Kirkland Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Kirkland Signature Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Kirkland Signature product line includes six dry dog foods. Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken
  • Kirkland Signature Puppy (4.5 stars)
  • Kirkland Signature Small Dog (4.5 stars)
  • Kirkland Signature Adult Lamb (3.5 stars)
  • Kirkland Signature Mature Dog (4.5 stars)
  • Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight (3 stars)

Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and vitamin E), egg product, dried plain beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, millet, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, carrots, peas, dried kelp, apples, dried skim milk, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, 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%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%

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 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 fourth ingredient is pearled barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. The term “pearled” means the grain has been processed to remove its outer hull and bran, unlike whole barley. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth 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 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 have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp 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 eighth 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. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish 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.

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears2 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The next ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

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, 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 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, 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 also 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.

Kirkland Signature Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Kirkland Signature looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 29%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the 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%.

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

Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, peas and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Kirkland Signature is a plant-based dry dog food that uses a moderate amount of named meats and meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Those looking for a lite kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Kirkland Healthy Weight Formula dog food.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Other spellings: Costco, Kirklands

Notes and Updates

02/20/2010 Original review
09/24/2010 Review updated
06/19/2012 Review updated
01/11/2014 Review updated
01/11/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Diamond Pet Customer Service via email, 7/7/2010
  • Dan O’Brien

    With that web site as a source what will you feed your dog? I searched on every premium brand of dog food and they all came back with similar complaints from people just making a judgment without real information. Everyone on that site is speculating and nobody offers real evidence. Some dogs don’t do well on excellent foods due to allergies and other sensitivities. You try different foods.

    We are conditioned to blame companies and “make someone pay”.

  • theBCnut

    What you need to understand is that they don’t know 100% of what a dog needs. Those guidelines change occasionally due to new research. So do the human guidelines. No dog food is perfect. They don’t even know what perfect is. You can live a long time deficient in some pretty important nutrients, in fact most of them won’t kill you to be deficient for your entire life, but you will never be as healthy as you should be if you got everything you need. By feeding variety, we are trying to cover all our nutritional bases, or at least as many as we can.

  • aquariangt

    Can and should aren’t the same words. In fact they have nothing to do with each other.

    That soylent is horseshit. I’m a culinary professional and I’ve worked very hard on real foods, local, fresh, etc… And all that product is is a substitute for actual nutrition. Chemicals aren’t a replacement for food. Thanks for trying to “bake my noodle” but I’ll go on a limb here, but your knowledge of food and nutrition, both human and dog, based on two completely unfounded posts, leave much to be desired

  • Thatcoolguy

    Please, show me some data that shows that is the case. If the food you’re feeding your dog is balanced and provides all the nutrients your dogs needs, there’s no reason that you can’t feed a dog the same food forever. In fact, allow me to fully bake your noodle, you can eat the same thing every day as a HUMAN. Don’t believe me? Google Soylent Green. There is a startup which is experimenting with that.

  • aquariangt

    Staying on one food even if it were good isn’t healthy. Rotation is important, coupled with the fact that is a mediocre food manufactured by a terribly irresponsible company

  • Thatcoolguy

    So you’ve been feeding it to them for 5 years without any issues and you’re switching why? Chances are it’s going to continue to be a great food for them for life…

  • britt

    my dog has been on kirland puppy food for a while. she loves it and it is good food. their is no corn meal in it which is really good. but their is a high grain count which inst awful. it has great ingredients in it. its actually considered a premium dog food with out the premium dog food cost. my dogs coat is great and her teeth are white. she is healthy and growing fast. beside her being gassy (its a boxer thing as well).. she is good.

  • Crazy4dogs

    The very best thing you can do is feed your dog wet, fresh food. Here’s a link to help you understand.

  • Mama Bear

    Any advice for a non prescription dry food suitable for a dog with struvite crystals/stones. Can’t afford prescription for the rest of her life plus not a big fan of Hills.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Kirkland is made for Costco by Diamond.

