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

Written by

Ma. Leonor Dollisen

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Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review

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: 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
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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 Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 3
Kibbles 'n Bits Bistro Oven Roasted Beef, Spring Vegetable & Apple
  • Culinary-inspired formula
  • Two textures in one
  • Formulated with high-quality protein
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Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 4
Kibbles 'n Bits Meaty Middles Prime Rib Flavor
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition
  • Tender, meaty middle and a crunchy outer kibble
  • Suitable for adults of all breeds
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Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 5
Kibbles 'n Bits Mini Bits Bacon & Steak Flavor
  • Delicious bacon and steak flavor
  • Blend of crunchy and chewy textures
  • Sized just right for small breeds
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Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 6
Kibbles 'n Bits Homestyle Grilled Beef & Vegetable Flavors
  • Flavored with grilled beef and veggies
  • Help support strong muscles
  • Enhanced with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
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Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 7
Kibbles 'n Bits American Grill Burger Dinner
  • Moist and meaty formula
  • Barbecue-inspired formula
  • Made with real beef, bacon and cheese
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Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 8
Kibbles 'n Bits Homestyle Tender Slices
  • Homestyle formula made with real beef and chicken
  • In a savory, irresistible gravy
  • Can be given on its own or as a topper
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We aren’t huge fans of kibbles ‘n Bits, but they do have a fan base among pet owners who are happy with the brand’s affordable products. Here are the popular options in dry and wet food varieties:

1. Bistro Oven Roasted Beef, Spring Vegetable & Apple Flavor

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 9

First 5 ingredients:

Corn, Soybean Meal, Beef & Bone Meal, Ground Wheat, Animal Fat

Protein: 19.0% min

Fat: 8.0% min

Fiber: 4.0% max

Moisture: 18.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

Bistro is the company's range for culinary-inspired tastes. This particular recipe is a blend of crunchy kibbles and soft meaty bits that are enhanced with the flavor of beef, apple, and spring vegetables.

The first two ingredients are corn and soybean meal. While there is nothing wrong with the two, they should not be the ingredients that make up the bulk of the meal. (In recipes, the ingredients are listed in order with the first one making up the most volume in the food.)

Both of them are nutrient-dense and provide decent protein, but they should only act as support in meals instead of heading them. Soybean meal, in particular, should be given in limited quantities because of its flatulence characteristics.

The third ingredient is beef and bone meal. This one we agree with. Beef meal is simply rendered beef that has had its moisture taken out, while bone meal is crushed bones, which is a rich source of calcium and phosphorus.

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The apples, peas, and green beans are fine inclusions as well as the added minerals and vitamins. The rest of the ingredients, however, are not very impressive. There are fillers such as wheat middlings, artificial flavors, and even artificial colors.

So if you’re looking for affordable food that can give your pet enough nutrition for his needs, this recipe can provide that for you. However, be aware that the affordability also comes with a cost: artificial flavors and colors as well as low-range ingredients.

2. Meaty Middles Prime Rib Flavor

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 10

First 5 ingredients:

Corn, Soybean Meal, Beef & Bone Meal, Animal Fat, Wheat Middlings

Protein: 19.0% min

Fat: 8.0% min

Fiber: 4.0% max

Moisture: 18.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: Adult, All Breeds

Meaty Middles is a range that offers dogs two different textures in one. The outer layer is crunchy, while the middle is soft and chewy and filled with meat.

There are two real meat ingredients in this recipe — beef & bone meal and beef. Unfortunately, they do not comprise the bulk of the food. The beef & bone meal only comes third in the list of ingredients, while fresh beef takes up 8th place.

What comes in at first and second places are corn and soybean meal. Corn is highly digestible and has lots of nutritional value because it contains protein, carbohydrates, fiber, linoleic acid, and beta-carotene. Soybean is a rich source of protein.

However, unless your dog is on a special diet (for certain medical conditions such as liver disease or bladder stone issues) where soy should be the main protein source, animal meat is still much preferable.

But what we have to take exception to is the use of artificial colors because there are plenty here. Artificial colors are highly unnecessary in dog food since dogs are not attracted to colors in food. What matters to them is the smell and taste. Moreover, food dyes have been linked to disease.

While there has been no conclusive study yet and the FDA deems the food coloring in this recipe safe, it going natural seems to be the safer alternative.

