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 11 dry dog foods, nine claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and two for adult maintenance.

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

  • Merrick Grain Free Small Breed
  • Merrick Grain Free Puppy Recipe (4 stars)
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Pork + Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Duck + Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Lamb and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Turkey and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Salmon and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken and Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe (4.5 stars)

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 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 potatoes, peas, potatoes, deboned chicken, natural flavor, lamb meal, potato protein, duck fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), apples, blueberries, organic alfalfa, salmon oil, salt, minerals (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 (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate), choline chloride, 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

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 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 seventh ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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.e

After the natural flavor, we find lamb meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

The ninth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

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 four notable exceptions

First, this recipe contains alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, 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.

In addition, we note the inclusion 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 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 Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

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 40% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 35% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

Above-average protein. Near-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, potato protein and alfalfa in this recipe, and the pea protein contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Grain Free Dog Food is a meat-based kibble using a significant amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

04/15/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Crazy4cats

    The attachment is a letter dated over five years ago. They are a good company that makes high quality pet food.

  • Stephen

    STAY AWAY FROM MERRICKS. Garth Merrick owns several rendering plants and livestock removal services. They take dead animals, render the meat & slap it together with a charming label. A quick google search and you’ll find everything. One of the top links exposes his facilities for rendering meat with salmonella and not recalling it.

    Of course he had no problem selling to Purina.

  • Stephen

    STAY AWAY FROM MERRICKS. Garth Merrick owns several rendering plants and livestock removal services. They take dead animals, render the meat and slap it together with a charming label. A quick google search and you’ll find everything. One of the top links exposes his facilities for rendering meat with salmonella.

    Of course he had no problem selling to Purina.

  • Todd Albrigo

    Same as Lauren below my dog (10 year old Maltese) was diagnosed with congenital heart failure yesterday and had just switched him to Merrick Grain Free Raw Infused Meat product. Anyone know where I can find the sodium content? It’s not on the bag

  • Lauren

    My dog was recently diagnosed with a heart murmur. I have been feeding her Merrick Grain Free Salmon and would like to know the sodium content before I decide if I would like to switch to a different brand as I believe Merrick has a solid quality food.

  • Brigette

    Since my last post, I decided to go ahead and make a switch. I’ve got a little left over of the Merrick now. It’s a pricey food, so i’ll have them finish it off mixed in with the new food.

  • Katt

    This is the part that bothers me:

    “This agreement provides Merrick with an opportunity to take advantage of new global resources to market,”

    Global resources, ie Chinese c**p vitamins and supplements? I removed Merrick from my rotation.. sigh

  • aimee

    Low cost foods are going to be plant based. Do you consider all plant based ingredients to be”lowest quality ingredient imaginable” simply because they are from plants?

    In other words is whole grain corn an example of a “lowest quality ingredient imaginable” simply because it is corn even though the corn used is of the same grade as used for human foods?

  • Michelle Brinegar Bray

    What did you switch too ? I’m trying to find a new dog food because of the deception of Blue Buffalo who I have had my dogs on for 4 years. =(

  • el doctor

    Hi aimee

    I don’t dislike Purina because they make “low cost foods”, I dislike Purina because I believe their foods are the equivalent of a nutritionally complete cereal that is made from the lowest quality ingredients imaginable.

  • aimee

    Purina, like any company, has strengths and weaknesses. I don’t detest them. : )

    If I had to guess as to why some do detest Purina I’d guess it is because some of the food lines they make are low cost foods.

    To make low cost foods, which there is a strong market for, you have to use lower cost ingredients and people judge these lower cost ingredients, such as corn and wheat or to be poor quality. Purina also will use food dyes and humectants for people who like such things in their pets food even though they are of no real benefit to the dog.

  • I Am Banana

    I’m new to this. Everyone seems to detest Purina, why is that?

  • mabebe

    I just came back from my local pet store, and they told me that Merrick has recently been bought by Purina. I have been feeding my pug Merrick buffalo and sweet potato grain free diet for over a year, and he loves it, but I no longer want Merrick. I will be switching him to something different.

  • rosiegirl

    Started my border collie on the Merrick Real Salmon & Sweet Potato dry food a month ago…..she did not like it at all to the point where she would rather starve than eat it. I was mixing it with some soft to get some food in her belly. Have found a food that she loves now :)

  • Kylasbibi

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Pitlove

    Look into Fromm as well. If she liked pork they make a few formulas with pork. Pork & Applesauce, Pork& Peas and their Prairie Gold line is Beef and Pork based.

  • Kylasbibi

    Exactly! I fed Shiloh, my GSD, Evo for the 1st 5 years. Then P&G purchased the company and within no time there was a serious recall that went on for weeks and weeks adding more and more lot numbers to the recall leaving many of us without dog food. Now that Purina (makers of the very worst puppy food in the world IMHO) has purchased Merrick, I’m not waiting around. Merrick have already discontinued the food Shiloh loved (grain free pork and sweet potato) so I’m switching to Orijen or Acana. Have been testing the 6 Fish and Shiloh likes it so much she thinks it’s a treat! Large companies “invest” in smaller companies to make a profit. Premium dog food is big business because people like us care what we feed our pets. Purina did not “invest” in Merrick without a plan that included how to make more of a profit. Just my opinion!

  • Pitlove

    Definitely not argueing with your choice to change to Fromm as I use the food for my pitbull and he does great on it. Just wanted to point out that each batch can be different so that might be what happened.

    Fromm makes their food in small batches, which helps with quality control. Good luck with your switch!

  • Brigette

    I haven’t had issues with food changes yet, but I too have decided to go ahead and make a switch. I contacted Fromm a few weeks ago and they sent me a $5 coupon to try any of their food. I found a local pet store that sells Fromm and has offered me some samples. I hope to pick those up this week. It’s a personal choice. I’m ready to try a new brand with less protein anyway. :)

  • Scottie Goldfish

    I just returned 2 bags of Merrick grain free Duck. I opened the bags and the kibble looked completely different – bigger, lighter in color/dryer. Yuk. Returned one bag, bought another. Same thing. Returned that one and switched to Fromm.

  • Pitlove

    Yes it is. Purina bought Zukes some years back and has yet to touch the recipe for the treats. I’ve seen people returning Merrick food that they bought pre-buyout, just because of the buyout. I call that blind rage and completely ridiculous.

  • Debbi

    It’s not about being blind with rage, it’s about having experience with ‘premium’ dog foods getting bought out by a GIANT parent company and experiencing decline in quality and or recalls.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Wellness is a good brand, but the formula you’re using is pretty low in protein. You might want to add some protein with some canned or fresh food added to his kibble. The extra protein should give him more muscle and energy. Extra moisture in his food is the best thing you can do for your dog’s kidneys, liver and his body in general! :)

  • Ellen

    Fortunately I was phasing my dogs off of Merrick due to the super high protein causing trouble with; A: if it is killing the grass, turning it brown, within a day of them peeing on it then what must it be doing to their kidneys and liver? I feed Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight Deboned Chicken & Peas Recipe Dry Dog Food, so I will stick to it. I only started the Merrick several months ago, mixing it with the Wellness, because I was hoping for a little higher protein to give my Boxer a little boost in energy. But apparently I was right to start phasing her off of it. This is the first i have heard of them selling out!

