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Kirkland Signature canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Kirkland product line includes two canned dog foods, 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 Chicken and Rice Formula
- Kirkland Lamb and Rice Formula
Kirkland Chicken and Rice Formula canned dog food was selected to represent both recipes for this review.
Kirkland Chicken and Rice Formula
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, poultry liver, rice flour, chicken meal, dried beet pulp, fish meal, dried egg product, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, sodium chloride, dl-methionine, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganous oxide, biotin, calcium pantotenate, 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 when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||27%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||51%||18%|
The first item in this dog food lists 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 lists chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add 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 rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
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 lists 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 includes fish meal, another high protein 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.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
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 Dog Food appears to be an average canned 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%.
Above-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 food containing a notable amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the manufacturer chose to include non-chelated minerals in its recipes. Without this lower quality supplement and assurances the fish meal is ethoxyquin-free, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Kirkland Dog Food is a meat-based canned product employing a notable amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Those looking for a quality kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Kirkland dry dog food.
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
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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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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Other spellings: Costco, Kirklands
Notes and Updates
12/05/2010 Original review
03/29/2014 Last Update