I’ve had my dog since he was a puppy, and he turns three next month. Having him in my life has been fantastic, but it also served up a steep learning curve when it came to making choices that affect his health.
The most terrifying, albeit educational, part came when my dog had to spend a week under observation at the vet’s because I fed him the wrong food. That’s when I decided to educate myself and other dog owners about selecting the right food for our dogs. My interest today is drawn to the Merrick vs. Taste of the Wild supremacy battle, which I’ll summarize for you here.
Brands and Products
In this section, I will review some of the top products from each of the two brands.
This is a personal favorite of my dog. He loves it, and the gluten-free content does not upset his sensitive stomach. The combination of beef and the sweet potato makes for a taste that has my dog scrambling for his dish each time I feed him.
- Does not upset your dog’s sensitive stomach
- Contains no grains or artificial additives
- Delivers Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids
Who is this product for?
This product is particularly suited to dogs who have experienced previous stomach sensitivities, especially to grains, and the dry option makes it easy to feed to your dog.
What I Like/Don’t Like
Instead of relying on grains, Merrick uses carbohydrates from fiber-rich vegetables like sweet potato and peas. The first ingredient in all their formulas is real meat from a named source, such as deboned beef, lamb, or duck. They also include a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to ensure “health you can see,” according to the bag, at least.
Unfortunately, this formula does have some controversial ingredients as well, such as dried alfalfa, a common ingredient in horse feed used as filler in dog food. Likewise, while I consider the grain-free recipe a positive point, it does make for a lower fiber food with a good deal of protein. For active dogs, that’s great, but for pups who prefer lounge around, it may lead to weight gain.
Also, keep in mind that high meat-based protein makes for a rich diet, which even in some active dogs can lead to digestive upset.
- No artificial preservatives
- Suitable for dogs with stomach sensitivities
- Available in various quantities – 4-, 6-, and 25-pound bags
- Contains no grain
- Fat content is essential for healthy dog skin
- Some filler ingredients
- A little low on fiber
This product is an excellent option for feeding your dog healthy and nutritious food. Its non-gluten composition makes for an excellent fit for most dogs – no matter its breed or size – especially those with stomach sensitivities or allergies.
Overall rating: 9/10
This is a real-meat product that my dog – and visiting friends’ dogs – have generally enjoyed.
- Contains no grain—its # 1 ingredient is roasted bison
- Includes no artificial preservatives
- Is an all-natural, real-meat product
Who is this product for?
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a good choice if you want to feed your dog real meat with no artificial preservatives. As a dry food, it is easy to store, so it’s a perfect fit if you don’t appreciate a messy after-meal clean-up.
What I Like/Don’t Like
High Prairie also contains above-average protein, but a good portion of it comes from vegetable content, such as pea and potato protein, so it has more fiber than most in this category. This aspect, along with added pre- and probiotics, make this food easier to digest and less likely to lead to weight gain issues in less active dogs. It’s also made in the USA, which is a small patriotic preference of mine.
On the other hand, it has been the subject of some FDA warnings involving ingredients, that in large quantities, may cause canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. Coincidentally, those before mentioned vegetable protein sources are the culprit in this case. Many grain-free foods were hit by this investigation. It also contains brewer’s yeast, which in some circles is counted as a common allergen in dogs.
- It is an all-natural real-meat product
- Is available in various package sizes
- Rich in antioxidants with a super-food blend
- Includes pre- and probiotics for better digestion
- Contains no artificial preservatives
- High vegetable protein content could lead to heart disease
- Contains brewer’s yeast
If your focus is on an all-natural real-meat food, you’ll love this product – and so will your dog! It’s available in various package sizes, which is particularly beneficial if you are looking to give the product an initial try before buying in higher quantities.
Overall Rating: 8.2/10
Both Merrick and Taste of the Wild are reputable brands in the pet-food industry. You likely come across their products at your local department store. Both companies invest their resources in developing the healthiest meal combinations to suit every dog. They offer a wide variety of products, so you can find the right one for your dog’s specific needs and healthy growth.
Merrick Dog Food Brand
Merrick has distinguished itself in the pet-food market via its manufacture of foods for dogs with sensitive tummies. Over time, its foods have proven to be healthy for your dog and cause minimal stomach upset. The company also is AAFCO-approved, though it has issued six product recalls in its history.
Taste of the Wild Brand
Taste of the Wild prides itself on offering grain-free dog food with no artificial preservatives and only natural proteins. The brand has only issued one recall, which helps it rank high in a competitive marketplace.