  • Pitlove

    i agree with you. nice to see a level headed person who isn’t blind with rage for Purina.

  • Pitlove

    well said

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m sticking with them too. My dogs do really well on the Whole Earth Farms kibble and the canned pate foods. My cats like the canned and I plan on trying the kibble for them also. I just don’t know what Purina would have to gain by changing things. They already dominate the grocery store sales. I think they are trying to break in to the premium/boutique market now. They would just be competing against themselves if they lowered the quality. Pet food shoppers are much more savvy these days! I haven’t heard any complaints about Zukes dog treats so far. While I am disappointed about the sale, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that their recipes and quality will stay the same or even improve.

  • Connie Christopher

    I was going to change from Merrick, also, when I heard of the Purina deal, but my understanding is that Purina has invested in Merrick to help Merrick continue to grow. In other words, the owners of Merrick are still involved and everything, including where ingredients come from and the quality of ingredients will not change. I will continue with them unless or until I see a change.

  • Alisoquoladi

    I’m also looking for a replacement for Merrick. If they’d have sold out to just about anyone but Nestlé I might consider sticking with it. But I boycott ALL Nestlé products. Then I also guess it’s going to go thru the regulation standards of Texas. So it’s out of here. Took me a long time to research before putting my dogs on Merrick. I am sadly disappointed in their decision to sell out.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’ve seen the Merrick FB responses and, unfortunately, they look just like the responses on the Beneful FB pages. It looks like Purina has already taken over.
    Good luck with it! I already rotate, so this isn’t a really big problem for me, just an inconvenience.

  • Crazy4dogs

    LOL! 😉

  • Pitlove

    lol is still exceptable imo 😉 and I’m 28 this month

  • Crazy4cats

    Whoop! Whoop! That makes two of us. HaHa! I’m trying to use Ha now instead of LOL because I heard on the radio today that LOL is out of style!!! Apparently, I’ve been showing my age. 😀

  • Brigette

    I replied back to the rep, asking what role Purina is playing and if they plan to stay where they are (in Texas) and this is her response.

    Hi Brigette,

    As you know, Merrick has been
    fortunate to experience tremendous growth. And, like any business that is
    succeeding, naturally it brings industry attention and interest. This agreement
    provides Merrick with an opportunity to take advantage of new global resources
    to market, innovate and build upon our quality and safety record. I can assure
    you, Merrick will continue to operate as an independent business with no planned
    changes to its management or operations.

    Yes, it’s business
    as usual in our Texas kitchens. Merrick will continue to operate as an
    independent business with no planned changes to its management or operations.
    Merrick is the fastest-growing natural and organic pet food company with more
    than 350 employees located primarily in Hereford, Texas, Amarillo, Texas and
    Evanston, Ill.

    I am glad you feel a tad bit better,
    I hope you will continue to be a valued customer. Please let me know if you
    have additional questions or concerns.

    Twyla Waddell
    Pet Parent Relations, Merrick Pet
    Care, Inc.

    ~~So for now… i will stay with Merrick, but continue to check those ingredient labels. And of course.. pay close attention to Dogfood Advisor for any updates.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Let me know how it goes. I’m jumping ship for now. Fortunately I have a lot of backup left. 😉

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Bridgette-
    Thank you for sharing that note. I’m sticking with them for now. Hopefully they will get to keep their promise.

  • Brigette

    Okay. I got a pretty quick response from Merrick. I’m still skeptical. Do we have to check each bag to see if ingredients change or do they have to disclose when it changes?

    Hello Brigette,

    We don’t see it that way, as we will
    continue making food worthy of the best dogs and cats ever, just we have always
    done. But, we understand that this news may make you feel concerned and
    skeptical. We hope that over the next few months our actions will continue to
    demonstrate our continued commitment to making the high quality, nutritious
    & safe food and treats that all pets deserve. We certainly hope you will
    consider remaining a Merrick pet parent. We can promise you that we will
    continue to make the same high quality and nutritious food for your pet, with
    the same team in our same kitchens. That doesn’t change with this news. Please
    let me know if I can be of further assistance. Have a wonderful

    Twyla Waddell
    Pet Parent
    Relations, Merrick Pet Care, Inc. |

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m sticking with them unless ingredients start to change. I also rotate with Victor grain free kibble if you want to give them a try!

  • Brigette

    Now that Merrick has sold out… any suggestions on reputable grain free dog foods? I trusted Merrick because of their NO CHINA ingredients and not many, if any, dog food recalls. ( i saw they had jerky treats recalled a few years back, but i don’t buy jerky anyway). So! For those of you who have switched, or are switching, what do you think? And is anyone buying their “We’re still the same little company and nothing is changing” that i read on their website this morning? :( Just so disappointed. Surely they have read or heard about all the BAD from Purina in the news, etc. Do they think consumers like us do not watch? Come on! Bad move. :'( My dogs tend to go towards beef in their food. I’ve tried chicken, lamb, duck. But they like the Merrick Texas Beef. Sigh. Help!

  • Allyson

    Merrick was a great food, I wish they had not allowed Purina to buy them out! :( I imagine they will lose most if not all of their current client base now, what a shame. My dogs get sick of Purina products and they are so low quality…

  • jpinsatx

    Nestle-Purina, one of the most reviled pet food brands on the market, has just eaten up some of the most cherished pet food brands.

    Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Acquires Merrick Pet Care, Inc.

    The news, does not sit well with Merrick Pet Care customers, many of whom switched to the premium pet food company and away from Purina in the wake of legal battles, negative consumer complaints against the pet food giant, and in the simple hope of finding a pet food company they could trust.

    Consumers, once loyal to those brands, are dropping like flies, swearing on Merrick’s Facebook page and on Castor & Pollux’s Facebook page they will never to buy their food ever again. Ever.

    Merrick’s Facebook page

    Castor & Pollux’s Facebook page

  • Jeremy

    From what I understand the investment company that holds their investment is getting out of the pet food industry, the same thing happened when the same investors sold eagle pack brand food to the Wellpet corporation. It’s not like the Merrick company went to Purina and said buy us, so I’m hoping they will still maintain their sourcing and manufacturing standards and not change their recipes.

  • Pitlove

    Wow. Sad to say I’m honestly not surprised. Merrick is already sold in big box stores like Petco and PetSmart. If it happened to the NaturaPet brands, Merrick is even less surprising. Still very sad though!

  • Gary
  • Crazy4dogs

    OMG! I really like Merrick too! This is just sad, but true!

    Here’s the link:

  • Amy A

    Merrick is a great food and I use it in my rotation but I just saw that they signed a contact to be purchased to Nestle Purina and that is never good news.

