Kirkland Dog Food Reviews (Ratings, Recalls, Ingredients!)
About the Company
Kirkland dog food brand is made for Costco by Diamond Pet Foods, Inc.
Who makes Kirkland dog food? Two of Diamond's factories are in California. One is in Missouri, and there is another one in South Carolina.
Because Kirkland is a private, in-store label, there is not a lot of advertising. That makes finding information about their products is more difficult. As a pet owner and consumer, I would like more transparency.
Costco has two pet food lines: Kirkland Signature dog food and Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain, which is their grain-free dog food line. Nature's Domain also includes several organic dog food recipes.
Neither line has corn, soy, or wheat in their products, and they do not have any animal by-products or artificial preservatives. That is how both pet food lines, Kirkland Signature dog food and Nature's Domain, compete with premium dog foods, since they have a much lower cost. But is it one of the healthiest dog food brands?
Is Kirkland dog food good?
It depends on your criteria. According to Kirkland, “most of the ingredients in their dog food brand originate in the United States.” They were perfectly honest that some things do, however, come from elsewhere.
There was very little specific information on the website, though, explaining what exactly all those “critical ingredients” were or where they all came from.
When shopping for pet products, I want reassurance that nothing comes from China or other places in the world with poor quality control or unacceptable environmental and labor practices.
What information I found elsewhere about Kirkland and Diamond concerning those issues was not comforting. If we are talking about ethics and communication with customers, I would say there is a lot of room for improvement with both companies.
Kirkland makes both dry and wet dog food, as well as dog treats. The products are exclusive to Costco, as their store brand, so not all Kirkland brand dog food products are available outside their own membership-only online website or at a physical Costo location.
We all know, you cannot get something for nothing, but that does not always stop us from trying. If the quality looks like it is right up there with premium brands, but the price is a lot lower, chances are someone is paying the price somewhere, even if it is not us. When something looks too good to be true, it should set off alarm bells.
Kirkland brand dog food reviews are quite negative with Consumer Affairs. One and a half stars is the average Kirkland dog food rating on the site, with 461 reviewers.
Reviews on Kirkland canned dog food are similarly sparse. Only 16 people reviewed 24 (13.2 Oz Each) Cans Nature's Domain Kirkland Turkey and Pea Stew Dog Food, as the only Kirkland canned dog food currently available on Amazon.
It has an average of 3.6 stars with 56 percent giving it 5 stars, and only 1 percent leaving a negative, one-star review.
This dog food formula is made with salmon meal and sweet potatoes. It includes an omega fatty acid blend to help maintain a healthy skin and coat. Antioxidants, vitamin E supplement and selenium, are added to support your dog's healthy lifestyle. Probiotics and natural prebiotic fiber from dried chicory root help maintain the proper balance of beneficial bacteria in your dog's intestines.
The ingredients and all of the nutrition information of this product is not listed on Amazon. I do know that is does contain probiotics and prebiotics to support a healthy digestive system and immune system. The dog food formula also includes a vitamin E supplement and omega fatty acid nutrition. They are not super specific on what it is made of so that leads me not to trust this product 100%.
This is certified organic dog food and grain-free dog food, which is a good sign. It is made with a blend of organic peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, and sweet potatoes which provide a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Both Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain feature natural prebiotics and the company's Active9™ probiotic blend. They are chosen and developed from probiotic strains found naturally in the our pets’ GI tract.
Together, the active cultures build the right balance of good bacteria in the intestines, for a healthy immune system and better digestion.
Several Kirkland dog foods, like Nature's Domain Grain-Free All Life Stages Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs, meet AAFCO standards, but not all of them. That means they fit the Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages, and you can use the same food for both puppies and adults.
That sounds especially great for families with more than one dog. I am skeptical though that one food can really be ideal for every need and life stage. Usually puppy food has different nutrients and ingredients than adult or senior dog food because dogs require different things in their different stages of life.
