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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons 2021

merrick dog food reviews

The Merrick Pet Care Company was founded by Garth Merrick in 1988.

The company began with the release of a line of dog treats that promoted oral hygiene, but it has since expanded into a line of handcrafted, all-natural pet foods made using the highest quality ingredients available.

For many years, Merrick produced and manufactured their own products. In 2015, however, the company was acquired by the Nestle Purina PetCare company, a subsidiary of Nestle and the largest manufacturer of pet food products in the United States.

For more information about this company, kindly read over our Merrick Dog Food Reviews below.

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Our readers rely upon the dog food reviews, articles and recall alerts that we research and publish. We also routinely update and review our own reviews ensuring that any changes by manufacturers are brought to your attention.

DogFood.Guide is maintained by Mary Nielsen & her staff. Mary is an animal lover of both dogs and cats. She and her staff are passionate about animals and work hard to provide you with a wealth of information for you and your dog.

Manufacturer Information

Merrick products are currently made by the Nestle Purina PetCare company. This company is the second-largest manufacturer in the world and the largest in the United States.

Though Nestle Purina PetCare sells their products all over the word, most of the products sold in the U.S. are also produced in the U.S. According to the their website, all of their products are safely cooked in the USA, specifically in five-star manufacturing facilities located in Hereford, Texas.

Merrick Dog Food Reviews

The Merrick company follows the tagline, “whole health made right”, so you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that they use a variety of wholesome ingredients in their formulas.

Their pet foods all start with a high-quality source of animal protein that is supplemented with digestible carbohydrates, many of which are gluten-free and grain-free.

They don't use any corn, wheat, or soy ingredients and all of their formulas are free from artificial additives. Simply put, their products are hard to beat when it comes to quality.

IMAGE PRODUCT  
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 1
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe
  • Dry food with healthy grains and chicken
  • Features real deboned chicken as the very first ingredient
  • Includes essential vitamins, minerals, brown rice and ancient grains
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 2
Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Red Recipe
  • Freeze-dried raw-diet dry dog food with beef
  • Contains freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites
  • Includes lamb and rabbit in a protein-rich, poultry-free formula
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 3
Merrick LID Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Real deboned lamb is the first ingredient
  • Limited ingredient formula of just 10 ingredients
  • Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 4
Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Poultry-free kibble made with real deboned beef
  • A grain-free recipe made with real beef and sweet potato
  • Delivers an ideal combination of protein and healthy fats
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 5
Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato
  • Grain-free dry food with salmon for small dogs
  • Made with a crunchy texture in a small kibble size
  • Formulated with prebiotic and probiotic fiber to aid in digestion
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 6
Merrick Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy
  • Packed with high-quality protein that’s paw-fect for all breeds
  • Made with vitamins, minerals and a hearty nutrient-rich gravy
  • Features real deboned lamb in a tender and chunky protein-rich recipe
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 7
Merrick Cowboy Cookout
  • Features chunks of USDA-inspected deboned beef
  • Made with carrots, green beans and granny smith apples
  • 100% free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and by-product
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 8
Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew
  • Made with whole vegetables and a savory gravy
  • Natural food made with added vitamins and minerals
  • Features real deboned rabbit as the very first ingredient
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 9
Merrick LID Canned Lamb Recipe
  • Specially formulated for sensitive stomachs
  • Does not contain any peas, grains, potatoes, corn or soy
  • Packaged in a pull-tab can for your easy serving convenience
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Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 10
Merrick Li’l Plates Petite Pot Pie in Gravy
  • Crafted with a savory gravy
  • Features real deboned chicken as the very first ingredient
  • Developed with high levels of omegas, glucosamine & chondroitin
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Reviewed Merrick Dog Foods

  1. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe
  2. Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Red Recipe
  3. Merrick LID Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
  4. Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe
  5. Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato
  6. Merrick Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy
  7. Merrick Cowboy Cookout
  8. Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew
  9. Merrick LID Canned Lamb Recipe
  10. Merrick Li’l Plates Petite Pot Pie in Gravy
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1. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 11
Made with real deboned chicken combined with essential vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced diet that includes brown rice and ancient grains such as quinoa to aid in digestion.

Merrick’s Classic Healthy Grains range contains recipes that are a healthy blend of proteins, whole grains (including ancient grains), fruits, and vegetables. The formulas are also crafted to supply your pet with high levels of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, fiber, chondroitin, and glucosamine. They’re pea-free, lentil-free, and potato-free.

This particular recipe that we will review is designed for adult dogs of all breed sizes. Real deboned chicken leads the list of ingredients. It is combined with chicken meal, turkey meal, and salmon meal for better protein content as well as a richer and tastier flavor. At 26%, the high-quality protein is more than sufficient in helping build high energy levels and lean muscle mass.

Barley, oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice lend the meal its carbohydrate and fiber content. All of these are quite healthy and full of nutrients, but two of them — barley and quinoa — are considered an ancient grain.

So what’s an ancient grain? These are types of grains that have remained unchanged for thousands of years. They tend to be less processed but loaded with more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than modern wheat, corn, or rice. In some studies done on ancient grains, these were found to be linked with lower risk of heart disease, better digestion, and improved blood sugar.