  • karen

    i love getting this for my dog recommend it

  • Dori

    I’m glad you’ve found something that agrees with your Lab. I only wish the vet had suggested a food change for your guy sooner and happy that you decided not to stick with a prescription food. Once you’ve had your dog on the Merrick for a while you may give some thought to finding a second food that he does equally as well or even better. Slow transition please. Then you can look for a third and fourth. Try different proteins in the same brand but also try different brands. If there are recalls or your store runs out of the food you are feeding you can just get one of the other foods he’s doing well on with no gastro issues. Here’s a link from this site on rotational feeding and all it’s benefits.

  • Jake Bernie

    Hello pet lovers! I have never posted before but find this website to be super interesting and very helpful. I have a 1 year old chocolate lab who has a sensitive stomach, he has been to the vet countless of times and lots of money down the drain. Each time he goes to the vet they do the common guard and parasite test and they have all come back negative. The veterinarian concluded that it must be a food allergy. I went from Blue Buffalo, (which i believe attributed to his stomach sensitivity) to science diet, which I got from the vet and also contained chicken chicken meal. After going through a bag of Science Diet prescription dog food which i practically needed a loan for (just kidding! but it really is outrageously expensive), I went to a local pet store and tried out Merrick Grain free Real Lamb and Sweet Potato, to see if giving him something totally different would remove the loose stool. One week later I was super excited to see that his stool had solidified and he seems to have a lot more energy, and overall more comfortable. I think Merrick grain free is a super good dog food and well worth the price, which isn’t that high for the quality of food it seems to be!

  • Kenneth Alexander Harrast

    I have a female lab/boxer with a sensitive stomach. I tried prescription diets and limited ingredient diets from the vet as well as all the premium brands and they all gave her the runs. The only food that gives her a firm stool with no problems is from Nutro. I give her the lamb and rice. You might give it a try. It’s less expensive than the super premium brands as well.

  • AnaG.

    Hi everyone, I just saw that grain free healthy weight and it seems really good for my dogs rotation (both are seniors and have had pancreatitis bouts with high fat % foods). Has anyone tried the healthy weight? Thanks :)

  • Chrissy

    Hello! I am new to Merrick. I went to the store and picked up the Salmon and Sweet Potato in the limited ingredient diet…we have one dog allergic to everything so he cannot even eat this food, however, we have some others that have just been a little on the itchy side this summer. I thought it would be something to just try out – however, I now see that it gets 3 stars…perhaps I should return this and just get the regular Merrick diet? We have never fed Merrick just trying a new brand in the rotational feeding for those who can do the rotational….any help or insight would be very helpful to me! Thank you so much! <3 Chrissy

  • Soul Vein

    Had this problem with one of my dogs eating bluebufflo, switched to tase of the wild and problem totally went away. Same protein fiber etc, just different brand.

  • foss77

    His problem was definitely the food as he has now been switched back 100% to his old food and his digestive problems have disappeared. I know Merrick is a good food but it is too rich for some dogs and after reading through hundreds of consumer comments for 5 star rated foods I am convinced that the majority of similar issues described by other dog owners are caused by high protein, rich foods (assuming they took the proper amount of time to transition between foods). If those foods work for your dog, great! If they don’t, I encourage people to look for a 4 star rated food with good consumer experience. It took me a long time to realize that most, if not all, of the 5 star rated foods (on this site anyway) were very high in protein and in order to find the right food for my dog I was going to have to settle for 4 star rated! I have started him on Petcurean Now Senior (he just turned 7 and also needs to lose some weight) which is 24% protein (much closer to his regular %) and hope that this one works for him!

  • Paulo Ferreira

    Make sure it’s real pumpkin and not a can of pumpkin filling for pie also blend it with some veggies like green beans which is also high in fiber or peas it helps make it easier to digest and harder for dog to notice.

  • Paulo Ferreira

    Giardia is very common and a high percentage of dogs live with it everday as it also hard to treat so I wouldn’t be so sure on that as I thought the same once with one of my dogs because of how well I treated her and my dog had it. Also there are a lot of false positives with giardia for many reasons too so sometimes dogs can be misdiagnosed for it so hard to detect and treat for some of these reasons.

  • Paulo Ferreira

    Honestly at least from my experience the best dog food I have had luck with so far both health and stool wise has been Merrick and Orijen and merrick is surely the cheaper of the two you can get it use to be a 30lb bag but I think it’s now 25lb bag for around 50 bucks from websites like or even some local pet shops. You will always pay more from places like pet smart or petco so look around you would be surprised.

  • Paulo Ferreira

    Sorry I disagree lets just say I tried evangers for my dog and lets just say it upset her stomach unlike Merrick where my dog had no issues what so ever so I really think it depends on your dog and not always the food. As far as value goes it’s not a value for me if it upsets my dogs stomach so to each their own.

    Also I noticed with my dog at least she does better with canned food that’s more whole versus the evangers I gave her that was all processed and lets just say it came out same way it looked when it went in versus with more solid and natural looking whole food that came out of the merrick canned food I gave her. Not sure if this is what makes a difference but it seems to work out better for my GSD.

  • Daniel Gunther

    Earthborn. 20 dollars cheaper, never had a recall, family owned, and, in my opinion, way better. Look it up on dog food advisor. They have all sorts of foods. Ex their lamb and buffalo are for dogs who are diabettic. Some are chicken fat preserved and some canola. Depending on if your dog is allergic to chicken. Overall, I love it

  • Daniel Gunther

    Try Earthborn. Family owned, never had a recall, same as blue buffalo or merrik, and a while lots cheaper.

  • Shawna

    I agree with the others. Wanted to post one more reference.

    “Optimal feeding of large breed puppies

    Jennifer Larsen DVM, MS
    Resident, Small Animal Clinical Nutrition
    Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
    School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis

    The same group went on to investigate the individual dietary components and demonstrated that dietary protein level had no effect on the development of osteochondrosis (Nap, et. al, 1991). For some reason, dietary protein level continues to be incriminated by some owners, breeders, and veterinarians, despite the lack of supportive evidence.”

    Dr Jeff Bergin is a Newfie breeder and Chiropractor. He feeds a “species appropriate” high protein, raw diet and doesn’t have any of the large breed issues in his line. His Newfs are quite healthy, one female even lived to age 17.
    “A 17-Year Old Newfoundland? Discover What This Breeder Is Doing Right”

  • Crazy4dogs

    Yes, I think that’s fairly recent on her site, but I haven’t been on it in a while.

  • Pitlove

    I just went on her website today because I remembered this discussion. I noticed that she recommends only very specific brands mainly Precise Complete that she claims to have had a hand in developing and claims that no box store like PetSmart and Petco carry foods that meet the calcium level needs for large/giant breed dogs.

    I found a few foods that are at my work at least (petco) that were on Hound Dog Moms list on the forums.

