Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet product line includes the 5 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to check prices and read reviews from actual buyers at an online retailer.
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Salmon and Sweet Potato Grain Free [M]
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free [M]
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free [M]
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Chicken and Brown Rice (3.5 stars) [M]
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Salmon and Brown Rice (3.5 stars) [M]
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Merrick Limited Ingredient Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, sunflower oil, pea protein, flaxseed, natural flavor, 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, potassium chloride, vitamins (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), 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||27%||16%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||33%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third 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 next 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 fifth ingredient is potato. Potatoes 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 next 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 pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
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 meat content of this dog food.
The eighth 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 3 notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, we find 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.
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
Dog Food Review
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 26% 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 61%.
Which means this Merrick product line contains…
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
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 main source of animal protein, thus receiving 4 stars.
Merrick Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Merrick. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- 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)
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.
Notes and Updates
07/04/2020 Last Update