During the last three years, I have learned a lot about shopping for dog food. Reading a lot of material from reputable veterinarians and animal nutritionists has delivered an advantage to my search for the right food for my dog. It helped me narrow down the critical issues to consider when it comes to choosing the right dog food, including:
A feisty debate is playing out about whether you should feed your dog food with grain in it. While some people argue that grain content is healthy for dogs, others take you to task for the same. It’s important to remember, though, that not all dogs will have the same reactions to grains.
I recommend that you talk with your dog’s vet to understand what your best friend’s carbohydrate requirements are. With this information at the fore of your mind, you are better equipped to make the right decision about your dog’s food.
Wet vs. Dry Foods
The decision about using wet or dry food is another contentious issue among dog owners. While most seem to agree that wet food contains more nutritional value than dry food, wet food is generally messier and presents storage challenges. At the same time, dry food is considered more beneficial to training your dog’s jaw and is easy to store.
If you can’t decide, many owners just mix the two. The kibble tends to make the wet food a bit less messy, and you get the nutritional benefits in the process. It’s a win-win.
Unlike cats, which get most of their nutritional content from flesh, dogs can have a meatless diet as well. Most meatless foods are allergen-free and can contribute positively to your dog’s energy levels. Before deciding on a meatless diet for your dog, it is essential to understand its specific needs. Plant-based proteins will offer amino acids that are essential for your dog but in varying amounts that you should consider carefully before trying.
Honestly, instead of trying to make your dog go vegetarian, though, you’re better off sticking to their natural omnivore diet—which includes a healthy balance of meat and vegetables.
When I first chose a dog food for my pup, I admit that I got it wrong when it came to dietary guarantees. I have since, however, begun campaigning in favor of dog food that is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Check to confirm that the dog food you are buying has this nutritional guarantee. Otherwise, steer clear.
Similarities and Differences
The Merrick vs. Taste of the Wild comparison comes down to the finest of details, as the two have some differences, but also several noteworthy similarities. The most prominent similarities, in my mind, are:
- Exceptional taste – The most striking resemblance between Merrick and Taste of the Wild dog food is taste. Both product lines use recipes that are taste-test approved by dogs. This is very helpful when you are introducing a new food!
- Nutritional guarantee – Both brands give you a nutritional guarantee, as the AAFCO approves them.
On the other side of the coin, the following are some of the most distinct differences that I identified before feeding Merrick and Taste of the Wild to my dog:
Taste of the Wild is grain-free.
Taste of the Wild is set aside from Merrick in that its dog food is grain-free – and its # 1 ingredient is deboned meat, fish, or poultry. As noted above, grain content is a critical variable for some dog owners. Taste of the Wild may appeal to you if you do not believe that grain content is healthy for your dog. What’s more, Taste of the Wild does not include any artificial preservatives in its products.
Merrick is the right fit for dogs with a sensitive stomach.
Our pals are, at times, very sensitive to food. My dog, for example, experiences stomachaches and diarrhea if he eats any chicken-rich food. Merrick is appealing if your dog has sensitivities because it manufactures products that are specifically suited for dogs with any stomach sensitivities. With a dog meal from Merrick, your dog should experience fewer stomach upsets.
Head-to-Head Comparison Table
These two brands do an impressive job of curating the essential nutrients that your dog needs. The table below is a comparison of nutrient content in Merrick vs. Taste of the Wild wet and dry dog foods.
|Wet Food||Merrick||Taste of the Wild|
|Dry Food||Merrick||Taste of the Wild|
Protein – Taste of the Wild contains more protein content than Merrick, at 45.6% compared to Merrick’s 43.7%
Fat – A 1.9% difference shows that Taste of the Wild is lower in fat than Merrick.
Fiber – Merrick delivers significantly more fiber than Taste of the Wild, at 8.6% compared to 5.6%.
Protein – Merrick has significantly more protein in its products, at 37.2%, compared to Taste of the Wild’s 31.9%.
Fat – Taste of the Wild, at 18% fat, has higher fat content than Merrick, at 16.8%.
Fiber – Taste of the Wild delivers 1.7% more fiber than Merrick.
The Merrick vs. Taste of the Wild competition is a close call. Both products serve their purpose well by giving your dog the most crucial nutrients it needs for healthy growth. Taste of the Wild loses out by a hair, however, because of FDA inquires.
If that’s not of particular concern to you, Taste of the Wild may be a better option for less active dogs, while Merrick is superior for active, working breeds thanks to its high protein content. If push comes to shove you can always get a small bag of both—let your dog choose and just keep an eye out for any adverse reactions to the winner.