Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain Free Dog Food Review (Cups)

Merrick Lil Plates Grain free Teeny Tiny Steak Tips Cups Dog Food

Review of Merrick Lil’ Plates Dog Food

Rating:

Merrick Lil’ Plates Dog Food in cups receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Merrick Lil’ Plates product line includes the 10 wet 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 Lil’ Plates Petite Pot Pie 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Teensy Turducken 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Dainty Duck Medley 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Itsy Bitsy Beef Stew 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Surfin + Turfin Supper 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Pint-Sized Puppy Plate 5 A
Merrick Lil’ Plates Little Lamb Chop Stew 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Tiny Thanksgiving Day Dinner 5 M
Merrick Lil’ Plates Teeny Texas Steak Tips Dinner 5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Merrick Lil’ Plates Teeny Texas Steak Tips Dinner 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 Lil' Plates Teeny Texas Steak Tips Dinner

Wet Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, venison broth, beef liver, dried egg whites, dried ground peas, potato starch, guar gum, sunflower oil, sodium phosphate, salt, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt amino acid chelate, potassium iodide), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), cinnamon, ground cumin, xanthan gum

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.8%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%17%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%35%27%
Protein = 38% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 27%

Ingredient Analysis

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 ingredients are beef broth and venison 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 includes dried egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.

The fifth ingredient lists dried ground peas. Ground peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, ground peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
protein.

The sixth ingredient is potato starch, which is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The next item is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.

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, 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.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Lil’ Plates Dog Food in cups looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

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 41%.

Which means this Merrick product line contains…

Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to other wet dog foods.

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

Our Rating of Merrick Lil’ Plates Dog Food

Merrick Lil’ Plates 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 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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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. Association of American Feed Control Officials

11/22/2020 Last Update