When there’s an ocean of dog food options out there, how do you pick that very brand that would be the most beneficial for your canine? Yes, we absolutely understand your concerns. You do not want to rush your decision and carefully research all the brands you think are suitable for your four-pawed friend. But the more investigations you carry, the more confused you become. That’s probably the reason you are here trying to figure out which is better: Blue Buffalo vs Merrick.

To help you avoid any guesswork in the selection process, we’ve put out this review. You’ll find out what recipes these companies offer and what ingredients they use. You’ll also learn which of these two brands has the most appealing prices and nutritional profiles. Besides, we’ll go over the recall history of Blue Buffalo and Merrick, so stay tuned.

About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo’s brand story started with a love for the family dog Blue who suffered from cancer. As the dog owner, Bill Bishop revealed that those terrible health issues could have been prevented with natural and quality dog food, he started manufacturing recipes to save other pets from suffering.

In 2018, General Mills purchased Blue Buffalo and started a new era in their business. But the most important thing is that the quality of Blue Buffalo dog food has been preserved from the start till these days. As the company gave a promise to provide Blue with the healthiest nutrition possible, it keeps on proving with premium quality recipes that its words are not just empty rhetoric.

The company offers a wide selection of dog recipes that meet different dietary needs. You'll never find by-products, corn, soy, wheat, or other poor-quality ingredients that might do harm to your four-pawed friend.

Our Blue Buffalo Top Picks

To compare Merrick to Blue Buffalo effectively and provide you with well-grounded facts about this or that brand, we’ve got to take a closer look at what they offer. So, let’s start with Blue Buffalo and some of its bestsellers.

BLUE Freedom Grain-Free Beef Recipe for Adult Dogs

If you are looking for a holistic diet without grains for your buddy, here’s your lifesaver. This recipe is specially formulated for adult canines that have a hard time tolerating grains. Even though this food contains zero grains, it is still nourishing enough and will keep your pet full for a long time. It’s made of deboned beef and turkey meal to provide your furry friend with an optimal amount of animal proteins. The company also uses peas, pea protein, and chicken meal as additional sources of protein. The carbohydrates are obtained from superfoods like potatoes, peas, and some more to ensure your pet’s energy battery is never dead. We haven’t found any red-flag ingredients, but there are some questionable ingredients like pea protein, dried tomato pomace, and garlic we believe should be avoided in the dog’s diet.

BLUE Wilderness Chicken with Grains Recipe for Adult Large Breed Dogs

When talking about Blue Buffalo, how can we avoid reviewing products from the Wilderness series?! So, we’ll make a quick overview of the adult formula for large dogs. This recipe is designed for those canines that crave for meat and have got to get a lot of energy to stay active throughout the day. Being made of real deboned chicken meat along with chicken meal, peas, and pea protein, this recipe provides 32% of protein and 14% of fat. Thanks to this, even the hard-working and athletic canine would have enough energy to complete daily tasks without extreme fatigue. This formula is free of by-products, corn, wheat, soy, but includes functional grains that contain zero glutens.

BLUE Homestyle Recipe Fish and Sweet Potato Dinner with Garden Vegetables

In case you’ve been thinking of adding some delicious and nourishing wet recipes to your canine’s diet, here’s what we recommend - the Blue Buffalo fish recipe from the Homestyle Recipe series. It’s made of multiple protein sources like whitefish, chicken, turkey, and chicken liver and complemented with wholesome grains, garden vegetables, and fruit to ensure your furry buddy feels full and happy. Luckily, this formula is free of by-products, wheat, soy, corn, artificial colors that might not be that beneficial for the pet. However, mind that it includes carrageenan, a thickener that is linked to stomach issues and even cancer if consumed too frequently.

Blue Buffalo Pros

  • Recipes are made based on real meat
  • Product variety allows finding the formula for any dog
  • Zero by-products, corn, wheat, soy
  • Packed with nutrients and minerals

Blue Buffalo Cons

  • Might seem pricey
  • Wet recipes contain carrageenan

Read our full Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review.

About Merrick

We have provided a short intro to the Blue Buffalo company. So, in this Merrick or Blue Buffalo article section, we’ll devote some page space to Merrick.

Nearly 40 years ago, Garth Merrick created the first dog food recipe in his own kitchen. The task was close to impossible - to create a natural formula that lived up to the high quality standards. According to the owner’s belief, meat and vegetables used in the formulas had to be organic, that are grown without any pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics.

What started with a family kitchen in Hereford, Texas, has grown into one of the most popular pet food brands. It offers recipes that are packed with top-notch nutrients and ingredients. Merrick’s dog food product selection is impressive, and the company has formulated something delicious for every tail-wagger out there. The company is now owned by Nestle Purina PetCare corporation.

