Diamond Pet Foods is one of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world, producing dog and cat foods under several different brand names including Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Taste of the Wild, Kirkland and 4Health. But how does Diamond dog food really compare against competitors when it comes to quality, ingredients and pricing?
This extensive guide provides dog owners with a detailed analysis of Diamond dog food, including reviews of some of their most popular formulas, examining their ingredient lists, and taking a look at Diamond’s history of recalls and controversy. Read on for the ultimate Diamond dog food review.
An Overview of Diamond Pet Foods
Diamond Pet Foods was founded in 1970 in Meta, Missouri by Gary Schell and Richard Kampeter. The company prided itself on producing quality pet foods at affordable prices.
In 2012, Schell and Kampeter sold Diamond Pet Foods to American Capital Strategies, who later sold it to Spectrum Brands in 2015. Even with new ownership, Diamond has remained headquartered in Missouri and continues to produce dog and cat food sold under the Diamond brand, as well as for major retailers like Costco, Walmart, and Amazon.
Today, Diamond Pet Foods claims to use state-of-the-art food safety protocols and has four manufacturing facilities across the United States where they make pet food for dogs and cats. Their products are sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
Diamond Dog Food Product Lines:
- Diamond: Diamond’s standard line of dog and cat foods at budget-friendly price points.
- Diamond Naturals: Premium dog and cat foods made with natural ingredients.
- Taste of the Wild: Grain-free formulas inspired by ancestral diets.
- Kirkland Signature: Diamond’s house brand for Costco stores.
- 4Health: Exclusive to Tractor Supply Company stores.
Next, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of Diamond’s most popular dog food formulas.
Reviews of the Best Diamond Dog Food Formulas
Diamond Naturals Beef & Rice Formula Adult Dog
One of Diamond Naturals’ most beloved recipes, this dry dog food features beef protein as the first ingredient along with wholesome grains like brown rice and barley.
Ingredients: Beef, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), egg product, dried beet pulp, peas , potatoes, flaxseed, natural flavor, fish meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
First 5 ingredients: Beef, brown rice, barley, chicken fat, eggs
Calories: 3,611 kcal/kg; 408 kcal/cup
This Diamond Naturals formula features beef as the first ingredient, providing dogs with quality protein. Whole grains like brown rice and barley supply natural plant-based carbohydrates for energy. Natural sources of fat like chicken fat give this food the taste dogs love.
Overall, this appears to be a healthy and balanced diet for adult dogs. Diamond avoids using corn, wheat or soy, which are common allergens for some pups. The fiber content is a bit lower than ideal, so owners may want to supplement with some fruits and veggies. But for an affordable kibble using wholesome ingredients, Diamond Natural Beef & Rice is a great choice.
Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Adult Dog
Lamb takes center stage in this dry food for adult dogs. Whole grains provide carbohydrates for energy to keep your pup active and playing.
Ingredients: Lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oatmeal, peas , dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement.
First 5 ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, barley, chicken fat, oatmeal
Calories: 3,534 kcal/kg; 391 kcal/cup
The first ingredient in this formula is lamb meal, a concentrated protein source packed with essential amino acids. Brown rice and barley make up the bulk of carbohydrates. Chicken fat adds savory flavor and oatmeal provides some soluble fiber for digestion.
This Diamond Naturals recipe derives the majority of its meat protein from lamb, which is easier to digest than beef or chicken for some sensitive dogs. It has a high amount of meat content compared to many competitors at this modest price point. Relying on lamb meal rather than fresh lamb does mean it contains less moisture. But for dogs who thrive on lamb, this formula is a tasty choice.
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula
Formulated for growing puppies of large breeds that can put additional stress on developing joints, this recipe features lamb protein and glucosamine for joint support.
Ingredients: Lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, ground white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried egg product, cracked pearled barley, chicken meal, potatoes, oatmeal, flaxseed, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, chondroitin sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement.
First 5 ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, white rice, chicken fat, dried eggs
Calories: 3,688 kcal/kg; 415 kcal/cup
This puppy recipe provides growing large breed dogs with plenty of protein from lamb meal as the first ingredient. The addition of glucosamine and chondroitin supports joint health. Brown rice and barley offer complex carbohydrates for energy and growth rather than empty calories.
Many owners of young Danes, Newfoundlands, German Shepherds and other sizable breeds like this Diamond puppy formula for its focus on joint health. The protein and fat amounts are well-suited for keeping up with high energy puppies. For those wanting an affordable lamb and rice recipe made for large pups, this is an excellent choice.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
Inspired by the hearty diets of wild packs, Taste of the Wild High Prairie uses bison, lamb, chicken and fish proteins for growing pups.
Ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, egg product, roasted bison, roasted venison, natural flavor, tomato pomace, ocean fish meal, choline chloride, dried chicory root, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried fermentation products, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
First 5 ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas
Calories: 3,925 kcal/kg; 449 kcal/cup
Inspired by the Midwest prairies, this high protein grain-free puppy food starts off with fresh bison meat as the first ingredient. Lamb, chicken and fish meals provide a concentrated source of protein as well. Flavorful fruits and antioxidant-rich vegetables provide natural sources for vitamins and minerals.
This Taste of the Wild formula mimics what wild canine ancestors ate with its variety of meat proteins. The ingredients avoid grains, soy, corn and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. It provides high calorie counts perfect for keeping up with energetic puppies. Dog owners looking for a grain-free ancestral inspired diet will love this recipe.
Next, let’s break down the ingredient lists and nutritional values across some of Diamond’s most popular formulas.
Diamond Dog Food Nutrition Facts Comparison
| Formula | Protein | Fat | Fiber | Calories | Price Per Pound |
| Diamond Naturals Beef & Rice Adult | 25% | 15% | 4% | 408 kcal/cup | $1.19 |
| Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice Adult | 25% | 15% | 4% | 391 kcal/cup | $1.15 |
| Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Rice | 27% | 13% | 4% | 415 kcal/cup | $1.35 |
| Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy | 28% | 17% | 5% | 449 kcal/cup | $1.99 |
Based on the comparison above, here are some key takeaways on nutrition across various Diamond formulas:
- Protein content ranges from 25% to 28% across recipes. This aligns with current expert recommendations for adult and growing puppy dogs.
- Fat percentages vary more significantly based on life stage, from 13% up to 17% for puppy blends. This provides the higher caloric needs for young, active dogs.
- Fiber amounts are quite consistent at 4% to 5%. Some dogs may need more or less fiber based on factors like age and digestive issues.
- Calories are higher in puppy blends (415 to 449 kcal/cup) than adult kibbles (391 to 408 kcal/cup). Puppies require up to twice the calories per pound of adult dogs.
- Cost per pound is budget-friendly for standard Diamond formulas but reaches premium pricing for specialty recipes like grain-free Taste of the Wild.
Dog owners should always read the guaranteed analysis and ingredients list to ensure the formula aligns with their pup’s unique nutritional needs. But overall, Diamond offers a wide range of recipes spanning average to above average on key metrics like protein, calories and meat content compared to competitors.
Next up, let’s take a detailed look at the ingredients and sourcing practices used across Diamond Pet Foods’ product lines.
Diamond Dog Food Ingredients and Sourcing
All ingredients used in Diamond dog food and treat products must meet the company’s vendor approval process and follow their strict supplier protocols. Diamond requires all suppliers to adhere to quality standards established by the Global Food Safety Initiative.
Meat and Fish Ingredients: Diamond formulas feature a variety of protein sources including beef, bison, lamb, chicken, turkey, salmon, ocean fish and menhaden meal. Diamond avoids meat by-products in their recipes. However, they do use meals like lamb meal rather than fresh meats which are 70% water. Meals undergo a cooking process that concentrates the meat protein.
Plant-Based Ingredients: Whole grains like brown rice, barley and oatmeal provide natural sources of carbohydrates. Starch sources like sweet potatoes and potatoes add dietary fiber. Diamond uses legumes like peas and dried lentils to boost plant-based protein levels. Some recipes also include nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
Supplemental Ingredients: While many ingredients are sourced within the United States, Diamond supplements its recipes with select nutrients like choline chloride, vitamin E and zinc. Some recipes also include glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. Taurine is added to cat food blends.
Controversial Ingredients: Some Diamond products contain corn, wheat, soy or by-product meals even in premium recipes. Many of their grain-inclusive blends include cheap fillers and artificial colors/flavors. They do not disclose where all ingredients are sourced.
When it comes to ingredients, Diamond offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes spanning average to higher quality. Meat quality could be improved by using fresh meats rather than only meals. But they avoid many low-grade fillers and by-products found in big name brands.
Where is Diamond Dog Food Made? Manufacturing Facilities
Diamond Pet Foods owns four manufacturing facilities located in the following states:
- Meta, Missouri (2 plants): The original company plant opened in 1970 and their USDA facility make dry and canned foods.
- Gaston, South Carolina: Acquired in 2001, this plant crafts brands like Taste of the Wild and Diamond Naturals.
- Ripon, California: Added in 2012, this site produces Diamond and 4Health foods sold to retailers on the West coast.
