What happens to the quality of Merrick foods now that they have been bought by Purina?
Very disappointed to read that Merrick was purchased by the evil empire that is Purina. In my opinion, it’s just a question of time until the quality of the ingredients or the sourcing of the ingredients changes. We are in the process of deciding which food to switch to and then will begin switching the dogs. I just don’t trust the Purina brand.
When I decided to switch my dogs from Orijen, I took months researching and deciding on Merrick. My dogs love it and variety is terrific. I’m so disappointed! Back to the drawing board.
Wow, and I just switched to Merrick and waiting for the first bag to arrive. 🙁
I too am heartbroken about Merrick… my Shelties do so well on it!!!! I have narrowed down to Origen, Acana and Wellness Core… looking for a 30% protein and 15% fat is hard!!
Hi Phyllis- They have not disclosed the full terms of the agreement between Merrick and Purina. Only that they will keep the management and employees Merrick had. There is no way of telling whether or not the formulas will change, the sourcing of the ingredients will change, or the quality will change. However, Merrick as a company was not perfect either and had some quality control issues.
My cat is the only one who gets a Merrick product and I have yet to completely decided if I’m going to switch her, as the Whole Earth Farms line is one of the most affordable canned foods out there for the quality. It will be a very tough choice for people who do not want to support Purina, but like the Merrick line.
If you are feeding one of the more expensive lines of Merrick, there are plenty of other brands out there that are compariable if not better than Merrick though.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Pitlove.
I’m saving my Merrick and Whole Earth Farms labels as I use each can so that I can compare to new purchases. If I start seeing changes that I don’t like, I’ll have to start looking.
I would say the labels may not tell you as much as you would hope in this case. Purina isn’t exactly known for excellent ingredient sourcing, which wont change the label
I recently bought the 3rd bag of Merrick salmon and sweet potato and now must try to find another food that is as good. It took months to find Merrick, now I’m lost again. Any suggestions would be helpful. I used to feed my dogs Eukanuba before Proctor and Gambol bought them out. Now would not touch any IAMS food.
Take a look at Victor Yukon River, Acana Pacifica, and Orijen Six Fish if you’re looking for a fish-based alternative to the Merrick.
Thank you DogFoodie. I’m also worried about calories and Merrick was so good there too. Will check out your recommendations.
I just found out about Merrick today and am so disappointed to read this. I’ve been feeding Merrick Classic dry to my great dane for a while now. Whole Farms canned as well for him and my cats. Dang
There is no reason to switch foods just because of the buyout. Purina doesn’t intend to change the formulas and I feel they won’t. They bought Zukes treats awhile ago and haven’t touched it.
My cat eats Whole Earth Farms canned and I plan to keep her on it.
Why is this site still ranking merrick so highly despite the buyout? It makes me really skeptical of their reviews and ratings.
Kristin, I think it’s because nothing has changed with the product yet as far as anyone knows. My dogs are still on Merrick and I’m watching closely to see if anything changes. If anyone hears about them changing from regional/local sourcing I hope they’ll post.
Did anyone get the coupons in the Classic dry dog food bags for $3 off because they’re changing their look & ingredients? I just checked their website and they still claim to source locally and do not use ingredients from China. I don’t see where the recipe has changed yet but I haven’t purchased any since December
I’m still using Merrick too and I’m trying to keep checking here to see if anyone sees things changing. It’s hard for me to get online to this site for some reason so hopefully that won’t continue. Everything working right now though. My dog loves the Salmon and Sweet Potato.
KristinS they don’t rate the food based on the manufacturer or copacker. The food is rated based on the ingredients.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Jenn H. Reason: Typo
When I found out about the buyout I contacted Merrick. They said they won’t be changing their formulas or sources. I replied that I don’t believe a word of it since every company has said the exact same thing and did exactly the opposite.
I can forgive past recalls. It was a smallish company, reasonably priced, goof proof for my husband to pick it up when I needed him to, dogs did well and they were very good about righting mistakes (as far as I know).
I cannot forgive them selling out or using untrustworthy co-packers. A lot of huge recalls happen because of copacking.
