Kirkland Dog Food vs Pedigree: Pros & Cons of Each Brand

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Your canine needs proper nutrition to fuel and promote proper development, meet its energy demands, maintain and repair tissues, and provide the proper nutrients necessary to keep him healthy and happy. However, with so many different brands in the market, getting the right food for your dog can be a challenge. This article will guide your next purchase by comparing two of the most common brands: Kirkland dog food and Pedigree dog food.

Pros of Kirkland dog food include its highly digestible and readily bioavailable ingredients. These products are also based on easily digestible meat meals, providing a rich source of protein. By comparison, the corn-based Pedigree food blends are less digestible and less bioavailable.

This article will explore the pros and cons of the Kirkland and Pedigree dog food brands. I’ll also compare products based on their ingredients and costs to determine which of the two is the ideal option for your dog. If you’re having trouble choosing between these two dog food brands, keep reading!

Similarities of Kirkland and Pedigree Dog Food

Before getting into details on how these two popular dog food brands stack against each other, it’s important to know some of the ways these two options are similar. 

Both Kirkland and Pedigree dog foods are:

  • Dry food blends that are rich in protein. Accordingly, both have a high-protein base, typically chicken or meat, and are supplemented with some form of organic vegetables and rice for a good mix of flavor, carbohydrate, and vitamin content.
  • Predominantly marketed as high-protein blends, despite having some rice or whole-grain option that acts as a carb source. If you’re worried about the total carbohydrate content of these foods, both brands offer a no-grain variant to those looking to prevent obesity in their dogs.
  • High in crude fat and fiber content. While this content isn’t similar for both blends, the difference is rather insignificant.
  • Produced in the United States. Diamond Pet Foods manufactures the Kirkland dog food products, which offers a vast line of premium dog food products. On the other hand, Pedigree dog food is manufactured by Mars Petcare in the US, although there are many affiliate companies located in other parts of the world.
  • Recall history. Both Pedigree and Kirkland Signature blends have a history of recalls. The Kirkland dog food brand, for instance, was recalled in 2012 following an FDA investigation into these products. The Pedigree dog food brands also have a recall history, the latest case which occurred in 2014.

Now, let’s review the various popular products under each of these brands, beginning with the Kirkland dog food brand.

Kirkland Dog Food Pros and Cons

ProsCons
High protein contentRecall history by the FDA, latest in October 2012
Positioned as a premium product at affordable pricingOnly has six major products in its product line
Locally manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in the United StatesBuyers may require a Costco membership card to purchase

The Kirkland dog food product line included six primary dry foods were once exclusively sold by Costco, a wholesale retailer based in the United States. Accordingly, a Costco membership might be necessary if you want to buy any of the products under the Kirkland food product line. Thankfully, these products can be found through various buying options on Amazon.com from time to time, but they may cost more, and availability is scattered. 

The Kirkland dog food product line includes the following products:

I Ran Out Of Dog Food
I Ran Out Of Dog Food
  • Kirkland Signature Adult Lamb, Rice and Vegetable
  • Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken, Rice and Vegetable
  • Kirkland Signature Puppy
  • Kirkland Signature Small Dog
  • Kirkland Signature Mature Dog
  • Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight

Kirkland Signature products have been marketed as a premium but sold as affordable pet food, positioning it as one of the preferred dog food options today. 

It’s also worth noting that while Costco is the main retailer for this dog food, the company doesn’t manufacture it. It only stocks it. Diamond Pet Foods handles the manufacturing side of Kirkland Signature dog foods, and it has facilities in the United States.

Kirkland Signature Adult Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Dog Food

Kirkland Signature Adult Formula Lamb, Rice and Vegetable Dog Food 40 lb ES

Pros Cons
Contains real lamb, rice and vegetablesContains whole grain brown rice
Has glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy jointsRecall history
Includes Vitamin E, Active 9 probiotics and zinc
Contains natural fiber
Highly digestible
High protein content 
Contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy coat and strong immune system
Contains fruits

Nutritional information

  • Crude protein – 23% minimum
  • Crude fat – 14% minimum
  • Crude fiber – 4% maximum
  • Moisture – 10% maximum

Key Ingredients

Whole grain brown rice, lamb, ground white rice, lamb meal, egg product, rice bran, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley, fish meal, flaxseed, potassium chloride, choline chloride, brewers dried yeast, potatoes, dried beet pulp, salt, carrots., apples, peas, rosemary, cranberries, dried kelp, parsley flake, flavor, millet.

This premium dog food under the Kirkland product line is a rich source of protein. It predominantly features crude protein, although it also has a high percentage of both crude fat and crude fiber.

