Are you looking for the best food for your furry buddy? Are you confused between so many pet food brands offering so many good food options?
Well, I can understand.
Searching for the right food for your pet has always been challenging. There are tons of brands out there that all promise to provide your pet with the best health. And that is where the confusion arises.
You don’t know which brand is making the right promise and which brand is just faking it.
Merrick and Canidae are two of the most popular brands in the pet food market. Both of these brands offer some amazing dog food. And they both come with a variety of options to choose from.
Now, tell me, have you gone to a pet food store, looked at both of these brands and found both of them to be good options for your four-legged buddy? Are you finding it hard to choose between the two?
This is where I can help!
You know, as pet parents, we always look for what is best for our favorite buddy. And when we see all these brands making big promises of providing our pets with complete nutrition, we do get confused about which brand to choose.
Here I have come up with a detailed review of the two famous pet food brands, Merrick and Canidae. I have talked about the ingredients they use, the nutritional values of their formulas, and, of course, the history of the brands.
|Owned by||Merrick Petcare||Canidae|
|Special Feature||Use real, whole foods for their dog food formulas||Use sustainable and premium ingredients|
|Number of Formulas||About 12 categories of food for dogs of all life stages||About 6 categories of dog food for all life stages|
|Intended for||Breed and age-specific formulas. Ideal for dogs with allergies and food sensitivities.||Complete nutrition for dogs of all ages and breeds.|
A Sneak Peek into The Winner Brand: Canidae
Canidae is a brand that focuses on providing your dog with the goodness of wholesome and responsibly sourced animal proteins and regeneratively farmed fruits and veggies.
They have their own facility in Brownwood, Texas, where they produce kibble for dogs.
Canidae offers a variety of food for dogs of all life stages. They have products for your dog’s special dietary needs.
History of The Dog Food Brands
Don’t you think that no matter which brand of food you choose for your pup, knowing their history will give you a sense of relief?
I also think the same way.
And that is why before I actually start the Merrick vs Canidae comparison, I want to tell you a little about both these brands in short.
This will give you an idea about where these brands come from and what values they follow.
Let’s start with Merrick.
It was in the year 1988 when Garth Merrick felt the need to provide his dog, Gracie with the best possible nutrition.
And that is when he started crafting delicious meals for his beloved pup in his family kitchen. It was in Hereford, Texas.
Gradually his brand grew in popularity and became a household name in the pet food industry.
Later, they felt that their packaging needed to be more clear, showing their business values and dedication to making the best pet food products. And so, they redesigned their brand packaging in 2012 by partnering with Enlisted.
This brand’s growth peaked in 2015 when Nestle Purina Petcare acquired it.
Today, Merrick Petcare offers a wide variety of food, including dry dog food, wet dog food, treats, and toppers.
Established in 1996 by Scott Whipple and John Gordon, Canidae started as a family-owned business. They had their own pick-up trucks, and they used to sell dog food in them.
From the very beginning, all they wanted was to provide pets with the freshest high-quality food. They believe in regenerative farming and provide packaging made with recycled materials.
The company is not very old, but within a short period of time, it has successfully made a name for itself in the pet food industry.
2012 was the year when they started their first manufacturing unit in Brownwood, Texas. They use it for their in-house production of dog food. Also, they have a testing center where they check the quality and standards of their manufactured products.
Presently, Canidae has become a famous brand in the pet food industry. They offer a wide range of products meant for your pet’s specific needs.
And did I tell you Canidae is the first dog food brand ever to have a kibble refill station?
Merrick vs Canidae: 4 Factor Comparison
Merrick and Canidae are both common names in the dog food market. And they have a dedicated customer base.
Both these brands use high-quality ingredients that are sourced responsibly.
Yes, I know you are here so that you can choose one of these two popular brands for your furry friend.
And so, in this section, I have come up with a detailed comparison between the products offered by these brands.
What are the similarities that they have? And what makes them one step forward than the other?
Let’s find out in this four-factor comparison, where I have shed some light on ingredients, recipes, nutrition, and recalls.
After all, we are here to give your pet the best food, right?
So here we go!
What is the first thing that you look at when it comes to buying food for your four-legged buddy?
Well, if you ask me, I would say ingredients. Because that is something you actually put into your pet’s stomach, right?
In this section, I have talked about the primary ingredients used by Merrick and Canidae in their dry dog food products.
Please note that not all products have the same ingredients, so make sure to have a look at their list of ingredients whenever you are buying any dog food.
