Kirkland is an extremely well-known brand that is the store brand of the large wholesaler Costco. Kirkland sells a huge range of products within Costco stores, such as clothes, food, pet food, and supplies.
Costco is known for its membership stores where consumers can pick up items in bulk at fantastic prices, and Costco’s venture into pet food follows this model closely. Huge, 40lb bags of dog food stacked up are a regular sight in Costco stores.
Based on our research, Kirkland does not produce its own pet food and outsources this production to Diamond Pet Foods, which is one of the largest manufacturers of pet food in the United States.
It is not clear which of Diamond’s manufacturing facilities are used to produce Kirkland recipes, but we do know that this production takes place somewhere in the United States.
Due to the fact that it is a store brand of Costco, Kirkland recipes are not available for purchase from other retail stores in the United States.
We will also note that there may be some differences in which Kirkland recipes at sold at each individual Costco store, with some featuring only select formulas.
We have noticed that sometimes Kirkland recipes are available to purchase online from 3rd party sellers like Amazon; however, these sources are inconsistent.
Sadly, Kirkland is not available from any of the large pet food websites like Chewy or Petflow, although many wish they were.
Kirkland Product Range
Kirkland has a moderately sized product range of dog food products available for purchase. This range is split into Kirkland Signature’s Super Premium range and their Nature’s Domain range.
The Super Premium range from Kirkland is their grain-inclusive range and tends to utilize rice as a primary plant-based ingredient. The Nature’s Domain recipes are grain-free and tend to utilize vegetable ingredients like legumes.
In both the Super Premium range and the Nature’s Domain range, there is a mix of both of the most popular forms of dog food, which are dry dog food and wet/canned dog food.
In addition, there are also some specialty recipes produced by Kirkland, such as those for puppies, small breed dogs, and senior dogs.
Lastly, Kirkland has two dog treat products, which are a dental chew style treat, and a biscuit-style treat.
Kirkland’s range of cat food products is notably smaller than its dog food range and is one of the smallest we’ve seen from an established brand.
Kirkland once again sticks to its sub-brands of Super Premium to provide grain-inclusive food, and Nature’s Domain to provide grain-free food.
The Super Premium range includes two dry cat food recipes and the Nature’s Domain range includes a single dry cat food recipe and two wet/canned cat food formulas.
Despite the tiny size of this range, Kirkland still manages to produce a niche cat food recipe designed for indoor cats to help them maintain a healthy weight.
At this time, Kirkland does not produce cat treats of any variety.
The nutrition provided by Kirkland dog food recipes varies but is generally average to above average when compared to other dog food brands.
The nutritional profile of most Kirkland recipes consists of moderate proportions of protein and fat and modest to somewhat excessive proportions of carbohydrates.
Below is an example of the nutrition provided by a Kirkland dry dog food recipe.
As you can see above, roughly 60% of the formula’s nutritional value is from protein and fat, which is a significant sum. However, the carbohydrate proportion is still notable at 40%.
This kind of nutritional profile is suitable for most dogs, especially adult dogs that are not overly active. However, more active dogs may want a diet with a higher proportion of protein and fat.
If you’d like to learn more about canine nutrition, we’d highly recommend checking out our in our in-depth Dog Food Guide.
The nutrition offered by Kirkland cat food recipes is similar to its dog food recipes in that it is average to above average when compared to other cat food brands.
This nutritional profile includes acceptable proportions of protein and fat but portions of carbohydrates that are still excessive for cats.
You can see an example of the nutrition provided by Kirkland Nature’s Domain dry cat food recipe below.
The correct nutritional profile for cats is critical as they are obligate carnivores which means they thrive best on a diet high in animal-based ingredients with minimal plant-matter.
If you’d like to learn more about what it means to be an obligate carnivore, you should take a read of our detailed Cat Food Guide where we discuss this and several other topics.
High-Quality Meat & Fish Ingredients
Kirkland utilizes a moderate range of high-quality meat and fish ingredients in its recipes. These ingredients are excellent additions to pet food recipes and dense sources of animal-based protein and fat.
It is worth pointing out that Kirkland uses most of the common meat and fish ingredients found in pet food recipes.
These common ingredients include industry favorites like Chicken, Salmon, and Beef. These ingredients are popular among pet food manufacturers because they are relatively inexpensive yet can provide excellent nutrition, high in protein and fat.
However, while Kirkland uses the industry’s most popular ingredients, it does not use any of the unique or unusual meat and fish ingredients sometimes found in pet food. Classic examples of these less common ingredients could include Kangaroo, Rabbit, or Venison.
If you’d like to learn more about these ingredients and why they are used, we’d recommend checking out our Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods Guide.
Other Notable Ingredients
Brown Rice, Barley, and Millet are some of the grain ingredients used in Kirkland recipes. Grains have been a staple of the industry for decades despite the mixed feelings in recent years.
There are many pet owners who refuse to feed their pets food that contains grain ingredients, especially the less favored grains like Corn or Wheat.
All three of the grains ingredients that are used by Kirkland are considered to be some of the “superior grains” when compared to others. Those who believe this do so because they think they are less processed and can provide additional nutrition.
