Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free (Dry)

Share

Rating: ★★★★☆

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet product line includes 5 grain-free, dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Use links below to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Chickpeas was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Chickpeas

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 32% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chickpeas, lentils, peas, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, natural flavor, minerals (salt, zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, potassium chloride, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, calcium iodate), vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis32%17%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%35%38%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

It’s important to note that the next three ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is sunflower oil. 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.

The seventh ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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 Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 32%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas, lentils, peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company on its product label or its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive an affiliate fee from certain online retailers, including some that offer their own private label brands.

This policy helps support the operation of our website and keeps access to all our content completely free to the public.

In any case, please be assured it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

10/29/2018 Last Update

Top