Merrick Dog Food Alternatives

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Merrick Dog Food

Merrick is a popular pet food brand that offers high-quality dog nutrition.

Though their prices are a bit steep, the company backs them up with premium ingredients and carefully crafted formulas. Many dog owners are pleased and loyal to their products.

But perhaps you’d like a more budget-friendly alternative or dog food with more value for money.

Our favorite alternative to one of Merrick’s all-time favorites is Acana Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food.

Acana offers excellent nutritional value, super-premium ingredients, rich taste, and multiple animal sources.

We’ve reviewed several other formulas and found some great dog food similar to Merrick.

Merrick Dog Food Alternatives

  1. Acana Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food (Merrick Real Texas Beef Recipe Alternative)
  2. Instinct Original Real Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dog Food (Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Red Recipe Alternative)
  3. American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food (Merrick LID Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Alternative)
  4. Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food (Merrick Lil’ Plates Recipe Alternative)
  5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Healthy Weight Dog Food (Merrick Healthy Weight Recipe Alternative)
  6. Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dog Food (Merrick Grain-Free Senior Recipe Alternative)
  7. Wellness Chicken Stew Canned Food (Merrick Grammy’s Pot Pie Alternative)

Dog Foods Comparable to Merrick Reviewed

Merrick offers a variety of products for the different dietary needs of canines.

The range contains many grain-free options, limited ingredient diets, and recipes for different breed sizes and life stages.

Check out our favorite alternatives to Merrick’s most loved options.

All the alternatives below meet the AAFCO nutritional guidelines. Before switching to a new food, make sure to consult a veterinarian.


Acana Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food

Acana is a super-premium brand of dog food and a more budget-friendly version of high-end Orijen

Their formulas include multiple high-quality animal sources, whole vegetables, and a balanced macronutrient profile.

The Red Meat recipe is formulated around fresh beef as the primary source of meat protein, so it’s most comparable to Merrick Real Texas Beef. 

Besides beef, your dog gets other flavorful meats, like pork and lamb. The taste is rounded by nutritious organ meats: beef tripe, kidneys, and livers.

This nutrient-dense formula also features fresh fruits and veggies, like pumpkin, apples, and pears. They are rich in both antioxidants and fiber.

Like Merrick, Acana is grain-free and free of artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. This dog food is also corn-free, soy-free, and wheat-free.

Acana is great for the everyday nutrition of adult dogs and especially for dogs allergic to grains or wheat. Additionally, this dog food is chicken-free. If your dog is allergic to poultry, it’s an excellent choice.

Whole peas and legumes secure easy digestion and steady, slow-release energy throughout the day.


Instinct Original Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dog Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Beef Freeze Dried Raw

Maybe you’re sold on freeze-dried raw coated dog food? If that’s the case, you should know that Instinct dog food brand specializes in freeze-dried and raw pet nutrition, so their formula is pretty similar to Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused formula.

Both dog foods revolve around whole beef as the primary protein source. The Merrick’s is accompanied by rabbit and lamb, while Instinct opted for whitefish and chicken. 

Needless to say, these recipes are exceptionally high in protein. Instinct has 36% crude protein, which is plenty for your furry friend’s muscles.

Instinct also features live natural probiotics, essential for healthy, efficient digestion and nutrient absorption.

The formula is grain-free and doesn’t contain potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy. It’s also free of by-product meals and artificial additives.

Besides great taste and high proteins, the Omega-3s in this dog food ensure strong immunity, cardiovascular health, and shiny coat and fur.

However, if your dog is on weight management, this might not be the best choice because of its higher fat content.


American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food

American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free

American Journey is Chewy’s in-house pet brand which quickly rose in popularity because of high-quality ingredients and affordable prices.

Their limited ingredient formula is similar to Merrick LID Salmon & Sweet Potato recipe— but more budget-friendly.

Both recipes are free of poultry, which is especially good for dogs with chicken allergies. Instead, the primary protein source is healthy whole salmon. 

Salmon provides high protein content — 25% in the case of American Journey. Additionally, it enriches this dog food with healthy and super important Omega 3 fatty acids. They nourish the dog’s skin and contribute to shiny fur.

The formula doesn’t contain corn, soy, wheat, grains, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Instead, your dog gets healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and peas that are easy to digest and provide plenty of energy for everyday activities.

The biggest advantage is that American Journey presents a pretty affordable option with exquisite ingredients and wholesome nutrition. This way, neither your dog’s stomach nor your wallet gets upset.


Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Dog Food

Nature's Recipe Small Breed Grain-Free Chicken

Nature’s Recipe is another pet food brand devoted to producing premium and affordable dog food. Their small breed recipe is comparable to Merrick’s Lil’ Plates and provides wholesome nutrition — but is more budget-friendly.

Both formulas use real chicken and chicken meal as primary protein sources. These are high-quality meats that will provide enough support to your pooch’s muscles and joints.

They are also grain-free and list sweet potato as the primary carb. Sweet potato is a beautiful, nutritious source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It helps your canine stay active, with plenty of energy. Nature’s Recipe carbs list also includes pumpkin for a burst of taste!

