Merrick vs Wellness (2020 Reviews)

Like most of the dog owners, you can choose to feed your friend with dry kibble or canned wet foods. On the market, various commercial brands exist, and thus it can be hard to decide for a perfect product. Quality commercial dog foods are regulated and tested by veterinary specialists with great care.

However, we know that it is not easy to choose the right brand for your dog among the wide variety of products on the market! Before making a decision, you need to make sure that the brand is reliable, the nutritional content of the product is safe, and whether it is a suitable product for your dog.

We would like to compare Merrick and Wellness, the two most popular brands on the market. Let’s analyze their safety, ingredients, nutritional values, and more. 

Our Selections from Both Products


Wellness Core

The History of the Merrick

Merrick dog food brand was found in 1988 and has been present as one of the high-quality brands since then. The brand defines itself as being the most natural, nutritious, and delicious. The brand’s foundation story is based on its owner’s own experience with their dogs.

The first product appeared in Garth Merrick’s family kitchen in Hereford, Texas. Garth aimed to be sure that his dog was eating the healthiest and the most nutritious foods. Although Merrick was bought by Nestle-Purina, in 2015, the brand still acts with the same vision and attitude as a big and well-known brand. Their products still are prepared and tested in Garth’s original kitchen.

Merrick offers various products based on their ingredients and recipes. The seven lines of Merrick exist in the market: Grain-Free, Backcountry, Backcountry Raw, Limited Ingredient Diet, Classic, Wet Recipes, and Treats. In this comparison, we take care of the Grain-Free line to our analysis.  

All recipes include high-quality ingredients that consist of industry-leading proteins, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and more. Merrick producers supply their fresh food from farmers they know and trust and produce recipes by avoiding using preservatives or artificial. They sell their products through many pet stores and online retailers in the United State.   

Thanks to their motives to help every pet live the healthiest and happiest life, and they believe the food is much more than just a portion of food, they are producing as much as their best effort.

The History of the Wellness

Wellness as a part of WellPet brands was created by a team of animal nutrition experts, veterinarians, and scientists to revolutionize the pet food industry in 1997 in the near Boston, Massachusetts.

The Wellness as a company sprang from an earlier dog biscuits producer, Old Mother Hubbard. The brand introduced recipes for dogs in 1997, and it added recipes for cats in 2000. In 2004, Wellness transformed into one of the leading natural pet food brands. Their main incentive was to represent a new generation in natural ped food. They are producing food by supporting local communities and protecting the environment with long-term sustainable initiatives.

The brand believes that every mealtime matters, and thus, every dog food should be produced most healthily. They have a simple and holistic approach to dog food by focusing on real ingredients and real benefits.

 In line with this simple approach, they have four distinct product lines: Complete Health, Core, Simple, and Trufood. In this review, we generally focus on the Core line. Besides the United States and Canada, its products are available in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Depending on your dog’s preferences, different products include single-protein or a combination of proteins, such as turkey, duck, lamb, chicken, and beef. On the other hand, some Wellness dog food recipes use a mixture of grains, vegetables, and fruit, or grain-free recipes.

The brand’s main claim is that they use quality ingredients by avoiding genetically modified organisms and fillers.

Ingredient Comparison Between Merrick and Wellness

Both brands produce, with a particular focus on the nutritional value of food. Merrick uses ingredients that are also safe for human consumption. Its product scale mostly consists of grain-free options yet, it is not a completely grain-free brand.

On the other hand, Wellness makes an essential emphasis on natural and mostly organic ingredients.  Both brands guarantee minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.

Contrary to other brands, in these two brands, you never see large amounts of grains and chemical names.

Now, you can find a comparison below regarding their protein, fat, fiber, omega-3, and omega-6 ingredients. We believe that they will be helpful for your best choice!


The dog they do need essential amino acids found in protein to thrive. On the other hand, high amounts of protein can cause disease. Therefore, you should be ensured the proper nutrition amount for your dog.  When buying your dog’s food, you need to be careful not only quantity of protein, but also it’s quality.

Checking a list of ingredients and nutritional makeup of the food can be the best way to decide. Both Merrick and Wellness offer high-quality crude protein in their different types of products.

When you look crude protein level of these two brands, a little difference stands out. Merrick offers 37.2% protein for its dry foods and 43.8% for wet foods, while levels for Wellness are lower 3.6% and 2.3%, respectively. 

Even though the difference is not so much, it still needed to mention it, which affects your preference. Especially if you adopt a working dog, canine athlete, reproductively active female dog, or a puppy, you need to prefer a high protein diet.


Fats are another significant source of dietary energy that provides 2.5 times as much energy as protein dietary soluble carbohydrates for dogs. If you use the appropriate amount of fat for your dog’s diet, this can cause imbalance and health problems.

For dry dog foods, both Merrick and Wellness offer quite similar amounts whereas for dry foods Wellness provides a bit more fat. (approximately 3.6%).


Fiber mostly stays behind protein and fat for dog diets but is also highly beneficial for our dogs. Even though it comes only plan-based ingredients, still various ways exist to add fibers to your dog’s diet.

Fiber can help the overgrowth of any bad bacteria and colon recover from injury. Fiber can also reduce diarrhea and constipation symptoms if your dog is suffering either of them.

Merrick and Wellness both provide roughly the same amount of crude fiber. For wet dog foods, Merrick typically provides a little more fiber (about 3.89% more).

Omega-3 and Omega-6

While Merrick includes less omega-3 while it has more omega-6 comparing to Wellness.

