Merrick Formula Change 2017

​Who Makes Merrick Dog Food and Where is it Made?

Garth Merrick founded Merrick Pet Care, Inc. back in 1988, in Amarillo, Texas. Up until recently, it was still a family owned and run business.

However, in 2015, Merrick was bought out by Nestle-Purina.Despite this, Merrick has promised to keep production the same as before, and continue making their foods in Hereford, Texas.

At the time of writing, there seem to be some reports that the formulas have changed slightly since the takeover. Either way, some people who were looking for an alternative to buying from pet food giants are disappointed and have switched to a different brand.

This video from Merrick introduces you to the company’s founder and tells you a little bit about the philosophy behind its dog foods.

Quoted from the manufacturer’s website:

What Dogs Might do Better with A Different Brand?

Not every dog food brand is right for every dog. These are some dogs that Merrick might not suit.

  • Senior dogs: There’s no specific senior dog food from Merrick. Not all seniors need a senior formula, but if they’re getting stiff or they’re putting on too much weight, they may benefit from a food designed specially for older canines.
  • Pregnant or lactating dogs: Pregnant and lactating dogs have different dietary requirements, so it may be worthwhile consulting your vet to see what food would best suit their needs.
  • Large breed puppies: Large breed puppies grow more slowly than their smaller counterparts. Therefore a food specifically designed for plus-size pups might be beneficial.
  • Which Merrick Classic Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

    The Merrick Classic product line includes the 13 dry dog foods listed below.

    Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

    Merrick Classic Real Beef and Brown Rice Recipe 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.

    Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =

    Ingredients: Deboned beef, pork meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, pork fat, salmon meal, natural flavor, lamb meal, quinoa, flaxseed, salt, sunflower oil, organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, carrots, apples, minerals (iron amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, zinc sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt proteinate, cobalt carbonate), taurine, chia seed, Yucca schidigera extract, mixed tocopherols for freshness, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride), citric acid for freshness, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

    Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

    Protein =

    Estimated Nutrient Content
    Method Protein Fat Carbs
    Guaranteed Analysis 26% 15% NA
    Dry Matter Basis 29% 17% 46%
    Calorie Weighted Basis 25% 35% 40%

    The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork.

    The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The next ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The fifth item is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

    The sixth ingredient is pork fat, a product from rendering pig meat.

    Commonly known as lard, pork fat can add significant flavor to any dog food. And it can be high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

    Although it may not sound very appetizing, pork fat (in moderate amounts) is actually an acceptable pet food ingredient.

    The seventh ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

    Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.

    After the natural flavor, we find lamb meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

    The next ingredient is quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.

    Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

    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 product.

    With 8 notable exceptions

    First, we find 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.

    Next, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feed.

    In addition, sunflower oil 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.

    Next, we note the inclusion of chia seed, an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.

    However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

    We also 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.

    Additionally, this recipe includes dried fermentation products. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

    This recipe also has 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.

    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.

    Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Classic appears to be an above-average dry dog food.

    The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

    As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

    And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

    Which means this Merrick product line contains…

    Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.


    Has Merrick dog food been recalled?

    Has Merrick Ever Been Recalled? Yes. In May 2018, some Merrick beef-based dog treats were recalled because of potentially elevated beef thyroid hormone. The company said it was aware of a single customer complaint of a sickened dog.

    Is Merrick dog food linked to heart disease?

    In descending order of most incidents of heart disease, the brands are Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature’s Variety, NutriSource, Nutro and Rachael Ray Nutrish.

    Is Merrick grain free good for dogs?

    ​Dog Food Advisor generally considers Merrick to be a good quality brand with healthy ingredients that will suit the majority of dogs. They’ve rated the Classic range 4.5 stars out of 5, the Grain Free range 5 stars, the Backcountry range 5 stars and the Limited Ingredient Diet range 4 stars.

    Did Purina Buy Merrick?

    July 21, 2015 — Nestle Purina PetCare Company has purchased Merrick Pet Care in a recent buyout agreement. Merrick Pet Care was founded in 1988. The company is a leading producer of natural and organic pet foods. Merrick’s foods are made in the USA.