But back to barley. It is packed with beta glucans — a type of soluble fiber that is linked to heart health. Barley also contains protein, fat, selenium, iron, and thiamine. Quinoa, meanwhile, has protein, manganese, phosphorus, folate, zinc, and potent antioxidants that have been shown to have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

For the fat content, this recipe has chicken fat, flaxseed, sunflower oil, and chia seeds. These four are natural sources of omega fatty acids that are great for maintaining a dog’s healthy skin and fur and giving him a stronger immune system.

Chicken fat and sunflower oil are full of omega-6, chia seeds are packed with omega-3s, and flaxseed contains both omega-3 and omega-6.

Although the food is laden with added vitamins and minerals, natural is always better. Organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, carrots, and apples provide a natural source of antioxidants and nutrients in the meal.

This Classic Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe’s guaranteed analysis is listed below:

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  • Crude Protein (Min) – 26.0%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 16.0%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3.5%
  • Moisture (Max) – 11.0%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 3.0%
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.50%
  • Glucosamine (Min) – 1,200 mg/kg
  • Chondroitin Sulfate (Min) – 1,200 mg/kg
  • Calorie Content – 3711 kcal/kg, 393 kcal/cup

Rating: 5/5 stars

This dry dog food by Merrick offers dogs a completely balanced meal without skimping on the ingredients. We’re impressed with the high-quality proteins, the inclusion of both fruits and veggies (not always present in other dog foods), and the use of ancient grains.

There is no ingredient here that we might deem as problematic. We also laud the inclusion of several “minor” ingredients, such as chondroitin and glucosamine (which are important for proper hip and joint function), probiotics for a healthy digestive system, and yucca schidigera for reduced stool odor.

2. Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Red Recipe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 12
Freeze-dried dry food for dogs features real deboned beef. It’s combined with lamb and rabbit in a protein-rich and highly-digestible poultry-free formula.

The Merrick Backcountry range is dog food that’s protein-rich and recalls an ancestral dog’s diet. The recipes here are divided into grain-free or grain-inclusive meals that both contain real, freeze-dried raw pieces of fish, meat or poultry and wrapped in freeze-dried raw-coated kibbles.

Those formulas that fall under the grain-free line are crafted with fiber and carbohydrate-rich sweet potatoes, while those in the grain-inclusive line use a healthy lineup of brown rice, oatmeal, and barley.

The Great Plains Red Recipe is what we’re reviewing today, and it’s a grain-free formula for adult dogs who can’t eat grains for one reason or another.

Great Red Plains is a mixture of several premium animal proteins such as beef, lamb, salmon, pork, and rabbit. The recipe is led by deboned beef and includes a combination of the previously mentioned meats in fresh and meal forms. And because it follows a wild dog’s diet, it also contains organ meat in the form of liver, which is packed with plenty of nutrients a healthy dog needs.

Because of the high concentration of meat, the crude protein level of this formulation is pegged at a high 38%. What are the benefits of a high protein diet? Protein is a necessary nutrient when it comes to a dog’s muscles, immune system, skin, and more.

But most dog foods contain only an average amount. Most of the time that is sufficient, but a high protein diet is essential in other circumstances.

A high protein diet is excellent for dogs who are highly active, need to manage their weight, or perform as working dogs or athletes. The protein in the diet gives them an added source of energy for intense activities that last for an extended period.

Since this is a grain-free diet, there must be a replacement for the carbohydrates and fiber that grains provide. The sweet potatoes and potatoes provide those instead. And along with carbs and fiber, these two contain calcium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and more.

A pet food would not be complete without fat. Fat gives dogs energy, cushioning, insulation, and plays a lot of roles in a dog’s body. For this recipe, Merrick uses pork fat and sunflower oil.

These are both healthy types of fat that contain omega fatty acids. Pork fat is full of omega-3s, while sunflower oil is rich in omega-6 so there’s an even balance between the two.

The guaranteed analysis for this formulation can be found below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 38%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 17%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3.5%
  • Moisture (Max) – 11.0%
  • Calorie Content – 3,704 kcal/kg, 392 kcal/cup

Rating: 5/5 stars

Even with its emphasis on protein and following a dog’s ancestral diet, this recipe still managed to make it as balanced and complete as possible by adding nutritious fruits like apples and blueberries. (Some dog foods neglect this part.)

It’s such a nice bonus because naturally-sourced nutrients will always be preferable to supplemental vitamins and minerals (although they aren’t bad at all).

The freeze-dried kibbles are perfect for dogs who like a distinctly meaty taste, and the nutrition levels are excellent for active dogs who tend to require more than the average canine. This meal will provide your pet with all the benefits of a raw diet, but in a more convenient form.

3. Merrick LID Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 13
Specially formulated with just 10 ingredients, so it’s paw-some for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Crafted in Hereford, Texas and cooked in the USA.

The Limited Ingredient range by Merrick is focused on giving dogs a simplified diet composed of ten key ingredients or less. This is the ideal line for dogs with food sensitivities as its motto is less is more. But although it contains fewer ingredients than regular dog foods, recipes in this line are still packed with all the nutrition your sensitive dog needs.

Just like the Backcountry range, the Limited Ingredient line is divided into two types: those with grains and those without. But both types are free from chickpeas and lentils. All Limited Ingredient recipes also contain taurine (reduces risk of dilated cardiomyopathy) and DL-Methionine (reduces acid level in urine).

The Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Real Lamb & Sweet Potato is a grain-free diet that contains no common allergens like soy, corn, grains, wheat, eggs, or dairy. The recipe keeps it healthy by sticking to natural and whole foods for most of its nutrient content.

Leading the way of the ingredients is deboned lamb, followed quickly by lamb meal. Lamb meal is still very much a quality animal protein since it is simply lamb that has been cooked to remove most of the moisture. The nutrients remain intact, and in fact, if you compare fresh lamb with a lamb meal of the same weight, you’ll get more protein from the lamb meal.

Lamb is the only source of animal protein to make the ingredients in the recipe easier to track for pet owners. After the meat, comes two types of carbs — sweet potatoes and potatoes. These two provide a quick source of energy to dogs for short bursts of activities.

Sweet potatoes and potatoes also contain fiber for better digestion and waste elimination as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Peas and pea protein contribute a bit more to the total crude protein content of the meal, while sunflower oil and flaxseed provide the fat content of the recipe. In case you’re wondering, these are some of the best sources of healthy fat, and there are no controversies surrounding these at all. (Unlike canola oil.)

The fat in dog food gives dogs more endurance for any activity and contributes to a canine’s overall fitness. If your dog gets enough fat, it will be visible in the luster of his coat and the health of his skin.

This Limited Ingredient Diet’s guaranteed analysis is listed below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 23.0%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 14.0%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 4.5%
  • Moisture (Max) – 11.0%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 4.0%
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.9%
  • Glucosamine (Min) – 1,000 mg/kg
  • Chondroitin Sulfate (Min) – 1,000 mg/kg
  • Calorie Content – 3,507 kcal/kg, 371 kcal/cup

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Formulated with 10 key ingredients, this diet provides food-sensitive canines with the full nutrition that they deserve without the issues that often arise after eating regular food. There is a good amount of fatty acids present (more than the content of some Merrick recipes), which are responsible for keeping dog skins and fur shiny and healthy.

There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives present, so you can feel good about feeding your dog only pure and natural food to your furry buddy.

4. Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 14
A natural dog food that’s made with 65% protein and healthy fat ingredients, with deboned beef as the number one ingredient to help maintain healthy muscle tissue and energy levels.

Under Merrick’s Grain-Free range, recipes are made of up to 84% animal protein. All formulations start with deboned meat and have real whole foods like blueberries and sweet potatoes to add more nutrition and balance it out.

There are always leading levels of protein, chondroitin and glucosamine, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in all Merrick Grain-Free formulations. And there are a variety of recipes under this range crafted for specific ages or breed sizes.

We’ve chosen the Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato formula in the Grain-Free line to review. It’s designed for the adult maintenance of all breed sizes and is made of 65% natural protein and fat ingredients. The remaining 35% is composed of fiber, produce, vitamins, minerals, and other natural ingredients to complete the balanced diet.

Deboned beef is the first ingredient in the list. Because the meal is designed to provide dogs with a high amount of protein, the fresh beef is supported by the inclusion of other meats. Lamb meal, salmon meal, whitefish meal, and beef liver all help the diet reach the 34% crude protein total.

The inclusion of salmon was a smart choice since salmon is considered a fatty fish that’s full of omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are the ones responsible for the luster in our pet’s fur, the healthy texture of their skin, and the overall improved performance of the immune system. The beef liver, meanwhile, not only adds to the nutrition factor but also boosts the palatability of the food further.

As with most of Merrick’s grain-free formulas, sweet potatoes and potatoes act in place of grains. These two provide most of the carb content of the food to give dogs access to quick bursts of energy.

Pork fat, sunflower oil, flaxseed, and salmon oil contribute the most to bring the fat levels of this diet to a nice 15%. Why fat? Remember when we mentioned above that salmon is a fatty fish full of omega fatty acids? It’s the same with these oils and fat, only they contain more than your regular muscle meat.

The rest of the ingredients in this food is made up of produce, added vitamins and minerals, and probiotics.

This Grain-Free diet’s guaranteed analysis is listed below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 34%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 15%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3.5%
  • Moisture (Max) – 11.0%
  • Taurine (Min) – .17%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.8%
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.7%
  • Glucosamine (Min) – 800 mg/kg
  • Chondroitin Sulfate (Min) – 800 mg/kg
  • Calorie Content – 3,579 kcal/kg, 379 kcal/cup

Rating: 5/5 stars

We’re always happy when a dog food contains not just the requisite protein, fat and carbs but also a good amount of produce. Even with supplemental vitamins and minerals, it’s still important for us that there are fruits and greens somewhere in the list for a more natural balanced diet.

So to see that this recipe contains superfoods such as apples, blueberries, and organic alfalfa meal is a good thing.

The kibble ingredients are all sourced from trusted farmers, so you can be sure that these are of the very best quality. And this recipe delivers an ideal proportion of protein to other ingredients with its food ratio of 65% to 35%.

5. Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 15
It’s formulated with prebiotic and probiotic fiber to aid in digestion and made with a crunchy texture in a small kibble size to help reduce plaque and keep teeth clean.

Li’l Plates is Merrick’s answer for small breed dogs with mighty appetites. The Grain-Free range is crafted for little mouths that need big nutrition. The smaller-sized kibbles come in a crunchy form to help keep teeth clean and are packed with protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin for stronger bones and joints.