    I really don’t like the fact that she has personal connections to the foods she is “endorsing” as nutritional sound for large/giant breeds.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I agree. She has been a very good informative on the breed, but that’s been her philosophy for many years now.

  • DogFoodie

    While I think she does have some good information, I believe The Great Dane Lady has done a lot to perpetuate some of the myths.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I know several people in a local Dane rescue. The low protein is a very popular belief in the GD circles.

  • Pitlove

    the theory about protein causing skeletal disorders in large/giant breed dogs was debunked a very long time ago. current research shows that high levels of species appropriate protein sources (animal meat) does NOT contribute to disorders like pano, OCD, hip dyplasia as once thought. Unfortunely many vets and large/giant breed puppy owners and breeders still believe that and continue feeding foods that are too low in protein and thus higher in carbs, which are biologically inappropriate for dogs. also what DogFoodie said below me. Its calcium levels you want to pay attention to (calcium to phos, calcium to calorie). Also to add to the list of what DF said, over-feeding. Also wanted to add on by saying that in the original post i commented to she mentioned this food having proper calcium levels for a giant breed dog, which is does not. You can head over to the forum section and find Hound Dog Mom’s list of 4 and 5 star foods that DO have the proper calcium levels, this one is not on it. Infact no Merrick product is on it.

  • DogFoodie

    Excess protein is fitered as waste. Excess Calcium, along with over-nutrition, excessive exercise and a genetic predisposition contributes to skeletal disorders, not protein.

  • Kelly J

    Great Danes grow at such a fast rate compared to other breeds that they are prone to a lot of growth disorders and bone issues. You want them to grow as slowly as possible to try to avoid putting to much weight on a joint or bone that is not fully developed to be able to handle it yet. Their body will grow quickly on its own, so you don’t want high protein to speed things up. Most Dane owners also watch the calcium and phosphorus levels in the food as well, as those also can contribute to the growth problems. I personally don’t feed a food with more than 1.5% calcium or 1% phosphorus. Long time Dane owners and breeders usually look for a protein level of about 22-23%, with an exception for grain free foods which can be a bit higher.

  • DogFoodie


  • Kelly J

    Actually for great danes, low protein is very important

  • Jamie Deal

    I have a cattle dog on the grain free healthy weight and he does brilliantly on it. ( we were on the duck and sweet potato but he was a little chubby despite constant exercise) He had loose stool on every other high quality food we tried Blue, call of the Wild Victor, Canidae etc… also you may want to supplement some probiotics and make sure to have him checked for intestinal parasites as well. Pet supply and feed stores will have lower prices and Petco gives a decent discount for pall rewards. I just bite the bullet and buy a 25 pound bag about once a month. It’s cheaper to keep them healthy.

  • Knichtus

    I fed it for a month, really great food, but I had to feed more of it (4 1/2 cups for a 75 lb dog) in order to keep her weight up, we bike and are out for 2-4 hours a day so I think because she was so active she was burning it. The Husky mix could eat 2 cups like usual. I think if you have a dog that burns through food it may not be the most cost effective choice but I still think its a great food and definitely recommend feeding it.

  • foss77

    Also, his poop has not been sent out yet but it is unlikely he has giardia b/c he never drinks untreated water of any kind. And his poop is not always soft. Usually when I walk him after work he has 2 bowel movements and the second one is always looser – this is normal. But, since he has been having his problems the first bowel movement is looser than normal and the second one is almost always impossible for me to pick up completely, sometimes pudding-like in consistency. Maybe I should have been more specific about this from the start. Not sure if this is indicative of too much fiber, too much fat, too much protein??

  • foss77

    Yes, pumpkin was the very first thing I tried. He ate it for awhile then started eating around it. So I mixed it in with his food real well and he stopped eating it altogether. I guess he got tired/burned out on it! At any rate, it had a very nominal affect in firming up his stool. I have ordered some Honest Kitchen Perfect Form so hopefully that will firm up his stool while I try to get him back to normal and then try to find a food for him that will work. Thanks!

  • Rachel K

    Have you tried giving him about a 1/4-1/2 cup of 100% pumpkin mixed with his dry food? It has a high fiber content. It has to be straight pumpkin, not the pie mix with cinnamon and spices. Try it. It’s a life saver. Also, have you had his poop sent into a lab for testing? Maybe check for giardia. It causes diarreah. Good luck!

  • foss77

    Yeah, he definitely needs to lose some weight but I don’t think he’s quite to the obese stage just yet. 38-40 would be ideal for him IMO but I’m not sure how realistic it is for a non-working male cattle dog – I’m sure going to try though. AKC breed standard does not list weights but I have seen elsewhere that healthy dogs should range from 33-49 lbs. I will try wetting the food to see how that works and maybe try steaming some frozen green beans, though knowing my guy I will have to steam them into oblivion if I want him to eat them consistently over more than a couple of days as he isn’t even diggin’ the super soft canned beans at this point! 😉 My vet at one point recommended raw carrots and I had to laugh! I tried giving him a small piece when I was cutting up the carrots I’ve been steaming for him and he wouldn’t even mouth it! LOL! As I said, I walk him almost every day, usually 20-25 minutes and they are brisk b/c he sets the pace! 😉 Not sure if that is long or not but it is the best I can do on a daily basis. Again, thanks for the advice and I will check out that link!

  • Crazy4dogs

    You have to count everything you feed in his daily calorie intake. I don’t want to seem unkind, but 20% over ideal body weight is considered obese. Losing weight is important as thin dogs live longer. Running isn’t really necessary, but a nice brisk long walk can really help. Here’s a dogaware site that might help:

    If you add anything to his diet, the green beans would be the best choice (this was my rehab vet’s recommendation when my Lab needed to lose several pounds). I only use frozen and steam them so the dogs get some nutrition rather than just fiber from them. Also, if you wet the food with warm water and let it sit for awhile, the dog will feel fuller as the food has already puffed up. Dry food will usually triple in size when you let it soak for a bit. I agree with Labs. If you do go the senior diet route, choose wisely. You don’t want low protein as this will only add to the weight problem. Good Luck with it!

  • LabsRawesome

    Be careful with senior diets, a lot of them are too low in protein. Senior dogs actually require more protein, not less.

  • Nikki

    best of luck finding a dog food manufacturer that hasn’t had salmonella contamination at some point.

  • Crazy4cats

    You’re welcome. :)

  • Nikki

    Did you try the Merrick grain free Lamb? if he was able to handle the Science Diet Lamb, maybe the Merrick Lamb will work as well. Good luck!

  • foss77

    Since he is nearing 7 years I had thought about exploring some senior diets anyway so I will definitely look into those formulas as an option! Thanks for the advice!

