This is my detailed and updated comparison of Kirkland vs Blue Buffalo dog food in 2022. You will be able to find out which is better, and what’s the difference.
Both Kirkland and Blue Buffalo have enjoyed unbroken popularity in recent years. Leveraging my few years of experience, I researched the two brands to determine which one is better and the differences.
I found that Blue Buffalo and Kirkland are pretty similar in ingredient quality. Blue Buffalo contains a few controversial protein and carbohydrates sources but has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.
On the other hand, Kirkland has been more affordable and has had fewer recalls in the past. Overall, I think Blue Buffalo is a better choice because it actually has more beneficial nutrients.
Let’s get started with the comparison and reviews!
Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo Comparison:
- Selection: Wide selection
- Protein Quality: Real Meat or Meat Meals
- Protein Content: 22-27% on average
- Omega content: More Omega-3
- Carb sources: Grains, Legumes
- Breed Specific Diets: Non-Available
- Price Range: $$$$
- Selection: A lower selection
- Protein Quality: Real Meat and Meat Meal
- Protein Content: 26-28% on average
- Omega Content: Less Omega-3
- Carb sources: Rice, Barley, Millet, Peas, etc.
- Breed Specific Diets: Non-Available
- Price Range: $$$
And how did I decide to choose Blue Buffalo over Kirkland? I compared the following similar recipes:
Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo
- Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula – Kirkland Recipe For Puppies
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice – Blue Buffalo Puppy Recipe
- Kirkland Signature Adult Formula – Kirkland Recipe For Adult Dogs
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice – Blue Buffalo Adult Formula
- Kirkland Signature Mature Formula – Kirkland Recipe For Senior Dogs
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Chicken & Brown Rice – Blue Buffalo Senior Recipe
- Kirkland Signature Small Formula – Kirkland Recipe For Small Dogs
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Chicken & Rice – Blue Buffalo Small Breed Recipe
- Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Formula – Kirkland Recipe For Overweight Dogs
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight – Blue Buffalo For Obese Dogs
|Dog Food||Name And Benefits||Pet Worshiper Rating||Where To Buy?|
Kirkland For Puppies
|Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Costco|
Blue Buffalo for Puppies
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy|
Kirkland for Adults
|Kirkland Signature Adult Formula |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Costco|
Blue Buffalo for Adults
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy|
Kirkland for Seniors
|Kirkland Signature Mature Formula |
|Check on Costco|
Blue Buffalo for Seniors
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Formula |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy|
Kirkland For Small Dogs
|Kirkland Signature Small Breed Formula |
|Check on Costco|
Blue Buffalo for Small Dogs
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Recipe |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy|
Kirkland for Weight Management
|Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Formula |
|Check on Costco|
Blue Buffalo For Weight Management
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight |
|Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy|
How I Did The Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo Comparison
I see brand comparisons in many cases in which differences are described based on a few data by selecting random products.
Well, I don’t think that’s satisfactory. We need to compare more products of the two brands for the same purposes and we need to look at as much data as possible.
These recipes need to be purchased and tested, which I think is very important. It is also worth relying on the opinions of other customers and dog owners.
So here is my comparison method:
- Available products on the market: I searched for and examined all the products of the two brands that may be eligible. It was lengthy process, but that’s the only way to assure my visitors that I am the most trusted source.
- Formulas with same purposes: I chose foods for comparison that have been developed for dogs with similar dietary needs. These are large breed, medium breed, small breed, puppy, and senior recipes in most cases. But sometimes I also compare weight management and different health condition formulas.
- Looking at the ingredients: After purchase, I analyzed the selected formulas based on their ingredients. Protein quantity, quality, carbohydrates, omega fatty acids, additives, controversial ingredients, etc. I examined each letter on the packaging!
- Tables and correlations: I organized the data into tables and went through the rows one by one. I looked at which product contained how much protein and from what sources. Then I did the same with carbs, fats, fiber, etc. I also compared the prices of the products, as I know this is also an essential detail for a dog parent.
