Solid Gold Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Solid Gold Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Solid Gold Grain Free product line includes nine 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.

  • Solid Gold Lil’ Boss [A]
  • Sold Gold Mighty Mini [A]
  • Solid Gold Buck Wild (3 stars) [M]
  • Solid Gold Wild Heart (4 stars) [M]
  • Solid Gold Native Sun (3 stars) [M]
  • Solid Gold Sun Dancer (5 stars) [A]
  • Solid Gold Leaping Waters (4 stars) [M]
  • Solid Gold Sunday Sunrise (3 stars) [M]
  • Solid Gold Barking at the Moon (5 stars) [A]

Solid Gold Mighty Mini was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Solid Gold Mighty Mini

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 37%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, chickpeas, peas, sweet potato, pea protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pollock meal, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pumpkin, dried egg, natural flavors, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dl-methionine, taurine, l-carnitine, dried chicory root, carrots, apples, cranberries, blueberries, lettuce, celery, beets, watercress, spinach, broccoli, parsley, 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

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%22%37%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%44%30%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 30%

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 includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient lists 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.

The fifth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The sixth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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 pollock meal. Pollock is a type of marine fish native to the North Atlantic.

Because it is considered a meat concentrate, pollock meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

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

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

The ninth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

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.

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 salmon oil. 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, we note the use of lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

And lastly, this food contains 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.

Solid Gold Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Solid Gold Grain Free 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 33%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 36%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas, peas, pea protein and lentils, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Solid Gold Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.

Solid Gold 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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Notes and Updates

09/10/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Shea

    Thanks Melissa! She did good on Lil Boss but I rotate brands and will probably go back to it soon. I was thinking of her trying the Wee Bit recipe because I’m trying to stay away from chicken and potatoes. Seems she does better and is less itchy without them.

  • Melissa

    @disqus_51EYidNktg:disqus My nearly 9 yr old, 4.5lb Chihuahua has been eating Solid Gold since she was a puppy. I did a lot of research when I got her & have sort of stayed on top of it as the years have passed – when she got fussy over Wee Bit we switched to Sun Dancer, even though the pellets were much larger because she preferred the taste. We have since transitioned to Mighty Mini the last year or so & added a yorkie/pom mix to our house & they two of them eat & enjoy without complaint. Weight is always well maintained, coat looks great & no stomach issues to date. Chihuahua has drier skin but we live in Colorado & it clears up completely once the weather is warmer, so while I can’t speak to it improving the condition, I can say that in our case it definitely isn’t adding to it! Hope this helps!

  • Shea

    I just started my little dog on Lil Boss. Hoping it will help her with her dry flaky skin. She seems to like it quite a bit and it has small kibble. Does anyone have experience with this brand?