Like most grain-free dog foods, taurine is added for heart health and vision.

The formula is free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. This way, you won’t have to worry about your dog potentially developing allergies to these compounds.

Nature’s Recipe is great for small breed dogs’ complete and balanced nutrition. It’s a wholesome, affordable option, with one caveat — the overall protein content is lower than Merrick’s. While 24% protein is enough for most dogs, it isn’t the best option for active ones.


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Healthy Weight Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Healthy Weight Grain Free

This recipe’s high protein and low fat content make Blue Buffalo a great alternative to Merrick Healthy Weight.

Not only does Blue Buffalo have enough protein for your furry friend’s weight loss efforts, but it also features tasty whole beef, venison, and lamb. These are great, high-quality sources your canine will surely enjoy.

The fat sits at 10%, contributing to an ideal protein-to-fat ratio for weight loss. With these proportions, your dog’s muscles remain intact while they are shedding pounds. And, with the help of L-carnitine, they will get leaner.

Blue Buffalo also uses their proprietary LifeBlend mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support weight loss, immune system, and vital bodily processes.

Plus, the formula is free of artificial flavors, preservatives, by-product meals, and corn.

This dog food is ideal if you want your canine to maintain or shed some weight. Just like Merrick, it is crafted with expert knowledge of pet nutrition.


Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dog Food

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free

Orijen is arguably the Lamborghini of dog foods. If you want unique, powerful, supreme pet nutrition — choosing Orijen is a no-brainer.

The best comes at a pretty steep cost, though. But, since we want only the best for our mature furry companions, we think that Orijen is a magnificent alternative to Merrick Grain-Free Senior recipe.

While both formulas are pretty high in protein, Orijen’s 38% protein leaves Merrick panting behind (no pun intended).

Especially considering that 85% of the protein comes from high-quality, super-premium animal sources like chicken, turkey, flounder, mackerel, herring, and organ meats. In fact, the first 14 ingredients in Orijen are animal sources.

Excited yet about Orijen’s nutrient-packed ancestral dog food? Not as excited as your dog will be with wag-worthy freeze-dried coated kibble and the first bite filled with raw flavor burst!

The formula contains all the super-premium ABCs: whole carbs for great energy, pollock oil for healthy Omega-3s, fresh fruits and veggies for antioxidants and vitamins, and probiotics for healthy digestion.

But what really sets it apart is the quality — and quantity — of animal protein sources. And just like with luxury sports cars, Orijen is the super-premium fuel for your canine’s healthy senior life.


Wellness Chicken Stew Canned Food

Wellness Chicken Stew

Wellness is a dog food brand formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians to provide a complete diet with a fantastic taste. That is why we think Wellness canned food is a worthy alternative to Merrick’s legendary Grammy’s Pot Pie.

This formula fits right in whether you want a complete food, mix, snack, or topper. Tender cuts of chicken and fresh veggies are cooked in a rich, thick, savory gravy for a delicious, nutritious combo. Yum.

Sounds good? You should know it’s also enriched with vitamins and minerals. Granted, not as exciting as the sensory description above, but — truly important for your canine’s health and wellbeing.

Your furry friend’s health is also taken into account when Wellness decided to exclude all meat by-products, fillers, and artificial preservatives.

Dog food, and especially wet food, is notorious for sporting some oddly-named ingredients. Unfortunately, these can sometimes act as allergens — and we don’t want that.

With an excellent macronutrient profile, yummy and delicious organ meats, nutritious whole meats, and — did we mention celery? — fresh fruits and veggies, Wellness is bound to have your dog lapping the stew whenever it’s served.


How to Transition to a New Dog Food

So, should Fido just wake up one day to an entirely new kibble? That would be a resounding “no.”

Not only will your dog look at you puzzled, but if they decide to try the new food, they might get tummy issues afterward.

To avoid that, we have to approach the whole matter in an intelligent way. How do we do that? Try mixing in about 25% of the new food into the kibble. That would be 25% of the bowl, not the bag.

If your dog’s tail is happily wagging after 2–3 days, you can up the amount to 50%. However, lower the amount and take it slower if the pooch suddenly starts acting as an air de-freshener or gets other digestive problems.

After another 2-3 days, you can increase the food again. In about 7–10 days, you should have changed your furry friend’s kibble entirely.

Remember, though, it’s always good to consult a vet before spending money on the new food. While we pride ourselves on our research and love for dogs, your pooch is unique and has specific dietary needs.

Our Verdict

Merrick is undoubtedly one of the most loved, versatile, high-quality dog food brands in the market.

The pricing or availability sometimes means you need an alternative. If you found your new favorite here, that’s awesome.

As for us, our overall best alternative is Acana Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food.

This formula is affordable for the fantastic nutrition it provides. It is a tried-and-tested complete nutrition option, with many dog owners raving about its high quality.

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AUTHOR
As a dog breeder's daughter, I've always been surrounded by many dogs of many breeds. I've made it my job to learn about our furry best friends and share my findings with other conscious dog owners. My Bichon is called Piper by the way :)

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