Merrick Dog Food Overview, Review and Recalls

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Merrick Dog Products

Merrick Dog Food Overview

In 1988, Garth Merrick founded “Merrick Pet Care” with his wife, Susie, and their four children at his ranch in Hereford, Texas, just outside of Amarillo. The first product they launched was a natural dog treat, which they named “Flossie” because it helped to clean dogs’ teeth.

Merrick became popular among consumers for their all-natural, high protein dog food and by using only the freshest, highest quality ingredients. Garth Merrick handcrafted all the pet food in his own kitchen without any preservatives, fillers, or shortcuts. The pet food was cooked in the United States and did not contain any ingredients from China.

In 2010, Merrick Pet Care changed ownership. The new owner was “Swander Pace Capital,” a private equity firm. The very nature of the private equity business is to buy and invest again. In the summer of 2015, Merrick Pet Care changed ownership again and was acquired by “ Purina PetCare.”

Despite the acquisition with Nestlé Purina PetCare, Merrick still maintains their traditional way of manufacturing their formulas. According to a recent statement made by Merrick on their “Facebook” page, their “cans and kibble are made in Hereford, Texas just as they have always been. Regarding our ingredients, the majority of our ingredients are sourced from within the United States with the exception of those not readily available in a consistent quality supply here (such as New Zealand lamb); as always, we use no ingredients from China.”

Where is Merrick manufactured?

Merrick’s headquarters is based in Amarillo, Texas, and their products manufactured in their  own kitchens, in Hereford, Texas.

Merrick dog food products include:

Merrick has five dog food formulas. They also offer numerous nutritious treats from dental chews, jerky chip treats, and all-natural bones to name a few.

Merrick Backcountry

This is an all-natural, grain free, protein rich, and raw infused ancestral diet. Merrick Backcounty is cooked in the United States, in their own organically certified kitchens.

Merrick Backcountry Raw

This is an ancestral formula made with freeze-dried raw pieces infused in Merrick Backcountry grain free kibble and raw recipes. They can either be served as a complete and balanced meal on their own, or added to kibble. They can also be served as a treat.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet

This formula is excellent for dogs who have sensitivities to grain, or gluten. It only contains a single source of animal protein and easily digestible carbohydrates, without any grains, corn, soy, or gluten ingredients.

Merrick Grain Free

Merrick grain free formula recipes are cooked at their own organically certified kitchen. They are all corn, wheat, soy and gluten free. This formula is also used in speciality products called “Lil’ Plates,” for smaller breeds with tiny mouths.

Merrick Classic

This formula provides dogs with a wholesome balance of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It does not contain any potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy ingredients.

Some of the “Merrick Backcountry” Dry Recipes

Grain-free / Protein Rich / Raw Infused

Backcountry – Raw Infused – Big Game Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned lamb, pork meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, pea protein, natural flavour, potato protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), buffalo, venison, salmon meal, beef, beef liver, apples, gelatin, blueberries, organic alfalfa, salmon oil (source of Omega-3 fatty acids).

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 38.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 3.00 %
Crude Fat Min. 17.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.30 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % Glucosamine* Min. 800 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 800 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3738 kcal/kg; 374 kcal/cup

Backcountry – Raw Infused  – Puppy Recipe

Formulated for ‘puppies.’

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, natural flavour, turkey meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potato protein, deboned salmon, chicken liver, apples, blueberries, gelatin, organic alfalfa, salmon oil (source of Omega-3 fatty acids).

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 30 % Moisture Min. 11 %
Crude Fat Min. 12 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 3 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.5 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.3 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3488 kcal/kg; 350 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Backcountry Raw” Recipes

Backcountry Freeze Dried Meal Mixer – Real Chicken Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken liver, dried potatoes, potato protein, chicken broth, gelatin, dried kelp, salt, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), potassium chloride, apples, carrots, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 40.00 % Crude Fiber Max. 3.00 %
Crude Fat Min. 18.00 % Moisture Max. 6.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 4050 kcal/kg; 283 kcal/cup

Backcountry Freeze Dried Meal Mixer – Real Salmon Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are salmon, dried potatoes, potato protein, salmon meal, dried kelp, salt, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), potassium chloride, apples, carrots, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 40.00 % Crude Fiber Max. 3.00 %
Crude Fat Min. 10.00 % Moisture Max. 6.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3935 kcal/kg; 221 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet” Dry Recipes

