Merrick Dog Food Review, Recalls & Ingredients Analysis in 2021

Merrick is a leading producer of natural and organic pet foods. They pride themselves on making hand-crafted, wholesome recipes for dogs of all life stages and sizes.

Read on to find out more about the Merrick brand and take a look at some of its top recipes.

My List of the Best Merrick Dog Food Options in 2021:

Overview of Merrick

Merrick, founded in 1988 by Garth Merrick at his family ranch in Texas. Over the years, Merrick’s kitchen has grown, and he now has more than 350 employees and almost 200 recipes.


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Merrick has been producing hand crafted, all-natural recipes for more than 25 years. Its first offering to the dog food market was a natural dog treat, which was an instant success.

After that, Garth Merrick decided to aim higher and make an all-natural dog food that was high in protein, containing the highest-quality ingredients he could get his hands on, and absolutely no preservatives or fillers.

Now, Merrick offers high-protein “ancestral diet” recipes as well as Grain-Free and Limited Ingredient Diet recipes. They also recently brought out a new variety of Grain-Free food called “Lil’ Plates,” which is specially formulated for toy and small breed dogs. The majority of their recipes include ingredients for joint support.

Who manufactures Merrick?

Merrick Dog Food is manufactured by Merrick Pet Care, Inc. and was owned by the same company until 2015 when Nestle Purina Pet Company bought it out.

Despite this, Merrick continues to operate as an independent business, and there are no planned changes for its management or operations.

Merrick has a test kitchen and plants in Texas, where all of their recipes are produced. They use locally-sourced, fresh ingredients, and their facilities adhere to strict FDA standards.

Merrick Recalls history

Despite the fact that their food is produced in small batches to carefully monitor their quality, Merrick has been involved in various recalls. All were due to a potential contamination of Salmonella. However, there were no illness reported in any of the cases.

  • August 2011: Recall of a single lot of its “Doggie Wishbone” Treats.
  • Janauary 2011: Recall of all lots of its “Jr. Texas Taffy” Pet Treats.
  • August 2010: Recall of all lots of its 10 oz "Beef Filet Squares for Dogs" and "Texas Hold'ems" Pet Treats.
  • July 2010: Recall of 86 cases of “Beef Filet Squares for Dogs.”

What formulas does Merrick have?

Merrick has over 200 recipes, which is more than I can list here! I’ll make it easier for you and categorize them instead.

Here are the different types of recipes Merrick offers:

  • Merrick Classic (potato free + with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support)
  • Merrick Grain-Free
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Merrick Backcountry (High-protein + with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support)
  • Merrick Backcountry Raw (Freeze-dried raw bits of meat, poultry, or fish)
  • Merrick Treats

Merrick’s Top 5 Dog Food Products

This review will focus on Merrick Classic and Merrick Grain-Free recipes, which seem to be the most popular with customers.

Below are the pros and cons of all the recipes included in this review:

Dog food

Pros:

Cons:

  • Good for active/working dogs already suffering from joint conditions
  • Suits long-coated dogs
  • May not be suitable for typically active dogs
  • Good for dogs normally active who need to lose weight
  • Suitable for dogs prone to joint problems
  • May not be suitable for dogs with long coats
  • Suits active toy/small breed dogs
  • Good for dogs already suffering from joint problems
  • Good for long-haired dogs
  • Can help dogs with/prevent digestive problems
  • May not be suitable for typically active dogs
  • Good choice for high-energy, medium/large muscular dogs
  • Suits dogs already suffering from joint problems
  • Not suitable for dogs with grain allergies
  • Suits typically active puppies
  • Good choice for pups prone to joint problems
  • May not be suitable for long-haired puppies
  • May not be suitable for more active puppies

#1 Merrick Grain-Free Real Buffalo + Sweet Potato Recipe

38 %
Protein
17 %
Fat
26 %
Carbs
3.4 %
Fiber

This grain-free recipe from Merrick is one of its most popular with customers. It is packed full of various high-quality proteins, including deboned buffalo, chicken, turkey, salmon, and lamb, as well as high-quality fats, including salmon and flaxseed oil and chicken fat.

The oils here make it high in omega fatty acids, so I think it suits dogs with long coats.

The high levels of protein and fat here make this dog food more suited to active or working dogs who exercise for more than an hour a day. It is also a great choice for dogs who are already suffering from joint conditions, as Merrick includes high amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin (1200 mg/kg each).


#2 Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe

32 %
Protein
8 %
Fat
41 %
Carbs
5 %
Fiber

This grain-free recipe is a great choice for dogs who need to lose some weight due to the low fat content. Indeed, many owners have reported success stories of their dogs shedding the pounds on this food.

The protein and carb content remains fairly high here, however, so it should not be given to inactive, overweight dogs but to normally active dogs.

Furthermore, this dog food includes some glucosamine and chondroitin to support your dog’s joints. The amounts included (600 mg/kg each) make it suitable for dogs prone to joint conditions.

This recipe better suits dogs with short to medium coats, as the omega fatty acids are not particularly high in this food.


