Merrick Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

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

The Merrick Grain Free product line includes four dry 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 Pork and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Buffalo and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Chicken and Sweet Potato

Merrick Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Merrick Grain Free Real Duck and Sweet Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 30%

Ingredients: Deboned duck, turkey meal, salmon meal (source of omega 3 fatty acids), sweet potato, peas, lamb meal, potato, duck fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), pea protein, natural flavor, apples, blueberries, organic alfalfa, salmon oil, minerals (salt, zinc amino acid complex, zinc sulfate, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt amino acid complex, sodium selenite), vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate), Yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis38%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%19%30%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%39%25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The third ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears2 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The fifth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The seventh ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth ingredient is duck fat. Duck fat is obtained from rendering duck, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Duck fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, duck fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The ninth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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 three notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, we note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

And lastly, this food also 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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Grain Free appears to be an above average dry 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 43%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 30%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Grain Free is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats and meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

A Final Word

This review is designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food. However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyzed this product, please be sure to 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 veterinarian for help.

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

A Final Word

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

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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

06/22/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Merrick Customer Service via email dated 8/17/2010
  • Dog_Obsessed

    We also have Healthy Paws for Lily, but we have not had to submit any claims (knock on wood!) in the two months we’ve had it. I’m glad to know you are happy with it!

  • Scott Futrell
  • SadMama

    What kind of insurance do you have? I have wondered about whether it’s worthwhile. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Carlos Clark

    This food is very good. This is a high protien and high fat content food. If your dog is not active then it can bother them. Not the food, it’s your dog for not being active. They did come out with 4 new kinds of Merrick Grain Free and 2 of them are Salmon and Lamb. Those two are limities ingredient grain and poultry free. The proteins and fats are less than the other regular formulas. I’ve had my dogs on this Merrick for 2 years now and i wouldnt ever change them. If I had too it would be to either Fromm or Holistic Select. The new Merrick formulas are a lot better and I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend them. Stay away from Blue. They’re pretty sketchy these days!

  • Dori

    Agree completely with Dog Obsessed. Food intolerance issue for sure.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Put her back onto the BB until her symptoms are totally gone, and then try another food with different ingredients. Remember to transition slowly. Again, keep track of ingredient lists and any food she reacts to. Good luck!

  • julie

    She was on blue buffalo before and did great.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    This is likely a food intolerance issue. Take the list of ingredients, and try to find a food as different as possible. Then, from now on, keep track of the ingredients for all food and treats you feed her, and which ones she reacts to.

  • julie

    Has anyone had that problem my othe dog srrms to be ok with the food

  • julie

    My shitzu ison merrick and she has been itching a lot not sure if its tgr dog food

  • RutGot

    All of Tiff’s suggestions are great, a little more veggies or fruit can’t hurt. And like I said, I use yogurt, plain low-fat Greek yogurt, any brand. I’ve also used Merrick’s grain free canned food as a topper. Something like Wingdings with actual chicken pieces in it (the bones are pressure treated so they don’t splinter) could be exciting for your dog too. But certainly keeping a container of yogurt around and adding in whatever’s in your produce bin are great ways to go.

  • RutGot

    I can second that when I tried to put my dog on Blue because they had a weight control food and Merrick didn’t at that point, she got terrible diarrhea and had accidents in the house. No such problems on Merrick. Just goes to show, every dog is different.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Have you ever increased their protein by 20% before like you’ve done with the Blue to Merrick switch? That’s where the probiotics can help with switching to a new food (regardless of how long the transition is).

    The dogs were also on Blue for “a long time” prior to an attempted switch over to Merrick, so while it’s great that you did a gradual transition, it may not have been enough because your dogs stomachs are so used to only one food. Again, that’s where probiotics can be so helpful.

    Could also be some sort of allergen/intolerance ..perhaps not food, as it’s unlikely both dogs would have issues from the same ingredient at the same time.. but perhaps environmental?

    Regardless, I’m dismayed to hear you say in another post “We are back on Blue exclusively and won’t be going anywhere else.” – it is the “won’t be going anywhere else” part that bothers me. 99.9% of the time that’s not the best answer for your dogs. What’s going on with them – good and bad – likely has NOTHING to do with Blue or Merrick. You’re setting your dogs and yourself up for trouble if you keep them on the same food for a long time/forever. What happens, when.. Blue decides to make a formula change?

    Yes, transitions can take a long time (initially ..mine can now switch to a totally different meal from one meal to the next without any issues) and it can be messy and frustrating… but in the end, the freedom of feeding your dog whatever food you want whenever you want without causing them any issues has been priceless for me

  • Travis Mack

    We are back on Blue exclusively and won’t be going anywhere else. The home is a lot happier.

  • Travis Mack

    I have been raising dogs my entire life and never once did we ever have to use probiotics to go from one food to another. Mixing the food with the previous food for about a week or two has always done the trick with God only knows how many dogs. The difference between the blue formula and the merrick was about 20% more protein. I moved them back to the blue exclusively and my home is a happier and FAR less smelly place.

  • Aaron Siering

    I add freeze dried chicken liver which I crush. It is nice because it dusts all the kibble if you mix it in well. Chicken liver crushes easily by hand like dry caked mud. You can also try freeze dried beef or pork liver but you would need to use a mortar and pestle to achieve the same powdery consistency.

    I also plan on trying Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw daily boost supplement as a flavoring.

  • Aaron Siering

    Merricks is chocked full of digestive enzymes which is probably why people usually have more trouble switching to Blue than Merricks. Of course switching to a new dog food can cause problems for any dog with sensitive digestion. Which is why it is always suggested one takes the elaborate process of gradually switching between the two foods over a period of weeks. I am guessing Mr. Mack probably didn’t do this and has found out to his dismay that his dogs do have sensitive digestion, which is very common. It is easier to blame the food than to take responsibility that we don’t always take pains to do the best for our animals. That being said both are high quality dog foods.

  • Aaron Siering

    Interesting usually it is the other way around. The number one complaint against Blue is that it is notorious for causing the very things you mention when first switching to it. You may be the first person to tell me this has happened after switching to Merricks. In any case both are very high quality dog foods. The only thing I would say is that many dogs have sensitive digestive systems and care should be taken whenever one switches their food.

  • Bob K

    Travis – Why the change in dog foods? Did you transition slowly to the new food? How long was the transition process you used?

  • Storm’s Mom

    Which “Blue” formula? How long a transition period did you have between the 2 brands? Did you use probiotics and/or digestive enzymes during the transition?

  • Travis Mack

    apparently not, because they were on the Blue for a long time before and never had these gastric issues.

  • Susan

    The Protein & fat % is probably to high for your dogs..too rich, does the Blue have the same amount of protein & fat as Merrick?

  • Travis Mack

    I am taking my dogs OFF this brand. Ever since we put them on it their stools are consistently loose and/or soft and VERY pungent. Not to mention the terrible gas they have been suffering!

    I am going back to Blue and plan to stay with that brand.

  • Andrea Utsava Erhart

    Never had a problem like this on amazon.

  • Andrea Utsava Erhart

    I def. recommend this food, I have used Merrick on and off for many years. I esp. love their cans and their choices. I also rotate with Fromm, Farmina and Horizon. All very good brands and fine companies.

  • tiff

    U can use veggies, other meats as a topper or a gravy. Lots of dogs love yogart and pumkin. There are plenty of things to put on their food to keep them interested.

  • tiff

    My husky absolutely loves the whole product line of Merrick products.

  • tiff

    But I usually give it to them like a puree or frozen like smoothie.

  • tiff

    I give my dogs
    Banana Blueberries

  • haloween

    Thank you for the list.

  • haloween

    What kind of fruits do you feed your dogs? I also feed my two dogs Merrick.

  • LittleThoughts

    So, I had my pup on Orijen for a LONG time and was soo pleased with the dog food but it is really expensive. We found this food which seems very similar and was enthusiastically recommended. The other night he woke up at 5am and had an accident in a corner of the guest bedroom. I thought it was perhaps some table scrap that upset his belly or a result of too many dog treats. I’ve had him on nothing but the dog food since and just now he had a little accident on one of my throw pillows. Sigh. Needless to say, I just wasted money on a bag of dog food that I do not feel comfortable feeding my dog.

  • RutGot

    I have my pit/bulldog mix on 4 parts Merrick, one part Acana and I mix it with a tablespoon of low fat Greek yogurt and 3/4 cups water to make a broth. She’s crazy for the yogurt and licks the spoon every meal time. A number of places I’ve read online said yogurt can help with flatulence as well. Also, if I’m making anything with tuna, I keep the water from the can and add that to her kibble.

  • tiff

    No problem

  • Brigette

    Thanks. I will print this out. ;)

  • tiff

    Be careful ordering dog food from amazon..I bought a bag from them months ago and my dogs food wasn’t fresh. In fact it seemed to be sitting a while. I stopped buying from amazon after that. I started buying all my treats and food from But I do agree Merrick is a great food. My pups agree!

  • tiff

    I have never had a problem with this food what’s so ever. My Siberian husky and lab mix love this food. My husky is a very picky eater and my lab has food allergies. I went threw a few brands till I found Merrick. None of those brands in which stuck with my dogs. But every night they go nuts for Merricks food. Which sold me on day one. I bought my first bag from soon as I opened it both dogs ate right out of the bag. I’ve never seen my dogs so happy to see their food before. I do switch from their different grain free flavors. They love them all! Every so often I add a little of Merricks canned as a topper. I also use veggies and fruits to keep them healthy as a topper. My pups are healthy and happy dogs. Which makes me a happy mom!!

  • tiff

    U may also like to switch to the different flavors Merrick has to offer. I hope this helps. Good luck! If you have any questions feel free to ask.

  • tiff

    These are safe vegetables for you’d dog as well
    Bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
    Green beans Lettuce
    Sweet potato

  • tiff

    Yes go with plain. U may want to use only a small spoonful to see how ur pet likes it on his or her food. U may add another spoon full of pumpkin to make it have more of a taste. (Canned natural pumpkin is perfect). You may also give Apple

    Banana Blueberries
    There are also great vegetables u can use as a topping. Green beans are great you can give them canned with the least sodium u can find. Or you can use freshly boiled green beans. Which ever u prefer

  • Brigette

    :) I decided to stay with Merrick, since I trust that brand, and switch them to the grain free lamb for a while. I’m still transitioning but they seem to like it. I’ll keep them on the lamb for a little while and add some toppings as you suggested ever so often. Do dogs normally eat yogurt? If I do use yogurt, should I go with plain?

