Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet product line lists five canned dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Duck [A]
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Lamb [A]
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Salmon [A]
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Turkey [A]
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Chicken Stew [A]

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Salmon recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Salmon

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 37%

Ingredients: Deboned salmon, water for processing, dried peas, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, agar-agar, flaxseed, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), choline chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), locust bean gum, xanthan gum

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%18%37%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%38%32%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 38% | Carbs = 32%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The third ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

After the natural flavor, we find calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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 two notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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 Limited Ingredient
Diet Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 34% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet is a grain-free, meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Merrick Dog Food
Recall History

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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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.

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Notes and Updates

11/13/2016 Last Update

  • 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. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Enfor
    Of course he had no problem selling to Purina.