For an independently-owned company, Merrick is dedicated to producing high-quality, delicious, and nutritious kibble and canned food for dogs and cats alike. The company relies on high-protein, calorie-dense formulas to keep your pooch in perfect health, full of energy and mischief. To help you make sense of an impressive array of formulas, I’ve put weeks into research and experimentation to come up with an in-depth Merrick dog food review.

Enjoy!

Who Makes Merrick Dog Food?

Garth Merrick started cooking pet food in 1988, laying the foundations of Merrick Pet Care Inc. The brand has always been dedicated to producing high-quality, protein-rich recipes to promote health and longevity. Over the years, the product range expanded to include over 200 kibble, wet food, and treat formulas.

In 2015, Nestle Purina bought Merrick Pet Care Inc, though the company’s management remained largely unchanged. The brand continues to rely on proprietary research and test kitchens, as well as Texas-based manufacturing facilities to produce and package all recipes. Besides, most ingredients are sourced locally and responsibly, making every formula even safer for your furball.

Merrick Dog Food Reviews

Merrick dog food rating

With Merrick dog food, a high-end animal protein source is always the first one on the ingredients list. It’s usually supplemented with whole grains or veggies, enhanced with minerals and vitamins. The variety of recipes is seemingly endless, fit for any breed size, life stage, and individual food sensitivity. To help you find the perfect formula for your pup, I’ve done the homework for you, and I’m now ready to present my findings, starting with a quick overview of six best-selling recipes.

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

  • Deboned chicken is No1 ingredient
  • 80+ percent of protein is animal-based
  • Omegas, taurine, glucosamine, and chondroitin inside

Merrick Limited Ingredient Adult Dry Dog Food - Lamb & Sweet Potato

  • Single source of animal protein for sensitive tummies
  • Lighter on protein and fat for easier digestion
  • Free of synthetic colors, flavors, preservatives

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • High-energy recipe perfect for small dogs
  • Whole grains tailored for healthy digestion
  • Infused with Omegas and joint health supplements

Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Senior Dry Dog Food

  • L-carnitine + lower fat content for weight management
  • Deboned chicken is the primary protein source
  • Zero grains, synthetic colors and flavors

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Freeze-Dried Great Plains Red Recipe Dry Dog Food

  • 38% protein in a poultry-free formula
  • Freeze-dried chunks mixed with raw-coated kibble
  • Skin and joints health supplements inside

Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

  • High-protein and low-fat formula for weight loss
  • Beef-based formula with 80% protein from animal sources
  • Supplemented with chondroitin and glucosamine

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Start your acquaintance with Merrick with this well-balanced, highly nutritious formula enhanced with skin, coat, and joint health supplements.

Merrick chicken dog food is an all-time classic, with deboned chicken as the prime ingredient and the core protein source. Coupled with easily-digestible carbs from potatoes and sweet potatoes instead of grains, this kibble is easy on a sensitive tummy. And the added benefits of Omegas, taurine, chondroitin, and glucosamine translate into a shiny coat, dandruff-free skin, and flexible joints for small, medium, and large breeds.

In case your pup is sensitive to poultry, digestive issues may occur. Consider switching to other recipes, like Merrick Salmon and Sweet Potato Dog Food, to replace chicken with fish-derived protein. And remember that Merrick recipes are free of artificial flavors, so fussy eaters may take a while to get used to the new kibble.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 388 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 34% min
  • Crude fat: 17% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.5% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 4, 10, 22, 30-lb bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Over 80% of protein is animal-based
  • Enhanced with Omega fatty acids, chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Packed with healthy whole food ingredients
  • Transparent ingredient list and nutritional info

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Fussy eaters remain unimpressed
  • Chicken allergy may cause digestive issues

Merrick Limited Ingredient Adult Dry Dog Food - Lamb & Sweet Potato

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Keep your pup’s sensitive tummy happy with this lamb-based formula free of poultry, grains, and artificial nasties and packed with skin and joint health supplements.

You gotta love this Merrick Lamb Dog Food simply because it’s only ten core ingredients mixed with health supplements. The sole source of animal protein is lamb, so there’s minimal risk of allergic reactions, and the rest of the components provide a balanced combination of fat and carbs to keep the pooch fit and energetic. There are even Omega fatty acids for a shinier coat and joint-supporting chondroitin and glucosamine.

