Merrick Grain Free Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Merrick Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Merrick Grain Free product line lists six canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Pork
  • Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Tripe
  • Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Chicken
  • Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Texas Beef
  • Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Duck (4.5 stars)
  • Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo (4.5 stars)

Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Chicken

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 19%

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken broth, dried egg product, natural chicken flavor, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, sodium phosphate, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), carrageenan, cassia gum, guar gum, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), lecithin

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%27%19%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%51%15%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes 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 nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third 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.

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 product.

With two notable exceptions

First, we find carrageenan, a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

And lastly, 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.

Merrick Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Grain Free looks like an above-average canned dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 19%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Grain Free canned dog food is a meat-based wet product containing a significant amount of named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

02/09/2010 Original review
09/16/2010 Review updated
06/14/2012 Review updated
01/02/2014 Review updated
01/02/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • InkedMarie

    Well, now I’m embarrassed. I just saw a cute kid, thought that was a straw or something. Obviously, I neglected to enlarge the picture.

  • HW

    I have to laugh at why this was voted down? Its an observation. Anyway…..I found that the dogs will eat this from the fridge as a firmed up version rather than at room or warmed temp. So its not going to waste. It is a texture thing for these guys. I am sure others prefer pate style. Its a good food. Glad I bought it after all.

  • HW

    lol…yeah that is it. I put that as a pic ages ago and forget it is up. I probably should change it!

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi InkedMarie, I believe that is the smoking baby from India. If you put your mouse on the pic to make it bigger, you can see the cigarette. There was a huge controversy awhile back. I think he was like 3 and smoking like a chimney. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4c_wI6kQyE

  • HW

    Me either. You learn a lot on this site for sure. This Texas Beef as they say; its like a pate’ . My dogs went nuts for it the first time I gave it. The second time, they backed off like it was coming after them. I don’t get it. These two Alley Dogs of mine act like they are royalty! lol.

  • InkedMarie

    I have a dog who eats canned only. She does best with smooshy foods lol. Guess I won’t try this Texas beef.

    Btw, whomever that little child is in your picture, they’re beautiful!

  • InkedMarie

    I didn’t know that!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    As a general rule of thumb, you can tell if a canned food is pate-style (pasty, like meatloaf) or stew-style (with chunks or shreds in gravy) by looking at the moisture content. Stews are almost always higher in moisture than pates. If a food is stew-style it will typically have >80% moisture and if a food is pate-style it will typically have <80% moisture.

  • HW

    Thanks for the suggestions! I may check the Weruva. For some reason these guys hate anything like stew style. But shredded beef might be good. Thanks again!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    If it’s any help, the Merrick classic canned foods are somewhat chunky (lumpy mashed potato) to chunky (actual squares), not pate style. And Weruva Human Style is either shredded or has chunks. They have pictures of their Human Style foods on their website.

  • HW

    I want to LOVE the canned stuff…or I want my dogs to love it. I bought the Texas Beef and I guess its a texture thing. This dishes out like paste. It would be nice if companies would define texture. I was hoping for a more shredded or chunkier beef. This is ground to heck. It SMELLS good though! I mean it smells like a human could eat it but my dogs just walk away. They at least like the texture of Blue Buffalo Wilderness beef. Now I have two cases of Merrick and I have tried mixing it in with their BB GF kibble but they still wont eat it. I’m probably going to have to mix it in with BB and make cookies out of it. But it is definitely a great product.

  • losul

    Used the gameday tailgate yesterday. i was expecting the thigh bones to be a little more substantial than the wings, and they were, but they seemed even softer than the wings. Personally, i see no more problem feeding these than a can of bone in salmon meant for human consumption.

  • losul

    I had to see for myself about the bones in merrick, so i bought a can of wingaling last night. There were several whole wing pieces with bone as I expected. The bones easily broke in small blunt pieces in my fingers as anticipated. I had no concern whatsoever feeding these to my dog. I would be more concerned with him getting hurt on the sharp edges of something like potato/tortilla chips.

    I also got a can of the gameday tailgate which has thigh bones in it, and will be on the menu soon….

  • zj

    Here is the Disqus help page for voting on comments.

    http://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/658811-how-voting-works

  • aimee

    Hi Sugar,

    I’ve posted here for about over 2 years. I’ve never down voted a comment, but I’ve collected a lot !! Heck sometimes within seconds of posting I’ll have a few. LOL I think my record is 7 down votes in 20 min. Awesome!! I’m hoping to break that record. Wear your down votes with pride that’s I do!

