Merrick Grain Free 96% Dog Food Review (Canned)

Rating:

Merrick Grain Free 96% Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Merrick Grain Free 96% product line includes 4 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.

Use links below to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.

Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Chicken

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 32% | Carbs = 15%

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

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%7%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%32%15%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%56%11%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 56% | Carbs = 11%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a 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 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 three notable exceptions

First, we find salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, 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 Grain Free 96% Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Grain Free 96% looks like an above-average wet dog food.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46%, a fat level of 32% and estimated carbohydrates of about 15%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flax-seed, this still looks like the profile of a wet dog food containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Grain Free 96% is a grain-free canned dog food containing a significant amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Merrick Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Merrick product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials

08/05/2019 Last Update