Following are the names of the main ingredients used in Merrick dry dog food variants.
Fish, Meat, and Poultry: In many of Merrick’s dry dog food formulas, the main ingredient is either meat or fish. Depending on the variety you choose, it can be chicken, salmon, turkey, beef, tuna, and more.
Fish like salmon are powerhouses of omega-3 fatty acids. It can help your dog grow and develop healthily. Also, it helps in improving their eyesight and contributes to the development of the brain.
Meat, such as beef, is rich in protein. It helps in the overall growth of your dog, makes your dog active, and increases their rate of metabolism.
Fish, Meat, and Poultry Meal: Meat meals are full of essential nutrients that your dog needs daily. It helps in the proper growth of muscles. Also, it gives a boost to their immunity functions.
They are a good source of vitamins A, B, D, and F.
Vitamin A makes your pup’s skin and eyesight better. Vitamin B helps with digestion issues and contributes to a glossy coat. Vitamin D improves bone and joint health.
Sweet potato: Did you know that sweet potato are considered to have a huge amount of dietary sources of vitamin A?
It plays a crucial role in promoting healthy eyes, coats, and muscles.
It is also the powerhouse for vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, iron, and calcium. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. It can lessen the harmful free radicals in your furry buddy’s body, thereby letting them have a healthy life.
Pea: Pea is a great source of essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron. It is high in protein and fiber.
There is an antioxidant named lutein in peas that is great for the eye, heart, and skin health of your dog.
The following are some controversial ingredients found in Merrick dog food products:
Garlic: As a pet parent, you may already know that garlic can be toxic for your dog if you feed them in higher quantities.
However, it may not have ill effects on your dog if you feed them in very small quantities.
But as there is a chance that garlic can turn toxic for some dogs, many pet parents always avoid it.
Meaty Femur Bone: In the case of the meaty femur bone, there is no specific evidence of the source it is taken from. It can be from any animal of low quality. And the worst part is that it can be derived from cats and dogs too.
This makes it a controversial ingredient.
Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols): There are different opinions regarding canola oil. This oil is derived from canola seeds. While it has a better fat content compared to other plant oils, it can have ill effects on pets.
Generally, in order to produce canola oil, genetically modified rapeseed is used, which can have bad effects on your dog’s health.
Pea Protein: Once the starchy parts are removed from peas, pea protein is made. Many pet owners avoid this ingredient as it falls under the list of controversial ingredients. Why? Because it offers a substantial protein boost that is plant-based.
This boost is something that people have an objection to, as it comes with a very low biological value, especially when you compare it to proteins that are meat-based.
The following are the primary ingredients used in Canidae dog food.
Fish, Meat, and Poultry: Chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, and salmon are used in most of Canidae’s dog food products as their top two ingredients.
It gives your dog all the protein they need for everyday activities. It contains dietary fat, iron, zinc, and more to help your dog maintain a good gut.
Fish, Meat, and Poultry Meal: Fish, poultry, and meat meal are either listed as the first or the second ingredient on the dog food products from the house of Canidae.
These meals contain all the nutrients that are essential for your dog. It not only helps in the growth of muscles but also enhances immunity power.
The vitamins present in this dog food contribute to better digestion, a shiny coat, and strong bones.
Lentil: Lentil is an excellent source of fiber, iron, and plant-based protein. It has low-calorie content. This makes it great for dogs who are suffering from obesity or finding it hard to maintain proper weight.
Also, lentil is good for diabetic dogs.
Brown Rice: It is a powerful source of essential amino acids, fiber, vitamin B, manganese, and magnesium.
It is full of high-quality carbohydrates. This makes it perfect for active dogs who need more energy from their food.
Following are some controversial ingredients found in many dog food varieties from Canidae.
White Rice: White rice doesn’t have much value when it comes to nutrition.
The white rice that is used in these dog food recipes is free from germ, bran, and husk of rice grains, which are actually beneficial for your dog.
Iron Oxide: This is a common food coloring agent found in many dog food from this brand. Although FDA approves it, I don’t like it, as it has no nutritional value.
It is used in dog foods just to give them an appealing color, which I found completely unnecessary.
Garlic Powder: Just like garlic, garlic powder can also be toxic for dogs. This is why many pet owners avoid buying food with this ingredient present in it.
Of course, it is good to use in a very small amount.
Caramel Color: It is a natural food colorant that gives food a caramel-like color. But it has certain health risks.
It has been linked to cancers in pets as well.