  • InkedMarie

    Jmo, it’s the Internet. If people care about a stranger up or down voting them, they have too much time on their have.

    Also, are there rules somewhere for voting? If yes, please post them. As far as I know, I’m free to vote as I want.

  • Sugar

    If you are getting 2 down votes on every statement then you can see a pattern, I posted several statements and always seemed to get down votes from the same people who appeared to have an agenda. That’s all. Same pattern other people obviously have noticed as well. When regulars say the same thing no down votes.

  • Shawna

    Likewise, why would someone down vote my comment to you? It happens…

  • Sugar

    Look, I’m not stupid. I just hope these people stop their agenda and don’t use down voting for that, that’s all. PEACE.

  • Sugar

    My answer to your question is: I’m not stupid.
    I agree with you that down votes should be done when you STRONGLY disagree with something only, not when the person says things like ‘allergies can be environmental’, why would someone disagree on this fact unless they have an agenda?
    Thanks Shawna for your comment on this!

  • InkedMarie

    Again, as I posted earlier, you don’t know who down votes you.

  • Shawna

    I’m curious why you think it is the “regulars” on here that are down voting you Sugar? For what it’s worth, I’m a regular and I agree with everything you’ve said regarding supplements, allergies, nutrition etc.. I just now up voted those I’ve read and agreed with…

    Also for what it’s worth, I do take advantage of down voting but I don’t down vote people but rather comments I STRONGLY disagree with.

    Don’t let a down vote run you off… We’ve all got them at one point or another.. I also want to add that many of the regulars here, besides myself, will also agree with you on supplements, dietary influence of health etc….. Give us a chance :)…

  • Sugar

    Zj is right about this. There appears bias against people who are not regular persons on here and the regular people they are friends among another. I have seen this pattern for years, and I have seen LOTS of different people say the same thing. I posted a few things, but find this has to change.

  • Sugar

    You are right. I have posted a few things yesterday and today and the same people gave me down votes.The same thing was said by someone being a regular person on here, and no one voted down her statement. The down votes were in regards to allergies and there was no reason to down vote this. It appeared to me that some people on here do have a personal agenda, it is sad and makes me not wanting to post. People getting on here seeing the down votes then wrongfully think there is something wrong with your post.

  • InkedMarie

    Treated differently? Jimbo posted, some of us said that’s normal, which it is (to find bones). Aimee said she bought some too and had hard bones. I posted wow & asked what Merrick said. Who treated anyone diferently?

  • Betsy Greer

    I was in a pet food store this morning and I was looking at the Turducken label and didn’t see that the can had the same information on it about its containing bones (like its Wingaling counterpart) nor does it say anything about the recipe containing bones on the website. The store I was at didn’t have the Gameday Tailgate in stock.

  • zj

    Moderator

    Below you will see why more people don’t post on Dog Food Advisor. Jimbo was treated far differently than aimee when they both reported the same thing, hard bones in Merrick’s foods. I value free speech but I think more needs to be done to protect the free speech of newbies on Dog Food Advisor.

  • Jimbo

    I remain unconvinced, since the bones I ave referred to were NOT soft, which still suggests QC issues at their production facility. I will jst not buy their products again, and wish the best of luck to those who do.

  • Sugar

    You are right about that! Merrick is a decent brand I believe, but there are some quality issues. I personally do use the Thanksgiving cans for probably 10 years, perhaps 1 can in 2 weeks. I think these are very good though.

  • aimee

    I had bought the wingaling.

  • InkedMarie

    Wow that’s different! Let us know what Merrick says

  • Betsy Greer

    Which variety did you choose, Aimee?

  • aimee

    Hi Jimbo,

    I bought a can of Merrick to check the bone consistency. After checking them I decided they were inappropriate to feed. The bone collapsed with pressure but the individual pieces were quite hard and sharp. Not what I’d feel comfortable feeding. I removed all of the bones before feeding.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you still have any of it you could try taking one of the bones and hitting it with a hammer. It should just break to pieces, not splinter. Chalk is a rock with a hardness of one. The enamel on dogs teeth is strong enough to handle it and having something that actually requires a bit of gnawing is good for the teeth.

  • Shawna

    They are supposed to be there but they are supposed to be soft as well. If you got several cans that were not soft, you need to let Merrick know.

    In this video, Dr. Christopher Smith discusses the bones in Merrick canned foods.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETem8C6fGx8

  • Jimbo

    These were hard, full-sized thigh bones, not soft, not squishy, etc.