Li’l Plates recipes always lead with deboned meat, do not contain corn or soy, use whole foods, and are formulated with prebiotics and probiotics for a healthy digestive tract.

This particular Li’l Plates recipe we’re reviewing utilizes salmon as the main animal protein. Deboned salmon starts off the list of ingredients and is followed by salmon meal and whitefish meal for added nutrition. The combination of the three animal-based proteins plus the inclusion of peas (a plant-based protein) helps the food reach a high total crude protein level of 34%.

Carbohydrates function to provide energy to dogs, which is why they are an essential part of all dog foods. In this recipe, the carbs come from potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are complex types of carbohydrates that break down faster than other complex carbs. This means that a dog’s body is able to absorb and utilize them quickly.

Three ingredients that contain a lot of fat are present in this food — coconut oil, flaxseed, and sunflower oil. Two of them are considered to be among the healthiest types of oils while another is a seed that many consider to be the new wonder food.

Coconut oil is nutrient-dense and rich in fatty acids and saturated fats (not all saturated fats are bad). It’s often used orally or topically to relieve allergies or keep coats shiny.

Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E and fatty acids, and flaxseed is rich in protein, fat, fiber, minerals, AND omega fatty acids too. The combination of these three foods help promote shiny coats and beautiful skin in little pooches.

If you’ve ever looked at a Merrick recipe label closely, you might find dried organic alfalfa meal. It’s present in most of their formulas, and the reason is this: It has considerable amounts of protein; vitamins A, B12, C, D, E; and the trace minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, and beta-carotene. It even has the antioxidant chlorophyll.

The alfalfa meal combined with the produce apples and blueberries provide a natural source of vitamins and minerals apart from those added by the brand, and this is a good thing.

The guaranteed analysis for this Li’l Plate recipe is found below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 34%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 15%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 4.5%
  • Moisture (Max) – 11.0%
  • Taurine (Min) – .17%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.8%
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.5%
  • Glucosamine (Min) – 800 mg/kg
  • Chondroitin Sulfate (Min) – 800 mg/kg
  • Calorie Content – 3687 kcal/kg, 405 kcal/cup

Rating: 5/5 stars

Smaller dogs need a specific diet that targets their unique needs. Little they may be, but small dogs have faster metabolism than bigger ones and as such, they need far more nutrition than regular-sized canines do. This Merrick recipe addresses that and more. From the size of the kibbles to the nutrient levels, all small breed dog needs in food are addressed.

There are no fillers in this recipe. Every ingredient serves a purpose. The list of key ingredients is actually short. It just looks long because of the addition of supplemental nutrition and the inclusion of probiotics and prebiotics. Overall, this gets top marks from us.

6. Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 16
A natural grain-free wet food for dogs with real deboned lamb in a tender and chunky protein-rich recipe. Packed with high-quality protein that’s paw-fect for all breeds of adult dogs.

This Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy Recipe is an all-natural, grain-free diet for dogs in all life stages. They market this product as an ancestral diet which means that it was formulated to mimic the natural evolutionary diet of wild dogs.

An ancestral diet for dogs is meat- and protein-rich, made without grains or artificial additives. This formula features just five main ingredients with added supplements to ensure nutritional balance. It is also packed with natural flavor that your dog will love.

The first ingredient in this recipe is deboned lamb, a high-quality source of animal protein. The second ingredient is beef broth which not only helps to maintain the high moisture content of this formula, but also contributes some natural flavor.

There are several supplementary proteins used in this formula – deboned beef, lamb liver, and dried egg product. Dried peas also contain some plant-based protein, though they are primarily included as a source of grain-free carbohydrate in this formula.

There are supplementary sources of carbohydrate energy and dietary fiber as well, including potato starch, dried citrus pulp, guar gum, and xanthan gum. The main source of fat in this formula is sunflower oil which works with the natural fat content of the meat ingredients to provide a balance of omega oils.

This Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy Recipe has a guaranteed analysis as listed below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 8%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 3%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.4%
  • Moisture (Max) – 81%
  • Calorie Content – 749 kcal/kg, 269 kcal/can

This Merrick Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy Recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

Canned Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Overall, this Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy Recipe is an excellent source of nutrition for dogs in all life stages. Not only is it protein-rich, but it is full of natural meat flavor. This formula features dried peas as the main carbohydrate which makes this recipe grain-free as well as highly digestible.

Though this formula is full of quality ingredients, there are two minor things that could be improved. As a plant-based fat, the sunflower oil offers limited bioavailability for dogs – an animal-based fat would be better.

This formula could also benefit from the use of chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption.

7. Merrick Cowboy Cookout

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 17
Features a savory gravy that’s made with yummy beef broth for added flavor and moisture during mealtime. 100% free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and by-products.

Inspired by Texas beef cookouts, this Merrick Grain-Free wet food recipe features real pieces of deboned USDA-inspected meat, vegetables, and fruits in rich gravy. And like all Merrick Grain-Free dog food recipes, this contains a good amount of animal protein that makes up the majority of the meal.

This and all other Merrick wet food can be used as standalone meals, treats, or as delicious toppers on dry kibbles. It has no artificial preservatives, corn or soy products, or fillers. And since it’s grain-free, it can be an excellent choice for food-sensitive pups.

