Review of Merrick Classic Canned Dog Food
Merrick Classic canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Merrick Classic product line includes the 10 grain-free canned dog foods listed below. Seasonal, limited-time recipes are excluded from this list.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Brauts-N-Tots||5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Cowboy Cookout||4.5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Grammy’s Pot Pie||4.5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Smothered Comfort||5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Wilderness Blend||5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Wingaling||5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Puppy Plate Beef||5||G|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Puppy Plate Chicken||5||G|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner||4.5||M|
|Merrick Classic Grain Free Turducken||5||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Merrick Classic Grain Free Grammy’s Pot Pie 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 Classic Grain Free Grammy’s Pot Pie
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken broth, potatoes, carrots, apples, peas, dried egg product, flaxseed oil, potato protein, calcium carbonate, natural flavor, potato starch, minerals (potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide), sodium selenite, sodium phosphate, gum ghatti, guar gum, xanthan gum, salt, 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), salmon oil, cassia gum, agar-agar, flaxseed, locust bean gum, choline chloride, rosemary, sage, thyme, Yucca schidigera extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 10%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||22%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||44%||21%|
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 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 third ingredient is potato, which 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 fourth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber..
The sixth 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 seventh 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 next ingredient is flaxseed oil, one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.
The ninth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
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 actual 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 4 notable exceptions…
First, we find sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
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.
In addition, 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, 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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Classic canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 45% and a mean fat level of 23%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 24% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Which means this Merrick product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, potato protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet dog food containing a significant amount of meat.
Our Rating of Merrick Classic Canned Dog Food
Merrick Classic is a grain-free wet dog food using a liberal amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Merrick Dog Food
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Merrick.
- 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)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Merrick Brand Reviews
The following Merrick dog food 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 Chunky Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dog Food Review (Dry)
- 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
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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.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
02/11/2022 Last Update