  • tiff

    Your dog can become bored with a dry dog food. I have a husky I know! If they were interested at first and became bored they can refuse to eat it. U can add pumpkin, yogart or baked chicken or w.e on top. Keep your dog interested in his food. You don’t want to switch to too many products or ur dog can reject kibble all together. I work at a vet I’ve seen it all..

  • tiff

    Your dog can catch anything at a daycare. I worked for one for years and it was terrible.

  • tiff

    Oh BTW my husky is a picky finiky eater. If Merrick is good enough for her I’m sold as well.

  • tiff

    Both of my dogs are on Merrick. I have a Siberian husky and she loves this food!! I switch from the different flavors of grain free and she gobbles it down. My other dog has food allergies and he does amazing on this food. Both my lab mix and husky do amazing on this. If I even try to give them different food they refuse it. My dogs belly’s are stuck on this food.

  • Stormasis

    Seeing all the issues regarding the Merrick Duck & Sweet Potato, I became concerned. My dogs have been eating this for many months, and seemed to be doing well on it. I did attempt to change, and the dogs picked out the mix of the other brands and spit it on the floor. Since they are both doing so well on it, and really love it, I am sticking to it, and will stand by it. I also mix some of Merrick Canned grain free in and add a little water. They love it and refuse to eat any other. I also buy from Amazon with no problems. I thought I would also like to mention, not only is this a quality dog food, but to the best of my knowledge, Merrick is one of the few, not having had any recalls.

  • Packmomof4

    Have any of you tried Merrick Grain free Real salmon & Sweet potato recipe? Also it says that it is Limited ingredients on the bag. I am thinking about switching my Husky to this brand bc of all the issues I am hearing about BB. Advice would be appreciated!!! I already buy the canned foods for her as toppers.

  • theBCnut

    On the bright side, many pets never have bloodwork done until they are seriously ill, so they don’t have any baseline bloodwork to compare to. Your dog now has that.

  • theBCnut

    Yikes!! That is an expensive way to find out your dog has a nasty little parasite, but I’m glad you got a good diagnosis. Giardia isn’t always easy to find.

  • Scott Futrell

    And we are going to keep her on the Merrick for now. She was doing well on it before.

  • Scott Futrell

    Thank you, Bob. We should have just done a fecal, or started with just that. NOPE, we did x-rays, blood work AND fecal. haha. And yes, she had giardia. :( It cost us 700.00 to find that out. :( But, we have insurance! :)

  • Scott Futrell

    Thank you for taking the time to reply! Looks like Kora has giardia and likely this came from day care or dog park. 700.00 to find it out! Glad we got insurance.

  • Scott Futrell

    Just wanted to take a moment to update Re: Kora and Merrick Duck and Potato. We took Kora to the vet and she has giardia. :( So, it would appear that the issue is more likely something she picked up at day care rather than the food. Was a little freaked out to find this out, but always happier knowing what the problem is.

  • Andrea Utsava Erhart

    We had a lot of problems with the Acana Brand, alot of times difficulty to digest. I personally use Victor, Farmina, Annaemat and Fromm with excellent results.

  • emilioaponte

    Good, Acana is a very good food. Ranchlands and Grasslands are grain free.

  • Brigette

    Thanks. I’ll check those out. ;) I have a Shih Tzu and Pekingese.

  • emilioaponte

    My little wolf, 12 years old, loves Acana Ranchlands and Acana Grasslands. Maybe you can try out Acana with your dogs.

  • Brigette

    I hate to change a good thing.. but my two are getting bored with the merrick grain free Texas Beef. I’ve tried a few others in Merrick grain free but they either didn’t care for the flavor or totally hated the flavor (I think Duck was one). I would like advice if I should switch to a different reputable brand or if maybe I should add some of those flavoring gravies on top? I’ve only passed them by at the pet store but never thought about buying. Or maybe i should make my own gravy. Not sure what to do at this point because I have been reading so many reviews on good brands and it seems someone always has an issue. I need grain free. Anyone have ideas for two bored dogs wanting a change? (they also get a side of wet food next to the dry.. but just a little) Thanks!

  • Kaitlyn Gonzalez

    I have been feeding merrick grain free duck and potatoe and have had no issues we went from Purina and to science diet then to merricks mixed with from. My dog suffers from Anal gland problems and when we switched they problems stopped. All of these other cases sounds to me that the dog either can not handle a high protein diet or has some other thing going on such as medical problems with loose stool vomiting and lethargic sounds to me it could be lytpo.

  • emilioaponte

    I used to feed my little wolf Tequila, 12 years old 3. 5 pounds, with Merrick Buffalo because of the fire at Champion ( Orijen – Acana). I has no problen with Merrick, just stop feeding her this food. She eats Acana Ranchlands and Acana Grasslands. I like Acana for her.

  • theBCnut

    That’s a good argument for feeding a rotational diet. If you regularly switch up your dogs food then they won’t get tummy upset if you have to suddenly switch foods because of bad food or recall issues. They will already have other foods that they are used to.

  • Stacey

    Our two have been eating it for nearly two years and we’ve been fine also (the duck and sweet potato). This all tells me to be aware though. I may look for a back up, something to go to in case there is trouble.

  • theBCnut

    It may be the food this time rather than your dog. My local store that sells this says that there is something going on with the Duck and Potato right now. People whose dogs have been on it are having issues with the new bags.

  • Bob K

    Scott – Transition can easily take 2 weeks. Why all the changes in food? What about treats? Is your dog eating any other things inside or outside including water, grass, dirt, other animal feces? When was the last time you had your dog in for a complete fecal test including Giardia and Coccidia? Fecal tests are cheap and often a cause of loose stools. Just like your stools, they are not always perfectly formed and firm. Make sure the kibbles are fresh and stored properly. Sometimes mailorder foods are near their expiration date.

  • Scott Futrell

    And now our little Kora is not tolerating the duck and sweet potato either. We transitioned her from Kirkland Salmon in August and she finally had acceptable stools. Can’t do this anymore. So after just having purchased a bag through Amazon from Merrick just last week, I’m headed to the pet store to find a bland food (she is not even eating her food tonight-very rare event, but will eat a doggie treat). UGH.

  • jess

    Thanks Amy. I had stopped my poodles from Merrick. No more Merrick. They are now on Nutram Grain Free mini Salmon & Trout and Acana Pacifica for my elder poodle. Three of them doing great on these food. My younger girl did try Wellness core puppy and was doing great too. Since they turning one so I might as well switched her to Nutram for both.

  • MR

    My dog has also been getting sick all of a sudden after starting a new bag of duck and potato. been feeding him this for over a year and he doesn’t get any other foods to make him sick. vomiting diarrhea lethargic some blood in stool. bought from amazon prime. don’t know if this is coincidence but when i placed the order which I’ve done many times that delivery was like three weeks out then kit ended coming in like 4 days. wonder if there was some sort of private recall or something. any way this is the worst and something has to be done asap before this really hurts or dogs. my guy is a 10 year old golden who is usually full of energy but now he is sleeping all the time. hope all the best for the rest of your pets. Anyone else get theirs from amazon? I already threw the bag away so i can’t get the lot number.

  • Amber Miller

    I really want to know what grades they would give Chicken and Sweet Potato, Lamb and Sweet Potato, and Salmon and Sweet Potato. They don’t even have two of these flavors listed and I’d like to get Merrick since my only other option at my pet store is Taste of the Wild (well they have other foods, but none of the other ones are level 5, I checked). Merrick has great variety in flavor and I’d love to give my pup more than one option in food. I’d only have one option if I went with TOTW.

  • Dori

    I’m glad that your dogs are doing better but I wouldn’t say that they are doing well. I don’t mean to sound confrontational though it may come across that way. You say that you dogs itching is much reduced which I agree is good, but there is no “normal level of itching”. Normal would be not to itch at all. Trust me I know. I have a 5 year old dog that has multiple intolerances and allergies. It has taken me years to get her to the point that very very rarely does she itch. Normal would be not to itch at all other than the occasional itch that we all get. I’m glad to hear that other issues are under control but I think that there is still something that he is eating that he is having issues with. Have you considered what’s in his treats? Usually it’s something that we all forget about. I realized that after so many switches in foods, etc. that I wasn’t paying attention that it was no longer the food that she was intolerant to but it was the treats. Just trying to help, no disrespect.

  • 4FootedFoodie

    Glad to hear your dogs are doing well! Thanks for updating us.

    Maybe you can convince your wife that your dogs would benefit from a rotational diet and give Dr. Tim’s a try next!

  • RapaNui Lewie

    Just an update for all that have chimed in here:
    First, I’d like to extend my appreciation to all that put their two cents in. With all that happens in the world of dog food, it is hard for any one person to keep up with it all; this community works.

    After cleansing with chicken/rice, during which time stools returned to a wonderful consistency (yeah, seems strange to say that, but damn! it’d been so messy!), we transitioned over to Canidae grain-free Pure Elements, at my wife’s insistence. I was ready to find something … else, and Dr Tim’s seemed like a good place to start fresh. But my wife was convinced by the owner of the place where we get dog food that Canidae was okay .. so we tried it.

    I’m happy to say both girls are doing well on the Pure Elements. Stools are solid and consistent; itching is much reduced, perhaps even what might be called a normal level of itching. Energy levels are excellent, and, all things considered, everything is well.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Thanks again for all the help.

  • Samantha Danielle Erosa

    We fed our dog this food and she got violently ill, we had to take her to the vet and they ruled out all but the food. I am requesting my vet bill back from Merrick but they told me the food was fine!! I read a ton of reviews on this and I am not going to the BBB. PLEASE report this issue to the BBB so that Merrick will stop producing this harmful food!!