  • Crazy4cats

    Another thing to bear in mind is that dogs, just like humans sometimes need a supplement to heal or soothe their digestive tracks after being upset due to eating something that does not agree with them. C4D has given you great advice. Choosing a food with lower fat and fiber might be beneficial. When I look for a food a little lower in fat, I often look at some of the senior diets as they tend to lower the fat without raising the fiber. Again, like C4D suggested, you need to look at the guaranteed analysis to determine. You never know what the different companies are going to determine what is a senior or a healthy weight recipe. My dogs that tend to be very sensitive due to a rough start, really do well on the California Natural Pork and Sweet Potato recipe. It is a fairly limited ingredient kibble. It also has a lower fat percentage while maintaining a fairly high protein level. I hope you can get them back to normal. I know how stressful and frustrating it can be. Been there done that! BTW, here is a link to a great website that deals with digestive disorders.

  • foss77

    He’s currently around 50 lbs. I’d be thrilled just to get 5 lbs off of him at this point but an ideal weight I think for him would be 38-40 lbs. When I adopted him at 1 year he weighed 32-33 lbs. He was not unhealthy thin or skeletal by any means but IMO he was on the thin side. He’s never been an overeater or terribly food motivated when it comes to his meals so that is why I know that if he is showing signs of being hungry and bouncing off of the walls (literally) when it is meal time then he probably really is pretty hungry. Dog biscuits are another thing altogether :-) , but I never overdid it in that department, always tried to keep them as a special couple times a week kind of thing instead of daily. I would say he has never been overfed in the past (maybe now with the supplements as you suggest and I will try to work on that) but he still slowly gained weight over the years. I’ve always been sensitive to the fact that he is a cattle dog and he probably does not get the exercise that he needs for his breed and that is probably why he needs to drop some lbs. I do what I can and walk him almost every single day but I do not live on a farm or have a big yard. There are dog parks in the area and I have taken him there in the hopes that he will run but he is like a little old man at the mall trotting in circles around the perimeter and all he seems interested in doing is sniffing! Even if I take a ball or some kind of toy he just wants to sniff, though he has never been super motivated by that kind of play anyway. I’m sure more excercise would help his weight but where I live there is a dearth of dog related sports/activities. I have to drive too far to get to most that it is impractical to get involved on a regular enough basis where it would help his weight! I’ve thought about running with him but I’m not a runner myself and so the idea of trying with him is a little daunting. I’m trying to do right by him but I feel stuck in a lot of ways. Just hoping at this point that I can at least find him a good food that will work for him and help him lose some lbs. I really appreciate your help, you’ve given me a lot of things to consider and think about so thank you!

  • Crazy4dogs

    Well, they call the basic test a float, so maybe their using microscopic for pet owners to easily differentiate between the two. I’ve used many different vets since fosters go to the rescue ‘ s vets. My vet also uses the term stain smear if looking for something specific.

  • Crazy4cats

    I agree, Marilyn Teres, on paper Evangers canned food looks like a much better value. But, unfortunately, they have had many safety issues and labeling violations.

  • aimee

    Could be, seems a weird name though as all methods of looking for eggs/larva use a microscope.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Don’t feel bad that your dog seems hungry, especially if he is gaining weight. He’s probably gained some weight because you are adding all those carbohydrates. I would definitely cut back on those. Dogs will always ask for more food, especially if they are bored. Just like people often overeat out of boredom or habit. I have Labs and they are notorious overeaters! That doesn’t mean I give them more food, because they would probably eat till they exploded! LOL!

    You never mentioned how much your dog weighs and what his ideal weight should be. I did look up the Merrick GF Healthy weight and it has 11% fiber. That’s a ton of fiber & if you’re adding additional fiber on top of it, all I can say is Holy Crap(excuse the pun, but I just had to do it). That could be the cause of soft stools right there.

    I looked at Merrick’s GF Salmon and Science Diet Lamb & Rice Adult fitness. Merrick is definitely higher true animal protein. SD has brewer’s rice 2nd, so that’s why the stools tend to be solid and they are upping the protein with corn gluten meal. The fat and calorie count is actually higher on the SD. You can’t always count on the bag saying Healthy Weight or Low Calorie because that is relative to their formulas. You need to read the Guaranteed Analysis.

    SD – fat 16.4%, 367 kcal per cup
    Merrick GF Healthy Weight – 8% fat, 360 kcal per cup
    Merrick Salmon – fat 14%, 354 kcal per cup

    When I transition a dog to grain free, if the protein they were eating previously was working, I put them on the same protein. It’s not as big a transition for the dog’s body. Have you ever tried the lamb formula? It’s possible that he has a fish intolerance. I would try the Merrick Lamb or some other Lamb formula and cut back on all the additives until you get a handle on what’s working and what’s not. And don’t let that dog convince you he’s hungry. If he’s overweight, he’s definitely not truly hungry. Give him a toy filled with a bit of his kibble portion for the day, or take him for a walk. He just needs something to do other than eat.

  • foss77

    I had heard that too much fiber can cause loose stool but what else can you do to keep dogs on a diet from being hungry all of the time without adding a lot of calories? I don’t think I overdo the added foods, just a layer on top of his food (then mixed in) of mostly steamed carrots and now I’m trying sweet potatoes. He can be kind of finicky with these added foods though; he seemed to get burned out on canned pumkin and doesn’t seem too interested in salt free canned green beans anymore either. Apples were a no-go completely and he seemed lackluster about brown rice. I just feel guilty at this point for messing with his food! I’m trying to get him on a high quality diet and to drop some pounds but all it has achieved is messing up his digestion completely. And if anything he has gained a few pounds despite being on low calorie formulas AND a decreased portion of it at that! I guess I’ll just keep trying but I hate the idea that at his age it could take precious time to get this right and I want him to feel good, not crappy through this process! It’s just frustrating!

  • Crazy4dogs

    It could be a little of both, but generally higher fat causes loose stools as does feeding more food than the dog needs. The better foods are more nutrient dense, so you feed less.
    If he’s spent 7 years on science diet, the transition might be too big of a jump.
    I have a lot of foster dogs that come from very poor rural areas. I don’t want to overwhelm their system so I choose a lower fat, usually around 15%, slightly lower protein food which has been successful for me. Also, C4C’ s suggestions of perfect form, probiotics & digestive aids are a good idea to get his system back on track.
    You mentioned adding high fiber fillers. That could be part of the problem since too much fiber causes more stool.

  • foss77

    Ah, gottcha, I thought you were suggesting to use supplements to try and “fix” his issues and you meant use them to ease the transition to a new food? Makes sense! Though I took 3-4 weeks to transition him to this food he was initially fine on it and for about 3-4 months afterward. The loose stool returned gradually and then other problems eventually manifested themselves around the 4-5 month period. Moving from the Healthy Weight formula to the Salmon and Sweet potato seemed to temporarily fix his loose stool problems but then they returned and with other symptoms (as mentioned at 4-5 months) as well. So not sure if he built up an intolerance/allergy to a specific ingredient, the formulas have too much protein, or as one other commenter suggested, it could be too much fat content. Either way, yes, I have to move on to something different! Thanks!

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, I do understand, but many including myself, use these short term while transitioning to a new food with success. Sounds like you need to pick a different food then. Good luck!

