Review of Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet product line includes the 5 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Recipe and Label Analysis
Merrick Limited Ingredient Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free 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 Limited Ingredient Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, sunflower oil, potato protein, pea protein, flaxseed, natural flavor, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, calcium iodate), dl-methionine, taurine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement), mixed tocopherols for freshness, citric acid for freshness
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||16%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
The third ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The next ingredient is potato, another source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth 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 sixth item is sunflower oil, which 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 potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
The eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
Even though these last two ingredients contain over 80% protein, they would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And both of these less costly plant-based products can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The ninth 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 Merrick product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
Next, this product contains 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.
In addition, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, this recipe includes menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in its nutrient profiles, we question the use of this item in any canine recipe.
Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Which means this Merrick product line contains…
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other kibbles.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, potato protein, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Our Rating of Merrick Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet offers both grain-inclusive and grain-free dry dog foods that use a moderate amount of named meat meals as their dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 3.5 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.
Get Free Recall Alerts
Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.
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 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)
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.
However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.
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.
01/12/2022 Last Update