  • Becca Cain

    Where is it made?

  • Samm

    I feed kirkland to my dog, and she loves it, it’s a good food, and hasn’t upset her stomach like other foods were, her bowel movements are much better as well. It’s a good option, a good food for a cheaper price as well.

  • Bob K

    Any 3.5 star or higher rated kibble is a decent kibble. You need to do some comparison shopping. Write down that is available in your area and at what price. Then use this website as your guide for an intelligent decision. Remember to transition slowly to a new kibble. Kirklands is only available at Costco. Other stores with great prices include: Menards, Fleet Farm, Farm & Fleet, also some of the big box stores have a few 3 or 4 star rated kibbles but you need to do your shopping wisely.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi keepinitreal:
    Here’s a link to the forum Sandy mentioned:

    Here’s some other links that may help with your pet food budget:

  • sandy

    In the forum there is a topic called Budget Friendly Foods. You might check that out. For budget friendly foods I’m currently using Pro Pac and Nutrisource and Muenster grain free foods. I’m a foster home.

  • SBrucker

    Yes, I do realize this but none the less, scary things are being said about BOTH brands.

  • Tony

    You do realize there are 2 different Kirkland dog foods and all the complaints seem to be centered on the Nature’s Domain and not the Kirkland Signature? This is the Kirkland signature comments. I’ve been using this food for many years and never had a problem with it for my Pitbull. She loves it, has plenty of energy, stools are normal etc.

  • SBrucker
    There is some really scary things happening to dogs eating this food. We’ve fed our two 120lb boys this for 5 years and will now be switching just to be safe.

  • theBCnut

    As you say, not all grain free diets are higher in protein. It would be STUPID for a vet to tell a client that their dog needed grain if what it actually needs is lower protein. There are higher protein foods that do have grain. No, the reasoning is not valid.

    I could understand if the vet said grain free was not necessary, or that grain free is a fad, but not that a dog must have grain.

    As I said, I could understand if the amount of fat, protein, and/or carbs was an issue, but not a lack of grains.

  • amber

    Actually, the reasoning is valid. Many (not all) grain free diets are higher in protein, and therefore many dogs see a higher UPC level and increased urinary tract infections. This is especially true for older dogs or those with compromised immune systems.

  • NSMac

    I have a 5yr old Lab Mix that has been fed Kirkland Brand for several years. Lately, we have noticed that he refuses to eat his food when given, and his energy levels are not quite what they used to be. After doing a lot of research, I immediately took him off of it and introduced a very bland and basic chicken and brown rice until we choose a more suitable food. I am seeing great reviews from PC dry food (Canada), and may go this route with him.

  • Babslynne

    Nope, not connected to MegaRed, just happy that I found this stuff.

  • bookguitarguy

    That sounds suspiciously like an advertisement, are you sure you’re not connected with MegaRed Joint Care in some way, and trying to boost sales??

  • Babslynne

    I have found that MegaRed Joint Care works better than Glucosamine. I myself was having hip problems, it seemed like it was always hurting until one day I received a sample of the MegaRed Joint Care in the mail, within a hour or so after taking it I noticed my hip wasn’t hurting! Wow I was so happy I went out and bought a bottle at Costco and the dog and I have been sharing it ever since! I also read somewhere that Glucosamine can lead to Diabetes, not sure if that’s true but I didn’t want to take any chances.

  • Rylie Turple

    Thank you :) this is all great information

  • MJfromGA

    Thank you, he was a brave, loyal champion of a dog. I miss him loads. He was 50% Labrador, 25% Chow Chow and 25% American Pit Bull Terrier.

  • MJfromGA

    My potato head had bald patches, too! When he was a puppy, they just wouldn’t go away. Took me AGES to figure out what was wrong. After a long while, turns out SOY caused severe allergies and was kicking his poor butt. I also avoid wheat, think he has a mild allergy to that, as well. He’s also allergic to Rosemary, makes him itch.