You can read more specifics about the grain ingredients, Barley and Millet, in the below articles.
Peas, Lentils, and Chickpeas are all legumes ingredients and are found in Kirkland Nature’s Domain pet food recipes. These legumes are some of the most common plant-based ingredients found in premium dog food recipes.
The reason they are so commonly used is that they are relatively inexpensive yet can provide nutrition that is high in plant-based protein.
However, in recent years there has been growing concern caused by a link between the high use of legumes in dog food recipes and an increased rate of canine heart disease.
This link is far from conclusive, but you can learn more about it in our article Best Dog Foods Without Peas.
Pea Protein is a vegetable by-product and is added to some pet food recipes to increase the overall proportion of protein in the recipe without adding additional animal or fish-based protein.
This includes several of Kirkland’s dog food recipes. Pea Protein is not considered a high-quality ingredient but is commonplace in recipes that are mid-cost or lower-cost.
In addition to being used to boost protein levels, Pea Protein can also be used in a technique known as Ingredient Splitting, which you can read about here.
Learn more about Pea Protein and other Pea By-products in our article Peas, Pea Protein, Pea Flour, and Pea Fiber in Dog Food.
Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes are starch ingredients and are regular additions to many grain-free dog food recipes. Starch ingredients like Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes are extremely dense sources of carbohydrates.
This density means that it is important that the portion present in recipes is not too high; else, the overall proportion of carbohydrates will become excessive.
Thankfully the portion size found in most Kirkland recipes is not overly large and therefore does not overwhelm the formula.
Dried Beet Pulp is regularly added by manufacturers to dog food recipes, such as those from Kirkland, to provide soluble fiber.
Soluble Fiber can be an important component of many dogs’ diets to ensure they keep regular digestion and stools.
However, outside of this fiber content, Beet Pulp provides little additional nutrition, including a lack of protein, fat, or carbohydrates.
Learn more about Beet Pulp, including how it is made in our article Dried Beet Pulp In Dog Food.
Chicken Fat is used in many dog food recipes to improve its flavor and increase the overall proportion of animal fat in a recipe.
Chicken Fat is used as opposed to other animal fats, like Beef Fat, as it is relatively inexpensive and easy to source at scale.
Learn more about Chicken fat, including whether it can trigger a Chicken allergy, in our article, Chicken Fat In Dog Food.
Flaxseed is one of the most common minor ingredients to be found in pet food recipes and is best known as an excellent plant-based source of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
These fatty acids are believed by many to provide several health benefits to dogs and cats, including an improvement in the condition of their skin and coat and a reduction in the risk of certain diseases.
However, Flaxseed has several other beneficial health effects that more are unaware of. You can read more about Flaxseed and its full range of benefits in Flaxseed In Dog Food.
Brewers Yeast is found in pet food recipes in tiny quantities. It is added to provide beneficial vitamins and minerals such as the B Vitamins.
While the benefits of these micronutrients are not proven, Brewers Yeast’s widespread use proves many believe in its benefits.
Learn more about Brewers Yeast in Brewers Yeast In Dog Food.
Kirkland Animal Testing
We have no information on what type of testing, if any, that Kirkland participates in in relation to their pet food products.
However, given that Diamond produces Kirkland pet food recipes on their behalf, it is likely Diamond that carry out this testing and trials.
Many smaller pet food brands or private label brands do not disclose detailed information about how their products are tested or trialed as they fear backlash from their customers.
However, this lack of information has led some to be concerned that this pet food may not have been tested sufficiently and could not be suitable for long-term consumption.
Regardless, we strongly believe that laboratory or invasive style testing of animals for pet food is a cruel and outdated practice and one which we hope will see a significant decline.
We could find detailed information on two separate instances where Kirkland pet food products have been recalled.
May 2012 – A voluntary recall was issued by Diamond Pet Foods for several Kirkland pet food products due to potential salmonella contamination. At least 14 pets were shown to have been affected by this recall, and five were hospitalized.
Salmonella is a serious risk to both humans and animals and is one of the most common reasons for pet food recipes to be recalled. Common symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, but they can vary from dog to dog.
This recall did not only affect Kirkland but also nine other pet food brands that also utilized Diamond Pet Food as their manufacturer.
The below recipes and batches were those involved in the recall.
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Lamb, Rice, Vegetable – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice, Vegetable – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Mature Dog Chicken, Rice, Egg – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Chicken, Veg. – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Dog Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato – Best Before Date – 12/9/2012 through 1/31/2013
April 2007 – A recall was issued by the FDA for a Kirkland Signature wet dog food recipe due to melamine contamination. While this recall only affected a single Kirkland dog food recipe, it was much larger in scale for other brands and the industry as a whole.
This melamine contamination came from ingredients sourced from outside the United States, in particular, China, and caused a huge scare throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
This recall is still the main reason that many pet owners across the United States will only purchase food made in the United States from ingredients produced in the United States.
