Kirkland canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Kirkland product line includes two canned recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Kirkland Lamb and Rice
- Kirkland Chicken and Rice
Kirkland Chicken and Rice was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Kirkland Chicken and Rice Formula
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, poultry liver, brewers rice, chicken meal, dried beet pulp, fish meal, dried egg product, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dl-methionine, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganous oxide, biotin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement, inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, cobalt carbonate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||27%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||51%||18%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third ingredient is poultry liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The sixth 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 seventh 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.
The eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated 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.
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 one notable exception…
The minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Kirkland Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Kirkland canned dog food looks like an average wet 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 24% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include brewers rice in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Kirkland is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
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.
Kirkland Dog Food
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.
- Kirkland Dog Food Recall (5/5/2012)
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
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.
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Notes and Updates
09/22/2015 Last Update