- Recalls: The safety of a product can be nicely demonstrated by recalls. For both brands, I looked at current and past recalls.
- Real Customer Reviews: There are tons of online reviews of products in the online world today. My own experience is very important during content production. But in many cases, we may realize the shortcomings of a recipe based on other customers’ experiences. I searched for these reviews and compared them to make an honest judgment about the two brands.
If you are curious about the detailed comparison, be sure to read on!
What’s in this article
- Kirkland History
- Blue Buffalo History
- Kirkland Product Lines
- Blue Buffalo Product Lines
- Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo: Nutritional Value Comparison
- Comparison Tables
- Analysis Of The Comparison Tables
- Flavors And Options Of The Two Brands
- Kirkland and Blue Buffalo Recall History
- Comparison Based on Real Customer Reviews
- My Final Verdict About Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo
History of the two brands
I always start a comparison with the history of the two brands in question. Both Kirkland and Blue Buffalo are popular dog food brands. Let’s see the circumstances of their establishment.
Kirkland is a private label brand available mainly from Costco. It is a giant online retailer that sells a lot of other brands as well.
Kirkland is manufactured by a US-based family manufacturer called Diamond Pet Foods.
Diamond is owned by Schell and Kampeter, Inc. The company was founded in 1970 by Gary Schell and Richard Kampeter, two brothers-in-law.
They bought Milling Meta Co., which was a livestock feed, and dog food producer.
Initially, their production was 5% dog food, which has expanded steadily over the years. Today, the company has plants in several locations: Meta, Missouri, Lathrop, California, and Gaston, South Carolina.
Blue Buffalo History
It all started with the Bishop family dog, Blue. This Airedale Terrier became cancerous, which affected the Bishops very severely.
The family began studying commercial dog foods available on the market. They soon noticed that there was a direct link between dogs’ health and diet.
Hence the idea for the family to set up a company that produces food that meets the nutritional needs of dogs to the maximum. Veterinarians and other animal experts were also asked to help with this.
The company was founded in 2003 as Blue Buffalo dog food and quickly became popular despite its young history. This is mainly due to recipes that meet healthy and special needs.
There have been some negatives in the history of the company. Purina, for example, accused Blue that the LifeSource Bits they developed did not contain enough vitamins and minerals.
The FDA’s investigations into the link between a grain-free diet and certain heart conditions also hurt the brand’s reputation. Although the connection was not clear, unfortunately, Blue Buffalo was mentioned several times in these investigations.
Despite the above negatives, the success of the brand is unbroken. In 2018, General Mills acquired it.
Blue Buffalo vs Other Dog Food Brands
Most experts consider Blue Buffalo to be a very high-quality and competitive brand. So it’s no coincidence that it is often compared to many other dog food brands. Below you will find my Blue Buffalo comparison articles:
- Blue Buffalo vs Blue Wilderness
- Wellness vs Blue Buffalo
- Natural Balance vs Blue Buffalo
- Taste of the Wild vs Blue Buffalo
- Purina Pro Plan vs Blue Buffalo
- Purina vs Blue Buffalo
- Royal Canin vs Blue Buffalo
- Blue Buffalo vs Science Diet
Kirkland Dog Food product lines
The Kirkland brand offers two product lines. One is primarily grain-free, and the other has grain-containing recipes mostly.
Kirkland Super Premium Dog Food
There are very premium recipes in this line that have been developed based on different dietary needs, breed sizes, or life stages.
That’s why you’ll find the puppy, adult, and senior formulas on offer. But the small dog and healthy weight recipes are also available.
These dog foods are of excellent quality. The primary ingredient is usually real meat or meat meal. Carbohydrates are rice or other grains.
Ingredients include healthy things like added vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.
Kirkland Signature Natures Domain Grain-Free Dog Food
Most products in this line have been designed to meet the nutritional requirements of all life stages (but you can also find a puppy formula here). That is why the only difference between the products is the flavors. You will find salmon, turkey, beef, and chicken flavors.
