Merrick Classic Chunky canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Merrick Classic Chunky product line includes the 4 canned dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Merrick Chunky Pappy’s Pot Roast Dinner [A]
- Merrick Chunky Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner [A]
- Merrick Chunky Carver’s Delight Dinner [A]
- Merrick Chunky Colossal Chicken Dinner (4.5 stars) [A]
Merrick Chunky Pappy’s Pot Roast Dinner was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Merrick Classic Chunky Pappy's Pot Roast Dinner
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned beef, beef broth, vegetable broth, beef liver, potatoes, carrots, natural flavor, potato starch, dried peas, agar-agar, calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate, sunflower oil, salt, dried celery, caramel color, salmon oil, choline chloride, guar gum, cumin, 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), cinnamon, garlic
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||17%||31%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||35%||27%|
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 next two items are beef broth and vegetable 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 beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
After the natural flavor, we find potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
The next 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.
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 4 notable exceptions…
First, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
Next, 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?
So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.
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 Chunky
Canned Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Classic Chunky looks like an above-average canned dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 38%.
Which means this Merrick product line contains…
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.
Merrick Classic Chunky is a grain-free canned dog food that utilizes a significant amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Merrick Dog Food
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.
- Merrick Recalls Multiple Dog Treats (5/23/2018)
- Merrick Recalls Dog Treats (8/9/2011)
- Merrick Pet Treats Recall 2011 (1/30/2011)
- Merrick Expands Dog Treats Recall (8/16/2010)
- Merrick Expands Recall of Dog Treats (8/4/2010)
- Merrick Dog Treats Recall (7/6/2010)
- Merrick Dog Treats Recall 2010 (1/15/2010)
More Merrick Reviews
The following Merrick reviews are also posted on this website:
- Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Classic Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Dog Food Review
- Merrick Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Lil’ Plates Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain Free Dog Food Review (Cups)
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog food Review (Dry)
A Final Word
The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.
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For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Consumer Reports February 2014 ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩
11/12/2019 Last Update