Kirkland Dog Food (Dry)

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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, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two for all life stages.

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), 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%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 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 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. 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 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.

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 five 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 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. 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.

Next, chicory root. Chicory 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 Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

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 Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

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

Kirkland Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

07/11/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Susan

    Hi Kirkland is made by Diamond who makes “Taste Of The Wild” (TOTW) as well, my boy has IBD & Skin Allergies, I did the same & read all the bad comments about Diamond, so I didn’t feed Patch TOTW, then 3 yrs later I’d tried most of the limited ingredient kibbles that weren’t too high in fat & protein, I read on a F/B groups heaps of sick dogs with EPI & IDB were doing really well now that they are eating Taste Of The Wild kibbles the Pacific Stream & the Sierra Mountain formulas, so I bought Patch TOTW Pacific Stream Smoked Salmon first slowly introduced he loved it then I tried the Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb & Patches favorite & he is doing real well, did his first real firm poos, he stopped his whining & whinging with his pancreas & stomach pain, about 1 month ago I started feeding him another brand kibble cause I try & rotate between different brands & proteins, Patch has gone down hill again, vomiting, whinging, eating grass, so yesterday I went & bought him his favorite TOTW Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb, he hasn’t eaten any grass so far & he’s playing with his toys, so he must be feeling better….
    If you do your research many manufactures suffered back 2010 pet food recall which mostly traced back to ingredients sourced from China, Hills, Royal Canin, Purina, Natural Balance among many others were involved in the big pet food recall… If your dogs are doing good & are looking & feeling good then go with what they like to eat, I feel safe, I’m pretty sure Diamond would be on their best behavior to make sure it never happens again…

  • Crazy4cats

    All of Kirkland’s dry dog food is made by Diamond.
    http://www.kirklandsignaturepetsupplies.com/faqs

  • rosemurie

    Was thinking of buying Kirkland for my German shepherds n pitie mix they eat DIAMOND BUT AFTER reading all these comments I’m not sure I want too now..but I do give them Kirkland dog biscuits which they love with no problem

  • Susan

    When humans have acute or chronic Pancreatitis the Dr tells you to start eating a lower fat diet, stop drinking alcohol (if you drink) & start eating a healthy diet, Gallstones are sometimes the cause of acute Pancreatitis in humans but the Dr doesn’t say, “Oh that’s just bad luck your Pancreas is badly inflamed, you’ll be right mate, just keep eating what your eating, but make sure you’ve made all your funnel arrangements” lol

  • Amanda Landeros

    We started feeding out new baby
    8m old lab mix the K signature LG breed puppy. He did great. Went to get second bag and they no longer carried it! We had to buy Natures Domain which has scary reviews and make our baby ill. When I talked to a manager he explained they are bringing it back with a different item number, bag and price but he doesn’t know if the formula has changed or not . and that they are doing away with the Natures Domain. HOWEVER, they won’t have anymore in for 3 more weeks!!

  • Thatcoolguy

    The other option is that the pancreatitis is unrelated to her food and was just bad luck. That’s more likely. When people get pancreatitis, we don’t tell them never to eat those foods they ate that day again.

  • Susan

    Hi, change her diet the fat in Kirkland is probably too high, look for a kibble around 10% fat max & email kibble company & ask what’s the max fat %. the fat % can go up another 5%, It always say’s min after the fat % I know Taste Of The Wild have told me their fat % doesn’t go up too much, so if it say 15% min fat it’s about 15.2% in the TOTW Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb when I asked…
    Also in wet tin food the fat % isn’t like the kibble fat % if a wet tin food says 5% fat when converted to a kibble dry matter the 5% is around 23-25% fat so be careful & look for wet tin foods around 2-3 % max fat, or do what I do I cook & don’t bother buying wet tin foods…
    My boy gets IBD & Pancreatitis, I’m feeding “Canidae” Life Stages Platinum at the moment, the fat is 8.5%min so max fat% is about 10% fat & the protein is low at 20%min & the Platinum kibble is real easy to digest & Patch doesn’t get his pain, my boy was eating “Taste Of The Wild” Roasted Lamb the makers of Kirkland & he started to get his Pancreas pain, so I’ve stopped feeding the TOTW for now to give his pancreas a rest, I also make lean pork rissoles with whisked egg, cut up broccoli, parsley & crated carrot added with lean pork mince & made into small balls rissoles that I bake in oven & add some boiled sweet potato & feed for breakfast & the Canidae Platinum kibble for lunch & dinner, try & feed 3-4 smaller meals a day….