I’ve been a happy customer of Merrick for years. No longer happy and no longer a customer. Switching to Annamaet. Merrick sold out. Money talks.
New lawsuit against Merrick…. It was only a matter of time!
“SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – A Ventura County, California man is suing several pet food manufacturers and sellers over claims they falsely labeled certain products as being made in the U.S.
Sean Randall, individually and for all others similarly situated, filed a class-action lawsuit Jan. 7 in the Western Division of the Northern District of California against Merrick Pet Care, doing business as Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks LLC; Pet Appeal One LLC, also known as Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks LLC; Nestle USA; Nestle Purina Petcare; and Does 1-10, alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
The suit states the defendants falsely labeled certain dog and cat food and treat products as made in the U.S., when these products allegedly include vitamin, mineral and amino acid packs that contain ingredients sourced outside the U.S.”
Almost all Vitamin C is sourced from China. (Even if you/someone says they got it from elsewhere. Still probably originated in China.) I’m sure lots of other ingredients still do too. It’s not required that it be on the label. Just like it’s not required that ethoxyquin be on a label. Doesn’t matter if the actual source of the fish uses it as a preservative. No one has to tell you.
I’m so glad it’s not a suit brought on because of sick animals, but a suit that will hopefully prevent such tragedy while forcing full disclosure on labels. I’m tired of having to dig for all info regarding the ingredients before I buy dog food.
I’m so close to attempting homemade.
I have to agree with you Jenn! I’m so tired of having to do such intensive research in dog foods,
I wish the dog food industry wasn’t so secretive and deceptive. I’ve also been considering more and more feeding a homemade diet!
I’m trying to find out how to get the FDA to require that minimums & maximums be included on the guaranteed analysis as well as the preservatives used from the sources (like fish sources and if they use ethoxyquin). I also want labels to include any vitamin & minerals that came from China.
It’s going to be a huge undertaking, but it is possible. This is ridiculous.
There’s no reason it should be OK that dogs be fed ingredients that aren’t allowed to be fed to humans. Fish for people cannot be preserved with Ethoxyquin, but dogs can. Who handles the food? People.
That’s just 1 tthorn in my side regarding dog food ingredients and labels. I’m sick of it. I’m grateful to be able to have avoided my dogs from illness plqying this guessing game. Honestly affordable dog food of human grade ingredients shouldn’t be so difficult and doesn’t have to be so expensive.
The only reason I haven’t gone with homemade yet is 1.) I’m the worst cook ever. 2.)I don’t have the time and ability to commit to it right now. 3.) It will take some saving up to get the initial ingredients to get started.
I’m working on all that too.
I’m finally going to switch dog food from Merrick even though we’ve had no problem. I’m just too worried about what might happen. So, I’ve found what I think is a very good food that has canned listed as 5 stars here and just came out with kibble. Weruva is sold in a small boutique pet store in town and the owner is very high on it. She says she knows the owners and they keep very close eye on how it’s produced in Thailand. They use a human quality processing plant and packers and there have been no recalls at all with this product…yet. You never can tell though, every company can have problems. I’ve done quite a bit of background checking on it and feel good about it. The protein, fat and quality seems excellent. Fingers crossed, again.
I agree. Weruva is a great product.
Sadly, their line of “Kobe” products, is manufactured in the US by Evangers. Evangers has a terrible reputation.
For that reason, I’d exclude the Kobe products if I fed Weruva to my dogs.
Kathleen I’ve been very lucky to avoid recalls by switching every few months. And keeping up w/ the brands I like before switching back & forth.
I’ve also heard really good things about Weruva. Haven’t been able to find it easily or consistently enough to try it.
Dogfoodie as always thanks for the input. If I do try it I’ll know better.
Chewy.com carries the Weruva kibble. It is more expensive though than the Merrick. This pet store where I found it keeps her prices down so her customers can afford good quality food her their pets. However, I was paying over $19 with Amazon for 4 lbs of the Merrick and the Weruva 4 lbs is $21. I think it’s worth the difference.
Jenn, would yo be willing to share some of the products you like? I too have been doing intensive research and want to feed well but i’m finding something wrong with most of them. I have a 17 month old male gsd and a 4 yr old female gsd.