3. Mini Bits Bacon & Steak Flavor Small Breed

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 11

First 5 ingredients:

Corn, Soybean Meal, Beef And Bone Meal, Ground Wheat, Animal Fat

Protein: 21.0% min

Fat: 8.0% min

Fiber: 4.0% max

Moisture: 18.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: Adult, Extra – Small Breeds

Little mouths need small-sized kibbles to help them chew and eat better. The Mini Bits range offers small-breed dogs delicious little chunks of combination crunchy and chewy kibbles with bacon and steak flavor.

Now let’s check the guaranteed analysis. The protein here is much higher at 21% than the other dry food recipes in our list. This is because small breed dogs need more nutrition per body weight than larger breeds. Sounds weird, but it’s true. Smaller dogs have higher metabolic rates, and they burn through the energy they have quicker than large breed dogs.

Because of the peculiar metabolism of small-breed pups, their food has to be more nutrient-dense, specifically when it comes to fat and protein. The fat in this recipe is at 8% (not high, but not low either), while the fiber is at 4%. Because the kibbles are a mixture of crunchy and chewy, moisture content is relatively high at 18%.

Now let’s go on to the ingredients. Sadly, the recipe does not start with meat. Like all dry food recipes they offer, corn and soybean meal lead the list. The meat ingredient doesn’t figure until the third slot, so we don’t know exactly how much there is but for sure there isn’t much.

As we’ve mentioned a few times above, we have nothing against corn and soybean meal. These are nutritious ingredients that many dog food companies frequently add to their products. And dogs are omnivores so there is no concert that they would not be able to digest these. But your pet’s main source of protein should be from meat. Why?

Animal protein like beef, chicken, and fish are complete proteins because they contain ALL of the amino acids that bodies need to function effectively. Plant proteins have amino acids too, but they usually lack one or more essential amino acids. Soy is supposed to be complete but two of its amino acids are in such small quantities that it might as well not be there.

We are also not fans of unspecified ingredients like animal fat. What animal did it come from? The term encompasses a great amount of animals, and some you don’t want to be anywhere near your pet’s food.

Last ingredient that we have an issue with is the corn syrup. It’s not toxic to dogs and many treats list this as an ingredient, but too much of this (which may happen since you’ll be feeding your dog this recipe as part of his regular meals and not as a treat) and you’re looking at possible obesity or diabetes in the future.

So our take is this: This recipe offers complete nutrition required by small dog breeds, it is easily wolfed down by pups because of the size, and the flavor seems to be a well-loved one. However, there are plenty of unnecessary ingredients included here such as artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, and sugar.

4. Homestyle Grilled Beef & Vegetable Flavors

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 12

First 5 ingredients:

Corn, Soybean Meal, Beef & Bone Meal, Ground Wheat, Animal Fat

Protein: 19.0% min

Fat: 8.0% min

Fiber: 12.0% max

Moisture: 4.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: Adult, All Breeds

Kibbles ‘n Bits Homestyle captures the taste of simple, home-cooking that’s a favorite of many. It packs the meaty rich taste of beef with the fresh flavor of vegetables for a culinary-inspired formula.

First, let’s discuss the good parts of this recipe. Made for adult canines, it blends two textures into one — that of a crunchy outer layer and a soft inside made up of meaty bits. Dogs like variety in the texture of their food, so this is a plus. This might also help entice picky eaters into trying out new food.

There’s a good amount of supplementary vitamins here, such as zinc, copper, vitamin D3, vitamin B12, and more. The guaranteed analysis looks good too, if a bit average. The crude protein content is at 19%, crude fat is 8%, crude fat is 12%, and fiber is 4%.

Adult dogs will get enough nutrition here to meet their daily needs. And if your pet is the type who doesn’t drink often, the moisture content of 18% will help keep him more hydrated. Most kibbles only contain a moisture level of 10%, so this is way above that.

Now on to the bad parts. Again this recipe, like the other formulations from this brand, does not start with animal protein. Instead, it takes most of the protein from plant sources like corn and soybean meal.

Why is animal protein important? Animal protein contains ALL of the essential amino acids that dogs need for their bodies’ proper development. Plant proteins rarely contain all of the essential amino acids, and if they do, one or two would be so minimal that they won’t make much impact to the food.

Beef and bone meal do not figure until the third slot in the recipe. Further, the recipe is supposed to contain beef and vegetable flavors, so you’ll be expecting that you’ll find significant amounts of veggies here. However, you would be disappointed.

