Best Merrick Dog Food

Updated December 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
12 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
82 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Merrick dog food

Finding the right food for your dog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet owner. There are many companies offering a wide range of options, but ultimately, you, your dog, and your veterinarian will decide what’s best. Merrick has been supplying healthy food and snacks to dogs and cats for decades, catering to all ages, sizes, and needs.
 
Founded in Texas by Garth Merrick in 1988, Merrick provides a variety of balanced dry and wet food options filled with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and real meat, whole vegetables and fruits, and, in some cases, grains. Merrick does not use any filler, preservatives, or artificial flavors in its recipes. Merrick dog food strives to keep your dog healthy inside and out, from promoting a strong immune system and digestive tract to keeping the coat shiny and energy level high. 

Our buying guide takes you through the various lines and formulas offered by Merrick and how much they cost, and includes some recommendations, so you can make the best choice possible for your furry friend.

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Merrick adds taurine to all its dry foods. This amino acid, found naturally in some meats, aids cardiac health.

Key considerations

Dog food lines

Merrick offers five different lines of dog food, each with its own unique recipes.

Classic Healthy Grains: This line features a balanced mix of whole grains, meats, fruits, and vegetables offering protein, nutrients, and vitamins. The number one ingredient is poultry or deboned meat, and the grains are a mix of barley, quinoa, and rice. This line contains no peas, lentils, corn, soy, potatoes, or preservatives. It’s most beneficial for puppies, small breeds, and adult dogs. The five recipes in the Classic Healthy Grains line are among the least expensive Merrick formulas available.

Grain Free: Deboned meat, fish, or poultry is the first ingredient in the Grain Free formula. Whole food ingredients include sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and blueberries, with no corn, soy, or wheat. There are 14 unique dry food options, as well as 31 different canned wet food options, including stews and themed recipes like Thanksgiving Day Dinner or Star Spangled Supper. This line caters to dogs of all ages and sizes and is among the more expensive options.

Backcountry: This line is inspired by your dog’s ancestral diet with recipes featuring those foods found out in the world. Freeze-dried raw meats, including poultry and fish, as well as freeze-dried raw-coated kibble are the main ingredients. This line includes recipes with and without grain and is recommended for dogs of all ages and sizes. There are 12 different dry food options available and 12 wet formulas in 7-ounce cans. This line is one of the higher priced options.

Lil’ Plates: This line of entirely grain-free recipes caters to small breeds. Lil’ Plates offers formulas that support healthy digestion, clean teeth, and strong joints and bones, featuring real whole foods with deboned meat as the number one ingredient. This line has 8 different dry food options and 11 wet food choices in 3.5-ounce portions.

Limited Ingredient Diet: Containing just nine ingredients, this line is for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities. The first ingredient is deboned meat, poultry, or fish, and each formula is free of grain, chickpeas, lentils, soy, and corn. There are 5 dry and 5 wet options available in this line.

Size

Merrick offers most dry food in small (4-pound), medium (10- to 12-pound), and large (20- to 25-pound) bags. Wet food comes in packs of 12 cans. Serving size varies from .5 to over 7 cans and depends on the size and weight of your dog.

Adding a bit of water to dry food can help your dog get more hydration and soften the food, making it easier on teeth.

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Features

Toppers

Merrick offers meal toppers and enhancements to supplement your dog’s diet or be given intermittently as treats. These include various flavors and recipes of bone broth that can be added to dry food to make the meal more appetizing to the dog and offer it some nutrients and even sweets (if they’ve been good). Some options may also be served as meals, but be sure the product recommends this clearly or else your dog won’t get a balanced diet. 

Treats

Merrick offers a variety of tasty and healthy treats for dogs. The treats do not include corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors or preservatives, sorbic acid, or sodium copper chlorophyll, which may be found in other brands of dog treats.

Backcountry: Like the dry food, these treats feature raw pieces of meat, such as lamb, venison, or buffalo.

Fresh Kisses: These treats feature either coconut oil or mint in order to improve your dog’s dental hygiene and breath.

