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Black Gold Explorer Dog Food Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on May 28, 2024 by Dogster Team

Black Gold Explorer Dog Food - Featured Image

Black Gold Explorer Dog Food Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Black Gold Explorer Dog Food a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Black Gold Explorer is a pet food company that focuses exclusively on kibble for dogs. This company has shown a commitment for over 20 years to producing foods for sporting dogs to maintain their health, longevity, and energy levels. They use globally sourced ingredients to create their dog foods right here in the United States. They carry a variety of dog foods to meet a variety of needs, including age-specific, sensitive skin, and grain-free recipes. If you’ve been considering a Black Gold Explorer formula for your dog, keep reading for more information about this sporting dog brand.

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At a Glance: The Best Black Gold Explorer Dog Food Recipes

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Winner
Black Gold Explorer Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Black Gold Explorer Chicken Meal & Brown Rice
  • Supports nutritional needs
  • Source of glucosamine & chondroitin
  • DHA supports neurological health
  • Second place
    Black Gold Explorer Sensitive Skin & Coat Black Gold Explorer Sensitive Skin & Coat
  • Great source of omega fatty acids
  • Supports immunity and mobility
  • Contains healthy grains
  • Third place
    Black Gold Explorer Puppy Recipe Black Gold Explorer Puppy Recipe
  • Supports brain growth and development
  • Prebiotics support digestive health
  • Healthy grains support energy levels
  • Black Gold Explorer Game Bird Formula Black Gold Explorer Game Bird Formula
  • Supports brain and vision development
  • Essential oil blend of Omega 6 and Omega 3
  • Antioxidants sourced from real fruits and vegetables
  • Black Gold Explorer Timber Ridge Formula Black Gold Explorer Timber Ridge Formula
  • Ideal for sensitive stomachs
  • Contains prebiotics and oatmeal
  • Supports stronger immune systems
  • Black Gold Explorer Dog Food Reviewed

    About Black Gold Explorer

    Black Gold Explorer began as a private label dog food in 1995. It was founded by two brothers, John and Don Allen. Their father, Earl Allen, was an owner of a local distribution company for a brand of dog food called Houn’ Dawg. In 2015, Black Gold Explorer was sold to Pro-Pet LLC, who took over manufacturing and distributing the food. In 2018, Pro-Pet LLC was purchased by Cargill, which is an American company that is a leader in agriculture and food production for both people and animals.

    Who Makes Black Gold Explorer Dog Food and Where Is It Produced?

    Today, Black Gold Explorer is manufactured by Cargill. The food is still produced from globally sourced ingredients within the United States. The Pro-Pet LLC manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Minnesota, and Kansas are still being used to produce these foods.

    Which Type of Dog Is Black Gold Explorer Dog Food Best Suited For?

    While Black Gold Explorer is primarily produced for sporting and working dogs, their variety of recipes is appropriate for a large range of dogs. They produce foods for puppies and dogs aged 7 years and above. They also have a sensitive skin recipe, a high-energy recipe, and multiple grain-based and grain-free recipes.

    Which Type of Dog Might Do Better With a Different Brand?

    All of the Black Gold Explorer dog food recipes contain chicken proteins. This brand of food is not a good option for dogs with sensitivities to chicken in their foods.

    For dogs that need food without chicken, our top pick is the Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon and Rice Formula food.

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    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Chicken Meal

    Chicken meal is a dry rendered product created from a combination of chicken meat and clean chicken skin, and it may or may not include ground bone as well. While many people are turned off by this ingredient, it’s actually an exceptionally nutrient-dense addition to dog food. It’s a great source of lean protein, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

    Ocean Fish Meal

    Ocean fish meal is similar to chicken meal in that it consists of meat and skin and may or may not include bones. It can contain a variety of fish proteins, so the nutrients may vary from batch to batch. However, it’s a great source of lean protein and omega fatty acids, which support skin, coat, joint, heart, and brain health.