  • Noe

    My dog was just diagnosed with pancreatitis. She vomited profusely and
    was lethargic after a few days of eating my most recent bag of the
    Kirkland chicken food. Nothing else changed in her diet, and I don’t
    feed table scraps. I wonder if there was a recent issue with the
    processing? Does anyone know if I can return it without the bag? I emptied the entire bag into my food bin and tossed the packaging. Not excited to throw about 30 lbs of food.

  • Nancy Bjorking Blunt

    The have limited cat & dog food available on Costco web site. Nature’s Domain, Kirkland Small Dog Chicken, and Kirkland Cat Healthy Weight.

  • Thatcoolguy

    There are many things that could have caused that. His dog food is probably the least likely. More than likely unrelated.

  • Mike

    Fed my dog Kirkland’s Natures Domain for 2-3 years with no problems. After the last bag or two I fed him, he keep getting worse. Took him to the vet, long story short, lots of meds, blood tests, etc., big vet bill and had to put him down due to internal blooding and passing large amounts of blood. Autopsy showed the intestinal lining, from stomach to anus, had been totally eaten away. As for me, I’ll never use any Kirkland brand dog food again. Also, my friend’s dogs were fed the same food, one died and the other was going down fast. Stopped feeding her Kirkland”s dog food two weeks ago and she’s doing great, more lively than she has been in a while.

  • Lauren

    been feeding our puppy kirkland puppy since we got her in june and she was fine up until this last bag then suddenly diarrhea. bad. we’ve been to the vet cleared her up with meds and bland diet and now she has it again. I think it’s the food so now I have to switch her and I’m not sure to what.

  • Travis Sanders

    It seems like our three dogs were getting diarrhea as well. Wasn’t quite sure why but I ended up buying the Kirkland puppy food last time instead of the adult lamb. Mainly because the bags were half the weight and easier to carry. No more diarrhea

  • Susan

    Hi Mike & Jan,
    contact company email or phone & ask has there been a formula change & how do you get a refund & go & buy “Taste Of The Wild” Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb…

  • Jan

    Yes, I give my dog Kirkland senior dog food and he too is having diarrhea and flatulence issues. He has been on this food for years but the last few months something is different???

  • Mike Zalusky

    Any one have recent issues with their dogs on Kirkland Lamb food? All 4 of our large dogs have been on this food for years with NO issues. we just opened a new bag and 3 of the 4 are sick, mostly diarrhea. Just basic troubleshooting, new bag, dogs sick. No other changes in their habits.

  • KcQ8ov

    Kibble does tend to expand in the stomach. If you are using kibble for a dog that you think may be vulnerable to bloat. I would presoak the kibble in water overnight in the fridg and only feed small amounts at a time mixed with wet food or a topper. Don’t leave food down…no free feeding.

  • Pitlove

    I do agree with you. There isn’t any specific food that will cause or prevent bloat.

  • April French Leavitt

    Hi Pitlove
    I agree, however, suggesting that they avoid this SPECIFIC KIBBLE, such as Rinehapa is doing is utterly ridiculous. Surely you agree. I mean c’mon

  • Pitlove

    Hi April-

    Unfortunately because bloat is idiopathic, the pet parent can do everything “right” and still have a dog end up bloating.

  • April French Leavitt

    If your dog has a susceptibility to bloat, he should avoid ALL KIBBLE. There is not one certain kibble that will lessen that. Only a raw fed diet or home cooked diet can lessen the chance of bloat, food speaking. So to say that a poodle or poodle mix should avoid this specific food because of their susceptibility to bloat is crazy

  • April French Leavitt

    It’s not Call of the WIld. It’s Taste of the Wild. Also before you go blaming the dog food, since ALL of the dogs got sick, why don’t you take this up with your adult son sneaking them unhealthy snacks??? Seems like a culprit to me

  • Cosmo Lynn

    I hear what you’re saying. And normally I would agree. I am in no way trying to bash Costco or the Kirkland Signature line of dog food. But all my dogs got sick. Bag one. I too thought it could be environmental. (They could’ve caught something in one of the lakes, a tick, a virus, someone gave them something to eat that didn’t agree with them, too much sun, got into garbage, etc.) They just weren’t themselves. Bag two…no improvement. Youngest Golden is uninterested in eating kibble yet begs voraciously for scraps. Oldest Golden started itching really badly. Ear infections. Now we’re dealing with diarrhea from all of them. In the house at night which NEVER HAPPENS because my dogs would rather die than have an accident in the house. Should’ve stopped feeding them there. But opened bag THREE because I too, didn’t believe it was possible. I had to shave my oldest golden’s back because of severe hotspots. Dogs are all uninterested in feeding time. A new dog joined our house. After 2 days of feeding my three and the new dog the 3rd bag, the new dog also has diarrhea AND vomiting!