Wendy I’d be happy to share. Right now I’m on break at work, but when I get home I’ll have my lists.
Until then at the moment I’m feeding my 7 month old GSD 4-4.25 cups Solid Gold Wolf Cub bison. That’s split into 3 meals. He’s about 70 lbs.
He’s done really well with it. His coat looks good and he’s really been building muscle since switching him completely 1 month ago. As a result of the muscle tone I’ve noticed his confirmation improving.
My 7 y/o GSD has been having GI issues since having to be on 2 courses of antibiotics for Lyme and 2 other antibiotics for other issues and a bout with pancreatitis. For her right now I’m giving 2 meals of 1/2 can i/d and 1/2 cup Wysong Anergen. I’m about to switch the i/d to Anergen cans. She’s 67 lbs right now. It’s winter. Nomally she is much more active and eats more but her normal weight is 60-63 lbs.
I have a 10 y/o Lab/Pit mix (more Lab) that’s about the same weight as my 7 y/o. She gets Wysong adult 2 times/day. 3/4 cups. She has nothing but muscle. No fatty lumps or anything! Best looking Lab/Lab mix I have ever seen at her age.
They are all healthy & energetic (even my sick girl).
Once my pup requires more kibble I’ll probably sub it/add Solid Gold cans. I’ll have to figure out the amts on that first.
Before this food he was getting about 61/2 cups Wellness Core Grain-free Puppy. He did pretty good w/ it, but I was going thru so much food. And his coat & muscle tone wasn’t like it is now.
The reason I fed that and not the Wellness large breed puppy was because it had 1.5% calcium. The lbp has more than that surprisingly.
Solid Gold Wolf Cub (bison) has 1.3% max.
All of them also get 2 Tbsp pure canned pumpkin (Libby’s brand from the market.)
Every once in a while I give them goat milk and/or cooked & cooled whole groats oats just to fill them up a little or put a couple extra pounds on for cold weather.
So it goes like this:
Puppy: 1.25 cups Solid Gold am & pm
1 cup middle of day
2 Tbsp pumpkin in 1 of the meals.
Lab mix: 3/4 cups Wysong Adult am & pm
2 Tbsp pumpkin
I’ll get back to you later with the other foods I’ve tried/like.
I’ve never used Solid Gold or Wysong foods, i’ll check them out. I do know about the calcium thing with large breeds and was really careful about that, but something i had to learn the hard way is about protein levels in growing GSDs and some other breed as well, is they are prone to Panosteitis from to high protein. I was listening to everyone all over these boards saying high protein is good for growing puppies well not necessarily for GSDs. My Pup Theo at about 10 mos developed limping and sometimes it would shift around, I couldn’t get a grip on what the heck was happening to him, i was freaking out I thought it was hips, but no it was Pano! I think we are past that now but I’m gun shy about protein levels. I have Both dogs on fish, I’ve used Pure Vita salmon, Natures Select (wonderful food) but got tired of ordering off the website, then to Fromm which has a TON of carbs, then tried Zignature trout & salmon they liked it but both Zig. & Fromm have salt (why?) so now back to Pure Vita. I’ve trialed a few others like Great Life and Victor but really watching protein at least a while longer. I’m using alot of fish because they are both being treated for allergies and my vet dermatologist suggested it even though we don’t seem to have food allergies. I have looked at the editors choice lists for months now reading ingredient panels, guaranteed analysis, manufacturing facility and sourced ingredients as much as we can possibly know. Ugh its so hard!
Actually, the cause of pano is largely unknown, but it is more likely caused by excess nutrition then other factors. You should keep a pup lean during growth. Excess protein is excreted as waste in urine.
Here is a good overview of proper large breed puppy nutrition. This applies to all breeds.
Here’s a link discussing pano that mentions GSD’s
“The etiology(cause) is unknown, but the disease can be transmitted by injecting into the marrow cavity of susceptible dogs a bacteria free and cell-free Seitz filtrate from the bone marrow of diseased dog”
There was another short blurb I found about Pano that supported the same statment that the cause is unknown. Protein has been cleared (meaning it is not) as the cause of all other orthopedic diseases. While we can’t say for sure it is not the cause of Pano, we can’t say for sure that it is either. More focus should be put on limiting excessive calcium and overnutrition.
