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You can find detailed information aboutKirkland, a private label brand made for Costcoby Diamond Pet Foods, Inc., in our main review of Kirkland Dog Food. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control measures. This review will provide some information about the main ingredients, additional ingredients that stand out, the guaranteed analysis, and any special concerns.
Kirkland has a very good reputation with dog breeders and dog show exhibitors, especially in areas served by Costco, and many people say they have been feeding the food for years with good results. Kirkland’s grain free line of foods is called Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain. Kirkland’s food is designed to compete with premium dog foods at a lower cost. They contain no corn, soy, or wheat; and they have no animal digest, by-products, or artificial preservatives. These are some of the reasons they have been popular with dog breeders and exhibitors, especially people who own multiple dogs. They are able to feed what seems like a good quality food at a lower cost which is an important consideration when you have multiple dogs.
Special Note About Kirkland Dog Food
Note that there is currently some customer confusion over Kirkland’s canned dog foods. Different Costco stores seem to have different versions of the foods – either the chicken and rice formula, the chicken and beef with vegetables formula, chicken and lamb with rice, or the lamb and rice formula. There are also some cans labeled as “cuts in gravy.” Some of the cans are 14 ounces and some of them are 13.2 ounces. There may also be smaller cans. Some of the foods are being made for Costco by Simmons Pet Food and some of the foods are being made by American Nutrition. As far as we can tell, all of these canned foods have similar ingredients and guaranteed analyses. We hope that Costco will do something to make the situation less confusing for their customers. It would also be helpful if they would create a web site with information for the food since it is so popular.
Ingredients in Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Food with Beef and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy
Chicken, beef broth, chicken broth, chicken liver, beef, dried egg whites, dried egg product, potatoes, potato starch, carrots, peas, natural flavor, dried beet pulp, flaxseed meal, salt, guar gum, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, sodium carbonate, vitamins (vitamin E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganous sulfate, sodium selenite, potassium iodate), choline chloride
The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, beef broth, chicken broth, chicken liver, and beef. It’s normal for canned foods to contain more protein, on a dry matter basis, than kibbles, and that’s the case with this food. 8 percent protein on the label translates to 44.4 percent protein on a dry matter basis once you remove the 82 percent moisture in the can. There is lots of good quality protein in this food, starting with the first ingredient – chicken – and followed by the fourth ingredient which is chicken liver. The fifth ingredient is beef. The moisture content is made up of chicken broth and beef broth. That’s a lot of animal protein in the first five ingredients.
According to the company, this food is formulated for growth and maintenance. You should note that Kirkland uses no corn, wheat, or soy in their foods. They use no artificial flavors, by-products, or colors.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Chicken is the first ingredient. Chicken is about 80 percent protein and it’s a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Niacin and Selenium. As the first ingredient there is more chicken, by weight before cooking, than any other ingredient in the food. However, since this is whole chicken, it also includes the water weight. This ingredient might come farther down the list if the water were removed.
Beef broth and chicken broth are high in water content which is necessary for canned foods. Canned foods are allowed to contain high amounts of moisture so they have the proper consistency for the food. Most canned foods cannot contain more than 78 percent moisture but foods that are made to be “in gravy” (or in sauce, etc.) can contain more than 80 percent moisture, such as this one. These ingredients add flavor and texture to the food. Most dogs love canned food and it’s because of things like the flavor, and the higher percentage of protein and fat. However, you should keep in mind that even a small difference in the moisture content of canned food can make a big difference in the amount of dry matter in the food since the amounts are multiplied to find the guaranteed analysis. For more information, please see this article.
Chicken liver is high in protein (63 percent), with moderate fat (35 percent) and low carbs (2 percent). It is a good source of of Thiamin, Zinc, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Phosphorus and Selenium
The fifth ingredient here is beef. Beef is good for dogs (unless you happen to have a dog who is allergic to it, of course). It’s generally about 74 percent protein and 26 percent fat. It’s a good source of Riboflavin, Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper and Selenium. It also has lots of omega-6 fatty acid. You should note that the beef will contain moisture. If the moisture were removed, this ingredient would probably fall lower on the list.
Overall, these ingredients seem to meet some of the company’s claims about the food. They provide good meat protein with chicken, chicken liver, and beef. Beef isn’t the first ingredient, as you might expect with a food called “dog food with beef and vegetables” but the FDA doesn’t require beef to be the first ingredient according to their labeling rules. (See the section titled “Product Name” here).
