Merrick Classic Dog Food (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★★

Merrick Classic canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Merrick Classic product line includes 19 canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Merrick Classic Turducken All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Puppy Plate All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Brauts-N-Tots All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Senior Medley All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Grammy’s Pot Pie All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Working Dog Stew All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Smothered Comfort All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Wingaling All Breeds (4.5 stars)
  • Merrick Classic Turducken Toy and Small Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Mediterranean Banquet All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Thanksgiving Day Dinner All Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Wild Buffalo Grill All Breeds (4.5 stars)
  • Merrick Classic Wilderness Blend All Breeds (4.5 stars)
  • Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout Toy and Small Breeds
  • Merrick Classic Venison Holiday Stew All Breeds (4 stars)
  • Merrick Classic Grammy’s Pot Pie Toy and Small Breeds
  • Merrick Classic French Country Cafe All Breeds (4.5 stars)
  • Merrick Classic Thanksgiving Day Dinner Toy/Small Breeds

Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Merrick Classic Cowboy Cookout

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 47% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 29%

Ingredients: Deboned beef, beef broth, sweet potato, carrots, green beans, apples, peas, dried egg product, natural pork flavor, potato starch modified, blueberries, canola oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, sodium phosphate, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), carrageenan, cassia gum, olive oil, flax oil, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), natural caramel color, Yucca schidigera extract, lecithin

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis9%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis47%16%29%
Calorie Weighted Basis41%34%25%
Protein = 41% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 25%

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 second ingredient is beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third 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.

The fourth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient includes green beans, a healthy vegetable notable for its vitamin, mineral and natural fiber content.

The sixth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The seventh ingredient includes 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.

The eighth 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 four notable exceptions

First, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

In addition, olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

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 Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Classic canned dog food 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 47%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 29%.

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 48%.

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

Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Classic is a grain-free meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of various named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

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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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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Notes and Updates

07/15/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • JC Shareef

    I just fed my dogs the Merrick’s Southern Comfort and it was awesome,, they absolutely loved it!! It has chicken thighs along with bones that is perfectly safe for the dogs!!! I barely ever give my dogs wet food but I sometimes treat them on the weekends!! I have a chiwawa and cocker spaniel and they both loved it…

  • Just me

    Has anyone’s dogs been experiencing any changes lately when eating Merrick canned? My girls eat mostly Pappy’s Pot Roast and Colossal chicken dinner, and have been on it for a long time. ( but some of the other varieties as well.) Lately they seem to get a little gassy and belchy after eating. Not sure it is the food, who knows what it could be, but I wanted to just check to see if anyone else feeding the wet food has started having this issue? Better safe than sorry. :-)

  • Crazy4dogs

    The chicken bones in Merrick are pressure cooked and safe. Those were my favorite formulas from Merrick. They are perfectly safe and will crumble with a spoon or between your fingers. Sandy is correct. It’s stated on the cans that they contain bones.