Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Stews Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Stews product line lists 6 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.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
Click the links below to check prices and read reviews from actual buyers at an online retailer.
- Merrick Backcountry Hearty Beef Stew [A]
- Merrick Backcountry Hearty Rabbit and Salmon Stew (4.5 stars) [A]
- Merrick Backcountry Hearty Chicken Thigh Stew [A]
- Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew (4 stars) [A]
- Merrick Backcountry Hearty Duck + Venison Stew (4 stars) [A]
- Merrick Backcountry Hero’s Banquet Stew (4.5 stars) [A]
Merrick Backcountry Hearty Rabbit and Salmon Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Merrick Backcountry Hearty Rabbit and Salmon Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned rabbit, fish broth, deboned salmon, dried egg product, carrots, potatoes, turkey broth, pea protein, sweet potatoes, dried peas, potato starch, calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate, salt, choline chloride, sunflower oil, potassium chloride, salmon oil, flaxseed oil, guar 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), xanthan gum
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 16.7%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||50%||17%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||43%||35%||22%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is rabbit. Rabbit is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered rabbit” and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart, esophagus or other tissues accompanying the flesh.1
Rabbit is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is fish 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 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 fourth 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.
The fifth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 includes turkey broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many canned products.
The eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
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 meat content of this dog food.
The ninth 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.
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 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.
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.
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 Backcountry Grain Free Stews
Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Stews looks like an above-average canned 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 45% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing a notable amount of meat.
Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Stews is a canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main source 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.
- Merrick Recalls Multiple Dog Treats (5/23/2018)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
03/30/2019 Last Update
- Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the definition of meat published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (2008) ↩