Friday, October 2, 2015

Food Friday: Merrick Grain Free 96% Real Beef+Lamb+Buffalo Canned

This Grain Free 96% Real Beef+Lamb+Buffalo canned dog food by Merrick is safe for Brisbane's poultry and egg allergies. It is made in the company's own facility, and does not include any ingredients from China. Most of the ingredients are sourced in the USA, though lamb and venison tend to come from New Zealand because that's where the good stuff is...made? grown?
dog food and dinosaurs

Anyway, this is a meat food made out of meat. Lots of meat. All different kinds of meat. The first four ingredients are beef, beef broth, lamb, and buffalo. After that it's just vitamins and stuff. There's no sneaky chicken meal making up the majority of the final product. No eggs or chicken fat, either. 

We do a lot of limited ingredient diets due to Brisbane's allergies, and it's nice to find something with multiple flavors and no chicken, turkey, duck, or egg ingredients. 

What About Purina?!
Merrick is one of my favorite dog food companies, but I won't be buying any more of their food. Back in June, Merrick signed a purchase agreement with Purina. The company press release says the owner thinks Purina can take their business "to the next level". So far there are no changes to management or operations planned, and Merrick will supposedly continue operating as an independent company. 
dog food and dinosaurs
But Purina is Bad, Right?
Purina is...complicated. They do make cheap crap dog food for the masses to buy at the grocery store. Beneful is made mostly out of corn, with a little chicken by-product and a whole lot of sparkly advertising thrown in. The advertising is a bit nuts, a whole lot of people are convinced that Beneful is the good stuff.

On the other hand, a lot of very knowledgeable dog people feed higher-end Purina Pro Plan and Purina One with very good results. The general consensus is that it's worth trying as long as you look at your dog and not the ingredient label. Not all dogs do well on it, and it's not something I'm likely to try because they don't even make anything Brisbane can eat. Still, I don't buy into the 'Purina=poison!' hysteria. A large chunk of the general public believes that a 50-lb sack of kibble should cost $20, and if Purina doesn't sell it to them then someone else will.

So Purina is Ok Then?
Not exactly. Like I said, it's complicated. Merrick currently claim that nothing will change, but consumers report that similar buyouts of beloved dog food companies have stated the same thing in the beginning. It's business as usual for the first few months, but things change. Not big things, Merrick won't suddenly be made out of corn and by-products overnight. It's little things, like buying lower-quality meat meals from a cheaper supplier. Stuff like that isn't reflected on the ingredients label, but it might change the guaranteed analysis and upset very sensitive tummies. Bigger formula changes tend to come later, well after the buyout when consumer confidence is stronger.

So Just Read the Label, Right?
Nope. The product label won't help you this time. Did you know that pet food companies are allowed to alter their ingredients without changing the label? They have a six-month grace period in which to use up all their old product packaging before they have to actually tell us what's really in the food. For sixth months they can just throw whatever they want in there, and then they either have to change the label or change the recipe back. Most small pet food businesses won't do this to their customers because they like us and want us to trust them. Purina is already selling tons of dog food to poorly-informed people at the grocery store, they don't need discerning and educated customers to trust them.

So...No Merrick Anymore?
I will not be feeding my dogs Merrick food anymore because I no longer trust the accuracy of the product labels. This may not be as big an issue for some customers, but I have a dog with food allergies and I need to know exactly what I'm feeding him. People who aren't terribly concerned about ingredient sourcing or labeling accuracy can go ahead and keep feeding Merrick without worry. 

Have you ever fed any Purina products?

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