Blue Buffalo Product Lines
From the seven product lines of Blue Buffalo, you are sure to find the right one for your pup.
The recipes are entirely free of artificial preservatives, colors, and additives. All ingredients have a natural and positive effect on health.
The blend called LifeSource Bits, developed by the brand, adds plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the formulas. This way, you can be sure that you will support your dog’s immune system to the maximum with Blue products.
Blue Life Protection
Blue Life Protection is the brand’s baseline. You will find everything your pup may need here. Wet food, dry food, food for different life stages, breed sizes, etc.
There is no shortage of flavor variations either. Chicken, beef, duck, lamb, fish, and turkey are delicious and nutritious meats that bring variety to the life of any canine.
The first ingredient in Life Protection recipes is real meat or a meat meal. They contain several preferred micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the like.
But the added fruits and vegetables will also help boost your pooch’s immune system.
The product line includes both grain-free and grain-containing recipes.
Blue Wilderness dog food products are very similar to the diet of wild canines due to their high protein and fat content. That’s why I recommend them for really active hunting dogs or working dogs.
You can choose from protein sources such as beef, bison, chicken, duck, fish, lamb, rabbit, salmon, trout, turkey, and venison.
Most Wilderness recipes contain grain-free carbohydrates such as various legumes or roots. But some formulations also contain oats, barley, and other wholesome grains.
If you buy for dogs of different sizes or life stages, you will still find the right one for you in the offer of Blue Wilderness.
Blue Basics dog food products contain a single source of protein and a limited number of other ingredients. This comes in very handy when we want to eliminate allergic animal and plant sources from our dog’s diet.
The recipes are well digestible and do not burden the stomach and intestines. And thanks to the healthy ingredients (added vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids), your dog’s immune system will function properly.
The Basics line offers flavors such as duck, fish, lamb, turkey, and salmon. They are all good quality animal meat that is nutritious and delicious.
If you’re looking for options for different life stages or breed sizes, you’re sure to find them in Blue Basics’ offerings.
Freedom’s product line is gluten-free and grain-free. They contain carbohydrate sources such as legumes, potatoes, peas, and starches from these plants. So these recipes are great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The first ingredient (and also the primary source of protein) is usually some meat, such as chicken, beef, or salmon. Some vegetable proteins are also among the ingredients.
What I really like about Freedom products is their glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acid content. Thanks to these, you can be sure that you can adequately support your dog’s joints, skin, and coat with this product family.
If your dog loves meat, he will love the Carnivora line.
These products contain 11 types of animal sources as proteins. It is not only nutritious but highly healthy as the internal organs contribute plenty of vitamins and minerals to the immune system’s health.
By the way, we also find some added vitamins among the ingredients, which adds to these effects.
Carnivora products are grain-free, so even dogs with sensitive stomachs can consume them with confidence. Due to their high-calorie content, I recommend them to very active working dogs.
Blue True Solutions
Actual Solutions formulas can effectively treat health conditions such as joint and digestive problems, coat and skin issues, and obesity. And they are not even prescription. All four formulas are available in wet and dry forms.
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet
The Natural Veterinary Diet is a prescription line from Blue Buffalo that targets a variety of chronic conditions. These include gastrointestinal diseases, kidney, and urinary diseases, overweight, mobility issues, and various allergies.
The recipes are grain-free and do not contain wheat, corn, or soy. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before purchasing.
Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo: Nutritional Value Comparison
I am sure you are aware of the positive effects of a good diet on the health of your dog.
However, you should also be aware that the breed size and life stage can fully determine the nutritional needs (not to mention any health conditions).
Therefore, I chose formulas developed for a similar purpose from the two brands.
Kirkland’s offerings are much more limited than Blue Buffalo’s. That’s why I got inspired from here when I selected the recipes I wanted to compare. These include puppy, adult, senior formula, and small breed and weight management recipes.
The ingredient list and guaranteed analysis on the product label will help me complete the research.
Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula
- Chicken as the 1st ingredient
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids
- Antioxidants promote the immune system
- Formulated for the puppies’ tiny jaws
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
- Contains muscle and bone promoting ingredients
- Features omega fatty acids
- Promotes the immune system
- Free of wheat, corn, soy, and artificial ingredients
Kirkland Signature Adult Formula
- Chicken as the first ingredient
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
- Antioxidants promote the immune system
- Features omega fatty acids
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken
- Contains high-quality protein for muscle growth
- Features calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins
- Promotes joints and mobility
- Supports the immune system
Kirkland Signature Mature Formula
- High-quality chicken as the 1st ingredient
- Contains joint-supporting ingredients
- Antioxidants make this diet healthier
- Promotes joint health and mobility
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
- High-quality protein sources for muscle maintenance
- Contains joint support ingredients
- Omega fatty acids promote skin and coat
- Features added vitamins and minerals
Small breed formulas:
Kirkland Signature Small Formula
- Chicken as the first ingredient
- Live probiotics for healthy digestion
- Formulated for small breeds
- Contains omega fatty acids
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed
- High-quality protein sources for proper growth
- Formulated for small breeds
- Contains joint promoting nutrients
- Features vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and prebiotics
Weight management formulas:
Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Formula
- Limited calorie content for weight management
- Features added glucosamine and chondroitin
- Immune booster compounds (antioxidants)
- Omega-3 fatty acids help with skin and coat
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight
- Supports lean muscle development
- Contains essential vitamins and minerals
- Great for joint health and mobility
- Formulated for weight management
Finding the best diet for your dog is not easy. You have to consider several aspects, e.g., activity, breed, age, health condition, etc. If you want to make the best decision possible, check out my comprehensive guide on how to choose the best dog food.
I detail the characteristics of similar formulas in the tables below. Based on these, it will be easy to determine whether Blue Buffalo or Science Diet is better.
Puppy formulas comparison table:
|First 5 ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Egg Product||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley|
|Main Protein Sources:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Egg Product,||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Fish Meal|
|Main Carb sources:||Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Potatoes||Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Pea Starch, Peas|
|Other ingredients:||Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp, Potatoes, Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salmon Oil, Millet, added fruits, veggies, vitamins, and minerals||Chicken Fat, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Pea Protein, Fish Oil, Salt, Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Chicory Root, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, DL-Methionine, Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary, added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics|
|Kcal:||390 kcal/cup||400 kcal/cup|
Adult formulas comparison table:
|First 5 ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal|
|Main Protein Sources:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Egg Product||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal|
|Main Carb sources:||Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Potatoes||Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Starch|
|Other ingredients:||Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Millet, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Rosemary Extract, Parsley Flake, Dried Chicory Root, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, added fruits, veggies, vitamins, and minerals, prebiotics||Flaxseed, Chicken Fat, Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Peas, Pea Protein, added vitamins, minerals, fruits, veggies, prebiotics|
|Kcal:||393 kcal/cup||378 kcal/cup|
Senior formulas comparison table:
|First 5 ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Egg Product, Oatmeal||Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Meal|
|Main Protein Sources:||Chicken, Chicken Meal. Egg Product||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal|
|Main Carb sources:||Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Rice||Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Peas, Pea Starch|
|Other ingredients:||Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp, Potatoes, Natural Chicken Flavor, Flaxseed, Millet, Fish Meal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Rosemary Extract, added fruits, veggies, vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics||Pea Fiber, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Chicken Fat, Pea Protein, Fish Oil, fiber sources, fruits, veggies, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals|
|Kcal:||330 kcal/cup||342 kcal/cup|
Small breed formulas comparison table:
|First 5 ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley|
|Main Protein Sources:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Egg Product||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal|
|Main Carb sources:||Brown Rice, Barley||Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Peas|
|Other ingredients:||Dried Beet Pulp, Peas, Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Dried Yeast, Millet, Dried Chicory Root, Potassium Chloride, Salt, added vitamins, and minerals, fruits, veggies, prebiotics||Fish Meal, Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Pea Starch, Dried Tomato Pomace, Peas, Pea Protein, Dried Egg Product, Salt, Alfalfa Pellets, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Oil of Rosemary, vitamins, and minerals, fruits, veggies, prebiotics|
|Kcal:||362 kcal/cup||396 kcal/cup|
Weight management formulas comparison table:
|First 5 ingredients:||Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley, Millet||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Pea Fiber|
|Main Protein Sources:||Chicken Meal, Chicken||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal|
|Main Carb sources:||Brown Rice, Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley, Millet, Oatmeal, Potatoes||Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Peas, Pea Starch, Potato Starch|
|Other ingredients:||Powdered Cellulose, Rice Bran, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Fish Meal, Egg Product, Choline Chloride, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Dried Chicory Root, Chondroitin Sulfate, L-Carnitine, added fruits, veggies, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals||Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Fat, Pea Protein, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Choline Chloride, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Salt, DL-Methionine, Taurine fruits, veggies, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals|
|Kcal:||275 kcal/cup||324 kcal/cup|
Analysis of the comparison tables
The tables contain all relevant information. I will evaluate this information from different perspectives.
