Merrick Dog Food Review 2024

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4.5

Written by Wag! Staff

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 08/09/2023, edited: 03/25/2024

Merrick Dog Food Review 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

Overview


Merrick is a premium pet food brand committed to improving the lives of pets and their parents. The food is developed by expert nutritionists with locally sourced ingredients. Despite their small beginnings over 30 years ago in Hereford, Texas, they now have a massive selection of pet foods to suit pups of all shapes, sizes, and dietary needs.

Merrick’s “five-star promise” includes using real whole foods, using high-quality ingredients, seeing a health improvement in your dogs, crafted in the original kitchen of Garth Merrick, and giving back to society.

In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into their products so you can decide if it’s the pawfect choice for your fur-baby!



Merrick product ranges and flavors

The Merrick dog food range currently includes 100 different recipes and counting! Foods are all formulated by a team of experienced vets, animal nutritionists, researchers, and developers, and crafted in their Hereford, Texas kitchen in facilities that uphold strict FDA guidelines. 

As you’ll see in the descriptions below, these recipes include foods for puppies, adults, and seniors, as well as small breeds and large breeds too! All of these foods also meet the AAFCO guidelines for specific life stages. Merrick offers wet foods, dry foods, toppers, treats, and food for special diets with high-quality meats, fresh-caught fish, and real fruits and vegetables.


Merrick Backcountry Dog Food

Merrick Backcountry Dog Food

Backcountry range

The Merrick Backcountry product range is formulated to provide your pup with the nutritional benefits of a raw diet they would have discovered in the wild but in a safe and convenient form. It’s raw-infused dog food features freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces of meat. In this product range, you’ll find grain-inclusive, grain-free, mixers, and wet food. For a special treat, they even have four flavors of raw-coated Backcountry Biscuits: Beef and Bison, Lamb and Venison, Salmon and Whitefish, and Turkey and Duck.

Raw Infused with Healthy Grains sub-range recipes include whole grains to help support healthy digestion along with all the other good stuff. Real meat is always the first ingredient, and these recipes are rich in Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat and contain high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints. This sub-range features three flavors, Great Plains Red Recipe, Pacific Catch Recipe, and Puppy Recipe.

Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free recipes have the same high-quality ingredients and raw benefits, but without the common allergens that can be found in grains. They come in seven flavors: Big Game recipe, Game Bird recipe, Great Plains Red recipe, Hero’s Banquet, Large Breed recipe, Pacific Catch recipe, and Puppy recipe. With all of these tasty options, you’re sure to find one your pupper will love!

Backcountry wet foods have big pieces of real deboned meat, fresh-cut vegetables, and hearty gravy. The product line includes 4 grain-free wet food recipes: Hero's Banquet Stew, Chunky Beef Dinner, Real Beef Dinner, and Real Chicken Dinner.

Add some Freeze-Dried Raw Mixers to your doggo’s kibble and watch them go wild for their food! There is a Real Chicken Recipe and a Real Beef Recipe, both grain free. Whether you choose to mix it in your canine’s food or simply offer it as a treat, it will give them the nutritional raw boost they crave.


Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

Grain-Free range

Merrick Grain-Free delivers tail-wagging goodness without the common allergens that can be found in grains. Their recipes feature up to 84% protein from animal sources. They come in three sub-ranges: Dry food, wet food, and Chunky wet food.

Merrick offers 11 different Grain-Free Dry Food recipes. There are options for adult maintenance, all life stages, and all breed sizes. All of their flavors include sweet potato and real meat. Your pup can have their pick between beef, chicken, duck, lamb, and salmon. There is even a Healthy Weight Grain-free recipe.

Merrick has 20 tasty Grain-Free Wet Food products in pates or stew-like recipes, including two puppy flavors in beef or chicken. Grain-free canned recipes can be served as a topper for dry kibble or a delicious standalone meal. They feature proteins like beef, lamb, bison, chicken, duck, and turkey. Some of the recipes include Cowboy Cookout, Grammy’s Pot Pie, Smothered Comfort in Gravy, and Thanksgiving Day Dinner in Gravy.

Merrick’s Chunky Wet Food has big chunks of meat in a mouth-watering gravy. They come in four flavors: Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner in Gravy, Carver’s Delight Dinner, Colossal Chicken Dinner, and Pappy’s Pot Roast Dinner.

The Slow-Cooked BBQ wet dog food recipes are bowl-licking complete, balanced and inspired by the famous BBQ flavors across the U.S. They come in five different flavors: Kentucky Style with Chopped Lamb, St. Louis Style with Shredded Pork, Kansas City Style with Chopped Pork, Memphis Style with Glazed Chicken, and Texas Style with Braised Beef.


Merrick Healthy Grains Dog Food

Merrick Healthy Grains Dog Food

Healthy Grains range

Merrick’s Healthy Grains dry food range is made with a unique blend of whole grains to support optimal digestion. They’re all supplemented with taurine to ensure a balanced diet, and feature a unique blend of ancient grains, like quinoa, to support optimal digestion while being free from potato, corn, and soy.