This Kirkland dog food is designed to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. In addition to the high protein content thanks to real lamb and eggs, this blend is also a good carbohydrate source from whole grain brown rice. It’s also highly digestible and is enhanced with probiotics to enhance your dog’s digestive health.

Other major selling points for this dog food include the following:

  • Contains chondroitin and glucosamine, which promote good joint health.
  • Contains Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium which act as antioxidants.
  • Infused with Omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and strong immune system.
  • Contains probiotic fiber for sound intestinal health.

This product is easily found at Costco, though you may be able to get it from other online sources such as Amazon. Keep in mind, however, these online stores tend to charge much higher prices when compared to Costco. Additionally, this product was one of the products recalled in 2012.

Kirkland Signature Adult Formula Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Dog Food

Kirkland Signature Adult Formula Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Dog Food 40 lb.

ProsCons
High protein contentRecall history
Highly-digestible carbohydrate source
Enhanced with probiotics
Enriched with fruits, herbs, and garden vegetables
Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
Rich source of Vitamin E, selenium, and zinc
Infused with Omega fatty acids

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein – 26% minimum
  • Crude fat – 16% minimum
  • Crude fiber – 4% maximum
  • Moisture – 10% maximum

Key Ingredients

Chicken, whole grain brown rice, chicken neam, egg product, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat, dried beet pulp, chlorine, brewed dried yeast, potatoes, natural flavor, flaxseed, fish meal, peas, carrots, rosemary extract, paisley flake, Vitamin E, copper sulfate, potassium chloride, cranberries, apples, dried kelp, niacin, glucosamine hydrochloride.

This dog food contains most of the ingredients found in the Kirkland Signature adult lamb, rice, and vegetable, the main difference being that the main ingredient for this blend is chicken and chicken meal. This is a product specifically designed to feed adult dogs and infused with a wide array of nutrients to meet most adult dogs’ nutritional and supplement demands.

This blend has a higher protein content and is also highly digestible. Other benefits include:

  • Probiotics inclusion supports proper digestive health.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin promote healthy joints.
  • Infused with garden vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
  • Contains antioxidants from Vitamin E, selenium, and zinc.

This blend also contains omega acids for an improved immune system and a healthy-looking coat. If you’re looking for a dog blend high in protein and low on carbohydrates but rich in essential vitamins and fatty acids, this blend is worth buying for your dog.

The only downside for this product is limited availability because, like the other products in the Kirkland product line, this blend is usually only sold by Costco. It also has a recall history, being one of the products recalled in the 2012 FDA bulletin.

Kirkland Signature Puppy

ProsCons
High protein sourceRecall history
Includes essential vitamins, DHA, selenium, and probioticsAvailable in a 20lb bag
Infused with fruits and vegetables

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein – 28% minimum
  • Crude far – 17% minimum
  • Crude fiber – 3% maximum
  • Moisture – 10% maximum

Ingredients

Chicken meal, chicken, cracked pearled barley, egg product, whole grain brown rice, fish meal, natural flavor, chicken fat, millet, apples, potassium chloride, rosemary extract, dried kelp, parsley flake, apples, peas, carrots, cranberries, dried chicory root, zinc sulfate, salmon oil, dried yeast.

This product is a rich protein source and is ideal for puppies, nursing, or pregnant mothers. Its main ingredient is fresh chicken, whose combination with egg proteins makes it easily digestible and friendly for your dog.

Other major selling points for this product include the following:

  • Contains added salmon oil, a rich source of DHA which aids in eye and brain development.
  • Contains antioxidants from Vitamin E and selenium.
  • Has a small kibble, making it easy to chew for small puppies.
  • Infused with probiotics and natural prebiotic fiber from chicory roots, which is good for intestinal health.
  • Features live, active cultures to promote proper digestion.

For dog parents looking to meet the nutritional requirements of puppies, this blend is worth considering. Unlike the other products already discussed, this blend was not one of the products recalled in 2012. 

Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight

Kirkland Signature Natural Formula Dog Food - Multiple Age - Multiple Sizes (Puppy - Chicken, Rice and Vegetable, 20 Pound)

ProsCons
Infused with Vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and Active probioticsRecall history
High protein source
Includes antioxidants
Healthy weight formula with 275 calories per cup
High fiber content

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein – 20% minimum
  • Crude far – 6% minimum
  • Crude fiber – 13% maximum
  • Moisture – 10% maximum

Ingredients

Brown rice, chicken meal, millet, oatmeal, chicken, powdered cellulose, potatoes, rice bran, dried beet pulp, choline chloride, potatoes, dried chicory root, chicken fat, peas, natural flavor, fish meal, rosemary extract, cranberries, apples, carrots, zinc sulfate, ascorbic acid, egg product, flaxseed.