“The “3%” or “with” rule was originally intended to apply only to ingredients highlighted on the principal display panel, but outside the product name, in order to allow manufacturers to point out the presence of minor ingredients that were not added in sufficient quantity to merit a “dinner” claim. For example, a “Cheese Dinner,” with 25% cheese, would not be feasible or economical to produce, but either a “Beef Dinner for Dogs” or “Chicken Formula Cat Food” could include a side burst “with cheese” if at least 3% cheese is added. The AAFCO model regulations now allow use of the term “with” as part of the product name, such as “Dog Food With Beef” or “Cat Food With Chicken.” Now, even a minor change in the wording of the name has a dramatic impact on the minimum amount of the named ingredient required, e.g., a can of “Cat Food With Tuna” could be confused with a can of “Tuna Cat Food,” but, whereas the latter example must contain at least 95% tuna, the first needs only 3%. Therefore, the consumer must read labels carefully before purchase to ensure that the desired product is obtained.”
So, you can expect this food to contain about 3 percent beef and vegetables. On a dry matter basis, with the moisture removed, that would be a good portion of the food content.
Chicken broth and beef broth provide tasty moisture for the food.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
Dried egg whites are a good source of nutrients for dogs and are easy for dogs to digest. They can also help act as a binder in dog food to keep the food together and give it a particular texture.
The food also contains dried egg product which is another good source of animal protein. Eggs offer high biological value for mammals like dogs.
Potatoes and potato starch are alternative carb sources in the food. They provides starches that give the canned food its texture and stability. According to many sources, potato starch not only improves the shape and texture of the food (which your dog probably doesn’t care about but it makes it look better to you), it also provides carbs that are easy to digest. Potatoes and potato starch are also gluten free if that is a concern. Potatoes are a high glycemic carb if that is something that you follow for your dog. Potatoes are low in protein (7 percent), low in fat (1 percent) and very high in carbohydrates (92 percent). Potato starch is, as you might guess, only carbohydrates.
The food also contains dried beet pulp. There are some misconceptions about beet pulp, probably because of the name. Dried beet pulp is a natural, fermentable source of fiber. It is a wonderful addition to dog food to help move fecal matter along in the intestines, for one reason because it soaks up a lot of moisture and keeps things moving. It also acts as a pre-biotic to help good bacteria grow in the gut. Dried beet pulp is not a source of sugar for dogs. It does not make dogs hyper. The sugar has already been removed. “Despite being a byproduct of sugar beet processing, beet pulp itself is low in sugar and other non-structural carbohydrates, but high in energy and fiber. Among other nutrients, it contains 10 percent protein, 0.8 percent calcium and 0.5 percent phosphorus.” (Source)
Natural flavor added is often monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is also added to human foods. It is usually a less desirable ingredient but we can’t be sure what it is in this case.
The food also contains flaxseed meal. Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid but it’s also a phytoestrogen and it can cause hormonal problems for dogs, especially for unspayed female dogs. If you are a dog breeder, you should be careful about feeding a food with heavy concentrations of this ingredient to a puppy.
Guar gum, made from ground guar beans, is often used as a natural thickening agent in pet food. It has almost eight times the water-thickening potency of cornstarch. It only takes a very small amount to hold a lot of moisture in a food. Guar gum is also used in human foods such as ice cream to help them hold their shape.
The food also contains added vitamins and chelated minerals. Amino acids are bonded to the minerals making them easier to digest. Chelated minerals are more expensive fore dog food manufacturers to use so their presence in a food is often a sign of a better dog food.
Crude protein ….. 8.0% min
Crude fat ….. 5.0% min
Crude fiber ….. 1.5% max
Moisture ….. 82.0% max
Omega-6 fatty acids ….. 0.80% min
Omega-3 fatty acids ….. 0.10% min
232 calories per 8 oz cup; 383 calories per 13.2 ounce can
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Food with Beef and Vegetables in Gravy is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and maintenance.
Dry Matter Basis
On a dry matter basis, this canned food contains 44.4 percent protein and 27.8 percent fat. These percentages are well above nutrient guidelines. Fiber makes up 8.3 percent of the food which is not unusual for many canned foods. The food contains 19.4 percent carbohydrates.
We like this canned food from Kirkland very much. We like the animal protein content and the other ingredients, as well as the dry matter basis of the food. We also note that Kirkland’s foods, overall, including their canned foods, offer great value for the price. These are good foods with good ingredients for a good price if you happen to live near Costco.
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Food with Beef and Vegetables in Gravy has received our above average 4 ½ paw rating, making this a high quality dog food.
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