Merrick Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Merrick Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Merrick Grain Free product line includes five 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 Real Pork and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Duck and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef and Sweet Potato

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

Merrick Grain Free Real Duck + 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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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 includes 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 includes 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 includes lamb meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

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 looks like 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 31% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

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 in this recipe, and the potato protein contained in others, this still 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.

Special Alert

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

A Final Word

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

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

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

However, 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 analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

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

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

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

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

Notes and Updates

02/08/2010 Original review
09/13/2010 Review updated
05/16/2011 Review updated
08/21/2011 Review updated
06/15/2012 Review updated
12/29/2013 Review updated
12/29/2013 Last Update

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

  • Crazy4cats

    BorderMom-
    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 tds.net

    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 http://youtu.be/qLeEUcfz3y8

  • 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.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ 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.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ 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. :)