The specific recipe and batch affected by this recall are listed below
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Canned Dog Food – Best Before Date – 08/21/08 through 04/15/09
Despite the two recalls listed above, Kirkland has gone a significant period of time without any additional recalls of its pet products which is a promising sign that their safety and quality procedures have improved.
Despite this, we recommend that all pet owners remain vigilant of any future recalls of the Kirkland brand or any other pet food brand to ensure that their pets remain healthy and safe.
Best of Kirkland
Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Review
The above Salmon Meal and Sweet Potato recipe is from Kirkland’s Nature’s Domain grain-free range. The Nature’s Domain range is slightly more costly than some of Kirkland’s other recipes, but it is well worth it.
Salmon Meal is its primary ingredient, and the portion size is significant. Many dog owners are afraid of meat meals such as Salmon Meal, but they shouldn’t be.
These meal ingredients have had their moisture removed in advance, which means they are dense sources of nutrition, including protein and fat.
Outside of its Salmon content, the recipe uses a mix of Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Potatoes to provide carbohydrates, fiber, and select micronutrients.
These starch and legume ingredients are staples of the industry and are used by almost all pet food manufacturers to produce grain-free food.
There are also minor quantities of other ingredients, such as Tomato Pomace and Flaxseed. These ingredients boost the overall levels of dietary fiber and the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
While many puppy owners choose to feed their puppies all life stages food, using a dedicated puppy can provide advantages.
Often the food comes in smaller kibble sizes and has a more suitable nutritional balance to suit puppies’ growing bodies.
Nature’s Domain’s puppy food recipe is very similar to the adult Nature’s Domain recipes in its choice of ingredients and nutrition.
It utilizes a mix of Chicken and Chicken Meal as its core animal-based ingredients. This combination of whole chicken and a meat meal provides a satisfactory proportion of protein and fat, which will enable a puppy’s growth and high activity.
Past its Chicken content, the recipe uses a mix of plant-based ingredients such as Peas, Chickpeas, Lentils, and Fava Beans.
This large range of legume ingredients provides carbohydrates, plant-based protein, fiber, and select micronutrients.
Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Review
Kirkland may have a smaller range of cat food recipes than dog food recipes, but that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed.
The above Nature’s Domain Salmon & Sweet Potato is a respectable choice for any cat owner on a budget as you can purchase it in huge 20lb bags.
The recipe’s primary ingredient is Salmon Meal which is a dense source of animal-based nutrition. This is as it has already had the bulk of its moisture removed, leaving behind a dense source of protein and fat.
The recipe also includes a smaller portion of Ocean Fish Meal which is a common ingredient in pet food. You can read about Ocean Fish Meal in our article Ocean Fish Meal In Dog Food.
Outside of these two fish ingredients, Kirkland utilizes a mix of Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Potatoes for its plant-based content. This mix of starch and legume ingredients provides a mix of carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and fiber.
Nature’s Domain Grain Free Organic Chicken & Chicken Liver Review
Most cats can’t get enough of wet cat food, and the above recipe from Kirkland will not break this trend. The recipe utilizes organic ingredients, which will ensure a high-quality result.
Chicken and Chicken Liver are the recipe’s two primary ingredients, and that will surprise no one based on the recipe’s name. This combination provides a very satisfactory proportion of protein and fat, which is well suited to the majority of cats.
Also, the Chicken Liver present can greatly enhance the flavor of the recipe and boost the levels of some beneficial vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in traditional meat cuts.
There is little to no plant matter in the recipe, but there are tiny portions of Pea Flour, Agar-Agar, and others. These do not provide any significant nutrition and are mostly used as binding agents.
Kirkland Featured Articles
Best Cheap Dog Food – Many pet owners struggle to keep up with the costs of their pets, which is why affordable dog food is a critical topic.
In this article, we discuss the consequences of low-cost dog food and highlight some of the best options available, including a recipe from Kirkland.
Best Dog Food With Chicken And Rice – Chicken And Rice dog food recipes have been a staple of the industry for decades. They are often prescribed to dogs with easily upset stomachs or who have other digestive issues. But they are also popular thanks to their simplicity.
Kirkland has an excellent Chicken and Rice recipe, which earns them a place in our list of favorites. Be sure to check out the others.
Kirkland Full Product Range
Dry Dog Food
Adult Formula Chicken, Rice And Vegetable
Puppy Formula Chicken, Rice And Vegetable
Adult Formula Lamb, Rice And Vegetable
Small Formula Chicken & Vegetable
Mature Dog Chicken, Rice, And Egg Formula
Healthy Weight Dog Formula
Nature’s Domain Organic Chicken & Pea Recipe
Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato
Nature’s Domain Turkey Meal & Sweet Potato
Wet/Canned Dog Food
Chicken & Rice Formula
Lamb & Rice Formula
Nature’s Domain Organic Chicken With Vegetables
Nature’s Domain Turkey & Pea Stew
Premium Dog Biscuits
Dry Cat Food
Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato
Super Premium Healthy Weight Indoor Adult
Super Premium Maintenance Chicken & Rice
Wet/Canned Cat Food
Nature’s Domain Grain Free Organic Chicken & Chicken Liver
Nature’s Domain Grain Free Organic Chicken & Turkey