  • Samantha Danielle Erosa

    We fed our dog this food and she got violently ill, we had to take her to the vet and they ruled out all but the food. I am requesting my vet bill back from Merrick but they told me the food was fine!! I read a ton of reviews on this and I am not going to the BBB. PLEASE report this issue to the BBB so that Merrick will stop producing this harmful food!! They are located on the Amarillo, TX BBB site!

  • Samantha Danielle Erosa

    Please report stomach problems to the BBB. I experienced the same, as well as others within the last few months. But Merrick told me that the food is fine. My dog had bloody diarrhea and vomiting and we had to take her to the vet and spend hundreds of dollars just to be told that all the tests came back negative and that it was probably the food! Merrick told me that it was because I transitioned too quickly, but look how many comments have the same problem!! Prevent this from happening to others please!

  • Samantha Danielle Erosa

    Please report this issue to the BBB. I experienced the same, as well as others within the last few months. But Merrick told me that the food is fine. Prevent this from happening to others please!

  • Georgiapeach

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one whose dog can’t tolerate Merrick Grain Free. I adopted a senior boxer from my local animal control, and started feeding him TOTW Pacific Stream, but wanted something to help him gain a few pounds (TOTW only has 350 kcal/c.) , so got a small bag Merrick Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato to try. His poo turned to goo, even starting with a very slow switch (1/4 Merrick, 3/4 TOTW). I stopped feeding it after a few days b/c it didn’t get any better. My iron-stomached toy poodle rescue will gladly finish the bag. He can and will eat anything, fortunately.

  • LabsRawesome

    I agree. Some dogs do great on a food and others can’t handle it. It’s not the food, it’s the dog’s system.

  • Shannie

    Well, like I said in my review, Sariel has a history of sensitivities. Loose stools, itchy ears and skin, and his other symptoms point to a food sensitivity. Now that I’ve switched to a totally different brand with different ingredients, he isn’t having any of those problems anymore. Therefore, he was allergic to something in the food and the high amounts of sweet potatoes were turning his poops orange, hence the review, that’s all.

  • Trish94903

    I have 4 dogs (one Spitz/GS mix, 3 Canaanis) and I’m reading all these poop problems supposedly caused by Merrick’s dog food. My girls have been eating Merrick’s regular dry + canned (Cowboy Cookout is their fave) for ages now — and no problems. I’m not sure it’s the dog food, folks.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Hi Max- I tried Merrick twice(grain inclusive and grain free) and both times my dogs got diarrhea from it. It works well for other people, but I have to say I have had zero luck with the products.

  • Fred

    Orijen adult dog food($70- 28.7 lbs). No fur loss now, shiny fur instead of dull fur. No digestive problems. Percent of each ingredient on back of bag. Requires less cups of food than many. Smells good and is human grade. Dog looks great and appears very happy and healthy.

  • Max

    I agree. Merrick cost me over $1,000 on Christimas Eve, because all the vets were closed for the holiday, I had to pay extra for care to my Aussie. Stupid me, I thought it was something she ate out on the park, but after months of attempting to transition her to Merrick, I blame them for all the problems. As soon as I take her off that poison, she’s fine. As soon as she eats Merrick again, she’s sick within hours.

  • Max

    Similar issues happened with my dog. I really attribute all the problems to Merrick. Whenever she’s not eating it my dog is fine, then as soon as she has Merrick, all the problems begin. I waited to long to point the finger at Merrick. Now, I definitely won’t use it again. I do use their bones on occasion, but it’s the food I don’t trust.

  • Max

    Keep looking. If you find something that works. Please post. I’m also looking for an alternative to NB. I’m no longer using Merrick because of all the trouble it’s caused.

  • Max

    The gas isn’t healthy for the other dogs either. Just because they aren’t having the extent of the issues of your boxer/Pit mix, I wouldn’t give any of my dogs Merrick. My poor Aussie has suffered enough. She’s going back to her previous food.

  • Max

    No allergies, either chicken/poultry or environmental for my dog. She thrives on home cooked chicken. Storm’s Mom, you’re not clearly understanding the post by Rapaneui Lewie.

  • Max

    You may want to try small bags, before buying into a product that may not work. I know it’s costly, but sometimes it’s better to spend up front than down the road (money and healthwise).

  • Max

    Yes, our dogs have had enough. Merrick needs to pay attention to customers. There damned dog food is making dogs ill and out of sorts. I for one am never giving her Merrick again. I try for almost a year, and it was a disaster for my dog.

  • Max

    I agree there’s something upsetting my dog when she eats Merrick Grain Free. I also had been giving her the Duck and Sweet potato, but only 1 bag worked the rest were all making her sick, lethargic, and flatulent. No more Merrick for my adorable dog. I want her to live long and healthy.

  • Max

    My Aussie has been a healthy dog for 6 years. I got her started as a pup with Natural Balance simply because at that time NB sweet potato and salmon was highly rated. I’ve also always fed her home cooked meals for dinner and NB for breakfast. Never a problem. Never, unless she ate something off the street (we live in Brooklyn) and there’s always a chance that she’ll find something on one of her 4 daily walks.

    Nevertheless, she always thrived on NB, even after they made changes to their formulas. Then last year, I got to reading about better quality dog foods and better ingredients than NB and decided to change her over to Orijen, but it was too protein rich for her and it was making her vomit.

    That’s when we went to Merrick Grain Free Duck and Sweetpotato. It has been one bout of stomach problems after another since Dec. 2013. She had to be placed on a bland chicken and rice diet, and then slowly transitioned back to Merrick. She did well on a second try in February (with a new bag) which lasted until late April.

    Then again, with the third bag she began having too much gas (this was never an issue before for 6 years). So her stools became too small and she slowed down considerably. For a while I suspected aging and the summer weather, but we had an unusually moderate summer, so I decided to try the bland diet again before transitioning her to the next bag of Merrick Grain Free. Sure enough her energy levels increased almost immediately, the gas subsided completely and she was her old self again. In mid August I thought it was time to transition her back to the Merrick again. We transitioned her slowly the past 3 weeks, until yesterday when she had a full meal of only Merrick. Immediately, last night she was suffering from gas and was waking us up every few hours needing to go outside.

    This does it! I’m never giving her Merrick again, and I’m going back to NB until I can find a diet that suits her well. I should have listened to the reviews posted here. So I am now encouraging people who love their dogs, to monitor them closely when they begin using Merrick. I don’t know why she did welll with the second bag, but not with the first or any of the subsequent bags. And I don’t care to put her in anymore discomfort and possible danger to her health just to give Merrick the benefit of the doubt.

  • PittieMama

    We have fed our two 60 lbs pit mixes Merrick grain free food since they were puppies, and they have done so well with it! Because there are no fillers, we don’t have to feed them as much and there isn’t as much poop to clean up in the yard. Their fur and teeth are extremely healthy. When they were puppies, they tended to be a little gassy, but that has gone away. This brand works great for us and our dogs. We purchase on Amazon since we have a Prime membership; it ends up being cheaper and arrives in 2 days.

  • Sarah Pickens

    We switched one of our laboradors to the Merricks grain free Duck and Sweet potato and she has never been so gassy and sick. She has serious diarrhea and has been very lethargic and pants all the time. I thought she got into something, not her food. Our other lab started eating what she would not finish and now he is having the same incredibly terrible gas and diarrhea. I 100% believe it’s the food and will be switching her back to her old food as we were trying to keep her off grain to help with ear infections. Disappointed this food gets 5stars yet is so indigestible for dogs!

  • Margaret Palma

    Just returned a bag of the Grainfree Duck and Sweet Potato. I usually
    used this as part of a rotation diet for my Westie, and he used to thrive on it. But this time as I transitioned from Acana Ranchlands to the Merrick, his poo developed mucus. Then when his portions were 100% Merrick he had diarhea, straining, and threw up his dinner. This dog has never had diarhea before (18 months old). When he was straining so hard that drops of blood were on the diarhea, I took him to the emergency vet to make sure he didn’t eat something non-food. The poo was liquid and yellowish clear. So $450. later he is on a
    bland diet and antibiotics. Poo is back to normal.
    It could all be coincidental with the dog food, but I returned it, and got a new bag of Acana Ranchlands. Too bad because I am looking for something with mostly duck or turkey like Merrick. I will probably use the pet store version of Freshpet. (Chicken seems
    to make my Westie itchy.)

  • Shannie

    Neon. Orange. Poop.

    I really wanted to like this food after such a high rating, good reviews from other dog food specialists, and even the ingredients listed. They all seemed like they’d be absolutely ideal, but after trying two flavors and having no success, I had to return a mostly full sack of the Pork & Sweet Potato flavor to Petco (and they were just dolls about helping me!). Here’s the skinny on my super skinny boy:

    Sariel is a 17 month old Belgian Shepherd, who is unfortunately about 9 pounds underweight. He’s happy, not lethargic at all, very active, alert, and loves to eat (mostly my food and the cat’s!), but he’s got some very particular tummy troubles that make food shopping an absolute pain. He’s got skin allergies and bad dandruff, and chicken-based food gives him the runs. I’m not sure if grains do it too (since at the time of his worst breakout we were infested with fleas and he got hives from them), so I try to keep it grain-free, just to be on the safe side. The Merrick’s offers a line that is both grain and chicken free, and I was elated. For the longest time Sariel was eating exclusively Earthborn’s buffalo-based food (when I tried the primitive and it gave him the trots is when we decided to nix chicken from the menu), and he was doing great with it. But just before we moved he seemed bored of the kibble and didn’t want it anymore, and then after we moved it became very difficult to find.

    And thus, the shopping adventures began. Bored of Earthborn, I tried the Merrick’s, but was annoyed that he had explosive diarrhea; I thought this was simply the transition of moving, changing foods, and changing climates all at once. That’s a lot for a pup to deal with! So, I gave it a few weeks. But after one bag of the Beef & Sweet Potato and he still had the runs, I thought to try the Pork and see if he fared any better since it was also chicken-free. No dice. And what did I get instead? Oh, sure now he’s back to pooping twice a day (thankfully) but his poops are liquid and NEON ORANGE. They smelled terrible and are impossible to pick up in a baggy, too. I remembered a girlfriend’s breeder mentioning that sweet potato acted as a diuretic in his dogs and gave them all the runs, and her dog is part Belgian. Thinking it might be that, I’ve opted to change him off the Merrick’s entirely since all the grain-free are sweet potato-based.