    My Brownie never had any allergies and he was not sick until after he turned 15 years old. I buy more costly food for my Nigredo because he’s one of these “new” allergy ridden dogs and I have no choice, but normally it’s not super important to me.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Rylie:
    I feed my dog a diet of kibble topped with commercial raw, canned, or lightly cooked fresh foods. Here is a great download from Steve Brown that I use that has info on enhancing any kibble diet. The amounts of fresh food to feed is listed according to the quality of kibble you feed and the weight of your dog:

  • Carrie

    What a beautiful lab! :)

  • Carrie

    MJ, My personal experience that led me to switch away from cheap dog food. I have a dachshund and as a puppy he started going bald. I had read that it could be corn so I switched him and all my dogs to a chicken and rice diet and to my surprise all of his hair started to grow back better then ever, super shiny and so soft. The other thing i noticed right away is that they all had more energy, literally playing like pups. My cattle dog had always had some degree of itchy skin and a bald spot on his stomach that went away after feeding better food. I can tell you that I have never had more healthy acting and looking dogs in my life. I don’t know if it will prolong their lives, but feeding a better food with better ingredients has changed the quality of my six dogs lives for the better. I will also say that not vaccinating every year or using any non pet friendly cleaning products will have a positive impact as well.

  • MJfromGA

    Dogs don’t live much longer than 17 in any case. It’s just that cheap dog foods are not always harmful to dogs. That is something that people cling to a tad too much in my opinion. These grain free foods and all this are newer, and there are no statistics that I have seen that say dogs are living longer.

    In fact, they are living shorter lives, getting riddled with tons more allergies and cancers than in the past, and all in all, the addition of new gimmicky foods doesn’t seem to be making dogs as a whole healthier. It’s just not happening.

    That pillar of great health was my previous dog, who was 14 YEARS old at the time the photograph was taken. He ate nothing but Pedigree Chicken canned food for over half his life. It was all he’d eat. He lived to be over 15. He also never ate any premium food, or even semi premium food EVER. He ate only canned, but it was regular canned. Alpo Chop House etc. Wal Mart canned.

    Lab type dogs simply don’t live much longer than he did in any case, so nobody is going to convince me that even though he did eventually get cancer (mega common in that breed type), that there was a way to prolong his life for much longer. Old dogs die, simple as that.

    It’s just not true that cheap dog food harms all dogs and shortens their life spans. Some dogs live full, long lives on it and that is simply the way it is. A more expensive food would have made absolutely no difference in many dogs. But for some reason, people are not willing to admit that.

  • Rylie Turple

    Would it benefit her at all if I didn’t completely switch over but gave her some raw stuff every once in awhile? Or would I have to totally switch? What would you recommend feeding? I don’t know what people buy for it.
    Also, something that always worried me, can harmful bacteria or things like that be in raw meat? I have always given them extra meat that got freezer burnt or something but always cooked it because I was under the impression it would kill the bacteria

  • Dori

    If you go with a commercial raw diet then there’s nothing to worry about as long as you are buying and feeding a complete and balanced one. You can also feed a grain free food from The Honest Kitchen. There’s is a dehydrated food, not strictly raw, but a very good quality food. Just make sure you look for their grain free formulas. They also have a couple of grain free formulas that contain everything but the protein which you would add to it yourself. It contains everything else you would need to give a complete and balanced meal. I prefer the complete meals but mostly I prefer the commercial raw diets in that I don’t have to worry about missing some critical ingredients making my own. They’ve already figured it all out for us. Truth be told, I’m also a bit on the lazy side and am not going to consistently be making dog food. A lot of people do, it’s just too time consuming and I just don’t have the inclination to spend my time that way.

  • Rylie Turple

    Thank you this is great to know. I’m usually really picky about what my dogs eat but when it comes to treats I’m more lenient, I’ll have to be careful about that stuff too.