#3 Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

38 %
Protein
17 %
Fat
26 %
Carbs
3.5 %
Fiber

This Lil’ Plates recipe is designed especially for toy and small breed dogs. I think it is a good choice for active toy or small breed dogs, such as Yorkshire Terriers or Beagles. The high protein and fat contents make it unsuitable for inactive or typically active dogs.

The omega fatty acids are reasonably high so it will be suitable for long-coated dogs. It also contains high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin (1,200 mg/kg each). So, for dogs already suffering from joint problems, this food can help relieve pain and repair cartilage damage.

Merrick also includes a strain of probiotic bacteria called Bacillus coagulans, which can help little dogs with digestive problems like diarrhea, as well as prevent conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.


#4 Merrick Classic Real Beef + Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains

30 %
Protein
15 %
Fat
36 %
Carbs
3.5 %
Fiber

This recipe from Merrick Classic is a good choice for high-energy medium or large, muscular dogs who are typically active. I’m thinking Boxers, Huskies, and Pitbulls, for example, who all do well on a diet of about 30% protein and 15% fat.

This food contains brown rice and barley, which are very good-quality sources of carbs. However, this food will not be suitable for dogs with grain allergies.

Merrick includes high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin in this recipe, too, (1,200mg/kg), making it a great choice for dogs already suffering from joint conditions such as hip dysplasia or arthritis.


#5 Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe

28 %
Protein
12 %
Fat
41 %
Carbs
4.5 %
Fiber

This grain-free Merrick recipe is specially formulated for puppies, who need a different macronutrient balance to adult dogs.

In my opinion, this food a good choice for typically active puppies, and for short-coated breeds, as the fat content is quite low.

If your pup is prone to joint problems, this is a food that will support her joints, as it contains glucosamine and chondroitin (600mg/kg each), which will help prevent damage to cartilage.


What is the average price and how long will it last?

Merrick Classic is sold in 5 lb, 15 lb, 25, and 30 lb bags, while Merrick Grain-Free is sold in 4 lb, 12 lb, and 25 lb bags.

A 25lb bag of Merrick Grain-Free costs about $53 ($2.12/lb)*, while a 25lb bag of Merrick Classic costs a little less, at about $50 ($2/lb).

*all prices in this post are given approximately by looking on average at 5 of the top online retailers. The final price can vary.

Below I have calculated how long a bag of Merrick Dog Food can last your dog based on a 25 lb (11.33kg) bag. The majority of Merrick’s recipes display the following suggested daily feeding guide, though some recipes require feeding a little less of the food.

Weight of adult dog, lb / kg

Grams/day*

How long does it last approx.?**

3 / 1.4

38

9 3/4 months

6 / 2.7

76

5 months

10 / 4.5

113

3 1/3 months

15 / 7

150

2 1/2 months

20 / 9

170

2 1/4 months

30 / 14

254

1 1/2 months

40 / 18

301

1 1/4 months

50 / 23

367

1 month

60 / 27

396

4 weeks

70 / 32

452

3 1/2 weeks

80 / 36

509

3 1/4 weeks

90 / 41

565

3 weeks

100 / 45

603

2 1/2 weeks

*Merrick displays their recommended daily intake in cups; 1 8 fluid oz. cup equals roughly 113g.

**For typically active dogs. Active dogs may need a higher calorie intake.

Average Price and Duration in Comparison with Other Dog Food Brands

The following comparisons are all based on how long a 25 lb of each brand would last:

Merrick vs. Orijen

Compared to Orijen, Merrick does not last nearly as long. For an 11 lb dog, Orijen lasts 6 months, while Merrick lasts almost half that amount. So, while Orijen does cost about twice as much (about $4/lb), it also lasts almost double, and is, in my opinion, a touch higher in quality than Merrick.

Merrick vs. Fromm Gold

Fromm Gold is also much longer-lasting than Merrick - it can last 7 months for a 5 lb dog, while Merrick lasts just 5 months for a dog of a similar size, which is about a 25% difference.

Fromm is more expensive than Merrick (between $2.42 - $3/lb), the highest price costing 50% more than Merrick’s average price. So, while Fromm Gold can last a little longer, it does not necessarily work out to be worth it. In my opinion, these two brands are about the same in terms of quality.

Merrick vs. Victor & 4health

Compared to a bag of Victor Dog Food, Merrick lasts about the same amount of time, but Victor tends to be in lower price. The same is the case with (regular) 4health Dog Food, which is even lower in price. In my opinion, Merrick is superior in quality to both of these brands, however.


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Merrick Dog Food Review
  • Overall Quality of Ingredients
  • Meat Content
  • Grain Content
  • Quality/Price Ratio
  • Long-lasting
4.8

Summary

Merrick produces high-quality dog foods that I especially recommend for dogs prone to or suffering from joint problems. They use good-quality sources of protein (and lots of it!) as well as fat and they also throw some antioxidant-rich fruit and veg into the mix for your dog’s immune system health.
For its overall quality, Merrick is very reasonably-priced. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that there are some higher-quality dog foods (in my opinion) that, while they may cost double, they can also last double the amount of time.

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