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Blue Buffalo vs Kirkland Dog Food: Which Is Better?

Written by: Justin Palmer
Justin Palmer is a Certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist and co-founder of Inspired by his rescued husky, Splash, he dedicated himself to learning about extending both the length and quality of her life. Splash lived and thrived until 18 years old, and now Justin is on a mission to share what he learned with other dog owners.Read more
| Published on September 7, 2023

In the bustling realm of pet nutrition, two giants stand tall, revered by pet parents nationwide for their commitment to quality and nourishment: Blue Buffalo and Kirkland. As we navigate through the intricacies of their formulations, we recognize the gravity of our mission – aiding you in unveiling the ideal meal plan for your loyal companion. In today’s head-to-head comparison, we meticulously dissect ingredient lists, nutritional profiles, and cost-effectiveness, all to demystify the quest for the supreme canine cuisine. Join us as we delve deeper into the world of Blue Buffalo and Kirkland dog food, a journey where every morsel matters and every ingredient is a potential game-changer in your pet’s well-being.

Blue Buffalo Vs. Kirkland: An Ingredient Comparison

Blue Buffalo:

  1. Protein Sources: Often features real meat as the first ingredient, which might include deboned chicken, lamb, or fish.
  2. Carbohydrates: Utilizes complex carbohydrates like peas, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.
  3. Fats: Contains sources of healthy fats like chicken fat and flaxseed.
  4. Fiber: Incorporates fibrous ingredients such as beet pulp and powdered cellulose.
  5. Supplements & Additives: Enriched with their LifeSource Bits, which are a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support immune system health.
  6. Natural Preservatives: Uses mixed tocopherols, a natural preservative.

Kirkland (Costco’s Brand):

  1. Protein Sources: Also often lists real meat as the first ingredient, such as chicken, lamb, or salmon meal, sometimes combined with meat meals as a protein concentrate.
  2. Carbohydrates: Common carbohydrate sources include sweet potatoes, peas, and grains like barley and rice.
  3. Fats: Incorporates chicken fat and salmon oil as sources of essential fatty acids.
  4. Fiber: Ingredients like beet pulp and chicory root are used as sources of fiber to aid in digestion.
  5. Supplements & Additives: Contains a range of added vitamins and minerals to support overall health, including probiotics for digestive health.
  6. Natural Preservatives: Like Blue Buffalo, uses mixed tocopherols to preserve the product.

Key Differences:

  • While both brands prioritize real meat as the primary protein source, the specific types and combinations of meats may vary.
  • Blue Buffalo is known for their signature LifeSource Bits, which are formulated to provide a comprehensive blend of nutrients that support immune health.
  • Kirkland offers a competitive nutrient profile, often at a more budget-friendly price point, which can be a deciding factor for many pet owners.


  • Both brands emphasize high-quality ingredients with real meat, wholesome grains, and vegetables.
  • They include a balanced blend of fats, fibers, and carbohydrates for a well-rounded nutrition profile.
  • Both use natural preservatives to maintain product freshness.

As you choose between the two, considering your pet’s specific dietary needs and preferences will be crucial in making the best decision. Always consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice.


Kirkland Vs. Blue Buffalo: Who Has More Recalls?

When it comes to selecting the optimal dog food brand, understanding the recall history can be a decisive factor. Recalls are initiated by companies due to various reasons such as potential contamination, formulation errors, or the discovery of harmful ingredients. In this section, we examine the recall histories of both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland to provide a clearer picture of their commitment to safety and quality.

Blue Buffalo:

Over the years, Blue Buffalo has faced several recalls, some of which were quite significant. Here are a few notable instances:

  1. 2007: A major recall affected numerous pet food companies, including Blue Buffalo, due to melamine contamination, a chemical that found its way into pet foods through contaminated wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate.
  2. 2010: Blue Buffalo recalled certain dog food products due to potential excess Vitamin D, which could potentially lead to hypercalcemia in dogs.
  3. 2015: The company issued a recall for a line of their dog chews due to potential salmonella contamination.
  4. 2016: Another recall was initiated because some of their products contained beef thyroid hormone, which could lead to symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and increased heart rate.

Kirkland (Costco’s Brand):

Kirkland, the store brand for Costco, has had a relatively smoother sail with fewer recalls. Here is a notable instance:

  1. 2012: Kirkland was part of a recall that involved several other brands due to a potential salmonella contamination, which was traced back to a single facility.


Comparatively, Blue Buffalo has had more recalls in its history, which were due to a variety of reasons including contamination and formulation errors. On the other hand, Kirkland has had fewer recalls, indicating a relatively stable track record in terms of product safety and quality.

However, it is crucial to note that recalls are sometimes initiated as a precautionary measure and a sign of a company’s commitment to maintaining the highest safety standards. As a responsible pet owner, keeping abreast with the latest recall information and consulting with your veterinarian can guide you in making informed choices for your furry companion’s nutritional needs.