The original recipe for Cowboy Cookout has changed. Previously, this formula included peas and sweet potatoes. The guaranteed analysis has also changed slightly. From a protein content of 9%, it is now down to 8%, although the moisture content is now higher at 82% from a previous level of 81%.

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The main animal protein here is, of course, beef. Deboned beef leads the ingredients, followed by beef broth and supported by beef liver. While muscle meat contains lots of protein, organ meat contains a whole lot more of other nutrients such as vitamin A, iron, magnesium, copper, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, and B12), phosphorus, and more. Plus, beef liver also adds enhanced taste and palatability to the food.

An additional broth ingredient (chicken broth) adds to the moisture content of this wet dog food. Don’t be bothered by the amount of broth. It’s not just flavored water. The broth helps your pup stay hydrated and it’s also laden with the nutrients from the animal meat it was made from.

Flaxseed oil and salmon oil provide much of the fat content of the food. Both contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which promote good skin and healthy fur in dogs as well as boost their heart health. But flaxseed oil comes with another benefit. It can reduce constipation in dogs and make bowel movement more regular.

The guaranteed analysis for the Cowboy Cookout recipe is found below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 8%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 3.0%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.4%
  • Moisture (Max) – 82
  • Calorie Content – 1,101 kcal/kg, 396 kcal/12.7-oz can

Rating: 5/5 stars

There’s a good amount of produce in this meal. We always like it when we can see more than the usual starches as the token vegetables in a meal. Merrick’s Cowboy Cookout contains carrots, apples, and green beans. These three provide a lot of the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in the food.

The list of ingredients is short, if you only look at the key ones. The rest are made up of supplemental nutrition, natural binders, and an herb that’s designed to reduce odor in doggy waste. It’s an excellent recipe that addresses all the needs of an adult pup — nutrition and wag-inducing taste.

8. Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 18
This grain-free canned dog food is made with real deboned rabbit along with real, whole vegetables and a savory gravy that adds flavor and healthy hydration during mealtime.

Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew is a grain-free diet that’s packed with big pieces of meat and fresh-cut veggies in a hearty gravy. It’s designed to build healthy muscles and high energy levels in adult dogs of all breed sizes.

The Alpine Rabbit Stew has undergone a slight recipe change. It now features an extra broth aside from turkey broth (chicken), and the potatoes and carrots from the previous recipe were removed. It also contains more turkey liver now than peas and a higher crude protein content (9%, up from the previous 8%).

Real deboned rabbit is the first ingredient. Rabbit is rarely used in dog food and as such, is considered a novel protein. If your pet is sensitive to meats other than chicken and turkey (because there are chicken and turkey products in this recipe), this formula might be a good alternative.

Rabbit is low in sodium, calories (lower than beef, pork, or lamb), and cholesterol (lower when compared to other protein sources), but it has a generous proportion of protein. In fact, rabbit protein is higher than the protein content of chicken, pork, duck, turkey, or fish. It’s also abundant in vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.

To take the moisture content to its present high of 82%, two types of broth were included. Chicken and turkey broth help keep dogs hydrated and filled with the nutrients that come from the two animal broth sources. To think that broths are just flavored water would be a mistake. These contain lots of nutrition, and they also make the wet food more enticing to dogs.

Deboned turkey adds a little more animal-based protein content to the wet food. It’s listed in the fourth slot, in between the rabbit and the two broths, so there’s a significant amount of it in the food. Turkey liver, which comes next to the fresh turkey, provides a big nutrient boost to the meal with its load of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

Sweet potatoes contribute the necessary carbohydrate content of the meal. It’s a healthy whole food that also adds fiber and the vitamins A, B6, and C to your dog’s food. It’s the same with the potato starch ingredient, which also has lots of fiber. The fiber improves the digestibility of the nutrients in your dog’s food and regularizes bowel movement.

Lastly, there is salmon oil and flaxseed oil to keep your dog’s immune system working properly and his coat and skin looking shiny and healthy.

The guaranteed analysis for the Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew recipe is found below:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 9%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 4.0%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3.0
  • Moisture (Max) – 82%
  • Calorie Content – 959 kcal/kg, 345 kcal/12.7-oz can

Rating: 5/5 stars

We’re liking this current Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew recipe. It has much more meat content than the old one, which featured peas first before the turkey liver. There are also less ingredients here to make it simpler, but it doesn’t take any from the nutrition. In fact, the protein and calorie content became higher in this new formula.

The ingredients that Merrick chose to use are all premium. There are no by-products, no controversial ingredients, no artificial flavors or preservatives. It’s just pure and simple good dog food that comes with complete nutrition and a tasty flavor.

9. Merrick LID Canned Lamb Recipe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 19
This tasty wet food for dogs is always made with real deboned lamb. Specially formulated for sensitive stomachs while delivering a complete and balanced diet to your doggie dude.

The Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet is a line of food that features only a limited number of carefully selected ingredients (just 8 of them!) to provide a complete and balanced nutrition for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food-sensitivities.

Real deboned lamb is the first ingredient, and it provides the meal the essential amino acids that dogs require. Lamb is a high-quality protein source that has all the necessary nutrients critical in building, healing, and maintaining the body. It also has the required protein that your dog needs to build healthy, lean muscles.

