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Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Dog food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: March 21, 2024

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Rating:
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Which Merrick Limited Ingredient Dry Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

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 4 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

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

25.8%

Protein

15.7%

Fat

50.5%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, canola oil, potato protein, pea protein, flaxseed, natural flavor, dried yeast, 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) = 4.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 23% 14% NA
Dry Matter Basis 26% 16% 51%
Calorie Weighted Basis 23% 33% 44%

Ingredient Analysis

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 canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact that canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet looks like an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 26%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

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 63%.

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 Dry 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.

Recommended.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and minus the plant-based protein boosters, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Merrick through July.

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:

A Final Word

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