The veggies (peas, carrots, green beans) are so far down the list that they might as well be added just to say that there are vegetables included. In particular, the carrots and green beans are in 24th and 25th places, right next to the food colorings and just 7 places away from the last of the ingredients.

There are also quite a lot of unnecessary food colorings that do not really do anything for dogs. Colors are meant to appeal to pet owners, but dogs care more for taste and smell when it comes to their food.

5. American Grill Burger Dinner

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 13

First 5 ingredients:

Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken, Beef, Meat By-Products, Wheat Flour

Protein: 8.0% min

Fat: 3.0% min

Fiber: 1.5% max

Moisture: 82.0% max

Food Type: Wet, Chunks in Gravy

Best for: Adult, All Breeds

American Grill is a canned dog food that gives dogs that appealing taste and smell of barbecued food. The enticing aroma and flavor coupled with the gravy sauce is designed to attract picky eaters to wolf down their meal.

If the kibble version's ingredients don't appeal much to you, then the wet canned food might. The contents are infinitely better. Water starts off the recipe, but this is usually the case with most wet foods regardless of brands.

The second and third ingredients are pure meat. Chicken and beef. This is good because you are assured your dog is getting high-quality animal protein. Plus, your pooch is eating real meat and not fillers.

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The fourth ingredient is a bit problematic, however. It’s listed as meat by-products. Quality meat products should always be named. For example, if the meat comes from chicken then it should be chicken by-products. But to call it meat by-products can mean anything and can be coming from any kind of animal.

Aside from the mentioned meat products above, there is also bacon and steamed bone meal to up the meat and protein content. Don’t worry too much about the protein content.

Wet food normally contains less protein than kibbles because the meat is usually closer to its natural state in canned food. As for the others, the fiber is a little low at 1.5% max. Same with fat, but again, this is wet food.

Overall, we find this recipe satisfactory. Not exceptional in terms of quality, but much better than the dry dog food versions of the brand.

6. Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables

Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food Review: Is It Good or Bad? 14

First 5 ingredients:

Water Sufficient For Processing, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Beef, Wheat Flour

Protein: 8.0% min

Fat: 3.0% min

Fiber: 1.5% max

Moisture: 82.0% max

Food Type: Wet, Ground

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

Tender slices of beef and chicken along with fresh vegetables make this gravy-based dish an enticing meal for pups. Because the meat is soft, small to big breeds alike will have no trouble wolfing down and chewing the food.

You can use this as an entire meal or as a topper for your pooch’s kibbles to make his regular meals more interesting. Because it’s wet food, picky eaters are more likely to eat this and lick their bowls clean.

The first ingredient is water, but there’s nothing wrong with that since we’re talking about wet food. Water or broth is usually in first or second place because wet dog food typically contains more than 80% moisture.

The second one is a bit troubling. It’s meat by-products. Like we’ve said over and over again, every animal ingredient in dog food should be named.

What’s wrong with it? Because meat by-product does not identify what animal the meat comes from, you can never know its source. This is problematic for pet parents whose pooches are allergic to specific animals.

What raises this recipe up a bar is the inclusion of fresh beef and chicken. The steamed bone meal is also a good inclusion because it boosts up the calcium and phosphorus content of the formulation.

We also like the inclusion of several veggies here. Potatoes, peas, and carrots take the nutrition content higher and provide an interesting flavor to the food. The recipe is also enhanced with several antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals so that each serving can provide your dog with a complete and balanced nutrition.

We find this wet food formulation satisfactory. It provides a middle ground in terms of affordability and quality in dog food.

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

Kibbles and 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 discernible 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

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

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.

Food Recall History 

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 Do Customers Say?

Pet owners 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.


  • “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,


  • “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,

Final Say

After a thorough evaluation, it's evident that Kibbles and Bits, while a budget dog food among pet food brands, it falls short in terms of quality and nutritional value. While it may appeal to some dog owners due to its affordability, it's essential to consider the trade-offs. 

The inclusion of preservatives and reliance on dog food by-products raise concerns about the overall healthiness of this brand. Despite being established by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), a reputable organization, Kibbles ‘n Bits fails to earn a high star rating in terms of ingredient quality and nutritional adequacy. 

While it may suffice as a temporary solution for those on a tight budget, dog owners should prioritize investing in higher-quality pet foods for the long-term health and well-being of their furry companions.

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