    Brown Rice

    Brown rice is a nutritious grain that is a good source of fiber to support digestive health, and it can help to stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s gluten free and is a good source of magnesium, which supports a variety of body functions, including bone health, cardiovascular function, and muscle function.

    Oatmeal

    Oatmeal is also a highly nutritious, gluten free grain that is a good source of soluble fiber, which supports healthy digestive function. It may help support weight loss in overweight dogs because the fiber levels help support satiety between meals. Oatmeal is a good source of antioxidants, which support immune function, and potassium and iron, which are necessary for cardiovascular and respiratory function. Oats are also one of the highest protein grains in dog food.

    Peas

    Peas are a nutritious legume that are packed with protein and healthy fiber. However, peas in dog food have shown a link to causing heart disease, so it’s important to discuss the potential risks of feeding peas to your dog with your vet before switching over to a food containing peas.

    Potatoes

    Potatoes are root vegetables that are a good source of satiety-supporting fiber. They’re a good source of a variety of nutrients, like vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. However, like peas, potatoes have shown a potential link to causing heart disease in dogs, so this ingredient should also be discussed with your vet.

    Weimaraner eating dog food
    Image Credit: Laura Beach, Shutterstock

    Supporting Active Dogs’ Nutritional Needs

    Active dogs, like those that participate in sports and those that have high-activity jobs, require different nutrients than dogs that are sedentary or that have normal activity levels. High-calorie content food, which is primarily achieved through adding more protein and fat to the food, is necessary for helping these dogs maintain a healthy body weight, build muscles, repair body tissues after activity, and maintain healthy energy levels.

    There are multiple recipes offered by Black Gold Explorer, and some are appropriate for dogs with normal activity levels, but they are focused on supporting the needs of sporting and working dogs.

    Healthy Protein Sources

    Black Gold Explorer uses a variety of proteins in their foods, including chicken, beef, ocean fish, turkey, and quail. They use chicken meal in their recipes as a source of lean protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin. The other proteins used in the recipes are healthy sources of protein to support healthy muscles, as well as providing a variety of nutrients.

    Some of the proteins are novel protein sources, which means they are proteins that most dogs have not encountered and are unlikely to have a negative reaction to. Unfortunately, these recipes also contain chicken, which is a common allergen for many dogs.

    Grain-Free Diet Concerns

    Some of the recipes offered by Black Gold Explorer are grain-free diets. Grain-free diets have shown a potential connection to causing heart disease in dogs, so they’re generally not recommended. The link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs has shown a likely link to the addition of legumes and potatoes to foods in place of grains.

    This company adds peas and potatoes to their grain-free recipes in place of grains, both of which may lead to heart disease, so it’s important to discuss these ingredients in a grain-free food before transitioning your dog.

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    A Quick Look at Black Gold Explorer Dog Food

    Pros
    • Owned by a well-known company in human and animal food
    • Produced in the U.S.
    • Foods focused on meeting the needs of sporting and active dogs
    • Variety of recipes available for most dogs’ needs
    • Chicken meal in every recipe is a great source of lean protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin
    • Grains used in most recipes are a good source of healthy fiber
    Cons
    • All recipes contain chicken proteins
    • All grain-free recipes contain peas and potatoes

    Recall History

    To date, Black Gold Explorer has not had any recalls on their dog food recipes.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Black Gold Explorer Dog Food Recipes

    1. Black Gold Explorer Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Recipe – Our Favorite

    Black Gold Explorer Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Recipe

    The Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Recipe food is a great option for dogs with normal activity levels. This food contains 26% protein content and 16% fat content. It’s a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, helping to support your dog’s joint health no matter their size or age. It’s also a good source of omega fatty acids, including DHA, which supports brain health and development.

    Many users of this food report their dogs with stomach sensitivities tolerating it well, and it is widely accepted as a highly palatable food, even with picky pups. Prebiotics support digestive health, and it contains a special nutrient blend that is formulated to support immunity and mobility.