Our Merrick Top Picks

As Merricks offers a myriad of recipes for you to choose from, we’ll pick three popular options and will give our opinion on each of them.

Merrick Full Source Grain Free Raw-Coated Kibble with Beef & Bison

If you’re looking for extraordinary and more natural food for your canine, the beef and bison freeze-dried raw coated kibble from the Full Source series is a perfect match. This is a nutrient-packed recipe that contains 33% of protein (90% of which is derived from meat and meat meal) and 16% of fat to ensure even an active pet will maintain a high energy level throughout the day. This recipe relies on deboned beef, salmon meal, and sweet potatoes as the core ingredients. It also includes potatoes, dried egg product, lamb meal, whitefish meal, bison, beef liver, bison liver, beef cartilage, and some more. This formula is free of by-products, corn, wheat, or soy. No artificial colors or flavors have been spotted as well. The greatest advantage of this kibble is its freeze-dried part that tastes good and is gentle to the dog’s stomach. Because of the freeze-dried technology, you don’t have to bother about storing this kibble in the fridge.

Merrick Backcountry - Raw Infused with Healthy Grains - Great Plains Red Recipe + Grains

Wow, have you seen this in other dog food options? We know we are running ahead of ourselves, but that’s the way it goes. The Merrick Backcountry recipe with healthy grains and beef meat contains freeze-dried raw coated kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces of real meat mixed into kibble to excite the sense buds of your canine and deliver unparalleled nutrition. Don’t be concerned about food safety, all the ingredients are processed with high pressure to ensure no pathogens survive and get to your canine’s tummy. This is a high-protein recipe that is made of different meat and meat meal types accompanied by wholesome grains. It’s also reinforced with superfoods like blueberries, apples, flaxseed, and some more, along with vitamins and minerals.

Merrick Slow-Cooked BBQ Kansas City Style with Chopped Pork

Is your dog running around you as you are having BBQ in your backyard and begs for a piece of the steak? Now you can treat your pet with a special recipe that is cooked in Kansas city BBQ style. The Merrick company uses deboned pork that has been slowly cooked with wholesome veggies and then spiced up with natural smoke flavor. This recipe for adult dogs of all breeds is cooked in a savory broth that adds a zesty flavor. Besides, it enhances the amount of moisture your pet consumes over a day, so if dehydration has been an issue for your canine, - this formula might be a delicious solution.

Merrick Pros

  • A huge selection of dog food for any taste
  • Offers ordinary and freeze-dried kibble
  • Uses natural and wholesome ingredients
  • Doesn’t add by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and other fillers

Merrick Cons

  • Is on the pricier side

Read our full Merrick Dog Food Review.

Types of Dog Food from Merrick and Blue Buffalo

All dogs are different. You canine might be crazy about beef flavor, while your neighbor’s Poodle turns her nose away from the beef recipe and literally gulps in food with chicken. So, there’s no universally perfect formula that would satisfy all dogs in the world. Luckily, dog food companies offer more than one recipe to choose from, so you’ve got to worry no more. You’ll definitely find the recipe your pet will love.

When comparing Merrick vs Blue Buffalo, we came to the conclusion that Blue Buffalo has more products to offer. Please see the chart below and keep on reading because we’ll take a closer look at the variety of dog food series both brands are marketing.

Dog food type


Blue Buffalo

Dry dog food

59 recipes

97 recipes

Wet dog food

58 recipes

102 recipes

Dog treats

50 recipes

55 recipes

So, all the Blue Buffalo dog food recipes are broken down into 6 product lines, both dry and wet. This company offers recipes for all breeds and dog sizes as well as ones that maintain the welfare of small and large canines at any life stage.

  • BLUE Life Protection Formula series contains grain-friendly recipes for canines of different sizes and life stages.
  • BLUE Wilderness products are characterized by higher levels of proteins and fats to satisfy the dietary needs of dogs at any life stage and of any size.
  • BLUE Basics is limited-ingredient recipes with one meat type and without common allergens to provide allergic canines and pets with sensitive stomachs with balanced nutrition.
  • BLUE Freedom series delivers a superior diet for dogs who do not tolerate grains, so these products don't contain them.
  • BLUE True Solutions provides canines with specific health conditions with high-quality nutrition that supports their well-being.
  • BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet includes vet-prescribed recipes that support dogs with a wide range of health issues.

When comparing Merrick dog food vs Blue Buffalo, we saw the difference in the recipes’ positioning. Blue Buffalo offers size- and life-stage-specific formulas, while Merrick is more into producing universal recipes that are suitable for canines of any age and size. Here’s what Merrick offers.

