For the longest time, I didn’t pay attention to what food my dogs ate. Part of this was because I lived with my parents and was a child. They took care of buying everyone’s food, the dogs’ included. We had not come across Kirkland dog food and Kirkland products yet.
But once I was a teenager and iPod Touch devices became popular among my peer group, I started being able to look things up on my own whenever I had WiFi. (Oh, how times have changed in just ten years! Things are much more instant even now.)
Naturally, I researched things about my two German shepherds. When my dog Bella was a puppy and I took her to PetCo and she scooted her butt on the grass afterward, I looked up that strange behavior as soon as I got home.
I also started worrying about my dogs’ food. What if the food they were eating wasn’t safe? What if there was a better food out there for them?
One day, a post popped up on my iPod Touch when I was scrolling through Facebook. “Dog Dies from Pedigree Dog Food,” it said. (If I had done a little more Internet digging, I would’ve found that this claim couldn’t be proven, and Pedigree says it adheres to strict safety standards. But there have been multiple instances of dogs getting sick after eating Pedigree dry dog food and there have been various voluntary recalls.)
Back to the story: I looked at the bag of Pedigree dog food my mom had just brought home from Costco. “Mom,” I said. “We have to return that.”
She looked at the article. “That’s so sad,” she said, and the next day we drove back to Costco to return the dog food that Clancy and Bella had been eating without incident for years.
We couldn’t risk something happening to our furry family members. The thing was, we were an on-a-budget family and Pedigree was the cheapest food. Buying pet food at a pet store was out of the question: it came in smaller bags and cost more. With two dogs, that method would’ve chewed our wallet to bits in a month.
Costco is famous for selling massive amounts of everything for a lower price than what you’d get it for elsewhere. That’s when we decided to try their Kirkland dog food.
Coming in 40-pound bags, the Kirkland food cost more than Pedigree, which was actually a good sign — cheaper usually means, well, cheaper. Less high-quality. But the Kirkland food was still much less expensive than Taste of the Wild (which we did end up giving to Bella years later, when she approached her elderly years).
Because we trusted the Kirkland brand, we figured the Kirkland product was safe.
We used it for the rest of Clancy’s life and most of Bella’s. Now that my husband and I have Eira, we’ve used the Kirkland dog food for her, too.
Bella a year before she passed away of bladder cancer. She stayed healthy and energetic almost until the very end.
But the question is this: is Kirkland food safe for dogs? Is it really any safer than Pedigree or the other low-cost brands out there?
- Comparing recalls
- The Pedigree recall
- The Kirkland recall
- Kirkland Super Premium Adult Dog Food, Chicken, Vegetable, and Rice Formula
- Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice, and Vegetable Formula (Eira’s Choice!)
- Kirkland Super Premium Small Breed Dog Food
- Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Puppy Food
- Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Organic Dog Food
When you are researching any dog food for your pet, it’s a good idea to look up the food’s past recalls. Most dog foods have been recalled at one point or another — and if you think about it, human food gets recalled, too. Like the Great Lettuce Recall of 2018, when mass amounts of healthy romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuce sent to grocery stores were contaminated with E. coli. Or the Kirkland brand berries that were recalled in 2019 due to Hepatitis A contamination. I’ve been using the Costco three-berry blend for years, and I also eat lettuce. I wasn’t personally affected by either recall, but I made sure to wait until the FDA gave the all-clear signal on both types of products before buying again.
All this to say that just because there’s a recall, that doesn’t mean a dog food is permanently unsafe for your dog.
Let’s compare two recalls: the Pedigree recall of 2014/2015 and the Kirkland dog food recall of 2012.
The Pedigree recall
Pedigree’s recall was based on the presence of fibers, which worried pet-parents described as metal wires or plastic pieces poking out of kibble and causing dogs to get sick or refuse to eat their food as usual. Angry pet owners posted photos of the clearish wires sticking out of kibble and told stories of their dogs vomiting, having diarrhea, or even bloody stool.
They voiced enough outrage and concern that Pedigree did some research into their own dog food and treats to find out if there really was wire in their food.
Turns out, it was “only” pig hair, which Pedigree chirped was because “Pedigree Marrobone [and other foods] are manufactured using meat and bone meal, it’s possible for natural fibers such as pig hair to appear in the finished product. While consumers may not have noticed these natural fibers when feeding their dog, we can assure them that the treats are safe for dogs to enjoy.”
Hmm. If you’ve ever pet a pig, you know its “fur” or “hair” is bristly and hard and rough. In fact, some types of pig bristles are used in hair brushes. That’s how strong they are. They can most definitely irritate, if not outright scratch or cut, a dog’s intestines when moving through the digestive tract, which explains why so many dogs felt sick after eating Pedigree’s pig-bristle-infused dog food.