    I’m sure it’s a great food. It seems very wholesome. But through the last several weeks and kibble malfunctions, Sariel’s had nothing but loose, runny, and now colorful stool, hot, itchy ears, and his skin allergies seem to be running back up into dandruff. Being that both recipes were chicken and grain-free. all I can think of is that it’s either the food, intolerant to pork, or intolerant to sweet potatoes. Either way, my poor puppy’s had enough. :c

  • aimee

    Hi losul,

    My comment was made based on a few papers that are from the same authors as the one you cited.

    “Mean LITT [large intestinal transit time] increased significantly with body size, from 9.1 +/- 1.1 hours
    in Miniature Poodles to 39.4 +/- 1.6 hours for Giant Schnauzers.”

    “So, we hypothesized that body size would mainly affect colonic transit
    time and that a longer colonic residence time would be related to a
    poorer faecal quality by promoting fermentation activity.”

    “A diet formulated with highly digestible protein, such as WG, led to
    reduced concentrations of protein-based fermentation
    products in feces together with improved fecal
    quality in dogs, especially in large sensitive ones. Poor fecal quality
    large sensitive dogs could be partly related to the
    pattern of protein fermentation in the hindgut.”

    Good point about rancid fats.

  • Betsy Greer

    Well worth the wait! That’s fascinating to me! Once again, I’ve definitely learned something today.

    My Cavalier has no food intolerance issues and has consistently small, compact stools. My Golden has food intolerance issues and although he’s doing really well on what he’s eating currently (and it took a long time to get there), his stool quality varies greatly.

    And I’ll agree with you that I would suspect a quality issue first if there’s a problem when feeding Merrick.

  • losul

    Sorry bout that! You know how slow I am, I hope not too disappointed after the wait!

    Hi Aimee,

    I agree “find it unlikely that all your dogs would develop an intolerance/sensitivity simultaneously.”

    This study seems to support at least some of what you are saying, although it has more to do with longer gastric (stomach) retention time in large breeds vs colonic retention time.


    “When fed an identical diet, large and giant breeds of dog tend to defecate more frequently and produce feces that have higher water content and are of a poorer quality (softer) than smaller breeds. However, the reason for the effect of body size on fecal variables in
    otherwise healthy dogs remains unknown.”

    “Larger breeds have a proportionately smaller gastrointestinal tract, comprising 3–4% body weight (BW)5 compared to 6–7% BW in smaller breeds (5).”

    “Large dogs had a longer GET at every sample point, compared to small dogs, when fed a commercial extruded dog food. This means that in large breeds of dog, food is retained in the stomach for a longer period; they have a lower rate of gastric emptying.”

    “Gastric emptying rate (GER) is the speed with which substances leave the stomach after ingestion. Liquids are retained for the shortest period, followed by small then large solid particles. GER is also affected by food-specific factors including fat content. It could be hypothesized that size-related differences in GER might contribute to the poorer feces quality of larger dogs.”

    “However, a study using the lactulose to L-rhamnose urinary excretion test found that small intestinal permeability was greater in larger breeds of dog (4), and this may contribute, at least in part, to the poor feces quality of larger dogs.”

    Also in conclusion it somewhat surprisingly states this;

    “In summary, the GET in large breed dogs was longer than that in smaller dogs, and this would not be likely to contribute to the poor feces quality associated with higher body weight.”


    Could have to do with the digestibility of the food I agree at least in part, I think it could still also have to do with higher small intestinal permeability (sensitivities/allergies) in large breeds possibly.

    But one of the the first things I suspect in complaints of these sorts, and with any brand using natural preservatives and delicate fats especially, is rancidity issues. Merrick (and WEF) has had a seemingly large volume of complaints lately (vomiting, diarrhea), not sure if they are breed/size related complaints.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hurry, I’m eager to read what you’re writing! : )

  • losul

    Hi Aimee,

    OOPs, I did n’t mean to post this yet so I edited the content out for now. still working on it….

  • Betsy Greer

    Regardless, whether the problem is the chicken or not, I wouldn’t go back to any chicken based food, Canidae or otherwise. Like I said, I’m not a fan of Merrick and it does seem, based on comments I’ve heard others make on this site alone, they do have some quality control issues. I’m not comfortable with Canidae being a Diamond product, so I couldn’t recommend that to you either.

    There are so many reasons to feed a rotational diet, and feeding a wide variety of proteins is so important. I’d suggest you find at least three foods; preferably from different manufacturers, that are of varying proteins and binders, that your dogs do well on, and rotate them periodically.

    Dr. Tim’s is great. I think the only one of his products that I’d recommend for you right now, would be the new Salmon and Pork Grain Free. Another couple of foods you might consider would be Wellness and Horizon Legacy. Lots of folks here have had great luck with Victor, which is highly digestible and a great price, especially if you can find it locally. I also contains montmorillonite, which is a sort of stool hardener and helps with dogs that are prone to loose stool.

  • aimee

    Interesting, I wonder if the problems your dogs experienced could be due to something as simple as the digestibility of the ingredients in Merrick’s foods.

    I find it unlikely that all your dogs would develop an intolerance/sensitivity simultaneously.

    The colonic retention time is longer in large/giant breeds. When undigested components are delivered to the colon they ferment to a greater degree than in smaller breeds. The products of fermentation can lead to a loose stool.

  • Rapanui Lewie

    Betsy, I think you’re likely correct that the problem issue is farther down the ingredient list, perhaps among the stuff they don’t actually have to list in detail. Like I said, I suspect the flavor/probiotic spray; maybe it uses an oil that doesn’t settle for them. There is even the possibility of some biological contaminant, though Merrick’s record seems pretty good to date.

    FYI, they’d started, when we first switched to Merrick, on the Chicken w/grains. Poop was …. incredibly voluminous. I’d forgotten two big dogs could actually poop that much and still have dog left afterwards! lol! And one of them, Henna, was constantly mooching while on that food; it was clear there was something about it that wasn’t satisfying her at all … She’d never, in her 6 yrs, been a moocher; on the chicken/rice food she starting counter surfing, even eating note pads, a lens from my glasses that she knocked off a table (I think she thought it was ice); she even ate a mousetrap I’d set to discourage her. Yes, a mousetrap.

    So we switched to chicken/sweet potato. Henna lost her moochiness, but Panda started itching like crazy. Eventually we transitioned over to Duck/sweet potato. That got rid of the itching on Panda, and Henna no longer was moochy … but both still had diarrhea or loose stools.

    This morning was the first day of their bland diet, boiled chicken and rice, after fasting yesterday. We’ll keep ‘em on this for at least a few days to let tummies mellow out. My missus wants to go back to Canidae afterwards, as they’d been on it so long without issue. I hesitate, for all the reasons you probably already know. I’m leaning to Dr Tims dog food right now; seems to have consistently great reviews, and pricewise not too hard on the checkbook. I’ll update with any new information. Fingers crossed!

  • Betsy Greer

    Canidae would have you believe that their products are made at Ethos, their manufacturing plant. Ethos actually has nothing to do with Proctor & Gamble – it seems as though you were thinking that was the case. Canidae is largely co-packed by Diamond. Ethos does manufacture some products, although not much, most are co-packed by Diamond.

    Allergy tests are terribly unreliable with both false positives and false negatives. Elimination diets are far more reliable.

    For starters, I’m not afan of Merrick, at all. I would find it odd that two or more dogs had the exact same food intolerance, which is very different from food allergy. I wouldn’t overlook primary proteins, but would think the likely culprit could also be an ingredient further down in the formula such as a fish protein, legumes or a probiotic. I would’ve looked, but you didn’t mention the specific formula you were feeding – I think I narrowed it down to two foods, one has fish and one doesn’t. Have you compared the ingredient panel of the food you were feeding to those you switched to?

  • Rapanui Lewie

    We’ll find out if chicken is an issue with the rice/chicken bland diet they’ll start in the morning, after a day of fasting. Personally, I strongly suspect it isn’t chicken per se; perhaps the way it is processed …

    As for Canidae … I couldn’t find the reference I’d found that on a couple of weeks back, but I did find this, that hadn’t been listed on Canidae’s site previously, despite the age:

    That said, neither is it made by Diamond (at least, in some parts of the country; still looking for product codes to indicate which plants it was made in.

    As for intolerance (aka, “allergies”); yes, the can pop up anytime, but the only way to be sure is a full allergy profile …. which is a pain in the backside, even with a vet school a few miles away. Which is why most folks do that ‘try this, eliminate that’ approach.

    One suspect area most often overlooked is the spray added on after processing. Usually an appetite enhancer, sometimes has probiotics and such. The overspray is likely to be fairly consistent across a manufacturer …. and if there were issues with one food in a manufacturer’s mix, it’d be understandable that other foods might have issue as well. Since the ingredient mix is largely similar between what the girls used to get in Canidae, and what is in Merrick, I’d be willing to put my money on the spray.

    As it stands, we’ll be going through the bland diet, then test foods on settled tummies.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Everything you’ve said seems to indicate it very well could be a chicken allergy/intolerance (particularly when you said it was a bit better on the duck, which doesn’t contain chicken.. it makes sense that, after a considerable period of time on chicken-inclusive foods, you’d find some success and some residual issues remaining for a while even while on a chicken-less food). It’s also BECAUSE your dogs ate chicken “for years” that it’s even MORE likely to be a chicken allergy/intolerance. Allergies/intolerances can pop up at any time, but ESPECIALLY when an ingredient has been fed for a long period of time.

    Personally, I would suggest adding a probiotic and digestive enzymes to the Merrick duck and see how it goes. From there, try another brand’s chicken-free recipe for some comparison. That’s the only way you’ll know “it’s Merrick”.

    Incidentially, Canidae is made by Diamond and not being taken over my P&G (at least not as far as anyone here knows). It’s because it’s made by Diamond – known for its recall history – why many of us won’t use it.

