Most foods available in supermarkets and warehouse stores rank at the bottom of what pet-food advocates say you should feed your dog. However, those who have a Costco membership do have one relatively high-quality and low-cost option: Kirkland Signature dog foods, including Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice & Vegetable.
Meat first, with decent-quality grains. Mike Sagman at PetFoodAdvisor.com gives Kirkland Signature dog foods his second-highest rating, 4 stars, and says its ingredients make it an above-average kibble at a value price. Grains are certainly part of the mix, but they are mostly decent-quality grains like brown rice and barley. Although less-desirable white rice and rice bran are used, lower-quality grains like corn and wheat are not. Meat (lamb and lamb meal in the case of Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice & Vegetable) leads the ingredient list. Though Kirkland Signature isn't completely free of controversial ingredients, what's there (like brewer's yeast) is on the low end of the concern scale, and minerals are chelated to help absorption.
Dog Food Reviews editors are even more impressed, naming Kirkland Signature to the site's list of top dog foods. Editors call it "a higher quality dog food than most of the supermarket brands ... can definitely hold its own against some of the 'higher-end' foods."
Recalled in 2012 for risk of salmonella. Kirkland Signature dog foods are made for Costco by Diamond Pet Foods, which also makes several high-quality pet foods, including Taste of the Wild High Prairie (Est. $29 for a 15-lb. bag) , that cost much more. However, that means that it was caught up in the same spring 2012 voluntary recall that ensnared Diamond, as well as certain batches of foods from other well-regarded brands such as Wellness and Natural Balance, because of concerns over possible salmonella contamination at Diamond's South Carolina plant. The company does add that no foods from any of those brands tested positive for salmonella. Kirkland Signature foods meet Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for nutrition.
Best budget-priced dog food. Kirkland Signature is a much better choice than most supermarket kibbles, experts say. For the price, you won't find a higher-quality dry dog food.
You can get better quality -- but you'll have to spend more. Taste of the Wild High Prairie is just about the cheapest grain-free kibble, but it costs about twice as much as Kirkland. Super-premium foods like Orijen Adult Dog (Est. $45 for a 15-lb. bag) pamper your pet with human-grade meat, but they're the priciest of all.
Mike Sagman likes some Kirkland Signature dog food varieties better than others, but the brand as a whole earns the site's second-highest rating (4 stars). The ingredients list places it in the above-average category, and Sagman calls it "highly recommended."
Review: Kirkland Dog Food (Dry), Mike Sagman, Updated Jan. 11, 2014
Earning a 4-star rating here as well, Kirkland dog foods are called "a pretty high quality product for the amount of dollars that it costs to buy." The biggest knocks are the use of white rice and rice bran and the fact that it's only available at Costco.
Review: Kirkland Super Premium (Lamb), Editors of PetFoodRatings.org, Not Dated
3. Dog Food Reviews
Here, Kirkland dry dog foods earn the highest 5-star grade for offering "quality ingredients at a price that everyone can afford." It's called an excellent choice that holds its own even against more expensive kibbles.
Review: Kirkland Dog Food Reviews, Editors of Dog Food Reviews, Jan. 15, 2014
The FDA outlines the May 2012 Diamond Pet Foods salmonella recall, which included Kirkland and several other brands of dry pet food.
Review: Diamond Pet Foods Expands Voluntary Recall of Dry Pet Food Due to Potential Salmonella Contamination, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, May 5, 2012