Controversial Ingredients

Merrick and Wellness both use the following controversial ingredients in many of their products. These products are garlic, canola oil, pea protein, caramel color. On the other hand, both have specific controversial ingredients in their products.

For instance, while meaty femur bone and powdered cellulose are used by only Merrick, brewers rice, garlic powder, tomato pomace, dried tomato pomace are in only Wellness products.

If your dog had a bad experience with one of these controversial ingredients, you need to take care of the different ingredients among the two brands. 

Recall History


Merrick has been recalled 6 times from January 2011 to May 2018. The last recall was derived from the elevated levels of thyroids hormone in the product. The recall was necessary because of the consequences of the exaggerated levels of thyroid hormone. It can cause increased thirst and urination and weight loss.

However, we can say that Merrick managed this process successfully. It is also important to note that this recall revealed that Merrick applies a natural real row meat process in its production. The previous 5 recalls of Merrick had the same reason: Salmonella bacteria, which causes disease by affecting the intestinal tract.


Wellness has been recalled 5 times from February 2011 to March 2017. Likewise, Merrick, Wellness last recall was originated from the ingredients which elevate the level of thyroids hormone.

In October 2012, Wellness recalled its 12 pounds Small Breed Adult Healthy Dry Dog Food since the food’s moisture content was higher than expected. The reason behind this recall was related to molding food before its expiration date.

The other recall for dog foods are stemmed from salmonella contamination and, left 2 recalls were related to cat foods. However, Wellness’s most recalls have been precautionary in nature. Any serious illnesses or deaths attributed to any Wellness pet food recall was not reported, yet.

Feeding Guide

Feeding sizes and measurements are entirely up to your dog’s needs and brands’ recommended cups. The important thing is no matter which brand you choose, you need to follow their suggested feeding guide to benefit from them properly. Each brand has a detailed chart at the back of the packaging. For more detailed information and guidance, we recommend contacting brands.

Best Selections by Merrick: Grain Free Line

All grain-free dry dog foods of Merrick with different meats and fish are proudly made in Merrick’s Texas facility using the world’s best locally-sourced ingredients from farmers; they always buy their raw foods.  They all free from corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and grain.

Our Top Pick: Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Real Duck + Sweet Potato

Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Real Duck + Sweet Potato provides above-average proportions of protein and fat as high-quality dry dog food. It is gain-free nutrition with no gluten ingredients and allows easier digestibility.

This product includes industry-leading omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to healthy skin and coat. Glucosamine and Chondroitin levels which support healthy hips and joints are also appropriate amount. Its carbohydrate proportion is a little higher than ideal, but, it still hast the perfect nutrition profile for most of the dogs.

Its sources of protein consist of duck, salmon, and lamb. On the other hand, peas and sweet potato are sources of high-quality carbohydrates. However, if you have an allergic or very sensitive dog, this food might be not suitable for you since it contains a range of different vegetables and five different sources of meat or fish.     

Runner Up: Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Real Chicken + Sweet Potato

It is also one of the gain-free recipes of Merrick. In consists of 70% of meat proteins and 30% fresh produce.

The product is highly rich in terms of omega-6, omega-3, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Even though it is more useful for an adult dog this grain-free recipe is ideal for all life stages and all breeds. As a first ingredient, deboned chicken helps to build and maintain lean. Its high-quality protein is perfect for healthy muscle tissues.

The product is more nutritious with potatoes, sweet potato, peas, apples, and blueberries, offering vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Potatoes and sweet potatoes offer the benefit of sustained energy as easily digestible carbohydrates.

Best Selections of Wellness: Core Line

Wellness Core dog foods do not include undesirable ingredients, including meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Our Top Pick: Wellness CORE Natural Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken

Wellness CORE Natural Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken as a delectable grain-free recipe is produced with protein sourced from real chicken and turkey to provide your dog with the protein-focused nutrition. It consists of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and probiotics.

The product is a perfect choice for an ideally balanced diet for adult dogs.  This is ideal for almost all breeds and mostly for adult dogs. It is crafted with optimal calories for growth and to support your dog’s immune health. It serves a perfectly balanced diet, especially for puppies. 

Runner Up: Wellness CORE Natural Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken

Wellness CORE Rawrev Natural Grain Free contains a raw protein that your dog craves instinctively, and feeding with this you can add raw protein easily and safely to your dog’s every meal. 

This gain free product is combined with 100% pure bites of freeze-dried turkey. It provides plenty of protein, enzymes, and minerals with their most natural versions. This combination creates a nutrient-rich meal with high fiber & optimal fat to support a healthy weight.  This food is more usable for small breeds and is appropriate both for adults and puppies.

Conclusion: Which Brand Should I Choose? Merrick or Wellness?

Merrick and Wellness dog food are both popular and well-known brands in the market. Both offer you various food options you can choose for your dog as well as a nutritionally complete food to support your dogs with their active and healthy life.

It is entirely up to your and your dog’s preferences. If your dog is very active, maybe you can think to choose Merrick with higher crude protein level. Otherwise, Wellness is also a great option.

It is also worth noting that while the Wellness brand is firmly attached to its scientific processes, Merrick is always proud to be natural.

We hope that our comparison will be helpful to you. Whichever you choose, you should consult your veterinarian and learn the exact needs of your canine friend.

Alaaddin Sarac

I've been an avid dog enthusiast since childhood. I started this blog in hopes of helping owners find answers to questions I had after owning my first dog. This website was created as a way to share our love for all things canine with the world. From choosing the best food for your older dog to get the best beds for your tail-wagger, I aim to give you the information you need to give your dog the best care throughout his entire life.