Author’s Note: I found many similar ingredients in Merrick and Canidae dog food. For example, their first two primary ingredients are the same. Also, both brands use peas and sweet potatoes in many of their products.
They also use some similar controversial ingredients such as pea protein, canola oil, and caramel color.
Of course, controversial ingredients are not always toxic or harmful. But it is advisable for you to check the list of ingredients carefully before getting any food product for your dog.
Canidae is The Winner Here!
As you can see, both brands use more or less the same ingredients. They both use meat, fish, meat meal, and fish meal as their first and second ingredients. What I liked the most about them is that they use whole foods in their formulas.
Both of these brands use some of the most nutritious ingredients that are important for your pet’s overall well-being.
I feel Merrick uses some ingredients that are actually controversial, whereas Canidae uses some ingredients that have no nutritional value. And this is where Canidae is one step ahead of Merrick.
Yes, ingredients are important, but recipes are too. After all, it has to be something that your furry buddy can eat happily, right?
I have dedicated this section to discussing the recipes offered by Merrick and Canidae.
Both of these brands offer some amazing formulas. But are they worth a try?
Come check the recipe highlight of both popular brands.
- This is what Merrick has to offer when it comes to recipes:
- All the recipes are formulated in their own kitchen.
- They come in real whole food from local farmers.
- They don’t use any preservatives or fillers.
- They use meat and fish in their recipes.
- They use meat and fish meal as one of their primary ingredients.
- They offer recipes for dogs of all ages, including kittens, puppies, adults, and seniors.
- Their recipes are specially formulated for different breed sizes, including extra small, small, medium, and large.
- They have a wide variety of food types to choose from, including dry, wet, toppers, treats, and rawhide-free chews
- You can choose recipes that cater to the different dietary needs of your dog, such as grain-inclusive, grain-free, potato-free, poultry-free, lentil-free, pea-free, and more.
- They have over twelve categories to choose from, including fresh kisses, oven-baked, power bites, natural cuts, and more
What I like most about this brand is that they have a huge variety of dog food products.
If there is any ingredient that your dog is allergic to and you don’t want that in your dog food, you have the option to filter products according to that.
You can choose products according to the age, breed, and dietary needs of your dog. This is definitely a blessing because, as a dog parent, it makes your dog food selection a lot easier.
I also liked how they named their food categories, such as Lil’ Plates, Fresh Kisses, and Power Bites.
The following is what you get when you choose Canidae dog food formulas:
- They offer goodness-first recipes that exceed the standards of AAFCO.
- They use meat and fish as their primary ingredients.
- They have six main categories of products, including Canidae All Life Stages, Canidae Pure, Canidae Sustain, and Canidae Pure Petite.
- You can choose products according to your dog’s size and life stage.
- You can choose a recipe according to your dog’s dietary needs and restrictions.
- They offer products according to how active your dog is, what your dog likes to eat, what their breed is, and more.
- Their recipes contain no animal by-product meals.
- Pet experts and a board-certified vet nutritionist make their recipes.
- They have no soy, wheat, or corn in their recipes.
- They use high-quality premium ingredients.
What I like the most about this brand is that they have food formulas for all kinds of dogs.
They have recipes for specific dietary needs, dietary restrictions, all breeds, and all sizes. For example, you can choose between grain-free, grain-inclusive, limited ingredients with grain, and limited ingredients without grain.
I like how you can filter the food products according to what your dog likes and dislikes, and a lot more. For example, you can choose between chicken, lamb, salmon, beef, turkey, and more.
You can even choose food options according to your dog’s body shape, such as too skinny, just right, and chunky.
And you can tell them about your dog’s birth date too.
In short, Canidae offers a whole lot of filters or customizations when it comes to choosing the best product for your four-legged buddy.
It’s a tie!
Both Merrick and Canidae provide a wide selection of dog foods, and both are reputable companies. However, Merrick is far more diverse than Canidae and is one step ahead of Canidae in this aspect.
Then when it comes to choosing what’s best for your furry friend, the number of filters Canidae offers is very impressive. This allows you to choose products that perfectly match your dog’s requirements. Canidae excels in this regard.
And so, it’s a tie between these popular dog food brands.
Don’t you want to know what you are feeding your pup and what nutritional value it carries?
While choosing the right food for your beloved four-legged buddy, it becomes crucial for you to know what nutritional benefits it will provide your pup with.
In this section, I have talked about the nutritional value that Merrick and Canidae dog food provide.