  • Jimbo

    You want to bet?

  • Jimbo

    Thanks for your opinion. The bones in question were hard as rocks.

  • Pattyvaughn

    They are definitely supposed to be there and there was something about it on the can. They are cooked in such a way as to make them soft like chalk and are completely edible.

  • anniej

    Yup, supposed to be there, excellent food. You can squish the bones with your fingers.

  • InkedMarie

    I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to be there. They’re small enough and soft enough for your dog to eat

  • Jimbo

    I have found whole chicken bones in two different cans of Merrick Grain Free: Gameday Feast and Turducken. Dog lovers, beware of sloppy quality control at Merrick!

  • scmom

    I have a 11 yr. old MinPin and at the present time I am watching her 1/2 sister who is 12 yrs.old. My dog has just been diagnosed with heart problem and we are always watching her diet and the other dog has developed a very sensitive stomach and has Addisons diease. The vet put the older dog on Science Diet ID, she likes it, but is not always available at the vets…so I decided to give Merricks senior canned a try. I was surprised how fresh it smelled when I opened and and both dogs devoured the little bit I added to their other dog food. I hope as I transition them over, this continues. They both get so bored with their diet and have become very picky at times. But, at their ages I believe in finding what works and what they like, they have given us so many wonderful years of love, it’s the least I can do.

  • losul

    They own Hereford bi-products, S.W of Amarillo. There’s quite a few by-product places and feedlots near Amarillo.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Just me, but I would assume that they are using product from their own rendering plant if it is available. Why wouldn’t they.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    What do you mean when you say he stinks? Do you mean he’s gassy? If so then perhaps you should add a pro/pre-biotic to his food to aid digestion.

  • bedwards

    I feed my Boston terrier Merrick grain free dry mixed with wet-sometimes grain free sometimes not-although he seems to do fine on this food, he sure stinks! ESPECIALLY On pork or beef! I do have some concerns however, I recently read on a different forum that Merrick owns a rendering plant right across the road from where this food is made-can we be sure that they are not using the meat brought there for rendering in their foods? What are your thoughts on this? Apparently some fishy business too when people have called the company and asked about this issue

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    Yeah, that’s a good place to start. Dogs don’t digest grains or carbs that well, therefore those things tend to be filler for the dog. I mean, by not digesting it they aren’t going to get anything as far as calories or nutrients from them anyway.

    Keep in mind that dry food has to have a certain amount of a carb in it, in order to bind the food together. Therefore it’s a good thing to add in more wet food, as you say you’re doing.

    Basically, when it comes to dogs adding more weight I recommend more meat, less carbs, no grains. If your pup is still having trouble gaining weight, you can try a food such as Orijen which is even higher in meat, lower on carbs, and also grain free. After that I’d look into raw, which you can either buy already made (Primal and Nature’s Variety Instinct are two good brands), or check out how to make it yourself.

    Good luck.

  • missy

    I switched my male GS (2.5yrs) to the grain free pork dry as well as wet. He seems to like it. He us very picky eater!!! I am trying to have him gain weight. I was told to use the grain free. is this correct? Any other suggestions?

  • Goldengirl

    Nicole – The Merrick Wing-A-Ling brand does in fact have cooked chicken bones in it! The bone is easy enough for me to crumble in my hands. Definitely safe enough and my dog loves it!

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Where did you hear that Merrick was bought by P&G?  You may be misinformed…..Natura was purchased by P&G a couple of years ago, but as far as I know, Merrick is still family owned.  Merrick did purchase Castor & Pollux recently, though.  Please don’t post info. unless you can back it up with facts.  Thanks!  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.good.7 Melissa Good

    I really liked the Merrick line of dog food, but they’ve been bought by P&G which means the quality is going to plumet very soon :( time to switch!

  • JZ

    Assuming the Merrick Grain-Free canned food here refers to the Before Grain (a.k.a. “B.G.”) line, I notice that the cans I have of tripe and buffalo contain Sodium Selenite which I understand to be an inexpensive, synthetically produced, inorganic substitute for Selenium.  I’ve read that Sodium Selenite is potentially toxic to pets and can result in loss of hair and coat, brittle nails, gastrointestinal disturbances, skin rashes, and nervous disorders, among other things.  Can you please shed any light on this ingredient/confirm the potential dangers?  Thanks.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    That is not new. The Merrick classic recipe called Wing-a-ling had a wing in it.  Some others might, not sure.