Blue Buffalo Vs. Kirkland: A Nutritional Comparison

In the realm of pet nutrition, a comprehensive look at the guaranteed analysis of each product can provide a gateway into understanding the potential health benefits for your furry friend. Below, we delve into a comparative analysis of the nutritional profiles offered by Blue Buffalo and Kirkland:

Blue Buffalo

  • Protein: Blue Buffalo tends to have a high protein content, with many of their formulas boasting a crude protein percentage that ranges from 22% to 28%. This is indicative of the premium meats and meat meals that they use as primary ingredients, fostering lean muscle development and maintenance.
  • Fats: The fat content in Blue Buffalo varies between formulations but generally ranges from 13% to 18%. These fats, sourced from quality ingredients like flaxseed and fish oil, not only provide energy but also support skin and coat health.
  • Fiber: Fiber content in Blue Buffalo products usually hovers around 5-6%, offering a balanced level to aid in digestive health. Ingredients like beet pulp and powdered cellulose contribute to this fiber content, promoting regular bowel movements.


  • Protein: Kirkland’s dog food also features a commendable protein content, generally falling within the range of 20% to 26%. The brand utilizes quality meat and meat meal sources to ensure a balanced amino acid profile necessary for muscle health.
  • Fats: Kirkland offers a balanced fat profile with content generally varying between 12% to 16%. These fats, derived from sources like chicken fat and salmon oil, are essential for providing energy and supporting cellular function, skin and coat health.
  • Fiber: Kirkland formulations generally contain a fiber content around 4-5%, which is contributed by ingredients such as beet pulp and chicory root, aiding in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and fostering regular bowel habits.


Both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland maintain a balanced nutrient profile that caters to the dietary needs of dogs at various life stages. While Blue Buffalo seems to offer slightly higher protein content, which might appeal to owners of very active dogs, Kirkland offers a balanced formulation that doesn’t compromise on quality while being budget-friendly.

It is essential to note that individual dog needs can vary, and the best choice would depend on factors like your dog’s age, activity level, and health condition. Always consult with a veterinarian to decide on the most suitable nutritional profile for your pet.

Our Final Verdict

Overall, both brands offer a premium dog food. In the end, we slightly prefer Blue Buffalo due to its slightly higher protein content.


Frequently Asked Questions About Blue Buffalo vs. Kirkland Dog Foods

What are the primary protein sources in Blue Buffalo and Kirkland dog foods?

Blue Buffalo often utilizes real meats like deboned chicken or fish as primary protein sources, offering a rich, natural source of protein. On the other hand, Kirkland also features real meats such as chicken or lamb, sometimes combined with meat meals which are a concentrated source of protein, providing an ample amount of essential amino acids for your pet.

Do both brands offer grain-free options?

Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland offer grain-free options in their product line-up. These recipes exclude traditional grains like corn, wheat, and soy, instead using alternative carbohydrate sources such as sweet potatoes or peas, which can be a great choice if your dog has specific grain sensitivities or allergies.

What are the price points for these brands?

Generally, Kirkland is known to offer a more budget-friendly price point compared to Blue Buffalo. However, prices can vary based on specific product lines, ingredient quality, and where you are purchasing from. It is recommended to compare prices from various retailers for the most accurate pricing information.

How do the brands approach food safety and quality assurance?

Both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland prioritize food safety and quality assurance, adhering to stringent manufacturing protocols to ensure product safety. They have also responded proactively to recalls to address any safety concerns, showcasing their commitment to providing safe and nutritious meals for pets.

Do they offer formulas for different life stages and dietary needs?

Absolutely, both brands have a variety of formulas tailored to different life stages (puppy, adult, senior) and dietary needs such as weight management or sensitive stomachs. This allows pet owners to choose a product that best suits their dog’s individual health and nutritional requirements.

Can I find a rich variety of flavors in both brands?

Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland offer a diverse range of flavors and recipes to cater to the varied taste preferences of dogs. Whether your dog prefers chicken, lamb, or fish, you can find a product that will appeal to your furry friend in both brands’ line-ups.

What are the unique features of Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits?

Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits are a distinctive feature of their dog food, providing a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants specifically chosen by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance in dogs.

Do both brands contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors?

Both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland prioritize using natural ingredients and avoid the inclusion of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors in their recipes. This is in line with their commitment to offering wholesome, natural nutrition for pets.

How do the brands fare in terms of customer reviews and satisfaction?

Both Blue Buffalo and Kirkland have garnered a solid customer base with generally positive reviews. While Blue Buffalo is praised for its premium quality and LifeSource Bits, Kirkland is appreciated for its affordability without compromising on quality. As with any product, individual experiences may vary, so it’s wise to consider various reviews and feedback.

Where can I purchase Blue Buffalo and Kirkland dog food?

Blue Buffalo products are widely available in various pet stores, online retailers, and sometimes in grocery stores. Kirkland dog food, being a Costco store brand, is predominantly available at Costco warehouses, where you can benefit from member pricing, and also through their online store.

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