Costco is a popular and preferred store by many because of the excellent price-to-quality ratio of its own signature brands and the low bulk prices of other products offered.
But usually, store-brand dog food is perceived by many as a lower-quality and cheaper alternative to the more popular brands. So, you may be asking yourself whether Kirkland Signature, which is Costco’s pet food brand, is good enough for your pup or not.
Read on for a detailed and objective Kirkland dog food review.
About Kirkland Dog Food Brand
Kirkland, Washington, is where the Costco headquarters were located in 1992 before moving to Issaquah in 1996. So, the signature pet food brand is named after the former headquarters location of Costco Wholesale Operation.
The company is the fifth biggest retailer worldwide and the 10th largest corporation in the USA.
Costco also happens to be the number one retailer of prime beef, rotisserie chicken, organic food, and wine.
The Kirkland Signature pet food is made exclusively for Costco by one of the largest pet food manufacturers, Diamond Pet Foods. They make some of the most popular dog food brands like Diamond, Solid Gold, Taste of the Wild, Artemis, and Premium Edge too.
Is Kirkland Dog Food Made In The USA?
According to Costco, all Kirkland Signature Pet Foods are made in the five manufacturing facilities owned by Diamond Pet Foods, all of which are located in the USA. Two facilities are in Arkansas, and the others are in Missouri, California, and South Carolina.
The retail giant also assures its customers that most of the ingredients are sourced from the USA, except for some critical ones that are not available in the country and are imported from international suppliers. Some of the imported ingredients for making the Kirkland dog foods include dried chicory root bought from Belgium and potato protein originating from Germany.
But all ingredients are tested for toxins, and nutritional analyses are performed before they are used in the manufacturing process.
Kirkland Dog Food Review
Kirkland Signature dog food isn’t too expensive and is made in the United States with high-quality ingredients by Diamond Pet Foods, a reputable pet food maker.
Costco offers a variety of recipes and flavors suited for puppies and adult or senior dogs. There are specialized formulas for small dogs as well as one for weight management.
One of the most significant advantages of Kirkland brand dog foods is their affordable price and excellent price-to-quality ratio.
Kirkland Signature dog food is available as dry dog food, wet dog food, and some healthy dog treats.
There are two lines within the Kirkland Signature brand. One is the Kirkland Signature Super-Premium line, and the other is the Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Grain-Free line.
The latter is made for pups that have an intolerance or allergy to gluten, wheat, and other grains.
Overall, dog parents who choose to buy this dog food prefer it both for the affordable price and because their furbabies like the taste too.
Here is an overview of Kirkland Signature’s two main lines of dog food brands.
Kirkland Signature Super-Premium Dog Food
Kirkland Signature Super-Premium dog foods are made to give dogs a complete and balanced diet at a price that most people can afford.
The line includes dry dog food recipes formulated for the different life stages—puppy, adult, and senior. There is a special formula for small dog breeds, as well as one for weight management.
There used to be two wet dog foods under this brand name, including Chicken, Lamb, and Organic Chicken.
But today, the only canned food available is the Kirkland Signature Nature’s domain Turkey and Pea wet dog food.
According to the Kirkland guaranteed analysis of the different foods from this product line, all of the Super-Premium dry dog foods have at least 27.0% of crude protein. The only exception is the kibble made for healthy weight, which has a lower protein content of 20% minimum and a lower fat content of 6% minimum.
Except for the Healthy Weight formula, all other dry dog foods from the Super-Premium line have a crude fat content of 12 to 17% and a crude fiber content of 3 to 4%.
This means that all foods comply with the AAFCO requirements for complete and balanced nutrition for dog food, which are 18–30% crude protein, 10–20% crude fat, and 3–4% crude fiber. The protein is on the higher end, but so is the crude fat.
The sole exception is the Healthy Weight formula, which has 6% fiber and 6% crude fat. But there is a reason for this. Fiber helps slow digestion and requires more energy to be digested. This means that the food is designed to help the dog eat fewer calories and to improve its digestive system, thus promoting healthy weight loss.
But keep in mind that the Healthy Weight formula from the Kirkland Signature Super-Premium line has a lower protein content of at least 20%. So if your four-legged companion needs to consume more protein, this dog food may not be the best choice.
The recipes for the regular dry dog food for adult dogs in this line include chicken, rice, and vegetables; and lamb, rice, and vegetables.
The recipe for small dogs is chicken and vegetables, and that for puppies is chicken, rice, and vegetables.
