Taste of the Wild vs Merrick Dog Food – Which Is Better In 2021?

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:
taste of the wild vs merrick

This is my detailed comparison of Taste of the Wild vs Merrick dog food brands in 2021. 

Choosing the best dog food is a very responsible decision. After all, proper eating is the foundation of health. This is no different for dogs. 

But what if you have to choose between two popular brands like Taste of the Wild and Merrick? 

I spent an entire day comparing the two brands from a variety of perspectives. I compared product offerings, product offerings, ingredients, prices, and other important factors. I examined the recall history of both companies. 

In addition to all this, I have dedicated a section to real customer reviews that can be found on the internet. For me, Taste of the Wild won the competition

However, if you are curious about the details, be sure to read through my article.

Let’s start!

Why you should trust me

Whether you’re experienced in dog and other pet topics or not, I’m sure you’re in the right place. I do my best to provide the best and most reliable information possible to my readers.

My name is Peter Laskay, and I have been a pet lover since I was a child. One of the most important places in my life is to gain as much knowledge as possible about pet care. And I want to pass this knowledge on to my blog visitors.

Should you have any questions at any time, feel free to contact me using the contact information on the website.

More About Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is owned by a huge American pet food company called Diamond Pet Food. This company has been in business since 1970, but Taste of the Wild was only introduced in 2007. 

This young brand offers a nutritious, healthy, yet affordable diet for dogs and cats. The manufacturer’s primary goal is to mimic the diets of wild dogs and other canine ancestors. 

For this reason, meats such as bison, wild boar, and deer are quite common in Taste of the Wild recipes compared to other pet foods. 

The primary ingredient in all formulas is usually real meat. Although Diamond Pet Foods has black spots in its history, Taste of the Wild is a very reliable brand.

More About Merrick

Garth Merrick founded this brand with his wife in 1988. During these more than three decades, Merrick pet food has gained a huge reputation. 

This is no coincidence, as the company uses only natural ingredients, without any cheap fillers, artificial preservatives, and other chemicals. 

Garth Merrick soon realized that the foundation of a dog’s health lies in nutrition. One of the company’s most important missions since then has been to produce the healthiest recipes possible.

Taste of the Wild vs. Merrick: Big Comparison

In this part of my article, I will compare the two brands based on as many aspects as possible. I look at the average ingredients and the offerings. 

I will also examine and compare two products of the two brand’s Limited Ingredient line.

I am confident that we can get a real picture of which brand is better by comparing these recipes.

I will also include some additional products from the two brands.

Product lines and offerings

Like humans, dogs can be different in many ways. This is why one kind of dog food will not be good for all canines. The various product lines offer a solution for this. 

With these, you can always choose the right food for your dog according to his age or individual dietary needs. 

I want to point out in advance that both brands offer food for dogs with all life stages and dietary needs. My goal here now will be to compare the number of offerings.

Taste of the Wild product lines

Taste of the Wild has three main lines. The standard formula, Ancient Grains formula, and Prey formula. 

The Standard formula is the most varied, with 9 dry and 5 wet foods. Each standard recipe is grain-free. You can find the right food for every life stage in this line. 

Ancient Grains recipes include special grains such as grain sorghum, millet, quinoa, and chia seed. According to the manufacturer, they have excellent nutritional value. They contain a lot of fiber and protein, not to mention vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can choose from four variations. All are suitable for dogs of all life stages.

The Prey line contains 3 products. This is practically the limited ingredient line of the brand. These foods are also suitable for dogs of all ages.

There are two recipes in the Standard line that are made specifically for puppies. These are the High Prairie Puppy Recipe and the Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe. Both have excellent ratings.

Merrick product lines

Merrick has 6 lines, each with a different role. 

The products in the grain-free line contain carbohydrate sources such as potatoes or sweet potatoes. Backcountry’s products are kibbles that are made more exciting with raw infused toppers. Full Source recipes contain more vitamins and minerals than usual. 

