Kirkland Dog Food vs. Royal Canin: Which Dog Food Is Better?

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Food is one of the most important factors in keeping your dog happy and healthy, so you want to choose the right food to feed them. There are so many types and brands of dog food out there, making it hard to choose one. Today, we will compare Kirkland dog food vs. Royal Canin to help you choose the better dog food. 

Royal Canin dog food is better if you want the option for your dog’s breed or size because they offer more tailored products.  Kirkland dog food has fewer options, but their food has many important nutrients and is a good option for buying in bulk if you have a Costco membership.

This article details the similarities between Kirkland dog food and Royal Canin and compares specific dog food examples from each brand. With all the comparisons, you’ll be able to choose the right food for your dog or puppy.

Similarities Between Kirkland Dog Food and Royal Canin

Before we dive into Kirkland dog food vs. Royal Canin, let us look at a few of the things that the two dog food companies have in common. Both brands: 

  • Sell versions of their food for puppies, adult dogs, and mature dogs. As your dog grows up, you can change their food to better suit their age and lifestyle. 
  • Have a weight maintenance or care version of their food. These food types are meant for dogs who are outside of their healthy weight range and need some help getting back to and maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • Have had recalls throughout their history. Kirkland had one recall in 2012 when health officials found salmonella infections in at least a dozen people across the country. Royal Canin has had three recalls: One in February 2006, when health officials found too much vitamin D in their canned food used in vet clinics, and two back-to-back in April and May 2007, when health officials found the toxic chemical melamine in many foods.  

Kirkland Dog Food Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Most ingredients from the United StatesMay need a Costco membership to purchase 
Testing on ingredients before using themFew options for flavors and age variations
Different flavors for certain dog agesNo options by breed
Comes in large sizes, so you run out less often

First, most of the ingredients are made in the United States. They’re then shipped to one of the manufacturing facilities in the United States, where the dog food is actually made. However, some ingredients are not made in the United States, so Kirkland must import them to create their products. Some examples include potato protein which comes from Germany, and dried chicory root, which comes from Belgium.

Before manufacturers can use any ingredients in the dog food, they must be tested to make sure they’re free of toxins, and have all the nutritional benefits they expect to have in the dog food. 

If you want to purchase Kirkland dog food, a Costco membership is recommended to get the best price. Depending on where you live, your local Costco may even offer to ship direct to your home. Otherwise, you can find Kirkland dog food on Amazon.com from other sellers, though the prices tend to be significantly higher. 

Also, there are fewer options available for Kirkland dog food than Royal Canin, and variety isn’t based on breed, just age. 

I Ran Out Of Dog Food
I Ran Out Of Dog Food

Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Dog Food

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

ProsCons
Have many essential nutrients approved by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient ProfilesMade in a facility with potential allergens not included in the dog food
Easy to chew and digestNot suited to your puppy’s weight or size
Oils and acids promote brain and eye development.

Nutritional Information

  • Calcium 1.2%
  • Phosphorus 1.1%

Key Ingredients

Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, salmon oil (a source of DHA), millet, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, carrots, peas, dried kelp, apples, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root

Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula has a lot of important nutrients that pups need in their first year of development, such as salmon oil, omega-3 fatty acid, and DHA. 

It also has some important things that all dogs need, like protein for energy which is also easily digestible. Prebiotic fiber also supports the digestive system and gives them the energy to have a healthy lifestyle. 

And, the kibble is small, so your dog won’t have difficulty chewing and eating it, no matter how small they are. 

Kirkland Signature Adult Formula Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Dog Food

Kirkland Signature Natural Formula Dog Food - Multiple Age - Multiple Sizes (Adult - Lamb, Rice and Vegetable, 40 Pound)

ProsCons
Have many essential nutrients approved by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient ProfilesMade in a facility with potential allergens not included in the dog food
Lamb based for high proteinNot suited to your dog’s weight or size
Promotes easy digestion and continual digestive movement

Nutritional Information

  • Calcium 1.7% 
  • Phosphorus 1.2%

Key Ingredients

Lamb, lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, ground white rice, rice bran, egg product, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, millet, brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, carrots, peas, dried kelp, apples, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root

The best part of the Kirkland adult dog food is that it is high in protein thanks to the primary ingredient of lamb and the added egg. High protein is easy for your dog to digest while giving them the energy they need to have a healthy lifestyle. 

It has many ingredients and probiotics that help your dog’s immune system stay strong, and the active cultures will keep their digestive system moving.

Kirkland Signature Mature Formula Chicken, Rice & Egg Dog Food

Kirkland Signature Dog Food Variety (Chicken, Rice and Egg Dog Food 40 lb.)

ProsCons
Have many essential nutrients approved by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient ProfilesMade in a facility with potential allergens not included in the dog food
High in protein with probioticsNot suited to your dog’s weight or size
Keeps immune system and joints strong

Nutritional Information

  • Calcium 1.5% 
  • Phosphorus 1.1%

Key Ingredients

Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, egg product, oatmeal, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, potatoes, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, millet, fish meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, carrots, peas, dried kelp, apples, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root

This Kirkland dog food made for seniors is great for older dogs who need protein to keep them strong as they age. There are also plenty of added vitamins and vegetables to keep your dog’s immune system strong. 