Nobody wants such foreign objects to make their way into their dogs’ food. Pedigree’s flippant response isn’t very comforting. They don’t appear concerned enough to fix the problem and seem to have ended the recall shortly after they released their statement.
It’s disconcerting to know that whatever process Pedigree uses to manufacture its dry dog food is the sort that allows animal hairs into the food. What, exactly, is your dog eating when she eats Pedigree dry dog food?
Now let’s look at Kirkland’s 2012 recall.
The Kirkland recall
Kirkland Signature Dog Food: is Kirkland dog food worth it?
Kirkland’s latest recall was in 2012 and it hasn’t issued a recall, voluntary or involuntary, since. Unlike the Pedigree recall, Kirkland’s wasn’t because of wiry fibers or hairs in its dog foods. Instead, it was because of a possible salmonella contamination in the dry dog food. They pinned it down to products sold between certain 2012 and 2013 dates and in 16 US states, plus Canada and Puerto Rico.
Salmonella isn’t generally life-threatening, but it’s not a fun illness either. One way contamination occurs is when feces comes in contact with food — gross, right? It doesn’t mean that your Kirkland dog food was rubbed in poop, though. In the butchering process for the meat that goes into dog food, it’s possible for an animal to have been contaminated before butchering, or for trace amounts of feces to get into food. It generally should get cooked out of the food, but not always. In addition, raw eggs can carry salmonella, as can raw meat, which is why we’re all advised not to eat those things. Salmonella can also grow in hot, muggy conditions on plants — like lettuce.
There are tons of ways for salmonella to sneak into foods. It’s almost a miracle we don’t get more outbreaks, but facilities are typically extremely clean and safe, keeping salmonella at bay. If your dog does get sick after eating any type of dog food, seek veterinary assistance and then report the illness to the dog food’s distributor. They should have a process that you can go through with them to find out if the food is contaminated, and if so, they will (or should, anyway) recall it.
Salmonella in dogs can be present without symptoms and your dog can be a carrier (so make sure to keep all the poop picked up and the yard clean, and wash your hands after doing those tasks!). If your dog presents the following symptoms after eating dog food, that’s when you need to find out if it’s salmonella:
- Fever (see our article about the best dog thermometer to help you determine this symptom)
- Bloody stool
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
The most critical thing to do is keep your dog hydrated through the loss of fluids salmonella can induce. She might need an IV for this, as well as further treatment for the infection.
Since 2012, Kirkland has not had a salmonella recall. Eira’s been eating it her entire life, and she’s healthy and happy and loves her Kirkland product!
Look at the way she’s licking her lips at the sight of her almost-empty dog food (time for another Costco run or Amazon order!)
The first three ingredients of dog foods can also help you figure out if it’s a healthy food for your dog.
In typical Pedigree adult dry dog foods, the first three ingredients are: ground whole grain corn, meat and bone meal (since there is no specific meat source, this meat could be from literally any animal or multiple animals), and corn gluten meal.
The first three ingredients of Eira’s Kirkland dog food, pictured above, are: lamb, lamb meal, and whole grain brown rice. Others include Vitamin E supplements and omega fatty acid.
You tell me which one is better for your dog. Kirkland’s first ingredient is a real, identified meat; Pedigree’s is corn.
Corn is cheap, and that’s how Pedigree keeps their dog food costs down: it’s mostly corn, which isn’t an ideal source of nutrition for your dog on its own. Kirkland product, with higher quality ingredients, is more expensive, but it’s still affordable and comes in massive bags that keep Eira fed for two months at a time. When Bella and Clancy ate Kirkland dog food, we typically bought a bag a month since they were both eating out of it.
So, we love Kirkland dog food. And you don’t have to be a Costco member to buy it for your pup!
Kirkland Super Premium Adult Dog Food, Chicken, Vegetable, and Rice Formula
This one features chicken as its main ingredient — an excellent meat source for your dog! And vegetables are always fantastic for your dog’s overall health, too, just like they are for humans.
Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice, and Vegetable Formula (Eira’s Choice!)
This is the dog food Eira’s been eating almost her entire life, and she loves it. She’s a happy, bouncy, super-energetic dog who rarely gets sick. Unlike a dog food filled with pig bristles, your dog WILL enjoy this Kirkland product.
Kirkland Super Premium Small Breed Dog Food
This one contains fresh chicken, vegetables, and rice, and is specially formulated for small dog breeds.
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Puppy Food
Kirkland’s Nature’s Domain line is an excellent choice for puppies or dogs with special dietary needs. Eira enjoyed this Kirkland product during her first six months of life.
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Organic Dog Food
Looking for an environmentally-friendly, super-healthy dog food? Try Kirkland’s Nature’s Domain Organic Dog Food.