Lil ’Plates is a line made specifically for puppies. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, Merrick also offers a Limited Ingredient Diet. Classic Healthy Grains are a good choice for those who don’t want to keep their dog on a grain-free diet.

As you can see, Merrick offers a lot more lines to its customers. Not to mention that you have a lot more products with more varied flavors. Of course, you can rightly ask if more is better. 

However, since this is also a point of comparison, I have to state that Merrick is the winner in terms of variation.

Taste of the Wild vs Merrick product reviews

We got to the part where I contrast the similar lines of the two brands with each other. I will review the Limited Ingredient lines, and the Puppy formulas

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diets

If you have a dog with a sensitive stomach or an allergy, the best thing you can do is buy food with limited ingredients for your dog. The less in such cases, the more. With this method, you can rule out potentially problematic sources of protein or carbohydrates. 

According to the manufacturer, there are ten or fewer key ingredients in these recipes, plus added vitamins and minerals. A total of twelve recipes are included, 5 dry and 7 wet foods. 

You can choose grain-free and non-grain-free options. The source of protein in each case is some real meat, fish, or poultry. Each of these products contains omega fatty acids for a healthy brain, skin, and coat.


Taste of the Wild Prey Limited ingredient diets

Fortunately, Taste of the Wild also has an offer made for sensitive dogs. This line contains three products. 

These recipes contain one source of protein and one source of carbohydrates. This will minimize the possibility of allergies or irritation. 

Natural sources of omega fatty acids contribute to the health of dogs ’skin and coat. These products also contain added vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. These are vital for proper immune and digestive health.


Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas
  • Real lamb provides amino acids, vitamins, and minerals
  • Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies
  • Free of corn, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors
  • Supports healthy digestion

Seeing the ingredients, you can immediately see how good this formula is for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

The primary ingredient and the main source of protein is real deboned lamb. It is very well digestible meat that provides maximum support for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. The lamb meal is of the same good quality and even throws away the product’s total protein content. 

Carbohydrate sources include Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, and Peas. They are complex and rich in nutrients, and can be easily digested. 

Sunflower Oil and Flaxseed are in this recipe because of the omega fatty acids. This is because these fatty acids are essential for many physical processes. They also promote the health of the skin and coat of dogs. 

This recipe contains plenty of added vitamins and minerals, which of course, is great for boosting the immune system. 

The recipe is free of any harmful or questionable fillers and artificial chemicals. The total protein content is 23%, the fat content is 14%, and the fiber content is 4.5%. 

The recipe also contains naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin. These two minerals are responsible for the health of the joints in dog food. 

The ratio of omega fatty acids is as follows: 

omega-6: 4%

omega-3: 0.9%


Taste of the Wild PREY Angus Beef Formula Limited Ingredient Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Beef, Lentils, Tomato Pomace, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor
  • Limited ingredients for superior digestibility
  • Contains added micronutrients and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Made with 80 million CFU/lb of proprietary probiotics
  • Grain and GMO-free, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

This product contains four basic ingredients. This is really positive if digestibility is the goal. Beef is not only a good source of protein for muscle building but also well digestible. Some dogs are sensitive to it, so don’t choose this recipe in that case. 

The main source of carbohydrates is lentils, which are a fiber-rich, nutrient-rich legume. Tomato pomace was also included in the recipe because of the fiber. In addition to fiber, added probiotics also support digestive health. 

As you can see, this dog food has everything you need for good digestion. 

Sunflower oil and salmon oil provide a balanced omega fatty acid content. These fatty acids are also essential for healthy skin and coat. This product from Taste of the Wild also contains added vitamins and minerals. 

The total protein content is 27%, the fat is 15%, and the fiber is 5%. 