To Dogfoodie and Pitlove,
I am sure your you mean well but are either of you a Veterinarian? You both came on here to make it seem like I don”t know what the heck I’m talking about, thank you!! Both of you have stated “caused by excess nutrition well what do you think to high protein is? As for calcium i stated in my post I was really careful about that which i do not remember it having any correlation to Pano as in direct correlation to CHD. Now I will address excess nutrition, i have been reading these boards now at least since I got my pup maybe longer and i have researched many things said here as well as the Pano issue until my head will explode and my eyes bleed! I am here to be a good fur mom, I feed my pup the best i can afford short of making his food, he has never been OVER FED! My Vet whom I trust told me German Shepherds are prone to get Pano, the studies have stated that as well, and to change to a lower protein food which I did and it resolved!
I came in here to ask Miss Jenn what foods she likes as she also has GSDs, I did not ask for your advise about Pano, I went to the vet for that! Now I have said my piece and i will not further participate in this discussion.
Hi Wendeyzee- I won’t speak for DogFoodie, but no I’m not a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. That is why I personally provided you with links to research conducted by those types of professionals in the field of nutrition that have studied growth in large breed puppies. I am aware that German Shepherd Dog’s are prone to the development of Pano (the links also support that). No where in my post or in my links I provided did it say otherwise. What was said in those research articles was that Pano is idiopathic, therefore there is no way to know that feeding your puppy a high protein diet was the cause of it. This should actually offer some piece of mind.
Over nutrition does not mean feeding high protein- it is in reference to caloric intake. This is why DogFoodie (and I) mentioned keeping the dog lean and at an ideal weight during the critical growth period (though that can not even guarentee your dog will not develop pano). A puppy that is even slightly (by just a mere few pounds) overweight is at a much higher chance of developing any one of the numerous DOD’s.
No one here critized your pet parenting or assumed you had not spent any time researching the breed. You’ve misconstrued that in your own mind. We simply offered you information that you may have missed while researching.
I’m sorry you found this information offensive. Best of luck with your pup
Wendyz I had replied this morning, but am just noticing that I must not have hit “submit”. Therefore I apologize for the delay.
I will say that after about 20 GSDs in 35+ yrs only 1 of them had pano. That was when I was a teenager. Therefore I had no control on what the dogs were fed. I just fed them according to parents’ instruction. At that time Pedigree, Purina, Blue Seal, etc were considered great food. Canned was to be used very rarely and only to give pills or extra during very cold times.
That dog grew very big very quickly. At 2 he was heading toward 100#s. Since he died suddenly at 2.5 from torsion we’ll never know what he would’ve topped out at.
With the exception of a couple of dogs I have adopted as adults, none of the 20ish dogs I’ve had have gotten hip/elbow dysplasia, OCD, arthritis, etc. With the proper diet, exercise & supplements the arthritic dogs became noticeably better. (Supplements are a whole other conversation.)
I worry about my pup because I have no idea what his father is like. His mother was a “midnight rescue”. She is 90+ lbs. His confirmation isn’t ideal. Angulated hips, roach back. Since switching him tho he has developed more muscle tone which I think has gotten him to stop walking on his hocks and has a better coat. He is also more satisfied after meals despite being fed much less amt.
It appears that quality of the proteins is more important than the quantity. Stay away from plant based. Go for meats/fish/eggs as a source. Higher biological value. Protein is important to build muscle.
You also want to control the rate of growth. GSDs can grow until they’re 3 y/o. My boy has steadily gained 2 #s/wk his whole life. Once in a while he doesn’t gain anything, but will gain 3#s the next wk.
It’s perfectly fine to give joint supplements at 6 months. Right now he gets 1.5 tabs Cosequin DS (the kind WITHOUT vitamins & minerals).
Make sure that if fish is in the food it is NOT preserved by the supplier or manufacturer with Ethoxyquin. Solid Gold & their suppliers do not use that.