  • Rapanui Lewie

    We wanted to switch our Newfies over to one of the brands on the Director’s Cut list; Merrick seemed, by all accounts, to meet the criteria we were looking for in regards to US sourcing and processing. After an agonizing … nearly 5 months now … I can’t say that I have much confidence in the brand.

    We were switching from Canidae, mostly because we’d heard Procter & Gamble were buying Canidae … and their history with dog food brands shows a decline in quality and sourcing every time. We tried Whole Earth, Merrick’s cheaper brand, but, even after extended transitioning, the dogs still had diarrhea. I contacted Merrick, and they suggested it might be a grain issue, so we, again, transitioned over to Merrick Grain Free, first the chicken & sweet potato. Diarrhea. Merrick suggested maybe it was the chicken (keep in mind, the Canidae they ate for years has chicken AND grains), so we transitioned, yet again, over to the duck. This time their stool has been .. a BIT better, with bouts of solid stool, intermixed with bouts of … liquid pooh. Merrick, when contacted, continue to deflect; it MUST be the dogs, not the food. At this point, after all this time and effort, and with proper transitioning every freaking time, I just cannot agree.

    We use the vet/instructors at the UF vet school as our family vets; they suggest it may be or have been something in the food, but after this length of time it is more akin to garbage gut. We’re taking both dogs off Merrick, permanently, and going through a cleansing of rice/chicken/probiotics to get them back on track. Through this, the folks at Merrick have been … cordial, but insistent it couldn’t be them. When you see this volume of recent complaints, well, there might just be some validity, eh Merrick? Clean house before you look elsewhere.

    Not sure where we’ll go after the girls are back on track. It’s not cheap feeding giant breeds, and mistakes end up being costly, in food AND in vet bills.

  • jess

    Well, I have stopped my 3 fur babies on Merrick as I was rather disappointed that the kibbles are moulded. I threw 2 bags of them Duck & chicken. I also reported the problem to the pet store. One of my girl is on Wellness core now which she has less waste. I’m happy with it. The other little girl is on Canagan & she is doing well too. My elder boy is on both Wellness Core & Nutram grain free. No more loose poop & less waste. My elder boy was on antibiotic for 2 wks when he was on Merrick as he has red spots on his body. The vet advised to stop Merrick so I did. Sorry to say that I’m not going back to Merrick anymore.

  • Dori

    I hope you reported to the store that you purchased the food and also called the company and the FDA. They should all be made aware so that other dogs don’t get sick.

  • AMY

    I’m convinced the Merrick Grain Free Buffalo sweet potato recipe made my dog sick. Which I determined after my vet told me to change dog foods and a $300 vet bill for having bacterial infection from food. After much research, I went with Wellness Core Grain Free Low Fat more Proteins. I did not even wean her off of Merrick I fed my Golden a partial amount of recommended Wellness and added some cooked white rice and corn grits (real polenta) cooked well. Today she had two normal hard stools where they have been very runny for the last month or so (even after antibiotics).

  • Crystal Plemons

    I’ve fed my dog Merrick Chicken with Sweet Potato for a year or more and it has never been a problem. Recently I bought a new bag of the same food and since starting on the new bag, my dog has been vomiting and having diarrhea. The vet said there was a small amount of bacteria in her fecal sample, but not the amount typically seen for this level of sickness. She gave us antibiotics, just in case, and recommended a bland diet and probiotics to help get her digestive system back on track. After several days of this, I tried to transition back to Merrick by putting about 1/3 cup of kibble in the bland food. She started getting sick again after being just fine. I stopped the kibble and only did bland again for several days. Today I added a few pieces of kibble to her bland food, very little really, but a few hours later she vomited it up again. All of this started when we started the new bag of food, so I am convinced it is the food making her sick. We are done with this food and I am so disappointed because Merrick is supposed to be such a good food…..and for the amount of money I paid, it shouldn’t be making her sick.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yeah, it doesn’t sound like this food is a good match for your Boxer/Pit. These 2 breeds seem to have digestive issues/allergies/intolerances more often than other breeds. Try to find a food with a similar ingredient list to the TOTW that he did well on. Or if you don’t have a problem with that food switch him back. It depends on where you live if your food comes from the 1 Diamond plant that has all the recalls, or one of the other 2 plants that don’t have the recalls.

  • kismet1113

    I have a boxer/Pit mix who I slowly (over about 3 weeks) transitioned to eating Merrick’s Buffalo & Sweet Potato blend. HUGE mistake. I’m not sure if it is too rich (he was eating TOTW before) but after 2 months of terrible gas and loose (think soft serve ice cream) stools, he’s going on a different blend/brand. He’s had both buffalo & sweet potato in the past and he’s been to the vet twice and she doesn’t think it is an allergy. She thinks it is something with the food. I have two other dogs who are also eating the Merrick food, and while they also have terrible gas, they don’t seem to have the digestive issues with it that my boxer/pit does.

  • Fred

    I bought Merrick grain free real chicken and sweet potato and found what appears to be grains of barley in the bottom of the bag. I contacted the company and they said they referred it to quality control. I have not heard back from them. I am wondering if I am paying for the higher priced grain free and getting the chicken with grains in it. Since I did not get a response back I reported it today to the FDA. I sent pictures of the grains to both of them. Before I found the grain I bought their Grain free Pork and Sweet Potato. It spells bad to me and my dogs stools slightly wet looking. So I am now looking for another product after reading many of the comments. I am not sure who to trust anymore.

  • Nicholas

    My dog is doing very well on the nutrisca. His stomach is doing muchbetter, his poops are always consistent and firm which really helps anal glands. I feed the nutrisca salmon.

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  • justaguest

    how did your dog do on nutrisca? i’ve been feeding merrick for a long time too, but want to switch it up a bit and start rotating.

  • Betsy Greer

    Funny, you and others keep mentioning how great Merrick is, being made in Texas, and all.

    Before you try that puppy food, you might want to do a little research about Merrick and read this thread regarding numerous problems with one of their other products, about which they are aware, but refuse to do anything about:

  • andreeon

    Merrick just came out with a” puppy” grain free dry kibble.should be at Petco and other stores mid june.Just finished talking with Merrick company myself……..
    remember all texas made in merrick

  • Crazy4dogs

    Val, your dogs may have an intolerance to beef. It’s difficult to compare Orijen Six Fish as it’s not only a different company, but a totally different protein. You didn’t mention which formula of Instinct you were using. If you were using the Instinct beef, the ingredient panel is quite different from Merrick. Merrick has liver as the second ingredient while Instinct Beef Raw Boost has liver as the 13th ingredient where it is really just a touch. There is no liver in Instinct Orignal Beef. Sometimes the liver is too rich, especially if just being introduced. Also Instinct has a good portion of turkey in both of it’s beef formulas. If you go to their websites, you can see that the formulas are pretty different. They are all good products, just depends on what works for your dogs.

  • Val

    This food has twice caused diarrhea on my toy poodles. They have been on a diet of natures variety instinct grain free dry food as well as Orijen six fish grain free dry food (no problem switching back and forth). The diarrhea occurred on initial feeding with the merrick Texas beef no grain dry food. Would not recommend the merrick.

  • jess

    Hi, I did. For my 2 younger girls, it was about 3 weeks to get them fully on Merrick. My elder boy took about 1-2 weeks as I thought he can handle it. I did a food rotation on him every week or two. He’s doing pretty good with Canine Caviar. Yes, I guess I have to mix it with the other kibbles to try it all over again. Hopefully it works cos I know he loves the Duck & sweet potato very much. He will wait for me patiently at his meal corner waiting for me to serve him. Can see he is pretty happy with the food compare to the other kibbles. So it will be sad if I would have to stop him from his favourite food. My 2 girls are not as bad but I will try to mix with their previous kibbles again to see the difference. Anyway, thanks for the advice. Appreciated.

  • Crazy4cats

    Did you do a slow transition to the new food? You may have switched too quick. Their systems may not have been ready. Can you buy some of their previous food and slowly mix in the new food a little at a time. It took my dogs two weeks to transition to a new kibble. Good luck!

  • jess

    My poodles seem to have very loose & watery poop. Difficult to clean the mess as it is seriously soft & watery at times. Does this mean they have food intolerance? They have been feeding on Merrick grain free line for about 2-3 weeks. My boy was on Nutrience grain free & decided to make a switch due to hard poop. The other 2 girls were on Nutram grain free but they seemed to eliminate too much in a day (about 6-7 times a day). I felt that’s rather too much. Shall I stopped them on Merrick grain free & try on their Classic line? Appreciate anyone could advice me on this. Thanks

  • ab1028

    Love this company and their canned products, but my dog was not a fan of this dry food. He was not happy about eating the chicken formula, and it made him smell bad. I thought I would use it in my rotation, but probably not. I will definitely continue to use their canned foods though! Now am using Acana Pacifica, which he is enjoying.

  • tdog

    Where did you find the expiration date? I ended up returning a big bag and exchanged it for a smaller one because I couldn’t find the expiration date ANYWHERE on the bag (the cashier at Petco looked too and couldn’t find it).

  • Nicholas

    I have been feeding Merrick for about 4 years now and recently I have noticed my dog is getting stomach upset from this food. I don’t know if they changed anything in the formula I feed the grain free, I am going to be switching to nutrisca.

  • Avram Cohen

    Weird,, that’s not the first time I’ve that pork causes itching in grain free formulas???

  • losul

    Grain free or not, the more polyunsaturated and delicate fats (fish) a food contains, the more they are subject to going rancid, and especially with the advent of natural preservatives ( tocopherols, rosemary extract) vs synthetics.

    Luckily you caught it before feeding it, as rancid fats can cause a multitude of health problems.

    Fresh is best.

  • theBCnut

    I haven’t had this happen, but it can happen because of the circumstances of it’s storage before coming to you. If it was stored in a hot damp warehouse, it can start the fat turning rancid.

  • Shar24

    the potato and rabbit, potato and fish and potato and duck formulas all don’t appear to have peas and are grain free.