The most surprising thing about this recipe is the lack of negative Merrick dog food consumer reviews. Most buyers are super happy, with no complaints from finicky eaters. Sunflower oil may well be the only bone to pick with this formula, as it could become an inflammatory agent for some canines. Otherwise, it’s an ideal solution for allergy-prone pups sensitive to grains and poultry.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 371 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 23% min
  • Crude fat: 14% min
  • Crude fiber: 4.5% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 4, 12, 22-lb bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Lamb is the sole source of animal protein
  • Only ten core ingredients + vitamins and minerals
  • Skin and joint health supplements included
  • No artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Grain-free diet may not be suited to all canines
  • Sunflower oil may become an inflammatory agent

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Keep your tiny furball happy with this traditional chicken-based formula chock-full of protein and healthy fat and carbs to support the lightning-fast metabolism.

If you’re not a fan of the grain-free trend in pet nutrition, this Merrick Classic Dog Food will be right up your alley. It’s formulated with real chicken (No1 on the ingredients list) and whole grains, like brown rice and barley, to support cardiac health and clockwork digestion. The addition of whole veggies and fruits makes the kibble even healthier and more flavorful. And taurine, Omega fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine support coat and joints health.

While this formula works great for many canines, fussy eaters can ignore the new kibble, as it’s free of artificial flavor enhancers. Besides, grains may cause digestive issues, including vomiting and soft stool. Keep an eye out for these symptoms and consult the vet if any occur. They might be a sign of grain allergy and a cause for switching to a grain-free diet.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 404 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 27% min
  • Crude fat: 16% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.5% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Turkey Meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Toy, extra-small, and small breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 4, 12-lb bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Calorie-dense formula high in protein
  • Whole grains instead of legumes and potatoes
  • Kibble size is just right for small breeds
  • Zero synthetic preservatives, colors, and flavors

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Possible digestive issues
  • Not for picky eaters

Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Senior Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Ensure your pooch stays lean and fit even past his prime with this protein-rich formula that’s light on fat and high in health supplements to support coat and joints health in senior canines.

When your pooch enjoys the couch a bit more than running outside, it’s time to switch him to Merrick Senior Dog Food. This formula is tailored to the reduced energy requirements and lower metabolism of older canines. The reduced fat content and the addition of L-carnitine support healthy weight, and the usual Merrick supplement complex supports skin, coat, and joints health. And your pup gets all these benefits in a classic combination of chicken and sweet potato flavor that satisfies most finicky eaters.

As the sole grain-free recipe for senior canines, this recipe is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The kibble pieces are too large for small breeds. Moreover, the recent change of packaging (22 lbs instead of 25 lbs for the same price) and the lack of resealable closure made many Merrick fans mad.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 30% min
  • Crude fat: 12% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.5% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Weight: 4, 10, 22-lb bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Reduced fat and calorie content for weight management
  • 77% of protein is animal-based
  • Grain-free formula prevents digestive issues
  • Supplemented with Omegas, taurine, chondroitin, and glucosamine

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Non-resealable packaging
  • Kibble pieces are too large for small breeds

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Freeze-Dried Great Plains Red Recipe Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Treat your pup to a delicious mix of raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried chunks of this poultry-free formula that’s rich in protein and healthy fat, ideal for energetic canines.

The Red Recipe is 100% poultry-free, and though it’s not Merrick Rabbit Dog Food, the beef-first recipe includes a mix of animal protein sources, like lamb, salmon, pork, rabbit, and liver. This combination drives the protein content to an all-time high of 38%, making it an excellent choice for energetic dogs. The added chondroitin and glucosamine ensure your pup’s joints remain strong and flexible throughout the long walks and games, and the Omega fatty acids guarantee a shiny coat.

For all the marketing around the freeze-dried chunks inside every bag of Merrick Beef Dog Food, you’d expect more of those. However, the company is stingy with the raw chunks, and they tend to gravitate to the top of the bag, leaving the lower portion of kibble free of the most delicious pieces. Moreover, the company has recently switched to non-resealable bags, so you’ll need to find an airtight container for safe storage.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 392 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 38% min
  • Crude fat: 17% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.5% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Freeze-dried, dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 4, 10, 20-lb bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Combination of raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried chunks
  • Extra high-protein poultry-free recipe
  • Calorie-dense formula perfect for active canines
  • Supplemented with Omegas, glucosamine, chondroitin

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Barely 4% of raw chunks
  • Recent switch to non-resealable bags

Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Restore your pup’s lean and powerful frame with this low-fat beef-first formula rich in animal-based protein and fiber for healthy, issue-free digestion.

