The Good O Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Wheat, mystery meats and weird chemicals… this food has it all. We formed a team of independent experts comprising veterinarians, canine nutritionists and dog parents to research everything there is to know about Good O Dog food. We spent months examing the food's nutritional value and testing it out with our canine companions before agreeing on the contents of this review.
In today’s Good O dog food review, our experts did a deep dive into one of the cheapest dog foods in Australia. Want to know how bad it gets? Then stick around!
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia.
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal.
Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced Kangaroo, Chicken or Salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's Good O Dog Food Reviewed
Good O Dog - 1.5 Star Rating
- Ingredients: Wholegrain cereals, meat and meat by-products (poultry, beef &/or lamb), humectants, palatant, salt, minerals (including potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc & copper), preservatives, vitamins (including A, B6, B12, D3, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid), methionine, flavour, antioxidants and colours.
- Named Protein First: No
- Dog Food Type: Semi-moist kibble
- Recipe Range: Beef, chicken & veal.
- Suitable For: Adult dogs.
- Cost: $
- Australian Owned: No
Good O Dog Food Review
Among our many complaints, apparently Good O dog food is highly palatable. Several owners on our team of independent experts reported their dogs love the taste of the food. Some owners report their older pups seem more excited about this brand than their usual food. This is likely due to the chunkier nature of the kibble. Good-O is ‘semi-moist’, meaning some pieces are larger and chewier, very different from traditional dry kibble.
However, it’s very likely the ‘tasty’ factor in this brand comes from the ‘palatant’, very high up on the ingredient list (4th place). Palatants are common in dog food. They are compounds aimed at making food more appealing to dogs, thus making humans more likely to buy it. Dry kibble in particular has a higher palatant percentage than canned food. Due to palatants, there is no straight link between the quality of a specific food and the gusto with which your dog eats it. Palatants can make lousy food taste great .
Palatants aren’t the problem. We have issues with the lack of information on what those palatants are, particularly since some palatants (like MSG) have been linked to chronic disease, and a high percentage of this coating likely covers poor food that wouldn’t be appetising otherwise .
Another concerning addition that likely contributes to the high palatability is salt. It isn’t often that we’ve reviewed dog food with salt so high up on the ingredient list. It is common knowledge among the veterinarian community that consistently high salt intake has detrimental effects on a dog’s health. In fact, according to Merck’s Vet manual salt poisoning is a real risk when feeding dogs a diet high in salt .
Our panel agreed to give this food 2 stars out of 5 in this category.
The palatants and flavourings from the taste category weren’t a good start, and sadly this Good O dog food review won’t get better.
The ingredient list is short but also full of generic, blanket terms that likely cover some nasty additives. The first issue we have with Good Os is that we weren’t able to find the guaranteed analysis for the recipes. There is no website, so your only chance is to look at the packaging at the store before buying. In our experience, responsible companies don’t have an issue sharing their food’s analysis, so it’s a red flag.
The other big issue is that meat isn’t the first ingredient. This food has ‘wholegrain cereals’ at the top of the list, without mentioning the names or the proportions of these mysterious cereals. Do these include rice, wheat, barley? Is there plain wheat gluten included here? As a buyer, we’ll never know.
This is our problem with blanket terms: it covers ingredients of doubtful quality and helps companies make their ingredient lists look better than they are. You would probably stay away if a kibble had wheat, barley, corn and rice, with meat as the fifth ingredient, right? Well, using ‘wholegrain cereals’ as a generic term helps the list seem healthier.
Meat, while being the second ingredient’, probably comes after 3 or 4 different kinds of grains. In these recipes, animal protein comes as meat and meat by-products. Another blanket term, but at least they indicate there might be chicken, beef or lamb.
The rest of the ingredient list is short but equally terrible. A few highlights that we’ll expand on down below include having humectants as the third ingredient, salt as the fifth, and several mysterious blanket terms that make the recipes even less appealing.
Overall, the ingredient list points out that the brand is prioritising cost over quality, at the expense of your dog’s health. We’re giving Good-O dog food 2 out of 5 in this category.
Protein content 2/5
Considering meat isn’t the first ingredient, one could say this food can’t get worse. Well, buckle up. The animal protein in Good O dog food is called “meat & meat by-products” on the ingredient list. Another blanket term, although we at least have beef, chicken and lamb in parenthesis as likely sources.
The use of blanket terms means there is no way of knowing the exact composition of the food. As such, sensitive dogs like mine have a harder time adapting every time a new bag is opened since the exact composition likely changes according to what is cheaper.
And if you thought the different recipes could at least give your dog some variety? Nope. Regardless of the promoted flavour, all recipes have the same ingredient list. We don’t appreciate the openly deceitful marketing!
Of course, no single-protein recipes are available, and we wouldn’t recommend any of these recipes to a dog with a sensitive tummy or prone to allergies. We’re taking off 3 stars from this category.