Kirkland is safe for dogs, and not only that, it’s an excellent dog food choice based on its ingredients lists.
Eira loves to howl just before dinnertime with her Kirkland Signature dog food!
Who makes Costco's Kirkland dog food? ›
Q: Where are the Kirkland Signature Pet Foods made? A: All of the dry foods are made by Diamond Pet Foods in five company owned manufacturing facilities, all in the United States. Two are located in Arkansas, California, one in Missouri and one in South Carolina.What does Kirkland dog food compare to? ›
Based on the result, Kirkland adult dog food is most comparable to: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula™ Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dog Chicken & Rice Formula. Kindfull Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food.Has Kirkland dog food been recalled? ›
Recalls of Kirkland Dog Food
In 2012 seven of their formulas were voluntarily recalled by Diamond Pet Foods for possible salmonella contamination.
Kirkland Dog Food VS Blue Buffalo Comparison
This is a very close competition, as they both use many of the same ingredients. However, Blue Buffalo is more likely to include a variety of meats in their recipes, whereas Kirkland often relies on protein meals.
Your dog may not be allergic to Kirkland food as a whole, but a specific ingredient within it. Many of the Kirkland foods use chicken as their protein source. While this is an excellent protein, many dogs are allergic to chicken. Many of the Kirkland food recipes also contain brewers dried yeast.What kind of dog food is Kirkland? ›
Kirkland is a private-label brand of dog food that is marketed as a premium food at a low cost. They produce dog foods for all life stages. They have two lines, Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain, the latter of which is their grain-free variety.Is Kirkland dog food grain-free? ›
This formula offers great nutrition for overall health and vitality for all dogs. Grain-free: This formula provides your special pet with optimal nutrition for overall good health.Who makes Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain dog food? ›
Kirkland Signature brand dog food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. Diamond manufactures its own brand of dog food, as well as for many other companies. There are five factories located across the United States, and you will find Kirkland Signature dog food sold through Costco and a few varieties on Amazon.What are the 10 top dog food brands? ›
- Blue Buffalo. ...
- Wellness. ...
- Taste of the Wild. ...
- Canidae. ...
- Instinct. ...
- Orijen. ...
- Nulo. With Nulo dog food, your pup will enjoy nutrition and love in every bite. ...
- Nature's Logic. Nature's Logic provides 100% natural nutrition for your dog using high quality ingredients.
July 6, 2022 — Primal Pet Foods is recalling a single lot of Raw Frozen Primal Patties for Dogs Beef Formula due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
Is grain free good for dogs? ›
There are a lot of dog and cat foods sold as grain-free with marketing suggesting that feeding no grains is healthier. This is not true and can, in fact, cause illness for some dogs and cats. There is no medical or physiologic basis to feed dogs or cats a grain-free diet.Does Costco have a limit on dog food? ›
"We have temporarily put a Limit 1 on all pet food to allow as many members to purchase product as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience."Does Kirkland dog food contain taurine? ›
No changes that we're aware of since the first FDA report was released; does not contain taurine according to the ingredient list on the Costco website. In total, Kirkland Signature had 7 foods named in a total of 34 reports (22 in addition to Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula).What dog food is better than blue buffalo? ›
The Verdict. Based on our comparison, Taste of the Wild dog food has a bit more to offer dogs than Blue Buffalo. Not only is it slightly more affordable than the alternative, but the formulas use better ingredients. Taste of the Wild goes to great lengths to make their products as safe for dogs as possible.Which dog foods are Aafco approved? ›
In short, AAFCO does not approve, certify or otherwise endorse pet foods. There is no AAFCO-approved pet food.Is Kirkland salmon dog food healthy? ›
Made with salmon meal and ocean fish meal for quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, this formula offers great nutrition for overall health and vitality for all dogs. Grain-free: This formula provides your special pet with optimal nutrition for overall good health.What is the best dog food for dogs with yeast problems? ›
- Nulo Freestyle Limited dry food is the best overall dog food for yeast infections including a variety of proprietary supplements that help to provide the chest of health and strengthen your dog's gut flora. ...
- Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Grain-Free dry food is the best dog food for yeast infections for the money.
Lamb and egg proteins are highly digestible and ideal for your adult dog. Antioxidants: Guaranteed levels of vitamin E, selenium and zinc work together to support your dog's healthy lifestyle.Does Costco have Kirkland dog food? ›
Kirkland Signature Adult Formula Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Dog Food, 40 lbs | Costco.Is Blue Buffalo good for dogs? ›
Blue Buffalo's Dry Dog Food lines are touted as some of the best dog foods you can buy. With whole-food ingredients and antioxidant blends formulated at low temps to sustain their vitamin content, it's no wonder this brand is one of the more expensive dry foods around.
