a limited ingredient food.

The food is grain-free and made with only one source of protein that is low in saturated fat but rich in riboflavin and phosphorus. The recipe has 31% protein and 18% fat which is well balanced but a little high for some pups.

3 More Top-Rated (5 Star) Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Foods

Our 2023 Picks: Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy Food Recommendations:
RankDog FoodPriceRating










Merrick Real Chicken and Sweet Potato for Puppies

This Chesapeake Bay Retriever food caters to the unique and individual needs of puppies. The food uses a grain-free recipe with real chicken as the first ingredient. Alongside that, you have sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes for a well-rounded and nutritious diet for your puppy.

In the food is DHA which is an ingredient in mothers’ milk, so it is highly useful to your pup’s cognitive development.

All the foods crafted by Merrick are done so in small batches so they can guarantee quality assurance in every bite. They also make all the formulas at their location in Texas from the world’s best locally sourced ingredients.

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Chicken Dinner

If you are concerned with feeding dry kibble to your puppy, you could try this canned pate from Blue Buffalo. The formula contains healthy and all-natural ingredients to promote muscle growth and ideal cognitive development.

The food uses natural ingredients only with no corn, wheat, or soy and they use deboned chicken as the primary source of protein.

The formula is not grain-free, but they use high-quality sources like barley and brown rice to give your puppy the energy they need to run and frolic as they should. A lot of canned foods do not contain ideal ingredients, and as a result, they don’t offer good flavor, so they add corn syrup and refined sugar. This canned formula contains no added sugars.

American Journey Chicken and Brown Rice Protein First Puppy Recipe

This premium puppy food option from American Journey contains all the ingredients your puppy needs to develop strong and healthy muscles during their primary growth stage. They use real chicken as the first ingredient, and the food contains a precise blend of phosphorus and calcium for bones and teeth.

The formula also contains DHA and ARA in every bite which are nutrients derived from mothers milk, so it’s incredibly important to puppies cognitive development. This recipe contains no wheat, corn, soy, or by-products.

3 More Picks For Senior Chesapeake Bay Retriever Foods

Our 2023 Picks: Chesapeake Bay Retriever Senior Dog Food Recommendations:
RankDog FoodPriceRating










American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato for Seniors

This specially formulated senior food is an excellent choice for pups who want to remain active as they get older. Your Chessie requires a high concentration of protein because this breed stays muscular and mobile for their entire life. You cannot lower the quality of their food as they age.

This food uses coconut oil for brain health as well as antioxidants for the immune system and fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. The formula also contains glucosamine which is ideal in helping your Chessie maintain healthy joints and mobility.

Only real ingredients included in this food like chicken, peas, blueberries, and carrots. The food also contains a variety of pre and probiotics which are useful for maintaining gut health and helping with digestion.

Nulo Freestyle Trout and Sweet Potato Grain-Free for Seniors

The last Chesapeake Bay Retriever food we have is a grain-free formula that contains no chicken or eggs. These two ingredients are a unique allergy for a lot of pups, and sometimes pet owners don’t even realize it because they are so common. If you are looking for a senior food that does not contain poultry than this option from Nulo is a good one.

It contains L-Carnitine for metabolism and heart health as well as Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health and mobility. The formula also uses probiotics to help your dog maintain a healthy digestive system as they age.

Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Food

This holistic superfood blend contains the perfect combination of lean proteins with antioxidant-rich fruit to help your dog as they age. The food uses healthy oils to improve their skin and coat as well as amino acids plus minerals to make every bite taste delicious.

The food uses chicken, chicken meal, and brown rice as the first three ingredients and the formula has a protein percentage of 26 with 11% fat. This is optimal for seniors because their activity decreases as they age.

Our FAQ and Chesapeake Bay Retriever Feeding Guide

Now you have a solid understanding of the positive impact high-quality food can have on your Chessie and you have seen some examples of what a premium dog food looks like. In this section, we’re here to talk about the feeding process for your Chessie and how it’s almost as important as what food you buy.

First off, when you are transitioning your dog from their old food to your new food, you want to do this gradually over time to make things easier on both of you. A lot of pet parents merely fill up the bowl with the new food and then say it doesn’t work or they don’t like it when their pup doesn’t eat it.

Like how a child would behave, you need to wean them off the harmful ingredients they’ve been eating for some long and slowly introduce them to the new healthy ones you want them to have.

Start by feeding them 75% old food with 25% new food and every week reduce the amount of old food and increase the amount of new food until all the old food is gone.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Chesapeake Bay Retriever food.

What are the best ingredients to find in my Chesapeake Bay Retriever food?

When shopping around for dog food, the first thing you want to pay attention to is the ingredients on the packaging. Most cheap food manufacturers use ingredients like soybean meal and corn as their main protein sources; you want to go for foods that use real meat as the first ingredient.

Here are some ingredients you want to find in your dog’s food:

  • Healthy Oils – The main thing you want to pay attention to in the oil is the source of it. A lot of pet food manufacturers use industrial style oils like vegetable and canola which contain toxins. These types of oil also do nothing for your dog’s nutrition so whenever possible you want to look for oils like coconut, sunflower, and fish oil.
  • Protein Meal – The jury is still out on whether or not protein meal is a premium ingredient, but we believe it is and here is why. The only difference between “meal” and real meat is that the meal is the high-concentrated protein source that exists after the water is cooked out of the meat. For example, chicken contains about 70% water so after it’s cooked it loses a lot of its mass.

When you see a chicken meal on dog food, it means they are using the aftermath which results in more protein and more nutrients for your pup.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – While these are not essential in your Chesapeake Bay Retriever food they are a sign of high-quality food. Whole fruits and vegetables are expensive to include in dog foods, so you usually don’t find a lot of them, but they provide ample antioxidants as well as vitamins for the heart, eye, and joint health. Finding fruits and vegetables in your dog food is a sign of premium food.

What are some ingredients to avoid in my dog food?

If we’re honest, there are more low-quality dog foods out there then there are healthy ones. It’s a lot easier for manufacturers to source cheap filler ingredients than it is to find local farms with real protein sources. If you find these ingredients in your dog’s food, you should move on and try something else.

  • By-products – These are the remnants of an animal carcass after all the quality cuts of meat are gone. By-products are considered a lousy ingredient because they are usually from unknown sources which make it challenging to identify allergies.

They are also considered a low-quality ingredient because they are riddled with chemicals and harmful toxins because they come from sick or euthanized animals most of the time. With by-products, you never know what you are getting for sure. It’s always a best practice to go with known sources of protein.

  • Colors and Dyes – Artificial colors are a primary source of allergies in dogs because they simply don’t need this type of stuff to eat their food. Manufacturers use dyes to make their food look pretty for marketing to humans; not dogs. The best Chesapeake Bay Retriever food will never contain artificial dyes or colors.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Food – A Final Word

By now you should understand everything about Chesapeake Bay Retriever food and what separates a premium brand from a budget one. It’s not all about the price though; some companies can charge high prices for cheap foods as well; it comes down to morals and values.

All the dog foods we recommended above are manufactured by companies that center their philosophy around building the healthiest and most nutritious dog food possible. When you purchase dog food you not only buy the food, but you are purchasing a brand.

If you are thinking of switching to a different Chesapeake Bay Retriever food, we recommend trying any of the foods listed above.

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