- Dumas, Arkansas: The newest facility acquired in 2014 manufactures Diamond’s premium brands.
Diamond frequently touts their Missouri roots and states all facilities are based in America. However, some ingredients like vitamins and supplements are sourced internationally.
Next, let’s explore the quality control and food safety protocols followed at Diamond’s manufacturing plants.
Diamond Pet Food Quality Control and Safety Procedures
According to Diamond, all of their manufacturing facilities follow strict quality control steps:
- Supplier approval process ensures all ingredient vendors meet standards
- Raw materials must pass inspections upon delivery to plants
- Metal detectors scan for foreign objects before processing
- Equipment is disassembled and deep cleaned twice per day
- All finished products are tested for nutrients, bacteria and metals
Additionally, Diamond has implemented the following food safety programs at their facilities:
- Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification
- American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) compliance
- Safe Quality Foods (SQF) program Level 3 certification
- British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification
Despite these protocols, Diamond has faced a history of recalls due to potential mold, salmonella and other contaminations traced back to their manufacturing plants. We’ll cover Diamond’s controversy and recall background next.
Diamond Pet Food Recalls and Lawsuits Over the Years
Diamond Pet Foods has faced a number of serious recalls over the years due to issues at their production facilities resulting in the potential for pet illness and even death:
- April 2012: Salmonella outbreak across multiple Diamond brands leads to recall of 17 products. Over 40 humans became sick traced back to the same strain of bacteria from Diamond foods. Production shut down at the South Carolina plant until disinfection completed.
- May 2012: Diamond expands their recall to include a total of 31 products due to potential salmonella contamination.
- March 2013: Amid an outbreak of salmonella in humans, a Diamond plant in South Carolina is shut down for sanitation. No products were recalled.
- December 2015: Due to potential mold contamination, Taste of the Wild dog food sold nationwide is recalled.
- June 2019: FDA issues a public warning that certain products may be linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. Some Taste of the Wild recipes were listed. No recall issued.
- June 2022: Aflatoxins traced back to corn sourced from Diamond’s Gaston, SC plant leads to a wide-ranging recall of over 130 products from major retailers.
The most serious issues stem from salmonella and other contagions impacting pet food safety. In the past, Diamond relied on corn and grains containing higher levels of mycotoxins like aflatoxins. Lawsuits were filed after pets allegedly died from eating contaminated Diamond products.
While Diamond has strengthened food safety protocols, they continue to face FDA warnings and recalls. Many consumers still have reasonable doubts about the manufacturing process and ingredient sourcing based on their history.
Positive Reviews of Diamond Dog Food
Despite brand reputation issues, many dog owners continue to feed and recommend Diamond dog food, citing benefits such as:
- Affordable price points save money compared to premium brands
- Formulas offer “good quality for the cost” with decent ingredients
- Picky dogs enjoy the taste of recipes like lamb and rice
- Company is upfront about recalls and facility upgrades
- Product variety and availability across pet stores
- American-made recipes compared to competitors
Positive reviews indicate that while Diamond may not meet the highest standards for ultra-premium dog food, their affordable pricing and wide distribution makes them a popular choice for many pet parents on a budget.
Negative Feedback on Diamond Dog Food Products
However, Diamond still faces considerable criticism about their products and brand history, including:
- Frequent recalls and safety issues point to quality control problems
- Lack of transparency on where ingredients are sourced
- Affordability comes via cheap fillers like corn, soy and wheat
- **Over-reliance on meals instead of
- Too many artificial additives like colors and preservatives
- Customer service offers inadequate response to complaints
The most common complaints relate to the use of low-cost ingredients like grain fillers and meals instead of fresh meats. Pet owners also question if enough improvements have genuinely been made at manufacturing facilities to prevent future recalls.
Is Diamond a Good Dog Food Brand?
So is Diamond a good choice or not? Here are some key considerations:
Pros of Diamond dog food:
- Very affordable price points
- Wide product range and availability
- Some decent formulas for the cost
- Mostly American-sourced ingredients
Cons of Diamond dog food:
- History of contamination and recalls
- Lack of transparency on sourcing
- Use of corn, soy, wheat fillers
- Fewer fresh meats vs. meals
Best for: Pet owners on tight budgets who want an affordable kibble made in America. Quality is average but can be good for the low price tag.
Not ideal for: Discerning owners looking for USDA-certified ingredients, premium proteins, or a brand with an unblemished track record.
Bottom line: Diamond offers satisfactory nutrition and pricing for many households. But quality issues lead more selective consumers to boutique or veterinary brands despite the higher costs.