The ratio of omega fatty acids is:

Omega-6: 2.4%

Omega-3: 0.3%


Comparison table:

Brand:MerrickTaste of the Wild
First 5 ingredients:Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, PeasBeef, Lentils, Tomato Pomace, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor
Protein SourcesDeboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Potato Protein, Pea ProteinBeef
Carb sources:Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, PeasLentils
Other ingredients:Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed, Added vitamins and mineralsTomato Pomace, Sunflower Oil, Salmon Oil, Added vitamins, and minerals
Protein content23%27%
Fat Content:14%15%
Fiber Content:4.5%5%
Omega-3:0.9%0.3%
Omega-6:4%2.4%
Price:$2.59/lb.$2.09/lb.

Let’s look at the table for a moment. Taste of the Wild has a single real animal protein source and a total protein content of 27%. 

Merrick’s Lamb and Lamb’s meal is perfect, but there’s also potato protein and pea protein besides. They have a worse biological value than meat. Not to mention that the total protein content is still only 23%. That’s enough for dogs anyway, but less than 27% of Taste of the Wild’s product. 

The carbohydrate source is good for both products. The only question here is whether fewer or more sources are beneficial. I think it’s better if a product has only one carb source like this product from Taste of the Wild. 

There is little difference between the two products’ fiber and fat content, so the fight is equal in that respect. 

In terms of omega fatty acids, Merrick’s product is better. This is because it contains more of these fatty acids, and the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 is also more balanced than in the case of Taste of the Wild. 

In terms of price, however, Taste of the Wild is clearly better.

I think in almost every way, Taste of the Wild has won this round.


Recipes for puppies

Puppies need plenty of protein and other useful nutrients to grow. For this reason, puppy formulas contain on average more protein and fat. Of course, there are dog foods that will be suitable for dogs with all life stages, but it may be a good idea to buy a recipe specifically designed for your young pooch.

Merrick has a total of 9 puppy products from 6 different product lines.


Taste of the Wild offers a total of 2 recipes specifically for puppies. The manufacturer promises that these products are suitable for puppies and nursing mothers, and other dogs with sensitive stomachs.


Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Salmon Meal
  • Grain-free dry food for puppies
  • An ideal combination of protein and healthy fats
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Contains omega fatty acids

As I mentioned, puppies need plenty of useful nutrients. Looking at the ingredients in this product, I don’t think there will be a problem. 

The primary ingredient and the main source of protein is the real chicken. This is a delicious meat that is really popular with dogs and can be digested very well. It is a good quality protein source that gives your puppy the amino acids it needs to grow. 

In addition to real chicken, there is also chicken meal and turkey meal in the recipe, a very concentrated protein source. They also contain glucosamine and chondroitin. These

 two minerals play an important role in joint health. This is essential for growing puppies. The recipe also includes other protein sources such as Deboned Salmon, Potato Protein, Pea Protein. There are not many of these, as they are not among the top five ingredients. 

However, these protein sources are definitely good for throwing away total protein. The total protein content is 28%, which can be said to be absolutely positive. 

The product is grain-free and contains carbohydrate sources such as Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, and Tapioca. They are complex, easy to digest and contain useful fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

The main fat source is Chicken Fat, but there are Salmon Oil and Sunflower Oil in the recipe. Thus, together, these sources contain the right amount and proportion of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids are responsible for the health of the skin and coat of dogs. 

The product also contains fresh fruits like Apples and Blueberries. These are excellent sources of vitamins and antioxidants. By the way, this food also contains added vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. The latter helps to achieve proper digestive health.

The total fat content is 16%, the fiber is 4.5%, which means that this product meets the expectations in this respect as well.

The ratio of omega fatty acids is:

Omega-6: 3%

Omega-3: 0.4%


Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein
  • Made for puppies with real buffalo as the first ingredient
  • Contains added vitamins and powerful antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables
  • Contains no grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Made with proprietary K9 strain probiotic blend

This product is one of the most popular puppy formulas in Taste of the Wild. Unlike Merrick, it does not contain poultry. So it is recommended for puppies who prefer red meats. 

