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Dog Food Ratings

Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Solid Gold Love At First Bark Chicken, Potato & Apple Puppy Recipe Grain-Free

by Solid Gold
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Solid Gold Love At First Bark is a mid-priced dog food with average quality. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, but no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It has a somewhat high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat content and the meat and fat quality in the food is mixed. Solid Gold has a below-average number of recalls and was very transparent when answering our questions.

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TYPE
Dry Dog Food
PRICE
$$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Puppy
FEATURES
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, No Corn Wheat or Soy
PACKAGE
4, 24 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
Solid Gold Pet, LLC

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Nutrition

Nutrition

This food has a fair amount of protein fat but is somewhat high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content slightly and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. They are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts, however, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.

To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 31.11%

Min. Fat 17.78%

Min. Carbs 43.33%

Max. Fiber 5.56%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 28.0%

Min Fat: 16.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 5.0%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%

Calories

Calories

450 Calories per Cup

This product has a relatively high amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. If your dog has fair to low activity levels, you may want to feed less than the labels recommend amount, since high-calorie foods like this are often feed to more active dogs who require a higher amount of daily calories. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.

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FDA Alert

FDA Alert

Grain-Free Dog Foods

This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.

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79.3%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
78%
63
Total Ingredients
1
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Chickpeas, Apples, Ocean Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavors, Dried Eggs, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), DL-Methionine, Carrots, Pumpkin, Parsley, Cranberries, Blueberries, Lettuce, Celery, Beets, Watercress, Spinach, Dried Chicory Root, Broccoli, Spearmint, Almond Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sesame Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Thyme, Lentils, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper sulfate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This food has 1 controversial ingredient, more on that below.


Top 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.

  • Chicken
    Chicken is a nutritious meat that provides protein, fat and other nutrients to dogs. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). However, chicken is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Chicken Meal
    Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. Chicken meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Peas
    Peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.
  • Potatoes
    Potatoes provide carbohydrates (mostly starch) and are a rich source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between potatoes and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if potatoes are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.
  • Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
    Chicken fat is the fat left over after cooking chicken parts. It's a high-quality dog food ingredient that provides nutrients such as fat and Omega-6 fatty acids. Mixed-Tocopherols are a natural preservative made from Vitamin E that helps keep food fresh. We consider it a high-quality dog food preservative.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Ocean Fish Meal
  2. Fish meals are made by cooking fish. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. While fish is generally nutritious, this ingredient doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. This includes the potential that rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased meat sources could have been used. For that reason we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient.



Country of Origin

Solid Gold dog food is made in the USA - that’s great because of the high food manufacturing rules and regulations here.


Meat & Fat Quality

A variety of meats and oils can be found in this dog food. Let’s start with the transparent ones: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil, Almond Oil and Sesame Oil provide proteins and fat. All of them show very clearly which animals and plants they are made from, that’s how it should be. But then we also find Ocean Fish Meal on the ingredients list. That’s a lower quality ingredient, because it’s intransparent in which fish specifically it comes from.


Artificial Preservatives

Solid Gold Love At First Bark uses 0 controversial artificial preservatives, excellent. It’s good to know that ‍not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.


Artificial Colors

The lack of preservatives is matched by no artificial colors, well done.


Artificial Flavors

No artificial flavors are used either. This product manages to ace all three “artificial ingredient” checks - that’s how it should be.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
80%
1
Brand Recalls

Solid Gold has a below-average number of dog food recalls.

Date:
5/8/2012
Recalled Products:
Solid Gold WolfCub Large Breed Puppy Food, 4lb, 15lb, and 33lb, with a best before date of December 30, 2012 and batch code starting with SGB1201A31X. Product labeling reads in part:" LARGE-BREED PUPPY DOG FOOD SOLID GOLD WOLFCUB MANUFACTURED FOR: SOLID GOLD HEALTH PRODUCTS FOR PETS, INC. EL CAJON, CA 92020 NET WT 4 LBS./1.81 KG ". Solid Gold WolfKing Large Breed Adult Dog Food, 4lb, 15lb, and 28.5lb, with a best before date of December 30, 2012 and batch code starting with SGL1201A32X. Product labeling reads in part:" LARGE-BREED ADULT DOG FOOD SOLID GOLD WOLFKING MANUFACTURED FOR: SOLID GOLD HEALTH PRODUCTS FOR PETS, INC. EL CAJON, CA 92020 NET WT 15 LBS./6.8 KG ".
Cause:
Products were produced at the facility that has been linked to recent recalls of Diamond brand pet foods due to potential Salmonella contamination.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
Voluntary
Quantity:
8,047 total
Source
Transparency

Transparency

Score
88%

We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.

How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?

Solid Gold was exceptionally responsive to our first email. They were one of the few companies who responded within 1 day, and with relatively complete answers.  

Does Solid Gold have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?

We do have a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist that we keep on staff as a consultant.

There was a 2nd email to ask for the nutritionists name, but they stated that they are unable to provide names of employees.  

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

That Nutritionist along with our Food Scientist (PhD) and Manager of Nutrition all formulate our products.


Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

We have done AAFCO feeding trials in the past, but now use a private kennel for palatability testing and use formulation and laboratory testing to ensure our products meet the AAFCO guidelines.

Generally speaking, companies may choose to perform feeding trials that are different than the AAFCO feeding trial, and in some cases more complete.  

What country are your products manufactured?

Our dry dog and cat food are made in the USA along with our wet dog food. Our wet cat food is made in a human grade, FDA regulated facility in Thailand and our treats and supplements are made in the USA.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

I am sure that our manufacturing facilities can be visited, I am just not sure how that is done.

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

Solid Gold operates what is called a Positive Release program. All ingredients are tested a minimum of 4 times before entering our manufacturing facility. Samples are retained hourly during production to ensure quality and consistency. Final samples are taken of each batch and sent to 3rd party labs for testing to ensure that all nutrients are within specifications and for food safety. Once they pass all tests and inspections, the product is released to our warehouse.

This was one of the more detailed and complete explanations of quality assurance provided by a manufacturer.  

Does Solid Gold own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

Solid Gold does not own their manufacturing facilities but we use privately owned manufacturing facilities.

Name could not be shared.

Do any parts of your product come from China?

Absolutely no ingredients come from China.

Solid Gold Love At First Bark Chicken, Potato & Apple Puppy Recipe Grain-Free

by Solid Gold
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