    She takes Glucosamine & Chondroitin which has loads of other stuff in it that is helpful. It’s this stuff (
    It makes a huge difference but in the colder months she’s sore more often. We also have some dog aspirin that I’ll give her if she’s sore but I try to avoid it because it really makes her feel better for awhile so I worry she will hurt herself thinking she’s okay.
    I think a raw diet would be cool, but I really worry I would mess up and she wouldn’t get everything she needs. I’ve given her raw bones and things like raw eggs but that’s as close as it’s gotten.
    She is definitely not overweight, she is a very high energy dog so it can be really hard on her since she isn’t allowed to jump or run too much but she seems to have figured out her limits.
    She’s a Border Collie and weighs about 44 pounds, my other dog is a Jack Russell so she’s only about 13 pounds, neither of them eat a whole lot so I don’t think it would be super pricey? Definitely something I will look into though. I used to volunteer at a greyhound shelter around here and a lot of people feed them raw diets and have only good things to say, but I’ve been nervous about it

  • Dori

    Absolutely, Rylie. Grain free foods as well as any treats you may be giving her should all be grain free. Also avoid anything with soy in any of it’s formulations. Continue with supplements that are helping her. Which supplement is it by the way? Though as I mentioned I feed a rotational commercial raw diet mostly I do have one kibble that I use also in rotation that is grain free and I trust the company implicitly and that is Nature’s Logic. I rotate through their Sardine, Venison and Beef formulas. I can’t use the poultry ones because one of my dogs has a food sensitivity to all things fowl. Though Nature’s Logic is not strictly grain free, it contains millet, which is a pseudo grain, it has not bothered any of my dogs including the one that is intolerant of grains. Now, with that said, it may be that since kibble is a small part of their diet and I rotate their meals which are probably 95% raw, the millet doesn’t really have a chance to be an issue. If your pocket book can stand it I would urge you to feed commercial raw food formulas, the ones that say they are complete and balanced such as Primal Formulas, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Answer’s Detailed, Stella & Chewy’s (though my dogs aren’t crazy about that one so I haven’t fed it in quite a while), any of the higher quality commercial raw dog foods or maybe you could just feed that to your dog with the spinal arthritis. You didn’t mention how much she weighs so I don’t know how feasible financially it would be for you. It works for me because my girls are all so tiny. Another crucial factor in having a dog with arthritis of any sort, and I’m sure your vet has already told you or at least someone has told you, you absolutely must keep her on the lean side. No extra weight on her at all. That’s incredibly important. Dogs with arthritis tend to be on the heavier side of optimal weight because they are less active. If that’s the case with your dog then you need to feed her less food. Always have plenty of clean water for her to drink. One last thought and that is if you choose to go the raw food route (they are all grain free), the dose of raw food that you feed is much less than feeding kibble so that helps with the cost also.

  • Rylie Turple

    This caught my attention.
    One of my dogs has spinal arthritis at only four years old, she’s on supplements which seem to help a lot. It’s obviously not something you can cure and she still has rough days, I try to make her life as comfortable as possible so grain-free is something that could possibly benefit her?

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Not all grains are created equal either. I consider corn to be a low-quality filler, rice to be in between, and grains like millet, barely, and quinoa (which technically isn’t a grain, but has similar properties to one) to be high-quality grains.

  • Crazy4cats

    Also, in addition to what others have said, all grain free foods are not created equal. They are not automatically better than a grain inclusive food in my opinion. It can be just a marketing “trick”, because grain free does not mean the food is low in carbs. Many are filled up with potatoes and peas. Which are also starchy ingredients. I try to rotate between carb and protein sources. You just have to find what works best for your pets. Good luck!

  • Dori

    I have three toy dogs. Two are 5 1/2 years old, the third is 15 years old. I transitioned them approx. 5 years ago making my 15 year old 10 years old at the time. I transitioned all three of them three years ago to commercial and home made raw diets, rotating proteins and brands. I have had absolutely no bad issues and, as a matter of fact, they are all thriving…not simply surviving. Whoever told your customer that grain free is not good for old dogs or that it is too difficult to transition a dog food wise either misunderstood what was told to her/him. If not, they seriously need to switch vets. The old adage is wrong….YES, YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG!!!!!!! It also has nothing to do with whether a dog is ill or not. My 15 year old dog was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder and a lung lobe early last Spring. She shows absolutely no signs of being ill nor have the tumors and mass gotten larger and have not spread. No one believes she is 15 years old. Not even my husband and myself. Though we know, of course, she is. She’s been our little girl since she was a puppy.