  • Shar24
  • GremDude

    I got a 25 pound bag of Merrick Grain Free Real Pork and Sweet Potato from my local Petco. I opened the bag and it was RANCID. This was really weird as the expiration date per the bag was 1/2015!! Luckily Petco cheerfully refunded my purchase price. I got the regular Merrick as now I am paranoid about the grain free type. Has anyone else ever have this happen??

  • aimee

    I find this response rather odd since chickens and turkeys don’t have hair : ) Do you know that you are seeing hair vs feathers? Also the feather removal process is quite efficient removing the entire shaft from the follicle.

    Hair would have to come from the mammal components of the diet. Whole hides can be incorporated into meals so hair can come from meat meals. Meat meals can vary significantly in quality. It is up to the manufacturer what quality of meals they buy and what they find acceptable to incorporate into the diet.

    Here is an article that mention high hair (Wool) in Lamb meal

    I don’t know how deboned buffalo is sourced. I think material is ground then put under pressure through a screen to remove the larger pieces. I don’t know if there is a hair allowance.

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    I returned a bag of the Texas Beef to Petco just last week because i found hairs in the kibble also. I called Merrick and they told me the same exact thing. I have never had that problem with any other kibble that i have fed.

  • Rose

    We are finding many hairs sticking out of the Merrick Buffalo Grain-free kibble, as well as loose hairs in the food. We contacted Merrick about this, and their explanation is as follows:
    “… you may notice small ‘hairs’ in individual kibbles of the food. This
    material is not foreign matter. The fibrous material represents a very small amount of hair follicle that is incidental to the preparation of any chicken or turkey meal. It is a natural component of the meal and is no way harmful to your dog.”

    Is this true? Do all meals in all dog foods contain hairs like this? Could this be careless processing? Wouldn’t think any human would want to see hairs in their food, and then be told it’s incidental to its preparation!

    Just can’t get past all these hairs in the food. Does anyone know of a quality grain-free kibble that does not contain hairs? Or are we just overly concerned about nothing?

  • Joe Harman

    I’ve been having issues with finding a GF dry food that does not have Peas in it… It was listed on an allergy test for my Great Dane. I am considering trying this dog food as an elimination or hopes that it will have less peas than the Hills Ideal GF food he is on now.

    Has anyone else had the issues with peas? Or recommendations?

  • theBCnut

    If you mean for my dog, she’s had blood work every year. Her thyriod is normal, but it is a good thought. Hypothyriodism is on the rise in dogs for some reason.
    It is true that low thyriod can cause a whole host of different symptoms, I’m hypothyriod myself, so I have lots of first hand experience.

  • chiapink

    Our dog started doing the same, she is 12, we took her to the vet and he suggested that we do a T-4 thyroid test, she was low, we will start the meds tommorow, but the thyroid can really cause a lot of issues, gasto included, just a thought.

  • Scott Govoni

    i would have his gull bladder checked just in case.

  • Matthew

    Pet Valu sells it

  • tdog

    I’m considering feeding the Texas Beef formula. Any thoughts on the addition of Whey Protein Concentrate? I haven’t seen that ingredient listed in other quality dog foods. Its 13th on the ingredient list. Harmless protein booster?

  • Desiree Hayes

    Same problem here with my boxer.

  • Desiree Hayes

    My boxer has really bad gas on this too (Merrick Buffalo and Sweet Potato.) He does the best on Castor and Pollux Organix. I bought the Merrick because it was less expensive but I am switching back when this bag is empty.

  • Pootiewoo

    Try adding some Grandma Lucy’s artisan, and the dock off a portion of the merrick, its got alot of fiber and will slow down digestion so his stomach can work at the protein and fully digest it.

  • Margaret

    One keeps trying new packaging and new formulas but continues losing market share…so sad :D

  • Margaret

    SD was part of the massive pet food recall in 2007 and that also included the prescription diet. I believe over 5300 pet foods made by several corporations were involved. Some of those corporations are involved in the latest poisoning cases involving mainly jerky treats. Every pet food that was standard on shelves @ the vets was part of it and although there is still information out there, much of it (including a video that had been posted on this site) was removed from the internet due to possible bias in the class-action lawsuit. I lost my black Lab who had been on one of those foods and, having moved a couple of times since, when looking for a vet I ask which foods they stock. If they list the same old foods then I call the next one. By doing this I met a vet who recommended foods that all have top ratings here and who told me about those perks you mentioned.

  • Christine Haynes Turner

    Thank you. Been a rough year – we are working through it all. I do appreciate your comments -so much. I’ll try the trick training. Hmmm – new

  • theBCnut

    Sardines, fresh eggs, yogurt, lean meat leftovers are all good. That’s a lot of loss in a very short time. You and your sweet pup, both, have my deepest sympathy. It sounds like you both need to baby each other for a while. For exercise, try throwing a little piece of dried liver or some other treat down the hall or across a room, have her go get it then come back to you before you throw the next one. Also, trick training wears out their mental muscles faster than physical exercise does, so add a few tricks to her line up.

  • Christine Haynes Turner

    She has eaten 2 days in a row – with boiled chicken as the base and I am slowly adding the dry food. I am with you – I think I’ll just continue with the adders. It will be a year since my husband passed, 9 months since Cody – her bud passed – she’s just very sensitive. It has been soooooo cold in Ohio – I have not been able to walk her. I know she misses those walks. We are praying for warmer weather soon -:). Thank you for your comments.

  • theBCnut

    One of my dogs went on a hunger strike when we lost one of our dogs that was his best buddy, so I know that it is possible. One thing to do to stimulate appetite is to make sure that she is getting enough exercise. I had to start adding canned food to my picky dogs food to get him to eat, but then I started reading all the pluses to adding wet and fresh foods to kibble and now I always add stuff to kibble and my picky eater hasn’t missed a meal in almost 2 years.

  • Christine Haynes Turner

    Thank you — I have been reading more and more about switching my dogs food. I have done this rotation over the past year, but she just seems so picky — I have given more food away to our local SPCA because she just won’t eat it. My vet is going to put her on an appetite stimulant to see if this helps. My husband and my other two dogs passed away over the past several years and I do believe this has had an impact on her:(

  • theBCnut

    Meals added to dog food are already processed, so they end up processed twice. That’s the down side. They do allow for higher levels of protein than fresh meats. That’s the up side. Use the search feature to look up rotational diets to learn more about why it is a good idea to switch your dog’s food.

  • Christine Haynes Turner

    I always read that “meal” was not a good product in a dog food. I am confused. Does someone have an answer for me? I am feeding my dog Merrick Real Buffalo and Sweet Potatoe and the first several ingredients are Deboned Buffalo, Chicken, Turkey, and Salmon Meal and Sweet Potatoe. help!!! I also add real chicken — I have been having problems with my Sophie for the past year — she just does not seem to want to eat. She used to be a normal eater.

  • BorderMom

    Thank you!!!

  • BorderMom

    Thank you!!

  • theBCnut

    No, she isn’t ever too old for protein. One of my dogs just turned 12. When she was 10, she was slowing down and acting like the old dog I thought she was. I came here looking for answers for another dog’s issues and decided to change up everything about how I feed my dogs. I went to a much higher protein food and even started adding raw meat to their diets. My old lady started acting young again and now at 12 still acts like she did when she was 7.

  • Michelle Jones

    I have a pitbull with very bad food allergies. Well he is allergic to everything! We tried other foods and he didn’t not like them and they were expensive. But I switched him to Merrik with duck and sweet potato and he loves it! It has made his coat a lot shinier and he is just all around healthier. I highly recommend this food for any dog!

  • dchassett

    Hi BorderMom. I have a 14 year old Maltese in great condition. No issues other than, of course, arthritis in one hip and a couple of degenerative discs mid spine but you would never know it. Her vet says her blood work is of a 7 or 8 year old. I actually raised her protein levels a couple of years ago. I’m of the belief that dogs need much higher levels of protein than they get on typical lower quality dog foods. It used to be believed that older dogs needed lower levels of protein. I honestly don’t know where the myth started but anyway, in actuality, the opposite is true. Of course if a dog has health issues then that’s an entirely different story. Healthy dogs do very well on high protein, lower carbs and medium or lower fats.

  • Crazy4cats

    From what I’ve read on this website, it is not usually recommended to lower protein for seniors. Hopefully one of the regular experts will chime in with some advice. It sounds like you are doing a great job with your pup. Good luck!

  • sharface4

    I am in the processing of switching my almost 9 yr. old, 39# female border collie from Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Fish to Merrick Chicken and Sweet Potato. My girl is active, but has a slight case of hip dysplasia and gets Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM supplements.

  • Woof1

    The fact your dogs did so poorly on SD doesn’t surprise me at all. Their quality and concern for quality has gone downhill particularly the last 10-15 years. They schmooze the vets with big conferences and lots of freebees and kickbacks; that’s why your vet recommends it. I got that straight my vet’s mouth who flat out said he does go to their conferences for that very reason. HOWEVER, while they carry SD mainly because of the prescription formulas (which I also question and prefer to use Royal Canin or iVet), they do carry many other high quality dog foods for the simple reason if they can find a food besides SD for a dog, they will. I’m interested in trying the Merrick though I just bought a bag of Earthborne to try for right now.

  • Molly Smith

    Dogswell LiveFree or Orijen and then use a probiotic, pumpkin, and/or Raw unpressed coconut oil. Sometimes dogs do not do well on kibble alone. Their bodies are biologically programmed for fresh, uncooked raw food, so the lack of moisture, digestive enzymes, etc. seems to affect some dogs more than others. If you are able to supplement with raw, that would be ideal.

    Be sure to also check out Organic Pet Superfood’s DIGESTION supplement.

    I saw LiveFree or Orijen because they are higher in protein, lower in carbs, have appropriate levels of vitamin d, and both make specific effort to help with digestion. Orijen coats their food in a positive bacteria that helps the pet digest the nutrients more effectively. LiveFree adds 11 strands of antioxidants plus probiotics and digestive enzymes right in the food. We have had amazing feedback on both.

    Some vets will say they are too high in protein – this is only true if the dog is suffering from kidney failure or some other particular ailment or if they are not active. If you have a Cane Corso, I would assume they are very active and either of these foods would be the perfect choice.