Power Bites: These soft and chewy treats feature a variety of meats and offer lots of protein for active dogs.

Big Bites: These treats for large dogs are specifically formulated to promote hip and joint strength.

Lil’ Plates Treats: These smaller treats come in various shapes and are for small breeds.

Kitchen Bites: These are oven-baked biscuits styled after homemade meals like applewood bacon and pot pie.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If your dog isn’t a fan of a particular dry recipe from Merrick, you can return the remainder for a full refund or exchange.
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Accessories

Bowl: AmazonBasics Dog Bowl
Your dog needs a sturdy bowl for mealtime. We love this classic stainless steel option by AmazonBasics. You can also purchase a pair for a slight discount.

Storage container: Buddeez Roll Away Pet Food Container
You should have a proper place to store your dog’s dry food. We like this large-capacity storage container from Buddeez that’s easy to access and move. It comes with a 1-cup scoop, too.

Dental supplements: VetriScience Perio Support
Healthy teeth and gums are very important to a dog’s overall health and quality of life. We recommend using this everyday supplement from VetriScience, a flavorful powder that can be sprinkled on food.

Travel dog bowl: AwakeLion Collapsible Dog Bowl
When you’re camping or on a road trip with your dog, it helps to have transportable bowls. This collapsible option from AwakeLion is waterproof, non-toxic, inexpensive, and convenient.

Merrick dog food prices

Inexpensive: You can buy small bags of dry food for under $25, as well as 6-ounce bags of treats for less than $10. Cases of 3.5-ounce portions of Lil’ Plates wet food are also in this range.

Mid-range: Medium bags of dry food cost between $25 and $50, though the Grain Free and Backcountry recipes are closer to the high end of that range. The 7-ounce cans of wet food, available in 12-packs, fall in this range, too.

Expensive: Large bags of dry food cost over $50.

Look for any excessive itching, scratching, panting, or drooling as well as vomiting or irregular bowel movements. It could mean your dog’s food needs to be changed.

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Tips

  • Provide plenty of water for your dog. Dogs need to drink clean, cold water throughout the day, especially after meals. Make sure to check the bowl and change the water often.
  • Change your dog’s food gradually. Do not switch your dog to a new food all at once. It takes five to seven days to gradually transition from one food to another. Mix a little of the new food into the old each day, gradually increasing the percentage of the new food in the bowl. 
  • Weigh your dog regularly. You should weigh your dog once a month to check for any significant gain or loss, which could be associated with diet. Regular veterinary checkups will help your dog stay healthy.
  • Buy a large bag of dry food. If you know your dog likes a certain formula, buy the largest bag you can. Dry food stores well, and you’ll pay less per pound than with a smaller bag. 
merrick dog food3
Many dogs beg for dinner, but don’t give in. Stick to a mealtime schedule and amount to keep your dog healthy.

FAQ

Q. How do I pick the right recipe for my dog?

A. Filter the options according to the age and size of your dog. The Classic Healthy Grains line is a good place to start, but if your dog has any sensitivities or allergies, you’ll want to look to the Limited Ingredient Diet options or Grain Free line. For those dogs who are more active, you may want to consider the Backcountry line. It’s always wise to consult your veterinarian to ask for recommendations and check for food sensitivities. After choosing a recipe, transition slowly to the new food and monitor your dog for any abnormal or unhealthy behavior.

Q. Do I need to use Merrick treats if my dog eats Merrick food?

A. While it’s important to transition your dog’s food gradually when switching formulas, treats can be given from any brand. You want your dog to eat regular meals in order to not upset its digestive tract, but occasional treats are okay in moderation. Treats aren’t meant to be a substitute for meals, and giving your dog too many can have unhealthy side effects, including weight gain.

Q. How much food should I give my dog?

A. The amount of food you serve your dog differs depending on its age, size, energy level, and ideal weight. Merrick’s website has a convenient food calculator to help you determine how much of their food you should be giving your dog. Research may help you find the right target weight for your dog, but consulting your veterinarian is the best way to go. Most dogs eat two meals a day, so make sure you’re reading the recommended daily servings and not meal servings.

 

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