  • Nicole

    I don’t know if they changed the recipe but in some of the cans they now INCLUDE chicken bones that they claim have been cooked long enough for your dog to eat safely. 

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    The only recipe that changed is the Buffalo but it still maintains the same guaranteed analysis as the previous recipe.  This will not change the current review above as it is not used as the example recipe, just the name of the one recipe will need to be updated.

  • Carol

    Will you be doing new reviews on the Merrick line now that the formulas have changed?  For instance the 96% buffalo is now 96% buffalo and turkey.  Is turkey a good meat for dogs, I thought I had read somewhere that is was not a best protein source for dogs?

  • http://twitter.com/SPeteDave Deborah

    My pet store said this was one of three lower sodium canned foods.  My cardiac dog will have none of the science diet H/D he’ll eat the kibble, but not the canned.  He seems to like this so I’m hopeful.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I want to know how the new tripe is.  I used the Before Grain tripe and it was sort of thin, which was fine since I mix it with their kibble.  I have several of their Classic flavors right now.

  • Mike P

    Yes Marie it’s Merrick duck.I also got a can of the 96% tripe and will try that one next.

  • EvesHumanMom

    We just finished a can of the turkey flavour.  Finer grained and mushier/soupier  than I expected, considering it has carageenan and gums, but it smelled like cooked meat and Eve loved it.  In fact, for one meal I gave her a full serving of canned with a sprinkle of her kibble (NB Synergy) for crunch, with no ill effects.  Definitely a keeper.

  • InkedMarie

    Mike, do you mean Merrick duck?

  • Mike P

    I just opened a can of the 96% duck for tonights topper.This is by far the best can of food we have done so far.I could not believe how fresh this food smelled and none of that jelly stuff around it.I will use all the flavors of this canned product .

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1794616489 Sally A Fontaine

     where do you see yeast added back in?

  • EvesHumanMom

    We’re looking forward to trying this out.  Ordering some on sale (220yen, down from 420yen!)  and when the Nutripe runs out, we’ll try the K9 tripe for a topper, too!  LOVE DFA!

  • Kelly

    My Sheltie has had some GI issues with the Buffalo as a topper the past few days (more poop than usual, loose and mucousy), but my two big dogs have done fine with the same can. Probably just doesn’t agree with her. She did fine with the duck (or was it the beef??). 

  • Hound Dog Mom

     Concerned: If the meat consisted of hair and other “non-meat” parts of the animal it would be listed as buffalo by-product.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Concerned,

    The company apparently means the product consists of 96% meat by weight prior to processing. My figures on the gauges in the box are “dry matter basis” computed with 100% of the water mathematically removed to allow proper comparison.

    Hope this helps.

  • concerned

    I have a question and maybe it will tie into why the guaranteed analysis does not agree with the product label for the 96% line.  Just because it says 96% buffalo does that guarantee that is is 96% buffalo MEAT of maybe is also parts of the buffalo not considered meat. ( hair and stuff.) 

  • Lisa

    Lol haha I re read it and I definitely didn’t word that right. :/ I think almost every single can I have seen has some form of yeast. Wasn’t sure what this one was.

  • Lisa

    Lol. I meant she is allergic to yeast. Does that mean she can’t have this food? Haha I am sorry. I worded that wrong. She was positive for yeast on her allergy test.

  • Mike P

    Melissa I do work cheap just ask my wife…She does what I do for Jubilee…Feeds me and I’m so cool with that lol

  • melissa

     LOl..too many hours out in the sun today. I re read it and am assuming you mean “if my beagle is allergic to yeast, can I  assume I need to avoid this food” I would say that any dog with yeast allergies would do best with a food without any form added back in-

  • melissa

     Uhm, Lisa-how would anyone here know if your dog is allergic to yeast? : )

  • melissa

     Mike P-

    I have absolutely nothing to offer on this conversation, except to say your post made me smile-the “I work cheap” just cracked me up -

  • Lisa

    Does anyone know if my beagle is allergic to yeast, I assume I need to avoid this food? Not sure what yeast extract is. Thanks :)

  • SandyDuarte

    That’s awesome!! I’ve had her for about a month now so I’m just seeing what she likes and doesn’t like. She hasn’t had any raw yet, hopefully when I’m done switching her dry food and her system is used to that we can try the raw. With her being so young I didn’t want to do too much too soon, but she does love the Tripett. Love your avatar pic :)

  • Mike P

    Hi SandyDuarte…I am using Tripett 3 days a week and adding fresh meat the other days, along with eggs,yogurt and have now been adding pureed veggies as well.I’m done with all the $3.00 a can for food when I can get fresh meat from the butcher and I know exactly what I’m getting and it’s more cost effective.A little harder then open a can but I work cheap lol.

