Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why I am still feeding my dogs Merrick even after the Purina deal

Full disclosure: I've received some free food and treats from Merrick in the past. However, I am not receiving anything from Merrick right now, and I have never received monetary compensation.

A few months ago, I wrote about Purina acquiring Merrick Pet Care. I wrote how angry people are about the move, mostly because they don't like Purina and they saw Merrick as selling out.

Well, it's been about 6 months since then. And guess what? I'm still feeding Merrick. Why? Because it works.

Merrick makes a limited ingredient diet dog food.

Before this, Lulu and Jasmine were eating Nutro. But I was considering a switch for some time.

Nutro was a good food, but Jasmine needed something with no chicken

When I talked to Merrick and BlogPaws, I came away with a bag of the Limited Ingredient Diet, partially because that's what they had, and partially because of Jasmine. Her itchy skin was getting worse again. She was scratching all the time. Unless I bathed her, her skin was dry and flaky too.

We had long suspected Jasmine may have had problems with chicken. I avoided giving her chicken treats and food.

But the problem was actually in the food. 

I didn't realize that the food I was feeding her had chicken in the ingredients, even though it was not the chicken variety. This is common in many dog foods.

Merrick has an LID formula with a single-sourced protein.

The Merrick LID had one meat protein, and largely decent ingredients. Here's the ingredient list on the lamb and sweet potato:
Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Protein, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Organic Alfalfa, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.
Merrick's LID formula dog food.

If you see something that doesn't sound good, you can check SlimDoggy's ingredient list. They have many of them.

And she's been eating it for months now. Her itching has subsided, her skin is no longer flaky and dry, except for a weird patch with some random red blotches that had nothing to do with the food. Lulu started eating it too. Their coats and skin are healthy, their poop is healthy, in general they are both doing great.

If your dog seems to have skin or other issues, consider changing to a limited ingredient diet dog food, like Merrick's.

So why did, I stay, even after the Purina announcement?

Merrick has always been a quality dog food. Even if it's had a few recalls in the past, it's always been held to a high standard. Check out the brand on the SlimDoggy Dog Food Database. It consistently has a high ranking. It gets a high ranking from Dog Food Advisor as well, though

Even if Purina had control of Merrick outright over the summer, they would not have been able to change the brand formula or ingredient quality in that time. So any food hitting the shelves would be good still.

But by all accounts, Purina has not tinkered with Merrick's quality. Just like they haven't tinkered with another great brand: Zuke's. Purina has owned that brand for almost two years now.

Here's something else: check your boutique pet shops. They tend to be very discerning about what brands they sell. Many of them were selling Merrick. If they decide to keep selling Merrick, then they are happy that their concerns about the product have been addressed. Talk to the owners of those shops. They have the best ideas on food.

Jasmine thrived on the Merrick LID formula dog food
Will I stay with Merrick? Not for long. I am going to start doing some brand rotation, and this month I have the opportunity to do that with another top brand. But I would consider going back to Merrick, especially if I continue to hear good things from my local pet shop about the food.

In the end, it's a choice that should be up to you. If your pet is doing well on a food, just continue to do your research and talk to the pet store people. It's the quality of food and how your pet does on it that should matter most.


  1. we love merrick. i still have bags left from before they were bought by purina but i think i will continue with them even when we run out...my ellie can be a little picky but we really love their small breed kibble.

    1. It's best not to go through that craziness of finding a new dog food. Especially if the recipe doesn't change.

  2. Replies
    1. Tastes good! i think. They haven't spat it back at me yet. ;)

  3. I am skeptical of big brands too but I learned something this past year - sometimes big brands buy a "premium" line because they want to get into a certain market of food. In this case, something more natural and healthy. It's easier to buy an established brand with and established following than to reinvent the wheel and try and get people to switch to it. Purina WANTS Merrick and Zuke's to keep doing their thing because they bought them exactly for who they are and what they have to offer. Tinkering with that would put their investment in jeopardy.

    I guess never say never though. Such tinkering HAAS happened before.


Feel free to leave me feedbark!