The Kirkland Signature Super-Premium Mature Dog Food is made with chicken, rice, and eggs. At the same time, the Healthy Weight Formula ischicken and vegetables.
The first ingredient and primary protein source in all of these foods is real, whole meat (poultry or lamb).
This is good news and is something that all of the best-quality dog foods have, as real meat is not processed and is an excellent source of protein and amino acids, which are essential for your pup.
The second ingredient is chicken or lamb meal, which are also preferred protein sources for pet food manufacturers.
The dry foods contain Active9 Probiotics, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin. These are essential nutrients and elements for keeping your dog’s immune system, digestive system, joints, bones, skin, and coat healthy and well.
The Kirkland Signature Super-Premium dog food is suitable for all pups that don’t have an allergy or intolerance to the ingredients like poultry, lamb, or grains.
The grains used for the making of these dry dog foods are healthy and energy-packed. Their list includes whole-grain brown rice, ground white rice, millet, rice bran, and cracked pearl barley.
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Grain-Free Dog Food
The other Kirkland Signature product line is the grain-free line called Nature’s Domain. It is suitable for pups that have problems eating grains, such as sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies.
Two of the dry foods are made with ancient grains and organic ingredients.
These dry dog foods are also less caloric than the others, which contain grain, making them suitable for pups that need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
The Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain dog food line offers several types of dry dog foods and one wet dog food.
Its dry dog food for all life stages comes in different recipes, including Salmon Meal and Sweet Potato, Beef and Sweet Potato, Turkey Meal and Sweet Potato, Turkey and Ancient Grains, and Organic Chicken and Ancient Grains.
There is one recipe for puppies, which is chicken and peas, and one for small breeds, which is salmon and lentil.
The only canned wet food from this line is Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Turkey and Pea Stew.
According to the guaranteed analysis of the grain-free dry dog foods from this line, the crude protein is between 22% and 27% minimum. The crude fat content is 12% to 15%, and the fiber content is 3% to 5.5%.
So, the protein content is on the higher end of the range of 18% to 30% recommended by AAFCO. Furthermore, because the ingredients are real meat, poultry, and meat and poultry or salmon meal, they are high in amino acids.
Many dog parents prefer choosing dog foods that have real meat, poultry, or fish as the first ingredient rather than meat, poultry, or fish meal.
In the brand’s grain-free recipes, the grain is substituted by other healthy carbs and sources of fiber and nutrients, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, and more.
After the huge controversy regarding grain-free dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs examined by the FDA a few years ago, many dog parents now prefer to revert back to grain-inclusive dog food. The reason for the increased cases of DCM as a result of eating grain-free dog food was the lower quantities of taurine.
Today’s high-quality grain-free dog foods contain sufficient added taurine. Kirkland Nature’s Domain grain-free dog foods are no exception.
Overview Of Ingredients In Kirkland (Costco) Dog Food
Overall, the Kirkland Signature dog food is made with high-quality ingredients that are put together in a way that meets the AAFCO’s requirements for complete and balanced nutrition in dog food.
The dry dog foods from the Super-Premium line have added chondroitin and glucosamine, which are essential for keeping the pup’s joints healthy. Active9 probiotics, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Selenium are also included.
The dry dog food from the Nature’s Domain line has added omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and natural probiotics from dried chicory root.
An overview of the essential ingredients used for the Kirkland Signature dry dog food:
The first ingredients are either real meat, meat meal, or fish meal. And most recipes rely on a single or a limited number of high-quality proteins, which is excellent if your pup has allergies to specific proteins.
The protein percentages in the foods vary from 20 to 24 percent and more.
All dog foods contain sufficient amounts of fat, including healthy omega-3, omega-6, and DHA fats. The sources are primarily natural, such as salmon oil, chicken liver, or others.
The Kirkland Signature dog foods contain complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain rice, sweet potatoes, beet pulp, peas, and others, which are excellent sources of fiber and energy.
Canola oil: some dog parents consider canola oil as potentially dangerous and toxic for dogs, while others are certain that it can benefit the health by lowering the blood pressure and cholesterol in dogs.
Brewer’s dried yeast: this is a nutritious ingredient that can be harmful only to pups with allergies to it.
Tomato pomace: it is a soluble fiber source that is also used as a filler in some dog foods.
A Quick Look At The Pros And Cons Of Kirkland Dog Food
- Excellent price for the quality offered
- Made in the United States by a reputable pet food manufacturer.
