Kirkland Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo: In-Depth Comparison [2023]

As an ardent dog lover, I can completely imagine how stressful it must be for all the dog owners out there to decide what kind of food to feed their pets.

Although some of the commercial food brands or the locally available items might be more accessible and easier on the pocket, we all want to feed the best of everything to our pets, hoping that it will make them happier and healthier.

So, what do you do when there are two brands in front of you, and you just cannot seem to make a choice? The two brands in question here are Blue Buffalo and Kirkland Dog Food.

Well, fortunately for you, I’m here to assist you in this Kirkland Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo debate. Let’s delve in deep and compare the essential elements to see which brand will best suit your dog’s needs and have them do a joyous dance.

FactorsKirkland Dog FoodBlue Buffalo
Owned byDiamond Pet FoodsGeneral Mills
Launched in19702003
Special featureAn entire line of grain-free productsExclusive LifeSource Bits
Number of formulasDifferent categories of products and over 10 types of recipes90+ recipes for small breeds, senior dogs, and puppies
Intended forActive dogs and those who need help with digestion and joint painPuppies, small breeds, adult dogs, senior dogs, and standard-size dogs

A Sneak Peek at The Winner: Kirkland Dog Food

The combination that Kirkland Dog Food offers is what makes it a winner. The price points of their products make them affordable enough for every pet owner to be able to purchase them. The quantity present is substantial for the price one pays for it.

By providing high-quality ingredients and manufacturing products for puppies, adult dogs, as well as senior dogs, they are an easy go-to option for those who are looking for healthier foods for their canine companion.

The brand pays attention to healthy fats and uses real meat, and it’s often difficult to find this mix in other brands in the market. Pet owners trust Kirkland Dog Food for its quality ingredients, affordability, and commitment to creating delicious and nutritious food for dogs.

History of The Dog Food Brands

Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo are two of the most respected dog food brands available in the market, having made a reputation due to the variety they offer, among other things.

However, before we explore their ingredients and what makes them special, it’s important to take a look at their history, background, and point of origin.


Kirkland dog food

4.5 Overall Editor Rating


  • Small Kibble, Omega Fatty Acid Nutrition
  • Sensitive Stomach Formula
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics Help Support Healthy Digestive
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Diamond Pet Foods is the name of the US-based manufacturer behind Kirkland Dog Food. Having been in the business since 1970, they are known to produce dog food that is all-natural.

When they started out initially, their products were distributed only within 100 miles of their headquarters in Missouri. As a result of this, Kirkland didn’t reach a lot of people.

In order to boost its reach and popularity, the manufacturer partnered up with Costco, the retail giant, and Kirkland soon became a household name. Today, Diamond Pet Foods has plants set up in numerous locations, such as California, South Carolina, Kansas, and Arkansas.

Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo

4.7 Overall Editor Rating

Blue Buffalo

  • Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • Contain essential proteins and carbohydrates
  • Helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles
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Blue Buffalo started due to the strong love a family had for its pet, after whom the company was named. Bill Bishop and his sons, Chris and Billy, were extremely worried when their beloved dog, Blue, was suffering from cancer.

With the aim of feeding him the best food possible that contained high-quality ingredients, they started their search.

However, what they didn’t know was that this search would lead them to create a pet food brand of their own so that pet owners would never have to worry about finding natural pet food for their furry friends.

The motto of the Bishop family has always been to treat your pets like family and also feed them with the same emotion. Possessing the goal of full transparency, they asked all the pet parents to concentrate on the ingredients present in their pet’s food and not just on the packaging.

By collaborating with holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, they were able to create a brand with products that are made up of natural and top-quality ingredients.

These products also contain their special LifeSource Bits, which is basically a combination of nutrients and antioxidants whose potency is preserved by keeping them cold-formed.

Kirkland Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo: 4-Factor Comparison

Kirkland Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo 4-Factor Comparison

If you’re curious to see who fares better in the Kirkland Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo with respect to various features, I’m here to provide you with just that. I’ll be comparing the two brands in terms of ingredients, recipes, nutrition, and recalls. Let’s get started!

1. Ingredients

Both Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo contain plenty of ingredients in their recipes. I’m here to talk about some of the most commonly found ones in their products.


Here are some of the ingredients you can expect to find in the recipes from Kirkland Dog Food:

  • Meat

One can find meat such as chicken, lamb, beef, and turkey in Kirkland’s products. Since chicken is lean meat, it is perfect for dogs and serves as a great way to fill them up with energy. It aids in building lean muscle mass and keeps them healthy and active.