Have a look!
|Dry Dog Food||Merrick||Canidae|
Crude Protein: Your pup needs to consume a good amount of protein every day to have a healthy body.
Merrick and Canidae have come up with many dog food categories with the ideal protein content according to the guidelines of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, commonly known as AAFCO.
They say that the ideal protein content in dog food should be at least 18%.
Now, if you look at the chart above, you will see that both brands have more protein content than the specified amount. While Merrick has 35.9%, Canidae has 29.2% protein in their dry dog food formulas.
Protein has the essential amino acids that your pup needs to have proper development and repair of their muscles, nails, skin, hair, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
The primary source of protein in these brands is meat, poultry, and fish.
Crude Fat: No, fat is not bad. In fact, it is good for your dog.
According to the guidelines of AAFCO, a perfect dog diet would include half as much fat as protein. And that is what both Merrick and Canidae followed.
Merrick has 17.2% fat, while Canidae has 15.2% fat. There is not much difference between the fat content of these two brands.
If you are a parent to an active dog, you know that they need fat to create energy for their every activity. Food with an ideal fat content can help them perform at a greater capacity.
Of course, if you have an overweight dog, you need to be very particular about how much you are giving them to eat, as you don’t want to increase their weight, right?
Fat is crucial in your dog’s diet, as it helps them absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Also, it supplies the fatty acids that are essential for the development of your furry buddy.
Crude Fiber: Did you know what type of fiber is best for your dog?
Well, it helps with digestion. So, if your dog has issues with digestion or has a sensitive stomach, look for dog food with high fiber content.
It helps in stopping bad bacteria from growing. Also, they make a contribution to recovering your dog’s colon from injury.
While Merrick has 4.2% fiber, Canidae has 5.3% fiber. So, you can see that there is only a one percent difference in fiber content between both of these brands.
I announce Merrick as the winner!
When you are on a mission to select the best food for your furry buddy, you need to look at multiple things apart from the percentage of nutrition.
If the brand has a good percentage of protein, you need to look at the source of that protein. Is that taken from a plant or an animal?
When protein is derived from an animal, know that it has a higher value than protein derived from a plant.
Both Merrick and Canidae have protein sourced from animals such as chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, turkey, and more.
They have met and exceeded the AAFCO recommended amount of protein, fat, and fiber content in their dry dog food products. But Merrick has more protein and fat content compared to Canidae.
This has made Merrick the winner of this section.
As a pet parent, you don’t want to take any risks when it comes to the health of your furry friend, right?
That is what makes the recall history of a brand important.
You need to know if the brand you are choosing for your best buddy has ever been recalled. After all, you want to feed them the safest dog food out there, isn’t it?
Now, you don’t have to scratch your head thinking about all the research you have to do because I have done the hard work for you!
Yes. In this section, I have shed light on the recall histories of Merrick and Canidae.
But before I begin, please note that having a recall history doesn’t always mean bad, especially when the brand itself makes the recall request.
Both Merrick and Canidae dog foods have been recalled. Following is the history of their recall.
Merrick dry dog food products have been recalled multiple times.
- In January 2003, Merrick was recalled for salmonella contamination in their Delicatessen-Style Beef Steak Patties.
Salmonella bacteria cause this infection in dogs. It can lead to several health issues, such as septicemia, spontaneous abortions, and gastroenteritis.
What is more concerning is that it can be transmitted to humans too.
- In July and August 2010, two products from the house of Merrick were recalled for potential salmonella. The products are Merrick Texas Hold ’em pet treats and Merrick Beef Filet Squares.
- In January 2011, Merrick went for a voluntary recall of Jr Texas Taffy Pet Treat for potential salmonella health risks.
- In the month of August 2011, Merrick went for a voluntary recall for one of their products named Doggie Wishbone pet treat. They feared that the product was contaminated with salmonella.
- In May 2018, Merrick voluntarily recalled some of their Good Buddy and Backcountry Treats as they feared that they could contain a high level of thyroid hormone.
The products are Castor & Pollux. Good Buddy Prime Patties Real Beef Recipe, Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Steak Patties, Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Sausage Cuts, Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky and Castor & Pollux Good Buddy Sausage Cuts is a real beef recipe.
Affected dogs may have symptoms including weight loss, restlessness, increased urination, a rapid heart rate, and thirst.
Canidae has been recalled once to date.
- In the year 2012, Canidae made a voluntary recall once as there was a risk of potential salmonella contamination.
The products were Platinum, Lamb Meal & Rice, Chicken Meal & Rice, and All Life Stages. All four of these products fall under the category of Canidae Dry Dog Food.