All of the recipes I have examined are very nutritious and meet AAFCO’s nutritional requirements for dogs. We find some controversial ingredients here and there, but basically, I’m thrilled with the quality of the two dog food brands.
First of all, it is important to note that the order of the ingredients listed is according to their quantity. So in the recipe, the first ingredient presents in the largest amount, followed by the second, and so on.
That’s why I tend to be very happy that the primary ingredient in a product is real meat. Fortunately, this is also the case for Blue Buffalo and Kirkland.
Meat and meat meals are both these brands’ first and second components, providing dogs with the essential amino acids needed to grow, develop, and maintain lean muscle mass.
Plus, meals add plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin to your pup’s diet, which is good news for his joints.
A common ingredient in Blue Buffalo formulations is pea protein. It’s a somewhat controversial source of protein, but since there’s real meat in the primary, I don’t consider it such a huge problem.
The two companies’ products are also very similar in terms of carbohydrate sources. Wholesome grains such as brown rice, barley, potatoes, peas, and oatmeal are used.
There are grain-free variations on offer from both brands, so if your dog has a grain allergy, it’s worth choosing from them. Otherwise, healthy dogs don’t need to buy grain-free dog food.
Starch is also often found in the formulas of Blue Buffalo. This carbohydrate source is not very advantageous as it is low in nutrients despite its high energy content. Of course, based on the list of ingredients, there are a few of these ingredients in the recipes.
Kirkland and Blue Buffalo also pay attention to healthy fats. After all, fats are not only excellent sources of energy, but the omega fatty acids they contain contribute to the whole body’s health, such as skin, coat, brain, inflammation, and so on.
Both brands use animal fat sources (e.g., chicken fat) and oils high in omega-3 (salmon oil). Blue Buffalo recipes usually also feature flaxseed, which is the plant form of this valuable fatty acid.
The various micronutrients are also worth mentioning. This is because these ingredients promote the immune system and thus the dog’s overall health.
Blue Buffalo and Kirkland also contain added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fresh vegetables, fruits, and probiotics. The latter is my personal favorite because, in addition to digestion, beneficial bacteria also help the immune system function.
Although the two brands use ingredients of very similar quality, for me, Kirkland won the competition over Blue Buffalo because it has fewer objectionable ingredients in it.
Meat and Protein Content
Both brands meet AAFCO’s protein recommendations for dogs. Kirkland dog food has an average protein content of 27-28%, and Blue Buffalo has 22-27%. Senior formulas are exceptions to this, as the needs of elderly canines are lower.
The above shows that the recipes I have examined are maximally nourishing your pup and provide essential amino acids. However, quality is always more important than quantity. Both
Kirkland and Blue Buffalo have protein sources such as real meat, meat meal, and eggs. Each of these ingredients is well digestible and of perfect quality.
In addition, meat meals contain valuable components such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which have an excellent effect on the joints.
