Grain is a common dog food ingredient, but some dogs have allergy problems when they eat food with grain products like barley, wheat, rice, or corn. Others need a highly digestible food. Merrick makes two varieties of dry dog food, Classic and Grain Free, to accommodate any canine's nutritional needs.
Both Merrick Classic and Grain Free dry dog foods contain wholesome ingredients. The foods with grain have real meat and use whole grains. The grain free varieties combine the meet with fruits and vegetables. Both foods don't have any artificial coloring, preservatives, or sweeteners.
I like the variety of flavors, especially in the grain free varieties. For example, you can buy food with chicken, duck, or even buffalo, and all three also contain sweet potato and peas. The first five ingredients in each of those three types are meat, meal, and vegetables.
Foods For Different Sizes and Stages
The Merrick Grain Free dry dog foods are suitable for all breeds and adult life stages, while the Classic varieties are geared toward puppies, adult dogs, or seniors and large or small breeds. That lets you customize the nutrition, based on your dog's age and size.
I tested both Classic and Grain Free varieties on three different test dogs, all of whom were adults. Two are larger dogs, and one is a toy breed. All three readily ate both types of food. There didn't seem to be any difference in the palatability of the regular vs. grain free food.
This wasn't a long-term test, and I didn't use any dogs with known problems or allergies to grain. However, if you known your canine companion has grain-related issues, you can be reasonably sure that the grain free flavors are your best choice.
Even though the grain free varieties are geared toward dogs with allergies or other problems, it's a good option for people who prefer not to feed their dogs corn meal or similar ingredients. Based on my test dogs, it's tasty enough to entice most canines into cleaning their bowls.
Check Out The Percentages
It's always a good idea to check out the percentages of the different ingredients in dog food if you can get that information. Even though the order that foods are listed on the label gives you some idea, it still leaves room for interpretation. For example, a food might list meat, vegetables, and grain in that order. That could mean the food contains 34 percent meat, 33 percent vegetables, and 33 percent grain.
Merrick puts the percentages right on the bags so you can make an accurate judgment. For example, the Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato and Sweet Potato Recipe has 70 percent meat and 30 percent vegetables. The Classic Chicken, Brown Rice, and Green Pea Recipe has 60 percent meat, 20 percent grain, and 20 percent vegetables.
Locally Sourced Food
Although my test was limited, I didn't find any downsides to the Merrick Classic and Grain Free dry dog foods. I like the ingredients ratio, and multiple dogs ate each flavor readily.
Another thing I like about this product line is that it's locally sourced. With the recent scares about Chinese chicken treats, I prefer to use pet foods made in the United States with ingredients from U.S. sources. Nothing in Merrick foods, including vitamins and minerals, comes from China.
Merrick manufactures their own food, which is another point in their favor. The recent Diamond Pet Food recall was particularly scary because it was so wide-reaching, since Diamond made food for many different brand names. When you buy pet food from a smaller manufacturer, you know where it's made and have some assurance of good quality standards.