  • foss77

    Didn’t really think of the fat content of either formulas since they were both “low calorie”. Is it more likely that a higher fat content food would cause his stomach troubles vs. a higher protein food? Will have to consider that when choosing what to try him on next and will definitely check out the three foods you recommended. Thanks again!

  • foss77

    No, I do not regularly give my dog supplements, he was only on the probiotics because he got a round of antibiotics. He usually does not have issues with loose stool, only since he’s been on this new food. I would only use supplements as a supplement to a food that worked well for him on it’s own. Wouldn’t want to use any and try and pretend the food is working for him if it’s not! Thanks for the suggestion though!

  • foss77

    It was a float but an extended one (~20 minutes). He was clean but the vet put him on a wormer anyway just to be safe. The first round had no effect on his issues. He gets the 2nd round this weekend.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Maybe it’s a regional thing. The vets around here all seem to call it a microscopic.

  • aimee

    Thanks for the explanation. I’ve never heard a centrifugal flotation referred to as microscopic so that’s what was confusing me. I’ve only heard it referred to as centrifugal flotation.

    I agree that a centrifugal flotation is a superior method for recovery of parasite eggs.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Yes, in a float fecal, it is a simple test generally done at the vet’s office that may not identify all of the possible parasites. It is the least reliable test. The microscopic is generally sent out to a lab and usually identifies giardia, coccidia, even hookworms and other parasites not found in a simple float fecal.

    My own vet only does the complete microscopic as it’s a more complete test. Even then, sometime giardia and coccidia occaisionally can be missed. Tapeworms can be missed as they are only found in a fecal if they are shedding at the time the stool is collected. One of my own dogs, a rescue had these after a clean microscopic fecal.

    I had a foster that was pooping gooey bloody masses and the Rescue group’s vet did a float fecal and said he was clean even though I photographed and brought in several samples that appeared to have blood and mucous in them. As this went on for several more days, I insisted he be brought back to the vet for a recheck as none of the traditional remedies were working. They did a microscopic sent to a lab and sure enough the dog was full of hookworms.

    And, of course, here’s a link from a lab that explains it:

  • aimee

    Will you explain what the difference to me?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Was it a microscopic or float fecal? There’s a big difference.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi foss-
    I’m not sure if I’ve seen all your posts, so excuse me if this has already been mentioned. But have you tried any supplements, such as, Perfect Form made by the honest kitchen or canned fruitables digestive formula? My dogs suffer from occasional loose stools and these both seem to help. They have digestive aids as well as ingredients that help soothe the intestines. I think I read that you use probiotics already. Good luck! I know it’s frustrating.

  • foss77

    Yes to the fecal, he was clean. He was also on a round of antibiotics/probiotics in case on some sort of infection but those didn’t really change his condition much.

  • Crazy4dogs

    No problem. You might try a food with a lower fat content. If he’s still loose even @ 50/50, I would switch to a different food. If he’s loose for that long, something is not working.
    Has he had a microscopic fecal done recently just to rule out parasites?

  • foss77

    Yes, I took between 3-4 weeks to transition him. His stool wasn’t quite diarrhea-like but at times very difficult to pick up – almost impossible not to leave little “presents” in the neighbor’s yards! :/ He has access to fresh water 24/7. Thanks for the advice!

  • foss77

    Yes, when I transitioned him to the new food I took between 3-4 weeks to do so and he seemed fine on it for several months but them the loose stool started (occasionally bloody and mucousy), grass eating, etc. And it did not go away after another month or so. I have him on 50/50 of the new food and his old food now and I have already noticed a change in his stool. It is still a bit loose but not as much and I haven’t seen any bloody stool in about a week and a half. I know this is a good food and that is why I switched him to it but something about just does not agree with him. Like I said, I have a feeling it is too much protein but I guess it could also be a specific ingredient. Once his tummy troubles are fixed I might try the Merrick limited ingredients recipes as they have less protein in them and still have good reviews! Also, he is definitely not getting too much food as he is currently on a diet, he is only getting about 3/4 cups twice a day supplemented with low cal./high fiber fillers so that he does not get so hungry. Thanks for you input!

  • pitlove

    there is nothing good about low protein

  • Crazy4dogs

    This is a really good food. It may not work for you but there are many others that are rated well and budget friendly. First, did you do a slow transition (like 10 days to 3 weeks) when introducing him to the new food? Pure canned pumpkin added to the food will help with loose stools Just a tablespoon should work.
    Often the loose stool is because you are feeding him too much food. My labs eat 2 & 2-1/2 cups a day and they are 64 and 80 pounds, respectively.
    Some budget friendly grain free foods include Earthborn, Whole Earth Farms, and Victor are just a few.

  • LaRae Ann


  • Marilyn Teres

    Merrick canned dog food, especially Pappys Pot Roast is the biggest rip off ever.
    Evangers is far superior.

  • foss77

    He also needs to loose some weight which is why I had him on the Healthy Weight formula and the Salmon and Sweet Potato formula – both are lower in calorie count.

  • foss77

    HELP! I have tried my almost 7 yo cattle dog on both the healthy recipe (caused too loose stool) and the salmon and sweet potato recipes (loose stool, sometimes bloody, general stomach upset, gas, grass eating etc.). I have spent all day looking at reviews and I am determined to find him a high quality diet that works for him but I think it needs to be something lower in protein (in the 30%ish range) than most high quality foods are. Either the high protein or a specific ingredient in both of these formulas is causing his problems. Any suggestions? It seems everything that I see people mentioning on this site as a good food is either high protein, not available in my area, or too expensive! I don’t mind paying good money for quality food (right now I am paying ~ $40 for a 12 lb. bag of the Merrick) but don’t want to break the bank. I would pay a little more than that if it meant he was getting a good food that agreed with him. He was previously on Science Diet Lamb and Rice with no problems whatsoever and I am looking at having to put him back on that to alleiviate his issues but I do not want to keep him on that! I need suggestions please!!

  • Ryan

    So I contacted merrick about their new backcountry line to get the actual amount of meat content, this is what they said…17 days later…

    Hello Ryan,
    We start our Backcountry recipes with real deboned meat, fish or poultry as the first ingredient – and also include raw whole pieces of raw, freeze-dried meat – ensuring the majority of protein in our Backcountry recipes comes from animal protein. In fact, our recipes deliver a significant amount of protein depending on the recipe, ranging from 30 to 38 percent.
    We aren’t able to share the specific percentages of meat content in the Backcountry recipes as that information is proprietary.
    I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and please let me know if I can assist you further. Have a wonderful day!

  • sandy

    Merrick Back Country will be reviewed in the next several weeks. We’re waiting for Merrick’s website to add these products.

  • sandy

    The bones are soft. I even cut them into smaller pieces with a spoon if I’m feeding several dogs from one or two cans. My boys love it. They eat Wingaling too. The info about the bones is also on the cans.

