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Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Merrick Grain-Free Wilderness Blend Canned Dog Food

by Merrick
TOP PICK
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Merrick Grain-Free Wilderness Blend is a mid-priced dog food with great quality. Unlike many other Merrick products we’ve reviewed, this food surprisingly has 1 controversial ingredient, an artificial color. The food also has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs and excellent meat and fat quality. Merrick has no dog food recalls and the company was also extremely transparent when answering our questions. Watchdog Labs recommends this product.

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TYPE
Wet Dog Food
PRICE
$$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
No Corn Wheat or Soy, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free
PACKAGE
12.7 oz
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
Nestle Purina PetCare

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Nutrition

Nutrition

This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.

To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 42.11%

Min. Fat 26.32%

Min. Carbs 21.05%

Max. Fiber 7.37%

Max. Ash 10.53%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 8.0%

Min Fat: 5%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 1.4%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 82.0%

Calories

Calories

422 Calories per Can

This product has an above average amount of calories for wet food. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount.

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FDA Alert

FDA Alert

Grain-Free Dog Foods

This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.

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90.5%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
88%
42
Total Ingredients
1
Controversial Ingredients


Deboned Duck, Beef Broth, Vegetable Broth, Deboned Venison, Deboned Buffalo, Peas, Dried Egg Product, Potatoes, Carrots, Apples, Natural Flavor, Potato Starch, Cassia Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Guar Gum, Caramel Color, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodate, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate), Yucca Schidigera Extract.



The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, explained in more detail below.


Top 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.


  • Deboned Duck
    Duck is a waterfowl and generally a healthy dog food ingredient that provides nutrients like protein, fat, iron, zinc, B vitamins, potassium and phosphorous. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). De-boned simply means that the bones have been removed.
  • Beef Broth
    Broth is often used as a healthy natural flavor or instead of water when making dog food. It makes dogs more likely to eat the food and adds moisture but doesn't provide a lot of nutritional value. Beef Broth is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Vegetable Broth
    Broth is often used as a healthy natural flavor or instead of water when making dog food. It makes dogs more likely to eat the food and adds moisture but doesn't provide a lot of nutritional value. Vegetable Broth is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.

  • Deboned Venison
    Venison is the meat of a deer and is generally a healthy dog food ingredient that offers nutrients like protein, fat and a variety of B vitamins. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). Deboned simply means that the bones have been removed.

  • Deboned Buffalo
    Buffalo is generally a healthy dog food ingredient that provides nutrients like protein, fat, iron, zinc and B vitamins. As mentioned right above, deboned means that the bones have been removed.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Caramel Color
  2. A concentrated form of caramel used in pet food to change the color of the food. It contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE), which has been shown to potentially produce cancer in animals.


Country of Origin

Merrick’s dog food is made in the United States. This is very positive, because of the strict dog food safety standards here.


Meat & Fat Quality

The meats and added fats/oils in this dog food are all clearly named. This means the animal and plant sources are clearly showing which species the ingredients come from. This is a sign of transparency and food quality.


Artificial Preservatives

This product contains no controversial preservatives. It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.


Artificial Colors

Unlike many other Merrick dog foods we looked at, this one uses Caramel Color. We’ve explained above why that’s not a good thing.


Artificial Flavors

Lastly, no artificial flavors are used in this dog food.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
100%
0
Brand Recalls

Based on our research, Merrick has a below-average number of dog food recalls.

Transparency

Transparency

Score
95%

We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.

How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
Merrick responded within 1 day with complete answers. Unfortunately, they have an aggressive disclaimer in their email that prohibits us from sharing the answers they provided.


Does Merrick have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.

Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.


What country are your products manufactured?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.

Does Merrick own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.

Do any parts of your product come from China?

The company answered this question in detail but did not allow us to share the answer publicly.


Merrick Grain-Free Wilderness Blend Canned Dog Food

by Merrick
CHECK PRICE NOW
Other Products From This Brand

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