Their main Healthy Grains line features four products: Healthy Weight Recipe, Large Breed Recipe, Real Salmon and Brown Rice Recipe, and Senior Recipe.

They also have Classic Recipes, which includes five products: Puppy Recipe, Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains, Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains, Real Lamb + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains, and Small Breed recipe.

Merrick’s Freeze-Dried Raw-Coated Kibble offers the convenience of kibble, plus the nutrition and taste of raw. Every piece of kibble has a visible raw-coating and the entire line is formulated with healthy grains for optimal digestion. This sub-range has four products: Puppy Recipe, Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe, Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe, and Real Salmon + Brown Rice Recipe.

The Kitchen Comforts wet dog food has leading levels of protein with real meat and healthy grains to support healthy digestion and a complete, balanced diet. They feature four flavors, each with a rich gravy recipe that's inspired by familiar family favorites: Beef Tips & Rice Stew, Chicken Casserole, Lamb Shepherd’s Pie and Turkey Meatloaf.


Merrick Li'l Plates Dog Food

Merrick Li'l Plates Dog Food

Li’l Plates range

Li’l Plates is Merricks small breed dog food range. Your pupper may be little, but there’s nothing small about a small dog’s dietary needs! The Li’l Plates line features mostly grain-free recipes and delivers top-notch nutrition for all life stages. 

Li’l Plates dry food features protein-packed, smaller-sized kibble in crunchy bites. It comes in 7 flavors, all of which feature sweet potato. Different proteins include chicken, salmon, and Texas beef. They also have two recipes with Raw Bites, a chicken and a beef recipe. This line has options for puppies and seniors too!

Li’l Plates Petite Pates product line features four grain-inclusive recipes. They have a silky, pate texture your pup will love, with real meat as the first ingredient. You can pick your protein from beef, chicken, lamb, or turkey.  

Li’l Plates Trays are a terrific wet dog food option for small breeds. The easy-open trays pack incredible nutrition into convenient, single-servings. This product line has 8 different recipes, some grain-free, and some grain-inclusive. They also have very cute names, like Dainty Duck Medley, Itsy Bitsy Beef Stew, and Pint-Sized Puppy Plate! 


Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food

Limited Ingredient Diet range

For doggos with more sensitive tummies, Merrick’s Limited Ingredient Diet range is an excellent choice. They only use a limited number of carefully selected ingredients to provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs with food sensitivities and sensitive stomachs.

The Limited Ingredient Diet, Dry Food range, has four different flavors: grain-free lamb & sweet potato and salmon & sweet potato, and two grain-inclusive recipes, chicken & brown rice and salmon & brown rice.

The Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Food range is the same idea but with the extra boost of moisture and flavor that canned food provides. These recipes include also two grain-free options and one grain-free option, with flavors like and protein from lamb, chicken, and turkey. 


Merrick Dog Food Toppers

Merrick Dog Food Toppers

Merrick dog food toppers

Add Merrick dog food toppers to your pup’s meal to provide extra hydration, flavor, and nutrients. They’re all made with the same high-quality ingredients you would expect from any Merrick dog food recipe, including real deboned meat. They offer three bone broths and two backcountry freeze-dried raw mixers: 

  • Beef Bone Broth
  • Chicken Bone Broth
  • Turkey Bone Broth
  • Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Mixer Real Beef Recipe
  • Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Mixer Real Chicken Recipe


Merrick Dog Treats

Merrick Dog Treats

Merrick treats

Merrick has a wide variety of treats for their furry customers to choose from. Whether you're looking for soft training treats, crunchy biscuits, or chews, Merrick has your BFF covered. 

Merrick's Oven Baked line is their signature oat-based biscuit line that features limited-ingredient recipes with quality ingredients and no soy, corn, or wheat. This line features 5 fun flavors: TurDucken, Grammy's Pot Pie, Pumpkin Patch, and Paw'some P'Nut Butter Cookie. 

The Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Biscuits take the dog biscuits your dog has come to know and love and coated them with the yummy goodness of raw meat. These come in four meaty flavors: lamb & venison, salmon & whitefish, beef & bison, and turkey & duck.

The Backcountry treat line also includes their Backcountry Jerky and Backcountry Sausage Cuts, but sadly, some of the original flavors in these recipes have been discontinued. Thankfully, it seems like the Wild Fields Chicken Jerky and the Big Game Lamb & Buffalo Sausage Cuts are here to stay. We will update this article should product availability change. 

Their Slow-Cooked BBQ treats, on the other hand, offer a more tender, meaty bite with a three smoke-house-inspired flavors like Carolina-style glazed beef sausage bites, Memphis-style glazed chicken tenders, and Texas-style glazed beef jerky. The best part is deboned meat is the leading ingredient in all these recipes!