    One last thought. Grains are inflammatory. All dogs can benefit from anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. It helps the gut, spleen, arthritis, liver, kidney, allergies. I could go on with all the benefits of grain free but I think you get the gist of what I’m saying.

  • Dori

    Unfortunately everyone’s definition of “slow transition” varies and not everyone even knows exactly how to transition a dog from one food to the other.

  • theBCnut

    It depends on the dog. Nutritionally speaking, a carb is a carb, so for most dogs, it doesn’t matter. For some dogs, grains are an allergy issue. And for dogs with inflammation issues, grains can be inflammatory.
    Sent from my iPod

  • Rylie Turple

    Yeah, maybe it was that the dog was used to the other food and due to its age was recommended to just go back to regular food since being sick and older probably aren’t the best. This person straight up said grain free was bad for older dogs but I’m starting to think they maybe just misunderstood.
    Also what sort of benefits are there for switching to grain-free? As opposed to foods with grain

  • theBCnut

    Dogs definitely do get used to certain types of food if they are left on them for long periods. They don’t have to stay that way. It takes a little effort to get a dog’s gut used to variety again, but I think it’s worth it. I think eating variety is as important to dogs as it is for people. Yes, rice and corn are considered grains.
    Sent from my iPod

  • aimee

    I can see that a connection could be made. It isn’t that dogs require grain but for some dogs having the right balance between fermentable and insoluble fiber is important for bowel health. Whole grains are a source of insoluble fiber.

  • Rylie Turple

    I used to feed my dogs really expensive high quality stuff and they did OK on it, I switched to Kirkland after reading the ingredients and figured I would try it out, it made an amazing difference, honestly they do amazing on it and the price is awesome

  • Rylie Turple

    It didn’t seem that likely to me, but I just figured the dog’s body got used to the other kind or something like that.
    I had never heard anything negative about grain free before, I don’t know much about it tbh.
    Also, are things like rice/corn considered to be grains in food? Sorry if that’s a dumb question I’m curious about the food now and am wondering how my dogs would do on it.

  • Rylie Turple

    They definitely did transition slowly, or so they told me

  • Rylie Turple

    I don’t remember why he said they were switching, I think he mentioned he had gone to a vet that recommended it, dog got sick,, when back to a different vet and the other vet said that was the issue.
    And yeah, I had asked if he did a slow transition and he had.

  • Bob K

    I know several dogs that eat Kirklands and look great. Most are rated 4- 4.5 stars a bargain compared to other similar rated kibbles.

  • Bob K

    Since you work at a pet store, do you ask the people why they are switching foods? Do you educate them about slowly transitioning to a new food. Just switching to a new food causes many dogs problems.

  • theBCnut

    There is absolutely no reason that dogs should need to have grains-or much of any other specific ingredient-that’s just plain ridiculous! The amount of fat, carb, or protein in the food may be an issue, but not the lack of grains. I’d look for a new vet.

  • Melissaandcrew

    My youngest is 6mth and the oldest 16. No problems with grain free for the most part.

  • Susan

    When I was slowly changing my Staffy to a grainfree kibble,he got bad diarrhoea & I was only half way thru changing to new diet…later found out he cant eat POTATOS….

  • Carrie

    If a dog has been on any type of food for a long time, it will probably need a very slow transition.

  • Rylie Turple

    Though, of course, it could depend on each individual dog

  • Rylie Turple

    One person in particular had switched their 13 year old Amstaff to grain free and it made her very very sick, they switched foods over and it stopped. Same brand and everything.
    The vet said grain free=big nono for older dogs.
    I don’t know loads about grain free foods though, to be honest, this is just what I’ve heard. My dogs are not on grain free, and they do fabulous so I’ve never felt the need to mess with their diet.