Since this is a limited ingredient diet, all of the meats come from a single animal source. There’s muscle meat from lamb. And then there’s lamb liver too. Muscle meats are good, but if you need lots of nutrition, the organ meats are it. It’s just rare that organ meats place first in dog food lists because there’s such a thing as too much nutrition, so organs always play a supporting role.

As for organs, the liver is one of the best parts. It’s like a superfood with all the fat, vitamins, and minerals it contains. For example, it’s loaded with vitamin A, iron, magnesium, copper, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, and B12), phosphorus, and more. So while this recipe contains supplemental nutrition, most are naturally sourced from the key ingredients.

Instead of broth, this formula makes use of water to provide the required moisture content. Ever wondered why there’s a lot of broth or water in wet dog food? The water/broth content helps entice fussy eaters to eat, and the moisture provides them another means of hydration in case they’re not getting enough water daily.

Aside from those mentioned above, this recipe contains only five other key ingredients: sunflower oil, locust bean gum, potassium chloride, salt, and guar gum. The sunflower oil contributes more fat and fatty acids to the food, while the locust bean gum is for thickening and gelling the food together. It’s completely safe and is fit for consumption for both humans and pets.

Potassium chloride is a mineral that is a staple in dog food. It balances the alkaline and acid levels of the food and is necessary for the beating of a dog’s heart. The salt helps a dog’s cells function, and the guar gum helps the food thicken, much like the locust bean gum does.

This diet’s guaranteed analysis is listed here:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 7%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 9%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.4%
  • Moisture (Max) – 78%
  • Calorie Content – 1353 kcal/kg, 487 kcal/can

Rating: 5/5 stars

This grain-and-potato-free limited ingredient diet may not contain much in the way of ingredients, but it packs a punch when it comes to nutrition. It is carefully crafted to bring sensitive dogs with a balanced meal that won’t upset their stomachs or trigger an allergic reaction.

Despite the 8-key-ingredients limit, the guaranteed analysis for the meal shows that as far as nutrition goes, it is up to par with most kinds of wet dog food. The protein, fat, and fiber are all within average levels.

10. Merrick Li’l Plates Petite Pot Pie in Gravy

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 20
Crafted with a savory gravy and formulated for complete and balanced nutrition for small dogs with prebiotics, probiotics and essential minerals to aid in digestion.

Smaller breeds may look little, but their need for nutrition is huge. Bigger even than those of regular-sized dogs. Small breed dogs have faster metabolism, but they can only eat so much. To ensure that these little pups get the proper nutrition their small bodies need, a nutritionally-packed meal is the answer.

Merrick Li’l Plates is crafted especially for extra small to small breed dogs. It loads incredible nutrition into a convenient, single-sized serving that is just the right portion for small pooches, so there’s no more need for guesswork.

This particular recipe that we’re reviewing, Merrick Li’l Plates Petite Pot Pie, is grain-free and gluten-free. It features succulent pieces of meat mixed with starches, greens, and fruits in a rich, gravy sauce. It is carefully designed to help small breed dogs in any life stage maintain a high level of energy throughout the day.

Styled after the human favorite, chicken pot pie, this dish is led by fresh, deboned chicken. And fully supported in protein content by the inclusion of chicken liver and dried egg whites. The combination of these plus a little help from the peas’ plant-based protein, help bring the total crude protein level of the mixture to 8%.

There are two kinds of broth here, namely chicken broth and turkey broth. These add a little more nutrition to the food. And if your pet is not the type to drink much water, the moisture in this meal can keep him hydrated as he goes about his day.

As for carbohydrate and fiber content, the potatoes do that job. The potatoes are necessary in making your pup feel full longer and for giving him a burst of energy for short periods of intense play. Since potatoes are easily digested despite being complex carbs, your little dog can utilize the energy that they provide quickly.

Lastly, this recipe has sunflower oil for the requisite fat content. It’s one of the healthiest oils available and is full of fatty acids that dogs need to get that shine back in their fur and that healthy glow to their skin.

This Li’l Plates recipe has the following guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 8%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 3%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.4%
  • Moisture (Max) – 82%
  • Calorie Content – 929 kcal/kg, 92 kcal/cup

Rating: 5/5 stars

This is an excellent recipe that fully takes into account all of the needs of a small breed dog. It’s complete with glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint support, probiotics and prebiotics for digestion, and high levels of omega fatty acids for healthy skin.

We also like the inclusion of greens and fruits here, such as peas, carrots, and apples. These contribute more naturally-sourced nutrients to the meal and help make the meat-based recipe more balanced.

Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 21

Ingredient Sourcing

Since its founding 1988, the Merrick Pet Care Company has made a name for themselves in the premium pet food industry. Over the past twenty years, they have maintained their devotion to producing high-quality, nutritious diets for pets and they achieve this goal through the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients.

According to the brand website, Merrick sources their ingredients from the best producers in the world. Though they do not get any of their ingredients from China, some of their ingredients do come from countries other than the U.S. For example, they get some of their lamb from New Zealand.

No matter where their ingredients come from, they subject themselves to rigorous safety checks prior to production and every completed product is tested prior to sale.

Merrick Recall List

The Merrick company is known for its innovation in the pet industry as well as the quality of their products. In 2004, the Glycemic Research Institute in Washington, D.C. named Merrick the “Best Pet Food of the Year”.

