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Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food Review 2020: Is It Good or Bad?

Meet Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food

Kibbles ’n Bits is a classic dog food brand in just about every store you could imagine. The bag is one of the most recognizable on the market, and it blends dog nutrition with budget constraints to produce highly affordable food. So affordable, in fact, that it’s one of the few you could get even if you can’t afford anything else.

But is the price worth it? Let’s take a look at everything Kibbles ’n Bits has to offer to see if saving a few dollars is worth it or if you should head to a premium dog food. Here is our unbiased Kibbles ‘n Bits dog food review.

Brand Quick Look

  • Parent Company: J.M. Smucker BrandKibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review 2020: Is It Good or Bad? 1
  • Founded in: 1981
  • Made in: Lawrence, Kansas, USA
  • Available at:  Chewy, Amazon
  • Types of Food: Dry, Wet
  • Real Meat in First 5 Ingredients? : No
  • Recalled in Past? : Yes

Behind the Brand

Kibbles ’n Bits was first introduced in 1981. It claims to be the first dual textured dog food on the market, combining soft, chewy bits with kibble. It uses a variety of protein sources and vitamin premixes to provide a balanced meal that many dogs seem to enjoy.

The brand was acquired in 1995 by J. Heinz Company. It was later sold to Del Monte and is currently the fifth largest dry dog food brand in the United States. Its reputation is one of familiarity and affordability. It’s in just about every brick and mortar store plus online retailers all over. If you run out of food, you can find it just about anywhere.

It doesn’t have an excellent reputation for being a quality food, however. The ingredients aren’t always complete proteins and frequently cut corners in the name of that affordability. The brand uses corn as the first ingredient in many of its recipes and uses artificial flavors and colors to make the recipes more appealing.

Dogs often have allergic reactions to the kibble and the cheap fillers can make it difficult for the dog to maintain the proper weight throughout its lifetime. It’s good food for when there’s no other option, but many pet owners are switching to more premium brands.

Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food Review

Kibbles ’n Bits Original Savory Beef and Chicken Flavor

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

First Five Ingredients:

  • Corn
  • Soybean Meal
  • Beef & Bone Meal
  • Whole Wheat
  • Animal Fat (BHA Used as Preservative)

Their original formula is unimpressive at best. It uses cheap fillers and artificial colors and flavors to keep this food a bargain alternative to many other kibbles. It uses corn and soybean as the first two ingredients, and it doesn’t get much better afterward. Instead of real meat, it uses a beef meal and bone meal, which is actually a lot better than the meat by-product meals it uses in some of the other recipes.

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The formula entices dogs to eat by making use of different textures, encouraging a dog’s natural chewing instinct. This part the company does get right, with mouthfeel being a huge reason dogs decide to eat food or not. It’s not suitable for health foods and definitely is packed with ingredients that could cause reactions, but your pickiest dog will probably eat it.

Overall, it might be a good idea that you leave this one on the shelf unless you don’t have other options. As a temporary fix, it could work, but in the long run, it’s not going to build your dog’s health.

Best Kibbles ’n Bits Dog Food Recipes

We aren’t huge fans of Kibbles ’n Bits, but here are a few you could try if you’re in a pinch and can’t find something else. Also, if you temporarily need something that’s better for your budget, these three could be slightly better choices.

1. Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken, and Vegetables

In one of the few recipes to use meat as the first ingredient, this canned food uses beef, chicken, and liver (unspecified) to form the basis of protein. Real fruits and vegetables provide critical vitamins and minerals, plus calcium. It does use a vitamin premix to balance out the recipe, and it has artificial colors to make it more appealing. It only has about 8% protein and 3% fat, which is a little low based on some studies.

2. American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon and Cheese Bits

This is another one that has meat listed in the first ingredients. Unfortunately, meat by-products are the third ingredient, but at least you’re getting chicken and beef to start. It has soy, wheat, and artificial colors, but it can hold your dog over until you get something a little more wholesome. It also has 8% protein and 3% fiber, not super impressive, but it should do the trick.

3. Bistro Small Breed Mini Bits Oven Roasted Beef Flavor

It’s tough to find food for small breeds, so if you’re in a pinch, this one could work. It’s full of artificial colors and flavors, uses cheap fillers, and doesn’t list meat as the first ingredient. In fact, the first meat based component is a by-product. It’s a bit of a disaster, but if your dog has to eat, a small bag of this could hold it over until you get your typical food back.

What Types of Dog Food Does Kibbles ‘n Bits Offer?

Kibbles ’n Bits offers a variety of dry and wet foods in a few different life stages and breed size specifications. Their dry foods are more extensive than their wet foods, but both contain similar tier ingredients.