  • Carrie

    Rylie, I think I would change vets!

  • Rylie Turple

    I work at a pet store and have heard people coming in who had switched their dogs to a grain free diet and it made them very sick. Apparently their vets said that when they are older they should not be on grain free. Dunno if that is useful to you or not.

  • Alicia

    I think this is really wierd, I work in a kennel, and we feed our dogs kirkland brand, chicken, lamb, senior, and puppy, and we’ve had no problems with it at all.

  • Alexandria Andrews

    Don’t give up on trying to feed your pup a superior food. It took me several tries to find the food that was right for all my dogs. I tried Blue Buffalo and it gave all my dogs HORRIBLE gas (the little ones could clear a room), then I switched to Taste of the Wild and they did well on this but I took them off of it after the recall, then I found the holy grail for my pups, Fromm Family Foods Grain Free formula has been wonderful for all my dogs. My dog with allergies has stopped having bouts of sickness and all my dogs have healthy, shiny coats, I love the food. By purchasing a superior dog food, my dog stay healthier and have fewer vet visits.

    As a rule, just try and stay away from foods with grain (especially corn), as dogs were never meant to eat grains. My parent fed my dogs Pedigree all their lives, they lived to be 17, but I can’t help but think how long they might have lived, and how much healthier they might have been on better food.

    “If you fill the tank with crappy gasoline, it’ll run, but it might not run as far, or as long.”

  • MJfromGA

    This happened to me, as well. My dog got sick with diarrhea. It went away after a bit… but he hasn’t been right since. His poops are larger and softer than normal, though the horrid diarrhea has stopped.

    I have put him on a probiotic and it seems to be helping. Some kind of grossness had to have been in the food and it destroyed the balance of bacteria in his gut.

    Poor quality control has turned me from a food I was once quite a fan of. I’ll be sticking to Pure Balance and Victor from now on. Glad to pay the extra, a sick dog is not worth it.

  • theBCnut

    If he isn’t usually picky, he may have smelled something wrong with the food. It is made by Diamond after all. But I feel compelled to ask, did you do a transition to the new food? Is your dog used to switching foods? How long was he on the last food?

  • Cary

    I used the Kirkland grain free a few months ago with no problem. I purchased a bag 1 week ago and my dog refused to eat it and started to lose weight. What he did eat made him sick with diarrhea.

  • Dori

    mkdogzzz. Andrew is on dogfoodadvisor. This is

  • Bob K

    Iams is rated from 2 – 3.5 stars, there are many products inferior to Iams that are rated lower. Stick to the facts please.

  • mkdogzzzz


  • Vesper

    I used Kirkland for a few months without issue. My dog liked it, and it seemed like high quality for a great price. Well, the last bag I fed caused intermittent diarrhea, and eventually vomiting. I returned the bag (Metro Detroit area) and switched when someone told me they supposedly changed their formula a couple months ago.

    It’s a shame, because I liked this food but it definitely started to make my dog very sick. Maybe it was just one bad bag, but I’m staying away for now.

  • MJfromGA

    And here we go. It’s a slow month for me, so I went with Kirkland and will go back to Victor next feeding period. MISTAKE! I gave him the food last night and he has had diarrhea all day long. He never gets it, and I always rotate his foods without slowly adding since healthy dogs don’t need this.

    Gave him some for lunch, and also gave some to our other dog, both dogs have had diarrhea. I think I’ve got a tainted bag. This food has been recalled a few times and this isn’t unheard of. Food is going back tomorrow and dogs will be monitored closely. Sad since he loved the food, but I’m worried.

    I got mine from the Morrow Costco in Atlanta. I’ve had the lamb before with no issues, went with chicken this time… and am very upset and disappointed. Take care when buying this food, their quality control is truly not good at all.