If your pooch needs to lose a couple of extra pounds, Merrick Healthy Weight dog food can help him become lean and strong again without sacrificing the flavor. This beef-based formula is packed with protein and fiber to ensure healthy digestion. And it’s easier on the tummy than any grain-based recipe. Besides, you don’t have to worry about skin or joint issues, as the formula includes Omega 3 and 6 along with glucosamine and chondroitin for a shiny coat and strong bones and joints.

Despite all the positives of this formula, reviews on Merrick dog food aren’t all glowing. Many buyers complain about the recent switch to smaller bags without reducing the price tag. Besides, some canines do not lose weight even months after switching to this kibble. If you don’t see any changes, consult the vet and look for an alternative weight management solution.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 354 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 32% min
  • Crude fat: 10% min
  • Crude fiber: 5% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 4, 22-lb bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Low-fat formula designed to promote healthy weight
  • 80% of protein is animal-based
  • Health supplements for skin, coat, and joints in every bag
  • Grain-free formula easy on sensitive tummies

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Updated packaging is 3 lbs lighter for the same price
  • May take time to promote weight loss

Merrick Canned Dog Food

The full lineup of Merrick wet dog food includes almost five dozen recipes across half a dozen product ranges. Most canned products come in 12.7 oz cans, though the Lil’ Plates formulas for small breeds are sold in 3.5 oz tubs. Here’s a list of the most popular items you can buy online:

  • Merrick Chunky Grain Free Wet Dog Food Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner
  • Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Teeny Texas Steak Tips Dinner
  • Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Little Lamb Chop Stew
  • Merrick Grain Free Cowboy Cookout
  • Merrick Grain Free Grammy's Pot Pie
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Lamb Recipe
  • Merrick Backcountry Chunky Beef Dinner in Gravy
  • Merrick Backcountry Grain Free - Alpine Rabbit Stew

While wet food is less popular than kibble, Merrick dog food rating is over 4 out of 5 stars across the board. And I couldn’t find a single Merrick canned dog food review complaining about the quality. Most negative posts are about finicky eaters, recipe changes, and prices.

Merrick Dog Food Ingredient Analysis

Merrick dog food nutrition levels meet the AAFCO Dog Nutrient Profiles, and that’s all you need to know to be sure this kibble is safe and healthy. But if you’re more interested in individual Merrick dog food ingredients, you’ll be happy to know that over half of each formula is made up of animal protein and fat. And the rest include produce, fruit and veggies, along with vitamins, minerals, and other health supplements, like prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, chondroitin, Omega fatty acids, and more.

Some components, like poultry, sunflower oil, alfalfa, potatoes, rice, and barley, may cause individual allergic reactions. Most dogs enjoy Merrick formulas and don’t suffer any side effects. Still, you should be aware of your dog’s food sensitivities before investing in any kibble, including Merrick, to avoid allergies and digestive issues.

Merrick Dog Food Formulas & Recipes

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains

As the name of this line suggests, the recipes rely on a classic combination of animal protein with carbohydrates from grains. However, instead of using fillers, like wheat or corn, Merrick makes most of the whole grains, such as brown rice or barley. They are easier on the canine tummies and produce fewer digestive issues. The lineup includes traditional dry food and freeze-dried raw-coated kibble:

  • Healthy Grains Healthy Weight Recipe
  • Healthy Grains Freeze-Dried Raw-Coated Kibble Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe
  • Classic Healthy Grains Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains
  • Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe
  • Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe
  • Classic Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains
  • Classic Healthy Grains Real Lamb + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains
  • Healthy Grains Freeze-Dried Raw-Coated Kibble Real Salmon + Brown Rice Recipe
  • Healthy Grains Large Breed Recipe
  • Healthy Grains Real Salmon and Brown Rice Recipe
  • Healthy Grains Senior Recipe
  • Healthy Grains Freeze-Dried Raw-Coated Kibble Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused

Backcountry is one of Merrick’s best-selling lines, filled with exotic animal proteins to supplement ancestral canine diet with freeze-dried meat and poultry. Whether you’re looking for Merrick Duck Dog Food or a Salmon Recipe, you’ll find it in this line. Besides, Backcountry comes in both Grain-free and Healthy Grains versions. You can purchase kibble, canned products, healthy treats, as well as raw mixers to add to classic kibble. The Backcountry range comprises over 40 products, and the most popular formulas include:

  • Backcountry - Raw Infused with Healthy Grains - Great Plains Red Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused with Healthy Grains - Puppy Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Big Game Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Game Bird Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Great Plains Red Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Hero's Banquet
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Large Breed Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Pacific Catch Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Puppy Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - High Plains Recipe
  • Backcountry - Raw Infused - Wild Fields Recipe

The one gripe recurring in many a Merrick Backcountry Dog Food review is the low content of freeze-dried chunks. If you want to treat your pup to an extra helping of raw protein, add Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer Real Chicken Recipe or Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer Real Beef Recipe to your shopping cart.

Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

The lineup relies on protein-first formulas free of grains and supplemented with whole ingredients to deliver top nutritional value to canines without compromising the tail-wagging flavor. The full range of nearly 50 products includes kibble, canned food, toppers, and treats. The best-selling kibble recipes are:

  • Grain Free Large Breed Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Turkey + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Duck + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Lamb + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe
  • Grain Free Senior Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe
  • Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Bison, Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Grain Free Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet

The Merrick Limited Ingredient dog food lineup focuses on canines with food sensitivities and provides well-balanced nutrition with recipes of ten ingredients or less. The products come Grain-free or with Healthy Grains, so you're sure to find the perfect formula for your pooch on the list of kibble and canned food options:

  • Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free - Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free - Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free - Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Limited Ingredient Diet Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Limited Ingredient Diet Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Real Beef Recipe
  • Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Real Duck Recipe
  • Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Real Lamb Recipe
  • Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Real Turkey Recipe
  • Limited Ingredient Diet Healthy Grains - Real Chicken Recipe
  • Limited Ingredient Diet Healthy Grains - Real Turkey Recipe

While most Merrick Limited Ingredient dog food reviews are positive, you should consult the vet before choosing new food for your pup to avoid digestive issues and allergic reactions.

Merrick Lil’ Plates

Merrick Lil’ Plates

Merrick small breed dog food range is packed with high-quality protein, fat, and healthy carbs from whole ingredients. The energy-boosting formulas are also full of health supplements to support digestion, strong joints, and shiny coats. The Lil’ Plates line includes protein-rich treats, delicious wet recipes, and kibble (Grain-free and Healthy Grains options):

  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato with Raw Bites Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potatoes Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Real Lamb + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Real Salmon + Sweet Potatoes Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato with Raw Bites Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Real Lamb + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Puppy Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Lil' Plates Grain Free Senior Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe

Remember, small breed formulas aren’t the same as Merrick Puppy Dog Food. Young pups have special dietary needs, and you can easily find Merrick formulas to satisfy those in a variety of product ranges, including Classic Healthy Grain and Backcountry.

Merrick Dog Food Recalls

The most recent Merrick dog food recall occurred in 2018. The company recalled three types of Backcountry Great Plains beef-based treats due to the potential increased thyroid hormone level. One dog was reported to have suffered a decline in health but recovered without any additional issues.

Before that, Merrick issued several voluntary recalls of dog treats. For instance, in 2011, the company had to remove Doggie Wishbone treats from the market due to the potential salmonella contamination. The same issue repeated throughout 2010 and 2011, as Merrick Pet Care had to recall several treats, including Beef Filet Squares and Texas Hold'ems.

Considering the extensive product range and barely a handful of recall instances, I don’t think Merrick dog food is dangerous or hazardous. Hopefully, the company learned its lessons and improved the quality management system to prevent potential contamination in the future.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a grain-free or grain-inclusive formula, Merrick has you covered. Every recipe is infused with animal protein, whole-food carbs, and balanced fat content to keep your pooch happy and lively. As long as you listen to the vet’s recommendations and follow the Merrick dog food feeding chart, your pup will grow stronger, healthier, and more energetic with this high-quality kibble.

FAQs

Is Merrick Dog Food Good?

According to thousands of Merrick dry dog food reviews, ingredient analysis, and the minimal number of recalls, I’d say Merrick is a good choice of dog food, provided you consult the vet and find the right recipe to fit your pup’s nutritional needs.

Where Is Merrick Dog Food Made?

All formulas are designed, tested, and manufactured at Merrick facilities in Hereford, Texas.

Where Can I Buy Merrick Dog Food?

Merrick dog food retailers are many. You can start with the links in this post or go to Amazon, Target, Chewy, Petco, or Petsmart.

Is Merrick Dog Food AAFCO Rated?

Every Merrick formula meets the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles nutritional levels for maintenance. Besides, the brand’s kitchen is a Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 facility, and the manufacturing facilities meet the FDA’s guidelines.

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