Lamb contains the right amount of fat and is an efficient source of protein. It is also beneficial for dogs who are allergic to other types of meat. The zinc and magnesium present in turkey can help maintain a dog’s coat. Beef, too, is a good way to feed protein to your dog.

  • Fruits and vegetables

Tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, and sweet peas are some of the fruits and veggies found in Kirkland’s products. Tomatoes help in the process of digestion and also contain a healthy amount of antioxidants.

Being low in calories and sugar, raspberries help in improving your dog’s digestive system and keep them full for longer periods, thereby aiding in fighting obesity too. Not only are sweet peas high in protein and fiber, but they also help in taking care of your dog’s eyes, heart, and skin.

As far as superfoods are concerned, blueberries are ones that dogs can indeed have.

  • Fiber

You can find fiber in Kirkland’s products in the form of flaxseed, dried chicory root, and dried beet pulp. These maintain the intestinal health of a dog, aid them in absorbing the ingredients in a better way, boost the health of their coat and skin, and reduce inflammation.

  • Brown rice

Brown rice is found in plenty of this brand’s products. It contains a healthy amount of minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates. Brown rice provides dogs with energy, supports their immune system, and also regulates their bowel movement.

Blue Buffalo

The following are a couple of the ingredients that dog owners can find in the products from Blue Buffalo:

  • Meat

In addition to chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb, Blue Buffalo’s products also contain other types of meat, such as fish, duck, rabbit, bison, and pork. Since fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, it nourishes the health of your dog’s coat. If your dog has allergies or any skin conditions, this ingredient is useful in treating it.

Pork contains thiamine or vitamin B1, which is essential for dogs to maintain their energy and remain strong.

  • Brown rice

Brown rice is the primary ingredient in most of the recipes created by Blue Buffalo. It boosts your dog’s cellular health along with its metabolism. It can often help in treating diarrhea and constipation. Brown rice also aids in the movement of muscles.

  • Fruits and vegetables

Alfalfa, blueberries, carrots, and cranberries are present in some of the recipes from Blue Buffalo. Carrots improve a dog’s eye health, enhance the appearance of its coat and skin, and help its immune system flourish.

Cranberries improve a dog’s immune system as well, along with enhancing its bladder health.

  • Barley

Barley is one of those ingredients that shouldn’t be overfed to a dog as it could lead to diarrhea and vomiting. Following the 10% rule should be fine, though.

Who Won?

Kirkland Dog Food wins in this category as it contains fewer objectionable ingredients in comparison to Blue Buffalo. Instead of going for animal byproducts and cheap fillers, Kirkland makes use of real meat in most of their products.

Although it doesn’t exactly have any exotic ingredients or non-traditional elements in its recipes, the fact that it sticks to traditional ingredients might just make it perfect for your dog.

Some of Blue Buffalo’s products contain quite a bit of salt and are low on protein, which is something to keep in mind, along with the controversial ingredients that Blue Buffalo is known for.

2. Recipes

With the brands having so many recipes to look into, it’s best to pay attention to the main pointers regarding their products.


Kirkland Dog Food has wet food, dry food, and treats available for dogs

  • Two lines with 14 available formulas
  • The healthy meals have about 275 calories per cup
  • Takes care of joints and digestive system through probiotics, omega fatty acids, and vitamin B

Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo, much like Kirkland, has options for treats, dry food, and wet food

  • Eight lines and 101 available formulas
  • Free from wheat, soy, corn, and artificial ingredients
  • High-quality ingredients that help with muscle health, joint problems, and weight management

Who Won?

Blue Buffalo wins here since it has many more choices available in comparison to Kirkland Dog Food’s recipes.

3. Nutrition

The nutritional value of a dog food brand is essential for every dog owner. Both these brands provide details regarding the nutritional value of their products.

You can compare and contrast to see which of these is better in terms of the balance they provide with fat, protein, fiber, and other necessary nutrients.

Crude Protein

While the average protein content in Kirkland Dog Food’s products is between 27% to 28%, the protein content of the products from Blue Buffalo is between 22% to 27%. Both brands use real meat, eggs, and meat base.

The recipes of Blue Buffalo, however, utilize a bit of pea protein, the quality of which is inferior to that of the protein derived from meat. Kirkland Dog Food, though, doesn’t seem to have such objectionable sources of protein.