The company has since been sold to Nestle Purina PetCare but claim to still have maintain high standards for quality and safety when it comes to the production and manufacture of their pet foods. In fact, they offer their customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

As hard as Merrick works to maintain the quality of their products, they have still been subject to a few recalls, all of which occurred prior to the company’s acquisition by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company. Here are the details of those recalls:

  • In July 2010, the FDA issued a recall for certain runs of Beef Filet Squares and Texas Hold’ems dog treats due to potential salmonella contamination.
  • In January 2011, the FDA issued a recall for Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats due to potential salmonella contamination.
  • In August 2011, the FDA issued a recall for Doggie Wishbone Pet Treats due to potential salmonella contamination.
  • In May 2018, the brand issued a voluntary recall of certain productions of Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky, Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Sausage Cuts, and Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Steak Patties dog treats due to elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone.
merrick

How much Merrick costs?

The Merrick brand is a high-quality brand, so you should be prepared to spend more than you would for an average kibble. The different product lines of Merrick dog food vary in price with the Backcountry line being the most expensive and the Classic line being the most affordable.

The Backcountry line of dry foods ranges from $63 to $80 for a 22-pound bag. For 25-pound bag of Classic dry food you will spend between $35 and $68. You can purchase 13.2-ounce or 12.7-ounce cans of wet dog in cases of 12 for $30 to $45 which gives you an average price of around $3.10 per can.

List of all the different recipes

When it comes to their dog food products, they offer a generous variety – more than 125 different recipes. Merrick dog food products are divided amongst four different product lines plus a dedicated line of dog treats. The Classic line of products features real meat as the first ingredient with whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Grain-Free line is made with real whole foods and grain-free carbohydrates as well as real deboned meat as the main ingredient. The Backcountry line actually includes two categories – an all-natural and grain-free line of protein-rich kibbles infused with freeze-dried raw pieces and a line of freeze-dried recipes.

There is also a dedicated line of Limited Ingredient Diets for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. All four of Merrick’ product lines include both dry food and canned food options.

Dry Products

Merrick offers a wide variety of different dry food products for dogs in all life stages from puppy to senior dog, including some breed size formulas. When it comes to dry recipes, Merrick’s products are divided amongst four product lines. Here is a list of dry foods:

Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 22

Classic Healthy Grains Dry Food Recipes:

  • Real Chicken + Brown Rice
  • Real Beef + Brown Rice
  • Real Lamb + Brown Rice
  • Puppy
  • Small Breed

Grain-Free Dry Food Recipes:

  • Bison, Beef + Sweet Potato
  • Real Chicken + Sweet Potato
  • Real Duck + Sweet Potato
  • Real Lamb + Sweet PotatoMerrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 23
  • Real Rabbit + Sweet Potato
  • Real Salmon + Sweet Potato
  • Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato
  • Real Turkey + Sweet Potato
  • Real Venison + Sweet Potato
  • Large Breed Real Chicken + Sweet Potato
  • Puppy Real Chicken + Sweet Potato
  • Puppy Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato
  • Senior Real Chicken + Sweet Potato
  • Healthy Weight

Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Recipes:

  • Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet PotatoMerrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 24
  • Grain-Free Real Lamb & Sweet Potato
  • Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato
  • Real Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Real Salmon & Brown Rice

Backcountry Dry Food Recipes:

  • Raw Infused with Healthy Grains Great Plains Red
  • Raw Infused Great Plains Red
  • Raw Infused with Healthy Grains Pacific Catch
  • Raw Infused Pacific CatchMerrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 25
  • Raw Infused with Healthy Grains Pupp
  • Raw Infused Puppy
  • Raw Infused Big Game
  • Raw Infused Game Bird
  • Raw Infused Hero’s Banquet
  • Raw Infused Large Breed
  • Raw Infused High Plains
  • Raw Infused Wild Fields

Li’l Plates Recipes:

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

Canned Products

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The Merrick brand of  food offers dozens of different recipes for canned food including many of the same recipes that come in dry food form. Their canned foods are divided amongst five different product lines.

There is the Classic line of grain-free recipes as well as a separate line of grain-free seasonal and 96% meat formulas. The Lil’ Plates line is specifically designed for small-breed dogs and the Limited Ingredient line features real meat recipes.

There are also a number of Backcountry protein-rich formulas. Here is a list of canned recipes:

Grain-Free Recipes:

  • Slow-Cooked BBQ Carolina Style with Smokey Sausage
  • Slow-Cooked BBQ Kansas City Style with Chopped Pork
  • Slow-Cooked BBQ Memphis Style with Glazed Chicken
  • Slow-Cooked BBQ Texas Style with Braised Beef
  • Chunky Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner in Gravy
  • Chunky Carver’s Delight Dinner in Gravy
  • Chunky Colossal Chicken Dinner in Gravy
  • Chunky Pappy’s Pot Roast Dinner in Grav
  • Real Beef, Lamb + Bison Dinner
  • Real Chicken Dinner
  • Real Duck Dinner
  • Real Texas Beef Dinner
  • Brauts-n-Tots
  • Cowboy Cookout in Gravy
  • Grammy’s Pot Pie in Gravy
  • Smothered Comfort in Gravy
  • Wilderness Blend in Gravy
  • Wingaling in Gravy
  • Puppy Plate Beef in Gravy
  • Puppy Plate Chicken in Grav
  • Sweater Weather
  • Thanksgiving Day Dinner in Gravy
  • Turducken
  • Special Occasion Birthday Paw-ty
  • Holiday Stew in Gravy
  • Christmas Day Dinner
  • Howl O’Ween Stew
  • Kiss Me I’m Irish Stew
  • New Year’s Eve Paw-ty
  • Pawlicious Picnic
  • Sizzlin’ Summer Supper in Gravy
  • Star Spangled Supper
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 26