    Pros
    • Supports nutritional needs of dogs with normal activity levels
    • Good source of glucosamine and chondroitin
    • DHA supports neurological health
    • Good for sensitive stomachs
    • Highly palatable
    • Supports digestion, immunity, and mobility
    Cons
    • Contains chicken

    2. Black Gold Explorer Sensitive Skin and Coat

    Black Gold Explorer Sensitive Skin & Coat

    For dogs with sensitive skin issues, the Sensitive Skin and Coat formula is a good pick. It’s a good source of omega fatty acids that support skin and coat health, thanks to containing ocean fish meal, flaxseed, and salmon oil. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health, and it contains the same nutrient blend as the previous food that supports immunity and mobility.

    This food contains moderate protein, with 24% protein content, and low fat, with 14% fat. It contains oatmeal, brown rice, and pearled barley, which are all healthy grains that support energy levels and contain multiple nutrients, including fiber for digestive health.

    Although this food is made to support skin sensitivities, it does contain chicken, which is a common allergen for many dogs. It also is not high enough in nutrients to support active dogs.

    Pros
    • Great source of omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health
    • Supports immunity and mobility
    • Good option for dogs needing moderate protein and low fat
    • Contains healthy grains
    Cons
    • Contains chicken
    • Too low in nutrients for sporting and active dogs

    3. Black Gold Explorer Puppy Recipe

    Black Gold Explorer Puppy Recipe

    If you’ve got a puppy to feed, the Puppy Recipe is a nice pick. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin from chicken meal to support joint health and development. It’s a good source of DHA to support the growth and development of your puppy’s brain and neurological system. Oatmeal provides a source of healthy prebiotics to support digestive health in your puppy, even if they have a sensitive tummy.

    This food contains 30% protein and 20% fat to support the nutritional needs of growing and active puppies. It’s also high in calories, coming in at 444 kcal per cup of food. It contains healthy grains that support energy levels in active pups. Many people report their pups finding this food to be highly palatable, making it a good option for picky puppies.

    This food does contain chicken, so it’s not suitable for puppies with sensitivities to chicken proteins. It also is only available in relatively large bags, which may not be ideal for smaller puppies.

    Pros
    • Good source of glucosamine and chondroitin
    • DHA supports brain growth and development
    • Prebiotics support digestive health
    • Supports the nutritional needs of growing and active puppies
    • Healthy grains support energy levels
    • Highly palatable
    Cons
    • Contains chicken
    • Only available in large bags

    What Other Users Are Saying

    Because we don’t want you just taking our word for it, we’ve checked to see what other people are saying about the Black Gold Explorer dog foods.

    Here’s what we found:
    • Chewy: “She is a picky eater, and she loves this food. Good quality food for a reasonable price. No skin, allergy, or tummy issues with this food. Highly recommend!”
    • Farm & Home Supply: “My dog was originally on Black Gold and when we switched to a higher protein brand/blend he developed dandruff. We tried an additional 2 brands but the same result. Within 3 weeks of being put back on Black Gold, his dandruff disappeared.”
    • Amazon: “Great food. Don’t feed your dog the stuff from the big box stores. My dog had horrible gas, stomach discomfort, and terribly dry skin. This food took care of those issues, and he has lots of energy. His skin is healthier, and his coat is so shiny and pretty.” Read more Amazon reviews here!

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    Conclusion

    Black Gold Explorer produces a variety of nutritious dog foods to support the needs of dogs of just about any activity level. Their primary focus is active sporting and working dogs, but they do provide recipes that can also support the needs of dogs with normal activity levels, puppies, and senior dogs. This company is owned by a trusted producer of human and animal food, and it’s all produced here in the United States.

    Although they have no recall history to date, Black Gold Explorer does have a couple of negatives. The biggest con we’ve seen with this brand is that all of their foods contain chicken, which is a problem for dogs with sensitivities to chicken, a common allergen for many dogs. They also add peas and potatoes to their grain-free recipes, which has shown a link to causing heart disease in dogs.

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