Merrick Classic canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Merrick Classic product line includes 23 canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Merrick Classic Turducken All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Puppy Plate All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Merrick’an Pie All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Brauts-N-Tots All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Senior Medley All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Honolulu Luau All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Camper’s Delight All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Ballpark Bonanza All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Grammy’s Pot Pie All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Working Dog Stew All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Smothered Comfort All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Wingaling All Breeds (4.5 stars)
- Merrick Classic Turducken Toy and Small Breeds
- Merrick Classic Mediterranean Banquet All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Thanksgiving Day Dinner All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Wild Buffalo Grill All Breeds (4.5 stars)
- Merrick Classic Wilderness Blend All Breeds (4.5 stars)
- Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout Toy and Small Breeds
- Merrick Classic Venison Holiday Stew All Breeds (4 stars)
- Merrick Classic Grammy’s Pot Pie Toy and Small Breeds
- Merrick Classic French Country Cafe All Breeds (4.5 stars)
- Merrick Classic Thanksgiving Day Dinner Toy/Small Breeds
Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned beef, beef broth, sweet potato, carrots, green beans, apples, peas, dried egg product, natural pork flavor, potato starch modified, blueberries, canola oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, sodium phosphate, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), carrageenan, cassia gum, olive oil, flax oil, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), natural caramel color, Yucca schidigera extract, lecithin
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||47%||16%||29%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||41%||34%||25%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third 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 fourth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient is green beans, a healthy vegetable notable for its vitamin, mineral and natural fiber content.
The sixth ingredient includes apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The seventh ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.
Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
In addition, olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.
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 Classic Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Classic canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 47% and a mean fat level of 23%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Above-average protein. near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.
Merrick Classic is a grain-free, meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
02/05/2010 Original review
09/12/2010 Review updated
06/14/2012 Review updated
01/14/2014 Review updated
01/14/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