Blue Buffalo recipes include a small amount of pea protein that is slightly inferior to meat. We have no objectionable protein source at Kirkland.
Based on the above, it can be concluded that Kirkland is better than Blue Buffalo in terms of protein and meat content.
Fats are excellent sources of energy for dogs and are involved in many physical processes. The minimum requirement for this nutrient is 5.5%, which is well exceeded by both brands.
This is not a problem as the extra fat is ideal for active dogs such as hunting dogs, working dogs, sporting dogs, etc. However, avoid high-fat dog food if your pup is obese.
Since there is not much difference in fat content between the recipes of the two brands, I will look at the quality of the fat sources.
Kirkland and Blue Buffalo also use animal fats to make food delicious and healthy. It is also worth checking the amount of omega fatty acids, as these ingredients contribute significantly to the health of the skin and coat and reduce inflammation.
Although both brands’ recipes contain an additional source of omega fatty acids, Blue Buffalo products have higher levels of omega-3 on average.
Considering the above, it can be said that Blue Buffalo is a better choice in terms of fat sources than Kirkland.
Carbohydrates are not essential for dogs, but they are excellent energy sources and contain many valuable nutrients.
The products I have reviewed all include grains, although this is not necessarily a negative. Only strive for a grain-free diet if your dog has a grain allergy.
Manufacturers are not required to indicate the exact carbohydrate content of each product. But this is not a problem, as the quality of carbohydrate sources is much more critical.
Well, the Kirkland vs. Blue Buffalo issue is hard to decide based on carbs. Both brands put wholesome, healthy grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley in their recipes.
These ingredients are well digestible and contain plenty of beneficial nutrients. We also find potatoes and legumes.
In many cases, Blue adds starch to its formulas (e.g., pea starch or potato starch). Starches are lower quality concentrated energy bombs, but luckily there are few in Blue recipes.
Thus, considering the above, we can state that Kirkland is better than Blue Buffalo in terms of carbohydrate content.
Dogs do not utilize fiber as energy, yet, it is a vital nutrient for the health of the digestive system.
The dietary fiber found in food is good for the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. So this is considered a kind of prebiotic.
The truth is that Kirkland and Blue Buffalo have similar fiber sources and fiber content, so competition is a draw in this regard.
Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are essential to your dog’s diet as they support the functioning of the immune system.
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain these valuable nutrients, but manufacturers usually add them to recipes in synthetic form. Other beneficial health-promoting ingredients are probiotics, which are responsible for efficient digestion.
Since both Kirkland and Blue Buffalo contain micronutrients, fruits, vegetables, and probiotics, I value both brands equally in this regard.
Flavors And Options of the two brands
Just like humans, dogs can be picky. My dog, Mango, for example, loves very few brands, and it was a long time before I realized what her favorite flavors were.
Sometimes it is enough to put a little wet food on the dry dog food as a topping or switch to a wet formula.
However, sometimes it’s worth introducing other flavors of the same brand to your pooch.
While a taste change doesn’t mean a drastic dietary change, still make sure the transition doesn’t happen suddenly.
Reviews from Kirkland and Blue Buffalo are generally positive, dogs are happy with the taste of the products.
Of course, there are very picky canines where you have many options to try before you find the best option. That’s why it’s good for a brand to have a wide selection.
Blue Buffalo has many more product lines and products, so the number of options is much higher.
It’s not easy to save on the cost of keeping a dog, and it’s no wonder you want to buy the cheapest dog food possible.
However, you should be aware that an inexpensive price tag in many cases means cheap and low-quality ingredients.
Fortunately, Blue Buffalo and Kirkland use healthy and nutritious animal and plant resources for their formulas. There are very few shoddy components in the products of the two brands.
However, in terms of prices, the difference between the two brands is clear. Kirkland is much more affordable than Blue Buffalo, so it won this round.
Kirkland and Blue Buffalo Recall History
For a detailed comparison, we should consider safety. If there are many complaints about a particular product in a brand, the FDA (or the brand itself) can initiate a recall.