Backcountry Canned Food Recipes:

  • Chunky Beef Dinner in Gravy
  • Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy
  • Grain-Free Real Beef Dinner
  • Grain-Free Alpine Rabbit Stew
  • Grain-Free Hearty Beef Stew
  • Grain-Free Hearty Chicken Thigh Stew
  • Grain-Free Hearty Duck + Venison Stew
  • Grain-Free Real Chicken Dinner
  • Grain-Free Chunky Venison + Beef Dinner
  • Grain-Free Hero’s Banquet Stew

Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Canned Food Recipes:

  • Grain-Free Dainty Duck Medley
  • Grain-Free Itsy Bitsy Beef Stew
  • Grain-Free Little Lamb Chop Stew
  • Grain-Free Petite Pot Pie
  • Grain-Free Teensy Turducken
  • Grain-Free Tiny Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Rascally Rabbit Stew
  • Small Surfin’ + Turfin’ Supper in Gravy
  • Teeny Texas Steak Tips Dinner in Gravy
  • Grain-Free Pint-Sized Puppy Plate in Gravy
Merrick Limited and Backcountry Dog Food

Limited Ingredient Diet Canned Recipes:

  • Grain-Free Real Beef
  • Grain-Free Real Chicken
  • Grain-Free Real Duck
  • Grain-Free Real Lamb
  • Grain-Free Real Turkey
  • Healthy Grains Real Chicken
  • Healthy Grains Real Turkey

Freeze-Dried Products

The Backcountry line of products is divided into two categories – one for protein-rich kibbles infused with freeze-dried raw pieces and one that consists only of freeze-dried raw food.

Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 27

The Backcountry Raw line of products features freeze-dried meals and mix-ins made with premium proteins like beef, chicken, and salmon. All of these products are gluten- and grain-free with no artificial additives. Here is a list of freeze-dried recipes:

Freeze Dried Recipes:

  • Backcountry Real Beef
  • Backcountry Real Salmon
  • Backcountry Real Chicken
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Treats

The company doesn’t just offer a wide selection of dry, canned, and freeze-dried foods – they also offer a number of different recipes for dog treats.

There are several product lines for their treats including Backcountry meat-rich treats, Kitchen Bites oven-baked dog biscuits, Power Bites soft and chewy treats, Natural Bones, Jerky Chip Treats, and Dental Chews.

Here is a list of dog treats:

Backcountry Dog Treat Recipes:

  • Pacific Catch Real Salmon Jerky
  • Wild Fields Real Chicken Jerky
  • Real Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Treats
  • Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Treats
  • Salmon Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Treats
  • Great Plains Real Beef Sausage Cuts
  • Wild Fields Real Chicken Sausage Cuts
  • Great Plains Real Steak Patties
  • Wild Fields Real Turkey & Sweet Potato Patties
Merrick Dog Food Reviews, Recalls & Coupons [year] 28

Kitchen Bites Dog Treat Recipes:

  • Brauts-N-Tots
  • Cowboy Cookout
  • Grammy’s Pot Pie
  • Turducken
  • Wingalings Applewood Bacon

Power Bites Dog Treat Recipes:

  • Chicken Recipe
  • Turducken Recipe
  • Real Rabbit & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Real Salmon Recipe
  • Real Texas Beef Recipe

Dental Chews Dog Treat Recipes:

  • Big Brush Dental Bone
  • Lil’ Brush Dental Bone
  • Mini Brush Dental Bone
merrick dog food reviews

Jerky Chip Treats Dog Treat Recipes:

  • Real Beef Recipe
  • Real Chicken Recipe
  • Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Other Treats:

  • Hungry Dog Value Pack
  • Training Treats
  • Texas Hold’ems Treats
  • Sausage Treats
  • Short Stack Steak Patties
  • Natural Bones

Is Merrick a good dog food brand?

Dog Food Advisor generally considers Merrick to be a good quality brand with healthy ingredients that will suit the majority of dogs. They've rated the Classic range 4.5 stars out of 5, the Grain Free range 5 stars, the Backcountry range 5 stars and the Limited Ingredient Diet range 4 stars.

Is Merrick dog food owned by Purina?

According to a Yahoo! news report, Nestle Purina PetCare Company has purchased Merrick Pet Care in a buyout agreement. Merrick Pet Care was founded in 1988. The company is a leading producer of natural and organic pet foods. Merrick's foods are made in the USA.

Why is Merrick dog food so expensive?

Merrick Backcountry is a high protein kibble. that also contains freeze-dried raw food bits. These high-quality ingredients are the primary reason Merrick Backcountry is an expensive dog food brand.

Is Merrick dog food complete and balanced?

Yes. Merrick Grain-Free is a popular dry kibble with a moderate amount of its protein derived from animal-based sources. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet contains a small, controlled number of recipe items to provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs with food sensitivities.

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