Protein sources are high quality. Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal provides most of the 28% total protein content. Also, the recipe includes Egg Product, Pea Protein, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef, and Ocean Fish Meal. Unlike Merrick’s product, there isn’t much plant protein in this recipe. 

Carbohydrate sources are sweet potatoes, fries, and peas. These are very well digestible ingredients that also contain plenty of useful nutrients. 

Chicken fat, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, and salmon oil give the product a 17% fat content. They contain all the essential fatty acids your puppy may need. Omega fatty acids have a very good effect on the health of the skin and coat. 

Like the Merrick puppy formula, it also contains added vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals. This will best support the healthy development and immune system of the puppies. The added probiotic blend is responsible for proper digestion.

The ratio of omega fatty acids is:

Omega-6: 2.8%

Omega-3: 0.3%


Brand:MerrickTaste of the Wild
First 5 ingredients:Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Salmon MealWater Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein
Protein SourcesDeboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Dried Egg Product, Deboned Salmon, Potato Protein, Pea ProteinWater Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Egg Product, Pea Protein, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef,  Ocean Fish Meal
Carb sources:Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, TapiocaSweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes
Other ingredients:Chicken Fat, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed, Added vitamins and mineralsChicken Fat, Tomato Pomacel, Salmon Oil, Added vitamins, and minerals
Protein content28%28%
Fat Content:16%17%
Fiber Content:4.5%5%
Omega-3:0.4%0.3%
Omega-6:3%2.8%
Price:$2.59/lb.$1.69/lb.

Based on the nutrient characteristics, it is already more difficult to announce a winner for these two products. 

The protein, fat, and fiber content are very similar in both cases. I like the Taste of the Wild puppy formula better because it uses fewer plant protein sources. 

There is not much difference between the amount and proportion of omega fatty acids in the two recipes. In terms of price, however, Taste of the Wild is clearly the winner. 

So I think the Taste of the Wild puppy’s formula is better than Merrick’s.


Senior formulas

As with puppies, it is true for senior dogs that they have different nutritional needs than adults. The joints of old canines need special attention. 

Therefore, each recipe should contain sufficient amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin. Calorie intake and digestibility should also be monitored. 

Taste of the Wild says several of its products are suitable for seniors. However, it does not have a separate product line that specifically targets this age group. Unfortunately, not all of the manufacturer’s products contain enough glucosamine and chondroitin. 

In contrast, Merrick has excellent senior formulas that meet the requirements. So in that regard, Merrick is better.


Wet food offers

Wet dog food is very important in the offer of every company. After all, with these, we can provide variety for our own dogs. Wet foods are more desirable, so it doesn’t hurt to replace dry kibbles with them sometimes. 

It should also be borne in mind that there may be dental problems that justify these products’ purchase. Let’s look at the offerings of the two companies.

Merrick wet foods

Merrick has 60 wet food products available. Virtually every dry kibble has a wet version. Also, there are toppers and freeze-dried raw protein pieces. Based on these, I think if you need wet food, you’re sure to find the right one from Merrick’s offerings for your dog.


Taste of the Wild wet foods

Unfortunately, Taste of the Wild is not very strong in this area either. The recipes offered by the company are grain-free and of high quality. However, there is not too much choice. There are 5 wet Taste of the Wild products to choose from, not all available at all retailers. 

For this reason, Merrick is the winner in this regard.


Taste of the Wild and Merrick recall history

If a pet food brand does not meet certain health criteria, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) can request a recall and initiate an investigation. Below you can see the recalls of recent years, along with the rationale.

Taste of the Wild

  • May 2012: Potential for salmonella. Several products from Diamond Pet Food have become suspected of salmonella. Because of this, Taste of the Wild recalled some of its products. The results were negative.