  • heather

    Started my 9 wk old puppy on kirkland puppy food after I’m sure she had only been eating very cheap low quality food, and the results are great! She is 5 months old now and growing very nicely. Soft smooth coat, great muscle tone and joints seem to be proportionate, not knobby. will stick with kirkland brand from here on out.

  • David Ramirez

    Which food your parents and you buy? Im also give my dog Kirkland,s dog food and got the same problem

  • Robert Modell

    Do you have any info on Costco’s Nature’s Domain Beef or their newer organic pea based dry kibble. Manuel, our 4 yr old Rottweiler loves the beef, but when we mixed it with the organic pea it produced some pretty bad diarrhea. Any hints or suggestions? (We put him back on the beef)

  • F_This

    Dog Food Adviser gave the kirkland lamb formula only 3 stars. All the rest of kirkland got 4.5 stars.

  • Betsy Greer

    It could also be that your dog was intolerant of an ingredient that wasn’t in the puppy food or the Iams.

    Instead of just going with the Iams, I’d be trying to figure out what the problem ingredient was and look for a better food for him.

  • Andrew O.

    My Old English Sheep Dog Remy is my girlfriend and my first dog as young adults. He is like our child and we wanted to feed him the best and had heard to avoid big brand name foods as they lack any real nutrition for dogs, low quality control, etc…. So after much research, including this website, we decided to buy him the Kirkland chicken and brown rice formula as it is highly rated, appropriately priced, and has what seems like a quality mix of ingredients.
    As many have noted here and on other websites, if you research this food, after switching him off his puppy brand to Kirkland, Remy had horrible gas, very loose stools, and occasional diarrhea in the house.
    But at first we didn’t put two and two together. We thought that he was just kind of a gassy guy. He has a thick coat and gets hot often so he always had chugged water and we contributed the looser stools to that. The diarrhea always happened when we left Remy home alone to go to work and assumed he was going in the house due to anxiety or anger over being left behind. However, Remy began to lose clumps of hair from his back end and so we finally went to the vet who believed he had some kind of GI bug, he prescribed antibiotics, a soothing medicated shampoo to use weekly, and suggested we should consider switching foods. We followed all recommendations, shampooed him, gave the antibiotics, and bought some cheap Iams at the supermarket. Remy started to grow back his hair but we also noticed he was suddenly less gassy, was drinking less water, his stools were much more firm and formed, and he wasn’t having any diarrhea accidents.
    As an experiment, we made the choice to buy the Kirkland food one more time, I kid you not, literally, and i mean literally, the night after he ate that evil food he had explosive diarrhea in our bedroom. So we had our answer, the whole time it was the costco food.
    We have been buying the Iams ever since and Remy has hardly any gas, no diarrhea, no loose stools, and is a happy happy guy. I wont believe the hype anymore that big brand names are terrible for your dogs. My parents had always bought regular dog food for our family dogs and they all lived long happy lives. I guess I just got exciting being a first time dog owner. I feel lucky that nothing more serious or life threatening happened. I would tell anyone to avoid the Kirkland brand at all costs.
    As a side note, the combination of those symptoms, (large water consumption, loose stools, diarrhea, loss of hair, fatigue and also vomiting) are associated with arsenic poisoning in dogs caused by tainted rice and chicken. I suspect this may be the case with Kirkland. Anyway, feed it to your dog at your own risk.

  • Dori

    Every dog is different. Some of us with our dogs needed to transition slowly, very very slowly. Other dogs can transition much faster. We are all different, so are our dogs. Depends on how sensitive their guts are or how healthy their guts are. Just follow your dogs lead and all will be well. Patience is what I have found to be the best for all involved.

  • Karwen

    I think every dog responds differently to different food. I think the critical part in switching foods is that it is very slowly or most dogs will have diarreah and bloody stool because of the abrupt change in their diet. I’ve read it could really put dog’s health at risk to change their diet so abruptly. I don’t know anything though about how everyone changes dog food. Some I read tell you to change over a course of a minimum of 2 weeks mixing a little of the new with the old and increasing every couple of days.