If your dog is a heavy chewer, you'll be happy that Merrick offers two types of chew treats. The Natural Cuts chews are raw-hide-free chew sticks with a yummy meat-flavored core that dogs crave. The cool thing about these treats is they come in three sizes to suit dogs from 5 lbs to over 50 lbs and two flavors beef and venison.

Merrick's other chew option is Fresh Kisses, a line of breath-freshening dental chews that come in 4 sizes, from extra small to large. These come in fresh flavors like pumpkin & cinnamon, mint, and coconut oil & botanicals.  

If you're in the market for training treats, Merrick also has you covered on that front with their grain-free Power Bites line. These treats come in 5 meaty flavors, including beef, chicken, rabbit & sweet potato, salmon, and Turducken. These treats always have meat as the first ingredient; however, they also have large amounts of peas in them, which is something to keep in mind with the recent studies on the link between legumes and acquired dilated cardiomyopathy. 

Lil' Plates treats are specially made for Merrick's tiniest customers and feature a soft exterior. These teensy morsels come in 4 flavors: Bitty Beef, Lil' Chunky Chicken, Small Salmon, Teensy Turducken.




Why Wag! likes Merrick

Recommended by veterinary professionals

Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, one of Wag!’s veterinary consultants, personally recommends Merrick dog food to her own clients: “Merrick products are made with high-quality, whole food ingredients, and they use no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.”

Wide variety of flavors 

Merrick provides a wide range of flavors and formulations to cater to all different preferences and dietary needs of dogs. 

Dedicated to natural food 

Every recipe begins with real meat that is high-quality and USDA-certified. Likewise, the fruits and veggies are fresh and whole, which retains as much of their nutrition as possible. They’re not organic, but they’re as high-quality as possible.




Concerns & considerations

Higher price point 

Merrick is a premium dog food, so it comes at a higher price point compared to other dog food brands on the market. Budget is something that all pet parents need to consider before choosing a dog food. If Merrick is out of your price range, you can always consider adding some of their toppers or canned food to your pup’s regular kibble for a scrumptious treat! 

High in carbs and fat 

Merrick dog food is relatively high in carbs and fat. While this isn’t a problem for the more active canines, it simply means that your dog will need to stay active to avoid packing on the pounds. Excess carbs and fat get stored as fatty tissue if your dog doesn’t burn them off promptly. Couch puptatoes may need a dog food that’s a little leaner. 




What pet parents say about Merrick

“Our dogs love this food and switching definitely improved their fur/skin and overall health. The only issue we run into is that whoever gets to the food first eats all of the white "treat" pieces. So we've had to hold a few pieces back for the second dog to the bowl. I highly recommend this food.”

“I've been feeding my Rottweiler Merrick kibble since I got him at 14 weeks old. He recently turned 15 and is still in great shape. His hips are beginning to weaken and sometimes needs help getting up from hardwood floors and his coat thinning a little and turning a reddish hue but other than that, he's in great shape! He walks and swims every day at least once a day. I highly recommend Merrick kibble. If Ted, my Rottie could talk, he'd tell you the same!”

“My husband and I tried several different brands for our pups. Because [their] stools were soft and not consistent. I read up on why that was happening and I found it to be [their] diet. They were not getting the correct nutrition. Merrick dog food has given them what they need to be healthy. They are adult dogs now and have had zero health problems. I highly recommend Merrick!”

Read more reviews on Chewy.




Merrick history

The Merrick dog food brand has a history of providing high-quality and nutritious pet food options. It was founded in 1988 in Garth Merrick’s kitchen in Hereford, Texas, USA. Garth began home-cooking food for his beloved dog, Gracie, to make sure she was eating the most wholesome and nutritious food possible. He began by producing natural dog treats and expanded its offerings to include dog food. To this day, Merrick still crafts and tests their recipes in Garth’s original kitchen. Hereford is the Beef Capital of the World, so where else could be better for fresh, high-quality animal protein? 

Throughout the years, Merrick gained popularity for its focus on using real, whole ingredients in its recipes. The brand was one of the pioneers in promoting grain-free and natural pet food options, catering to the growing demand for healthier choices for pets.

Merrick's commitment to producing premium dog food led to its acquisition by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company in 2015. Despite the acquisition, Merrick maintained its emphasis on using high-quality ingredients and offering a wide range of recipes to meet various dietary needs. This expanded to limited ingredient diets, novel proteins, and other specialized formulations to address specific health concerns in dogs.

Merrick's history is characterized by its evolution from a small family venture to a well-known name in the pet food industry. Its focus on providing nutritionally rich and natural pet food options has contributed to its lasting reputation among pet owners seeking premium choices for their dogs' diets.




Merrick recalls

Up until now, Merrick’s dog food has never had a recall! Keep in mind that a product recall can happen at any time, so it’s important to stay up to date. To make sure your dog’s food is safe, check the FDA’s pet food recall website.

However, in 2018, the company issued a voluntary recall of some of their Backcountry beef treats due to elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone.



All product images sourced from the Chewy website. Copyright Merrick Pet Care.



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