  • SandyDuarte

    Out of all the brands Mila has tried so far (Merrick, Canidae Pure, Tripett, Fromm, Newman’s) this has been her least favorite. She’s tried the tripe and now the beef and she’ll pick at it. Maybe she’ll like the buffalo?

  • Bill

    I’ve been using this products as a topper and mixing it with  BG chicken. I got 6 cans for free when I purchased a bag of BG chicken dry a couple of months ago at Petco. My dog really loves it! 

  • maxmabi

    I just had the same question, glad I read this before posting it. :)

  • Mike P

    Picked up a can of the buffalo and mixed 1/3 can with her Brothers Complete this evening and she gobbled it up as usual.The buffalo was alot thicker than the tripe one we tried.It smelled really good and mixed in well with the kibble.I wanted to give Jubilee a break from the Tripett.I picked up a can of turkey too and will try that in two weeks.

  • melissa

    Bought a few cans of different foods last week, and tonight I opened the 96% Turkey and gave it to two dogs(the others had a different flavor/brand) One refused to eat it, and the one who did vomited up all his food several hours later. This dog does not have a sensitive stomach. Food was not soupy and nothing appeared to be off. Any one else have a problme with the turkey?

  • Tpejza

     I just fed some too, it was soupy as well. I think it is supposed to be that way.

  • Mike P

    I just got some of the 96% tripe and topped with it tonight. Is it supposed to be soupy or did I get a bad can??

  • confused

    Hey Mike, your good at this stuff. I just read the suggested article and it helped a lot! Thanks

  • confused

    Thanks for your reply…at my age I also need to bring a magnifying glass to read that small type! I’m new at this but I’m learning!!

  • confused

    Hi Thanks for responding, as I mentioned I’m a little new at this and I find the whole process very confusing. Since I have been just going to a national pet store, I just feel they could do a better job, for the newbie’s like me, to help it be less complicated. I stumbled upon  this website and it has been a big help already.

  • concerned

    Hi, I did not contact the company, I’m still a little new at this, but thank you for the suggestion.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Concerned,

    Guaranteed Analysis is a statement made on the label of every pet food informing consumers of what the manufacturer is willing to “guarantee” to be the minimum protein and fat contained in the product.

    There’s almost always more in the food than the minimum.

    In this case, the company has probably understated this amount — and apparently significantly.

    But when the name of the product includes the words 96% meat, it’s obvious there’s most likely enough meat in this food to qualify the product as a 5-star dog food.

    By the way, the FDA regulated the titles of the foods, too. That is why I feel confident this food is close to being all meat.

    Please see my article entitled, Four Naming Rules That Can Help Reveal a Dog Food’s True Meat Content.

    Hope this helps.

  • Concerned

    Sorry, my comment is is about the statement made above that the label does not make sense.  If the label on the food does not make sense, then BIG RED FLAG, right?

    “Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbohydrates… when compared to a typical canned dog food.
    ***This makes no sense.*** This dog food is 96% meat. The protein and fat numbers should be higher… and our carbohydrate estimate should be lower (much lower)… maybe even as low as 10%.
    So, what’s going on here?
    Although we can’t be sure why,**** we believe Before Grain’s reported Guaranteed Analysis numbers may possibly be in error.**** After all, how could we arrive at a carbohydrate estimate of 25%?
    What ingredient here could possibly contribute all those carbs?
    Relying on these numbers alone, we’d have no choice but to award this dog food just four stars.
    However, we’ve elected to overlook the reported nutrient content here and ***go with the company’s promise that this dog food contains 96% meat.***”

  • Anonymous

    Concerned,

    Are you talking about this food or something else?  Your comment/question is a little vague.

  • concerned

    If the ingredient list and the guaranteed analysis numbers raise a red flag, shouldn’t the food be further researched or the rating downgraded?  Did you contact the company to ask they why the guaranteed analysis does not seem to agree with the ingredient list? 

  • monkey

    Michelle’s link works but this might be easier to navigate.. http://www.beforegrain.com/pdfs/BG-Dog-Can.pdf

    The store gave you kcal/kg numbers. That means the number of calories per KG. 1KG = 35 ounces. Each can is only 13.2 ounces.