Good-O’s ingredient list is relatively short and uses blanket terms left and right. Because of it, it’s difficult to know what kinds of additives are in the recipes. However, our panel of independent experts have a few issues with the preservatives used, noted as relatively high in the ingredient list.
While preservatives in commercial dog food are usual, we’re concerned about the lack of information on whether these are artificial or natural preservatives. Since the Australian pet food industry is largely unregulated, there are no legal requirements to properly label which preservatives are being used in dog food .
Despite the lack of information, dog owners need to try and avoid foods that are known to contain either sulphite or potassium sulphite preservatives. According to the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), these compounds start a chemical reaction that suppresses thiamine. Dogs fed a diet with sulphites consistently present thiamine deficiency, which if left untreated can be fatal. Sulphites can only be present in pet-grade meats, and human-grade meat has other preservatives.
While the current law states that foods containing pet meat with sulphites should have added thiamine to avoid deficiency, it isn’t a guarantee your dog won’t develop it when fed sulphites consistently.
The RSPCA recommends owners choose dog food with human-grade meat, choose high-quality premium food that complies with Australian standards and feed a varied diet to lower the risk of thiamine deficiency .
Considering there are no claims that the meat used in Good-O dog food is human-grade, or that it contains no sulphites, it is likely this brand will have sulphites. As far as additives go, these are one of our least favourite and we would be wary of feeding a brand that might have sulphites.
Other preservatives that are common in cheap dog food (like Good-Os) are BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. All of these have been linked to a higher incidence of allergies, cancer, kidney and liver failure in dogs . Since there is no indication of which kinds of preservatives were used in these recipes, we’d be wary.
Other than the unknown preservatives, this brand also has humectants, standard vitamins and minerals (likely from a powdered mix), flavour, antioxidants and colours. We’ve already covered the issues with flavours and colourings above, so we’ll talk about the final big elephant in the room: humectants.
Humectants are a common occurrence in dog food. We wouldn’t have an issue with them, except when manufacturers refuse to specify which kinds are being used in a given recipe. While some humectants (like vegetable glycerine) are innocuous, others have been consistently linked to chronic health issues.
Common humectants like propylene glycol (also used in antifreeze!) Are used in cheap dog food to prevent moisture loss and because it adds sweetness. Nevertheless, propylene glycol disrupts your pup’s gut microbiome and has been linked to causing a specific type of anaemia in cats. Continuous exposure to this substance will probably cause health deterioration over the long term.
Due to these issues, propylene glycol is banned in the European Union as a pet food additive. However, Australia doesn’t have any law preventing manufacturers from using it.
Good-O dog food only lists humectants as a blanket term, without noting which compound(s) are used. As it is a cheap additive, propylene glycol or other concerning additives in these recipes are a very real possibility.
Considering these issues and the lack of information (which probably covers some nasty truths), we’re giving this brand 1 out of 5 in this category. We would give zero stars if we could.
One might think that this brand offers a small selection of beef and chicken recipes, but that could work for most dogs. Well, the fact is the recipes are exactly the same, regardless of “flavour”. This is a marketing tactic used by pet food companies to make owners think they are offering variety to their dogs, when in fact it’s just slightly different packaging.
The actual meat in the recipes stays the same: the generic “meat & meat by-products” remain the same across recipes, as are the “wholegrain cereals” that make up the bulk of the food. There’s pretty much no variety unless colourful packaging is your thing. Our team agreed to give this brand 1 out of 5 in this category.
This is likely the only positive about this brand. If nothing else, Good-Os is cheap. Probably one of the cheapest foods we’ve reviewed. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the large percentage of cheap cereals with a touch of meat by-products in the recipes.
But from our point of view, the “savings” aren’t worth it. Anything you won’t spend on food will go right to vet bills, since this food isn’t formulated to support health. Just look at the amount of salt!
We’re giving this brand 3 out of 5 in this category.
Do Not Buy If…
Our team of independent experts wasn’t a big fan of this food, so we’d recommend to staying far away from Good-Os if you:
Stay away. There are plenty of other dog food options in the market that will actually nourish your dog instead of filling them with cheap grains and obscure chemicals. For those in a budget, nowadays it’s easier to find mid-range dog food brands that offer way more nutrition. No one on our team of independent experts would feed this to their dog, even if it was gifted to us. Your dog deserves better!
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- RSPCA Knowledge base. Are preservatives in pet food products a concern? https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/
- Dog Food Insider. Six Dog Food Ingredients You Should Always Avoid. https://www.dogfoodinsider.com/six-dog-food-ingredients-always-avoid/
- Whole Dog Journal. Just Because Your Dog Has a Favorite Food Doesn’t Make It Nutritious! https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/food/just-because-your-dog-has-a-favorite-food-doesnt-make-it-nutritious/
- Truth About Pet Food. The Mystery of Pet Food Flavorings. https://truthaboutpetfood.com/the-mystery-of-pet-food-flavorings/
- MSD Manual. Salt toxicosis in animals. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/salt-toxicosis/salt-toxicosis-in-animals