You can find a list of current recalls here.
Both brands have received some recalls in recent years:
Kirkland dog food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, which has had plenty of recalls in its history. Some of these also affected Kirkland:
- May 2012 / Cause: Potential salmonella contamination / Recalled product: Kirkland Super Premium Adult Dog Food
- April 2007 / Cause: Potential melamine contamination / Recalled product: Kirkland Signature Premium Dog 2-Flavor Variety Packs
Blue Buffalo Recalls
- 17th March 2017 / Cause: Potentially high beef thyroid hormone levels / Recalled product: Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs, 12.5 oz. cans, UPC #840243101153, best by June 7, 2019
- 28th February 2017 / Cause: Problems with packaging quality (announced by PetSmart) / Recalled products: 17 of the Blue Divine Delights. Namely:
- Blue Divine Delights Filet Mignon Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312035
- Blue Divine Delights New York Strip Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312037
- Blue Divine Delights Prime Rib Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312039
- Blue Divine Delights Rotisserie Chicken Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312041
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Filet Mignon Flavor, UPC #84024312043
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Porterhouse Flavor, UPC #84024312045
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Grilled Chicken Flavor, UPC #84024312047
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Top Sirloin Flavor, UPC #84024312049
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Angus Beef Flavor, UPC #84024312051
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Roasted Turkey Flavor, UPC #84024312053
- Blue Divine Delights Pate With Bacon, Egg & Cheese, UPC #84024312057
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Sausage, Egg & Cheese Flavor, UPC #84024312059
- Blue Divine Delights Pate Steak & Egg Flavor, UPC #84024312061
- Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Duck Grill, UPC #84024312071
- Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Beef Grill, UPC #84024312073
- Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Chicken Grill, UPC #84024312075
- Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Turkey Grill, UPC #84024312077
- 13th February 2017 / Cause: Possible aluminum contamination / Recalled product: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner With Garden Vegetables, 12.5 oz. can, UPC #8-40243-10017-0, best by Aug. 3, 2019
- 31th May 2016 / Cause: Mold contamination (possible) / Recalled product: 30 lb. bags of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe dog food, best by April 11, 2017
- 25th November 2015 / Cause: Potentially salmonella contamination / Recalled product: one lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones, best by Nov. 4, 2017
- 8th October 2010 / Cause: Possible excessive vitamin D content / Recalled products:
- Blue Wilderness Chicken, 4.5 lb., best by JUL2611Z, JUL2711Z or JUL2811Z
- Blue Wilderness Chicken, 11 lb., best by JUL1211B
- Blue Wilderness Chicken, 24 lb., best by JUL1211B or JUL1311B
- Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon and Potato, 11 lb., best by AUG2111B or AUG2211B
- Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon and Potato, 24 lb., best by AUG2111B, SEP2311P or OCT2611P
- Blue Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Adult, 30 lb., best by SEP2211P, SEP2311P or OCT2611P
- 26th April 2007 / Cause: Melamine contamination (possible) / Recalled products: All Blue Buffalo Blue canned dog foods, dog treats, and Spa Select canned cat food produced by American Nutrition, Inc.
As you can see, none of the brands currently have an active recall. This means you can confidently buy their products for your dogs.
The data shows that Blue Buffalo has had several recalls over the years, so Kirkland has won this round.
Comparison Based on Real Customer Reviews
Nowadays, you can easily find out what real customers think of a particular product. Online ratings and star ratings are available to check. Below, I have collected positive and negative reviews about two popular products from the two brands.
I collected Kirkland reviews on Costco and Blue Buffalo reviews on Chewy.
Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula Chicken
This formula has been developed for puppies and provides an excellent chicken flavor. Plenty of customers switched to the Kirkland brand as they offer premium food for dogs at an affordable price.
The owners (and, of course, their dogs) are basically happy with this recipe. It has a good effect on puppies’ health and tastes good.