What Dog Owners Say About Diamond Pet Food
To give a balanced perspective, here are some actual owner reviews of Diamond brand dog food:
“I’ve fed my Lab Diamond Naturals chicken and rice for years. She’s super healthy and her coat looks great. Never had any issues with this food.”
“Taste of the Wild was fine for the first bag but then my dog started getting sick and throwing up. After the recalls, I’ve switched to a smaller brand I can trust more.”
“This is an affordable food that meets my dogs’ basic needs. Could they thrive more on a $90 a bag boutique brand? Maybe. But Diamond allows me to afford the volume they eat.”
“I don’t care what protocols they have, Diamond has poisoned too many pets. I hope more people do their research and switch to a brand that really puts pets first.”
Those are examples of the range of reactions and perceptions dog owners have about Diamond Pet Food products based on their personal experiences. Some are highly satisfied while others refuse to trust the brand.
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What Are the Best Alternatives to Diamond Dog Food?
For pet owners wanting a step up from Diamond without the high price tag of premium brands, here are a few recommended alternatives:
Purina ONE SmartBlend
- Higher protein percentages than Diamond
- More meat-based ingredients
- Proven food safety standards
- Around $1.50 per pound
Iams ProActive Health
- Formulated by veterinary nutritionists
- Balanced ratio of carbs to protein
- Emphasis on brain, bone and immune health
- Approximately $1.20 per pound
Nutro Wholesome Essentials
- Non-GMO fruits and veggies
- Farm-raised chicken is the #1 ingredient
- Kibbles for puppies to seniors
- Average cost is $1.60 per pound
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
- Features “LifeSource Bits” antioxidant blend
- Contains glucosamine for joint health
- Holistic veterinarian developed recipes
- Ranges from $1.80 to $2.50 per pound
These trusted brands offer comparable quality to Diamond at similar price points for shoppers wanting a nutritious and safe alternative. Talk to your vet for tailored recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diamond Dog Food
Pet owners have many questions when it comes to comparing Diamond against other dog food brands. Here are answers to some of the most common Diamond dog food FAQs:
Is Diamond dog food made in the USA?
Yes, Diamond Pet Foods manufactures all of their products at company-owned facilities located in Missouri, South Carolina, California and Arkansas. However, they do import some ingredients and supplements from other countries.
Does Diamond use corn, wheat or soy?
Many Diamond products contain corn, wheat, and soy as affordable grain ingredients. However their grain-free recipes like Taste of the Wild do not include these common allergens. Always check the label carefully.
Is Diamond dog food high in protein?
Diamond formulas offer average to above average protein content ranging from about 25% to 28% for adult and puppy recipes. This aligns with guidelines for complete nutrition.
Is Taste of the Wild better than Diamond Naturals?
Taste of the Wild is higher priced and has more unique protein sources like bison and venison. But some feel Diamond Naturals offers comparable quality for budget-minded owners. Check your dog’s needs.
Is Diamond dog food good for senior dogs?
Yes, Diamond Nature’s Domain Senior Dog formulas cater to older dogs with glucosamine for joints, lower calories, and easy to digest recipes. Ideal for aging dogs on a fixed income.
Does Petco or PetSmart sell Diamond dog food?
No, you cannot currently buy Diamond brand dog food at Petco, PetSmart or other major chains like Pet Supplies Plus. However, some independent pet retailers may carry select Diamond products.
Is Diamond dog food better than Pedigree?
Diamond does use more meat meals and natural ingredients versus Pedigree’s high amounts of corn, wheat and animal by-products. But Pedigree meets basic standards at very low prices.
As you can see, answers vary for each dog and household based on your unique needs and budget. Be sure to consult your veterinarian for tailored guidance.
The Final Verdict: Is Diamond a Good Choice for Your Dog?
At the end of a day, choosing the right dog food requires pet owners to look at quality, value, and their dog’s nutritional needs and sensitivities.
For owners wanting a bare bones kibble at the most affordable cost, Pedigree or other big grocery brands may suffice.
However, Diamond does offer modest recipe upgrades like lamb meal and grain-free options not found in most budget brands. This makes them a frontrunner for cost-conscious owners who want decent quality without stretching their wallet.
But pet parents wanting more specialized nutrition like limited ingredient, prescription, or human grade menus will likely find Diamond lacking. In those cases, the higher price tag of premium and veterinary brands makes sense.
Talk to your vet and test any new food gradually. Every dog has unique requirements spanning health issues to taste preferences. Take your pup’s wellbeing, age, activity level and your budget into account when deciding if Diamond is the optimal choice.
With the right diligence to ensure your dog thrives on a given formula, Diamond can provide satisfactory nutrition at very wallet-friendly prices.