Friday, February 10, 2017

Food Friday: Merrick Wingaling Canned Dog Food

We all know that dogs aren't supposed to eat cooked chicken bones, so why in the world does Merrick's Wingaling canned dog food have actual chicken wings in it? Is this some sort of mistake? Actually, the bones are cooked in a special process (involving a pressure cooker) that leaves them soft and squishy and totally safe and non-splintery. The result is an unusual treat for your dog. Safe chicken bones!
canned dog food with safe chicken bones

Merrick Pet Food

For years, Merrick was well-known for being one of the best independent pet food companies out there. They had their own manufacturing facilities, sourced all their ingredients domestically, and had been around for years. It was the sort of feel-good brand that hardly anyone had complaints about. They started out making dog treats, and then expanded their product lines to include both canned and dry dog and cat foods. I had been fond of them for years because they offered so many different flavors and varieties.

All that changed in 2015 when the company was purchased  by Purina. Now they are owned by a giant faceless corporation. While consumers have been promised that nothing will change about the facilities, production, ingredients, etc, it's a tough claim to swallow. My biggest concern is the sourcing of ingredients. Not that I think they're suddenly buying meat from China, just that they can switch to buying much lower qualities of ingredients without having to change anything on the label. Maybe they used to buy fresh apples and now they're buying giant bricks of frozen apples that have been in storage for years, stuff like that.

Wingaling Has Chicken Bones

Dog food with soft pressure-cooked chicken bones
Ok, this dog food is unique because it contains whole chicken wings, bones and all. Everybody knows dogs can't eat chicken bones! Well, raw feeders know that dogs can eat fresh, raw chicken bones, but they still should never have cooked chicken bones! Right?

Did you know that you can put chicken bones in a pressure cooker and make them soft and crumbly? It's true, and I would totally do it with all my chicken bones if I owned a pressure cooker. Such a tasty treat for dogs! 

The whole chicken bones in Merrick's canned dog foods are cooked soft, and can easily be mashed with a spoon if you are at all worried about them stabbing your dog in the digestive tract. You can also pull the bones out and throw them away, if you wish. 

I bought a can of Wingaling for Ru mostly out for novelty. This food contains a couple of chicken wings, some squishy chunks of processed food, and a whole lot of broth. Even though it's got 334 calories per can, it just doesn't fee like very much food. It's also difficult to split into multiple portions, or to use as a kibble topper.

The Verdict

I know some dogs absolutely love pressure cooked squishy chicken bones, but Ru is not a Wingaling fan. It might be because he doesn't enjoy this particular flavor, and it might be because he's been getting a little too much leftover taco meat as a snack, but I can't get him to even taste the actual wings. The girls will be finishing this can.


  1. I have noticed in the past 7-10 cans of this Wingaling food that there are MANY more cubed pieces of chicken, and almost no actual wings/bones. I'll be reviewing them online, and giving them a thumbs down for this. Purina, as you say, will not be as good as an independent company!

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing! Every can of Wingaling I've purchased has had two chicken wings in it. I bought this can six months ago, and it had the usual number. I'm definitely going to have to grab a newer can to check this out. This is exactly the sort of change I have been expecting since the buyout!

    2. My older small breed dog with a few missing teeth got puncture wound in her cheek inside her mouth after eating this stuff. Which resulted in a infection with swelling and a big big vet bill. Thumbs down