The dried chicory root is important for your dog’s skin and fur, which can deteriorate if your dog does not maintain healthy bacteria levels. Other important ingredients help keep their joints healthy as they age.

Even as your dog is aging, it’ll have plenty of energy thanks to the vitamin E and other antioxidants in the food. 

Royal Canin Dog Food Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Foods are made specifically for different dog breedsHas had multiple recalls in the last few decades
No membership is needed to buyComes in smaller sizes, so you need to purchase them more often.
Foods made for specific size dogs

One of the biggest advantages that Royal Canin has over Kirkland dog food is that they make food for specific breeds of dogs and distinguish food by age. 

For example, when looking at puppy food, there are fifteen variations of dog food that are made for a specific breed of dog, including bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers. 

Royal Canin Medium Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Medium Puppy Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag

ProsCons
Healthy energy from key nutrientsNot tailored to a specific brand
Builds a strong immune systemNeed to know your dog’s adult weight
Easy to chew and digest

Nutritional Information

  • Crude Protein (min) – 30.0%
  • Crude Fat (min) – 18.0%
  • Crude Fiber (max) – 3.6%
  • Moisture (max) – 10.0%
  • Vitamin E (min) – 350 IU/kg

Key Ingredients

Chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, brewers rice, corn, wheat, corn gluten meal, dried plain beet pulp, wheat gluten, natural flavors, brewers rice flour, fish oil, monocalcium phosphate, vegetable oil, sodium silico aluminate, potassium chloride, salt, fructooligosaccharides, hydrolyzed yeast (source of beta-glucans), Yucca schidigera extract

Other Variations of Royal Canin Puppy Food

When you choose the size of your puppy for this food, you’re going off of their expected adult weight. Have a vet help you out with this so you don’t purchase the wrong food that can negatively affect your pup’s growth and weight later in life.

Once you choose the right one for your dog, the antioxidants and vitamins in this food help the dogs develop a strong immune system and give them the energy they need to live their lives to the fullest. 

Each piece of food is designed to be easy for your puppy to chew so they can digest it properly without eating too fast. These factors will build lifelong healthy eating habits. 

Royal Canin Medium Adult Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
EPA and DHA help keep skin and fur healthyNeed to know dog’s approximate weight for feeding portion 
Fiber content keeps their digestive system moving½ to 1 cup (64 to 128 g) higher portion for high activity dogs compared to low activity dogs
Dogs will not get bored of the highly palatable food.

Nutritional Information

  • Crude Protein (min) – 23.0%
  • Crude Fat (min) – 12.0%
  • Crude Fiber (max) – 3.2%
  • Moisture (max) – 10.0%
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) (min) – 0.13%
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (min) – 0.05%
  • Omega-3 fatty acids* (min) – 0.39%

Key Ingredients

Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, oat groats, wheat, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, fish oil, calcium carbonate, vegetable oil, potassium chloride, salt, monocalcium phosphate, choline chloride, hydrolyzed yeast, vitamins

Other Variations of Royal Canin Adult Dog Food

Adult food is a great way to continue the healthy eating habits of your dog after they grow out of the puppy stage. The antioxidants in the food keep your dog staying high energy like when they were a puppy. 

Additional ingredients, like omega-3 fatty acids, promote a healthy immune system to keep them strong and healthy as they grow older. 

Plus, the food is easy to digest while still encouraging them to chew. Chewing is important so your dog doesn’t eat too fast or have difficulty digesting full pieces of food. 

Royal Canin Medium Adult 7+ Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 17 lb bag

ProsCons
Antioxidants to help dogs fight agingNeed to know dog’s approximate weight for feeding portion 
Many same features as adult food but made to assist with growing older½ to 1 cup (64 to 128 g) higher portion for high activity dogs compared to low activity dogs

Nutritional Information

  • Crude Protein (min) – 23.0%
  • Crude Fat (min) – 12.0%
  • Crude Fiber (max) – 3.5%
  • Moisture (max) – 10.0%
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) (min) – 0.17%
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (min) – 0.07%

Key Ingredients

Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, wheat, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, oat groats, wheat gluten, fish oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, psyllium seed husk, vegetable oil, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, monocalcium phosphate, hydrolyzed yeast, choline chloride, vitamins

Other Variations of Royal Canin Adult Plus Dog Food

The Royal Canin Medium Adult 7+ Dry Dog Food is very similar to the adult dog food above, but it has some added antioxidants to help your dog as they age. This food ensures the immune system stays strong and your dog continues to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy as they age. 

Depending on your dog’s age and size, there is a wide variety of foods for older dogs that best suit them and help them stay healthy. 

Final Thoughts

If you want food for your dog’s specific size or breed, Royal Canin has dozens of options to choose from. Otherwise, you can go with Kirkland if you have a Costco membership and want to buy the food in bulk. Kirkland has different foods for different aged dogs, as does Royal Canin.