    Went to the store – got new food (Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon – 5 star rating from this website….. All four dogs DEVOURED the new food like they were starving, and were COMPLETELY better in less than 48 hours.

    I noticed the kibble in these KS bags is lighter in color and doesn’t seem as oily or moist. I also noticed there is a LOT more kibble “dust” on the bottom of the bag.

    I’m not saying this dog food is evil. I’ve loved it for years. I’m saying something is DIFFERENT in these bags… That doesn’t make me crazy. It’s more than possible they had contaminated chicken or some other ingredient get into this batch. Happens in our human food supply all the time!

    I came here – to this site which I use often and trust to see if others have been experiencing problems, which they have. Identical problems to the ones we’ve been experiencing lately. When I originally started feeding my dogs this food – I came to this site for the original recommendation to put them on the KS Mature line! This isn’t my first time here. Although yes – these are my first comments…

    I feed my dogs all 5 star rated food. KS Mature was an exception at 4.5 stars because the price is so amazing and I trust this website and Costco.

    If I lived closer to Costco – and could buy one bag at a time – I would have no problem giving it another try in a few months…. My point for commenting was – I suddenly began having trouble with this formula. Have others been experiencing the same thing? And if so – maybe try something else for a while and see if it improves…

    I respect your opinion, but why are you taking it so personally when people say they have been having a hard time lately? People that come here love their dogs. It’s not an unrealistic calculation that when a dog gets sick – food could be the issue.

    I am saying – I took my dogs off this formulation for a while because something was different. I am not saying to buy it, I’m not saying don’t trust it – I’m saying watch your dog for a while. If somethings not right – try switching food.

    Peace be with you, Adam. No hard feelings. But let’s not bully or insult the intelligence of people just trying to do the best thing for their beloved pets. Not everyone on the internet is a troll or has bad intentions. I am not trying to hurt anyone…

  • Adam Haag

    >Dogs have been fine on dog food for years
    >Suddenly, problems develop
    >Clearly is the dog food, definitely not some other health condition or environmental factor.

    I’m sorry your dogs are sick, but your logic here is a tad lacking

  • kellie

    I started feeding our 11 year old border collies the Kirkland Mature and they seemed fine at first but this last bag, the third bag, both have had really bad gas and diarhea. I just want to find the best food for them that doesn’t make them sick!

  • Cosmo Lynn

    Geez… I really hate to post this because I’ve been feeding my 3 dogs (a chocolate lab and 2 golden retrievers) Kirkland Mature formula for a long, long time and I’m a huge Costco fan. They have always done fabulously on their food. It seemed to alleviate joint pain in my eldest, the lab, and decrease hot spots and ear infections in my susceptible golden. But the last few bags I’ve purchased – they are experiencing diarrhea, terrible hot spots, flaky skin, crazy itchiness and now vomiting. I guess I’ll return the bags (I bought 4) next time I make the three hour drive to Green Bay, but what a disappointment! Seems like this food should be re-tested and recalled. I’ve never seen posts like this for the Kirkland brand/formulation….so why no red flags if this is a “bad batch?” Back to Call of the Wild. I do appreciate people taking the time to post their recent issues. We’ve had another dog added to the household and I was thinking it could be stress or maybe my adult son sneaking them unhealthy snacks. Thought maybe it was repeated trips to Lake Michigan this summer…..but I know now that can’t be the case.

  • Jennifer Donovan

    I just wanted to say that my medium size (40lb) mixed breed dog is about to turn 16 years old. She has been eating Kirkland’s Best Dog food (Lamb & Rice and now Mature) her whole life. I don’t know if that’s a factor, but she has certainly thrived!

  • GSDsForever

    No. They are both Costco/Kirkland, made by Diamond, but the Nature’s Domain (GF) is its own line, carried in Costco next to the Kirkland Signature (grain inclusive).

    DFA has a separate review page for Nature’s Domain.

  • michellew

    Hi, I didn’t read all the comments, is this “Natures Domain”?

  • I really don’t know why everyone is complaining. My 5 (almost 6) year old chihuahua Kaiser has been eating the Adult Chicken formula for about 2 years and he has not had any problems ever since. If your dog is having problems it’s most likely because they’re allergic to one or more of the ingredients (as Adam said a few comments below) so quit trying to stop us from buying this great product T_T

    The picture below is Kaiser and his food in the background (not the garbage can..)

  • LabsRawesome

    Haha yeah I was. No I haven’t ordered it yet. I actually haven’t checked to see if it’s available on the Costco site.
    I’ll have to check it out. lol

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