This formula is specifically designed for pets that are prone to gaining weight. It’s a low-calorie blend high in fiber and fat to control your pet’s caloric content. It’s also infused with whole grains, fresh chicken, fruit, and vegetables.

Some of the major selling points include the following:

  • Contains antioxidants.
  • Contains Omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and strong immunity.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.
  • Calorie light formula.
  • Contains probiotics.

Once again, this blend is typically only retailed by Costco, so you might need a Costco membership card to remain in constant supply of this option.

Pedigree Dog Food Pros and Cons

PEDIGREE Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dog Kibble, 46.8 lb.Bag

ProsCons
Contains 12 dry dog food products (almost double that of Kirkland)Has a recall history (2009)
High fiber contentPredominantly made from corn which has limited nutritional value to a dog
Infused with vitaminsLow digestibility
Rich source of 6 fatty acids

Pedigree is a dry pet food brand with 12 products in its product line. Manufactured by Mars, an American company, this brand predominantly features corn, a rich but inexpensive carbohydrate content. In fact, this is one of the major downsides of these products because other than providing a source of energy for the dog, corn doesn’t place highly as the preferred ingredient for dog food.

The second main ingredients for these products are meat and bone meal, essentially a protein source. However, compared to the Kirkland products that have a high degree of digestibility, meat and bone meal aren’t highly digestible compared to other sources such as chicken meal, fish meal, and others.

Let us go into detail about some of the popular dog blends under this product line.

Pedigree Big Dogs Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor

PEDIGREE Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dog Kibble, 46.8 lb.Bag

ProsCons
Contains glucosamine and chondroitinLow digestibility
Contains Omega-6 fatty acidsBased on corn
Rich in Vitamin ERecall history
Made in the United States
No artificial flavors or added sugars
Crunchy kibble for healthy teeth

Ingredients

Meat and bone meal, ground whole grain corn, soybean meal, dried plain beet pulp, brewers rice, chlorine chloride, Omega 6 fatty acids, animal fat, potassium chloride, chicken by-product meal, natural flavor.

Pedigree dog food is a premium blend that should, in theory, meet your dog’s nutritional requirements. However, one of the major weaknesses of these products lies in their main ingredients, especially when compared to the Kirkland Signature blends.

For instance, corn is a controversial base product when it comes to a dog’s nutrition. On the other hand, meat and bone meal are often criticized because of their low digestibility, as is soybean, which has low bioavailability in dogs.

However, this product has some key strengths, including the following:

  • Contains kibble, which makes it an ideal option for dogs with digestive problems.
  • No artificial sugars or flavor.
  • Contains Omega-6 fatty acids for a robust immune system.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints.
  • Available on Amazon and other e-commerce sites.

One of this product’s strengths is that it’s readily available at various retailers, which makes these products more appealing from an availability standpoint. You also won’t need to get a membership card anywhere. However, when held side to side with the Kirkland Signature blends, these Pedigree blends seem to pale in comparison.

Pedigree Puppy Growth and Protection Chicken & Vegetable Flavor

PEDIGREE Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Dog Food Chicken & Vegetable Flavor, 36 lb. Bag

ProsCons
Contains DHA for better cognitive developmentSpecifically formulated for puppies
Contains antioxidants, vitamins and mineralsContains a whole grain corn base
Features high-quality protein to promote growthContains soybean meal which is low in bioavailability
Low in fructose
Has calcium and phosphorous for healthy teeth and bones
No added sugars

Ingredients

Ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain wheat, poultry by-product meal, animal fat, brewer’s rice, natural flavor, soybean meal, salt, brewer’s dried yeast, wheat.

As a product specifically designed for puppies, this blend ticks the right boxes with high fiber content for muscular development, high carbohydrate content to support an active lifestyle, Omega 6 fatty acids for proper cognitive development, and others.

However, this product still suffers from the main drawback of other products in this product line. Specifically, it has a base of ground wheat or corn as well as soybeans. For a product that should be geared towards greater muscular development, you would expect to find a higher amount of protein sources in the ingredient list, but instead, this blend is still higher in carbs than proteins.

Final Thoughts

Regarding the better between the Kirkland pet food brand and the Pedigree dog food brand, I recommend the former.

The Kirkland food products also have a good mix of fruits and vegetables, essential vitamins, and fatty acids, making it an all-around solution to meet your dog’s overall developmental needs while also enhancing better cognitive development, joint health, and stronger immunity. However, it’s crucial to note that you may need a Costco membership to buy these products.