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best dog food for chesapeake bay retrievers

Do you happen to own the ‘Greatest Duck Dog in the World’?

That is a fitting title for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Chessies are known as the All-American Dog because they are one of the first breeds that originated in the US. They have the resilience to survive the extreme cold of the northern states as well as the summers of the south.

Aside from resilience, Chessies are also known for their intelligence. They are smart, active, playful, and they are obedient. But as I always say, if you want your dog to stay true its breed, watch what you feed.

So, it’s all about your Chesapeake Bay Retriever and its diet. Based on your Chessie’s needs, I have created a list of the best dog foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Let’s dive in…

The Best Dog Foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers – My Top Picks

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe 2. Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free 3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe4. Earthborn Holistic Venture Rabbit Meal and Pumpkin Limited Ingredients 5. American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe 6. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food 7. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Raw Boost8. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Venison

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe

Protein (min.) 21% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Yellow Peas, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin is the first one on my list because I know Chessies needs the best in terms of taste and nutrition. If you want to prevent frequent bouts of indigestion and illness in your dog, this one is formulated precisely for that purpose. It fulfills all the nutritional needs and supports the immune system by helping to prevent allergies and tummy trouble. All thanks to the antioxidant blend, including Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

What I love about Hill’s is that their dog food is manufactured in the USA, and they stand by purity and quality of every ingredient. So when they say their food is hypoallergenic, you know it is.

2. Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free

Protein (min.) 31% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Trout, 2. Salmon Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chickpeas, 5. Pea Flour

If you believe that fish-based food is better for your Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, you try Zignature Trout and Salmon dog food. One of the best reasons for trying this diet is the rich ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty oils. Not only do these fatty oils keep your baby’s coat shiny and healthy, but they are also excellent for joint and bone health.

Another reason to put your Chessie on this premium diet is Zignature’s commitment to quality ingredients. This grain-free recipe contains trout and salmon sourced from Northwestern USA. It is a low glycemic recipe that is perfectly healthy for adults as well as seniors. It is free of all known allergens and full of nutrients such as Niacin and Vitamin B 12. And did I mention how delicious it is? Even the pickiest pooch will find it irresistible.

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe

Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Tapioca Starch

I am a big fan of an ancestral diet for dogs, and Blue Buffalo gets it right with this recipe. The benefits include tons of animal protein. If your Chessie leans towards a large-sized breed and is very active, this one is my top recommendation.

What I love about Blue Buffalo is the patented LifeSource Bits, i.e., a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Your baby will stay strong, active, and healthy in every sense of the word. I also love the fact that it has plenty of glucosamine, which is essential for large-sized Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, who are more prone to joint issues.

4. Earthborn Holistic Venture Rabbit Meal and Pumpkin Limited Ingredients

Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Rabbit Meal, 2. Pumpkin, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Sunflower Oil

This one is another delicious option for your Chessie, made from selected ingredients that are tasty enough to entice your picky pet. This premium recipe by Earthborn made from limited yet high-quality ingredients that include novel proteins from rabbit meat and digestible fiber from the pumpkin. Rich in all the essential nutrients your dog needs, this recipe is free of unwanted ingredients such as GMOs, grains, artificial flavor, and artificial coloring.

I love this product for the fact that the packaging is 30% plant-based plastics, a tremendous eco-friendly initiative that shows the brand’s commitment to quality. Since the recipe is rich in fatty acids, you will see a notable difference in your pet’s coat as well.

5. American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Salmon, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Sweet Potatoes

This one’s another salmon based recipe on the top five list of the best dog foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. This wholesome formula has a balanced ratio of fat and protein to keep your baby healthy, active, and strong. Plus, you get additional fatty acids because of flaxseed and sunflower oil. It also includes carbohydrates sources from sweet potato and peas.

Overall, this limited ingredient recipe packs a powerful punch of nutrients that will take care of its nose to tail health. You won’t have to worry about allergies and tummy troubles with this one.

6. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Protein (min.) 48% | Fat (min.) 28% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 5%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken With Ground Bone, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Chicken Gizzard, 4. Pumpkin Seed, 5. Organic Cranberries

The first one on this list is a raw food option. A raw diet has proven to be extremely beneficial to your dog’s health since it is more nutritious than processed food. Stella & Chewy’s chicken dinner patties are an excellent example of why a raw diet is so good for dogs. These freeze-dried patties contain chicken meat, organs, as well as bone, which is great for your Chessie’s teeth and gums – and all of this comes from an organic cage-free chicken. Stella and Chewy’s patties also contain microorganisms that can aid digestion and prevent allergies.

7. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Raw Boost

Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 20.5% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 9%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), 5. Tapioca

This food from Nature’s Variety is another raw food option on the list. And this one is here because it has a perfect ratio of fat and protein. Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost recipe is a grain-free option that is best for active Chessies with an athletic build. It has everything your baby needs to look gorgeous and stay healthy. It is full of omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Moreover, there is a boost of probiotics to ensure smooth and trouble-free digestion. Not to mention, it is free of additives, grains, soy, corn, and peas.

8. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Venison

Protein (min.) 20% | Fat (min.) 10% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Sweet Potatoes, 2. Venison, 3. Pea Protein, 4. Potato Protein, 5. Canola Oil

This sweet potato and venison recipe is a bowl full of health and happiness for your Chessie. It is a limited ingredient grain-free option with healthy protein and carbs. Plus, there are plenty of fatty acids because of the flaxseed in this recipe. It is indeed one of the lightest foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers with sensitive tummies. Plus, it is free of all known allergens, including grains and additives.

9. Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 37% | Fiber (max.) 1% | Moisture (max.) 2%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Necks, 3. Chicken Gizzards, 4. Organic Kale, 5. Organic Carrots

If your Chesapeake Bay Retrievers is on a raw diet or you are planning to put it on a raw diet, Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets make for a great option. It is free of grains and other problem-causing ingredients. It is just the kind of food a dog should eat – full of animal proteins from quality sources. You can let your faithful pal eat as much as it likes without worrying about it getting fat. Just keep an eye on the calories it consumes and burns.

10. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free

Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

There can’t be the best dog foods list without at least one Taste of the Wild variant on it. And High Prairie is generally an option I trust. Even for large breed Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, High Prairie has the perfect ratio of fat and proteins. I include peas and potatoes to meet the needs of a highly active or athletic Chessie. What’s more: Each bag of High Prairie has a strain of K9 probiotic, a proprietary blend to take care of your baby’s tummy.

11. Wellness Core RawRev Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 36% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), 3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), 4. Peas, 5. Dried Ground Potatoes

Wellness CORE RawRev is another good option for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers on the BARF diet, aka., raw diet. It is a recipe formulated to support the core health of your Chessie. With every bowl, your baby gets pure animal proteins, the right amount of fats, and a dose of enzymes to keep your baby healthy. Not to mention, the turkey and chicken recipe is exceptionally delicious and enticing for picky Chessies. This one is also a great option if you want to transition your dog from regular processed food to a raw diet.

12. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Potatoes, 5. Salmon Meal

Chesapeake Bay Retriever pups thrive on this grain-free chicken recipe by Merrick. With potato and sweet potato in the first five ingredients, your little Chessie will get a lot of healthy carbs essential for its healthy growth. Not to mention, carbs add a lot of flavor to the meal, and your puppies will come running to the bowl everything you fill it with this formula. I also recommend this for pups due to the healthy dose of DHA, which is essential for the cognitive development of the young ones.

13. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables Canned Dog Food

Protein (min.) 10% | Fat (min.) 7.5% | Fiber (max.) 1.3% | Moisture (max.) 78%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Chicken Liver, 4. Carrots, 5. Peas

BLUE Buffalo Homestyle Recipe is another delicious option that will get their tails wagging for every meal. And it is rich in nutrition that ensures healthy physical and mental growth of your little one. Free of baddies like corn and soy, each can of mouthwatering homestyle recipe powerful poultry proteins. Other ingredients such as carrot, peas, barley, and brown rice add all the minerals and vitamins your baby needs. Then you have superfoods like cranberries with antioxidants to support a healthy immune system. Overall, it is just what your pup needs.

14. American Journey Active Life Formula Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dog Food

Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Peas

This protein first recipe ensures that your baby Chesapeake Bay Retriever gets all the nutrients essential for healthy growth. It has the right amount of protein, fats, minerals, vitamins, and micro-ingreidnets such as glucosamine to ensure that your baby grows into a smart, sharp, and strong adult. What I love about it is the right ratio of DHA, ARA, and glucosamine in every bite. Talk about nose to tail health. This formula will take care of it all.

