Go! Daily Defence (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Go! Daily Defence Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Go! Daily Defence product line includes two dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Go! Daily Defence Chicken Recipe [A]
  • Go! Daily Defence Lamb Meal Recipe [A]

Go! Daily Defence Chicken Recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Go! Daily Defence Chicken Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, de-boned chicken, whole brown rice, whole white rice, oatmeal, sunflower oil, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potatoes, salmon meal, natural chicken flavour, whole dried egg, flaxseed oil, rice bran, pea fibre, alfalfa, apples, carrots, cranberries, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, yeast extract, dried kelp, dried chicory root, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, inositol, niacin, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, calcium iodate, manganous oxide, selenium yeast), dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, Yucca schidigera extract, dried rosemary

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%16%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%33%44%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 44%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.

The fifth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The sixth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

After the natural chicken flavour, we find whole dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, flaxseed oil is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.

Next, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

In addition, we note the use of alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago2, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

We also note this recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

And lastly, this food includes chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Go! Daily Defence Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Go! Daily Defence Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa and yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Go! Daily Defence is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Go! Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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Notes and Updates

12/12/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances
  • Mainly the protein content of just 27%. 5-star foods can contain rice and yeast products (red ingredients).

  • Is it the high carb content and the red items that make this food a 4 star instead of a 5 star?