  • JRR McCarthy

    It was clear cause and effect. He started on Kirkland brand and got bloody stools. Went off Kirkland and the bloody stools stopped.

  • Kay

    Iams is junk food! Please don’t blame it on the Kirkland brand. My standard poodle is on this as part of a rotation diet and does great on it. Have you read the reviews on Iams?

  • Donna Histo

    what year was it that this happened?

  • MJfromGA

    My dog loved the Kirkland Lamb, Rice, and Vegetables food. I gave it a try after his Pure Balance ran out. He’s a Labrador cross 19 months old, 85 lbs, and is allergic to soy and though I don’t have tons of money for dog food, I must buy soy free.

    One thing I did notice while he was on the food (which he loved and ate eagerly) is that his coat, while still wonderfully shiny and in great condition (did not look different), did get a bit more coarse to the touch than usual.

    He also gained a lb. but he is not quite yet done growing and the horrible GA heat has us inside more as he’s crossed with some kinda mountain breed and gets hot moderately easily, so that is OKAY.

    I decided to switch foods. After peeking around, I’ve found that a local retailer is selling Victor dog food, which was highly recommended to me by members on this site. I bought him their High Energy Formula and he loves the taste of it and his coat is seemingly better, too. It was about $43 (with tax) for his 40 lb. bag. He’s one happy puppy!

    Like others have told me, if you can find this food locally, it’s worth a look. It costs more than the Kirkland, but you might find it’s worth it, like I have. THANK YOU to everyone who put us onto this food!!

    Here is his photo beside our feed station, with our new favorite dog food added to it! You’ll have to excuse the giant mess (we have many pets and also feed strays) and also his posture… he is very goofy and is 24″ ATS and 33″ from base of neck to base of tail so longggg back and not so tall ATS.

  • Crazy4cats

    They look pretty darn healthy to me. And super cute! :)

  • JRR McCarthy

    Our dog never had a problem again after switching back. Good luck to you and your pooch!

  • Jon

    I also switched to Kirkland brand “Puppy Chow”. My dog has developed bloody stools! Im switching off it immediately!

  • Richard Paisley

    Have had my 2 beagles on Kirkland’s chicken variety for 5+ and 7+ years and they are, according to their vet, healthy as can be. Never have been over or underweight and their coats stay nice and soft and shiny. They go in for their semi-annual vet checks without fail and the vet only has praise for their health and appearance. Two of the gentlest dogs I ever had the privilege sharing my life with. The only treats they get are cut up carrots, broccoli, and apples with an occasional piece of baked chicken or fish that I prepare. Tried Blue Buffalo one time on the older one when he was young and he hated it and had diarrhea with it. Switched back to Kirkland and he was good again. I used Kirkland’s Puppy food until the little girl grew up and then they both get the same thing. So as long as the vet keeps giving them glowing health reports, they keep on thriving and looking so well, and they keep full of their usual energy, I see no reason to change.

  • JRR McCarthy

    Hmm . . . We probably added it gradually, since that’s how we usually do things with our dogs, but that was at least 5 years ago, and I don’t remember for sure.

  • KatieBugLuv

    Did you switch them slowly by combing the two foods for awhile before going to Kirklands brand completely? Switching foods without transiting them will cause stomach upset and bloody stools. I’m curious because I feed mine Kirklands brand and it’s time for a another bag.

  • Natalie Marie Alvarez Padilla

    I agree. I am feeding right now Whole Earth Farms puppy formula, dry mixed with canned, but I’m thinking of switching to Kirkland puppy food or Adult food, once they reply to my inquiries about the origin of their ingredients. I am not sure what the calcium levels of any of these foods are. I am hoping to pick the one with highest protein content and lowest calcium and phosphorous levels.

  • theBCnut

    Adult dog foods list a calcium minimum, not a maximum, so just because the minimum listed is lower, it does NOT follow and there is no guarantee that the actual level of calcium is lower. It is quite often just the opposite.
    Control calories by controlloing portions not by using a different food.