The products that were actually recalled had a negative result for salmonella. But the products made by Diamond Pet Foods in the same facility tested positive.
Canidae is the Clear Winner of this Section!
Canidae has faced only one recall, while Merrick has faced multiple recalls.
A brand gets recalled when any of its products have potential health risks for your furry buddy.
But when they opt for a voluntary recall, it shows that the brand is committed to your pup’s safety. They know that they have caused an inconvenience, so they cooperate with the FDA officials and do their best to resolve the issue.
This is a detailed comparison between the two popular dog food brands, Merrick and Canidae. And so, the chances are that you have missed some points that I have already discussed.
That is the reason I have shared some highlights of previously discussed points.
- Kitchen-made Recipes: The recipes offered by this brand are formulated in their own family kitchen in Hereford, Texas.
- High-Quality Ingredients: They use premium ingredients in all their recipes that have high levels of essential nutrients, perfect for the overall growth of your pup.
- Food For All Life Stages: They offer recipes that suit your pup’s life stages, from puppy and kitten to adult and senior.
- Variety Of Food: They come in different varieties, including dry, wet, and chewy treats. Also, you can choose grain-inclusive, grain-free, and other recipe attributes.
- No Fillers, Preservatives, or By-Products: Their recipes don’t contain potentially harmful fillers, preservatives, and animal by-products.
- Crafted by Specialists: Pet experts and a board-certified vet nutritionist make all their dog food formulas.
- Something for Every Dog: You need to fill up a form when you order from their website. This allows you to order food for dogs of any breed, any size, and with any dietary need, any dietary restriction, any level of activity, any likes and dislikes, and much more.
- No Soy, Wheat, or Corn: Their recipes are free from soy, wheat, and corn.
- Wide Range of Options: You can choose from a variety of dog products that suit your dog’s needs.
Both Merrick and Canidae use whole-natural ingredients to formulate their recipes. Both of them believe in sustainability.
But if you look at the four main categories I have discussed here, you will see that Canidae has won the majority. It is defeated by Merrick only in the category of nutritional value.
And so, Canidae wins the trophy!
But the discussion doesn’t end here. Both brands are good and follow almost similar values.
So, it is you who need to make the decision. Which of these two brands do you think will suit your dog the best?
Pros and Cons of the Dog Food Brand
To help you make the final call, I have come up with a list of pros and cons. Have a look below.
- They use meat, poultry, and fish as their first and second ingredients. This includes chicken, turkey, and salmon.
- They use fruits, vegetables, and grains that are sourced regeneratively from their trusted farmers.
- The animal proteins are sourced responsibly, including Alaskan salmon and cage-free chicken.
- They are the first ever brand to introduce a kibble refill station where you can buy their dog food products in bulk in eco-friendly bags.
- They offer food according to the specific needs of your dog.
- They don’t use soy, wheat, and corn in their whole-food recipes.
- They have a team of pet experts and a board-certified vet nutritionist who formulate their products.
- Compared to Merrick, Canidae offer fewer dog food categories. It would be good if you could get more food options for your dog.
- They have lower protein content than Merrick.
- Compared to Merrick, this brand is more expensive. If you are on a tight budget, you might want to choose other brands.
This has been a tough competition between Merrick and Canidae. But as you can see, Canidae has won the majority of the four categories and thus emerged as the winner in this race between Merrick and Canidae.
Why Did Merrick Lose?
As I have already discussed, Merrick and Canidae have many things in common, and Merrick as a brand is not bad.
They use high-quality ingredients and have higher levels of protein compared to the winning brand, Canidae. If you are looking for dog food with a high protein content, you can give it a shot.
Also, Merrick can be a good choice for pet parents looking for a less expensive option than Canidae.
When it comes to popularity, both Merrick and Canidae have managed to make a name for themselves in the pet food industry.
They both offer recipes made without fillers. And their ingredients are sourced responsibly.
But of course, in some categories that I have discussed, Canidae do have the upper hand.
It is said that the selection of food for your four-legged buddy is completely your own. You need to understand what your pup wants and what your budget is. Depending on that, you can make an informed choice as to which dog brand to go with.
After all, no one knows your dog better than you, isn’t it?
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Ankita Sharma is a passionate pet lover and head of content at Pet Food Brands. With her extensive knowledge and research, she provides pet owners with top-quality information on dog food and nutrition. Her dedication to improving the lives of dogs makes her a leading voice in the industry.