  • Full Source is grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes packed with protein (85-90% derived from animal sources, including organ meats and cartilage).
  • Backcountry recipes are inspired by the dog’s wild nature offering a mixture of freeze-dried raw-coated kibble with real freeze-dried raw pieces of meat, fish, or poultry so that your canine could benefit from a raw diet in a convenient way for you.
  • Grain Free foods contain high levels of animal protein and nourish a dog without the use of grains.
  • Healthy Grains product series includes grain-based formulas that rely on high-quality ingredients like real meat, gluten-free grains, and functional veggies.
  • Lil’ Plates products target small breed dogs offering balanced grain-free and grain recipes.
  • Limited Ingredient Diet series is based on ten key ingredients (sometimes even less) for easier digestion.
  • Puppy lineup provides puppies of all sizes with complete nutrition in dry and wet food variety.
  • Slow-cooked BBQ is mouthwatering wet food formulas that provide a pet with meaty meals with a twist on some of the most famous barbecue styles.

All in all, both Merrick and Blue Buffalo have formulated nearly the same product categories. But Merrick might offer some more variety due to the freeze-dried recipes that are not found in the Blue Buffalo product series.

Nutritional Value Comparison

If you would like to see the comparison of Blue Buffalo vs Merrick nutritional profiles, here you are. We’ve calculated average figures that would help you define the winner.

Dog food type


Blue Buffalo

Dry dog food










Wet dog food













As you see from the chart, Merrick is an absolute winner in the nutritional battle. Its recipes contain more proteins and fats. Besides, this company doesn’t overuse peas, sweet potatoes, so almost all recipes carry nearly 80 (and more) percent of animal proteins. Wet recipes tend to have nearly the same value, so you’ll never go wrong with any of these recipes.

Of course, these figures are very generic, and you’d better check the nutrition label on every package.

Ingredients and Flavours Comparison

Both companies are doing a great job in terms of the ingredients they use. But in our humble opinion, Merrick adds more meat-based ingredients like real meat, meat meal, animal organs, or cartilage, which makes them nutritionally more beneficial for carnivores.

When comparing Merrick grain free dog food vs Blue Buffalo formulas, these two brands use peas, sweet potatoes, and potatoes as the source of carbohydrates. They do not and other ingredients that might be hard for the canine to digest, like corn, soy, and wheat.

Price Comparison

Is Blue Buffalo better than Merrick in terms of the price? Yes, Blue Buffalo is more affordable compared to Merrick, even though it’s on the expensive side as well. But when you intend to feed your pet with natural food without any harmful additives, the price might not be a big deal, and you’ll pick the brand that suits your needs most.

Food type


Blue Buffalo

Dry dog food

$3.30 per lb.

$2.47 per lb.

Wet dog food

$3.66 per lb.

$3.52 per lb.

Product Safety and Recall History

Both companies were involved in numerous recalls. So, if the recall history is the defining factor for you in the Merrick vs Blue Buffalo dog food battle, you’ve got to pay close attention to other criteria.

Let’s start with Merrick recalls. The first registered recall in September 2002 refers to Canadian beef steak patty pet treats only. Canadian authorities warned to refrain from giving these treats to pets since 5 people got sickened after giving them to their canines. In July and August 2010, several treats were recalled for the reason of salmonella contamination. The same issues happened in January and August 2011. And finally, certain dog treats were recalled because of elevated beef thyroid hormone in May 2018.

Blue Buffalo’s recall history is not perfect as well. The first recall of dog food was registered in April 2007 because of melamine revealed in food samples. October 2010 was noted by the recall of Wilderness and Basics Limited Ingredient Diet formulas because of the increased level of vitamin D. One lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones was recalled because of potential salmonella infection in November 2015. In May 2016 and February 2017, dog recipes were recalled because of the possibility of mold, metal contamination, and packaging defects. One batch of Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe was recalled in March 2017 due to the increased beef thyroid hormone level.

Merrick vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food: Which Should You Choose?

Our investigation comes to an end, and we’ve got to announce a winner here. Of course, you expect us to hear an absolute leader, but you’ve seen it by yourself - that’s impossible because both companies offer some of the best recipes on the market of pet food.

So, is Blue Buffalo or Merrick dog food better? It’s you who should decide depending on the diet you would like to introduce to your pet. Merrick has some of the greatest freeze-dried dry food options that would enable you to feed your canine raw products with the convenience of kibble. Blue Buffalo will work great if you are looking for size-specific formulas for your small or large dogs. Anyway, no matter what brand you choose, you’re 100% right because they are both stunning and will make a balanced diet for your four-pawed friend.

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