- Includes high-quality ingredients from the USA and Europe
- Added natural probiotics
- Available in different lines and recipes for dogs of all life stages, different breeds, and pups with allergies or intolerances
- High protein content
- There are grain-free and organic options too
- There is no detailed information regarding the production process itself
Reviews Of The Best Kirkland Dog Foods And Treats
Best Overall: Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Grain-Free All Life Stages Salmon Meal
This grain-free dry dog food from the Nature’s Domain line has salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, and canola oil listed as its first ingredients.
It is perfect for pups with allergies to the more common proteins, such as poultry, beef, pork, and others.
It is also an excellent choice for dogs with an intolerance or allergy to gluten or grains.
The food is approved by the AAFCO and provides a complete and balanced diet to the average healthy dog. It is formulated to suit the nutritional needs of pups of all ages.
The crude protein is 24% minimum, the crude fat is 14% minimum, and the crude fiber is 3% maximum.
- Made of salmon meal, which is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other healthy nutrients
- Suitable for dogs of all ages
- Affordable for high-quality grain-free dog food
- Some dog parents are not happy about its fishy smell
Best For Small Breed: Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Small Breed Salmon & Lentil
This kibble, formulated for dogs of small breeds, has real salmon as the first ingredient and salmon meal as the second. It is a good choice if your pup cannot eat poultry, beef, or other more popular proteins, or if it is intolerant to grains. Plus, salmon is packed with protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
It has added probiotics and prebiotic fibers from natural sources and is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Thanks to the small size of the morsels, even the smallest furbabies can eat this dry food comfortably and safely.
- An excellent choice for small pups with different allergies and sensitivities
- Small-sized kibble
- Very easy to digest, and with added probiotics and prebiotics
- It has added taurine to help prevent DCM
- The smell of fish can be a bit too much for some dog parents and for fussy eaters
Best Treats + Dental Care: Kirkland Signature Dental Chews 72 Dog Treats
These chews are designed in shape, texture, and ingredients to be comfortable to chew, delicious, and to help remove any tartar from your pup’s teeth.
Each of the 72 dental chews has a unique paw grip and different nubs and ridges, which will help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy and its breath fresh.
Plus, they contain some essential added vitamins and minerals.
- Special design to ensure that the chew cleans the tartar from the teeth
- They have added minerals and vitamins
- They come in only one size option
Kirkland Dog Food Reviews
Some of the reviews of the Kirkland Dog Food worth mentioning include:
“A no-fuss dog food that is a safe bet for pet parents looking for an easily available and affordable food” by the Dog Food Network.
“Uses high-quality ingredients and provides a wide range of formulas for all life stages and for dogs who need to lose some weight,” is what CertaPet has said about the Kirkland Signature dog food.
All of the Kirkland Signature dog food items that are currently for sale on Amazon have very high ratings.
Kirkland Dog Food Recalls
There have been only two recalls of dog food from the Kirkland Signature brand.
In May 2012, the manufacturer Diamond Pet Food issued a voluntary food recall of some of the products due to the risk of them being contaminated with salmonella.
Before that, in March 2007, Kirkland Signature was just one of the brands of dog foods recalled by the FDA during a massive food recall because of possible contamination with melamine.
A class action lawsuit was filed against Costco in 2020 regarding Kirkland dog food. The claim was that the grain-free food actually did contain grains, which cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
The action was settled in 2021 when Diamond Pet Foods agreed to refund some buyers of certain dog foods, including several from the Kirkland Signature brand.
Conclusion: Is Kirkland A Good Dog Food?
Kirkland dog food is among the top-rated dog foods at leading online retailer websites such as Amazon and Chewy.
Dog parents like Kirkland dog foods because of their availability, their very affordable prices, the high-quality ingredients used, and the taste qualities of the different formulas.
Overall, whether Kirkland is a good option for your pup depends on a number of factors.
First, determine whether or not your furry companion has allergies or sensitivities to some of the ingredients.
Second, whether your dog enjoys the food and does not experience any digestive or other issues after eating it.
With the lawsuit, which was settled just a year ago and claimed that the food had been falsely advertised as grain-free, we are not sure whether the grain-free line is the safest option for dogs with severe allergies and sensitivities to grains.
Also, keep in mind that the calcium and phosphorus levels of some of these foods are on the high side, which can be problematic for pups with kidney disease.
Some of the foods contain brewer’s yeast, which can cause bloating and digestive issues in some dogs, which in extreme cases can lead to life-threatening gastric torsion.
But otherwise, if you want healthy, complete, and balanced dog food that is easy to find and will not hurt your budget, then this dog food could be the best option for you and your four-legged friend.