If you want to have more control over proteins The Honest Kitchen may be a good choice. Even if you only feed 1 meal/day or a few meala/wk. When I contacted them regarding the puppy they suggested this:
4-6 mon Thrive
After 6 months transition/rotate with Embark, Love, Revel, Brave (that’s a LID of fish).
They make human grade dehydrated base mixes. You add the protein yourself. They include the suggested amts, but really it’s up to you.
I like to keep my puppies on the leaner side while they grow. A roly poly puppy is cute, but not ideal. I find 22-25% protein to be a good amt. But I care more about what type and the calcium.
Other LBP foods on my short list are:
*Fromm LBP Gold although I’m hesitant to try it since a lot of people are complaining their dogs are getting sick from their gold line.
*Solid Gold Hundchen Flocken Lamb & Rice. I used it when I couldn’t find Wolf Cub
Just an aside…I appreciate that you asked for my advice and am very happy to help. I am not a vet or a nutritionist. All I have is experience. Dogfoodie, Pitlove, Houndmom (I’m pretty sure that’s her name) are about the only 3 people who seem to be as conscientious as I and have offered some valuable & helpful advice. They are very good sources to reach out to also. I know there are some significant differences between GSDs and other large breeds, but there’s more similarities when it come to prevention of musculoskeleton problems.
Another aside is that I think I may switch my Lab mix to Solid Gold Barking at the Moon. I can let you know how that goes.
Good luck with the pup. I’m sure he’ll be just fine. I doubt that bout of pano will be a problem. You understand that calcium should not exceed 1.5% and the calcium/ phosphorus ratio should be around 1:1-2:1.
If I think of anything I may have forgotten I’ll let you know.
Hi Jenn, thank you for your reply, I wasn’t sure you would after my last comment. I am usually a lurker, I was compelled to say something of comfort to Stanley about his dog dying from cancer whom clearly was suffering the loss of his dog, that is when you chimed in to talk to me about your GSDs. I appreciated your knowledge, experience and friendliness so that is why I asked you to share about the foods you like.
My problem was the unsolicited advice about Pano! I happy to learn as much as I can about dog food, Medical advice I’ll go to my Vet, I mentioned the Pano in my post to you so you would know why I choose to lower the protein. I actually downloaded Hounddog moms list of LB puppy foods, and thanks to her I did a ton of research about the calcium which i hadn’t known before.
My boy Theo is 17 mos old, the Pano is long gone now, I keep him lean, his coat is shiny and soft, and he is really beginning to fill out from a skinny teenager to a well toned muscular adult.
I really appreciate you coming back to share about the foods you like some as well as your tips about what to look for.
Thank again, Wendey
Wendey, it is my pleasure to share what I have learned from any experience. I feel it is our obligation. Otyerwise what is the point of experiences if we don’t learn from them and share our lessons? Knowledge is power.
If it makes you feel any better about protein and pano the Solid Gold Wolf Cub has MIN of 26% protein. (Can’t remember max off hand.) I’ve fed other pups 28% min without problems.
While pano seems to still be an idiopathic condition, I wouldn’t be surprised if someday they find too much calcium and/or not controlling the growth rate to be the cause.
No matter what age I can say without question that the proper & appropriate exercise for that animal is absolutely necessary. (I work with horses. Many of their lameness issues have greatly improved from the right exercise alone.)
We’ve fed Merrick Duck and Sweet Potatoe for years. I have a lab, toy poodle, and a beagle terrier cross. The kibble size was good for all 3. Never had an issue with them eating. Last bag it’s been a fight, food seems drier, and doesn’t smell as appealing. Looking for a new brand.
Jenn, you recommended Solid Gold, do you know who manufactures this food?
Wendey I do know. I will go back to my emails and post the list. Different plants at different locations make different foods.
I will also further explain why I chose to continue to feed this despite the info.
I’ll try to reply before I head to work.
Thanks Jenn, I did a little digging also and read it was Diamond but not all varieties. I’m sure you have better information than I found out.
Wendeyzee sorry I’m just now getting a second to reply about your manufacturing question.