15. American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Senior

Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 11% | Fiber (max.) 7% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

Your senior Chessie needs a recipe tailored to meet the needs of old age. If you have been feeding a healthy adult formula, then you need to transition it to something just as healthy, and more. It is a grain-free formula that focuses on bone and healthy joints, along with their eyes and brain. It is gentle on the tummy and contains powerful antioxidants to support a healthy immune system. Micronutrients such as chondroitin take care of heart and organ health.

16. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 11% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Rice Bran

Nutro Ultra Holistic Superfood Blend is what it sounds like it is, a great recipe full of superfoods. Superfoods are a great source of antioxidants that kill free radicals. That is what your dog needs to prevent health problems that come with aging. There is a good blend of micro-ingredients combined with healthy fiber that ensures proper absorption. Another great reason for me to recommend Nutro is the brand’s commitment to pure ingredients.

17. Nulo Freestyle Trout and Sweet Potato Grain-Free for Seniors

Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Trout, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. Yellow Peas, 5. Sweet Potato

If you love your old pal, you have to take care of its heart. Nulo’s grain-free senior recipe does a good job. It has a good ratio of glucosamine and chondroitin, which makes it healthy not just for your friend’s heart but also for its bones and joints. Plus, there are L-carnitine and probiotic strains to support healthy metabolism in aging pups. Overall, it is a great formula to ensure optimal health.


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Best Dog Foods for Chesapeake Bay Retriever Buyer’s Guide

Now you know the answers to all the questions you had in your mind, let’s get into a little more detail. As I always say, the more you know your dog’s need, the better you can choose for them.

So, let’s start with their needs.

Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Dietary Needs

While Chesapeake is a medium-sized breed, you will find more people treating it as a large breed. Size may be one reason, but I think it’s also because of how much they eat. A grown adult male can eat around five bowls a day. It is best to keep it divided into three to two meals a day. Females might eat less, but it can still be around three bowls a day.

For puppies, they must be eating high-quality puppy food at least three times a day. They need more calories than adults because they are more active and playful.

Speaking of calories, while an adult needs around 1500 calories a day, puppies will need about 2000 calories. Keep in mind that those calories should come from meat sources.

Ingredients to Look for

As I said, you need to look for healthy balanced dog food for your Chessie. First and foremost, you need to look for a healthy balance of fat and proteins. Depending on how active your dog is, the fat content should be between 8 to 10 percent, while proteins should be more than 20 percent.

More on Fat and Proteins

Sources of fats and proteins are more important than the ratio. Make sure the proteins come from real meat. Novel protein sources such as rabbit, kangaroos, venison, and buffalo are just a few examples. While these options come with a heftier price tag, they provide all the essential nutrients along with supplemental ingredients that can prevent common diseases in your Chessie.


Although there are plenty of healthy ingredients besides the essential ones, glucosamine is the one I mainly look for in any best dog food for Chesapeake Bay Retriever. That is because this one ingredient can take care of my baby’s joints and bones better than any other component.

Omega 3 and Omega 6

Your Chessie is susceptible to a few diseases related to skin and coat. Their curly coat, if too dry, can get tangled and will make your baby look messy. It is also a cause of discomfort for the dog, and it becomes difficult to keep a tangled coat clean.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are like magic potions for your dog’s coat and skin. They also keep skin allergies at bay. Fish like cod and salmon are good sources of fatty acids.


Docosahexaenoic Acid or DHA is another supplemental ingredient that is good for your Chessie’s wellbeing. Since the breed is susceptible to certain eye-related diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, a healthy balance of DHA in the diet will keep the risks low for your pal.


Prebiotics help you keep your baby’s tummy free of troubles. They maintain healthy gut bacteria to ensure easy digestion and better metabolism. You can find dog food with prebiotics or sprinkle a prebiotic supplement of regular food.

Ingredients to Avoid

The first thing that you need to avoid for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever is bad carbs. Bad carbs come from sources such as soy, corn, wheat, and ingredients that have little nutritional value otherwise. These ingredients are also common allergens and can cause digestive problems.