Limited Ingredient Diet – Real Duck + Sweet Potato Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned duck, duck meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, pea protein, duck fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavour, potato protein, organic alfalfa.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 26 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 3.0 %
Crude Fat Min. 13 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 3.0 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.5 % Glucosamine* Min. 1200 mg/kg
Moisture Min. 11 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 1200 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3470 kcal/kg; 347 kcal/cup

Limited Ingredient Diet – Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned salmon, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, pea protein, sunflower oil, natural flavour, organic alfalfa.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 25 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 2.5 %
Crude Fat Min. 13 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.3 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.5 % Glucosamine* 1200 mg/kg
Moisture Min. 11 % Chondroitin Sulfate* 1200 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3470 kcal/kg; 347 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Grain Free” Dry Recipes

Grain Free Real Lamb + Sweet Potato Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, natural flavour, salmon meal, pork fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), apples, flaxseed oil, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 30.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 3.50 %
Crude Fat Min. 15.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.40 %
Crude Fiber Max. 4.50 % Glucosamine Hydrochloride* Min. 600 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 600 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3585 kcal/kg; 362 kcal/cup

Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned beef, chicken meal, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, natural flavour, potato protein, turkey meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), apples, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 32.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 2.40 %
Crude Fat Min. 8.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.30 %
Crude Fat Max. 11.00 % Glucosamine Hydrochloride* Min. 600 mg/kg
Crude Fiber Max. 5.0 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 600 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3210kcal/kg; 360 kcal/cup

Grain Free Puppy Recipe

Formulated for puppies.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, natural pork flavour, potato protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural chicken flavour, deboned salmon, apples, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 28.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 2.20 %
Crude Fat Min. 12.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.30 %
Crude Fiber Max. 4.50 % DHA* Min. 0.05 %
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Glucosamine* 500 mg/kg
Calcium Max. 1.70 % Chondroitin Sulfate* 500 mg/kg
Phosphorus Max. 1.10 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3400 kcal/kg; 381 kcal/cup

Lil Plates Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult small breeds.’

  • The primary ingredients are deboned beef, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, natural flavour, potato protein, salmon meal, pork fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, salmon, inulin (from chicory root), flaxseed oil, apples, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 38.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid Min. 3.50 %
Crude Fat Min. 15.00 % Docosahexaenoic Acid Min. 0.05 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % Glucosamine Min. 800 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate Min. 8 mg/kg
Omega-6 fatty Acid Min. 3.50 % Bacillus Coagulans Mn. 90,000,000 cfu/lb

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3663 kcal/kg; 403 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Classic” Dry Recipes

Classic Real Beef + Green Peas Recipe With Ancient Grains

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned beef, pork meal, peas, brown rice, barley, pork fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), lamb meal, natural flavour, pea protein, quinoa, oatmeal, beef liver, salmon meal, carrots, apples, flaxseed oil (source of Omega-3 fatty acids), blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 30.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 2.00 %
Crude Fat Min. 15.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.30 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % Glucosamine Min. 1200 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 1200 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3585 kcal/kg; 359 kcal/cup

Classic Puppy Recipe

Formulated for puppies.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, peas, barley, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, quinoa, natural flavour, salmon meal, chicken liver, carrots, apples, salmon oil (source of Omega-3 fatty acids), blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 26.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 2.8 %
Crude Fat Min. 12.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.30 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % DHA Min. 0.05 %
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Glucosamine Min. 800 mg/kg
Phosphorus Min. 1.50 % Chondroitin Sulfate Min. 800 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3470 kcal/kg; 347 kcal/cup

Classic Small Breed Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, turkey meal, brown rice, barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oatmeal, natural flavour, quinoa, salmon meal, chicken liver, carrots, apples, flaxseed oil (source of Omega-3 fatty acids), blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 30 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid Min. 4.80 %
Crude Fat Min. 15.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid Min. 0.40 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % Glucosamine Min. 1200 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate Min. 1200 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3585 kcal/kg; 394 kcal/cup

Classic Large Breed Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, peas, barley, sweet potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon meal (source of Omega-3 fatty acids), oats, natural chicken flavour, deboned duck, carrots, apples, flaxseed oil, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 30.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 4.80 %
Crude Fat Min. 15.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.40 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % Glucosamine Hydrochloride* Min. 1200 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 1200 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3638 kcal/kg; 440 kcal/cup