  • JRO

    Ohhh haha I see, yes I can see there are definitely some advantages to wet food. I misunderstood the conversation, I thought your comment was replying to the original post :P

  • Pattyvaughn

    I agree! But the person I was responding to has 1 Yorkie and seemed like she thought there was something wrong with using canned food. I was trying to point out that there are advantages to using canned, especially for an older small dog. I have 3 dogs and 2 of them are 40 lbs and very active. One of them has food intolerances that require more expensive foods, however I decided that I would rather spend the money on better foods than spending the money at the vet, so I spend more than I would like to on dog food. I definitely get that some people are doing the best that they can.

  • JRO

    It’s expensive. I feed Merrick Grain Free, and the only reason I can afford it is because I only have one 27lb dog, who eats just over 1 cup/day. A 25 lb. bag lasts almost 3 months (that’s about $18/month). If I fed him canned he would probably eat 1 1/2 cans/day (depending on the type and the calorie content). Let’s say I can get Merrick canned for $2/can, that would be $3/day, and $90/month! I really can’t afford that, a lot of people can’t.

  • Walter E. Whippet

    Hi – in the states, I buy Merrick at Tractor Supply Company. In Canada, it looks like they have a ton of stores in Ontario and a few in Manitoba.

  • Rahim Rajani

    Any advice as to where I can find this in Canada? Either in stores, or online?

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi G Lea,

    I’d say go with what your gut instinct tells you. I have to have a certain level of confidence in a food before I’ll feed it to one of my dogs. I’ve passed on a lot of foods, that otherwise look good, because they don’t pass my “sleep test.”

  • G Lea

    I recently received a bag of puppy kibble which had larger bits. I would say twice the size. I emailed Merrick and they said it was an issue with one of their machines cutting the wrong size and that it has been addressed. They said there is no worry, the food is fine. I’m not feeding it, took it back to the store. This has me wondering if we should find something else to feed him.

  • Pattyvaughn

    People are less likely to notice a coat problem on a shorter coated dog, but that doesn’t mean the problem isn’t there. They don’t feel as greasy, dry, brittle, etc when they don’t have as much coat to run your fingers through. And I think they replace hair faster too.

  • Shawna

    Totally agree about high protein and Yorkies KristenMD!! Just never heard that before and made me think :)…

    As stated before, I have eight — (2 Poms, a Papillon and a Pap mix, a Terrier mix, a Chihuahua mix, a Chi/Poodle mix and a Shih Tzu/Poodle mix. All eat a combination of HIGH protein raw and some canned/kibble. I’m a definite advocate of higher protein for all dogs!

    Edit — And the Poms do lose a TON of undercoat when they blow their coats!!! UGHH

  • KristenMD

    I did originally read that by someone who specializes in double-coated breeds (can’t find the link). So maybe not the drop-coated breeds as much as double-coated long-hair dogs like Shelties, Pomeranians, Chows, etc. Either way, I don’t see a reason why a high-protein diet would be bad for a Yorkie.

  • Shawna

    Initially your comment makes sense but after thinking it through a bit I’m not so sure. I have eight toy and small breed dogs — 6 with long hair and 2 with short hair. Although none of my dogs shed much, my short haired pups do lose more hair than the long haired pups. It seems this loss of hair would generate just as great a need for protein as the long hair pups. Actually, after a certain length, the Shih Tzu, Paps and Poms coats quit growing in length.

  • KristenMD

    Long-hair dogs require more protein than short-hair dogs to build coat. They should do well with a higher protein diet.

  • Alison

    Having same issue…I think will need to switch food. The gas clears the room. I started adding a scoop of pumpkin to the food but that is only temporary. Looking for a different brand…Did you switch foods?

  • Alison

    I bought two bags online and didn’t see any difference in size of kibble…

  • Alison

    I currently have my Cane Corso on this food. He doesn’t seem to be doing too well with it. He has diarreah and really bad gas. I added a scoop of pumpkin last night and this morning and his stools are better but I don’t think he is responding well to this food. Any recoommendations on a different brand since after a full bag he still doens’t seem to like this brand?

  • Nelson

    My 7 year old lab/pit mix has been eating Merrick grain-free since last May (10 months) and a month ago she started having the worst gas EVER. The problem started last month when I bought her a bag of the grain-free buffalo instead of her usual grain-free chicken. I fed her the buffalo variety for 2 weeks and then switched back to the chicken. Unfortunately, switching back to the chicken didn’t stop the gas problem. Also, she used to love her dog food but now she doesn’t want to eat it. I’m not sure what’s going on.

  • InkedMarie

    Have you looked at Wellness Core reduced fat?

  • LabsRawesome

    If you want a weight loss food, go grain free and low carb.

  • Laura Hardaway

    Wish Merrick made weight control diet for my boxers. They love the Merrick homemade treats that feeders supply sales.

  • Dr J

    They had it now for 2 months and do very well on it. I give them a mix of duck and buffalo with a good helping of minced meat.

  • Charl

    They block around the clock and mock

  • GrumpyoldScrooge

    This is a great choice

  • Christine Ferdaus

    You can also use goat’s milk as a probiotic when changing food. I use a rotation diet for my boys and do not transition when changing food but I do add a smidgen of goat’s milk to the new food for 3-5 days and we never have belly troubles.

  • benny

    I have an english/olde english bulldog mix who suffered from frequent ear infections and skin allergies. I made the switch from Chicken Soup for the dog lovers soul to Merrick Grain-Free chicken about a year ago and he hasn’t had an ear infection since.

    However, I have recently experienced some issues with Merrick, so lets see if anyone has dealt with the same. I am questioning the production process. I noticed a difference in kibble size from bag to bag, some bags had larger bits than others, and my dog noticed as well. He refused to eat it, which raised my concern further, leading me to believe that the product my have been bagged incorrectly with a different flavor kibble in place of the chicken. I don’t know. I exchanged the bag for another without a problem, but it just happened again and it is now very frustrating. Has anyone else experienced this ?

  • Courtney

    Sorry for the confusion everyone!! I initially posted here and decided that the whole earth farms page might be a better place to ask my question.

  • Stephanie Bacchi Walter

    can also give plain yogurt :)

  • Stephanie Bacchi Walter

    give him a half a cup or so of pumpkin (libby’s 100% pumpkin in the can in the baking aisle) dependant on his weight. it will clear up runny stool. i have used it on my 12 week old pup when she got into something and it is a proven method. i also recommended it to the new forever home each pup went to as some get upset tummies when transitioning and it has worked then too. so yes, pumpkin is proven to help bind. you can either give it straight or mix it with food. i do not recommend that you keep changing foods until you can get his stools back under control and figure out why he’s having issues. some dogs have sensitive stomachs to start with. labs are a known breed for that. i have one that cant have anything but her regular food and some animal crackers as a treat. if she gets anything else, we are off to the vet for GI meds and anti-poop shots. when she had her pups, they suggested puppy chow for the added nutrients while nursing-that was a huge mistake. very bad upset stomach, several sleepless nights for me running in and out with her to potty. my late lab died from a flipped stomach due to changing food and stress from boarding 2 nights due to an infection she had from a bad flea infestation we had(yes i use monthly flea med). so i would suggest the pumpkin and stay with one food until you can get his tummy situated

  • losul

    I can see where Merrick could make an attractive aquisition for the big 3. Let’s hope the Merrick family can continue resisting offers.

    It seems the only way the big 3 can hang on to market share these days is through aquisition rather than internal growth. I wonder why (sarcasm).

  • losul

    I think Merrick is a solid company and puts out a quality product. We only use about 33% kibble, but my dog is now about 3 or 4 weeks into a bag of the Texas beef. We also use their canned products occaisonally and satisfactorally.

  • Dye

    Both my Yorkie Poo and Shih Tzu have been eating Merrick Texas Beef with Sweet Potato for about 4 months now. They both love this food and have been doing well which makes me very pleased with this brand because they were on Instinct before, but didn’t seem like they cared for it too much. I know my Yorkie poo doesn’t do too well on Chicken, so I switched flavors. For the pricey cost I couldn’t afford to keep buying different flavors. I switched them over to science diet only because its what’s recommended in the 2 different vet offices I take my animals too. Switching them to science diet was the worst decision ever. My dogs were throwing up every single day, sometimes 2 to 3 times a day. So I switched them back to Instinct and they wouldn’t even touch the food. This went on for about 3 days that they barely ate. I went in to Petco and asked what is another high quality food that is grain free and the associate mentioned Merrick. After reading the ingredients i decided to give it a try I bought a small bag of the Texas Beef and Sweet Potatos for my dogs and they just inhaled it. They ate every bite I put into their bowl. Their stools are normal and they stopped throwing up. Both their coats are beautiful, shiny and soft. I even buy Merricks soft food which they are head over heels for. I am very happy and satisfied with this brand. I would deff recommend it.

  • ltschwartz29

    I started my dog on Merrick grain free duck 3 months ago. He has bad allergies. I could not be more excited about this food. His coat is thicker, his energy has doubled, and his stool is perfect. He was not eating grain free food before. I will say that he poops and pees more frequently on this food and drinks significantly more water, which I believe is a normal occurrence when switching to grain free. Overall, this is a phenomenal food and I love it! My lab would he anything, but he loves this food too.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Until your dog is used to switching, you should transition every time. If you watch your dogs stool, you will see that over time, switching foods will stop causing soft stool. At that point you can speed up transitions with an eye to being able to switch foods with no transition at all. It took my sensitive dog several months of changing up her foods, but now she can handle whatever I give her, whenever I give it.

  • Kate

    I have a question that might sound silly! I’m switching my dogs to Merrick grain free buffalo and sweet potatoes and I know I have to make the change gradually from their old food so my question is: once they are completely on the Merrick grain free buffalo dry food do I have to gradually switch them again if I want to get the same food but by example duck and sweet potato? Thank you!

