Merrick Classic canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Merrick Classic product line includes 15 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 Brauts-N-Tots All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Hero’s Banquet All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout All Breeds
- Merrick Classic Grammy’s Pot Pie 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 Thanksgiving Day Dinner All Breeds
- 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 Thanksgiving Day Dinner Toy/Small Breeds
Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout All Breeds was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout All Breeds
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 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 of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component 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 includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient includes green beans, a healthy vegetable notable for its vitamin, mineral and natural fiber content.
The sixth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The seventh ingredient includes 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 five notable exceptions…
First, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
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.
Next, we find caramel color. Caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2
In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.
That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
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 22% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.
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 meats 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Merrick Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/15/2017 Last Update