Kirkland Dog Food – In-Depth Review & Buyer’s Guide

Your dog’s health is directly related to their diet. Choose high-quality, nutritious food to keep your furry friend happy and active during every stage of his life.  

Unfortunately, premium dog food can be a strain on family finances. Many people want to give their dog the best, but they simply can’t afford to buy expensive food month after month. Are more affordable options available?

Absolutely! Healthy dog food doesn’t have to bust your budget, and Kirkland Signature Dog Food is a great example. Here’s a closer look its pros and cons:

Things to Consider before Buying Kirkland Dog Food

Finding affordable dog food isn’t particularly hard. But the cheapest dog foods often have poor nutritional value.

When selecting affordable dog food, you have to consider more than just price.

A diet free from needed vitamins and minerals will eventually make your dog sick. Of course, you want your dog to be healthy because you care about him. But illnesses are expensive to treat, too. Even a minor trip to the vet can cost you hundreds of dollars.

Spending a bit more for healthy food will end up saving you money over time. That’s important to remember because Kirkland isn’t the cheapest dog food on the market. Instead, it’s inexpensive relative to other premium dog foods.

Here are a few characteristics of high-quality dog food:

  • Meat is the main ingredient
  • It contains no by-products, preservatives or artificial additives
  • It includes more vegetables and fruits than grains

Introducing Kirkland Dog Food

Kirkland is Costco’s signature line of foods and products, including pet foods. They offer a full range of dry and wet foods for all breeds and ages. Their most popular product is Kirkland Signature Adult Formula Chicken, Rice, and Vegetable dry dog food. They also offer variations on that formula such as food for puppies, seniors, and overweight dogs.

Additionally, they have a second line of pet foods called “Nature’s Domain.” It’s their organic line. Organic food is certified by the Department of Agriculture and involves regulations about how and where the plants and animals are grown or raised.

You don’t have to be a Costco member to buy Kirkland Signature dog food. It’s available from most mainstream online retailers. However, you do have to be a Costco member to buy the food inside the store. It is slightly cheaper when purchased from a brick-and-mortar Costco, but you also have to consider the membership costs.

Pros & Cons

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Pros
  • Affordable compared to similar high-quality brands
  • Features many certified organic options
  • Grain-free to help support proper digestive functions
  • Helps improve joint function, improve coat condition and more
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Cons
  • Not a huge selection of organic options
  • Price is lower if you’re a Costco member

Features & Benefits

Provides a Balanced Diet

Dogs need a diet consisting primarily of protein – and Kirkland’s Signature Brand delivers. Chicken is the main ingredient. It’s easy to digest, healthy and suitable for dogs of all ages. Other ingredients include egg, vegetables, and whole grain brown rice. Everything is fresh, simple and whole. You’ll always know exactly what you’re feeding your dog!  

Each bite is packed with nutrients specifically formulated for dogs. Glucosamine and chondroitin help protect joint function, which is especially important in senior dogs. Vitamin E, selenium and zinc act as antioxidants to support a variety of healthy functions. Additionally, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids increase skin health and coat appearance.

Does your dog have a sensitive stomach or other digestive issues? All foods in the Kirkland line help support digestive health with probiotics and prebiotics. They’re sourced from all-natural dried chicory root. The Active9 Probiotics work naturally with the gut’s existing probiotic strains to help maintain proper digestive system balance.

Whole grain brown rice is used instead of corn or wheat. Corn, wheat and many other grains act as nothing more than a filler. Brown rice is the better alternative because, instead of just taking up space in the food, it promotes good digestive health and helps with nutrient absorption in the intestines.

Dried beet pulp is the sixth ingredient, and it’s a hidden gem. Just a small amount of beet pulp adds big benefits for dogs. It’s a natural fiber which helps dogs stay regular. Flaxseed oil is another ingredient with this same purpose.

Full Line of Organic Products

Kirkland has an extensive line of organic foods called Nature’s Domain. Organic foods use the same basic formula as the non-organic foods, only with certified organic proteins and vegetables. The inorganic food is still free from additives and artificial ingredients, but the organic certification adds additional freshness.

Organic meat is raised without hormones, antibiotics, and similar substances. Organic vegetables and fruits are grown with natural processes in pesticide-free conditions. While both have organic veggies and meats have benefits, meat is more important to the dog’s overall health.

The main ingredient in dog food should be meat. Dogs need the unique amino acids only meat can provide. Certified organic proteins deliver more nutrition and are often easier to digest. Plus, they have no potentially harmful additives.

Be careful of so-called organic foods which have organic veggies but not organic protein as the main ingredient. Fortunately, that’s not a concern with Kirkland. All of their Nature’s Domain products have both organic meats and vegetables.   

Variety of Flavor Options

Chicken is the primary ingredient in the Signature line, while Nature’s Domain series expands the options to include beef, lamb, turkey, salmon and more.

Keep your dog’s diet as consistent as possible. Don’t switch foods without reason. Dogs frequently suffer from gastrointestinal distress when they first eat new food.

However, sometimes switching foods is the best option. About 10% of all dogs develop an allergy to their food. Allergies can appear out of the blue. The most common cause is a protein – usually, one the dog has eaten for years!