Is salmon good for dogs? ›
Is it safe to feed your salmon? The short answer is yes. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support the immune system, may decrease inflammation, and can keep your dog's coat looking shiny and healthy. Along with some other types of fish, salmon is also a good protein source.Is lamb or chicken better for dogs? ›
When it comes to lamb vs chicken in your dog's food, the correct answer is... whichever works best for your dog. Different dogs have different dietary needs, based on allergies, energy levels, and even food preferences. If you are uncertain, be sure to consult your veterinarian.Is salmon meal good for dogs? ›
Yes! Many people think of fish as a cat food ingredient. But fish can be a delicious, healthful ingredient in dog food, too. Salmon, for example, is an excellent source of protein and important fatty acids.Is Costco dog food the same as taste of the wild? ›
Yes, when comparing Kirkland Nature's Domain vs. Taste of the Wild Dog Food, Taste of the Wild costs a bit more (even accounting for the Costco membership required to buy Kirkland Nature's Domain), but it also offers slightly better nutrition and recipes that seem to contain more meat than plant proteins.Is Blue Diamond dog food the same as Blue Buffalo? ›
And they both started as humble, family-owned companies that put the health of our pets first. The only significant difference between the two brands is that Blue Buffalo offers a much wider range of formulas. But, if a dog finds a Diamond Naturals kibble that he prefers, he should do just as well on it.What brands of dog food does Diamond make? ›
Brands owned by Diamond include Diamond Naturals, Nutra-Gold, and Taste of the Wild. 6.Who makes Kirkland Nature's domain dog food? ›
Kirkland Signature brand dog food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. Diamond manufactures its own brand of dog food, as well as for many other companies. There are five factories located across the United States, and you will find Kirkland Signature dog food sold through Costco and a few varieties on Amazon.What brands do Diamond Pet Foods make? ›
Brands owned by Diamond include Diamond Naturals, Nutra-Gold, and Taste of the Wild. 6.What kind of food is Costco dog food? ›
Costco Kirkland Signature is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.Who makes Costco dog food salmon? ›
|Nature's Domain Small Breed Salmon and Lentils||4||A|
Is Kirkland dog food made by Taste of the Wild? ›
While Taste of the Wild is considered a premium brand by most, it maintains competitive pricing. Before we get any further, it's important to point out that both Kirkland Nature's Domain and Taste of the Wild dog food are made by Diamond Pet Foods.What kind of dog food is Kirkland brand? ›
Kirkland is a private-label brand of dog food that is marketed as a premium food at a low cost. They produce dog foods for all life stages. They have two lines, Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain, the latter of which is their grain-free variety.Does Kirkland dog food contain taurine? ›
No changes that we're aware of since the first FDA report was released; does not contain taurine according to the ingredient list on the Costco website. In total, Kirkland Signature had 7 foods named in a total of 34 reports (22 in addition to Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula).Is Diamond dog food made in China? ›
Diamond Pet Foods is produced at four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities across the U.S. In addition to our headquarters in Meta, Missouri, we have plants in Gaston, South Carolina; Lathrop, California; and our newest plant is in Ripon, California.Is Diamond owned by Purina? ›
Diamond Pet Foods is owned by a company called Schell & Kampeter Inc.What is the difference between Diamond and Diamond natural dog food? ›
Diamond Naturals is a premium dry dog food. It contains more meat, better ingredients… and offers a significant upgrade over the standard Diamond product (above). Above-average protein.Is Kirkland dog food grain-free? ›
This formula offers great nutrition for overall health and vitality for all dogs. Grain-free: This formula provides your special pet with optimal nutrition for overall good health.Is dog food cheaper at Costco? ›
At Costco, we can get high-quality pet food and treats that are comparable to similar options sold at other stores — for a fraction of the price.Is grain-free good for dogs? ›
There are a lot of dog and cat foods sold as grain-free with marketing suggesting that feeding no grains is healthier. This is not true and can, in fact, cause illness for some dogs and cats. There is no medical or physiologic basis to feed dogs or cats a grain-free diet.Is Kirkland dog food good for sensitive stomachs? ›
This grain-free formula is easy for sensitive stomachs to digest and is especially beneficial for dogs who may have grain sensitivities.
Is Kirkland salmon dog food healthy? ›
Made with salmon meal and ocean fish meal for quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, this formula offers great nutrition for overall health and vitality for all dogs. Grain-free: This formula provides your special pet with optimal nutrition for overall good health.Is salmon good for dogs? ›
Is it safe to feed your salmon? The short answer is yes. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support the immune system, may decrease inflammation, and can keep your dog's coat looking shiny and healthy. Along with some other types of fish, salmon is also a good protein source.