  • Michelle

    meridith, here is Merrick’s website, looks like monkey got the info here- http://www.merrickpetcare.com/store/bg_canned_dog_food_132.php

  • meridith

    Thanks! Monkey, I called my pet store and they said each can of BG wet Salmon is: 890
    Buffalo: 984

    Where did you get your info?
    Thank you very much for your answer,
    Meridith

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Meridith… Calorie content is usually (but not always) included on the label and expressed as “kilocalories per cup” or “kilocalories per kilogram”. Practically speaking, kilocalories means the same thing as the word “calories” you typically see on food labels.

    If you don’t find this information on the label, try the company’s website. Or call the manufacturer. Hope this helps.

  • monkey

    Unfortunately, i don’t think natural balance lists calories so you would have to email them. Make sure to include the name of the wet food and dry food you are feeding. This is the contact form: http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/contact.tpl

    Here are the Before Grain wet food calories PER can:
    Before grain chicken wet calories per can – 374
    Before grain salmon wet calories per can – 338
    Before grain buffalo wet calories per can – 374
    Before grain turkey wet calories per can – 359
    Before grain tripe wet calories per can – 336
    Before grain beef wet calories per can – 322

  • meridith

    Hi,
    How to I find the calories in the dry and wet food? I was told by my vet my dog needs 300-350 calories a day. I feed: natural Balance wet and dry, mixed with Before grain Wet.
    How do I FIND the calories??

    Thanks!
    Meri

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Laurie… Protein content of a dog food seems to be a controversial subject for many. From the more modern sources I’ve read, I feel fears over higher protein (in most cases) are misguided. However, if your dog has been professionally diagnosed with renal (kidney) failure, most professionals appear to be unanimous in warning against a high protein (high mineral) diet.

    Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Laurie

    My Papillon is in the kidney failure. He HATES the KD dry & canned food the Vet gave us, and he is loosing weight because of it. I’ve kept him away from ALL other brands of kibble and canned food, but we do give our other dog (ARB, Shiloh Shepherd) this Before Grain Buffalo kibble and canned food. I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether to give protein to dogs and cats in renal failure. Does your research on this brand seem to be an option for my Papillon? I’ve heard phosphorus is the worse thing for him.
    Thanks!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Laura… That’s what we call “topping”. And for most dog’s it’s a great idea. Any time you can help a “dead” kibble become a “fresher” meal. Fresh is always best, but quality canned foods work, too. Please see our FAQ page and look for the topic, “How to Feed a Dog”. There’s some mention there about topping. Also read in the FAQ about rotation feeding. Thanks for the great question.

  • Laura

    Hi Mike, stupid question: Is it okay to feed your pup one brand of dry dog food, and supplement with a different brand of wet food. (both being in the 5-star category)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Garda… We don’t track the calorie information of the dog foods in our database. However, this information depends upon the flavor of the product (beef, chicken, etc.) and whether it is dry or canned. You should be able to find what you’re looking for on the Merrick Pet Care website.

  • GARDA GROVE

    HOW MANY CALORIES ARE THERE IN A CAN OF BEFORE GRAIN DOG FOOD?

  • Faye

    I have a 10 year old Golden Retriever with severe food
    allergies. I found BG 100% turkey and he loved it – the
    next time I went to buy the same product, it was labeled
    96% turkey; and to my dismay the ingredient included was
    egg. This tops his list of food allergies.

    I have to read every ingredient because such changes happen
    and you may not notice.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Constance… Manufacturers only report what’s known as “Guaranteed Analysis”. This is the percentage of nutrients a pet food company is willing to “guarantee” to consumers as a product’s minimum protein and fat as well as its maximum fiber and moisture that’s present in a product.

    Yet some companies (like Merrick, the makers of Before Grain) report their guarantee very conservatively.

    In a recent batch analysis performed by an independent testing laboratory for Merrick (and obtained by the Dog Food Advisor), average nutrient content for the company’s complete BG product line was 49.3% protein, 36.4% fat and 11.6% ash. Since these numbers are reported on a dry matter basis, moisture was 0%.

    These figures suggest a carb content of just 6.3% (very low).

    Armed with this new (and more detailed) information, I plan to re-write this review to reflect these findings. Now, we feel even more confident to award Before Grain (canned) our highest rating.

  • Constance

    I think when the numbers do not add up, you should place the product in a “Unable to rate at this time” category and ask the food company to clarify. Assuming you are wrong and the company is right is not a good idea. I worked for a food company for 30 years, and errors on the label is certainly a possibility. It sounds goofy to say something doesn’t make sense, so let’s ignore it.