Crude Fat

The presence of fat in dog food gives your pets the energy they need. Both Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo have the presence of animal fats along with omega fatty acids.

The products from Blue Buffalo have a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids in them.

Who Won?

While both brands have a decent amount of nutrients present in them, Kirkland Dog Food wins over Blue Buffalo due to the questionable and controversial ingredients present in the latter’s products.

4. Recalls

As pet lovers, we want nothing but the best for our furry buddies. Sadly, not all brands share this view, which is why their products often come under scrutiny for all the wrong reasons.

Both Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo have had their fair share of recalls in the past, and it’s crucial to know about them all before picking them as the food brand for your dog.


Kirkland Dog Food was a part of The Great Melamine Recall in 2007 when it was found that the foods that were getting processed in a facility in China were contaminated with melamine.

The next one came about in 2012 due to Salmonella contamination. Fortunately, no injuries were reported from it.

Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo was also a name included in 2007’s Great Melamine Recall. Three of their products got recalled in 2010 as they contained way too much vitamin D, which could have ultimately been toxic.

Their chew bones were recalled in 2015 due to a possible Salmonella contamination, after which they witnessed another recall in 2017 due to potentially high beef thyroid hormone levels and possible metal contamination.

Who Won?

Kirkland Dog Food clearly wins in this category, as it has had significantly fewer recalls in comparison to Blue Buffalo. It is imperative that you note down the recalls of a brand you’re looking into, as it shows their willingness to hold themselves accountable and make the necessary changes.

Highlights For The Food Brands

Before we see who emerged as the winner, let’s do a quick summary of both brands to revise their critical aspects.


  1. Kirkland Dog Food is owned by Diamond Pet Foods and is available at Costco.
  2. The brand makes use of real meat as the main ingredient in most of its products.
  3. Kirkland usually sticks to traditional ingredients and recipes.
  4. The protein content in Kirkland’s products is pretty high.

Blue Buffalo

  1. Blue Buffalo was started with the intention of providing high-quality ingredients for dogs. It was the Bishop family that started it.
  2. The brand had its inception in 2003 and is owned by General Mills.
  3. Their exclusive Life source bits are a unique aspect of their recipes.
  4. Blue Buffalo has quite a huge variety of products.

Kirkland Dog Food Takes The Crown

At times what your pet needs is traditional food so as to stay healthy and energetic. Here’s me listing down some pros and cons of Kirkland Dog Food’s products so you can judge for yourself whether it’s the right brand for your dog.


  • Affordable options
  • High-quality ingredients within a decent budget
  • No inclusion of animal byproducts or fillers


  • Limited recipes
  • Can be difficult to find
  • Includes only traditional ingredients

Why Did Blue Buffalo Lose?

Although Blue Buffalo has many options for you to choose from, there are certain aspects about the brand that could make it an unwise choice for your dog.

Since the brand doesn’t make use of soy, corn, or wheat, it does use rice, peas, oatmeal, barley, and sweet potatoes, all of which have a high starch content. Feeding a diet high in carbohydrates could be detrimental to the gut health of your dog.

The vitamin and mineral premix that their products contain could be toxic for pets, and the unnamed animal ingredients are a red flag for me when it comes to Blue Buffalo. Another ingredient in their recipes that concerns me is cellulose, as it’s an insoluble fiber.

Blue Buffalo’s highly processed foods are concerning, and some of their ingredients have a herbicide residue that could cause cancer or other diseases.


When was Blue Buffalo established?

Blue Buffalo was established in 2003.

Who owns Kirkland Dog Food?

Kirkland Dog Food is owned by Diamond Pet Foods.

Where can I buy Kirkland’s products?

You can buy Kirkland’s products at Costco.

Do Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo have grain-free options for dog food?

Yes, both Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo have grain-free food options.

What is the meaning of Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits?

The exclusive LifeSource Bits in Blue Buffalo’s products refer to a mix of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are cold-formed so as to maintain their potency.

Final Words

Kirkland Dog Food and Blue Buffalo are both established names when it comes to dog food in the market. They both possess unique qualities that make them stand out.

In comparison to Blue Buffalo, Kirkland Dog Food wins since it’s more affordable and has fewer questionable ingredients.

However, it ultimately depends on the kind of quality and nutrients you’re looking for when it comes to feeding your dog. Before you take your pick, it’s important to do your research in order to make an informed decision.

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