Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Alpine Rabbit Wet Dog Food

Review of Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Canned Dog Food

Rating:

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Merrick Backcountry Grain Free product line includes the 10 canned dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

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Product Rating AAFCO
Merrick Backcountry Hearty Beef Stew 5 A
Merrick Backcountry Hearty Chicken Thigh Stew 5 A
Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew 5 M
Merrick Backcountry Hearty Duck + Venison Stew 5 M
Merrick Backcountry Hero’s Banquet Stew 5 M
Merrick Backcountry Chunky Beef Dinner in Gravy 4.5 A
Merrick Backcountry Chunky Lamb Dinner in Gravy 4.5 A
Merrick Backcountry Real Beef Dinner 5 M
Merrick Backcountry Chunky Venison + Beef Dinner in Gravy 5 M
Merrick Backcountry Real Chicken Dinner 5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Merrick Backcountry Alpine Rabbit Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 50% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 20%

Ingredients: Deboned rabbit, turkey broth, chicken broth, deboned turkey, turkey liver, dried egg product, sweet potatoes, peas, minerals (potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), potato starch, flaxseed oil, salmon oil, calcium carbonate, salt, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, folic acid, vitamin D-3 supplement, biotin), guar gum, fruit juice color, xanthan gum, cinnamon, choline chloride

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 16.7%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis9%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis50%22%20%
Calorie Weighted Basis40%44%16%
Protein = 40% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 16%

Ingredient Analysis

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 next two ingredients include turkey broth and chicken 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 fourth ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.2

Turkey is also rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog.

The fifth ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The sixth item 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 seventh ingredient includes sweet potatoes. 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 eighth ingredient lists 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.

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 Merrick product.

With 2 notable exceptions

First, we find salmon oil, which 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, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Backcountry Grain Free canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 50%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 20%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 47% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

Which means this Merrick product line contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other canned dog foods.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing a significant amount of meat.

Our Rating of Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Canned Dog Food

Merrick Backcountry is a grain-free wet dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Has Merrick Backcountry Dog Food Been Recalled?

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Merrick.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Merrick Reviews

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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.

References

  1. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the definition of meat published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (2008)
  2. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition

02/04/2021 Last Update