There are rarely negative reviews of the product. Most of these are about the fact that not all dogs like the taste of this formula. I always say that one recipe can’t suit every dog’s preference. If your pup is picky, look for another flavor or brand.
Super-premium… and puppy approved!
- As first-time puppy owners, we did a fair amount of research on what we should feed our new family members. Only the best will do. We went back and forth on grain vs. Grain-free options. After talking to our vet and selecting food with grain, we chose the Kirkland signature puppy food. It is a super premium formulation like other top brand dog foods… Chicken is its first ingredient. The quality mixed with the price point made it’s our first selection… Seeing our puppy transition from what the breeder fed him to gobbling this food confirmed our selection. We’re very very happy, and recommend this product – and so does our puppy!
Great food and thankfully NOT grain-free
- My puppy loves this food. We switched from the Costco Nature’s Domain puppy food because of the heart disease associated with grain-free puppy food. I wish Costco would carry this type of puppy food in the stores, but I still feel like it’s worth paying the extra for online delivery, at least for only a year. We noticed two other things since making the switch. First, he “goes” a lot less — about half the frequency and volume, which is good. The bad thing is it stinks much more. I guess you take the good with the bad.
Puppy doesn’t like it
- I give this food 3 stars. I like the price and ingredients are decent, however my puppy doesn’t like this food. I feel like the taste isn’t good. She’s very snobby about eating it. I usually love Costco products but I will look for a different brand of food for her. Also she threw up this food a few times so it definitely doesn’t digest well.
Fido didn’t like it
- After reading all of the positive reviews I was excited to get the food delivered since it’s not available at the store. Unfortunately, Fido didn’t like it. We tried to feed it to him several different times mixed in with his current food but he didn’t eat it. I wish he had because I am sure it’s a great diet for him.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
This food is one of Blue Buffalo’s most popular grain-containing formulas. It gets plenty of five-star ratings online because of the taste. Of course, very picky dogs won’t eat it.
Brenda loves Blue Buffalo!
- Brenda is my adult son’s dog. He lives in Florida and I live in Chicago. He was broke, naturally, and asked if I would spring for food for Brenda. Of course I said yes. I only heard good things about this brand even though Brenda never had Blue Buffalo before. I ordered Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown rice. Well, my son gave me a glowing report on Brenda’s opinion. She gobbled the whole bowl. She loves Blue Buffalo and now I have to send Brenda this gourmet food every three months. Well, it’s my pleasure. Brenda deserves the BEST!
My first baby loves it!
- After our regular dog food not being available for close to a year now.. I’ve tried others in comparison to eukanuba adult large breeds. My girl didn’t like anything and it was upsetting her belly. Gave Blue Buffalo a try and she LOVES it! She doesn’t let it sit and mope.. she knocks her bowl over(that’s what she does) and goes right to it! Not one upset stomach at all! We will be sticking with blue from now on.
Not a winner
- I thought I finally found food all four of my pups would love. At first, they did but then two of them started sorting out the life bits and wouldn’t eat them. Another two days later one pug flat out walked away from it. The other two are food hogs and eat anything. Will have to switch back to hills or nitro. This is really a no-go for us. Never had problems with blue buffalo before, quality may not be there anymore
- I like this brand, but must’ve chosen something different than my usual?? My dog isn’t digging this flavor. So, back to the drawing board. lol, Love the delivery and subscription options though!!
Click here to see more reviews.
My Final Verdict About Kirkland Vs Blue Buffalo
The Kirkland vs. Blue Buffalo question wasn’t an easy one to decide, as both brands contribute high-quality ingredients to your dog’s health.
Kirkland dog foods contain fewer questionable protein and carbohydrates sources, while Blue Buffalo has a higher omega-3 content.
Blue has a broader range of products, while Kirkland’s recipes are more affordable and have had fewer recalls over the years.
Omega fatty acid content is critical to me. In addition, questionable protein and carbohydrate sources (pea protein, pea starch) are only present in small amounts in the Blue recipes. For this reason, I think Blue Buffalo is a better choice than Kirkland.