Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.
The Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain product line lists two dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
- Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal and Sweet Potato
- Nature’s Domain Turkey Meal and Sweet Potato
Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal and Sweet Potato was selected to represent both products in our review.
Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain Grain-Free Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, ocean fish meal, potato fiber, pea protein, natural flavor, flaxseed, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon meal. Salmon meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than even fresh salmon.
And salmon is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, needed by every dog to sustain life.
The second item lists sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients.
The third ingredient includes peas. Like sweet potato, peas are also considered a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re loaded with natural fiber, too.
The fourth item is potato. Assuming they’re cooked, 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 fifth ingredient includes canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The sixth ingredient lists ocean fish meal… another high-protein meat concentrate.
Like salmon meal, this ingredient is also ethoxyquin free.
The seventh item includes potato fiber. Dietary fiber in reasonable amounts can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce a food’s caloric content.
The eighth ingredient lists pea protein, what’s left after removing the starchy part of peas.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And this less costly plant-based item can significantly boost the total protein content reported in this dog food.
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.
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, the manufacturer appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
And lastly, we also note this dog 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.
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Dog Food
The Bottom Line
When you consider the overall quality of these ingredients, Nature’s Domain Dog Food looks like an above-average kibble.
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.
Both products in the line appear to contain the exact same nutrient percentages.
Average protein. Average fat. And average carbohydrates (when compared to a typical dry dog food).
When you consider the plant-based protein-boosting effect of the potato protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.
Just the same, its difficult to ignore the grain-free nature of this product as well as its lack of any serious Red Flag ingredients.
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain is a grain-free kibble using a moderate amount of salmon or turkey meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
05/15/2010 Original review
10/07/2010 Added new turkey product
10/27/2010 Review updated
01/03/2012 Review updated (minor recipe change)
03/30/2012 Added Kirkland Signature to product name
01/03/2012 Last Update