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Kirkland Dog Food is a private-label brand that is only available in the large retail store, Costco. It is advertised as a “Super Premium” dog food and comes at a very affordable price. But just how good is it? Let’s take a deeper look into this brand and some of its top recipes.
Review of Costco Kirkland Dog Food
Costco Kirkland Signature Dog Food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
What’s the Best Costco Dog Food Recipe?
The Kirkland product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Costco Kirkland Signature Adult Lamb, Rice and Vegetable||4||M|
|Costco Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken, Rice and Vegetable||5||M|
|Costco Kirkland Signature Puppy||5||A|
|Costco Kirkland Signature Small Dog||5||M|
|Costco Kirkland Signature Mature Dog||5||M|
|Costco Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight||3||M|
Costco Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken, Rice and Vegetable was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), egg product, dried beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, millet, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, carrots, peas, dried kelp, apples, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||18%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||37%||39%|
The first ingredient in this recipe is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% 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 item is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The next ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. This item 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 sixth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The seventh ingredient is beet pulp, which is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The next 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 ninth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other inclusions.
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 Costco product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists that yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, we find peas, which 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.
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.
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Kirkland Signature Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.
As a group, this Kirkland brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Which means this Kirkland product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to other kibbles.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, peas and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing a significant amount of meat.
My List of the Best Alternatives to Kirkland Dog Food in 2021:
As Kirkland Dog Food isn’t available online, if you’re looking for a more time-efficient click-and-buy option, I have picked what I believe to be a great alternative to each Kirkland product in this review:
Kirkland is a private-label brand of dog food that is marketed as a premium food at a low cost. They produce dog foods for all life stages. They have two lines, Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain, the latter of which is their grain-free variety.
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Kirkland’s products are free from soy, corn, and wheat, nor do they contain by-products or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Kirkland dog food is a private-label brand which is made for the large retailer Costco. Along with 4health, another private-label brand, it is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, Inc., which is owned by Schell and Kampeter, Inc.
The latter is a family-owned, U.S.-based pet food manufacturer with plants in Gaston, South Carolina; Meta, Missouri; and Lathrop, California. The company was founded in 1970 by brothers-in-law Schell and Kampeter, who bought Milling Meta Co., a livestock feed, and dog food producer.
In those days, they produced only 5% dog food. They expanded their production with the inclusion of new plants in California and South Carolina, in 1999 and 2002 respectively.
Who makes Kirkland dry dog food?
Is Kirkland dog food safe for dogs?
Is Kirkland dog food recalled?