Black Gold Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.
The Black Gold product line includes 10 dry dog foods, 9 claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one growth (Large Breed Puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Black Gold Super Blend
- Black Gold Kennel Blend
- Black Gold Trainers Blend
- Black Gold Lamb and Rice
- Black Gold Field Trial Blend
- Black Gold Professional Blend
- Black Gold High Energy Blend
- Black Gold Large Breed Puppy
- Black Gold Performance Blend
- Black Gold Bites and Bones with Healthy Squares
Black Gold Professional Blend dog food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Black Gold Professional Blend
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Meat meal, brewers rice, corn meal, ground wheat, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols-source of vitamin E), corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, dried beet pulp, natural liver flavor (hydrolyzed poultry liver (enzymatic) with brewer's dried yeast), phosphoric acid, potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural and artificial flavors, lecithin, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative) and rosemary extract), salt, potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, niacin, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), menadione sodium bisulfate complex (vitamin K), calcium lodate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), cobalt carbonate, folic acid and sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||18%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||38%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is meat meal, “the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices”.1
Since in this case the source animal is not known, this meat can come from anywhere. Road kill, dead zoo animals, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized cats and dogs.
On the brighter side, however, meat meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.
Although this item does contain all the amino acids a dog needs, we do not consider meat meal a quality component.
The second ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, brewers rice has nothing to do with the process of brewing beer.
The third ingredient is cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fifth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).
The sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, we find brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
What’s more, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
Next, this Black Gold dog food product contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Black Gold Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Black Gold looks to be a below-average dry dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and with better quality ingredients, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Black Gold is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of generic meat meal and chicken by-product meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
03/04/2010 Original review
08/24/2010 Review updated
04/19/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