Nutrition - 9/10
Ingredients - 10/10
Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo is a high-quality wet dog food. It has significantly above average protein and fat content and a significantly below average carbohydrate content. Its nutrient profile is extremely satisfactory and suitable for the vast majority of dogs.
It contains a range of high-quality ingredients including a variety of red meat ingredients including Beef, Lamb, and Buffalo. These red meat ingredients do contribute a very high proportion of fat which may make this formula unsuitable for dogs attempting weight loss. Beyond these meat ingredients, it does not contain any other ingredients in significant quantities.
The larger range of meat ingredients may make Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo unsuitable for dogs with serious dietary sensitivities or allergies. However, if a dog does not have trouble with red meat it may still be suitable.
Very Satisfactory Nutrition
Large Quantity of High-Quality Meat Ingredients
No Grains or By-products
A Full review of Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo Formula by Merrick
The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.
Carbohydrate Content Analysis
Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 15% of Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo calories are derived from carbohydrates. Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower. This is significantly below average for a Wet Dog Food.
This is a very low level of carbohydrates and very accurately mimics a dog’s natural carbohydrate intake. In fact, there are no ingredients that significantly contribute carbohydrates and this proportion is a mix of gum, ash, and minerals. Given that this percentage is an overestimate, the actual carbohydrate proportion is likely lower and quite close to zero.
Protein Content Analysis
Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 31% of Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is significantly above average for a Wet Dog Food.
This is an adequate level of protein and suitable for the majority of dogs including those who are active. A range of red meat ingredients are the source of protein in this formula. This includes Beef, Lamb, and Buffalo which are considered high-quality sources and will provide your dog with the full range of amino acids.
Fat Content Analysis
Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 54% of Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo calories are derived from Fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is significantly above average for a Wet Dog Food.
This level of fat is very high but is still satisfactory and can provide dogs of all activity levels with an abundant source of highly concentrated energy. In addition, this fat content appears to be sourced from animal fats. Animal fats such as Beef Fat or Lamb Fat are considered high-quality sources and are a natural part of a dog’s diet.
Overall Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo contains an average of 1022 kcal /kg or 388 kcal per 13.2.oz. can
Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most dog foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.
Guaranteed Analysis – Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo
Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.
- Crude Protein (Min) – 9.00%
- Crude Fat (Min) – 7.00%
- Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.20%
- Moisture (Max) – 78.00%
The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.
However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.
Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients
In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review
The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo contains three sources of meat or fish.
The Primary meat source present is Beef. Beef is a considered a high-quality source of protein. In addition, Beef contains vitamins such as Iron and Zinc.
The secondary meat source present is Lamb. Lamb is considered a high-quality source of protein. Just like Beef, Lamb is rich in iron. In addition to this, it has higher levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acid than other red meats and high levels of Vitamin B12.
Another meat source present is Buffalo. Buffalo is considered a high-quality source of protein. While Buffalo was once considered somewhat exotic it is now a relative staple meat in North America. In addition, Buffalo contains similar vitamins to Beef, including Iron and Zinc. Many Buffalo advocates claim that it contains a smaller ratio of fat to protein than meats such as Beef.
In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review
Salt, when added in moderation, is considered a beneficial ingredient. It enhances flavor, helps preserve the food and is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure and other bodily functions. However, some dogs, particularly those with cardiovascular problems may need to limit their consumption of Salt to avoid aggravating their health problems.
Full Ingredient List – Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef + Lamb + Buffalo
Deboned Beef, Beef Broth, Deboned Lamb, Deboned Buffalo, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin-Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate), Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Guar Gum, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Choline Chloride