Here I would like to mention that carbohydrates are still important to your dog. So look for healthier sources such as potatoes and sweet potatoes instead.

Other ingredients you need to avoid are additives – be it artificial color or artificial flavor.

Lastly, try to avoid any dog food that is overly processed or doesn’t have real animal meat as the first ingredient. It is why I usually recommend raw diet options such as freeze-dried dog food for Chessies. But you have to make sure you are following the proper method to help your baby transition from processed to raw.

Watching Weight

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are active, but many aren’t busy enough to burn all the calories they consume. It is not exactly uncommon to find a Chesapeake Bay Retriever slightly on the heavier side. A study conducted in 2016 stated that nearly 45 % of adult dogs suffer from obesity.

You need to make sure you aren’t listening to your dog when it comes to the quantity of their food. Instead of measuring bowls, keep an eye on the calories consumed.

Keep a regular check on your dog’s weight. Place your hands on your dog’s belly while its standing and see if you can feel its ribs. If yes, then there is nothing to worry about. If no, then you need to make your baby work out a bit while switching to different dog food with more protein and less fat.

Now you know all there is to know about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and their diet. It is time to take a look at the rest of the best dog foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Keep reading, and you will find several good raw options as well.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Food FAQs

Now before we move ahead towards the rest of my top picks for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever, let me answer some of the questions you might have on your mind.

What should I feed my Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Like most dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do well on meat proteins. While chicken and lamb are good options, novel proteins like duck, venison, and salmon are better for their overall health. Ideally, their meal should have at least 20 percent protein and 10 percent fat.

Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever need a large-breed dog food?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can be classified into middle or large breed dog depending on how big they grow. Some remain under 22 inches while others can grow up to 27 inches. However, most do well on large-breed dog foods as they need more protein to stay healthy and energetic.

How much should a Chesapeake Bay Retriever eat?

Chessies have a good appetite. A female requires around three bowls of quality dog food a day while an adult male Chessie will eat approximately five bowls. It is fine as long as your pet isn’t getting fat. However, this meal should be divided into three meals a day.

Can Chesapeake Bay Retriever become obese?

Yes, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever loves to eat, and it can eat more than it should. If their routine does not involve regular exercise, they won’t be able to burn all those calories. Obesity can lead to numerous other health issues.

How many calories does Chesapeake Bay Retriever need in a day?

Young Chesapeake Bay Retrievers need around 2000-2500 calories a day, but as their activity level decreases with age, 1500 calories are enough for them. Seniors can become even less active, and they might need 1200 calories or fewer.

Is Chesapeake Bay Retriever hypoallergenic?

No, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not hypoallergenic because they shed a lot. They may not shed as much as fluffier large breed dogs, but they still shed enough to cause allergies.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a sensitive tummy?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are just as sensitive as other breeds. While they do not particularly have sensitive tummies, they are susceptible to bloating, indigestion, and stomach infections – if their food isn’t of the best quality.

Can food make my Chesapeake Bay Retriever lose hair?

According to a study, Chesapeake Retrievers are prone to hair loss as they grow old. However, the problem has little to do with diet as it is a hormonal issue. Ingredients such as additives and GMOs can often aggravate the problem.

Is a raw diet good for Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Yes, Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a reasonably large breed that requires the right balance of protein and fat. Raw diets offer the best balance of these two essential nutrients. Just make sure you are getting the best raw dog food for your pet.

Is grain-free dog food good for Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Dogs are omnivores by nature, and their diet does include some grains. However, most dog foods have low-quality grains that can cause allergies and trigger sensitivities. So, either choose grain-free for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever or go for food with quality grains such as brown rice.

Which ingredient is bad for Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Avoid ingredients that have little or no nutritional value for your Chessie, which includes any kind of artificial additives such as coloring and flavor. Also, avoid filler ingredients such as soy, corn, and husk.

Does Chesapeake Bay Retriever need a lot of fat in the diet?

Depending on the activity level, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever may need dog food with around 8 t 10 percent fat from quality sources. Fat is what converts into energy your dog needs to enjoy an active lifestyle.

How long does Chesapeake Bay Retriever live?

A healthy Chesapeake Bay Retriever on a balanced diet can live up to 12 years. The breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia in later years but proper diet and supplements can help them enjoy a good life despite health issues.

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