Review of Merrick Grain Free Canned Dog Food
Merrick Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Merrick Grain Free product line includes the 4 canned dinners listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
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|Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Dinner||4||M|
|Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef Dinner||4.5||M|
|Merrick Grain Free Real Duck Dinner||4||M|
|Merrick Grain Free Real Beef + Lamb + Bison Dinner||4.5||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Dinner was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Dinner
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, dried egg product, natural flavor, salmon oil, locust bean gum, potassium chloride, tricalcium phosphate, guar gum, sodium tripolyphosphate, minerals (magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), choline chloride, calcium carbonate, taurine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, folic acid, vitamin D-3 supplement, biotin)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||32%||19%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||56%||14%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many canned products.
The third ingredient is chicken liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
After the natural flavor, we find salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this Merrick product.
With 2 notable exceptions…
First, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
And lastly, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Grain Free canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Which means this Merrick product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet dog food containing a notable amount of meat.
Our Rating of Merrick Grain Free Canned Dog Food
Merrick Grain Free is a canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Has Merrick Grain Free Canned Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Merrick.
- Merrick Recalls Multiple Dog Treats (5/23/2018)
- Merrick Recalls Dog Treats (8/9/2011)
- Merrick Pet Treats Recall 2011 (1/30/2011)
- Merrick Expands Dog Treats Recall (8/16/2010)
- Merrick Expands Recall of Dog Treats (8/4/2010)
- Merrick Dog Treats Recall (7/6/2010)
- Merrick Dog Treats Recall 2010 (1/15/2010)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Merrick Reviews
The following Merrick dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Classic Chunky Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Classic Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Dog Food Review
- Merrick Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Lil’ Plates Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain Free Dog Food Review (Cups)
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog food Review (Dry)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
03/16/2021 Last Update