  • Kim

    I rescued a Great Pyrenees from a woman who never addressed her skin issues. She came to me with hair loss, constant itchiness, hot spots and was 25 lbs underweight. After an initial vet visit and meds, I put her on Merrick grain free Texas beef and sweet potato at the advice of a very knowledgeable small pet store. I have noticed an increase in her weight, and her coat is filling in beautifully. She itches no more and the gas she used to produce is gone. She chows her food down in five minutes so I know she is enjoying it. The pet store gives every 13th bag free ($50 value) which is a wonderful perk. I am very pleased with this food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Sorry Dr Mike
    I wasn’t referring to the spam filter issue. Disqus just doesn’t always show all the posts. Many of us have answered something already answered once because the post just didn’t show, but later we’ll see it. That wasn’t the case this time apparently, but it was what I was referring to.

  • Shawna

    Morning Mike,

    Although not this time, I’ve had this very thing happen to me too. I go back to read something I wrote a day or two ago and it’s not there. If I pull up my personal comment history I can find it that way but it no longer shows otherwise. This actually happens pretty often. Those of us that post often likely experience it more frequently than others.

  • Shawna

    Hi Patty,

    I checked this out in order to reply to Mike’s post and I see that Courtney posted this on the Merrick as well as the Whole Earth Farms pages. The replies you and I left are on the Whole Earth Farms page.

  • Mike Sagman

    I’ve been checking the Disqus spam filter regularly and I don’t see any posts that do not deserve to be trapped in that folder at this time.

    Please keep in mind: We get literally hundreds of spam comments every day. And although it isn’t perfect, Disqus does an excellent job of protecting most of us from having to deal with these annoying posts.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Disqus, the commenting software, is hiding posts again, If it wasn’t, you would see that this was all mentioned 5 days ago. I get very frustrated by Disqus some days.

  • sandy

    The title of the food doesn’t weigh in as much as the actual ingredients do for me. I’d just consider it a ‘red meat’ formula the way the rules are for naming a food. If the ingredients will work for your dog, then I wouldn’t let the name of it be a big deal. Some other affordable grain free options might be Simply Nourish, Nutrisource, Hi-Tek Naturals, Natures Domain (if you’re not particularly too worried about Diamond). Sometimes just going gluten free helps instead of avoiding all grain.- foods with rice, millet or quinoa.

  • pam

    You’re missing a keyword–with.
    (Taken directly from fda webpage: “The AAFCO model regulations now allow use of the term “with” as part of the product name, such as “Dog Food With Beef” or “Cat Food With Chicken.” Now, even a minor change in the wording of the name has a dramatic impact on the minimum amount of the named ingredient required, e.g., a can of “Cat Food With Tuna” could be confused with a can of “Tuna Cat Food,” but, whereas the latter example must contain at least 95% tuna, the first needs only 3%. Therefore, the consumer must read labels carefully before purchase to ensure that the desired product is obtained.”)

    Ps not a bad food but it doesn’t look like it contains a lot of protein for being grain free.

  • cinci simmons

    Your vet can do tests to figure out exactly what your dogs are allergic to- or, a specialty vet can do this.

  • cinci simmons

    My picky eater likes Dave’s 95% chicken ( or turkey or beef) but he LOVES the Freshpet foods that come in a refrigerated roll at Target’s/ Walmart. Dogfood Advisor says it doesn’t have tons of protein, but he likes it so much that he will even eat the dry (Orijen) I put under it. Even the Kirkland (Costco) canned has 5 stars. The hard part is getting picky eaters to eat it!

  • Courtney

    I have a question that I’d like to ask the people here. I have been feeding my dog that has grain and poultry issues the Merrick Grain Free Beef formula. My dog who doesn’t have issues eats Whole Earth Farms. I noticed that with the new line of Whole Earth Farms they have a grain and poultry free formula that is significantly less expensive than the Merrick GF.

    One thing that has been troubling me about it that I am asking about is the ingredients list. The food is called “WEF Beef and Lamb” and the first five ingredients are Pork meal, dried potatoes, peas, pork fat, and sweet potatoes. No beef or lamb even shows up in the ingredients until the 6th and 8th ingredients. Thoughts on this, anyone? If you
    were a college student with a part time job that can’t really afford the Merrick GF to begin with, would you switch your dog to it, is basically what I’m asking, haha.

  • Candyce Kirsch

    My 6 year old chocolate lab has been on the merrick grain free dog food (switched flavors from duck to buffalo and just recently to chicken) for the past 5 months and has absolutely horribly stinky gas. She used to be on simply nourish a petsmart no soy, wheat or corn dog food and she never had gas like this. I’m not sure where it’s coming from or why. An anyone give me some feedback please

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi tigermama –

    As long as your yorkie is healthy, this food by no means contains “too much protein.” Many of us here (myself included) actually feed diets much higher in protein than this – either raw diets or high protein kibbles with high protein raw or canned toppers. Yorkies are predisposed to liver shunts and dogs having liver shunts would require a low protein diet but, as I said, as long as your yorkie is healthy there’s no reason to limit protein. There really is no risk of feeding “too much protein” to a healthy dog as when protein beyond the dog’s needs is provided the excess amino acids are merely catabolized and the waste nitrogen is excreted as a passive process.

  • tigermama

    He has allergies to dairy, soy, carrots and beef.

  • tigermama

    Yorkie foster mom do you think that is too much protein for yorkies? My yorkie likes the chicken and sweet potato and has been doing well on Natural Balance LID sweet potato and chicken but his coat is not as shiny….so I just bought a small bag of Merrick chicken and sweet potato and he likes it. High protein tho…..

  • Pattyvaughn

    Considering that kidney disease is one of the leading causes of death in dogs now days, and canned food is less processed than kibble, and kibble does not clean the teeth, why not used canned food?

  • Ursala

    So what’s different about it?

  • Sheree’

    Both of my Boyz love Merrick Buffalo and Texas Beef. I ran out of food and bought a small bag of the chicken until my order arrived. Neither of my Boyz cared for it! I was a little surprised because they both love fresh cooked chicken… and they love their True Chews! They also LOVE the Merrick Beef Ears! as my Poodle can not eat Pig Ears or any type of pork. Merrick is a reliable dog food and I trust the quality!

  • Karma_Grant

    Pure Balance is a 5 star canned dog food. It’s made by the Ol Roy people but is quality. It’s rated on this site. The stew like version (has grain) is $1 a can. The grain free (which is ground version) is $1.25 a can.

  • emilioaponte

    My little wolf Tequila eats Merrick Grain Free Buffalo and Pork recipes, I tried to avoid chicken. She is twelve years old and three pounds two ounces. Don’t use canned food. She also eats Acana.

  • Yorkie Foster Mom

    I see a lot of comments about the Merrick Grain Free Duck & Sweet Potato but don’t see a lot about the Merrick Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato. Does anybody know why, or if a better product is the duck? I have 3 picky yorkies and they do eat the Merrick Chicken fairly well as long as I mix a little wet food with it. They absolutely do not like the Merrick canned food. Anybody have suggestions on a quality canned food?

  • Nik

    Merrick has said that they never use anything from China or any GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Its plant is in Texas so “Made in the USA” too boot. :) (We love it.)

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL!! I thought you were saying it “smells like our poo”

  • Pam c

    Oops or* not our. I always forget to spell check on my phone.

  • Pam c

    I agree with the beef kibble being smelly. It doesn’t smell rancid our like poo but the first couple times I served my pup food, I would definitely gag. My dog seems happy eating it and she hasn’t been sick for awhile now. So I’m going to finish up the bag and never buy it again. Not because it’s a bad food but because I find the smell to be unpleasant.

  • ollie

    As far as i know and it should be on their website, they do not source anything from china. If you get any of their can food just be aware that some reciepes have bones in them. They are cooked to mush so its safe for your dog to eat but i still take them out. It will say on can if it has any bones.My dogs love this food especially the duck ( and lamb version in classic) and so far i havent had any problems, but if your dogs have any allergies just check ingreadents before buying. good luck

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  • Emma

    Hi Patty, just wanted to thank you for your advice. I did end up trying plain chicken and rice, which cleared up the issue immediately. I then tried transitioning in some Merrick Buffalo, and the diarrhea re-appeared with even just a teeny bit of kibble mixed in with his bland food. So he seems intolerant to both the Duck and Buffalo flavors (at least for now). So I moved backward to just the bland diet until his stool was normal again, and then tried some Blue Buffalo (not GF). Problem instantly gone! His stool is perfect. I’m not a big fan of BB, so I’m definitely planning to change it up, but I’m going to stick with this at least for a little while to give my poor guy’s gut a break. I’ll probably try Earthborn next … Thanks for helping me troubleshoot.

  • Tanya

    Tara, both companies like most dog foods, use ‘vitamins made in USA’. That means that some of the vitamins, including vitamin-b, vitamin-c and taurin are originated in China. Fromm is the only company I know of that uses 100% China-free vitamins. I would contact the companies and aks them but if they tell you ‘all of our vitamins are from USA’ that means that some of them are still from China. These are not available in the USA because China used monopoly and dominates this market here. You want to look for a company that uses vitamins from Europe or gives you a guarantee which they usually can give you ONLY if the vitamins are from Europe.
    Regarding this comparison merrick/nature’s logig:These are 2 completely different foods. Both are decent but my dogs get runny stools on both of them. Sometimes companies use lower grades of meals which is difficult to digest. I use only Fromm because I know that they use the highest quality.

  • Tara C

    Just wondering if anyone knows how Merrick food compares to Nature’s Logic. I see supplements in Merrick’s list of ingredients, but it appears they don’t use any sources from China. Can anyone verify that? That was my reason for wanting to feed NL, but it is impossible to get where I live unless I order over the internet. However, Merrick is readily available. Right now I’m feeding the Merrick Duck and Sweet Potato and my dogs seem to love it and their poos seem to be good. I just don’t want China to have anything to do with my dog’s food.

  • reve

    Some dogs have intolerances… my german shepherd would rub his nose raw (from itching) if he ate any dog food containing fish. If your pugs were fine with the buffalo and sweet potatoes I would switch back to that instead of an entirely different brand. Also, benedryl never worked well with my dog but Tavist (which you can buy under its generic name clemastine) was amazing for combating allergies.

  • Cela Hansen

    Okay will do. Thanks for the advice Patty. :)