All Nature's Domain™ formulas are grain free. By limiting their protein sources, the Kirkland brand company is marketing towards sensitive dogs and those with allergies. There are not as many options for rotational feeding though, as there are with many premium pet food brands.
There are several Nature's Domain Organic varieties too:
- Chicken with Vegetables for Dogs
- Puppy Chicken & Pea Formula
- Duck Meal and Garbanzo Bean Formula for Dogs
- Organic Chicken with Vegetables for Dogs
The price of Kirkland dog food is very reasonable, especially for more natural or organic pet food product.
Not all Kirkland formulas are grain-free. There is a focus on whole, more nutritious grains, however, in the Kirkland Signature line. Corn, wheat and soy are not used in any of Kirkland's recipes because they are not as digestible for our pets.
Where and how big pet food companies get, their fish has recently been a matter of much consumer concern, litigation and law making. Nestle, Mars, Iams, Big Heart, Proctor & Gamble, and Costco all face anti-slavery accusations and lawsuits. They also connect with illegal fishing, which continues to hurt the world’s ocean fisheries.
Reports of Human rights violations by fishing companies tied to pet food manufacture include:
- Confinement and working in heavy chains
- Twenty to thirty-five hour work shifts
- Depriving workers of food and water
Hopefully, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 March 11, 2016 will bring an end to American companies' ties to slavery and child labour. I would like to see all the company's involved solve this problem themselves, as quickly as possible.
I found no evidence that Diamond or Costco is committed to doing that. That means it is up to consumers to stop supporting products that are cheaper only because of human suffering and environmental devastation.
Kirkland Reviews of Ingredients
The best Kirkland dog food, when it comes to the company's customer reviews, is Nature's Domain Grain-Free All Life Stages Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs.
Still not the most premium dog food, it has an average rating of 3.3 stars, out of 35 reviews. While 54 percent gave it five stars, 26 percent gave it only one, so what few opinions there are, seems to be somewhat divided. It does seem to be the most popular Kirkland dry dog food in the Costco website though too.
The first few ingredients are salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, ocean fish meal, pea protein and potato fiber. It starts with concentrated meat and starch.
There is some obvious dog food ingredient splitting too, with both peas and pea protein, as well as potatoes and potato fiber. That is an easy trick to try to hide how much starch and carbohydrates are in the food, compared to meat, which is already in a more processed form.
- Crude Protein (min) 24%
- Crude Fat (min) 14%
- Crude Fiber (max) 3%
- 3,590 kcals/kg (336 kcals/cup) Calculated Metabolizable Energy
Kirkland Dog Food Recall History
There has not been a recall on Kirkland dog food in the last two years. Diamond Pet Food and Costco both were involved, though, in the large recalls in 2011 and 2012 because of salmonella contamination.
They resulted in class action suits in several countries, over several years. In 2004, Diamond Pet Foods Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. paid $2 million to affected Americans. They agreed on a settlement for Canadian customers in 2016, four or five years afterwards, all without admitting to any liability.
The Diamond plant where the trouble began, in Gaston, South Carolina, eventually resumed production, after cleaning and testing by the FDA. The cause of the contamination was never found.
How good is Kirkland dog food? I am not impressed. As a pet owner, consumer and dog lover, I want to know where everything comes from and how it is manufactured, not just most of it. It is certainly not the healthiest dog food or most trustworthy.
Sustainable fishing and farming is important for everyone’s future on this planet, and consumers, and companies all need to take responsibility for how they shape the world through their actions.
I certainly cannot justify supporting slavery and child labor with my consumer dollars. Kirkland and Diamond's time delay settling with the pets and people who were sick because of salmonella contamination in their products was unacceptably long in my opinion too.
If the cause was never found, how can Kirkland and Diamond make sure it never happens again, especially if they did not take responsibility? I see no evidence they are working to end their ties to slavery either. That does not fit my definition of a good company.