Let me first qualify my reasoning for feeding this brand:
*It is affordable without being full of crap.
*My puppy is satisfied after meals.
*I don’t have to feed him more than 4.5 cups/day. (As opposed to almost 7 cups of other brands.)
*It has 1.5% calcium max.
*He’s not growing too fast.
*His coat is beautiful. Not dull as w/ other foods.
*He loves it.
*They nor their sources use ethoxyquin to preserve their fish.
*I have asked a ton of probing questions and they answered promptly, honestly, with much information.
*2012 they began a “Positive Release Program” where no food is distributed until an independent third party tests a sample from the batch and results are received.
*They have their own people on site overseeing the process, etc.
•dry foods (most) are made at the Diamondd facility in MO (the recalls of the previous yrs were mainly from the SD plant)
*these dry foods are Wolf King, Wolf Cub, Hund-n-Flocken, Wee Bits, Buck Wild,
Lil Boss, Star Chaser, Sunday Sunrise
*all other dry foods are made at Crosswind Foods, KS
*canned are made by Simmons Pet Food, NJ. They bought out Menu foods in 2010. (After the major 2007 recall dibacle.)
*supplements are made by a company in CA that only makes animal supplements.
They also gave me info on treats & cat food if anyone is interested. I didn’t ask for all that as they don’t apply to me, but they shared anyway. If anyone wants that info I will post.
I understand where humans are involved there can & will be human error (and laziness and greed). Solid Gold seems to be doing their best to put out safe products at affordable prices.
For now I will keep this brand in the rotation. I haven’t yet started either of my adult girls yet. Plan on it this week.
Jenn, Wow thanks! My boy Theo is now 18 mos old and doing great also i have a female 4 yrs. old who is just a little yeasty, I’m still testing foods and deciding which ones I like and they like that we can afford for rotating. We have some allergies not so much to food but the dermatologist suggested using fish so i’ve tried Pure vita salmon and peas, Natures Select Salmon, Fromm Salmon and Veg and Zignature Trout and Salmon.
They weren’t getting satiated on the Pure Vita but they love the Zignature so on a whim i decided to try the Zig. Lamb which I’m just in the process of switching out. I like to know as much as i can about the dog foods but i admit i don’t know about ethoxyquin. One other thing is that i want to keep the protein below 30 for a while longer.
I think I’ll give it a try after this bag of food is done.
Thank you so very much for your detailed response!
Anytime. I know what a huge hassle it is to find food.
Zignature isn’t easily available around me. I would like to try it. Heard lots of good things. I have to get foods that are goof proof for the husband in case I need him to get it.
Whenever I am considering a food that has fish I always ask the company if they or their suppliers use ethoxyquin to preserve it. It’s not allowed to be in human grade food. It shouldn’t be allowed to be in pet food. It doesn’t have to be put in labels either.
Another question I always ask is where all supplements and vitamins come from. I try to avoid China at all costs. Vitamin C is a very common source for that.
Jenn, thanks again for taking the time to share this information, I’m considering trying the Solid Gold, I’ll let you how it goes. Right now my Dogs are loving the Zignature lamb, my female is celebrating when she sees me filling the bowls its funny. If you wanted to try it I know Chewy carries it, its a pain ordering dog food online but I’ve had really great service from them.
Hope to chat again soon,
I loved Merrick. I kept feeding it until 3 of our dogs had unexplained diarrhea, including the one who never gets diarrhea. I just don’t trust Purina. The ingredients may stay the same, but the lable doesn’t tell anything about the quality.
I loved it too. It was a good food at a reasonable price that was easy to get.
Means nothing to me if they say they won’t change ingredients. That’s only half the problem. You can have the best ingredients and use the crappiest sources.
Not to mention the inferior quality control, possibility of cross contamination, etc.
You can have the best ingredients and the poorest quality nutrition. Brands like The Honest Kitchen have proven that.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Pitlove.
Pitlove you don’t like THK!!!??? Please tell me. I’m considering the Zeal for my girl who has had issues w/ GI stuff.
I often take your advice into consideration. What’s up w/ them?
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