The recipes often use cheap fillers such as corn or soy and the meats aren’t always discernable or whole. Your dog will get protein and carbohydrates, sure, but it may be more akin to you eating processed foods for every meal. There’s not much natural about the recipe.

It also uses a fair amount of by-product meals, which can be difficult to identify but are often pieces of the animal not fit for human consumption. However, there are recipes designed to fit the specific issues faced by overweight dogs or certain life stages.

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review 2020: Is It Good or Bad? 3

Dry Food:

  • Beefy Bits
  • Bistro Oven Roasted Beef Flavor
  • Bistro Small Breed Mini Bits Oven roasted Beef Flavor
  • Homestyle Grilled Beef and Vegetable Flavor
  • Original Savory Beef and Chicken Flavors
  • Small Breed Mini Bits Beef and Chicken Flavors
  • Bacon and Steak Flavor
  • Steak and Cheese Flavor
  • Meaty Middles Prime Rib Flavor

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review 2020: Is It Good or Bad? 4

Wet Foods:

  • Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner
  • Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts
  • Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs and Pasta Dinner
  • Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts Beef
  • Chef’s CHoice Bistro Tender Cuts Turkey
  • Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Beef

A note about ingredients. When a recipe uses the words “flavor” or something like “dinner” or “platter” that often means that the ingredients used aren’t real meats or they contain only a small amount of that meat. Read the ingredients carefully to know what you’re getting.

Manufacturers can also add other sources of meat by-products without having to list it in the title. If your dog is allergic to chicken, for example, read the ingredients to make sure chicken isn’t listed at all. Don’t just rely on the title.

Kibbles ’n Bits Recall History List:

In 2018, the brand came under fire for reports of low levels of a chemical often used to euthanize dogs found present in quite a few of the brand’s lines. Pentobarbital was detected in small doses, prompting J.M. Smucker to issue a wide recall of six different wet food brands in the name of safety. Overall, the company has a mostly clean record, but that recall was particularly harrowing.

kibbles 'n bits dog food review

Customer Reviews

The food rates highly across online platforms, but many customers are relieved that their dogs aren’t going to cost them a lot of money. We can understand that. The budget can be tough, and if it’s a choice between feeding this or turning your dog out, we support feeding them this food.

It has around four stars on Chewy and Amazon in quite a few recipes, but trusted dog food reviewers feel much, much differently. It regularly rates at just a single star if not less.

What Customers Like and Dislike about Kibbles ’n Bits?

Customers like that their dogs will eat the food without much protest. It does seem to have a pleasant flavor for most dogs, and most customers reported that their dogs ate without complaining. Also, the budget for the food was highly suitable for a wide variety of budgets and customers appreciated that they could always find the food wherever they were.

Quite a few customers complained that the food caused itchiness in their dogs and some digestive issues. Dogs can be sensitive to things like corn or soy in their diets, and artificial flavors can also trigger inflammation that causes itchy skin.

Really, customers were somewhat divided on whether the food was worth it for the budget or terrible. Most reviews trended at the extreme in either direction.

Positive

  • “If you are feeding strays, have a picky dog you can't get to eat well, need to save money, buying for shelter donations, etc. Its perfect! You can't go wrong with it because they love it!” SmokeysMom22, chewy.com

Negative

  • “My 4 indoor dogs Don't really like is. My 5 outdoor dogs like it. So I guess I will have to go back to what I was getting for the indoor dogs before I decided to change things.” Mousie, chewy.com

kibbles 'n bits dog food review

Is Kibbles and Bits dry dog food safe?

Kibbles 'N Bits, is among the dog foods recalled over lethal drug. J.M. Smucker said it is recalling some shipments of four brands of dog food, including the popular brands Kibbles 'N Bits and Gravy Train, after detecting extremely low levels of pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals.

Is Kibbles and Bits dog food good for dogs?

Though the food ensures a good source of vitamins and other supplements, as well as high-quality protein, because dogs have such sensitive skin, the top ingredients on the list for Kibbles 'n Bits were a bit off-putting as corn, corn syrup, and soybean meal were the first two ingredients listed (two known allergens).

Why is kibbles and bits bad for dogs?

Kibbles and Bits is a popular food with dogs due to the meaty protein source bits it contains. Kibbles and Bits dog food is a type of food many people feed to their dogs. If your dog is allergic to corn and soybean, then your dog is allergic to Kibbles and Bits.

Does kibbles and bits make dogs sick?

It contains a lot of allergens. Symptoms of kibble allergies can manifest in a variety of ways in each dog. The most common allergy symptoms include: Itchy skin. Skin infection.

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