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Kirkland Dry Dog Food
Kirkland Healthy Weight Formula dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of three stars.
Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, peas, cracked pearled barley, millet, powdered cellulose, oatmeal, chicken, rice bran, potatoes, beet pulp, chicken fat (preserved with natural tocopherols), natural flavor, flaxseed, fish meal, egg product, choline glucosamine hydrochloride, dried chicory root, chondroitin sulfate, L-Camitine, carrots, kelp, apples, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 14.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||22%||7%||63%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||16%||62%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second item is brown rice. Brown rice is a quality ingredient… a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) is fairly easy to digest.
The third ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
The fourth item includes barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
The fifth item is millet. Millets are gluten-free grains harvested from certain seed grasses. They are naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as a number of essential minerals.
Once cooked, millet can be easily digested by a dog.
The sixth item mentions powdered cellulose… a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from cotton or sawdust. Cellulose is sometimes added to dilute the number of calories per serving and to give the feeling of fullness when it is eaten.
Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is oatmeal… a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The eighth item includes 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 occupy a lower position on the list.
The ninth ingredient is rice bran… a healthy by-product of rice milling. Though not as nutritionally complete as whole grain rice, brans are still unusually rich in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
The tenth item lists potato. Assuming they’re whole, potatoes are a good source of digestible carbohydrates and other healthy nutrients.
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 chicken fat mentioned here is usually 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. Though it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is a quality ingredient.
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. The term “fish” does little to properly describe this ingredient.
Fish meal is commonly made from the by-products of commercial fish operations.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics… friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
And lastly, this food does contain 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 Healthy Weight Formula
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Kirkland Healthy Weight to be 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.
Low protein. Low fat. And high carbohydrates… when compared to a typical dry dog food.
With no sign of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a modest amount of meat.
Kirkland Healthy Weight is a grain-based kibble using a modest amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand three stars.
To see a list of (and learn more about) other low protein kibbles may wish to visit our article, Suggested Low Protein Dog Foods.
A Final Word
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Other spellings: Costco, Kirklands
Notes and Updates
02/23/2010 Original review
09/27/2010 Review updated
06/20/2012 Last Update
- Diamond Pet Customer Service, 7/7/2010 ↩