Solid Gold Sun Dancer Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Solid Gold Sun Dancer product line includes one dry dog food claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance
Solid Gold Sun Dancer
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, tapioca, peas, whitefish meal, quinoa, potatoes, canola oil, tomato pomace, sweet potato, chia seed, natural flavor, dried eggs, flaxseed, dried cranberries, dried pumpkin, dried carrots, dried apples, salt, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), salmon oil (source of DHA), taurine, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, choline chloride, manganous oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium selenite, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, rosemary extract, turmeric
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||16%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||33%||38%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
whitefish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Whitefish, is a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The sixth ingredient is quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.
Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.3
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The ninth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, we find dried egg, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
Next, flax seed and chia seed, are some of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax and chia seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein and chia seed contains about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener4 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Next, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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.
Solid Gold Sun Dancer Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Solid Gold Sun Dancer 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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, quinoa, flax and chia seeds, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Solid Gold Sun Dancer is a plant-based kibble using a notable amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Those looking for more kibbles from the same company may wish to visit our review of Solid Gold dry dog food.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
06/11/2011 Original review
12/21/2012 Review updated
09/05/2013 Review updated
09/05/2013 Last Update