  • Crazy4dogs

    It’s not a fluke! The Smothered Comfort, Wing a Ling and Gameday Tailgate have bones in them INTENTIONALLY! The bones are soft and crush easily with a spoon or between your fingers. The bones provide a great source of natural calcium. I feed these to my dogs all the time.

  • Karen Carey

    We just tried Merrick’s Grain Free Smothered Comfort for our Golden Doodle and found bones in it. It states that it’s made from chicken thighs but we never expected they’d include the bones! When we found one in the first can, we thought it must have been a fluke then found another large bone in a second can last night. After reading all of these comments, we’re returning the rest.

  • Allison Doyle

    This is a GREATTTTT brand for great danes, specifically the Merrick Puppy Grain Free because it has good (low) protein and calcium levels. Plus mixed with 1/2 c wet grain free food pulls protein to under 25%! We love this brand. My dogs have never looked soo good!

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Knichtus:
    I’ll have to look for this next time I’m at PSP. Use this form to request a review:

  • Knichtus

    Will you be reviewing the newest Merrick Food? I saw it at Pet Supplies Plus as of recently. Its a bit like the Instinct Dog Food with it being high protein with freeze dried raw in it. I don’t see it on their site yet but so far it looks like a good food.

  • Elizabeth Maloney

    Just because a dog food has a higher price tag, does not mean that it will work for ALL dogs, and it’s silly to think that. What works for one dog will not necessarily work for another. The same goes for humans. Not everyone reacts to foods the same way, no matter what the quality.

  • Diane

    I paid 50 dollars for a 25lb bag. You’d expect at this price the food will be fine across all dogs. We as humans pay more for organic food why not the same for “high end” dog food. Isn’t the merrick brand supposed to be healthier hence the price? I just feel like I paid a higher price for my dog to get sick. For a high quality food to result in a large intestine infection. I don’t know it’s just suspicious. She has been on her old food for a week and has been fine.

  • showang

    my dog also vomiting almost every day with salmon grain free of merick.
    i need to change to non grain free version or change brand? (my dog loves merick)

  • Guest

    same problem with my dog, the new bag salmon grain free, the dog vomiting every day…
    maybe i need to try the non grain free? or another brand? (my dog loves Merrick very much)

  • Susan

    Hi, the protein & fat was probably too high for her..

  • Diane

    My dog had started having stomach problems after we were switching her food over to a new dog food (Merrick grain free brand). We started switching her in November and by January she was diagnosed by the vet with a large intestine infection. She has never had issues like this.

    It first started with the vomiting a couple of times, but kept her on the new food to old food mixture thinking she will adjust. Then she had the diarrhea and we put her on a bland diet along with antibiotics and probiotics as recommended by the vet. She got better for a week and didn’t have diarrhea (one vomit which may be due to the antibiotic side effects) but the moment I put her on the new food and old food mixture she threw up and that’s when I just gave up and put her back on her old food. Her old food is the costco brand.

  • Mike Sagman

    NSF and SQF provide risk management and HACCP food safety compliance assessment and certification.

    The certification process itself is voluntary and costly and are far from being something a company can simply purchase.

    In fact, these kinds of certifications at various levels in the human and pet food industry are not ubiquitous and are typically associated with higher quality manufacturers.

    There are European standards, too.

    I use these designations myself as one of a number of factors in our own evaluation of pet food companies.

  • Bob K

    Bridgett – What exactly is Merrick doing with NSF International and SQF? Paying some fees? HACCP is not an organization? Lots of companies say they are partnering with someone – pretty meaningless statement unless you have the exact details including specific dates. Looks great on paper and some people think the names mean their foods, processes and facilities are perfect – NOT

  • Mike Sagman

    The letter you reference here is over 5 years old and is of much less importance to the public than on the day it was originally issued.

    Pet food recalls are (of course) important but tend to be overrated and sensationalized by pet owners. And they’re treated much more harshly than human food recalls.

    Dole has experienced 9 human food recalls in just the past 31 months. And Planter’s and Kraft have had recalls, too. Yet we continue to buy their products.

    I was issued a speeding ticket 14 years ago. Thank goodness my insurance company has forgiven me and allowed me another chance.

    Will Merrick have another recall? Probably.

    Or will they get another Warning letter? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?

    However, those who avoid buying a brand of dog food simply because the company has
    previously experienced a recall event — or was issued an FDA Warning letter years ago — may be missing out on some of the very best products available.

  • DogFoodie

    And, Garth Merrick, to whom the letter was addressed is still the President and CEO of Merrick Pet Care.

    Looks like Merrick could also be liable for the recent death of one of their employees:

  • theBCnut

    This is from that FDA letter to Merrick

    • Your firm delayed your public communication to alert consumers who may have the recalled product in their possession until after FDA issued an FDA Health Alert on January 14, 2010.

    • Your recall communications to distributors, retailers, and consumers only included case lot coding 9323, which was different from the lot coding on some of the individual
    bags. Due to a labeling error, some of the affected bags were coded with the lot code 9333.

    • Your recall letter did not identify the hazard involved. Your letter to wholesale and retail consignees indicated the product was recalled because it “may not have been
    processed properly.” Recalls can be less effective if the recall communication does not concisely explain the reason for recall and the hazard involved.

    I don’t care what their excuse is when companies delay a recall, put out wrong info, or otherwise respond in ways that prevent dog owners from protecting their pets.

  • DogFoodie

    Merrick is also aware that there is currently a problem with their Whole Earth Farms kibbled diets and are refusing to resolve the issue.

  • aquariangt

    there are plenty of other products on the market to not play a guessing game with a company with that sort of history, doing something like those points (which are quite big, imo) even once makes me question them as a whole. Merrick certainly has a lot of good points, but it makes me a bit nervous to bother with

  • Bridgett

    OMG that’s 5 years ago, but having said that, in fairness to Merrick I think you would find it very interesting to hear their side of the story, which I think you should research before condemning all their products

  • DogFoodie

    Merrick isn’t exactly on the up and up when it comes to FDA compliance.

  • Bridgett

    Well the only thing I say is that I love Merrick, I love that it’s a 100% USA product, their ingredients are top quality, they uphold the strict guidelines defined by the FDA. And, continue to enhance quality and safety performance by partnering with organizations like NSF International, Safe Quality Food (SQF) and HACCP. My dogs have done wonderfully on it after the transition of course, great customer service, as a side note, some of the posters are equating certain symptoms with the food (of which I’ve not had those) but just a little FYI, don’t rule out the water , water more than anything else has been know to give dogs diarrhea.

  • Susan

    Rotate, when older, Holistic Select has Lamb, Duck, Chicken, Turkey, here’s their link to have a look

  • Lynn

    I’ve tried Wellness. The dogs didn’t do well on it. I will check on the Holistic Select. Thank you. Although, following Fukushima, I hesitate to feed fish.