Switching to a new food is often the best treatment. Choose food with a protein he’s never eaten before. Nature’s Domain line has many less-common options such as lamb or salmon.

Switch the food slowly. Add a small amount of new food to the old. Slowly add more new than old until the dog is eating only new food. The process should take about two weeks.

Trusted Manufacturer

Most high-end dog foods are made from relatively small manufacturers who make nothing but pet food. Kirkland is different because they’re much larger and make a wide range of consumer goods. Many customers are wary about buying from a big corporation; it lacks a homemade feel.

However, Kirkland is committed to pet health. A team of animal nutrition experts developed both their Signature and Nature’s Domain formulas. Plus, because Kirkland is a Costco brand, you have access to their high-quality customer support, even if you’re not a Costco member.  

Social Proof

We found plenty of comments online from pet owners who have purchased this food. Most were positive although a few concerns did pop up at times.

As you might expect, many people loved the price. Quite a few folks compared the ingredients in Kirkland to what was in their current pet food only to find Kirkland delivers the same nutrition at a much lower cost.

However, more than a few people also noticed how much they’d save if they were a Costco member. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a member to buy the food, but you will save if you are.

More than a few people praised how the food is corn free. Corn is a common allergen. If your dog suffers from frequent itchiness, consider switching to Kirkland. It’s worked for many people including this user:

Even dogs without corn allergies benefit from the Kirkland formula. Organic ingredients help keep coats shiny and skin well-hydrated.

Finally, we did find a few complaints about the quality of the packaging. The bags, especially the large ones, tend to tear. You’ll probably want to pour to food into a plastic bin or other sealed container.

Alternatives

There’s no such thing as the perfect dog food. Just like with people, dogs have individual tastes. If your dog isn’t a fan of Kirkland, here are a few other options of similar high quality:

  • Victor Dog Food
  • Orjen Dog Food
  • Taste of the Wild
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Victor Dog Food

Victor Dog Food offers more single-source protein options than Kirkland. You can find lamb, fish and more. It’s a great alternative to the mainly chicken-based formulas from Kirkland. If your dog develops a chicken allergy, or if you just want to feed him more exotic proteins, Victor Dog Food is a good choice.

Additionally, Victor Dog Food contains probiotics and prebiotics to help aid with digestion. They’re often recommended for dogs with stomach or digestive issues.

  • Offers a wider selection of meats than Kirkland
  • Formulated for easy digestion and efficient nutrient absorption
  • Special CORE formula promotes immune system health and digestive functions

If Kirkland food seems to upset your dog’s stomach, consider switching to Victor Performance Dry Dog Food.

Orijen Dog Food

Don’t get us wrong – Kirkland Dog Food uses fresh ingredients. In fact, their organic Nature’s Domain line is some of the freshest, most natural dog food available, especially for the price. But nobody makes fresher dog food than Orijen.

The meat and veggies go from field to finished product in just five days. That’s better than some people food! The fresh, natural tastes and smells are appealing to all dogs but especially those suffering from appetite loss.

Again, we don’t want to imply Kirkland Dog Food isn’t fresh. It absolutely is! But nothing has a quicker turnaround time than Orijen.

However, Orijen is relatively expensive. If the cost of Kirkland is a big draw for you, you’ll likely balk at the price of Orijen. Is Orijen fresher? Sure. Is the difference in quality significant enough to justify the difference in price? Not every dog owner thinks so.  

  • Packed with fresh, locally sourced ingredients
  • Dogs love the tasty meat flavors
  • It’s not as budget-friendly as Kirkland

If freshness if your number-one priority,  check out Orijen Dog Food here.

Taste of the Wild

Kirkland’s main line has chicken as the primary protein, while Nature’s Domain varieties expand a bit to include lamb, beef and salmon. But if you’re looking for a leaner, less common protein source consider Taste of the Wild. Its main ingredient is roasted bison.

Taste of the Wild is a good choice if your dog shows no interest in chicken-based food, or if he develops an allergy to it. The new taste can kickstart stubborn taste buds while still providing amino acids and other nutrients.

Additionally, both Kirkland and Taste of the Wild are 100% grain-free. Grains can often cause digestive issues. If your dog doesn’t like Kirkland foods, Taste of the Wild is a grain-free alternative with a different taste.

  • The main ingredient of roasted bison isn’t available from Kirkland
  • The formula is 100% grain free
  • Unique protein helps diagnose food allergies

If you like Kirkland’s formula and price, but your dog doesn’t like the taste, check out Taste of the Wild here.

Conclusion

There’s practically no limit to what you can spend on pet food. But “more expensive” doesn’t always mean “more nutritious.” Don’t feel guilty if you can’t buy the priciest product on the shelf. Affordable food can keep your dog just as healthy as more expensive brands.

Here are three reasons to choose Kirkland Dog Food:

  • It’s high-quality food which provides balanced nutrition
  • It’s often significantly cheaper than “fancier” food with similar ingredients
  • A variety of organic options are available

If you’re looking for top-tier dog food which won’t bust your budget, check out Kirkland Signature Dog Food.