Classic Senior Recipe

Formulated for ‘senior’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, peas, barley, sweet potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon meal (source of Omega-3 fatty acids), oats, natural chicken flavour, carrots, apples, blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 30.00 % Omega-6 Fatty Acid* Min. 3.80 %
Crude Fat Min. 11.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acid* Min. 0.40 %
Crude Fiber Max. 3.50 % Glucosamine Hydrochloride* Min. 1200 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 11.00 % Chondroitin Sulfate* Min. 1200 mg/kg

Calorie content (calculated): ME 2876 kcal/kg; 340 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Backcountry” Wet Recipes

Backcountry Chunky Venison – Beef Dinner In Gravy

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned venison, beef broth, deboned beef, turkey broth, deboned lamb, beef liver, dried peas.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 8.00 % Crude Fiber Max. 1.40 %
Crude Fat Min. 3.00 % Moisture Max. 81.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 745 kcal/kg; 268 kcal/cup

Backcountry – 96 % Real Chicken

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken broth, chicken liver dried egg product.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 9 % Crude Fiber Max. 3 %
Crude Fat Min. 5 % Moisture Max. 78 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 936 kcal/kg; 341 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet” Wet Recipes

Limited Ingredient Diet – Real Lamb Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned lamb, water for processing, lamb liver, dried peas.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 8 % Crude Fiber Max. 1.4 %
Crude Fat Min. 4 % Moisture Max. 78 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 865 kcal/kg; 315 kcal/cup

Limited Ingredient Diet – Real Turkey Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, dried peas.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 9 % Crude Fiber Max. 1.4 %
Crude Fat Min. 5 % Moisture Max. 78 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 915 kcal/kg; 333 kcal/cup

Some of the “Merrick Grain Free and Classic” Wet Recipes

Grain Free Grammys Pot PieClassic Recipe

Formulated for ‘adult’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken broth, potato, carrots, peas, apples, dried egg product.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 9.50 % Crude Fiber Max. 1.40 %
Crude Fat Min. 4.50 % Moisture Max. 81.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 935 kcal/kg; 356 kcal/cup

Grain Free Puppy Plate Classic Recipe

Formulated for ‘puppies.’

  • The primary ingredients are deboned turkey, chicken broth, chicken, duck, peas, sweet potato, carrots, apples, potato, dried egg product.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 10.30 % Crude Fiber Max. 1.40 %
Crude Fat Min. 5.50 % Moisture Max. 81.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 1031 kcal/kg; 390 kcal/cup

Grain Free Senior Medley Classic Recipe

Formulated for ‘senior’ dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are deboned chicken, turkey, chicken broth, chicken liver, peas, carrots, potato, apples, dried egg product.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 9.00 % Crude Fiber Max. 2.00 %
Crude Fat Min. 4.50 % Moisture Max. 81.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 332 kcal/kg; 390 kcal/cup

Merrick Dog Food Recalls

Unfortunately, despite the extra care that Merrick takes in the production and manufacture of their products, their dog food had numerous recalls on their products.

August 2012

  • Merrick withdrew their All-Natural beef chew dog treats.

August 2011

  • Merrick recalled a single lot of their “Doggie Wishbone” pet treats due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

January 2011

  • Merrick voluntary recalled their “Junior Texas Taffy” pet treats due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

July/August 2010

  • Merrick voluntarily recalled their “Beef Filet Squares for Dogs” and their “Texas Hold’ems” pet treats due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

* The FDA conducted routine testing of “Merrick Beef Filet Squares” and found Salmonella.

Summary

Merrick Pet Care sold their original brand of pet products to Nestlé Purina PetCare, and their “Castor & Pollux” organic line, which they acquired in 2012. They also sold their budget conscious “Whole Earth Farms” line of dog foods. Merrick Pet Care no longer advertises the Castor & Pollux, or the Whole Earth Farm lines on their website.

Merrick assured their customers that the acquisition by Nestlé Purina PetCare would not mean any changes to ingredients, manufacturing, or quality, and that they would continue to manufacture their products in their Hereford, Texas kitchens, using the same fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Unfortunately, some customers no longer trust the former family owned and operated pet food company, since it was sold to Nestlé Purina PetCare. The biggest concern is whether the production and high standards will remain, or if cost-cutting and profits will ultimately lead to unfavourable manufacturing changes.

Providing there are no changes made to the Merrick formulas, they are still packed full of high quality and nutritious ingredients.

Some words of advice:

If you happen to feed Merrick products to your pets, keep checking their website for changes in ingredients. Sometimes the labels and packaging that are on store shelves do not have updated labels until the store needs to replenish their stock.

Hopefully, Merrick will be able to maintain their high quality and standard of pet food that consumers have known and trusted for more than twenty-five years.

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