  • Susan

    Have you looked at “Holistic Select’ puppy grainfree Anchovy, Sardines & Salmon….or the Wellness brands the fat% is lower…

  • theBCnut

    Many of the symptoms you are reporting are seen in cases of food intolerance/hypersensitivity. But you are right, not every food is right for every dog, for many reasons.

  • Lynn

    I am a show breeder of Lakeland Terriers. I’m currently feeding three brands of dry dog kibble and fresh chicken at home.

    I have a new puppy (now 12 wks old) on Merricks puppy formula. I’ve never used Merricks before, but when I picked up the pup (2 states over), the brand he was fed was not available at the local store. Neither was my normal brand (Taste of the Wild). I tried Merrick as the ingredient list looked good and the protein/fat ratio looked good. After about 1 week on the Merrick dry with some Merrick canned puppy (chicken stew?) added, I stopped the canned – he wouldn’t eat it any more. I added a raw chicken wing (all my dogs eat raw human-grade chicken without any issues). He loves the chicken and eats the kibble only when he is really hungry. I’m getting some loose stools, which I’ve never had with pups that eat raw chicken. I usually get very firm and well formed stools with the raw. I’m not sure of the cause. He is being treated with Albon as a precaution, since Giardia is endemic where I live (we have chickens as neighbors). If it continues after treatment, I may try a different kibble and see if that makes a difference.

    My young adults are eating Taste of the Wild High Prairie. They’ve been raised on that – along with raw chicken (they get the drumsticks now that they are mature). They do beautifully on it. Stools are firm, not smelly. Coats are crispy wire with rich color and nice sheen. Muscle tone is great. Eyes are bright, ears are clean/dry and teeth are strong and clean.

    I have two older adults that I recently switched to Blue Buffalo’s weight management formula. Both were getting chunky and one was starting to get a greasy coat and itchy skin. Since making the switch, I’ve been able to take some weight off. I’ve used a tea tree and neem oil shampoo for the skin issues. The coat seems to be recovering with less oiliness than previously. It hasn’t been long enough to make a huge difference, but I’m seeing positive changes. They seem to like the food, but these two are the ultimate chow hounds and would find tree bark tasty.

    I’ve been reading reviews to get a feel for actual experiences on the various foods. It doesn’t seem to matter which food I look at, there are positive and negative results. I heard of issues with TOTW/Diamond and was looking for an alternative. However, there seem to be at least as many issues with Merrick, Blue Buffalo and the others. The food, “Precise Holistic” that was recommended on this site also has tons of negative feedback. Some of the others are priced way too high to feed to multiple dogs.

    I guess the bottom line is this – even if you have multiple dogs of the same breed, not all of them will react the same to a particular type of food. If you are seeing a dull coat, oiliness, flaky skin (which could be due to neglectful grooming habits), digestive issues (worms, giardia, coccidea, bacterial infection are frequent causes), itchy ears, chewing of the feet, etc. it is time to investigate possible causes and maybe change foods.

  • AnneW

    I recently switched my 1 1/2 yr old dogs, an Aussie/Lab mix and a Jack Russell mix from Acana Lamb and Apple to Merrick Duck & Sweet Potato and they are doing great on it! I was not happy with the new formula of the Acana singles so I gave Nature’s Logic a try, it gave my JR really bad gas and their poop was nasty greasy looking. My Aussie also had a couple accidents during the night because it upset her stomach apparenty. I switched them very slowly too, and we’ve changed brands a few times trying to find something that kept their coats and skin healthy but wasn’t as costly as Acana/Orijen and never had these issues. I prefer duck and lamb for proteins so we gave the Merrick a try and their coats are still as shiney and soft as when they were on Acana. Their poop is fine, they don’t have accidents, and no flaky skin! Every dog is different, and I’m sure everyone has their own idea of a brand and I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind, but for me in all the research I’ve done and questions I’ve asked, I think Merrick is a good quality food and I’ll keep my pups on it.

  • aquariangt

    I’m confused as to why you see any of this as bad reasoning. With plenty of good dog food out there, why would I put mine on one with known problems? The experiences of others is great information to have when it comes to figuring out the best plan for your dog

  • Aaron Siering

    Irrespective of this conversation I really wish I could convince you of the inestimable benefits in improving your ability to reason. I can see I’ve acted very stupidly in not seeing the futility of my original post. This was a complete waste of my time…. It is not my intention to insult any of you. For what it is worth I do accept that all of you have acted with the best of intentions, and I can anticipate how unfair and incomprehensible the above comments might appear to you. In the end it really is just as if we are speaking in different languages.

    I can accept that others have had problems with Merrick lately, and they very well might be having a problem with their quality control; but the fallacies in reasoning that are being used in justification of this belief are so consistent and numerous that they just wear me out.

  • aquariangt

    Most to all of the regular posters have no ties to a company, so there is no reason for them to be “slandering” just keeping people informed. Not only do they have QC trouble, they’re shady. Do a bit of nosing about and you can find out why from some official articles if you don’t want to believe people here. Blue is even worse, since I saw you say they are high quality as well

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    A lot of the regular posters here have had problems with it and i can assure you they have no motives other than to post their experiences with Merrick. Time and time again they seem to be having quality control issues.
    You have your opinion and i have mine. Bottom line is I don’t trust Merrick. Have a wonderful day!

  • Aaron Siering

    Now hold on, I never said that everybody here was out to slander Merricks, but it is also naive to believe that no one is. The fact is I can’t really know what people’s motives truly are. What I said is that the post seemed unduly biased, and it lead me, personally, to question its trustworthiness. Everyone of these dog foods and the small companies which make them seem to have had problems in particular batches if one judges by the stories people tell about them. So lets be fair because for some people, and more importantly some dogs, Merrick will be the right brand.

    If you have a story to tell about some negative experience you had with Merrick then by all means tell it, but when one starts making much more general allegations based on the type of faulty use of reasoning we really all are subject to in forming opinions from our experiences then somebody else also has the right, and perhaps even the obligation, to question it.

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    I understand that different dogs tolerate different foods. Not every food is for every dog. I would never buy Merrick again! I opened the bag and the kibble was full of hairs. Not just a little but a lot!
    Read all the comments here and you will see that no one is out to slander Merrick.

  • theBCnut

    You are not the only one having these issues with Merrick’s lately. Their quality control seems to be lacking. Several people have complained about them recently.

  • theBCnut

    If you read around the Merrick threads, you will see that there have been a number of complaints about Merrick’s quality control not being what it should be.

  • Ray Korbyl

    I never said it was a bad dog food but I think there quality care has really changed it the past years, I use to drive a hour to get it years ago and then when it finally came to my city we all flocked to the local pet store to buy it and maybe it was a bad batch, but there was a lot of sick dogs that were all eating Merrick so you do the math and come to a conclusion..Have never had that happen in my 20yrs of having dogs, and that’s why I will never take another chance with my dogs life by feeding that brand again, they had one shot and they blew it,our pet store pulled it off her shelves and refunded everyone there money..