Merrick Dog Food Reviews (Ratings, Recalls, Ingredients!)
About the Company
Merrick Pet Care was founded by Garth Merrick in 1988 with his wife Susie. As a small family-owned company, in Hereford, Texas, it was their goal to make, “wholesome, nutritious recipes that pets deserve,” according to the company website. They also emphasize that their all-natural pet food is handcrafted with fresh highest-quality ingredients in small batches. It’s their opinion that their handmade recipes will always, “taste way, way better than scientific formulas.”
Change isn’t always for the better though, especially a change in ownership.
Merrick Pet Care, Inc was bought by Nestlé Purina in July of 2015 from Swander Pace Capital, a private equity firm who purchased the company in 2010. It’s always possible that it might be a positive development that the biggest pet food producers are all investing in natural pet food. It’s obviously driven by growing consumer demand for better quality, but it makes some consumers nervous too.
The class action suit filed in February 2015 with the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California against Nestle Purina PetCare Company, has now been dismissed. However, trust is still a big issue for the company, and the fact that it involved 3,000 online consumer complaints about Beneful® Dog Food making dogs sick is still something I think consumers should still keep in mind.
My Overall Rating On Merrick Dog Food Reviews is 4 Stars, but that might be subject to change...
Trust plays a major role in my Merrick dog food rating, and I’m just not sure what the future holds for a pet food producer that I’ve loved in the past. While reviews of Merrick dog food are still generally good, there are a lot of consumer complaints about the change in ownership. Personally, I have a major problem with the fact that they could change their recipes at any time, but it won’t show on the product label until they’ve used all the old labels. The fact that’s allowed under law disgusts me, so long as any changes are posted on the company website.
My Merrick’s dog food review also needs to take into account that in January 2016, Sean Randall filed a class-action lawsuit with the Western Division of the Northern District of California because while Merrick pet food labels say, “Made In The USA,” they contain ingredients from other countries. The lawsuit is against:
- Merrick Pet Care, 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
- Does 1-10
It specifically says on the Merrick Pet Care website that they never import ingredients from China. All the fresh ingredients apparently come from trusted farmers, and they are manufactured in their own facility in Hereford, Texas. However, I don’t know if that applies to the synthetic vitamins and minerals in their recipes.
The quality of Merrick pet food is based on the company’s “five-star promises:”
- Local Growers - Merrick’s ingredients, such as the chicken, beef and sweet potatoes in their products come from family farms in the USA. The company website also points out that they use fewer distributors and warehouses, which mean that the ingredients are fresher.
- Real Whole Foods - The pet food formulas are made with fresh ingredients starting with high-quality meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. There are no artificial additives, sweeteners, colors or preservatives. They also include omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Some formulas, like their Classic recipes, also have whole grains for added for fiber and nutrients.
- Our Own Kitchen - Merrick pet food has been prepared in their own kitchens in Texas for more than 25 years.
- Balanced Nutrition - Every Merrick pet food has deboned meat as the first and main ingredient. The dry food is made with between 60 to 70 percent meat, poultry and fish, which gives them a guaranteed protein level of between 30 to 38 percent.
- Health You Can See™ The food is so healthy the benefits to our pet’s health will be obvious, according to the company website, including:
- Optimal weight and increased energy from the high levels of protein and healthy fats
- Healthy skin and a shiny coat from the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
- Strong bones and joints from added glucosamine and chondroitin
- Healthy digestive tract from highly digestible meat protein, vegetables and fruit
It’s hard to make any kind of informed decision about Merrick’s dog food when I have no trust in their product labels. It might be great food now, but what about tomorrow?
Not all formulas are grain-free.
Merrick Dog Food Products
All Merrick dog food and treats have real deboned meat, fish or poultry as the first and main ingredient. The company website features five lines of dog food:
The recipes include both kibble and cans. They use multiple protein sources and are designed with different life stages in mind. There are potato-free and poultry-free options too.
In fact, their Merrick® Grain Free Real Buffalo Beef + Sweet Potato™ food is one of the top options for giving your pet 100% real North American Bison according to Bison Central.
These high-protein kibble formulas are grain-free too with added freeze-dried, raw protein pieces. There are cans too, as well as recipes for puppies.
This line is grain-free too. It comes in the form of freeze-dried, raw bites of meat, poultry or fish for complete meals, treats, or in addition to kibble.
Limited Ingredient Diet
These canned and kibble products are grain-free and made with only one source of animal protein for sensitive dogs.
Merrick Classic with Ancient Grains
Real deboned meat, fish or poultry is still the center of these formulas, which include both kibble and cans with separate products for puppies. There are also ancient grains in the recipes like barley and quinoa, which are known as highly digestible for dogs. They don’t include potato.
Merrick Dog Food Recall History
Merrick Pet Care hasn’t had a recall in the last two years, but there were several recalls for possible Salmonella contamination in Swander Pace Capital’s early ownership, including:
- January & July, 2010, Beef Filet Squares
- August, 2010, Texas Hold'ems
- January, 2011, Junior Texas Taffy Dog Treats
- August, 2011, Doggie Wishbone Pet Treats
- August, 2012, All-Natural Beef Chew Dog Treats
I still recommend Merrick Dog Food for the most part, I just do so with a word of caution. Pet-lovers need to be constantly aware that problems could arise at any time, so they’ll need to continue to keep themselves informed. These products still seem to have the natural, trustworthy ingredients I look for, but I prefer small, family-owned-and-operated companies. I want to know that the science of pet nutrition and safety will continue to be demonstrated as my pet food company's top priority.