Merrick

  • September 2002: Potential for salmonella
  • January 2010: Potential for salmonella
  • July 2010 (voluntarily): Possible Salmonella bacteria
  • August 2010 (voluntary): Possible Salmonella bacteria
  • August 2010 (voluntarily): Potential for salmonella
  • January 2011(voluntary): Potential for salmonella
  • September 2011 (voluntarily): Possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria
  • May 2018 (voluntary): Potentially elevated levels of a naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone

As you can see, Merrick has had a lot more recalls over the years. And while most of these were voluntary, the difference is clear. Therefore, I have to say that Taste of the Wild is a better and more reliable brand in terms of recalls.


Real customer reviews

One of my favorite parts of judging any brand or product is when I look at what others think. Fortunately, there are plenty of real customer reviews on the internet these days. These are worth relying on. Below I will be collecting positive and negative reviews about prevalent Taste of the Wild and Merrick products.

All come from Chewy’s website.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Positive

Shiny Coat

  • My dog has food sensitivities. The food we had been using for the last year changed its recipe and he broke out in a rash. So I went on a Google search for better dog food. This one was in the top five and in my price range. That’s what brought me to this food. But, I will continue to purchase it because his rash cleared up quicker than it has in the past when we had to change foods. He loves the taste of this food and comes running when he hears it hitting his bowl, he hasn’t done that in a long time. And then there’s his coat. It’s become really soft, smooth, and shinier than it’s been in a long time as well.

Great for dogs with food allergies

  • This was a simple fix. My Bensji started getting sores all over her body. The vet decided it was a food allergy so I had to look for something all the other dogs would but not cause her pain. My friend who also has an English bulldog (one of mine is an English bulldog too) told me to try this and wham bam everyone loves it and Gidgets sores are all gone. Thanks, Chewy


Negative

Still trying to find a food my dog will like and is also healthy for her!

  • She puts on weight easily so have tried weight management Nutro after having been on regular Nutro for years. She’s also 9 years old so I want good quality food and just tried the Taste of the Wild which she says OK to, but doesn’t gobble it up. My 2-year-old seems to love it more than his ProPlan Sensitive Stomach — will sneak in and eat the Taste of the Wild given the opportunity!

Not what I expected

  • Really expected better for the price. My pup generally eats anything I give him, except these unpleasant-smelling brown nuggets. My advice keep shopping


Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe

All three likes it.

  • All three huskies of mine liked this food right away. They’ve been on grain-free dry food from a different company because they have a wheat allergy. I wanted to switch brand because two were getting fat on it, one didn’t like it at all. This food is so expensive but I guess well worth it if you can afford it. All three loved it right away. They don’t act hungry as they used to ( I guess it’s more satiating than previous food?). They actually eat half a cup less than they used to. They are acting younger. Their fur looks better. I highly recommend it if you can afford it.

long time customer

  • I have a Yorkie and even at a young age her back hips started to click so I went in search of food that would be good for her. My vet’s office sold this brand for a little while but then I had to look for it again and I have been buying it from chewy ever since. I have switched up the flavors every other bag and my dog loves it.. and if I leave it where the cats can get it.. they do too. Ever since my Yorkie has been on this food I have not once been told her back hip joints are clicking anymore. She has been on this food now for about 6-7 years she will be 10 years old very soon and still very spry.


Negative

Good Dog Food

  • My picky Shiba likes this dog food pretty well. I think she would like it better if it had different shapes and some texture.

My puppy loves it

  • My puppy absolutely loves this day to day food. It is a little bit expensive but good for picky dogs.

As you can see, there are no serious complaints about any of the foods. Both dog foods are loved by dogs and are of outstanding quality. However, this round is definitely won by Taste of the Wild, as its product received more five-star ratings in proportion.

My Final Verdict about Taste of the Wild vs. Merrick

Examining all aspects makes it easier to decide which brand is better. Based on similar product lines, ingredients, price, recall histories, and customer reviews, Taste of the Wild is the better dog food brand. 

That, of course, doesn’t in the least mean that Merrick would be bad. What’s more, if you’re interested in more exciting and varied options, be sure to check out this company’s offerings as well. 

I hope my article helped you make that decision.

Photo of author
Author:
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!